ghost of miles

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Speaking of current sci-fi, Patricia Anthony's first couple of books (Brother Termite, Cold Allies, Happy Policeman) were very good ... anyone that Richard Morgan book Altered Carbon? Very William Gibson-esque, if you like that kind of thing.

I liked Altered Carbon. It is a mix of cyber-punk and Chandler/Hammett P.I. novels. He has a new book out, but I haven't read it.

Alan Dean Foster achieves a similar effect in The Mocking Program (not quite as cyberpunk though), which is one of his better efforts of the last decade. I wouldn't be too surprised to see Foster start a new series based around the main detective.

My favorite of these SF detective novel hybrids are a trilogy by George Alec Effinger - When Gravity Fails, A Fire in the Sun and The Exile Kiss. Out of print but pretty easy to come by.

Do we need to split the What are you reading now into SF and non-SF threads?

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I've been spending the last month or so rereading old SF paperbacks of mine. I tell you, after spending the last few years reading Faulkner, Ellisnon (R, not E!), Welty, etc., etc., I can finally understand the reaction some have to SF. Some of it is still good, but a lot of it is just junk. As an example, Heinlein would have been better off sticking to juveniles and maybe writing political tracts. He's just not that good. And he was one of my favorites! :(

That's what happens when you read too much "real" literature! Seriously, you are so right that Heinlein should have stuck to juveniles (what would later be called Young Adult fiction.) Just about all of his NON-juvenile novels are unreadably bad. I've got a soft spot for some of his short stories, though, but you could probably designate those as juvenile without much of a stretch.

Let's face it: When it comes to things like felicitous prose or physical descriptions, that's just not what sf writers get paid for. The number of sf writers who could consistently turn out good prose can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand, and that's being generous. There are a lot more who have the pulp-writer's assets, i.e., forward momentum, interesting twists on old ideas, etc.

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I completely agree, Bruce.

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As an example, Heinlein would have been better off sticking to juveniles and maybe writing political tracts.  He's just not that good.  And he was one of my favorites!  :(

I was a big sci-fi geek growing up, but even then I didn't see what people got out of Heinlein ... it was/is literally unreadable to me. I was more of an Asimov kind of guy!

Clarke, Heinlein, and Asimov were my favorites growing up. (But that was before I got into Philip K. Dick.)

BTW, just read Supreme: The Story of the Year, yet another Alan Moore self-referential superhero schtick. Eye-crossingly recursive at times, but fun.

Edited by BruceH

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Broadsides: The Age of Fighting Sail, 1775-1815, by Nathan Miller.

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John McCluskey, MR. AMERICA'S LAST SEASON BLUES, and the new Langston Hughes mini-anthology, LET AMERICA BE AMERICA.

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Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey

Take the absurd Ignatius J. Reilly from Confederacy of Dunces, particularly his crazy jobs and manic journal writing, add in a half a cup of Edward Gorey and just a touch of Gormenghast, and I think you would come up with this book. It is kind of creepy and funny. Not all that far into it though.

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... Another book I'm reading is Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited by Clinton Heylin. It's a very interesting read and goes into great detail about Dylan's life. Recommended.

Finally finished this tonight and it is a great "foundational" book that all Dylan fans should have. What I really like is that Heylin's gives a lot of space to the "post-accident" Dylan, and gives good insights to his entire life. What emerges is a Dylan that doesn't seem to be too good at the personal relationship side of life, and a man who has trouble relating to women. On a positive note, it is nice to see Heylin taking the religious side of Dylan in a serious manner, and seeing it as a lynchpin for a great deal of his creativity. The musical insights are ok, nothing that blew me away though.

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"Jack Teagarden: Jazz Maverick" ---I was delighted to win this book on ebay from Britain!

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I've just been rereading the Doc Pomus section of the Autumn 1993 issue of Anteus.

From Doc Pomus' journals:

Joe Turner and Frankie Newton - my two early musical idols and inspirations - my life had direction, hope and meaning. Frankie died so young and before I could repay him. But Joe is still and I make myself always available and I'm always scheming how to make his life a little better - let him have the security of knowing I'm always there. And without making him feel I'm doing him a favor -

The world should be like this -

Offer everything not just stingy pieces.

***

The blues person thinks of the blues song the way the pop person writes or (pop) singer thinks of the pop song. For example, "Moonlight in Vermont" is no more a pop song to a pop person than "Goin Down Slow" is a blues song to a blues person.

And from Phil Spector's heartfelt speech inducting Doc Pomus into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

And this man was more than a songwriter. He was a poet, for I need not remind you that while he wrote "Save The Last Dance For Me," he never experienced the thrill or the emotion of that wonderful feeling.

