After the departure from the usual fare in Night Shift with the last story, we're right back to business as usual with this one. Since it was only 6 pAfter the departure from the usual fare in Night Shift with the last story, we're right back to business as usual with this one. Since it was only 6 pages, I'll suggest you just read the thing instead of giving a synopsis. It had a surprise ending I didn't see coming, but I'm not the quickest study with literary foreshadowing, so I could've missed more than the average bear. I did see one thing early on that came into play later, but didn't make any connection until it was too late to matter. I'm glad it worked out that way since I like surprises....more
This was unexpected. Many people define Stephen King as strictly a horror writer, and I believe that's where he does some of his best work, but he's sThis was unexpected. Many people define Stephen King as strictly a horror writer, and I believe that's where he does some of his best work, but he's so much more than that, and evidently was able to step out of that box with his early stories. This is definitely not horror. It has elements of tragedy, and elements of suspense, and shows that he doesn't have to write about monsters and terror to affect you. I found the story rather poignant, myself, but I won't give away any spoilers. Hell, the story's only 11 pages, so you'd be better served by just reading it instead of a warmed over version on here. Basically it involves a man's relationship with his sister with details about an episode during their childhood. There's nothing spooky, or kinky, or weird about it; it's King showing us his understanding of the human condition, and giving us a normal story about real life troubles. I was affected.
It's a little out of place in the Night Shift collection with all these other horror stories. I felt like I was reading a story from an English Lit class textbook. It seems like one you'd read in class, and then spend a half hour discussing with the teacher pointing out nuances to this and that. In fact, there are probably literary things in this that I missed, for I always needed the teach's help in seeing those kinds of things.
I would've given this 2 stars, but like I said, I was affected by the ending, and so I gave it a 3rd....more
I finally made it to the main reason I wanted to read Night Shift, and it was worth the wait. "Children of the Corn" is one of my favorite Stephen KinI finally made it to the main reason I wanted to read Night Shift, and it was worth the wait. "Children of the Corn" is one of my favorite Stephen King movies. Yeah, yeah, I know it sucks, but that doesn't stop me from loving it anyway. Turns out they took a few liberties with the original story.
Nope, afraid not. However, I really like the story version better than the movie. First off the story in the book makes much more sense, and suspension of disbelief isn't strained to snapping. The story focuses primarily on Burt and Vicky, and everything until the last couple of pages is from Burt's point of view. Isaac doesn't even make an appearance until the last page, and he's only 9 years old.
Pictured here is not a 9 year old. This is John Franklin who had a growth hormone problem. He's 24 here, poor man. Isaac was his most famous role, but his next major claim to fame was Cousin Itt in both Addams Family movies. But I digress.
Completely absent from the story are any good kids, the gas station man, and any good guys of any kind, actually. Burt and Vicky are on their own for the whole ordeal, (view spoiler)[and had they survived, Vicky would've had her tubes tied and Burt his vasa deferentia snipped, for nobody would want kids after meeting the happy-go-lucky creeps of Gatlin, NE. (hide spoiler)]
Possible Randall Flagg sighting
I'm always interested in character crossovers from one Stephen King work to another, and this is supposed to have one. According to many fans, He Who Walks Behind The Rows is actually Randall Flagg who causes trouble in a lot of King's stories. Personally, I didn't catch that at all, and I was looking for it as I read. So I went to the internet to see what the thinking behind this is. The Stephen King wiki says that it's implied that He Who Walks Behind The Rows is Randall Flagg, but doesn't expound on that at all. I later found that such is implied in The Stand, and there is some corn in it when everyone is in the mid-west, and they do seem to think something in the corn is watching them sometimes, and that something might as well be Randall Flagg since he is pretty much watching everyone, but he does that from places other than the corn as well. I can't find any place where Stephen King states they're one and the same, but someone did point this out:
he who WALks behind ThE Rows.
See that nice little sobriquet there? Walter is one of Flagg's names in the Dark Tower series... Man, you are pushing it. I guess it's possible since King was working on the Stand at the time this story came out, and he does like dropping obscure clues to this and that in his works. I would say the antics of HWWBTR are out of character for RF, but really, nothing is out of character for that weirdo, and he's certainly capable of pulling off the feats in this story. Still, it's too small scale. Flagg has huge visions with grand schemes which sometimes affect several worlds, and what goes on in this story involves a few children in the middle of BFE, and any traveler unfortunate enough to blunder into town over the course of a decade and some change. That's the inconsistent part.
Read it for yourself, and draw your own conclusion.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This one didn't do a whole lot for me, but I'm so caught up in Night Shift that I gave it 3 stars instead of 2, which I probably wouldn't have done haThis one didn't do a whole lot for me, but I'm so caught up in Night Shift that I gave it 3 stars instead of 2, which I probably wouldn't have done had I just stumbled upon this at random, or had it not been Stephen King. Still, it did keep me reading, and not just because I knew the anticipated "Children of the Corn" was next. The guy. Is he good, or is he foul? (view spoiler)[Turns out he's a brat (hide spoiler)]. This inquiring mind wanted to know, and was pleased to find out....more
The "Quitters, Inc." segment of Cat's Eye was always my favorite because it's so ridiculous. Basically a guy unwittingly hires the mob to help him quit smoking, and their tactics fall into the category of "strong arming."
"After the tenth transgression, you become one of the unregenerate two percent, but even they never smoke again. We guarantee it."
One thing missing from the story is the party scene where Dick is jonesing for a fix so bad that he starts seeing all kinds of psychedelic shit related to cigarettes.
This is what you see with nicotine withdrawals, so if you currently smoke, don't quit!
I've been smoke free for six and a half years myself, but I did it with Chantix which gives you some great dreams! I'm glad I didn't have to resort to consulting this crew because they also monitor your weight. If you gain too much, unpleasant things are done to your loved ones. I gained 80 pounds over the course of those first 6 years, 30 of them in the first month alone! (I've since lost 50 in the past 6 months). So, if you smoke, don't quit; you get fat. 80 pounds is way over the limit Quitters, Inc. finds acceptable, so I'm sure I would've become one of the unregenerate obese had I commissioned their assistance.
And here's Mark Twain with some thoughts on smoking in general.
“When they used to tell me I would shorten my life ten years by smoking, they little knew the devotee they were wasting their puerile words upon -- they little knew how trivial & valueless I would regard a decade that had no smoking in it!”
Yeah, there's that. I do miss my coffin nails sometimes. I enjoyed them, and there was the cool factor. I know, I know, "they're not cool, they're stupid, and dorky, derpa derr, derrrr." Perhaps "suave" is a better word. Cool and suave are in the eye of the beholder, and some smokers were damn smooth. In spite of my overall clumsiness in general, I was smooth and graceful in all of my carcinogenic inhalation related activities. I could light a zippo faster with one hand than almost anyone else ever could with two, then have it tucked back out of sight before you could begin to wonder how I had managed to light my fag. My butt discard was impressive. Ah, those were the days.
I quit for several reasons. A major part was money (I was unemployed at the time). Part of it was health. (They put so many chemicals in those things nowadays that didn't used to be there). And another major part was to get the smug, self-righteous, anti-smoking crowd to just shut the fuck up. It took a few years, but I guess they wore me down, though I don't think I would've quit had cigarettes still been more affordable. And I'm referring to people in my own life such as relatives and... friends? I guess you could call them friends, but they weren't very good ones if they couldn't accept me for who I was after I politely, but firmly, suggested they let it go. Still, they were more than mere acquaintances or coworkers. Some were the people who would bring it up if you had a cold, coughed, or anything. Any ailment, even a hangnail, was linked back to smoking, and thrown in my face. It was nice to ask them "Weren't you sick just last week?" sometimes. But no, I was assured that we didn't have the same cold that was going around. Mine was smoking related according to these experts. (And an expert is any jackass with a briefcase who's 100 miles from home).
And the anti-cigarette campaign in society actually has the opposite affect on me. Every time I see a truth.com commercial, I consider picking up the habit again out of spite. Hmmm... I still seem to be pretty bitter about some of this. I better work on that. At least the warnings on Canadian cigarette packages make me laugh.
