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review 2018-08-15 00:11
Unglücklich das Land, das Helden nötig hat: "Das Leben des Galilei" by Bertold Brecht
Bertold Brecht: Leben des Galilei - Wilhelm Große



"Galilei: Ja, wo ist sie jetzt? Wie kann der Jupiter angeheftet sein, wenn andere Sterne um ihn kreisen? Da ist keine Stütze im Himmel, da ist kein Halt im Weltall! Da ist
eine andere Sonne!
Sagredo: Beruhige dich. Du denkst zu schnell.
Galilei: Was, schnell! Mensch, reg dich auf! Was du siehst, hat noch keiner gesehen. Sie hatten recht!
Sagredo: Wer? Die Kopernikaner?
Galilei: Und der andere! Die ganze Welt war gegen sie, und sie hatten recht. Das ist was für Andrea! Er läuft außer sich zur Tür und ruft hinaus: Frau Sarti! Frau Sarti!
Sagredo: Galilei, du sollst dich beruhigen!
Galilei: Sagredo, du sollst dich aufregen! Frau Sarti!
Sagredo dreht das Fernrohr weg: Willst du aufhören, wie ein Narr herumzubrüllen?
Galilei: Willst du aufhören, wie ein Stockfisch dazustehen, wenn die Wahrheit entdeckt ist?
Sagredo: Ich stehe nicht wie ein Stockfisch, sondern ich zittere, es könnte die Wahrheit sein."


In "Das Leben des Galilei" by Bertold Brecht


I watched this play in 2006 in Lisbon at Teatro Aberto starring Rui Mendes as Galileo. There was a repartee between Galileo and Arturo Ui that I'll never forget.

 

 

 

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

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review 2018-03-28 15:53
Workmanlike Prose: "Rendezvous with Rama" by Arthur C. Clarke
Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke

Ah, yes. Rama. I actually read this with a torch under the blankets in an intense all-nighter back in the day. What I like about this book in retrospect is its complete lack of compromise as a work of SF. Characters? Who the frack needs 'em. Themes? Bah, pointless! All SF needs to be is an unbroken, brilliantly done description of an alien environment. I'm glad things have moved on since, but I'd still happily sit and read a book so single-mindedly in its purpose like this one.

 

In any genre of literature, you definitely have some people whose names tower above everyone else, and their influence could not be denied. However, people who like literature don't just read the so-called greats. Clarke certainly wrote some seminal works of SF, but he probably read many obscure works too, some of which may have influenced him. Readers don't just read the big name writers, but have a much bigger interest in the genre. A writer’s work only makes sense within a tradition and how it is situated along other people's work. It is all interlinked and some of the smaller voices may be bigger than critics acknowledge. For instance Clarke's influences aren't as well-known but what he learned from them is part of his work, so the voices remain powerful, and readers equally value preceding works. That doesn't mean that the big name writers don't deserve their place in history, but as fan of literature, I think sometimes, the bigger contributions are made by lesser known writers. I disagree with the assessment that Clarke left questions unanswered; world-building can get boring at the micro, non-plot-related level. This book was "sensawunda" in triplicate -- for the Ramans always did everything in threes. How about those tripodal cleansing things that whirled about? I'm not disappointed that Clarke had no sequel; when you look at 2001 on the screen, then read Clarke's rejected worlds, you realise that Kubrick was right to end with the “Star Child”. 

 

 

If you're into SF, read on.

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review 2017-11-23 12:11
Don't Throw the Baby Out With the Bath Water: "Ubik" by Philip K. Dick
Ubik - Philip K. Dick

"'I am Ubik. Before the universe was I am. I made the suns. I made the worlds. I created the lives and the places they inhabit; I move them here, I put them there. They go as I say, they do as I tell them. I am the word and my name is never spoken, the name which no one knows. I am called Ubik but that is not my name. I am. I shall always be. ‘“

 

In “Ubik” by Philip K. Dick

 

 

This would feel like a meaningless read indeed if it wasn't, in fact, a very FUNNY one, full of a dry humor. In Ubik the characters are taken in such a subjective maze of crumbling reality, unexpected time-travelling and personal doubts, that it becomes a materialization of the absurdity of the human condition, in the form of an exhilarating fiction. If you are not into the humor of Kafka and Borges, it makes perfectly sense that you are not sensible to Dick's one. What makes Ubik a wonderful read still today? Dick didn't nail everything too tightly to the plot. The result may seem a potpourri but his worlds live and breathe. If he were writing now this book would make him a rebel and, given what he was like, would give most editors / publishers gray-hairs. It also begs the question (of others in the genre): Can you really do that?

