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review 2018-08-19 11:08
Leopold Bloom, A Man For All Time: "Ulysses" by James Joyce
Ulysses - James Joyce


I started off thinking Ulysses was a pile of incoherent drivel, even though I'd never got past the first page. At 20 I would sit in the uni bar getting pissed and slagging off literary types and lecturers who mentioned it (some of them were pretentious posers; some of them weren't). At 30 I decided to put up or shut up by actually reading it so that I could explain why it was incoherent drivel. The result was that I was drawn into it and have read it five times cover-to-cover. Like a lot of challenging literature, it requires a bit of life experience to get into.


If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-08-18 16:50
Causabon's Key To All Mythologies with Guinness and Opera: “Finnegans Wake” by James Joyce
Finnegans Wake - James Joyce


"We'll meet again, we'll part once more. The spot I'll seek if the hour you'll find. My chart shines high where the blue milk's upset."

In “Finnegans Wake” by James Joyce


Joyce could really write. “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” is exquisite, and “Ulysses” is a masterpiece. I see Joyce as a product of his 'modernist' era, certainly, but a sincere one. He was reaching for something, a kind of synthesis of prose and poetry that came close to the true language of the mind. It's remarkable how much of Finnegans Wake is comprehensible, in spite of the fact that Joyce's words don't actually exist; we know what he means, or we can guess at it, which would be impossible if it was just gibberish. 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-08-14 23:35
Addled Knight Goes Looking for Trouble and Finds It: "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes
Don Quixote - Roberto González Echevarría,John Rutherford,Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra


“El que lee mucho y anda mucho, ve mucho y sabe mucho.”


In "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes

 


Don Quixote is one of my favourite novels, exasperating though it is at times with all those stories within stories knockabout humour and cruel practical jokes. Simply because it’s so complex, we both admire and laugh at Don Quixote. When he speaks we are inclined to share his world view. And then Cervantes reminds us of what a ridiculous figure he is and undermines the effect. Until Quixote opens his mouth again. This happens again and again - until we end up seeing the novel - and the world - in two incompatible ways at once.

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-08-12 16:09
Willing Suspension of Disbelief: “The First Lensman” by E. E. Doc Smith
First Lensman (The Lensman Series) - Jack Gaughan,E.E. "Doc" Smith

"Nobody does anything for nothing. Altruism is beautiful in theory, but it has never been known to work in practice."


In “The First Lensman” by E. E. Doc Smith


In many or most written SF, certainly in SF films, the canny audience member engages in a willing suspension of disbelief. The question for me often comes down to just a couple considerations--is it a bridge too far, just too many stupidities of too gross a scale for me to be able to buy-in? And am I enjoying myself on other levels--is it just so fun or cool or exciting, or are the characters and story just so damned compelling, that I can't help but have a good time? So, if I'm not offended by the stupidity, and the work in question as a narrative, then I'm happily able to suspend my disbelief and enjoy it. 

Ok. it's only SF but..

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-08-11 17:44
Realistic Sounding Nonsense: "Triplanetary" E.E. "Doc" Smith
Triplanetary - E.E. "Doc" Smith


"Immediately before the Coalescence began there was one,and only one, planetary solar system in the Second Galaxy; and, until the advent of Eddore, the Second Galaxy was entirely devoid of intelligent life"

In "Triplanetary" by E. E. "Doc" Smith


There are only three real approaches to physics in SF:

1. Absolute hard core real physics with speculative aspects;
2. Realistic sounding nonsense;
3. Unrealistic sounding nonsense.

 

(my own English edition bought in 1999)


I am personally a fan of approach 2. This gave us stuff like "Triplanetary", "First Lensman", etc.

In response to those suggesting that dissecting the science in SF novels is redundant and possibly silly, I would argue for a dichotomy. 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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