I seem to have strayed away from the story. I thought it was awesome and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good yarn with some slight terror elements in it....more
This is the second segment of the movie Cat's Eye, and is the one I enjoy the least in it. It's been a while since I've seen it, but I think I enjoyedThis is the second segment of the movie Cat's Eye, and is the one I enjoy the least in it. It's been a while since I've seen it, but I think I enjoyed the written story more. Dude has pissed off a mobster, and is forced to walk around a 5 inch ledge on the fortieth-some floor of a highrise. If he makes it, he gets to live, and gets some money to boot. If not, well obviously he dies when he splatters on the pavement below.
"Surely you must be joking."
I'm not. And don't call me Shirley.
The tale is amusing due to some of the bad guy's antics when he tries to distract the ledge walker. Also, I really liked the ending....more
A mystery thriller thing about a killer who strikes only when it's foggy outside. I was tempted to give it 2 stars, but the ending earns it another stA mystery thriller thing about a killer who strikes only when it's foggy outside. I was tempted to give it 2 stars, but the ending earns it another star. It wasn't super great, or anything, but I didn't see it coming, and I like surprises so long as they're fair, and this was fair. No cheating involved....more
To be clear, this gets 5 stars because the Goodreads fifth star indicates that "it was amazing." The complete piece of shit movie Maximum Overdrive (wTo be clear, this gets 5 stars because the Goodreads fifth star indicates that "it was amazing." The complete piece of shit movie Maximum Overdrive (which I confess is a guilty pleasure of mine) is based on this story, and the story was actually good. That is "amazing", hence the 5 star rating. I didn't think such a thing was possible, though I don't know why, for Stephen King's works are famous for disastrous movie/television adaptations. Without the movie comparison, I think I'd give this just 3 stars, but I'm sticking with my decision.
I wondered what happened between the story and the movie to make it end up the way it did, and it turns out to be Stephen King. He took his ass out from behind his writing desk, and plopped it in the director's chair. King himself has called it a "moron movie," and said he would never direct anything else. Also, he has since admitted that he was coked out of his mind during the entire production...
Say it ain't so.
If the film didn't also give us AC/DC's "Hell's Bells," "Who Made Who," and "You Shook Me All Night Long," it would probably behoove King to apologize for the whole debacle. If you've neither seen the movie nor read this story, please see the movie first; the reading experience will only be enhanced by it because the stupid has been removed. In the movie, the kid Deke is the only one who has a lick of sense, but he's not in the story. He isn't needed as a voice of reason in the story since there are a few others who fit the bill. As for Holter Graham, the kid who played Deke, this was his film debut.
Pictured here: the face of a boy who sees his career going down the tubes before it's even started.
Luckily he survived to act in other movies for a while (which is cool because he turned out to be quite a hottie), and due to his great reading voice he is now a proficient audiobook narrator (which is something else Stephen King should leave to others, say sorry). I can't explain Emilio Estevez's continued success, though.
As for the story, it's only about 15 pages, worth a read, and the ending is left open unlike in the movie. Sometimes cliffhanger endings work, and other times not. This is a case where it works very well, and the movie should've stuck with that. There's also no explanation for why the trucks are running around by themselves (in the movie it had something to do with Earth passing through the tail of Haley's Comet, or Hale-Bopp, or a black hole sun, or something like that). The mystery behind it helps the story. The phenomenon is also limited to trucks and other automobiles that aren't common cars (buses, bulldozers, etc). Electric carving knives and murderous soda machines ain't in it. Hallelujah. There is also no defiance of the laws of physics. (When one is struck head on by a truck on the y axis, the impact does not throw one perpendicularly along the x axis. Like I said, most of the stupid is missing).
Long has it been since the ending to a story gave me a chill, but this one pulled it off. I guess it's a common theme, but it still caught me by surprLong has it been since the ending to a story gave me a chill, but this one pulled it off. I guess it's a common theme, but it still caught me by surprise, and the story was all the richer for it.
We also have the most realistic character so far in the Night Shift collection (6th story in). He's kind of detestable, but I've met people like him, and he's quite realistic. Another great thing is that this story reminds me of It, my favorite SK book. I can see some themes, or devices in this that are more fleshed out in It, and I like finding those little Easter eggs.
My first introduction to "The Mangler" was the movie The Mangler 2 a few years ago which sucks monkey balls. My roommate who was familiar with the stoMy first introduction to "The Mangler" was the movie The Mangler 2 a few years ago which sucks monkey balls. My roommate who was familiar with the story said that the movie had nothing to do with Stephen King's original tale save the title. Apparently the first movie sucks as well, but that's to be expected with Stephen King adaptations as good ones are the exception rather than the rule.
This story was ridiculous, a bit forced, but still totally awesome. Actually, let me alter that. The story itself is awesome, but the way the beast came about was what was forced. (view spoiler)[A virgin accidentally cuts herself on a laundry machine, someone else drops her vitamins in it which provides the "hand of glory" component because one of the ingredients is related to that, something about Jell-o substituting for the horse's hoof, and a wayward bat. All these come together and awaken a mighty demon. Then there's the cop who knows a college professor who knows about these things, and they try an exorcism. Man, you're pushing it Stevie! But all is forgiven because by the end, THE THING IS A TRANSFORMER! Being an 80's kid with a damn near fetish for the robots in disguise, I'm totally cool with this. And, to be clear, it's not really a Transformer, but that's how I envisioned it in my mind's eye in the last paragraph. (hide spoiler)]
This reminds me of a story of mine from several years ago about a demon possessed baby grand piano that frightened, killed, or maimed people. At first it would just play spooky tunes while someone was in another part of the house, then stop just as the person tried to listen to see what the noise was. Sometimes it would do it while the family was asleep, but stop once any of them woke up, and they'd just be frightened wondering what was in the house that woke them up. Then once the lid snapped down while someone was playing it, and broke his wrist. Once someone, perhaps the tuner, was looking into the soundboard, and a few of the strings broke and flayed skin off his face and took out an eye. But when it started chasing someone down the street to crush him or her, and was playing chase music as it rolled along ("Vega's Theme" from the old Street Fighter II video game, as I recall), even I was laughing so hard at how ludicrous it was that I never bothered to write it. Still, flamenco music is always good for a chase scene.
I'm glad Stephen King's story brought that to mind; I needed a chuckle. An evil laundry ironing/folding machine is much more menacing than a piano, I think, but the piano boasts the advantage that it can play it's own kill music as it works. And I guess in a fight, the Mangler would totally pwn the piano. Alas. Well done, Mr. King.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Was this man snorting coke?... Oh, you mean he was? I see. Well, that explains this. Very enjoyable sci-fi/horror jimmy-jank3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
Was this man snorting coke?... Oh, you mean he was? I see. Well, that explains this. Very enjoyable sci-fi/horror jimmy-jank. Aliens (kind of). Parasitic disease (kind of). Malevolence (definitely). Check it out....more
Captain Trips! This is just 10 measly paperback pages, yet The Stand grew out of it 10 years later. A couple of minor details about the disease were cCaptain Trips! This is just 10 measly paperback pages, yet The Stand grew out of it 10 years later. A couple of minor details about the disease were changed in the novel, but otherwise this could be a small side adventure we didn't get to see in the larger work.
And what a coincidence that I should stumble upon this during our Ebola "crisis," or "epidemic." As of this writing, various governments (including, or perhaps especially our own [US]), the Center for Disease Confusion and the World Health Organization seem to be taking their cues from The Stand on how they should handle it. Stephen King might be the master of fear, but the WHO and CDC are the undisputed masters of fear mongering. SARS; swine flu; bird flu; hand, foot and mouth disease...
The world is still here, as are the vast majority of its inhabitants. Get a grip, people! What's going to happen when a real Captain Trips shows up? We'll be so used to everyone crying wolf when they actually saw a Yorkie that we won't do a thing, and then we'll all be just as dead as if we had done something, and been denied a warranted Chicken Little panic in the bargain....more
After reading that little vampire tale in Francis Marion Crawford's book, I was in the mood for another, and picked up Night Shift since it had this sAfter reading that little vampire tale in Francis Marion Crawford's book, I was in the mood for another, and picked up Night Shift since it had this story in it. Having read and enjoyed Salem's Lot, I assumed this was the short story version of that tale that Stephen wrote before he made it into a book, but I was mistaken. It's about a long deserted town that was once full of Satan worshipers and the miasma they left behind. And even though I didn't get another dose of vampirism, it was still a great story told through letters and diary entries just like Dracula. Stephen apparently wrote it when he was in college, but didn't publish it until Night Shift which was after Salem's Lot, but you can still see how great a writer he was even before he got out of school. I'm hoping the rest are as good. I think they will be based on the reviews from friends, and there are several stories in here I want to read based on the movies ("Children of the Corn"). Even though I'm not a big short story fan, I'm in a short story mood, and think it'll remain through Halloween. I plan to finish the Crawford stories first, then get back into this collection. Here's hoping I can get both of them done before the Christmas reading bug embraces me in mid November....more
Ghost stories can go without a lot of things. They can be done without evil, or suspense, or creepiness, and almost anything. But there is one thing tGhost stories can go without a lot of things. They can be done without evil, or suspense, or creepiness, and almost anything. But there is one thing that should be included in every ghost story and that's the ghost! This story didn't have one. I suppose an argument could be made that there was one, but it is pushing it to the limit, and I'm not cosigning it, no sirree. Here's the story.
