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DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

I reserve dog-ears for pages I want to mark for whatever reason to come back to later. For actual bookmarks I use various scraps of paper, often receipts or ripped up bits of lined note paper.

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DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

The New Yorker has a pretty good piece on the topic of "histories" and the novel.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

Mollymauk posted:

Can someone recommend some good horror novels for October? I read The Fall and The Passage last week and have read 23 Stephen King books so I've missed a bunch.

The Horla by Guy de Mauppassant

It's only a short story so after that you're on your own. Maybe read I Am Legend if you liked The Passage. If you liked Stephen King you can also check out his son, Joe Hill.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

Txiuct posted:

Does anyone have any experience in getting a book published? Ive googled around a bit, but are there any first hand goon stories about what you went through?

I have an acquaintance who wants me to translate this fantasy book he wrote into English so it can get published. He wants to split profits from the book sales, but until that I wont be getting paid. I dont really want to jump into something I dont know much about, especially since I have to completely finish before I see a return on my time.

Here you go.

99.9% of submitted manuscripts don't get published, so I wouldn't waste my time.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

My libraries were:

Undergrad: The main one was like a shopping mall's foodcourt--just a big social area. But then there was another one which totally had the awesome "Victorian/old oak bookcases/musty leather books" feel down pat, and everyone who went there was there to work. All the books you actually wanted were in the main library, but if you just wanted to work, this other one was where it was at.

Masters: Robarts Library at U of T. The stacks above floor 4 were loving awesome. This is my favourite library.

PhD: Eh. The library I go to now is just... busy. I never stay to work. Most people are working (though they're still texting and talking with their buddy) but you can't find a place to sit and it's very sterile--just not a very pleasant place to be.

DirtyRobot fucked around with this message at Apr 14, 2011 around 13:49

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

xcheopis posted:

There's a Sherlock Holmes River?

I've read the books so the answer didn't seem obscure to me but I'm not sure how "I can manipulate shadows" and "regained my memories after centuries of amnesia" = river. Am I missing out on an in-joke?

The form of your clue was very much like a traditional children's riddle, and "a river" would be a traditional answer to such a riddle.

Example:

I can run but I never walk; I have a mouth but I never talk; I have a bed but never sleep; I have a head but never weep. What am I?

A river

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

Tuxedo Ted posted:

I have a quick question about finding a story I read. A while back in some other subforum's thread, someone linked a sci-fi short story about an alien invasion. The narrative switched between the alien perspective and the human perspective. The twist of it all was that the aliens were incredibly low-tech by human standards. Their craft were similar to old sailing ships, and they were armed with sabers and single shot pistols and muskets (maybe rifles?). The technology to travel great distances in tiny amounts of time was incredibly simple, but by some freak twist humanity completely missed the secret and continued to develop in a different direction.


Anywho, I was wondering if anyone new the name of the story or the author, or if they have a link to where it's hosted online. I'd love to read it again, but I don't have any info to search with. Thanks.

I do not have the answers you seek, but I am confident that clicking here will lead you towards the path of enlightenment.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

UnfurledSails posted:

Any advice on rebuilding a reading habit?
- Read something you've already read and loved.

- Post your likes, dislikes, and books that previously enthralled you, so that you can get recommendations for stuff that's more likely to draw you in.

- Read Harry Potter or something. That's not an ironic or a condescending suggestion; I think sometimes you need to get drawn in with something that's quite "easy" simply in order to (re)experience what it's like to feel utterly and helplessly drawn in.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

Food Court Druid posted:

Of course, it's also possible that the professors of the future will just say "gently caress it, let's do something the freshmen like" and Harry Potter will be remembered as the voice of our generation.

