JG Ballard's The Drowned World is prescient and original. It is a dystopia fiction that instead of taking you into an arid or technological future takJG Ballard's The Drowned World is prescient and original. It is a dystopia fiction that instead of taking you into an arid or technological future takes you into a regressive future, where nature is devolving into a prehistoric state as global warming means the worlds water has risen to the point of near total human destruction. Given that this was written in the 50s it is ahead of its time and relevant to today's thinking and imaginings of the global warming nightmare. JGB writes a ferocious a angry tale, with little to "like" in terms of characters or sympathetic plot, but it is the originality of the idea, his beautiful use of scientific words and the frantic and tortured psychology of the characters which entices and entertains. A fast book to read but not a particularly fulfilling one as the it isn't that deep and the characters are largely unlikable, or at least you don't really care for them. Although futuristic and forward thinking, it is a book of the 50s and the adjectives of black people is woefully archaic and uncomplimentary but looking past that, judging the story on its thought experiment type of narration, it is a brilliant piece of science fiction. ...more
Thoroughly enjoying this book. Interesting, written engagingly and humourously, it has mass appeal. The anecdotes about the elements are often fascinaThoroughly enjoying this book. Interesting, written engagingly and humourously, it has mass appeal. The anecdotes about the elements are often fascinating and the book isn't dry at all. It's not evenly, with some of the elements clearly having more exciting "lives" than others, but I skipped through the book quickly and hopefully took a lot in. The illustrations are oftentimes a little off-beat and not really helpful, but the text doesn't really need them.
The writer obviously has passion for his subject and that boyhood sort of fascination comes across really nicely. I think that Aldersey-Williams has struck the right balance between geeky-factoid-fanzine, academic-reference and popular-science-for-the-masses-text. It's approachable, relatable, not too science-high-brow and ultimately really very readable....more
I am interested in Forensic Psychology, and wanted to make it my career, hence I bought the book and have seen Mr Britton speak. I was later surprisedI am interested in Forensic Psychology, and wanted to make it my career, hence I bought the book and have seen Mr Britton speak. I was later surprised when working with other Forensic Psychologists to learn that his input into the cases he cites was not as involved as he claims and his breakthroughs were not soley his own, nor were his ideas. Forensic Psychology is not something that can stand alone like in an Agatha Christie or Jessica Fletcher TV show detective. Evidence analysis is still crutial and there were many other people working on these cases. He didn't solve them!
I also find it difficult to read details of the cases in a "pop-psychology" book, which really should not be available to the public in a self serving manner as this book - case in point that of dear Jamie Bulger. The details in the book are graphic, disturbing, and an author should not be making money off them. These are not fictional characters he writes about but real high profile cases about people who deserve some dignity.
Those things aside, it was an interesting read... if you "like" that sort of thing, which as it was to be my career I did at the time. I was surprised at other Forensic Psychologists being so vehement in their disrespect of their "colleague" when speaking of Paul Britton's professionalism and self-confessed prowess. It seems his selling out and writing this book was not highly regarded nor were his high claims, which were apparently false. This book is quite egostistical on his part and this self centred style of writing is tiring.
He does not have mythic status in his field but was one of the first "Forensic Psychologists" who employed profiling and happened to work on some notable high coverage cases that were solved. It is Psychologists like him that spread that myth that Psychology is hoodoo rather than science. I have often been asked (worryingly not tongue in cheek) when people find out I have a Psychology degree "can you read minds?" and the idea that Forensic Psychologists can get inside criminal's minds and predict all of their moves and that they always follow a pattern (Criminal Minds the TV show is guilty of this too) that is "textbook" is possibly as a result of books like this. Twaddle.
If you take what you read at face value and don't know anything about Psychology this book will blow your mind. Ignore the fact it's claims are exaggerated, and it's an interesting book....more
Contraversial but actually quite sensible IMHO. More girls could use reading this book to save the heartache of chasing guys that "just aren't that inContraversial but actually quite sensible IMHO. More girls could use reading this book to save the heartache of chasing guys that "just aren't that into you." It's not a Bible of dating, its just a guideline and shouldn't be taken too seriously (which it takes itself sometimes). Taken lightly, with a pinch of salt, you could do worse than taking some of this on board, ladies! Bottom line, if he doesn't call, he doesn't want to. Move on.
