I remember next to zip about this except that it was very popular when I was a teenager - including w/ me - & that it introduced slang like "grok"...moreI remember next to zip about this except that it was very popular when I was a teenager - including w/ me - & that it introduced slang like "grok". I vaguely recall this being a sortof 'hippie' SF - maybe it was full of communes & orgies & suchlike. This is the last Heinlein I remember liking. I think he might've just deteriorated into writing more & more incest fantasies disguised as SF after this & losing alotof his SF edge. (less)
Writing these 'reviews' sometimes creates a sortof potential 'meta-review' in my head. I just wrote one about Arthur C. Clarke's "The Fountains of Par...moreWriting these 'reviews' sometimes creates a sortof potential 'meta-review' in my head. I just wrote one about Arthur C. Clarke's "The Fountains of Paradise" wch is shelved next to this bk, "Fountain Society", in my library b/c of "Craven" following "Clarke". Coincidentally, they both have "Fountain" in the title. Maybe I shd write a novel called "Craven Paradise" that's all about the sex life of microbes living on both bk jackets. "The torrid love life of tiny immortal creatures on the elevator to the sky!" screams the advertising copy!
Anyway, I like Wes Craven as a filmmaker & I was pleasantly surprised by reading this novel of his. It's basically a Michael Crichton style thriller but I think it's better b/c I don't really like Crichton. The back cover copy makes it seem more cliché than I remember it as being: "At its center is a sinister plot to confer immortality on a select, elite group of government scientists - a plot of such fiendish, cold brutality and evil that it has been kept secret - including from most of those who might one day benefit from it." (less)
This was the 1st Clarke novel I'd read after a long hiatus of decades. It's got the usual dominant-male-pursues-impossible-dream type plot. I actually...moreThis was the 1st Clarke novel I'd read after a long hiatus of decades. It's got the usual dominant-male-pursues-impossible-dream type plot. I actually like that sort of thing sometimes - esp if the "impossible dream" is compelling. In this case, it's a giant 'elevator' from a sacred mountain to off-planet. This, of course, brings in philisophical-religious conflict of cultures - w/ ye olde white guy as the aggressor that I suppose most of us are expected to root for. Another in-one-side-of-the-brain-&-out-the-other type of reading experience. In other words, it didn't make much of an impression on me. (less)
I cd've been as young as 10 or 11 when I read this. I was in an SF bk club & this is one of the bks I got thru that. It was probably pretty adult...moreI cd've been as young as 10 or 11 when I read this. I was in an SF bk club & this is one of the bks I got thru that. It was probably pretty adult for me at the time. Looking at it now it seems more like a mystery or horror bk but I've filed it under SF. Christopher's an English writer, maybe this is close to some Ballard. Page 200:
""Men have recorded the abnormalities of themselves and their fellow humans since they learned how to scratch signs on papyrus. I don't know of anything that's anything like what's been happening here. That's why I called it unprecedented. We're faced with something that seems to use human intelligences, but is not human. If it had existed before on the earth, men would have encountered it."
"Elizabeth said, "Intelligence doesn't arise out of nothing. Are you saying that snow and ice have somehow acquired consciousness?""
All I remember of this, if one can even call it remembering, is a vague feeling of eerie foreboding - probably what the author was aiming for & something most likely to be effectual w/ an inexperienced young mind such as my own at the time. (less)
In keeping w/ my ongoing project of showing uses of "anarchy" in the bks I read, I refer the reader to page 186 of this. On it, the space colonists, a...moreIn keeping w/ my ongoing project of showing uses of "anarchy" in the bks I read, I refer the reader to page 186 of this. On it, the space colonists, after having been attacked by government forces from Earth, are informed that 'civilization' on Earth has been destroyed by a nuclear disaster, & are asked to accept this new government that's just attacked them as governing them too. The patriarch of the family accepts their authority, informing his family: "That's the way it has to be. Otherwise, there'd be anarchy." Right. There'd be anarchy, there might not be any more nuclear disasters or government forces attacking them. Heaven forbid.
As w/ most dystopic SF, mix a sensational technological development w/ social-control politics & predict what might happen - as a warning to the s...moreAs w/ most dystopic SF, mix a sensational technological development w/ social-control politics & predict what might happen - as a warning to the society in wch the development is taking place. In this case. perhaps CIA experiments w/ LSD for mind-control purposes (if the author was even aware of them in 1964 when this was probably written) w/ the usual intention of power conglomerates to CONTROL, CONTROL, CONTROL & out comes this possible (near) future (now the present or the past).