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Do book pre-orders count? Ordered Lyrics: 1962-2002 and Chronicles, Vol. 1 both by Bob Dylan. Now, I know that Chronicles will give a unique outlook on events by His Bobness, but still, it should be interesting. Plus, how can you go wrong reading the lyrics?

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Do book pre-orders count? Ordered Lyrics: 1962-2002 and Chronicles, Vol. 1 both by Bob Dylan. Now, I know that Chronicles will give a unique outlook on events by His Bobness, but still, it should be interesting. Plus, how can you go wrong reading the lyrics?

Matthew, wasn't Merton a Dylan fan? I seem to recall from his bio that he even wrote a poem that he hoped Dylan would set to music.

Thanks for the words re: the Heylin book. I'll have to check it out sometime... Post-accident is precisely where Robert Shelton's NO DIRECTION HOME derails, IMO.

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I've just been rereading the Doc Pomus section of the Autumn 1993 issue of Anteus.

From Doc Pomus' journals:

Joe Turner and Frankie Newton - my two early musical idols and inspirations - my life had direction, hope and meaning. Frankie died so young and before I could repay him.

Is there an extensive piece on Frank Newton available anywhere? I have the Jasmine 2-CD set, and I think that's the lengthiest writing about him that I've ever come across.

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Do book pre-orders count?  Ordered Lyrics: 1962-2002 and Chronicles, Vol. 1 both by Bob Dylan.  Now, I know that Chronicles will give a unique outlook on events by His Bobness, but still, it should be interesting.  Plus, how can you go wrong reading the lyrics?

Matthew, wasn't Merton a Dylan fan? I seem to recall from his bio that he even wrote a poem that he hoped Dylan would set to music.

Thanks for the words re: the Heylin book. I'll have to check it out sometime... Post-accident is precisely where Robert Shelton's NO DIRECTION HOME derails, IMO.

Yeah, Merton was a big Dylan fan, which would make sense since both viewed themselves a "Watchmen" who see things that others don't. There's a famous chapter at the end of Merton's book Sign of Jonas that has him on "night watch" in his monastery, that he uses as a metaphor for his life. A precusor, if you will, to "All Along the Watch Tower".

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Now reading Elaine Pagel's "Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas". . . . I'm finding this very interesting. I hadn't until I read this seen how effective the Gospel of Thomas is in illustrating the stream of Christianity that was dammed and drained off by the Nicean agreements, and the Gospel of John does indeed serve as a great comparison with that of Thomas at illustrating the fundamental differences in the Christianity that was and the Christianity that became the orthodox after the Council of Nicea.

I really find myself resonating against the Johanine/Pauline doctrine that salvation is only possible through "Christ" and that Christians that are saved are to "love one another". . . . THIS is the part of Christian doctrine that I cannot bring to life in my heart. I much more resonate with the idea of Jesus son of Joseph as rabbi and perhaps messiah in an ideological sense, and even with the christian-gnosticism that Thomas represented (Jesus as the light and the way, but the light being within everyone, and that knowledge and development of that light within everyone will bring the kingdom of God, not that the only way is individual salvation through "Christ"). I had spent years reading books on gnosticism, mystery religions, gnostic texts, the history of Christianity etc. and pulled back from that the last few years, this book is a good alarm clock to awaken some of the drive that led me to that study.

Edited by jazzbo

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Yes, very interesting different perspective than that of John. John sure dissed him too! Must have been worried. . . .

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I was thinking of reading Remembrance of Things Past, but did you know that thing is full of FRENCH PEOPLE!?!?? Very un-American. :rolleyes:

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"Runaway". new collection of short stories by Alice Munro. Man is she good.

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The manual for my DV cam...&%^&%^))&**%%$#%@!$!$##&*!!!!!!!!!

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Recently finished James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, then read Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, and now reading Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness for the second time.

I think soon I'll start up some Nabokov... maybe Pnin.

Andrew

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Now reading Elaine Pagel's "Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas". . . . I'm finding this very interesting. I hadn't until I read this seen how effective the Gospel of Thomas is in illustrating the stream of Christianity that was dammed and drained off by the Nicean agreements, and the Gospel of John does indeed serve as a great comparison with that of Thomas at illustrating the fundamental differences in the Christianity that was and the Christianity that became the orthodox after the Council of Nicea.