(view spoiler)[Wealthy dude is 6. His creepy nurse predicts the death of his parents, and they die. (They were sick, so it's not that surprising). Dude goes away, grows up (about age 21), is unlucky in everything, suffers from depression, and returns to the family home which he now owns. Creepy nurse mentions something about the Lady of the Water wanting to be satisfied, and wanting him, or something like that. Dude sees gorgeous woman staring in at his window one day, runs out to find her, doesn't, and that's that. Was it a ghost? No. He decides to travel abroad, then finds this woman in Paris. Turns out she was just a peeping Thomasina curious about the house. They fall in love, and dude's bad luck goes away. At this point I'm kind of excited because I anticipate a tragic love going awry scenario at the hands of the Lady of the Water. No such luck (I'm assuming the reader picks up the main character's bad luck at this point). On the eve of their wedding, they walk the grounds, pass the nurse who mentions the Lady of the Water again, then the betrothed lean on the rail of a bridge. A clock strikes continuously about 100 times, and the girl falls in the water and sinks to the bottom of the creek. Dude jumps in, pulls her out of the drink, she seems dead, but then comes to. Nurse mentions Lady of the Water is satisfied, dude and girl wed, and live happily ever after.
Was the Lady of the Water a ghost? She didn't do anything if she was, except ring a bell. Seems to me the silly fiancee just can't swim, inhaled too much water, and was knocked out for a minute. The only thing wrong in this story is the nurse who should never have been left in charge of a child because she was too weird for that kind of responsibility. At most she was a bit of a fortune teller, but I'm of the mind that there was no ghost in this ghost story. (hide spoiler)]
I would give this one star, but it was still well written, so once again Mr. Crawford's prose gets him a slight boost.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I reckon it's a complete coincidence that there was a ghost on today's episode of The Love Boat. (Please don't judge; I didn't have the clicker). ThatI reckon it's a complete coincidence that there was a ghost on today's episode of The Love Boat. (Please don't judge; I didn't have the clicker). That ghost was encouraging his... widowed wife?... to pick a new mate... I think. (I wasn't paying close attention, and was trying to read this at the same time). The Love Boat ghost was played by Jimmie Walker.
Thankfully the ghost on the ship in this story was nowhere near as obnoxious. The story itself was nothing special, and I was tempted to give it 2 stars, but there were a few witty phrases in it, and it was a pleasant reading experience, so up to 3 it goes. Also, I recognize that I might have enjoyed it more had the TV not been on and had I not been surrounded by family constantly interrupting me. 3 stars is probably fair for the story as well.
Something a bit unusual about it is that the ghost also takes physical form, and can fight with people if it wants to, so I'm not sure if I should really call it a "ghost" story. They normally creep out in other ways, and often move objects, but not wrestle with mortals. I guess it was a nice touch....more
Maybe my tastes are changing? I normally don't like short stories, yet I'm a fan of Stephen King, and have currently read about 80% of every4.5 stars.
Maybe my tastes are changing? I normally don't like short stories, yet I'm a fan of Stephen King, and have currently read about 80% of everything he's written. As of right now I've read all of his novels in chronological order from Carrie to Needful things, and from From a Buick 8 through Mr. Mercedes. (I always read anything new he puts out, and since I've been reading him for about a dozen years, I've caught all of those later ones). I've also read several others in between those, but I've been stuck at Gerald's Game for a long time in my let's-read-all-his-shit-from-start-to-finish endeavor. It just doesn't look interesting, it doesn't have the greatest reviews, so I have expectations that it will leave me unfulfilled. Luckily this madman puts out 2 or 3 books a year, so I'm still getting my SK fix though I got to GG a couple of years ago. I haven't read the Bachman books yet, or the Peter Straub collaborations. And my disdain for short stories has kept me from tackling those until now. I'm sorry I waited so long; most of these were great!
The majority fall into the horror genre, but there are a couple that are normal, and a couple others that aren't horror, but certainly aren't anything close to "normal" either. I would suggest the book as a whole to horror lovers. Anyone who wants to cherry pick the regular stories can use the rest of this review as a guide.
Reviews for the individual stories are linked below unless Goodreads didn't provide a separate story link, in which case I just plopped it down here.
Oh Jesus fuck me Christ, what the hell is wrong with this man? Rats, and then mutant rats. I never minded rats too much before. The scene in the catacombs in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with the millions of rats doesn't bother me one whit, and neither does the fire swamp scene in The Princess Bride.
"That's because you don't think I exist."
That's right. But the queen rat... Blech! Yucky, yucky poo! I'm glad I kill the things when I see them. Well, if I can manage it.
All this doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the tale. I was engaged for the whole story even if it tried to add a new phobia.
Man drinks beer, turns into a blob, and scares his kid. You know, this kind of thing happens all the time in real life.
This story also has another It connection. It's in Maine, and some guy is mentioned as having gone into the sewers for something related to his work, then coming out later with white hair. (I assume it was a different color before). He quit his job on the spot just 2 years shy of retirement, and went and drank himself to death over the course of a couple of years. Turns out he saw a giant spider.
10-30-14 "Battleground", 5 stars
An absolute delight! This dude is attacked by little army men, and must defend himself. It reminds me of a scene in The Indian in the Cupboard, which is also worth reading.
While the entire thing was a treat to read, my favorite part was a reference to the World War II Battle of the Bulge. The army men slip a note under the door urging Renshaw, our protagonist, to surrender. He sends a note back that simply states "Nuts." If you know your history, you'll know why I think this is cool.
Unlike General McAuliffe at Bastogne, however, poor Renshaw had no General Patton and his third army on the way to relieve him. Did he make it out? Read it to see for yourself.
Another King gem brought to you by the letters L, S, and D. And I don't mean Latter Saints Day, or Loving Sexual Decomposition (though the latter (latter as in the second entry, not the first entry that actually contains the word latter) is also a common King theme). But fear not, there's no love, or sex, or decomposition in this, nor are there any dyslexic Mormons. What there is, however, is this:
Filthy! But, yep, that's how it goes. Dude neglects his yard, and hires a man to do it. The lawnmower mows by itself, the hired man strips naked, crawls behind it and eats the clippings. (view spoiler)[The mower goes out of its way to get living things such as moles, and then there's some weird sacrificial stuff for a Greek god. (hide spoiler)]
It was an absolute delight to read because it was just so weird, and I suggest it to anyone who can deal with the gross naked fat man drooling green slime all over himself as he talks.
"The Woman in the Room", 4 stars["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A little vampire tale! ...kind of. How exciting, and what a pleasant surprise to find in The Complete Wandering Ghosts! The vampire was able to send iA little vampire tale! ...kind of. How exciting, and what a pleasant surprise to find in The Complete Wandering Ghosts! The vampire was able to send its spirit out to lure someone in, but I guess that's not that different from its mind control abilities in more common lore, or perhaps a manifestation of it. What I really liked about the "Thing" (as it was called) is that it wasn't a lame vampire like the ones you find all over fiction nowadays.
"Sorry, it's totally my fault."
Yes, thank you Louis de Pointe du Lac for bringing Emo vampires to the forefront. Still, you're not as bad as... this...
Edward fucking Cullen. I'm afraid the rest of this is going to be Twilight bashing. Or at least pointing out Vampires who are cooler than Mr. pussy boy here. I'm very sorry, but I've got to get it out of my system... again. This resentment resurfaces every now and then, and I can't keep it pent up inside lest all kinds of internal emotional unpleasantness befall me.
Anyway, here they are. I would include the one in this story, but there's no picture of it. Let's get the total bad asses out of the way first.