"[Harry Potter] was not of an age, but for all time."
- Ben Jonson, circa 2079

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

Chamberk posted:

So JK Rowling has announced the title and plot of her next book, to be published in late September:

http://www.littlebrown.co.uk/TheCasualVacancy

And I'm willing to bet that 99% of Potter fans will find it incredibly boring. Ah well.
It sounds very, very similar to the plot of Barchester Towers, complete with war metaphor and all.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

I'm partial to #130 ("My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun"), but that's a pretty standard answer. Just have some fun with it, Shakespeare sure did. It's more obviously true in Donne than in Shakespeare, but basically: if something looks like it just might be a sex joke, it is. Also, every reference to death or fire is a sex joke.

Anyways, the point of the sonnet is the volta, or turn, and the point of the Shakespearean sonnet is that the turn happens quite quickly in the final couplet, rather than in the sestet. So in your reading, just, like, stress that.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

Has anyone here read Ted Chiang? It's blowing me away how good he is. I read him, and it's like he's read everything I've ever read, and then a bunch of other stuff, too. I mean, I'm sure this is true of any number of authors, but in this case it's a palpable feeling I get while reading him. I don't know how else to explain it.

My reaction after the first page of every story is Man, now this is a premise I can think my teeth into. Every premise is hard sci fi, but... not. I want to say it's hard philosophy, or linguistics, or any number of things, even though of course--I know, I know--hard sci has those things aplenty. Yeah, okay. Fine. But this is different. "Seventy-Two Letters" / "Vanishing Acts" is about semiotics and golums and naming, for example, and like a lot of his other work, the conceit isn't even remotely possible or really all that realistic--it's basically about magic, which of course is always all about naming and the weird power of language to shape reality. The titular story of Stories of Your Life and Others also has some semiotics, though it's more speech act stuff.

I'm most of the way through Stories of Your Life and Others, after stopping for a bit, and there is a lot about free will and determinism in the other stories that makes me really need to go back and read the titular story, considering the conclusion it reaches.

I also need to go buy more of his work. The availability on Amazon is disappointing.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

Even Jane Austen's freaking juvenilia is good, so it's pretty hard to go wrong.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

I'm pretty sure the consensus is already that Lovecraft is a poo poo writer, but he was extremely influential At this point it'd be much more difficult to argue he was a good writer. And I actually think he kinda was, insofar as the constant use of occupatio/apophasis isn't just a crutch, but at least plays into the themes of cosmic horror/that which is literally incomprehensible and just cannot be processed by a human brain.

Plus there's also the definition of "good writing." Like, in the sense that you could say Dan Brown is a good writer. It sounds crazy, at first, because on the level of the individual sentence, you're thinking, "Oh my god what the gently caress is this poo poo," and maybe on the level of the entire story you're like, "this is dumb," but jeez, let's face it: the guy knows pacing and keeps you turning the page, and if you think you can do better you're an idiot, and should maybe, I dunno, learn some humility.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

Mahlertov Cocktail posted:

Then uh I disagree with the consensus? He's obviously and unarguably influential, but if that were all then he wouldn't necessarily have the staying power in public consciousness that he does. Obviously not everything of his is great, but he's written some amazing stories.

Well I'd agree with you. But it seems to me very fashionable right now to say, "Oh, yeah, Lovecraft. He's important and influential because of X, Y, Z, but have you actually read him? Great ideas, but absolutely horrible writer! Ugh!" And I disagree with this because the ideas only come through via the writing.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

barkingclam posted:

Don't they do inter-library loans?

I know I avoid ILL because I'm spoiled as a grad student and am used to having books out basically indefinitely, so when I only get 2 weeks, non-renewable, it seems like a big huge drag.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

HenryJLittlefinger posted:

Crossposting from the Audiobooks thread as it may get more attention here:
You said you tried Audible, but have you tried just listening to a bunch of their previews of random Victorian novels read by different people? You might actually recognize or figure out the reader, and then you're 99% of the way there. What you describe sounds kinda like Frederick Davidson, but I'm probably wrong on that.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

So, if there are any J.D. Salinger fans, his story "The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" leaked. It's about Allie's death, though in the story his name is Kenneth. The story is really good. One of these days I'm gonna write a giant post defending Catcher in the Rye.

