“I finished this a while back and meant to recommend it to you then. It gets a bit bogged down at times fromThis book was recommended to you by Chris
“I finished this a while back and meant to recommend it to you then. It gets a bit bogged down at times from terminology for which explanations aren't usually forthcoming, but that's a minor issue. It's actually quite fun to try to picture exactly what the author has in mind for weapons with names like "shouter," "erasure cannon," or "amputation gun." For the most part, the story moves along at a good clip and presents an interesting society where belief literally shapes reality via pure mathematics. I think the author himself has a background in math.”
Not to be confused with the far more serene and rural, Armoire, in which a man and his dresser form a symbiotic relationship and conspire to kidnap TiNot to be confused with the far more serene and rural, Armoire, in which a man and his dresser form a symbiotic relationship and conspire to kidnap Tim Gunn.
Language changes over long stretches of time, becoming completely unrecognizable if enough passes. Not only does the language change but prominent mytLanguage changes over long stretches of time, becoming completely unrecognizable if enough passes. Not only does the language change but prominent mythologies take on new tales. This evolution or devolution is a large component of the future Hoban predicts.
While the language is challenging initially, it's easy to fall into a rhythm and gathering what the narrator/title character, Riddley, is saying becomes less difficult. There's a grossly abridged glossary in the back of my book for a few terms for which context and simply speaking out loud does not reveal their meaning. There are keys and notes and all manner of research available for the smallest search efforts--I tried to eschew these things in order to arrive at a (handicapped and uninformed) conclusion all my own.
It isn't the language that poses the largest challenge in appropriately understanding this work, it's the changes to the mythology. The beliefs taken for granted in Riddley's time don't often conspicuously betray their antecedents (certainly not until later in the book). The words chosen in the book often do double and triple time, when checked in the glossary, and so do the meaning. The result is a convergence of little-understood remnants: Christian theology and nuclear fission.
There's also a clear correlation between much of the puppeteer storytelling of Riddley's time and Punch and Judy, which receives a direct mention in the story. It's possible there is some deeper relationship to this show, which was intended as a comedy but comes across as a repeated evasion of justice by Punch, and Riddley's Eusa (the primary protagonist/antagonist, the seeker of knowledge, the assisstant to the destruction that befell the world, and the castout) shows, but the latter take on a much more instructive, philosophical, and religious tone.
The hardest part of this book for me to understand was Riddley's philosophizing. I could never be certain if it was profound or shallow, a belief in self or a higher power, a return to nature or a regression to some pseudo-Christianity. Riddley is, we have to remember, only twelve years old in his rendition, though he may be much older when telling, but he tells it as though living in the moment. Riddley's name, not unlike many of the other characters in the book, is also a characterization.
Throughout the story Riddley alternately aspires to regain the technology lost by humanity and leave it behind. He lives in a world that is starkly primitive, and the promise of abundance and devices that carried humans to the stars must seem phenomenally beyond reach in a world where everyone gets around on foot. He is later alarmed by this power and ultimately decides to forego it in favor of a philosophy that the best power is no power. He and his fellow humans have a pitiably miniscule understanding of how to return humanity to its prior glory, amounting to a mere alchemic accomplishment in order to return them to the atomic age (view spoiler)[(much of the story revolves around the pursuit of components that will make gunpowder, and the people who think they know the proper combination discover emphatically they do not) (hide spoiler)].
If you're reading this without some kind of aid, it's going to require more than one attempt to fully understand the message. This is the sort of book I tend to enjoy, unless it's a message that I don't particularly appreciate. Part of the enjoyment is wrapped up in the confusion, and a big part of my appreciation comes from whether or not I can figure out that message. Regrettably, after one pass through Riddley's world, that illumination, that profound revelation I expected and hoped for, hasn't come yet. Like Riddley, I'm still casting about for understanding, and I haven't got the necessary background to understand the things I've discovered. Too much has been lost. The tools and reference materials that would allow him to understand simply don't exist.
Knowing nothing about this book I expected no more than the old (and now, politically incorrect) 10 Little Indians song. Imagine my pleasure to discovKnowing nothing about this book I expected no more than the old (and now, politically incorrect) 10 Little Indians song. Imagine my pleasure to discover "Indians" had been replaced by the native-american appropriate Wampanoag. The story, while remaining simple, then moved into addressing the chores in which adults and children engaged prior to the proverbial Thanksgiving Feast.
The additional information at the end of the book was a nice treat as well, designed to further inform and debunk the current mythology, such as the fact that the book does not address the Thanksgiving feast (despite clearly occurring during the fall, centering around a large meal between pilgrims and native americans, and featuring turkeys), but rather provides "a general picture of Pilgrim and Wampanoag life." The three-day feast we know as Thanksgiving, the book points out, was held in Plimouth in 1621 to celebrate the harvest.
