I read this so long ago that it was firmly emblazoned onto a mostly empty mind. so cool, so mysterious, the way the Inspector confronts everyone in thI read this so long ago that it was firmly emblazoned onto a mostly empty mind. so cool, so mysterious, the way the Inspector confronts everyone in the horrible family. As fond as I am of the Edwardian period, I'm also horrified by the social injustice. This play satisfies both sides of me....more
Having rediscovered that Wells is a fantastic writer, I queued him up again pretty quickly. Bless you nameless myriads at Project Gutenberg and similaHaving rediscovered that Wells is a fantastic writer, I queued him up again pretty quickly. Bless you nameless myriads at Project Gutenberg and similar, for making this and other public domain books free and instantly available!
So, what happens if a sociopath manages the trick of invisibility? Well, first we get an invisible cat, which delights me no end, loathe as I am to inconvenience the visible ones who hinder me from reading. Fortunately, for all his skill as a researcher, Griffin is kind of an idiot. He's no Moriarty, he's more Clyde Barrow who was really aggressive and a bad bank robber. Wells enables us to imagine the horror of the landlady who's suspicious of her odd off-season guest, and then the whole village on fair day, and then, the game goes even farther afield.
It's a good story, lots of moments to ponder "what would I do?" as either a villain or a hero, some comedy, some swashbuckling, and all while remaining true to the chosen character and plausible scientifically. Not bad for a book published in 1897.
More Wells. I think he's gaining on Shakespeare and Austen as my favorite classic authors.
I really don't know why I keep thinking that Wells' stories aren't any good. Before much reading time had passed I was talking to the Spouse about howI really don't know why I keep thinking that Wells' stories aren't any good. Before much reading time had passed I was talking to the Spouse about how much more plausible and realistic the story was than I thought it was going to be. And also, his structure is good, how he brings the reader in, how information is revealed, how our narrator changes his opinion as he understands more. The story never went where I expected it to, either.
Who anticipates being surprised by a hundred year old story that's been adapted to film I don't know how many times? An interesting read, entertaining, but also, one that doesn't raise issues and try to pass off easy answers.
Overall I'd say I prefer stories about heroes who become, rather than who are chosen. But if it the author is relying on fate, how better than to useOverall I'd say I prefer stories about heroes who become, rather than who are chosen. But if it the author is relying on fate, how better than to use time travelers and incorporate all the myths of the British Isles?
The compressed time period of the winter holidays works well. I like that Will has a close and involved family, parents included, such that the author had to take him outside of time to be in any danger. The story is well-paced, the villains ambiguous, and the whole thing is enormous fun. Winter solstice to Twelfth Night, and filled with snow, it comes across, and I mean this in the best possible way, as a Christmas episode of Dr. Who.
This was my All Hallow's Read for myself. Yesterday I reread The Body Snatchers and the Black Cat and The Canterville Ghost, all of which were deeplyThis was my All Hallow's Read for myself. Yesterday I reread The Body Snatchers and the Black Cat and The Canterville Ghost, all of which were deeply rewarding. I also read The Adventures of the German Student by Washington Irving, a story which was new to me in this form, but was familiar in a slightly different form as an oral tale. His version is better, and makes much more sense, reminding me once again why we should leave story telling to the professionals (and the many dedicated apprentices who haven't yet turned pro).
Of the four remaining, only The Signalman is familiar by title, but I may well have read du Maurier's Escort, James' Wailing Well, and Burrage's The Sweeper before. I have read collected stories of the first two, and since I love ghost anthologies, the last seems likely.
Nope, the Du Maurier and the James were new to me. They are also really good....more
Last night at supper we were talking about the various kinds of fey characters of human folklore, and the Spouse said Rip had spent his twenty years (Last night at supper we were talking about the various kinds of fey characters of human folklore, and the Spouse said Rip had spent his twenty years (relative) among hairy gnomes. I didn't remember that at all, so it seemed I'd have to read the story again. At thirty years remove from the original reading, all I could recall was the simplest plot: that Rip drinks among the fey, comes back to town 20 years later.
I'm glad I re-read it, because there's much more to the Irving telling. Kind of horrifically so, because the whole point of the story is that Van Winkle's wife is horrible. Really horrible. Such a shrew. I had no recollection of the fact that Rip was running away from her. Nor did I recall that the men he went among were so very hairy, nor that they were supposed to be Hendrick Hudson and crew. Nor did I notice the time the story was set: before and after the Revolutionary War, with the heroism of his former friends recounted.