David from The Lost Boys
Kurt Barlow from Salem's Lot, not to mention one of the creepiest kids ever filmed, and from the same movie:
Barnabas Collins from the original Dark Shadows.
Johnny Depp's portrayal of the same vampire is also cooler than Edward Cullen.
Naturally all versions of Dracula make the cut.
Gary Oldman, even when he's sporting that ridiculous butt-cut.
Christ, even Leslie Nielsen and his butt-cut hair do make the grade.
Amilyn from the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. Even Pee Wee Herman makes a cooler and more formidable vampire than Eddie boy.
And here to take it on home for us is Sesame Street's own Count von Count.
"ONE Haymaker, ha... ha... ha..."
Don't stop til you get to 80,000 good buddy....more
3.5 rounded up to 4. I really enjoyed the ending, but parts of the journey were a tad stagnant. I thought this was going to have the same problem as "3.5 rounded up to 4. I really enjoyed the ending, but parts of the journey were a tad stagnant. I thought this was going to have the same problem as "The Screaming Skull" in that it addressed the reader directly and frequently pulled me out of the story, but that happened only a couple of times in this, and not incessantly. In fact, it wouldn't have disturbed me at all had I not just had a full dose of it right in the face with the skull story.
This is a nice little ghost tale, spooky if you believe in ghosts, which I do. That might be a prerequisite for getting a little bit of a chill, though I suppose an overactive imagination (which I also have), will work as well. It reminded me of parts of Stephen King's Duma Key, but this had more... subtlety?... whenever the ghost put in an appearance. The atmosphere was well crafted, especially in the final pages, and it was adequately suspenseful.
I must point out that it would be helpful if you're familiar with seafaring terms, for there's an abundance of them in this. I don't know them all that well myself, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story. I was able to keep things in context, and follow what was going on even if I was unfamiliar with the specifics.
Check it out if you like short ghost stories....more
This was fantastic. It's like evaporated milk... not that evaporated milk is fantastic, but everything from the story was condensed perfectly, and I dThis was fantastic. It's like evaporated milk... not that evaporated milk is fantastic, but everything from the story was condensed perfectly, and I don't imagine it's easy to whittle a 768 page novel down to a 50 page comic book. As a result, everything is presented so matter-of-factly that it's a scream. For example, David notices the scar on Ms. Dartle's face, and asks Steerforth how she got it. Steerforth replies "We don't get along. I hit her with a hammer when I was a child." There really was much more to that, but that's pretty much the gist, and I don't reckon any more needs to be said about it.
Well done, Illustrated Classics!
This reminds me of some Jeopardy! clues in the "Reduced Shakespeare" category. Check em out if short and sweet story retellings are your cup of tea.
And check out any Illustrated Classic if you've already read the book. I'm pretty sure not knowing the story beforehand would leave you completely confused....more
The wheel continues to turn slower and slower up to its near halt in book 10, a mere 2 books from now. Very little plot advancement happens in this onThe wheel continues to turn slower and slower up to its near halt in book 10, a mere 2 books from now. Very little plot advancement happens in this one. In the penultimate chapter, several cliffhangers are set-up to get you to read the next book, none of which have anything to do with what happened in this book. (view spoiler)[Faile and friends are captured by the Shaido who show up out of nowhere. Perrin meets the prophet who is quite insane after spending the entire book moving that way. The rebel Aes Sedai get to Tar Valon after spending the entire book moving that way. Elayne gets to Caemlyn after spending most of the book moving that way. (hide spoiler)]
As for a climax, there isn't much of one in this book. There's no fight with a forsaken, or anything. (view spoiler)[Some peeps try to kill Rand, but that happens all the time, and it's rather anti-climactic as far as book endings go. It does set up a cool scene in the next book, though. And there is a really cool scene with Callandor where everything goes wonky. It's quite a powerful moment, and wipes out the Seanchan forces, though to great cost to Rand's own army. Bashere gets him to quit it before he destroys everything, though, so we're all good. (hide spoiler)] Other than that, most of this book is people traveling, traveling, traveling, I'm-a-ridin'-my-horse, git-along-little-doggie. And complaining. Let's not forget that that continues, though I admit I enjoy a lot of it. It's still witty, but at this point it has become excessive.
And I once again wonder how anyone gets together enough to have children in this world. The women are all such awful bitches, but you can see more details of that gripe in a review of an earlier book. And though I really do love Cadsuane, I also wish someone would knock the tar out of her. Maybe it happens in one of the books I haven't read yet.
Here's how the pacing plays out in this one. The first 6 chapters are about Elayne's group, and I'm going to offer summaries. I'm not putting a spoiler warning because I don't really think anything is spoiled. Bear in mind that through all of these chapters there is cat-fighting and bitching, skirts being smoothed, sniffs, threats of switchings, etc.
1) They talk about leaving Ebou Dar. Aviendha weaves a gateway. They start to go though it. 2) They continue through the gateway, and Aviendha starts to unravel it. 3) They ride from the gateway to the farm. 4) They are at the farm, Elayne looks at stuff, people at the farm are told to pack so they can all go somewhere else soon. 5) They go to a hill and finally use the bowl of the winds to fix the weather, something they've been after for 3 books now. The Seanchan are seen coming. Everyone runs. 6) They use a gateway to leave the farm. The gateway blows up after everyone is safely through.
We're now at page 156, and you're pretty much up to speed with my summary. Out of curiosity I checked several other books to see what was going on at page 156 in those. Since I went through so many, I'm now going to share 30 of them with you. Hopefully you're familiar with some of the stories, or my point will lose all relevance due to lack of a common frame of reference.
Silas Marner Silas has decided to keep the child, and will soon name her Eppie.
William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope The guns in the Death Star trench have stopped firing on the Gold team; Gold Five advises "So watch thy rear, and stabilize thy shields. Perhaps an enemy doth come behind... Stay thou on target." Vader to his wing men: "Good pilots both, remain set for attack!"
Animal Farm This one left the pigs and men arguing with each other on page 128, leaving 28 blank pages to page 156.
Charlotte's Web Wilbur is being unloaded at the grandstand to receive a special award at the fair.
The Outsiders Ponyboy is waking up (or perhaps coming-to is better) the day after Dally was killed and Johnny had died.
The Giver The superficiality and lack of dpeth of his community is sinking into Jonas as his parents explain parents of parents.
Hello Darlin': Tall (and Absolutely True) Tales About My Life Hagman's career is between I Dream of Jeannie and DALLAS. He was playing a bit part in some movie and has just tried peyote buttons during some down time. As a result he has sprouted feathery hair on his legs, as well as wings, and his feet had turned to talons. He has burst through the wall of his Quonset hut, and is flying around the mountains off the set. (His friends who also sampled the peyote had a much less pleasant go of it).
Bridge to Terabithia Jess has just been told that Leslie has died, and he's sprinting down the road.
Christmas Carol Scrooge shows up at Fred's for Christmas dinner, and to the office early to catch Cratchit coming in late.
Under the Dome Julia and Barbie are discussing getting a Geiger counter without Jim Rennie finding out, and trying to figure out what the hell is going on and what they can do about it.
And the point of this? To show that there is a lot you can do in 156 pages other than walk up a hill, smoke a bowl, and leave. Jesus, Jordan. Even later Stephen King when he's known for dragging things out gets more done than you in the same amount of space. Even the dictionary is well on it's way, and that's after 65 pages of essays and discussions about etymology, syntax, usage, a style manual, pronunciation key, a guide, a list of contributors, and all kinds of other word stuff. Even Hugo, the most verbose writer I've ever read, is wrapping up a major plot point by 156, and that's after wrapping up a couple others earlier. I'm not counting using the bowl as wrapping anything up in 156 pages because this is the 3rd book in which the bowl is an issue. You've been on it for over 1,000 pages at this point.
Oh well. In spite of all that, I still enjoy the series as a whole, and there are three memorable minor scenes in this one. One actually happens in this first section. Nynaeve is used to being in charge, and giving commands to people who were already doing what she was telling them to do in the first place, and it gets turned around on her when she gets to the farm and finds a woman named Alise who is just as efficient as she, and always one step ahead of her. Somewhere along the way she has lost her hat. After getting back from their deal with the bowl, they find the farm in a complete panic because invaders are on the way. Nynaeve calls for Alise who "appeared as though from the air, poised and collected despite the perspiration on her face. Every strand of her hair was in place, and her dress looked as if she were merely out for a stroll." Alise explains what she has told everyone else to do while Nynaeve and the rest were away for an hour or so, and "Nynaeve stood there with her jaw hanging, ready to issue orders and none left to give." Nynaeve starts in about something else, and is told that's already been seen to as well, and that she should gather herself and "Drink some cool water; not too fast. Put a little on your face. I have to keep an eye on things." Alise then wades "serenely back into the turmoil of the farmyard and left Nynaeve gaping.
