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review 2015-06-06 20:05
One Bad Ass Botanist
The Martian - Andy Weir

Six days into a mission on Mars, Mark Watney is left behind by his crew during an emergency evacuation.  He is left with the Hab, in which to live, an assortment of research vehicles and materials, enough food for 6 people to live on the surface of Mars for another 50 days, and absolutely no way to communicate to Earth that he is still alive.  Mark was part of Ares 3; Ares 4 will be coming to Mars in about four years.




Thus begins on seriously bad ass botanist's struggle for survival on an alien wasteland. The Martian is mostly told from the first person perspective of Mark, in his personal logs while he attempts to survive for as long as humanly possible.  What I didn't realize from the descriptions of this book before reading it, is that it is fucking hilarious.  After many many days alone on Mars, Mark starts to get punchy.  His sense of humor is dry and sort of not-funny funny, which is perfectly on point for my sense of humor.  I was literally laughing out loud as I read, and I don't do that when I'm reading Terry Pratchett.


Here's a taste of the ridiculousness that comes in between the science, which this novel is chock full of.


"LOG ENRTY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales?  They're mammals!  Makes no sense."


Speaking of, this book is definitely full of science.  I had to go back and re-read passages numerous times to really understand certain things that Mark was doing to a) fix equipment b) create water/oxygen c) make his vehicles go further and faster and with enough power to go for days.  Surprisingly, this was not a detriment.  Far on the other side, in fact, it called to mind classic science fiction pulled from my father's shelves when I was too young to really understand the science, that once I opened, I could never put back down.  It brought back Asimov and Anthony - even though their science was ... less scientific by the time I read them, it still brought back that feeling of science being totally epic.




Seriously, Andy Weir - thank you so much for writing this book.  I laughed out loud, I sat on the edge of my seat, I cheered for the characters.  I burned dinner the night I finished it because I could not put it down long enough to take the shit out of the oven.  Okay, I didn't burn dinner, but I would have, if the boyfriend hadn't taken it out of the oven because I sure as hell wasn't doing it.


So why are you all still reading this?  GO READ THE MARTIAN.


PS.  I'm super excited for the movie, but I don't know how I feel about Matt Damon playing Mark.

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review 2015-03-22 02:23
Equal Rites - Terry Pratchett

Well, that took me a full two hours to read.


I think on first read of Discworld, this was the first novel I read.


Real review may or may not come tomorrow.

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text 2014-12-11 17:16
The Modern Husband, Henry Fielding
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics) - Henry Fielding,David Garrick,Oliver Goldsmith

My only previous experience with Fielding was om Jones and it didn't go all that well; the authorial voice in the novel overwhelmed everything else and for the most part I kept thinking, "this is supposed to be funny," rather than, "this is funny."


Well, this is a stage play - authorial voice can't be a problem. But would it be funny? Frankly, no. I didn't find it funny at all and I think a director would have to be very inventive to drag much visual humour into it. That said, I don't think it's a bad play - it's just that its merits don't include belly laughs, or even chuckles, really.


It's very satirical - primarily of its contemporary audience who are portrayed as going to the theatre, turning up late, to be seen and to gossip and intrigue, with the stage action being a mere distraction. The are further made out to be a bunch of vice-driven gamblers and libertines more interested in the appearance of virtue than any kind of morality at all.


Women are shown to be the main victims of all this, with husbands prostituting wives in order to maintain appearances when in financial difficulty and rich predators corrupting all and sundry through abuse of power, influence and money.


The most interesting character here is not the young newly wed wife who maintains her principles when all around have none but the older wife who has capitulated to her husband's demands that she act as mistress to others in order to raise income when his legal affairs have consumed all their money.


Mrs Modern is no saint, being quite vindictive at times and an inveterate gambler and intriguer, but it is clear that circumstance and her husband have exerted enormous pressure on her and that she was reluctant to start down the round to infamy. She points up the fundamental social problems (the imbalance of power between men and women inside and outside marriage) more clearly than the young virtuous woman she tries to ruin.


I find the satire rather biting and what the play lacks in humour it makes up for in righteous anger. A much simpler, quicker and superior work than Tom Jones.

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text 2014-12-08 03:49
Reading progress update: I've read 52 out of 448 pages.
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics) - Henry Fielding,David Garrick,Oliver Goldsmith

A gallery of rogues, rakes, cads and their victims.

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text 2014-12-06 16:54
Reading progress update: I've read 30 out of 448 pages.
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics) - Henry Fielding,David Garrick,Oliver Goldsmith

So the first play is The Modern Husband by Henry Fielding. So far, so  fairly standard farce. More readable than Tom Jones by miles, though.

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