Edit:

quote:

Holden's charming letter from "Camp Goodrest for slobs". He begins: "This place stinks. I never saw so many rats. You have to make stuff out of lether [sic] and go for hikes. They got a contest between the reds and the whites. I am supposed to be a white. I am no lousy white." It rambles on with a wryness that is pure Holden.
This is pretty much my defense of Holden. When you compare this quote to the red and white imagery in Catcher, and all the innocence/experience and "life is a game" stuff, you realize this is self-loathing. In other words, yes, Holden's a dick. He's calls out phonies but is himself a phony. But he also knows it and feels horrible about it, and our problems feeling sympathy for him because he's actually kind of an immature jerk is exactly the problem he has feeling sympathy for the phonies around him. So if your reaction to Holden is "Hah, actually he's a jerk!" you're actually falling into exactly the same trap as he does.

DirtyRobot fucked around with this message at Dec 6, 2013 around 23:51

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

It's cool when both the book and the movie are great and you just can't choose.

Ones where I've read or seen both but can't honestly choose:

- Blade Runner
- American Psycho
- The Shining
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Rebecca

Also: I checked Google to see if there were any I couldn't remember (there probably still are), and I came across a website claiming that Lés Miserables the movie (the recent one) was better than the book. gently caress everything.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

barkingclam posted:

Doom was both a good movie and a good book


Winner.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Blade Runner, Godfather, and Fight Club are all better movies than they were books.

Actually, what the hell, I'll go there: just about every movie that's ever been made out of anything Philip K. Dick wrote is "better" than the source material. Dick was a genius but he was a deranged genius and his works tend to lack, for lack of a better term, technical integrity -- thematic unity, internal cohesion.

I'm sure there must be cases where Dick's original was better than the resulting film but out of the ones where I've both seen the movie and read the source material, the movie was "better" -- more professional, more interesting, more technically proficient, more thematically complex -- than Dick's source material was (except possibly by implication).
I agree with that, though I'd give Dick more of a benefit of the doubt for his originality[1], which is obviously why he's worthwhile. Adaptations of his movies have the benefit of building off that originality, which is what makes them "better" than the original. But they couldn't have done that without Philip K. Dick coming first. This seems true of all adaptations, but somehow the idea of Coppola adapting a book other than Puzo's and still coming out with a masterpiece seems less "out there" than Ridley Scott choosing a different story for Blade Runner.[2]

Dick's "originality" is also a bit historical now, which is why the lamest adaptations of Dick are really lame. If they don't "add" something, then there's nothing to them, at all, because most of what made Dick original is, by now, cliché. See: Paycheck and The Adjustment Bureau. Those are both good Dick books, but awful movies. The books were original; the movies were not.



--
[1] Here I mean both hard sci fi type originality, which could be attributed also to the likes of Asimov and other sci fi authors, but I also mean that peculiar weirdness that's also kinda bonkers ("deranged") and which is unique to Dick.
[2] No, even Neuromancer wouldn't cut it, goddamnit!

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

Not that this contradicts the accuracy of the transfusions or whatever, but part of the symbolic point of Lucy's multiple transfusions is that she commits bigamy by accepting blood from three different donors whom she's courting and with whom she's constantly flirting. Earlier in the novel she makes a joke about bigamy, which is like a small signal to the reader that she's totally the one who's gonna get bitten/killed. She's also the one who "lets in" Dracula... because, y'know, if you get your blood sucked by a vampire, you were totally asking for it. Mina, the good girl and the virgin, by contrast, only ever accepts blood from her fiancé. Exchanging blood = sex, like all good sexy vampire fiction (and John Donne's "The Flea").

It follows the logic of like a Victorian 80s movie, is what I'm saying.

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

Hieronymous Alloy posted:


And sometimes you can learn things even from reading bad writers. I mean, Stephen King is a bad writer. He is. His books are bad. But some of them contain moments or individual scenes of real genius, and (if you have the right tolerance for it) it can be worthwhile to sift through the mud to find the gems. If you don't have the time or the inclination to so sift, that's fine too -- lord knows I didn't bother to finish the Dark Tower series. But I'm glad I read the first couple books in it.