'Well,' Elayne said, brushing her skirt, 'you did say she was a very capable woman.'
'I never said that,' Nynaeve snapped. 'I never said "very." Hmmph! Where did my hat get to? Thinks she knows everything. I'll wager she doesn't know that!' She flounced off in a different direction that Alise."
Later: "There were... bumps, of course, of sorts, even with what might be rushing toward them... Nynaeve getting her blue-plumed hat back was not really a bump, though it almost turned into one; Alise had found it, and handed it back telling Nynaeve she needed to shield her face from the sun if she wanted to keep that smooth pretty skin. An open-mouthed Nynaeve watched the graying woman hurry off to deal with one of the numerous small problems, then ostentatiously shoved the hat under a strap over her saddlebags.
From the beginning Nynaeve set about flattening the real bumps, but Alise was nearly always there first, and where Alise met a bump, the bump flattened itself."
Well, you get the idea. Another scene is simply where Cadsuane and Sorilea meet, and discuss the difference between a man being hard and him being strong. (That's adequately covered in one of the quotes I liked, which should appear below this review).
The other scene I mentioned happens at the end. One of the Asha'man has gone mad, which is supposed to happen to all of them until the male half of the power is cleansed in the next book. He's in his late teens, and has been charged with protecting Min. He begins to pull stones out of the room they're in with the one power to build a tower around her for her protection. Rand later finds them, and cuts him off from the power, and gives him some small blocks of wood to play with which he does, sitting on the floor. He now has the brain of a young child, but incredible powers. Rand poisons him with an herb that simply puts him to sleep before it stills his heart; the most humane death he can think of, and cradles his head as it happens. But he doesn't cry. His heart has turned to iron by this point, and it will be a point of contention with him and some of his closest friends and supporters that he refuses to mourn anything. The most memorable that I've read so far happens in book 11, but I'll cover that when I get to it.
"'Burn you,' (Min) breathed... 'You can cry, Rand al'Thor. You won't melt if you cry!'
'I don't have time for tears, either, Min,' he said gently."
In spite of the book's shortcomings, Jordan can still write, and write well. If he couldn't, I certainly wouldn't have made it to book 8.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Eh. This was a little annoying. The story was fine, and probably would've been a 3 star tale were it not for the point of view. It's 1st person, and aEh. This was a little annoying. The story was fine, and probably would've been a 3 star tale were it not for the point of view. It's 1st person, and addresses the reader directly throughout. (I saw someone else refer to it as a monologue, but I don't know if that's right. The addressee (the reader) is a friend of Captain Braddock that he's talking to for the whole 25 pages, and I'm just not a fan of that writing style. It was distracting enough to be detrimental to my enjoyment of the story.
That being said, it's not a bad little tale, and if you like mildly spooky things, and don't mind the narrative as I described it, then check it out....more
I'm pleased to continue with my Halloween reading.
This was rather dated, so I was able to see the mystery from miles away. I figured it out from the mI'm pleased to continue with my Halloween reading.
This was rather dated, so I was able to see the mystery from miles away. I figured it out from the moment it was brought up, actually, but that's really no fault of Mr. Crawford. The twist has been used so many times in modern soap operas, movies, stories, whatever since 1899 that it's just easy to peg. But I still enjoyed it. It has a banshee, a corpse that won't stay in its coffin, and a smile that infects other people. When the baddie smiles, others start to smile too and there's nothing they can do about it. It's the kind of smile you'd see on a skeleton, hence the title of the short story. That was the creepiest part for me. It also invoked images and memories of smiles that freak me out, such as those of...
The Cheshire Cat
Agent Smith after he copies himself onto the Oracle
Jack Nicholson's Joker
His inspiration from that old silent movie The Man Who Laughs
**spoiler alert** I used to like this better than "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," at least in book form, and I guess I still do. The story is more to m**spoiler alert** I used to like this better than "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," at least in book form, and I guess I still do. The story is more to my liking, though the prose in Hollow is better. The Headless Horseman is kind of a lame ghost, just hanging out to race with people on the road sometimes; there's very little menace about him in the original story, and not a lot of mystery either. He's just kind of there. But there is nothing but mystery surrounding the ghosts of Henry Hudson and crew in "Van Winkle," and that's that. Why they're there with their (hot dog! A there/they're/their hat trick! 9 points, please) nine pins and moonshine, why they do what they do to Rip, or anything else is not discussed. We have no idea if their motive was for good or for ill.
Some say it's a reward for helping the ghosts carry the barrel. He misses the entire American Revolution, no longer has to deal with his bitch of a wife, and has advanced to an age where taking it easy and being taken care of by one's children is expected. Taking it easy is really all the lazy Rip wanted in the first place. Still, he's also been robbed of 20 years of his life, and has advanced into old age which comes with its own problems. Good thing or bad thing? I guess that's up to the individual. Like most situations, I reckon it's a mix of both. But still, did Hudson mean him a favor or an injury? And since I believe in ghosts, I find this story enjoyably spooky in its subtlety.
Check it out if you like light ghost tales. You shouldn't need more than half an hour to roll through it....more
What a delightful surprise! This is the 3rd time I've read this, and unlike the other times I really enjoyed it. I guess this is proof that tastes canWhat a delightful surprise! This is the 3rd time I've read this, and unlike the other times I really enjoyed it. I guess this is proof that tastes can change. The first time was in elementary school, and the language was just too thick for me. The second time was in my late twenties, and I was disappointed with how lame the story was. But this last time, I loved it. I used to wonder why Irving was lauded with such acclaim, and felt that he was highly overrated, but now I understand. His prose is rich. It's sometimes excessively descriptive, but that's something I like when it's done well, and it's certainly done well in this. I would say that I didn't put it down, but that's not true. I had to put it down to look up several old words I enjoyed learning.
My problem the other times I read it was with my expectations. I was expecting a nice, spooky ghost story, and that's not really what it is, though that's certainly an element. I read that this is so heavily praised due to its descriptions of the area during post revolution America, and I can see that. In short, it was a pleasure to read now that I looked at it through a different lens.
I was surprised to find out that the Disney cartoon sticks pretty close to the source material since that's not something Disney typically does. That movie is one of my favorites, and I watch it 2 or 3 times every October. Plus it's narrated by Bing Crosby, and he's one of my favorite singers. It was also nice to hear his voice narrating the story as I read it today.
Ah, Ichy, you sly dog, you.
If you're looking for a great tale, eh... The movie is better. It amps up the spooky factor, and leaves the ending mysterious. (The book stops just short of spelling it all out for you, but there's little doubt left after the implications, though I won't give it away here).
I also suggest the Tim Burton movie, though it takes quite a departure from the source material. Also, I'm a little biased in favor of Burton films. Constable Crane!
And don't even get me started on the new show. It doesn't get my recommendation at all, though I've given it only 3 or 4 episodes all told.
I don't know where to start. I can't even assign a rating. I want to give it one star because "I didn't like it" due toReader's log: 9-14-14, 6:50 PM.
I don't know where to start. I can't even assign a rating. I want to give it one star because "I didn't like it" due to the ideas in it being so repulsive, yet I feel it should also have 5 stars because it stirred up such emotions in me. That alone makes it "amazing." Logic says I should split the difference and give it 3 stars, which means I "liked it," but that definitely isn't true. Nor did I "really like it," nor was it "OK." Also, its historical significance should be taken into consideration, and that's in the 5 star range as well. All I know right now is that I feel I should take a shower after reading this filth, so I'm going to go do that, eat, watch tonight's episode of Hee Haw, relax and calm down, and come back to this review later.
Reader's log: 9-14-14, continued, 9:20 PM.
Well, I'm cleaned, fed, and semi-rested, and a coin toss decided the star rating issue (3). I also jotted down things that popped into my head as I read it, and I think today might be placebo day, but I'm going to run with this anyway.
OK, let's see where this goes.
