This was my introduction to Vonnegut, and I'd say it was a good one. I've read quite a bit of 20th century short fiction, so it's hard to surprise me...moreThis was my introduction to Vonnegut, and I'd say it was a good one. I've read quite a bit of 20th century short fiction, so it's hard to surprise me since the genre is given to certain formulaic tropes, but this one managed to do so if for no other reason that the twist at the end of several stories went in a completely different direction than I expected. I suppose this is a hallmark of what people call Vonnegut's inimitable style.
It's hard to really pick favorites here, as the quality of the stories was really very consistent—nothing had that seemingly inevitable flavor of filler so common to anthologies—but some of the one's that I suspect will stick with me longer than others were the opener, "Confido;" "F U B A R," a word that should be used more often IMHO; the rather lengthy "Ed Luby's Key Club," which ends nowhere near where I expected; and the chillingly clever title story. Considerably less impressive were the now somewhat obvious Soviet tale "The Petrified Ants" and "The Good Explainer," for which I did know the ending by the third page, the only time that happened in this book.(less)
While clearly one of the core texts of Crowley's system of Thelema, and key to understanding his cosmology, I found this particular edition of Liber 4...moreWhile clearly one of the core texts of Crowley's system of Thelema, and key to understanding his cosmology, I found this particular edition of Liber 418 to be excessively confusing, even while it remained revelatory.
Part of the problem is the system of commentary. Since the text of the visions themselves is often rather opaque in its symbolism, especially for those not already well versed in the Thelemic Holy Books as well as Qabbala, Crowley added numerous footnotes some 15 years later. In this edition, these are supplemented by further notes written still later by his student & former secretary Israel Regardie. Some of those notes are signed "I.R." but others, while referring to Crowley in third-person, remain unsigned. In all, this makes it very difficult to determine what was written by whom, when. And even with all that, and the whole internet as a supplemental resource, many references remain obscure.
I am hoping that much of this will be further elucidated by the later edition published as Equinox IV:2. Meanwhile, I already have lots of fodder for processing from this one; the core text, after all, is the meat of the matter, and leaves this reader with plenty to digest.(less)
I read it because my girlfriend did, and because I really enjoyed Harris's Fatherland. The latter was by far the better. While Harris clearly knows th...moreI read it because my girlfriend did, and because I really enjoyed Harris's Fatherland. The latter was by far the better. While Harris clearly knows the era, and convincingly creates the WWII atmosphere, the characterization is a bit thin here. It's rather a stock noir mystery novel set in and around Bletchley Park. It's entertaining enough, but Neal Stephenson creates a far more compelling use of the setting, among others, in his Cryptonomicon.(less)