With an economy of words and rich concise visuals, Ray Bradbury excels in a medium few authors are even brave enough to tackle: The Short Story. Befor...moreWith an economy of words and rich concise visuals, Ray Bradbury excels in a medium few authors are even brave enough to tackle: The Short Story. Before King and Koontz, the was Bradbury. Painting stunningly crisp worlds with the briefest of vivid strokes, this collection of tales still haunt and tease, shock and please...even after over 50 years! Some of my favorite characters and conflicts reside in this masterful collection and whenever I'm in need of some inspiration for my own writing, I lean the Wistful Worder from Waukegan... The Veldt, Kaleidoscope, and The Illustrated Man are among the most polished and complete short stories I've ever encountered. Bradbury plumbs the chilling depths of humanity in a few thousand well chosen words where most authors fail to ever scratch the surface after 10,000 over-ripe metaphors. He strips us of our manufactured and all-to-serious skin, and exposes our wicked silliness so quickly and so purely that we can't help but be frightened and thankful in the same shuddering breath. Thank you Ray, for your eternal gift.(less)
Brilliant and brave!! if you've never read Christopher Moore, start here! I love his work and this is the literal Gospel of all of his stories. I'm a...moreBrilliant and brave!! if you've never read Christopher Moore, start here! I love his work and this is the literal Gospel of all of his stories. I'm a scientific cynic with a great deal of faith in spirituality...that means I believe--much like the disciple Biff and his bud and Savior Josh--in the Golden Rule. I disagree, in principle and practice, with organized religion in all of it's forms. Mankind's egocentric religious paradigms have amounted to nothing but death and destruction.
But personal, selfless goodwill--now that is truly a rare treasure!
It doesn't take a lifetime of committing ones-self to centuries-old convoluted doctrine and "laws" to live a good Christian (or Jewish, or Muslim, etc) life. Joshua (who is Jesus) learns that through the course of the book and his travels with his best bud Biff through the ancient East. It's not about pleasing any God--it's about taking care of each other.
And if you miss that message in any of the "Holy Writings" (Bible, Torah, Koran, yada yada) then you are truly lost. Good luck.
If you're a theologic purist and are offended by trials of faith like the discovery of the Gnostic Books a few decades back, or even The DaVinci Code, then this book is especially for you...too bad you'll hate it. But you're exactly the person Mr. Moore must've had in mind when he wrote it.
I love the relationships Biff and Josh develop--and Mary Magdalene is phenomenal!!
I really can't rave enough about this book. My favorite part: When Josh and Biff are going over the text for the Sermon on the Mount... "what about the meek?"
"Give 'em fruit baskets." "And the dumbfucks?" "Oh, forgot about them." "Give them the fruit baskets, then." "Okay, we'll give the meek the Earth."
This book has been autopsied to death... so I'll spare everyone the usual litany of arguments enumerating the myriad reasons why I hate this book. And...moreThis book has been autopsied to death... so I'll spare everyone the usual litany of arguments enumerating the myriad reasons why I hate this book. And I realize that "hate" is such a strong, emotional word to describe one's relationship to a work of fiction, but... It's simply all I have.
I don't hate Holden Caulfield. Not at all. Most people go on and on about this worthless little shithead and quite honestly, that's the reason he's become so disgusting popular (along with this waste of pulp in which he lives). There's not a single rational, well-adjusted soul out there right now that wouldn't slap the shit of this whiny sociopath if he really existed...and I think that's the real point: He does exist. In some way, shape or form. But, that's not news. It didn't shock us in 1950; and it doesn't surprise us now.
What pisses me off is that Salinger got away with one of the cheapest, dirtiest tricks ever: He (or she, if you believe some conspiracy wackjobs) totally screwed us. Granted, he got us monologuing and then dialoguing about adolescence and conformity and social acceptance and personal accountability. That's not bad. He should get some credit for having the courage to challenge us in that vein. So I give him one star for that.
But soon, those dialogues became lectures that then became required reading that then morphed into actual college courses and in some areas--freaking philosophies! Salinger cheated us all because he didn't care about Holden Caulfield anymore than he expected us to. That sucks. He simply created apathy for the sake of apathy. And he laughed his sneaky ass all the way into infamy and reclusion. The fact that there really is no point to it, actually became this crappy book's most appealing attribute. And we, as a planet, have wasted far too much time on it.
I think Salinger knew exactly how this was going to turn out. Nice one, J.D. I still only give you one star. Like you care. (less)
As inspirational and reflective now as it was 50 years ago, Burgess' psyco-sociologic treatise stands alone as the single most important piece of soci...moreAs inspirational and reflective now as it was 50 years ago, Burgess' psyco-sociologic treatise stands alone as the single most important piece of social-moral literature written in the past 100 years. Arguably controversial, with it's graphic violence and dystopian ethics, Clockwork Orange remains a masterpiece of human darkness and conformity. The novel strips us of our defenses, thrusts us into Alex's skin, and forces us along for a frightening ride through the twisted and shadowy hallways of our own souls. Burgess is not gentle as he drags us through this world of selfish depravity and human appetites. We cringe and close the book at times, feigning disgust or self-righteousness...yet, we keep a finger between the clamped pages--to mark our place for when we may want to return. It's the proverbial train wreck of our culture, our world. We simply--shamefully, perhaps--cannot tear our attention away from the reflection in the cracked mirror. Regardless if we approve or not, we are--at once--Alex at his best, society at it's worst. I've intentionally re-experienced this novel at least once during each decade of my life, and each time I find that it both awakens some new comprehension while at the same time soothes some ancient anxiety or agony. I feel compelled to thank Mr. Burgess for having the courage to expose our darkness with dignity and honesty, while still preserving our humanity...in spite of ourselves.(less)
A favorite of mine from back in 6th grade... Bradbury lured me into his stories from an early age with his magical world-weaving and wholesome charac...more A favorite of mine from back in 6th grade... Bradbury lured me into his stories from an early age with his magical world-weaving and wholesome character heroes. He wrote of simple people in simple times facing age-old conflicts and sinister mysteries. For me, this tale of innocent adolescence and courageous curiosity set the foundation for everything that I either read or tried to write. Together with The Shining, this haunting and romantic tale inspired me to follow my own desires to become an accomplished story teller. Ray Bradbury achieves a level of rich and cautionary macabre a few years before Stephen King made it vogue. Something Wicked remains one my favorites and just evolves into more of a classic with each telling.(less)