I should've read this years ago since I did get a history degree and everything, but never got around to it. I was probably supposed to read it during my WWI class since we covered the Russian Revolution in that, but I'm pretty sure I didn't. (Sorry, Dr. Trakas). I'm sorry I waited so long, because it was certainly riveting, and kept my attention. That being said, let's get the rest of the good points out of the way while we're at it. (It won't take long).
It was very well written and engaging.
Also, I managed to find a picture of Marx giving a reading of it pretty soon after it was written (1848):
This has been on my shelf for a couple of years now, and I just picked it up because I was disenchanted with the Governor McDonnell conviction. Not because he was found guilty so much (if you do the crime, you gotta do the time), but because of the witch hunt aspect of it, and the fact that the very people and administration that's prosecuting this are guilty of crimes so much more heinous that you can barely make a comparison, yet nobody is going after them because they're... Ok, enough of that for now, or I'll start looking like Marx in his picture. Back to the book.
I was disenchanted, and decided to see what it is my enemies think. That's never a bad idea, and the best way to do it is to read what they write and read. Just look at how Patton handled Rommel on the field in WWII.
One thing to note is that it's pure lies, and history has proven that. (The best example is the rise and fall of the USSR). The Bolsheviks put the false promises to the working class into practice, and gained power for 70-some years. But it all amounts to... Well, Fletcher says it better than I can.
"Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining."
Let's get it straight from the horses mouth. After all, liberalism is just reheated Lenin no matter how much they try to deny it.
"There's plenty of heat where I am, comrade, I can tell you that! Nice change from mother Russia. FORWARD!"
Thanks. And Lenin is just an extension of Marx. A couple of spices have been changed, but the meat and vegetable base is the same. Marxism and Leninism are communism which is a term nobody likes to use when trying to sell it because of the negative connotation.
"MMM, MMM, GOOD!"
Yet both are socialism; they're just the extreme end of it, and they're only one step away from liberalism which is solidly socialist. Don't let the lies and linguistic acrobatics worked around that word fool you just because the liberals don't like it. It's socialism. Healthcare was recently socialized; there's no way around that. And as you know, each step we take down that road the next one gets a little bit easier, and we move closer to communism. Will we stop before we get there? I sure hope so, but my hope grows scanter as time goes on. E.G.: McDonnell. In spite of his flaws, he was a great governor who brought a lot of jobs to Virginia, and did some impressive work with our economy in spite of the federal government's efforts to do otherwise...
"Stay on target."
Breathe in... out... in... out... Sorry. I'm just tired of my team getting the shit kicked out of it, and we deserve it for our namby-pamby, pussy-footing tactics, polite tea with the enemy, and lap up their lies like...
"Stay on target."
"Breathe in... out... in... out... Just like this."
I'm trying. I'm trying! We have good people willing to fight, yet they get creamed by the impressive Democrat machine for minor things blown out of proportion, especially when compared to the evil deeds of the very prosecutors. Couple it with the impressive propaganda machine called the media which is getting worse all the time, and we're fighting an uphill battle. Cain. Gingrich. Both could've taken the asshat in chief, yet we ended up with a milksop like Romney because of silly fiddle-faddle. And now McDonnell. He was seen as a threat to the socialist agenda, so they went after him, and...
"Came from behind..."
This thing is scarier than anything Stephen King ever wrote.
'Fraid so, old bean. Even you. It's an unadulterated attack on freedom, and capitalism. It is filled with lies so outrageous that... Well, Willie puts it better than I ever could.
"I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said."
Yeah. That. But what is too absurd to be believed should be believed because it is too absurd to be a lie, and Marx wasn't lying. Several revolutions started up after this was published, to varying degrees of success. Most had something in common in that they used the working class to do the heavy lifting. They managed this with lies of equality for all. History has shown that it doesn't work, and that's because it doesn't take into account the human condition. Marx spouts utopia, and his idea of society certainly would be if it weren't for people. Let's start with the bourgeoisie. They have no place in this utopia. He says so flat out in this book. So, what to do with them?
PURGE, BABY, PURGE!
That's right, comrade fucker. Marx flat out proposes violent solutions to his problems, which would make him no different from any other totalitarian crackpot in power regardless of his chosen political bend.
Here's what invariably happens with communism. An old regime is overthrown with the help of the proletariat (the working class), the communists take over, and the proletariat gets the shaft. They are left in worse condition than they ever were before. Another visual aid that's probably hard for the academic elite to take seriously, but here it is anyway.
Meet the Constructicons. They do the heavy lifting for the Decepticons. When shit gets ready to hit the fan, the man in charge yells "CONSTRUCTICONS, UNITE!" (Sound familiar)? They turn into Devastator, do their deal, and then go back to being at the bottom of the food chain. Devastator is slow-witted and gullible just like the masses used by rising-star communists who have no real intention of sharing power.
"You gotta admit, I play the squealing, wretched, pinhead puppets of the proletariat like a harp from hell!"
I'll never forget a lady who came over from Belarus through some church exchange program we had going on several years ago. She went to the supermarket, and simply broke down crying because they didn't have anything approaching that level of freedom where she came from. That's what the bull hockey in this book gets you: women crying over lettuce for sale.
Classless society and equality for all, my eye. Stalin. Lenin. Mao. Castro. Pol Pot. Jong-Il. Mariam. Has there ever been a communist regime without a ruling class standing on its working class? Yea verily do I say it: LIES!
And here's this just for the hell of it:
Those in the enemy camp will dismiss that in its entirety with all the elitist snobbery they can muster simply because it refers to Hitler. "Oh, you said 'Hitler.' LOLZ! You so cute." They'll also toss in the comment "Oh, that's such a tired talking point." Simply because something's been stated a few times, it is suddenly no longer worth listening to. Well, I believe it bears repeating. The only way anyone can get anyone else to even pay attention to what I believe is a valid concern is to show his ass.
Those less interested in the subject, and who don't learn from their history are doomed to repeat it, but what's more frustrating is that we who know our history are doomed to watch it repeat itself due to the ignorance and inaction of others, typically the fearful, naive, and uneducated. (Getting rid of bourgeois education for all is also brought up in this book, or capitalist education if you will. It makes the masses easier to control if they're ignorant. Yet later it talks about free education for all). After all, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. And yes, socialism is evil. It kills creativity, work ethic, and pride in one's work, and spawns despair. And it always relies on theft from others to get going and stay going. Such amazing hypocrisy.
Related: remember the Obama 401(k) savings cap that was bandied around a year or two ago? I think it was let out accidentally, and has since been given the hush-hush.
"I suppose you have sometimes plucked a pear before it was ripe, Master Copperfield? I did that, but it'll ripen yet! It only wants attending to. I can wait!'
Many, including Marx, argue that capitalism is theft from the poor, but I don't see it that way. I've looked at many systems, and I believe capitalism, in spite of its shortcomings, works much better for a free society than socialism, not to mention any of the others. I've chosen a side. Many haven't, and won't until it's too late. Some will just wait it out to see what looks best when the going gets rough, but they fail to realize... Well, here's another quote.
“Cheer the bull, or cheer the bear; cheer both, and you will be trampled and eaten.”
Marx's claims purport that the poor will be taken care of with his system of government control. In fact, his way will eliminate poverty completely. Poppy cock. You need look no further than the tried and failed USSR, or any other communist regime to see that it, like every other nation in the land, is inundated with poor people. It once again ignores a simple fact of life; a part of the human condition. Here's Jesus with more details. (I confess that Andrew Lloyd Webber is his script writer here).
"Surely you're not saying we have the resources to save the poor from their lot? There will be poor always, pathetically struggling..."
And here's Anne Thackeray Ritchie:
"...if you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to catch a fish you do him a good turn."
And here's the fact of life: some people refuse to learn how to fish. And why bother to learn if someone is just going to feed you anyway (so they claim).
Closing points, because I'm running out of characters... this must be really long...
Everybody should read this book. It might be right up your alley, and you can join the enemy camp. If it isn't, you should know what they're up to. Here are the 10 goals listed in the second section:
1. Abolition of property and land and application of all rents of land to public purposes 2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax 3. Abolition of all right to inheritance 4. Confiscation of all property of all emigrants and rebels 5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. 6.Centraliztion of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state. 7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing of cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. 8. Equal liability of label. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. 9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country, 10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination with education and industrial production.