It wd be interesting to take all past prophesizing novels & combine their text w/ footage from the times they prophesize about for the sake of juxtaposition & framing. This 'futuristic' bk begins in 1976. A general public living for drugged vacations? That certainly wdn't be hard to find. It's the "super-intellects" of the ruling elites that I'd question here. (less)
Of course, it's fun to read SF novels that prophesize about a future date that we're either at now or have already passed. This utopian novel is set i...moreOf course, it's fun to read SF novels that prophesize about a future date that we're either at now or have already passed. This utopian novel is set in 1999, published in 1975. SF is full of dystopian novels that're projective critiques of the present tense. This is one of the rarer ones that critiques (what was) the present tense by postulating a utopia (of sorts) that's presumably rooted in the hopes that counterculture had for communes, eg. It's, perhaps, in the company of some of the work of Ursula LeGuin & Joan Slonczewski but I think I like their work more.
On page 115, under a heading of "Workers' Control, Taxes, and Jobs in Ecotopia" it's explained that "the people, seeing the former owners depart, realized that a new era was indeed upon them and began spontaneously taking over farms, factories, and stores. The process was chaotic, but it was not anarchic; it was controlled by the local governments and local courts." Did I say "utopia"? I take that back. (less)
I liked this but I realize more & more that I expect more from a novel than for it to have an interesting plot premise & an engaging & qui...moreI liked this but I realize more & more that I expect more from a novel than for it to have an interesting plot premise & an engaging & quick-moving narration, etc. Supposedly this bk got the 1st of 4 Hugo Awards for the author. Is the selection out there THAT weak?!
A plot outline of this is that a device called a Bobbler is invented wch encloses threats to peace - at wch point the people inside are hypothesized to die from suffocation. A "Peace Authority" becomes the new world government of sorts & they monitor technological development to ensure that it no longer reaches a point where Mutually Assured Destruction is possible. Humanity is mostly wiped out by plagues & suchlike & humans stabilize at a much smaller population using horses & wagons, etc.. Tinkers develop cottage technology. Eventually, the Tinkers revolt against the Peace Authority's dictatorship.
Anarchy is mentioned 3 times: page 99:
"In the years that followed the great collapse, the Authority had stripped the rest of the world of high-energy technology. The most dangerous governments-such as that of the United States-were destroyed, and their territories left in a state that ranged from the village anarchy of Middle California, to the medievalism of Aztlán, to the fascism of New Mexico."
Ok, fair enuf, the description of the "village anarchy" is mostly family oriented but one cd call it organized in terms of affinity groups. However, it's patriarichal, so, no, I wdn't REALLY call it anarchist. Page 142:
"The Peace kept most of the continent in a state of anarchy."
Uh, duh, dude, the "Peace" is at the top of a hierarchy. Therefore, there is no "anarchy" given that they're in charge. By page 303, at the end of the bk, the Authority has been partially defeated:
""With the Authority gone, most of America-outside of the Southwest-has no government at all. It's fallen back into anarchy.""
Ok, Vinge, wch is it? Did the Authority keep the world in a state of anarchy or did its demise result in anarchy? Vinge has a protaganist working toward structuring the post-Authority of the world around the 'democratic model' of New Mexico. Uh.. not that long ago, New Mexico was "fascist", now it's the world's new "democratic" model!! Yes, what we have here is a New World Odor novel. Basically, Vinge is a political idiot, not a bad novelist but the politics are weak - to say the least.
I probably read this originally when I was 13 or so when I read 17 Edgar Rice Burroughs bks back-to-back. Then I stopped reading his work b/c I though...moreI probably read this originally when I was 13 or so when I read 17 Edgar Rice Burroughs bks back-to-back. Then I stopped reading his work b/c I thought it was too unsophisticated & trashy. When I 1st posted this to GoodReads I gave it a 3 star rating. Now I've reread it & I've lowered that to a 2 star rating. Despite that, I have to admit that I enjoyed reading it, I just wdn't make much of a claim for it as highly imaginative or great writing. It took me a few hrs to read & when I was younger & had more time for such things I may've read as much as 3 bks a day to 3 bks a wk - so reading 17 E. R. Burroughs bks wdn't've been much of an extraordinary accomplishment.
I've recently had the desire to reread bks that were important to me as a kid b/c my friend Alan Davies interviewed me & asked me about what bks influenced me in those days & it got me to thinking about them again. I'll probably reread some Hardy Boys too. What interests me the most about such rereadings is the rediscovery of what I can still identify w/ in these bks. Burroughs' protagonist, Lieutenant von Horst, has a sense of humor in a world where his type of humor makes no sense to the general barbarity. Reading this conflict of mindsets was one of the bigger delights of reading this for me.