In all, this was not so much an inspiring as educational story one might use to undo one's conventional education or that of one's children, or reinforce a more accurate telling of early Pilgrim and Wampanoag life....more
My feelings for this story are underpinned by a childhood spent listening to Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman's rendition of Andrew Lloyd Weber'sMy feelings for this story are underpinned by a childhood spent listening to Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman's rendition of Andrew Lloyd Weber's musical at the height of its fame and long, long appearance on stage. For me, Leroux' version of the tale provided a firmer foundation for a story which, in the musical adaptation, ignored almost completely--it was the core upon which the world was built and in the adaptation only the surface was visible. And it made the story richer and more musical.
It seemed natural that I should listen to an audio version of the story, seeing as I'd listened to the soundtrack over and over (I did get to see a performance in Toronto in the 1990s). The disadvantage to listening, however, is I tend to miss quite a bit. My mind wanders when I read as I consider passages and explore the pathways that diverge from them, and pick up where I left off when I finish those travels. A narrator, however, continues blithely and obliviously onward, leaving me far behind. Fortunately, because I'm familiar with the story I was able to catch up fairly easily, though I've no idea what exactly I've missed.
The story itself reads more like a Sherlock Holmes recounted by Watson than a more contemporary story told from the first person viewpoint. This gives the whole tale the feel of a laborious and meticulous police report. It's possible this is due not just to the writing style, but the narration as well. And yet the filling in of details is not unlike reading a book for the second or third time and discovering something new, or reading a story about a story, and from it wringing splendid new details.
Having read the book the musical now seems, necessarily, thinner, though not Thoroughly abridged. We have a less detailed account of Christine and Raoul's childhood together and his early infatuation with her, but this is effectively summarized in Raoul's interjections during Think of Me. We have a less detailed version of the transition from the old and new opera owners, and their initial dismissal of the Opera Ghost as a prank by the prior owners, the rumors from the staff and players, but these are effectively covered by musical numbers.
If you enjoyed The Phantom of the Opera musical, and you're the sort of person who delights in back stories that flesh out your favorite tales (Star Wars universe, Tolkien's Lost Tales and the Silmarrillion, Rowlings ever-expanding Harry Potter World), then you will appreciate this work. If you're not familiar with either, they are both worth your while to discover.
Side note: It wasn't until many years later that I thought of Michael Crawford as anything but the Opera Ghost. Imagine my shock when I discovered his primary roles (in the 1960s, at what seemed to me the height of stage-musicals-turned-films) consisted of young Crawford as the lanky, high-pitched, lovable goofball Hero in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Cornelius in Hello Dolly! Quite the transformation.
Honestly, folks, this is your murderous, disfigured, lovesick Phantom. To be honest, this made me like Michael Crawford even more, because as I went backward in his career he gradually transformed into me.
I found myself somehow less shocked when I discovered the eponymous Christine Daae, Sarah Brightman, transformed herself into a Rock Opera singer (See: Fleurs de Mal) and appeared as Mag in Repo!: The Genetic Opera. Granted, her career spans a wide variety of genres, but it was this that stood in such stark--and enjoyable--contrast.
Man is potent and important, yet he is fallible and mortal, capable of the greatest achievements and the worst crimes. He is, then, a tragic figure, pMan is potent and important, yet he is fallible and mortal, capable of the greatest achievements and the worst crimes. He is, then, a tragic figure, powerful but limited, with freedom to choose and act, but bound by his own nature, knowing that he will never achieve perfect knowledge and understanding, justice and happiness, but determined to continue the search no matter what.
HOW is this not part of O'Reilly's ongoing but steadily broader "Killing" series? (Thus far: President, President, Jesus (seriously), Not-killed WWIIHOW is this not part of O'Reilly's ongoing but steadily broader "Killing" series? (Thus far: President, President, Jesus (seriously), Not-killed WWII General, Not-killed President, Defeated Pacific Island Empire) After the Killing Patton book about denying the obvious next choice, President William McKinley, a biographyan obsolete conspiracy theory involving the assassination of the WWII General, this is an obvious addition to the series.
Was Hitler not a charismatic leader? Was he not killed? What other qualifications are necessary?
Killing Hitler Hitler's Bold, Fresh, Nefarious Plot to Kill the Leader of the Nazi Party and Seize Control of the Third Reich It was a plan that couldn't fail, and somehow, nestled within his triumph were sowed the seeds of defeat. One had to wonder if, in his final moments as his finger tightened on the trigger, he identified the flaw in his plan, and managed to growl out a rueful "Sheist!" in the penultimate instant of his conspiracy's success/failure.
This obvious marketing error is what you get when Martin Dugard isn't involved enough to do everything for O'Reilly except wave the book at captive television viewers....more
I want to read this but have been reluctant due to the similarities I see between it and my Millennium Man series. I certainly don't want to feel inflI want to read this but have been reluctant due to the similarities I see between it and my Millennium Man series. I certainly don't want to feel influenced by it, but I won't be able to resist its allure forever....more