Some of these are already occurring pretty heavily in the USA, others not so much, but nothing this administration attempts would surprise me. Have you ever heard of the Coward Pliven? Or actually the Cloward-Piven maneuver? Overwhelm the welfare system, get as many people sucking on the government tit as possible, then whoever is in power when that government topples stays in power. The claim is that this would eliminate poverty, which is what the evil capitalists actively propagate. Is it happening before our eyes, or am I fear-mongering here? You be the judge.
Well, shit. As I got to the last 20 or so pages, (view spoiler)[I was hoping for a eucatastrophe, maybe a little deus ex machina mumbo jumbo, but no dWell, shit. As I got to the last 20 or so pages, (view spoiler)[I was hoping for a eucatastrophe, maybe a little deus ex machina mumbo jumbo, but no dice. (hide spoiler)]
Still, that doesn't mean this is a bad book. I flew through the last 165 pages. I thought I would read it over the weekend, but I read it all in one night. Sounds like I was rather engaged, and I certainly enjoyed reading it. Then when I got to the back flap, I saw that there are 3 others after it, so now I need to read them. I see that the fate of some of the characters is resolved in one of those, and that's what I crave right now. Course, I just finished it a few minutes ago. Maybe that desire will fade. But why do I have to be out of money right now? Oh well. Oh wait, there's a library down the street...
The book certainly isn't without flaws. There are holes galore in it, and several things that don't make sense, especially since they're not explained. There's high science, yet there's also supernatural stuff that can't be explained by any kind of science of which I'm aware. Those could work well together, but in this book it was just confusing. Everything about this world could be explained by advanced science except the memories and their transference. Whose memories were they? How are they passed along without a pensieve, or something? How do they fall back into the community when the receiver moves on? Why must they? The Giver never explains that the memories are another part of the system of control, and that it can all be explained by science, so I'm left to assume it's magic, and it just doesn't work well. It's like ground beef chocolate fondue. I love ground beef. I love chocolate. But they don't complement each other. Same with the science and whatever that memory thing was. Just one paragraph of explanation to link the memory bit to advanced science (or science fiction) could've removed that tremendous distraction. I have no idea what the explanation could be, but surely there's something.
The book raises a lot of questions about the morality of sameness for the sake of peace and order versus just being a human being, failings and all. The peace comes at quite a cost, but so does feeling feelings. Which would you choose?
This reminds me of the end of an SNES game I really liked called Illusion of Gaia, though I admit it wasn't the greatest. One part of it always stuck out in my mind. Something about a bad comet preventing mankind from evolving, and it staying stuck in the beforetimes when there were no modern machines, and the grass was green, the sky blue, no smog, yadda, yadda, yadda. The main character is granted a glimpse of what the world is supposed to look like, which is something like Earth as we know it in the 1990s. He sees the paved streets, skyscrapers, cities, and is repulsed by all the grayness, but the oracle (or whatever it was) says "but the people like it that way." Good guy destroys bad guy, and we get to the modern world, the end. That's what ran through my mind regarding the utopian/dystopian community. The denizens are missing out on the things that supposedly make life worthwhile, but that's apparently how they want it. Apparently stuff happened in the past that showed it needed to be this way now, and the Giver alone keeps those memories to advise everyone else when important decisions must be made; he shoulders the burden of feeling all the emotions, good and bad, for the entire community. The feelings everyone else feels are but shades compared to real feelings as you and I (and the Giver) understand them.
There was also room to amp up a lot of the story. Some of the scenes regarding the emotions being felt pale by what they could be, but this is a young adult story, and stopping short of some horrors and some passions is prudent lest the writer should push her tale into a different demographic. After all, most 6th graders aren't mentally prepared to handle things the way Stephen King or George R. R. Martin would present them. I think this was well done for the target audience.
Neat book. I really liked it, but be prepared for disappointment if you like everything neatly explained. This warning applies to both the world in the story and the ending.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Here's another book tainted, or maybe just painted, (tainted has a negative connotation), by my memories of the movie. Luckily the transposition was pHere's another book tainted, or maybe just painted, (tainted has a negative connotation), by my memories of the movie. Luckily the transposition was pretty close, so it's not a bad thing at all.
In fact, I enjoyed having the characters voices already set in my head, because they were perfect. I don't know if they were perfect because I've just grown up with them or if they were perfect because they were perfect. Debbie Reynolds as Charlotte, Henry Gibson as Wilbur, and Agnes Moorehead as the goose-oose-oose were easy to hear. The goose and gander from the book were merged into just the goose in the movie, but it was still T double-E double-R double-R double-I double-F double-I double-C, C, C.
The only problem I had, albeit a very minor one, was Paul Lynde as Templeton; the book didn't indicate that kind of slur, and he was more snappish. Of course, Paul Lynde has a very distinct, snarky voice, and Templeton was definitely snarky. Regardless, I read him with Paul Lynde's voice even if the book indicated his voice should be quicker, and it worked just fine because you can't improve on that bit of casting.
While looking up other voices, I noticed that Danny Bonaduce provided the voice for Fern's brother Avery, which could be one of the reasons I found him so obnoxious. Course, the character is obnoxious in the book as well, so that was also a bit of perfect casting, and I didn't even know it. However, I didn't give him Danny's voice in my head (mostly because I couldn't remember what he sounded like; it's been a while since I've seen it, but I intend to remedy that later this afternoon).
Obviously the book was missing the excellent songs by the Sherman brothers, but they played in the background of my mind as I was reading those parts. It seems I can't escape movies I've seen a million times when reading the corresponding book.
Perhaps if I had read this when I was in elementary school instead of when I was 35 I would've enjoyed it a bit more. Some things are a little watered down, as they should be in a kid's book. Some things don't make sense, as they shouldn't in a kid's book. My adult brain couldn't wrap itself around a few things that would make complete sense to a child who isn't a cynical asshole trying to find meaning in things that just are what they are and need no complicated explanation.
For example, Fern is the only one who hears the animals talk, however she never converses with any of them. Is this whole story taking place in her head? If so, how can that be when she's absent for so much of it? Or is she just insane? Stephen King tells us “Schizoid behavior is a pretty common thing in children. It's accepted, because all we adults have this unspoken agreement that children are lunatics.” And she's also a selfish bitch. Here's this pig she saved from murder, cried over, bottle-fed from birth, visited all the time at the farm, got to know all his friends, listened to their stories, went on and on about it to her mother to the point that ma visited the doctor to pick his brain about whether or not her daughter was nuts. Then comes the day when Wilbur is going to be awarded a medal, and all she does is whine about getting on the Ferris Wheel AGAIN with Henry Fussy. She can't take 5 minutes to see her best friend for months win a medal? And here's a reversal: the mother wants her to watch the ceremony, but finally relents and lets her and Henry go ride the wheel, and the mother is secretly pleased that Fern has moved on from her love of pigs to noticing boys... FERN IS 8 YEARS OLD! I know the rumor is that people in the country mature faster on the dating front, but jeeze Louise, you don't need to sign the dowry check just yet! Children aren't the only lunatics in this story!
To exemplify that point, consider this. The words of praise appear in the spider's web, and all the adults save two think the pig is a miracle since the words apply to Wilbur. When it's pointed out by those two people that maybe it's the spider that's miraculous, the listener looks at the speaker as though s/he has three heads. A miraculous spider who spells things in a web? What a load of horse manure! Spider's can't spell. The miracle is the pig! It says so right there in the spider's web... Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, no more calls, we have a winner!
This gives credence to Charlotte's argument that people aren't as smart as bugs (who regularly get entangled in her web) and that they'll believe anything they see in print.
One thing I really liked about the story is that it explores life and death scenarios with simple candor, and did it really well. That might be one of the reasons it was made a Newbery Honor Book.
I think this is excellent for children, but not a book that also works well for adults unless you A) enjoy children's literature, or B) have the nostalgia factor going for you. It's a good thing that children are the target audience. I'll definitely be passing it to my niece soon....more
While researching a few things for this review on the internet, it was reaffirmed that a lot of the info on here is wrong. I expect such things from WWhile researching a few things for this review on the internet, it was reaffirmed that a lot of the info on here is wrong. I expect such things from Wikipedia, but some of the mistakes were on literary sites. Here are a couple of things I wish to straighten out, though they'll never be read by the people who are doing the misinforming.
Sara Crewe, our little princess, is 7 at the start of the story, not 9.