Burroughs uses the barbarity of Pellucidar as a context in wch the protagonist's ethics can shine forth as desirable. "Von", as the protagonist comes to be known, is constantly putting the good of others above simple self-servingness. Instead of just escaping slavery alone, he leads all the slaves to escape. In Pellucidar, the tribal norm is to murder anyone not of the same tribe. Von works counter to this by making friends from various tribes - who, eventually, work for his own good as well. Von's befriending of a woolly mammoth is the most spectacular instance of this.
Now that I've written this brief review, I've upped the star rating to 3 again! My fascination w/ stories of the Hollow Earth no doubt originated w/ the Pellucidar series & w/ Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth. For that alone, at least, I thank Edgar Rice Burroughs. (less)
review of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tanar of Pellucidar by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - October 8, 2012
I've pretty much explained my reasons for rereadin...morereview of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tanar of Pellucidar by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - October 8, 2012
I've pretty much explained my reasons for rereading any of the E. R. Burroughs "Pellucidar" series in my review of Back to the Stone Age ( http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23... ). An additional reason not mentioned in that review is that I have hundreds of bks in piles in my bedroom awaiting reading & reviewing & reading a Pellucidar novel is an easy way to knock one more out & work in the direction of having the place be less messy. NOW, isn't that a 'bad' reason for reading something?! Just to get it out of the way?!
Tanar of Pellucidar was the 3rd in the series, Back to the Stone Age was the 5th. Despite the easy sensationalist plot basis of having the story revolve around the effects of outer-Earth technology on inner-Earth 'stone age' coupled w/ a painfully manipulative romance, I found myself enjoying this. Rereading my review of Back to the Stone Age, I was surprised to find myself making similar observations about that one - even tho I don't really remember what I read in it a mere 11 mnths later.
In the framing "Prologue": to this one, the author is sitting around w/ an inventor friend listening to a newly invented type of radio when they receive a compelling adventure story as told in something akin to Morse Code. The inventor, skeptical, is told by the author, Burroughs:
""You know, of course," he said, "that there really has been a theory of an inner world for many years."
""Yes," I replied, "I have read works expounding and defending such a theory."
""It supposes polar openings leading into the interior of the earth," said Jason.
""And it is substantiated by many seemingly irrefutable scientific facts," I reminded him - "open polar sea, warmer water farthest north, tropical vegetation floating southward from the polar regions, the northern lights, the magnetic pole, the persistent stories of the Eskimos that they are descended from a race that came from a warm country far to the north."" (p 8)
Now this bk was written in 1928 & the 1st of the series, At the Earth's Core was written in 1914. A Journey to the Earth's Interior or Have the Poles Really been Discovered by Marshall B. Gardner was written in 1913. Therefore, I have to wonder did Burroughs read Gardner's bk & was it the inspiration for the "Pellucidar" series?
In the early 1980s I was interested in Hollow Earth theories & was somewhat surprised to find that there were at least two small magazines dedicated to such things: "The Hollow Hassle" & "Shavertron" (if I remember correctly. I then organized the "Sinnit-Nut Hollow Earth Symposium" & published an audio tape from it. You can find more info about that under the "K7H" entry here: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/WdmUCat... . This latter was a collaboration w/ "Blaster" Al Ackerman. "Blaster" was also the one who sent me the Gardner bk.
A Journey to the Earth's Interior or Have the Poles Really been Discovered was written as a serious questioning of whether Peary actually reached the North Pole in 1909, as had been claimed. I read the Gardner bk w/ an open mind & found it to be reasonably argued. That didn't lead me to conclude that the Earth is hollow but it did lead me to like Gardner's critical & inquisitive thinking.
Back to the Burroughs bk: after the framing beginning where we're told that the story is being told thru patient & detailed key-tapping it doesn't seem to bother the author one whit that this tedious method of communication is then presented as producing 214pp of text. No matter.
Given the romance under-running the entire Pellucidar portion of the bk & the ways in wch this romance is written to frustrate the reader, it was relief for me when there was an unexpected touch of Jonathan Swift. Viz: the contrasting social philosophies & consequent social conditions between the peoples of the 2 nearby islands: Amiocap & Hime. The people of Amiocap practice free love & the people of Hime are hateful. Take this example fro the narrative of the latter:
"Tanar crossed the ledge and sat down beside her. "Do your people always quarrel like thus?" he asked.
""Always," replied Gura.
""Why?" he asked.
