Yet another Octavia Butler book that did not fail at what Octavia Butler books do: draw you in, fascinate and then trap in this twisted,...moreMind-bending.
Yet another Octavia Butler book that did not fail at what Octavia Butler books do: draw you in, fascinate and then trap in this twisted, dark futuristic tale. The worst and best about this deal is - you don't know how to feel, what to think. At least I never do while reading Butler's creations. Always conflicted. Often freaked out. Should I cheer for the main character? Should I detest the heroine? The good intentions certainly are there, the situation complicated at least, moral aspects muddy, means... could justify the end if you are good at justifying. And then is that want to do you for the characters: justify? And justify. Keep justifing. And then justify some more? Is that ok? When do you say stop? Or maybe hate is better?
The whole religion thing: odd. Makes me uneasy. Uncertain of my own feelings. Makes me question my own feelings. The whole age gap thing. The intricacies of hyper-empathy. Same story: iffy at best.
But the difficult subject matter, the semi-moral deeds the characters do is where the fun lies. That's why I keep coming back to Butler's books. Both because and despite of it's twistedness. (less)
"Now to make it in the arts, publicize your private parts! Critics say you can't offend 'em with your phallus or pudendum!"
That's the translation, the original version:
„Tylko głupiec i kanalia lekceważy genitalia, bo najbardziej jest dziś modne reklamować części rodne!”
Do you like it? I find it hilarious, in both languages, and it's roughly the same.
WTF? You ask. Well, it's a slogan Lem made up for the use of this book, and I think it shows a little something about this guy.
But don't be mistaken, there isn't much about genitals in this book, Lem's rather prudish and he used this limerick quatrain to point out how obsessed the modern day pop culture is with sexuality (What can be done, Mr.Lem? Really?!)
As for the rest of the book, it's so whacked up and schizoid that I'm starting to think Lem must have dropped some acid before he sat down to write. Most of it requires higher brain function to process. It's the damn made-up terminology. Shitloads of new vocab. It's all clever and intuitive (the way the road signs are intuitive), also amusing. But there's so much of it, it can cause you a headache. For once, I'm glad I've read it in Polish, let's face it, I'm still way more comfortable with that language. To give you a taste, I'll share some of the headache (Before you dig in, it helps to know that The Futurological Congress is a dystopian novel about so called cryptochemocracy):
12 VIII 2039. I finally got up the courage to ask some pedestrians where I might find a bookstore. They shrugged. As a pair I had accosted walked off, I heard one say to the other, "That's a grandfather stiff for you." Could it be that there is prejudice here against defrostees? Some other unfamiliar expressions I've come across: threever, pingle, he-male, to widge off, palacize, cobnoddling, synthy. The newspapers advertise such products as tishets, vanilli-ums, nurches, autofrotts (manual). The title of a column in the city edition of the Herald: "I Was a Demimother." Something about an eggman who was yoked on the way to the eggplant. The big Webster isn't too helpful: "Demimother—like demigran, demijohn. One of two women jointly bringing a child into the world. See Polyanna, Polyandrew." "Eggman—from mailman (Archaic). A euplanner who delivers licensed human gametes (female) to the home." I don't pretend to understand that. This crazy dictionary also gives synonyms that are equally incomprehensible. "Threever—trimorph." "Palacize, bepalacize, empalacize—to castellate, as on a quiz show." "Paladyne—a chivalric assuagement." "Vanillium—extract emphorium, portable." The worst are words which look the same but have acquired entirely different meanings. "Expectorant—a conception aid." "Pederast—artificial foot faddist." "Compensation—mind fusion." "Simulant—something that doesn't exist but pretends to. Not to be confused with simulator, a robot simulacrum." "Revivalist—a corpse, such as a murder victim, brought back to life. See also exhumant, disintermagent, jack-in-the-grave." Apparently it's nothing nowadays to raise the dead. And the people—just about everyone—panting. Panting in the elevator, in the street, everywhere. They appear to be in the best of health, rosy-cheeked, cheerful, sun-tanned, and yet they puff. I don't. So evidently one doesn't have to. A custom, or what? I asked Aileen. She laughed at me—nothing of the kind. Could I be imagining it?
If you think it's any less confusing in original, it's not. So yeah, this might not be best Lem book. Certainly not one you should start with if you haven't read anything of him. But do try him out one day. He's usually not this high.
Now with you're permission, I'm gonna go and lie down and try to cure my impending headache with a cocktail of Hedonidol, Euphoril, Empathan, Ecstasine and Placidol. That should help. There's no need for LTN bombs (LTN: Love Thy Neighbor), I love thee already, and Lem too.(less)
So much potential, so much good in this book, and yet I ended up resenting it. The zombies were scary, the setup interesting (small enclosed community...moreSo much potential, so much good in this book, and yet I ended up resenting it. The zombies were scary, the setup interesting (small enclosed community in the middle of the woods, constantly fending of bloodthirsty undead, come on! doesn't this sound appealing?), the tortured love was tortured indeed, the characters fleshed out surprisingly well, the tension and the pacing just right, and the concept couldn't be better. Everything suggests I should love this potent mixture of horror and romance with all my heart, but unfortunately...
It was all too much, all to intense and over the top to my taste. I'm not sure if I'd be reading the sequel. I know I'd get sucked right into the story again, the book is like crack - addictive and detrimental to my well being. It almost gave me ulcers. And yet despite the unhealthy soap opera ridiculousness, give me the sequel, and surely I'd grind my teeth and keep on turning the pages.
PS. The rave reviews and hoards of goodreaders eagerly anticipating the sequel are not helping. Not at all.(less)
Catching Fire delivers just like The Hunger Games did. It gets this insane energy, especially at the very end, delivering kicks and punches right and...moreCatching Fire delivers just like The Hunger Games did. It gets this insane energy, especially at the very end, delivering kicks and punches right and left. Yeah. It does not disappoint for sure. I mean, I was so high on adrenaline that upon finishing it up last night I had to stay awake for additional 2 hours loitering around the house, trying to calm myself down a little. But that's a tiny price for such an entertaining read.
But I wouldn't say it was better than Hunger Games - just like one Harry Potter book is not better than the other, or even if there is a discrepancy between them, it still does not matter - because Potter books all in their own class. And so is this*.
And although I did not cry this time around, although Collins left it off with a cliffhanger, although I was hoping Cathing Fire would go at a slightly different tangent - it's still a solid 5-starer and I adore it wholeheartedly.
_______________________________________________________ *If it does not get made into movies, I'll be truly surprised. It's a great blockbuster material.(less)