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review 2018-11-26 14:08
Epaminondas: "The Trial and Death of Socrates" by Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo (trans. G.M.A. Grube)
The Trial and Death of Socrates - Plato,John M. Cooper,G.M.A. Grube

(Original Review, 2000-12-02)



I'm not trying to do much more than suggest Plato isn't starting from a blank sheet but from huge trauma: the death of a way of life that produced his great teacher, Socrates, but at the same time, killed him. The jurors who vote to put Socrates to death, after listening to the speeches, are the citizens who voted to exterminate the Melians, and many other atrocities.
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
 
 

 

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review 2018-10-14 14:22
Painful Memories: "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré

(original review, 2000)

So millions of readers think these books are brilliant. It takes an odd sort of character to say, in this context, "frankly the books are rubbish".

Very odd.

It seems so much more natural, and logical, to say something like "I think these books are badly written ("he was sat there" etc.} and don't think they're any good". Just that tiny yet essential shift in emphasis from "They are crap" to "I think they're crap" prevents this massive denial of their appeal, which demonstrates they can't be crap.
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
 
 

 

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review 2018-09-30 17:31
My Cat Ilsa Went to Heaven: "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe" by Martin Rees
Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe - Martin J. Rees


(original review, 2000)

If there was an infinite number of universes wouldn't there be a universe in which a mad scientist had discovered how to destroy all the universes and pressed the button, so there would be nothing at all? But then there would also be a good scientist who devised a plan to stop the mad scientist from pressing the button in the first place! What if they are one & the same, who wins? But as with Madeira Island's Nationalism, the bad scientist would only have to succeed once.

 

 

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

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review 2018-09-29 12:46
Matter-of-Factness SF: "Roadside Picnic" by The Strugatsky Brothers
Roadside Picnic - Boris Strugatsky,Arkady Strugatsky



Just started re-reading this yesterday and am already gripped. It's truly unsettling in the most understated of ways. It reminds me a little of John Wyndham's work; it has a similar quality of matter-of-factness about it that somehow makes it all the more chilling.

Pure literary gold...strangely put me in mind of "Stoner". You read and there is no way you can stop. Unless you need to go pee or drink a cup of coffee. Or you're really tired and go to bed. Or you've arrived at work and, seriously, you can't stand in front of class reading a random book; especially not on your smartphone. Other than that it's unputdownable.

 

 

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

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review 2018-09-25 21:06
The Special Art of SF: “Lord of Light” by Roger Zelazny
Lord of Light - Roger Zelazny


“Lord of Light” takes place maybe 100 or 200 years after the landing of humans on the planet where it takes place. A bottle of wine brought from Earth is still drinkable (though to be sure a precious relic); there is one survivor-in-the-flesh of the native entities who resisted human incursion. Also, the godhood of the "crew" arose informally - the "passengers" saw them wielding superhuman powers and doing battle with demonic adversaries, and so labeled them.

 

 

 

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

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