It's all about protecting yourself. It's kind of passe now, and not at all fashionable, but I personally like them!...more
I read this a while ago so can't remember specific points about this book, but my enduring memory is one of congratulation that the authors point outI read this a while ago so can't remember specific points about this book, but my enduring memory is one of congratulation that the authors point out that die-hard evolutionists require just as much faith as creationists and there are just as many unanswered questions on both sides of the debate; whilst science points to evolution there is still that gap of knowledge, the unknown. This book has a brilliant cartoon depicting scientists with all their answers still have that big gap "and then something happened" in the middle - I quite like the idea of God being in that gap! This book cleverly highlights the egregiously huge numbers of possibility involved in the smallest random chance that evolution hangs it hat on, and that really brought home a lot of points... but of course it makes more impact if you are following a time frame of only about 15,000 years (less actually), which Christians holding to literal interpretation of the Bible (creation in six days from void to Adam) timeline do. Which I personally don't.
It was an enjoyable, fast read, not too much scientific language for science lay people to get tripped on. It doesn't answer every question and unfortunately raises quite a few more by not satisfactorily proving many of it's points with scientific method. This book stomps on a lot of widely recognised and accepted scientific facts without substantial evidence to refute them. If some of the refuted points in this book had scientific weight, they would be common knowledge, surely.
I enjoyed this book, but it did highlight both faith employed but also dogged belief no matter what the evidence (or lack thereof) on both sides of the argument, presumably unintentional in the argument against evolution. Despite that, I think the authors had a pretty good stab at making their point, whether ultimately you believe them wholeheartedly or not. Read with an open mind....more
This book was originally published in 1893. I am fortunate to have the Kregel publications edition with colour plates and a pull out constellation mapThis book was originally published in 1893. I am fortunate to have the Kregel publications edition with colour plates and a pull out constellation map in the back and it's a family book that I treasure.
Reading it gives you chills; Bullinger has written a sort of dissertation outlining a complex, well researched idea that all the constellations have at their core, meanings and interpretations, a primeval prophecy of Jesus, his redeeming power and ultimate victory over death. It's incredibly gripping, educational, and oftentimes convincing. As a Christian, and a believer in God's hand in Nature, and being in awe of the beauty and wonder of the world, I would like to believe that nature has esoteric knowledge stitched into the fabric of time. It's a thrlling concept. His theory is summarised in a quote from Psalms on the front page: "He telleth the number of the stars; He giveth them all their names." Psalm 147:4 - RV.
In the book, Bullinger describes each of the constellations in the zodiac starting with virgo through to leo - the riddle of the sphinx is explained (!!); the virgin to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah - by discussing their original names, in many ancient languages, and the names of the highest magnitude stars within them which elucidate the person of Jesus and his plan for the Bride of Christ (Israel, not the Church). Bullinger also mentions a few historical events and what was going on in the sky at that time which also tells a story, and takes great pain to highlight the shifting position of stars over the millenia, and how they would have been when originally set down or where relating to various events.
Some explanations and "proofs" seem a little tenuous and he is heavily biased; he has a habit of discounting any cultural name or explanation that doesn't fit his theory ie he says often enough that the Greeks and their myths were "ignorance" or they had "forgotten" the original meanings. Most of the cultural references are based on the zodiac of Denderah (Egypt), and the Egyptian, Hebrew and Arabic names are most commonly used, which suggests the obvious common root, but other cultures are referenced (Ethiopian, Syriac, Hindu, Greek, Latin, Chaldee etc) but not consistently. Even discounting the cultures not represented, if they are the names of the stars are real (weird if NOT signficant), and this is historically acurate research not a posteriori interpretation, then the story outlined in the heavens how it is described is quite simply jaw-dropping and certainly prophetic as it is millenia old.
He lost me in the last chapter talking about periods of time and special numbers outlining the time that Jerusalem will be "trodden underfoot," and he goes to great lengths in saying how some prophecies are about Israel and Jerusalem, NOT the Christian Church.
What is never explained is how the constellation pictures (that bear little resemblemce to the clusters of stars) came to be in the first place. The pictures are not a celestial dot to dot but still are - if his book is believed - similar the world over; if not for the same pictures exactly, but still similar meanings but the exact same clusters of stars - given the infinite choice, this is phenomenal in itself.
Overall, it's an amazing book, brilliantly presented and researched and written with obvious love and devotion, a magnum opus of biblical scholarship. Read it and I defy you not to be amazed at least once....more