""I do not know," she replied. "They take their mates for life and are permitted but one and though both men and women have a choice in the selection of their mates they never seem satisfied with one another and are always quarreling, usually because neither one nor the other is faithful. [..]"" (p 143)
All in all, this was a good enuf tale & maybe someday I'll revisit the Tarzan movies that were also important to me as a child (as was Kipling's Jungle Book). Perhaps the worst part about this particular Pellucidar story was the way Burroughs rushed the ending & set up his readership for the sequel. (less)
Not the edition I read but I prefer to pick one w/ a cover illustration. I long since don't have the original bks anymore. I wd've had the Ace 1960s r...moreNot the edition I read but I prefer to pick one w/ a cover illustration. I long since don't have the original bks anymore. I wd've had the Ace 1960s reprints. (less)
In the continuing spirit of trying to remember every bk I've ever read, I'm going to list all the Edgar Rice Burroughs Pellucidar bks - adventures in...moreIn the continuing spirit of trying to remember every bk I've ever read, I'm going to list all the Edgar Rice Burroughs Pellucidar bks - adventures in the Hollow Earth. I read them devotedly when I was about 13 to 15 & enjoyed them alot. I also pretty much wrote them off as trash. ERB wrote an enormous amt & I probably read at least 1 of the Mars novels too. Doubt that I'll ever read anything else by him but I'm ALMOST curious to see what my 13 yr old mind got out of these. (less)
I'm not quite so hot on Butler as other friends of mine are. She's a passably good social observer but I don't really think she's THAT good & I do...moreI'm not quite so hot on Butler as other friends of mine are. She's a passably good social observer but I don't really think she's THAT good & I don't think the writing's that great either. Nonetheless, I'll read more by her. (less)
This is probably my favorite bk that I've read by Burgess. It interweaves (I know, I know, that's an overused word in this type of context) 3 stories:...moreThis is probably my favorite bk that I've read by Burgess. It interweaves (I know, I know, that's an overused word in this type of context) 3 stories: one of wch is all about Freud. Learning about the genesis of psychoanalysis was esp interesting for me. I never realized what an INVENTION it was - not even necessarily by doctors. (less)
This might've been the 1st Broderick bk I read. I was impressed. A SF author that I wasn't familiar w/ who had wit & ideas & some social consc...moreThis might've been the 1st Broderick bk I read. I was impressed. A SF author that I wasn't familiar w/ who had wit & ideas & some social consciousness. (less)
Ok, I admit, my reasons for giving this bk a 4 star review are flimsy. On page 51 he uses the word "anarchist" in a manner I approve of. THEN, on page...moreOk, I admit, my reasons for giving this bk a 4 star review are flimsy. On page 51 he uses the word "anarchist" in a manner I approve of. THEN, on page 58, he describes a Mark Boyle photograph in a character's foyer. Mark Boyle's an English artist who did light shows for The Soft Machine & other very interesting things. Very few people seem to know who he is. That sort of detail in a bk perks my little mind right up. (less)
I was traveling in Australia in 2000 &, as usual, I was looking for bks there that I might not be able to find where I usually live. So I found &...moreI was traveling in Australia in 2000 &, as usual, I was looking for bks there that I might not be able to find where I usually live. So I found & I read one of Broderick's bks & learned that he lives in Melbourne. That lead to my arranging to meet him & interview him. He agreed & was a nice guy & the interview is incorporated into a movie of mine called "Don't Walk Backwards". B/c of this, I'll read everything by the guy I can find. Wch, in the US, ain't much. This one? Well, it's called "Sorcerer's World" wch immediately evokes the "Sword & Sorcery" genre wch only Samuel Delaney has ever pulled off in any way that interests me. SO, I've found Broderick's work uneven so far. Some of the bks just seem to be written for money, some seem to truly have a personality behind them. Damien told me that he was mainly writing science bks by the time I met him & I've never seen a single one of those. Of course, I cd start looking for things for sale over the internet & I cd also run out of money very, very quickly.. so I'll stick to used bk stores for now. (less)
The front cover promo of this says: "THE WORLD'S GREATEST LIVING SCIENCE-FICTION WRITER". NOT. I mean, c'mon, that's just embarassing! Maybe Bradbury...moreThe front cover promo of this says: "THE WORLD'S GREATEST LIVING SCIENCE-FICTION WRITER". NOT. I mean, c'mon, that's just embarassing! Maybe Bradbury never knew they did this but if he did he shd've objected. (less)
There are certain writers that I associate primarily w/ reading as a teenager: Bradbury, Hesse, Salinger, Vonnegut being 4 that I think of off the top...moreThere are certain writers that I associate primarily w/ reading as a teenager: Bradbury, Hesse, Salinger, Vonnegut being 4 that I think of off the top-of-my-head. As usual w/ stuff I read almost 40 yrs ago, I remember the FEELING of this more than anything else: Illustrated Man comes to town w/ carnival, something creepy happens, that sort of thing. It must've been pretty effective for me at the time. I remember feeling like I grew out of that pretty fast though.. (less)