The servant girl, Becky, well... I guess it's possible that she's black, but I certainly didn't pick up on that, and it would be very unlikely given the setting. But whether she's black or white, she's definitely not an African-American! She's in England, for Christ's sake! By going so far in the opposite direction of its intention that it becomes offensive to the party one hopes to assuage, it becomes a politically correct FAIL, and boy howdy do I love it when that happens!
This is set in Edwardian England, not Victorian. I guess this is forgivable since the serialized novella was written in 1888 which was still during the Victorian times, and the real novel came out in 1905, but I'm pretty sure the setting is Edwardian in the revision. Also, anyone who has seen the Shirley Temple version of the movie (and who hasn't)? would be tempted to think it's set during Vicki's reign since the queen herself shows up in the movie. But I don't think she's happy with the change...
Let's leave her alone before something like this happens:
As for taking liberties with books, you know what else is different from the movie? (view spoiler)[ Well, it's kind of like that. (This is still the best spoiler I've ever seen). In the movie Sara's dad is alive and injured in the second Boer War, though everyone thinks he's dead. In the book he's quite dead, and no doubt about it.
"Well, maybe he was barely dead?"
Nope, dead dead.
"Or perhaps he was just mostly dead?"
Nuh-uh. Dead as a doornail. Don't believe me? Take it from this guy?
"As Coronim I must avim I thoroughly examined him, and he's not only merely dead, he's really most sincerely dead."
See? In fact, he was as dead as Queen Victoria.
"As coroner, I must aver..."
Yes, yes, thank you, that's enough. This dead daddy thing was a major plot element in the movie that is totally absent from the book, so we get a different story. I won't spoil that part, but will mention that it involves a coincidence of Dickensian proportions which was a holdover from the the novella which was written during the Victorian Era, so it's OK. Coincidences like that in Victorian lit are just fine. (hide spoiler)]
While I enjoyed the story, and Sara's take on life, what earns this book the fifth star is Miss Minchin.
Really, what's not to like here?
What an evil bitch! She's worse than Lady Tremaine in "Cinderella" in her cruelty and exploitation of our main character. Just when you think she can't get any meaner, she peels another layer off and exposes that her indifference to humanity truly knows no bounds, all the while bullshitting herself that she's doing the right thing. She also hasn't a scrap of shame. Even at the end when she knows she's up shit creek without a paddle, she continues to try and wheedle money and favors out of Sara and company. At least Sara's smart enough not to lap up any of that crap, and never was. Still, being just a little girl in a period of time when children had very few rights or anyone looking out for them, her options were limited. At one point I wanted Sara to just run up to Miss Minchin and shove her down the steps. She had the perfect opportunity since the woman was at the top of the stairs, and she had just cause as far as I'm concerned, and watching the old biddy take a tumble down the stairs would be like watching a slinky performing the same feat: it would bring a smile to one's face.
But that's not what Sara is all about. Sara's more into putting a positive spin on things, and using her imagination to get through dreary ordeals. This sounds like a Pollyanna of the old world, but she's not quite that one-dimensional. Sara has flaws as well, and will occasionally lose her temper which prevents her from being insufferably sweet.
I can understand why this is lauded as Burnett's best book, and while I like Little Lord Fauntleroy better, it's due to a personal preference and not because it's the better book. A Little Princess is easily the winner in that contest. Everything just comes together more neatly, and the characters are more believable. The entire thing is more realistic... Well, mostly.
There were a couple of parts that I think an editor should've caught, or perhaps it was just a problem with my version of the book. I can't remember all of the 3 or 4 instances where something didn't make geographical or historical sense; in fact I can remember only one. I'm very certain that nobody ever took a train from London to Moscow in 1905 since the Chunnel didn't open until 1994. (Perhaps Frances was as far ahead of her time as Gene Roddenberry)? I reread that sentence several times, and that's how it looked to me. What do you think? "...as the father of the Large Family drove quickly on his way to the station to take the train which was to carry him to Moscow..."
Also, this book has a quote that sums up how I feel about getting interrupted when I'm reading. "Never did she find anything so difficult as to keep herself from losing her temper when she was suddenly disturbed while absorbed in a book. People who are fond of books know the feeling of irritation which sweeps over them at such a moment. The temptation to be unreasonable and snappish is one not easy to manage." Well said, sister.
I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good child's story that's well written.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** What more can I say that hasn't already been said in my other reviews outside of plot summaries? This isn't a stand-alone book; it's**spoiler alert** What more can I say that hasn't already been said in my other reviews outside of plot summaries? This isn't a stand-alone book; it's just part of a bigger story. It would simply be season 7 if The Wheel of Time were a TV series. It has plot threads that continue from the previous book and will continue into the next one, most noticeably the one about the bloody Bowl of the Winds. They were looking for it in the last book. They found it at the very end of this one, but did they use it? No. That won't happen until the next one, but pretty early on if I recall. They want to use it to fix the weather which has been fucked up since the very first book, though it was temporarily rectified at the end of that one. In the first book the winter just hung on forever. Then somewhere around the 2nd or 3rd book, summer kept hanging on and on and on and on. There was a drought on the land, and nothing but storms on the seas, and nothing was changing. For at least 5 books this weather thing has been going on, for 2 our protagonists have been working on that, and we'll have to wait just one more for it to get fixed.
At least events with Sammael are wrapped up at the end of this book. He and Demandred were always my favorites of the Forsaken. Part of it was because they had the coolest names, and the other part was that they were motivated by jealousy of the Dragon, and had the most hate for him. I always thought the battle with Sammael at the end of this book was a little anti-climactic since he gets beaten by Mashadar. That has never sat well with me. He was one of the Forsaken, the best of the best, and during the battle he showed that not only was he an adept and crafty mutha with tactics and strategy on the battlefield, but also quite formidable one on one. Seriously, he nearly gets Rand several times with some traps, and is making Rand work hard just to stay alive. Then he got eaten by a mean fog while his back was turned? I'm not exactly sure what Mashadar is, but I suspect it might be something akin to a large and moving Torg. Sammael knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of a Slor on this day, I can tell you.
Way to go, Sammael. Your death calls up an image of Vinz Clortho via Louis Tully as portrayed by Rick Moranis.
Everything about that should make you feel shame, and I'm calling "writer fail" on it. You are aptly named "The Destroyer of Hope," for I hoped your death would be cooler, and that hope was dashed.
Moving on. I wish I had a dollar for every time clothing was mentioned. This is one of the things I hardly ever pay attention to, but every character's git-up is described in exasperating detail. All nobles wear silk slashed with some color or another. We hear about the belts, and the skirts, and the coats, and the earrings, and the nose rings, and the bracelets, and the necklaces, and the stockings, and the boots, and the shirts, and the undergarments, and the dresses, and the hair ornaments, ad nauseam, and yet I don't know that I ever picture what he describes because I wind up glossing over it. RJ could shorten the book by 100 pages just by cutting out the clothing descriptions alone. Another 100 pages could be lopped off if every mention of hands twitching skirts, or adjusting clothing were also cut. I think Jordan had a passion to work for Vogue or Elle, but didn't get the job and ended up letting all that pent up fashion frustration bleed into his magnum opus. Another 100 pages could be cut if he didn't rehash the previous book in each successive book. Basically, the story could be told in half the length, as usual.
Wow, I sure am bitching a lot about a story I really like. Regardless of all that, he's still a great writer, and the sarcastic wit of many of the characters carries this tale, and makes it worth enduring the journey.
Other items of note: The Seanchan reappear in this book, and their invasion pisses me off as much this time I read it as the first time. Sadly, due to their arrival Mat doesn't appear at all in the next book, but at least we got to see a lot of him in this one. Nynaeve finally loses her block, and it took her only 7 books to do it. She also marries Lan which means Lan is back in the picture, and he's the epitome of awesomeness. We're introduced to the Kin. Morgase gives up the throne. We meet Moridin as well as Cadsuane. Moghedien gets mind-trapped. Egwene is still a bitch. Elaida is still a bitch. In fact, let me save pages of typing by saying that almost all the women are still bitches. (Min and Birgitte are still cool, though). The Shaido get hold of Galina, though they do nothing in this book (I think they fire it up again in the next one). Mat and Tylin have their... fling? It's pretty much Tylin raping Mat, though it's... amusing? I have mixed feelings about the whole thing since Mat does enjoy himself with her, and I would say rape is never funny, but George Carlin disagrees. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQA6U...)
Same recommendation to the same peeps as in my other reviews....more