I really find myself resonating against the Johanine/Pauline doctrine that salvation is only possible through "Christ" and that Christians that are saved are to "love one another". . . . THIS is the part of Christian doctrine that I cannot bring to life in my heart. I much more resonate with the idea of Jesus son of Joseph as rabbi and perhaps messiah in an ideological sense, and even with the christian-gnosticism that Thomas represented (Jesus as the light and the way, but the light being within everyone, and that knowledge and development of that light within everyone will bring the kingdom of God, not that the only way is individual salvation through "Christ"). I had spent years reading books on gnosticism, mystery religions, gnostic texts, the history of Christianity etc. and pulled back from that the last few years, this book is a good alarm clock to awaken some of the drive that led me to that study.

Jazzbo-

You seem to know a lot about this stuff.

I am casually interested in Textual scholarship of the bible and I was wondering if you'd read/had an opinon on/heard an opinion of a book called "Who Wrote the Gospels?"

--eric

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Well, I haven't read this work and looking at a bit of reader reviews at amazon it looks as if it would be etnertaining, but not exactly what I would grab next.

What are you really hoping to read about? The gospels in context, within the environment that they were produced? Just New Testament material? Gnosticism?

An overview of what scholars think about the texts?

As an introductory volume of a general New Testament quest I can recommend Burton Mack's "Who Wrote the New Testament? : The Making of the Christian Myth" is an interesting starting point, will make you think, will help you to find a vantage point to look further into one side of the coin or another.

I have found Michael Grant's books on Paul and on Jesus to also be interesting to begin an inquiry. . . they'll give you a historical perspective that sums up a traditional historian's attitude up to the middle of the last century or so. Another good book along these lines is "Bandits, Prophets, and Messiahs: Popular Movements in the Time of Jesus" by Richard A. Horsley, John S. Hanson. Quite good overview of the diversity of political and religious thought around the time of Jesus.

If you're interested in Gnosticism, Jonas' and Rudolph's books are the best primers, and I really like what Elaine Pagels has written about Christian Gnosticism in "The Gnostic Gospels" and "Beyond Belief," etc.

The book that bowled me over when I read it after reading about a decade's worth of books about christian origins was . . . "The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity" by Hyam Maccoby. POWERFUL . . . it seemed to mirror my own conclusions about Paul and gentile christianity.

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Well, I haven't read this work and looking at a bit of reader reviews at amazon it looks as if it would be etnertaining, but not exactly what I would grab next.

What are you really hoping to read about? The gospels in context, within the environment that they were produced? Just New Testament material? Gnosticism?

An overview of what scholars think about the texts?

As an introductory volume of a general New Testament quest I can recommend Burton Mack's "Who Wrote the New Testament? : The Making of the Christian Myth" is an interesting starting point, will make you think, will help you to find a vantage point to look further into one side of the coin or another.

I have found Michael Grant's books on Paul and on Jesus to also be interesting to begin an inquiry. . . they'll give you a historical perspective that sums up a traditional historian's attitude up to the middle of the last century or so. Another good book along these lines is "Bandits, Prophets, and Messiahs: Popular Movements in the Time of Jesus" by Richard A. Horsley, John S. Hanson. Quite good overview of the diversity of political and religious thought around the time of Jesus.

If you're interested in Gnosticism, Jonas' and Rudolph's books are the best primers, and I really like what Elaine Pagels has written about Christian Gnosticism in "The Gnostic Gospels" and "Beyond Belief," etc.

The book that bowled me over when I read it after reading about a decade's worth of books about christian origins was . . . "The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity" by Hyam Maccoby. POWERFUL . . . it seemed to mirror my own conclusions about Paul and gentile christianity.

Oh I've been working a crazy thesis over in my mind that there are a lot of parallels between the movements of Osama bin Laden and that of Jesus Christ.

I am not, btw, interested in pursuing this thesis with an eye to mocking Christianity, but rather from the perspective of the interaction of empire and intense sectarian ideology.

So I'm interested in knowing as much as I can know about the context and development of the founding Christian texts.

Also, the subject is fascinating in and of itself.

The textual scholarship tradition he draws from (what one Amazon review calls "pure speculation" when really it's impure speculation!) is also interesting to me. I remember reading a book about the text of Piers Plowman and how one comes to be authoritative at the expense of others, how one text comes to eb the source for another, and how texts that no longer exist are inferred from demonstrable chains of influence.

Not terribly firm ground to be on, but they get a lot more miles to the fact than I'd ever have expected.

--eric

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Well, Richard Horsely's books may be quite interesting to you . . . he deals with the Jesus movement within the political and religious cauldron of the time, which was boiling fiercely and spilling over the edges.

Hugh Schoenfeld also has a number of books that would be along the lines of what you are after, "The Incredible Christians," "The Easter Rebellion" and a few others, but harder to find these days.

And the Burton Mack would be a good read.

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