A shameful confession

What books, zines or other pulp are you reading? What aren't you reading? What should everyone else read?
Chuck_Schick
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Re: A shameful confession

Postby Chuck_Schick » Mon May 18, 2009 1:27 pm

blunt wrote:I just read a Dean Koontz book.

Ouch. My condolences.

wallrock
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Re: A shameful confession

Postby wallrock » Mon May 18, 2009 2:31 pm

blunt wrote:I just read a Dean Koontz book.

I once woke up very early at a friend's place in Chicago after a long night out, and unable to fall back asleep or even watch TV I searched the living room for something, anything to read. The only thing I found was a Koontz book about a killer clown terrorizing a Colorado kid over the course of his life. It was ridiculous but better than just being hungover, and I was actually a bit disappointed when it was time to leave, as I had just one chapter to go. I'll never get to experience the denouement that I'm sure Koontz so expertly fashioned.

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Re: A shameful confession

Postby Ned Flounders » Tue May 19, 2009 6:23 am

Okay, so what's the stupidest/lamest/most hackish book you've actually read all the way through?

I think I'd have to say James P. Hogan's Cradle of Saturn. It's the bastard-child of Immanuel Velikovsky and Ayn Rand! (Which actually makes it not inappropriate for this thread....) CoS hits the science-fiction trifecta: awful writing, crackpot "science", and loathsome politics to boot.

Hogan wrote some good books back in the 80s but he's gone completely off the deep end.

Henry Vilas
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Re: A shameful confession

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue May 19, 2009 8:50 am

I went to a Catholic high school in the mid 60s and was taught by Sinsinawa Dominican nuns, who where fairly liberial in a Catholic sort of way. Well my English teacher wanted to expose us to various political and social ideals, so we all read Rand's essay The Virtue of Selfishness. I immediately understood where Rand was coming from, so there was no need to wade through Atlas Strugged.

We also read the lyrics of Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel as examples of modern poetry.

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Re: A shameful confession

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue May 19, 2009 12:07 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:We also read the lyrics of Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel as examples of modern poetry.
Hmmmm...
To me, that's like reading transcripts of stand-up comedy as examples of modern short stories.

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Re: A shameful confession

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue May 19, 2009 12:51 pm

I guess that's because Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti were too racy for Catholic school.

blunt
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Re: A shameful confession

Postby blunt » Tue May 19, 2009 2:34 pm

The Koontz thing is both shameful crap yet revealing genius.
He makes the thriller seem simple. (sometimes simplistic)
That's kind of hard to do.
The one I read what called Midnight. Not bad. An early one.
Way before he started writing under a thousand names and penning a trillion books.
It's like the Stephen King problem: spreading yourself too thin.
I love when a new book by a fave comes out but not 13 a week.

Koontz doesn't use big words and knows how to keep things moving.
A writer can learn some rock arena basics from Koontz.
Preston/Child (Relic, Dance of Death, etc etc) also write popular thrillers and are much more interesting at it that Koontz.
But the basics are there:
> Short chapters (about 500 words) that start with a paragraph of character exposition, a couple lines of location, and then....cliffhanger.

Say what you will but I like a good short chapter.
I feel lost and adrift in never-ending tomes.
What's my favorite Bible verse?
John 11:35: "Jesus wept."

But while there is some interesting escapist fun in the Preston/Child routine, Koontz ends up being that: a routine.
Too simple, no meat, not enough gristle.
I've been plowing through tons of horror novels lately just to study the pattern and see if there are any diamonds in the blood.
just like the movies, it all starts with a family of 3 or 4 moving into a new house being all lovey and dovey until a third through when a door slams or the wall gets sticky.
Yawn.

Can't stand vampire romance novels.
(Chicklit is about bloodsucking materialists already...)
Don't want funny.
Don't need the laughter put back in slaughter.
A couple standouts:
James Herbert
John Coyne

Prof. Wagstaff
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Re: A shameful confession

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue May 19, 2009 2:49 pm

blunt wrote:Say what you will but I like a good short chapter.
I feel lost and adrift in never-ending tomes.
What's my favorite Bible verse?
John 11:35: "Jesus wept."


Thank your lucky stars you aren't a native German speaker. I swear, that language can spoil anything.
John 11:35 in German: "Auch Jesus kamen die Tränen"
The upshot of this bizarre fascination with lengthiness is that Wer ist John Galt? (presumably so titled because Atlas Zuckte was simply too short?) runs well over 100 pages longer than Atlas Shrugged! Ack!

blunt
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Re: A shameful confession

Postby blunt » Tue May 19, 2009 3:15 pm

イエス泣いた
That's half an inch longer than the english.
Last edited by blunt on Sat May 23, 2009 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ned Flounders
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Re: A shameful confession

Postby Ned Flounders » Wed May 20, 2009 10:59 am

Somehow I find it weirdly amusing that the very first question in the official "Atlas Shrugged FAQ" is:

2.1 Where can I find a free online copy of Atlas Shrugged?


Clearly somebody is missing the entire point.

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Re: A shameful confession

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sat May 23, 2009 9:26 am

Ned Flounders wrote:Somehow I find it weirdly amusing that the very first question in the official "Atlas Shrugged FAQ" is:

2.1 Where can I find a free online copy of Atlas Shrugged?


Clearly somebody is missing the entire point.


They'll get to the end of their free online copy and then have a "d'oh!" moment.

Ned Flounders
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Re: A shameful confession

Postby Ned Flounders » Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:30 am

There is a really good article about Ayn Rand by Jon Chait in the New Republic:

http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/wealthcare-0?page=0,0

The first two pages give a nice overview of Rand's life and her increasingly cult-like circle of followers. The third page does a pretty good job of demolishing Rand's economic philosophy, IMHO.

Ayn Rand's writings are having another boom in popularity on the right these days. I highly recommend this article.

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Re: A shameful confession

Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:02 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Henry Vilas wrote:We also read the lyrics of Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel as examples of modern poetry.
Hmmmm...
To me, that's like reading transcripts of stand-up comedy as examples of modern short stories.

Say again?

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Re: A shameful confession

Postby chainsawcurtis » Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:27 am

Not so shameful....We read a lot of pop fiction in the Chainsaw household. Stephen King, John Sandford (set in Minnesota and Wisconsin - his stuff is a hoot to read), James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, Robert Parker - detective novels, legal thrillers, police procedurals, etc. We used to read Dean Koontz.

His early books are mostly crap written under various names but somewhere along the line he came up with some good ideas that his editor decided would come out in his name. These weren't slapped together 200 page thrillers. Watchers, about a man and his dog, and his first hardcover best seller, Strangers, where a number of unrelated characters wind up meeting in a motel in Nevada are both good reads. Mentioned here earlier, Midnight was a pretty good book pre-dating our infatuation with computers. I'm fairly certain Midnight is in with a bunch of them in his middle period after the nom de plume fluff.

Somewhere along the way he turned goofy. I can only assume that he changed publishers or editors. His picture on the "good books" showed an unassuming balding guy with a mustache. Then, like flipping a switch, the stache was gone, a toupé showed up and a dog was hanging around his ankles. His books got decidedly dumbed down to James Patterson level. It's almost as if his editor said "you now must appeal to fourty year old housewives." Pretty much everything after Intensity is crap. We haven't bought one of his even at Goodwill prices since the change.

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Re: A shameful confession

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:22 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Henry Vilas wrote:We also read the lyrics of Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel as examples of modern poetry.
Hmmmm...
To me, that's like reading transcripts of stand-up comedy as examples of modern short stories.

Say again?

OK.
To me, that's like reading transcripts of stand-up comedy as examples of modern short stories.


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