I have issues with (some of) his endings, but I wouldn't say Stephen King is "a bad writer. He is. His books are bad," or that he's worth reading only for those moments of genius. He's a good writer. He is. His books are good. His short stories, say, "The Jaunt," "The End of the Whole Mess," "The Reach," and probably more I'm forgetting off the top of my head, are all excellent through and through, and can stand up to the best work of the last 50 years and not get embarrassed. I mean, they won't always win in a given contest when put up against some other story, but by God he won't be blown out of the water and it'd be closer than one would expect. (Think Rocky I.) And novels like Salem's Lot, The Shining, Pet Sematary, are classics, and their control of mood and character is insanely good, and fairly consistently so. Heck, I'll even go so far as to defend The Dark Tower's ending, but there I at least realize I'm fighting an uphill battle.

Brainworm also has some good posts on King.

DirtyRobot fucked around with this message at Feb 13, 2014 around 19:50

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

To further the comparison, contemporary reviewers of Dickens also thought his later novels were all stinkers and that he'd lost whatever it was that allowed him to produce things like Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, and David Copperfield....

And those fuckers* were wrong. Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend are now widely considered amongst his best novels. Makes you wonder if in the future reviewers will be like "OH MY GOD LISEY'S STORY IS SO GOOD." Truly a dark future.

* Henry James among them

DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

H.P. Shivcraft posted:

[...] part of what helped Dickens was his populist appeal in an age where fiction was a primary form of entertainment.

Declan MacManus posted:

[...] but that King picked a perfectly awful time to be King, basically.
Yeah, I think another difference is that Dickens totally seized the means of literary production and changed it. Like, serialization had been on the outs for decades when Dickens rose to prominence and made it popular again. King, however, came at the tail end of being able to make a *somewhat reasonable* living writing short stories, and he published novels in exactly the same way they'd been being published for decades. Absolutely nothing changed. If anything, his publishing model is extremely old and on its way out, and only still workable for him because he's so popular.

Dickens, by contrast, changed publishing. There's the re-popularizing of serialization thing, and there's also the fact that when he was just starting to get his sketches published, it used to be you had a drawing and the writer made a sketch to accompany it, but Dickens was like, "Nah, this drawing's no good; I don't care how many years you've been doing this; do the drawing to fit what I write." (Driving the illustrator possibly to suicide.) Then he became hugely popular with Sketches by Boz, made demands that were always -- remarkably -- met (e.g. "Sorry, we're doing Oliver Twist this way!"), and by mid-century he owned (and edited) the journals in which his stuff was published.

The modern equivalent of a Dickens would be like one really strong personality doing a whole bunch of new things with the Netflix model of television serialization that seem totally weird but become so incredibly popular and influential it drat near overtakes movies in terms of popularity/where the money is.

Stravinsky posted:

I am always looking for teaching opportunities.

I think the best that King can really hope for is to be remembered like Lovecraft is. Both are not always the best writers but have some great things that they put out and are both hugely influential. I can easily see him having a cult following in the future.

My instinct is to defend King over Lovecraft, but I find this incredibly likely all of a sudden.

DirtyRobot fucked around with this message at Feb 14, 2014 around 12:53

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DirtyRobot
Dec 15, 2003

it was a normally happy sunny day... but Dirty Robot was dirty

Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Whoa this thread is on the last page, gonna bump dis

Should I make it a sticky thread again or leave it to float?

Sticky! Let's talk books!

Here's something vaguely discussion-y: Does anyone have any links or sources of really good literary criticism of popular non-Western canon books? I'm talkin' like a really good literary analysis of, like, Harry Potter or something. Preferably not ideological or gender criticism, and especially not anything like those spergy dumb "theories" you see about A Song of Ice and Fire. An example of good stuff would be like Chuck Klosterman's piece on Breaking Bad, but for popular literature rather than tv.

DirtyRobot fucked around with this message at Aug 7, 2014 around 22:38

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