 

I think the current fascination with Dick seems tied to the fact that most of his most popular books have dystopian or control themes. The other worldliness, or just around the corner-ness, of his stories, make it seem fictional, therefore enjoyable, yet also real and possible. I had been seeing a resurgence in sales of his books a couple of decades ago. This is just a speculative thought, but I wonder: If we had really been reading him for a spooky window into the future, then that means that the "seeds of the future dystopia" already started back then. Nixon had been around in Dick's time, but Reagan and the Republican nasties was their second coming. AI was only just poking its nose into things. 2000 was around the corner. Was Dick one of our clues to the future?

 

 

If you're into SF, read on.

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review 2017-11-22 14:39
Reality and Illusion: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick,Robert Zelazny

The one faithful film adaptation of a PKD story I'm aware of was the Linklater version of A Scanner Darkly. All the others take a major conceptual element of the story's basic premise, but then seriously alter the narrative in ways that often make them very different thematically. I really liked the Linklater film, too, because I think the "slavish" recreation of the story does a far better job of presenting the ideas that Dick had in their full nuance and depth than any other film version of his work ever has.) Most other adaptations of his work (there are some I haven't seen) tend to fall far short of that, which is really a shame. I mean, Blade Runner (the 1982 version) is a great movie. I like it a lot, but the novel has layers of philosophical depth that the film just doesn't get anywhere near. “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” is one of Dick's many explorations of what was clearly his favorite philosophical topic, namely "what is the difference between reality and an illusion?" The movie is reasonably accurate in its representation of the basic plot points (a police officer hunts for escaped androids from space colonies, who are illegally living on Earth and posing as humans) but doesn't even attempt to probe the weirder, but more thought-provoking elements of the story--e.g. that the human race is actually going extinct, and that the robots' brains are distinguishable from those of humans by the robots' inability to feel empathy toward living things.

 

 

If you're into SF, read on.

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review 2017-09-02 12:09
Three Samurai Cats by Eric A. Kimmel
Three Samurai Cats: A Story from Japan - Eric A Kimmel,Mordicai Gerstein

Genre:  Japan / Animals / Trickery / Folktale / Peace


Year Published: 2003


Year Read:  2008

Publisher: Holiday House

 

Source:  Library

 

 

Three

“Three Samurai Cats” is an ancient Japanese folktale about how three samurai cats come to the Daimyo’s castle to defeat a savage rat with the last samurai cat giving the rat a taste of his own medicine. Eric A. Kimmel’s hilarious retelling and Mordicai Gerstein’s colorful drawings combine greatly to make a great and funny story from ancient Japan. 

Eric A. Kimmel’s humorous storytelling of an ancient Japanese folktale is extremely inventive and witty as the last samurai cat uses a nonviolent stragety to defeat the rat at the end of the book. I found the part where the rat kicks the fierce samurai cat across the room to be extremely funny since the samurai cat looked funny when he crashed to the ground. Mordicai Gerstein’s illustrations are colorful yet scratchy, giving the story a humourous edge. One of the illustrations that really stood out the most for me was the image of Neko Roshi giving an intense look after he had just woken up when the rat yelled out “help!” when he was stuck in the rice ball. Neko Roshi’s eyes look huge like when a cat sees something that terrifies it and his hair also stood on its end. 

Three

“Three Samurai Cats” is an excellent story about how violence does not always solve the problem and how clear thinking can always win the battle if you allow the right moment to come. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the younger children might not understand the Japanese vocabulary, such as daimyo and docho.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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