The Spouse complained that Irving took a traditional story and nailed it to a specific time and place and made it such a very Catskill story. That didn't bother me, but oh, that wife! I feel suitably chastened on behalf of all my gender. The nerve of that woman, trying to make her husband provide for the family. She deserves the harshest punishment imaginable (view spoiler)[and stroking out while yelling at a peddler is pretty harsh (hide spoiler)]. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I get a recommendation on a blog, come over here, and find a widget offering a preview, and another offering a download. If goodreads can find a way tI get a recommendation on a blog, come over here, and find a widget offering a preview, and another offering a download. If goodreads can find a way to offer me time to read in, I'll be set.
Great fun. Rather draggy in bits with long discourses on the meaning of sapience. I like that it had a diverse cast (at least as far as the names go) although there weren't many women. It was funny to see everyone smoking and carrying guns. That's two of the things Scalzi changed. He also adopted a less paternalistic attitude toward the fuzzys. For all the talk about sapience, Piper shows them as really cute pets. They can do neat stuff, but they're like very amusing children....more
Fair warning: one really nasty tale of homophobia.
Classic stories from the 60s and 70s, one out-of-date (as science) practically before it was publishFair warning: one really nasty tale of homophobia.
Classic stories from the 60s and 70s, one out-of-date (as science) practically before it was published. What works: the tech and the mystery format that many of the stories fall into. What doesn't work: well, despite being able to imagine that each off-world culture would distinguish itself from home-earth culture, the nevertheless manage to be pretty white and patriarchal. For once the large-scale erasure of female characters is a relief, because when women are included they aren't as human as the space ships.
The stories themselves are zippy, mostly plot, and entertaining. It's funny to see what the future was supposed to look like (kudos for managing to hang on to the cigarette smoking habit in increasingly challenging ways, and also, wow, fears about overpopulation ran rampant, didn't they?).
Not a future I can imagine appealing to women or any minority, filled as it is with manly white dudes being mavericks. It's also kind of astounding that Niven didn't include results of any of the social justice movements publicly underway while he was writing these. I get that sociology isn't his thing, but, wow.
This comes out of the same place as both Wells' The Time Machine and Wall-e: technology will enable people to become apathetic slugs, and boring as alThis comes out of the same place as both Wells' The Time Machine and Wall-e: technology will enable people to become apathetic slugs, and boring as all hell. The structure of the story means there's no need to ever explain how this world is supposed to work (what does the Machine need all these people for?) It's interesting that Forster could imagine a world where women could pursue the life of the mind unimpeded by the demands of family, but not one in which people would touch for the sheer animal pleasure. There aren't any pets, even.
I don't actually remember when I first read this, and I'm afraid I can't narrow it down much more than "in the last 20 yea2000, January 1 2012, April 8
I don't actually remember when I first read this, and I'm afraid I can't narrow it down much more than "in the last 20 years". Oh, but it remains wonderful. I picked it up because it has a castle, and a moat, and I was struck by the idea of a moat on Friday. Sometimes the only way to purge a brain worm is to just wallow in it.
However long it's been, it wasn't exactly as I remembered it. There was much more about the family's being broke, and hungry, than I recalled, and much more about the father's writing. I had remembered it more as a wink and a nod to Pride and Prejudice, which it is with the two sisters, one beautiful and one clever, but I'd forgotten all the class aspect as well.
What's funny is it is written in the forties, set in the thirties, and it is so decidedly entrenched in its time, but that doesn't bother me. The eccentric family charms, the sketches enchant, the whole gothic castle element delights, but at the same time, the story is so firmly grounded in the difficulties of finding something to wear, and something to eat, and however to repay the kindness of a dinner party?
One of my favorite books of all time.
2014, August 14
You'd think by the third reading the ending would be firmly in mind, wouldn't you? No, I'd gotten that all wrong. Weirdly, the moat stands out to me like nothing else. She captured the castle in words pretty well, but she brought the moat to life and made me want one. ...more
Sometimes a story sticks around for a hundred years or more because English teachers like to use it to demonstrate point of view or theme. Sometimes aSometimes a story sticks around for a hundred years or more because English teachers like to use it to demonstrate point of view or theme. Sometimes a story sticks around because it gives everyone who reads or hears it a little frisson of horror. Stevenson is a consummate storyteller, such that this one still gives me the heebie-jeebies after I don't know how many readings over the years. This isn't a subtle work of psychological insight. This is the archetype of half the horror comics I read as a kid. It is firmly grounded in a specific time and place, indeed, in a specific need of that time. Oddly enough, that doesn't make it feel dated at all.