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A bit rough around the edges, sure, but damned if it doesn't make me wish I was part of the San Francisco punk/hipster scene of the 1990s so I could hA bit rough around the edges, sure, but damned if it doesn't make me wish I was part of the San Francisco punk/hipster scene of the 1990s so I could have been around to witness El Pollo Diablo vs The Poontangler.
And nothing (NOTHING!) should make me wish I was part of a hipster scene....more
This whole genre of stuffy British dudes who find themselves unwillingly going on adventures and discovering that there's more toYou know what I like?
This whole genre of stuffy British dudes who find themselves unwillingly going on adventures and discovering that there's more to them than just being pasty and flustered.
And, yeah, it's a genre. There's TONS of books with that same damn plot. Thing is, they're often very entertaining.
They're also usually played for laughs. Which is not the case in The Raw Shark Texts. Yes, the protagonist eventually finds himself drawn into a world where the old rules don't apply. Yes, he has an adventure. Yes, he even has a sidekick in the form of an irascible, unflappable (fortunately, non-talking) ginger cat.
But it's a story of confusion and grief and loss. Eric Sanderson has lost everything he ever held dear, including himself, beginning with a stupid, everyday accident and culminating in the predations of a conceptual beast who feeds on memory and swims the currents of ideas and information.
It's a very meta sort of story, with much of the narrative being dedicated to the biology of ideas and memes, how they grow and evolve, how they have their own ecosystem that interacts with our material one. There's also a fair bit of fourth-wall breaking (but not in the usual sense) as the words and type on the page are molded and re-arrange to become more illustration than text.
I'm not sure I can properly review this book, I really don't have the language for it. But I can assure you, even if the plot is a bit familiar, the ideas are quite unlike anything you're likely to have encountered....more
I realize that I give far too many books a four or five star rating. So sue me.
Book buying isn't, you know, a quick thing for me. I browse, I choose,I realize that I give far too many books a four or five star rating. So sue me.
Book buying isn't, you know, a quick thing for me. I browse, I choose, I read the blurbs inside, I deliberate, I read a chapter from ever book I've chosen.
In short, I only read things I'm really likely to like.
So, I will tell you right now, if there were a way to give [High Fidelity] six stars, I would.
Ostensibly it's a novel about pop music and love. But if that's what you're seeing, then you are reading it wrong.
It's a novel about obsession, rejection and minutia. As such, [Nick Hornby] speaks directly to my geeky soul. Even though I'm not a music expert, I see a lot of myself in the main character Rob - escaping into pop, defining his life through records, filling his head with facts rather than feelings and trying, oh so desperately trying, to be a real human being.
His relationships never last. If he's not outright rejected, then he's the one who gets full of himself and does the rejecting. He's not good with people, doesn't want to be, ultimately can't be. But he aches for them. He's a loner who can't bear to be alone. He pushes people away, but wonders why there aren't any people around.
Every word in [High Fidelity] felt familiar, even with a location (London) and a milieu (music fandom) that are unfamiliar to me. Somehow, Hornby strikes this strange, compelling balance between being incredibly witty on the surface, and being incredibly depressing beneath.
Swap out records for comics or videogames, and I am Rob. If you're a geek, and a male, and a member of these recent lost generations of "slackers" and "man-children", then you are Rob, too. ...more
So I was, like, really broke towards the tail end of last month. But, you know, broke or not, I still needed something to read - I was just going to hSo I was, like, really broke towards the tail end of last month. But, you know, broke or not, I still needed something to read - I was just going to have to content myself with one of those trashy, $7.99 paperbacks. And, lemme tell ya, pickings are slim.
So I got a Michael Crichton book. I'm very ashamed. More so because I actually, well, liked it.
Crichton, I think, resonates so well with middle-of-the-road audiences because his takes on science and technology tend to play to the common man's fear that it's all spiraling out of control. It feeds the idea that scientists are unscrupulous, insane dirtbags.
Next really isn't that different. There's a lot of unscrupulous science going on here. And it's a very didactic book, a lot of exposition, a lot of information, and a clear bias. Just like most other Michael Crichton sci-fi thrillers.
The difference here is that, well, he might actually be right. When you talk about things such as corporate ownership of portions of the genome, patenting of individual genes, ownership of cells being given to someone other than the person those cells came from - this is all stuff that's happening right now. And it's stuff that cannot, in any way, be good.
And, yeah, there are some subplots about transgenic animals. They're fun - mostly because, hey, who doesn't love a talking animal - but they're not what this is about. The concern here isn't even necessarily about the science, it's about the greed that has warped the science.
So, thematically, it's terribly compelling. In actual execution, well... few writers are as talented at the craft of forcing you to turn the page as Crichton, even if what's on the next page is kind of hackneyed.
And that's the problem with the $7.99 mass-market paperback, isn't it? Even when you have interesting themes, they're really just the window dressing for chases, shootouts, mistaken identities, unbelievable coincidences and, yeah, talking monkeys. ...more