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review 2017-04-11 22:24
The Late Breakfasters by Robert Aickman, narrated by Matt Godfrey
The Late Breakfasters and Other Strange Stories (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) - Philip Challinor,Robert Aickman,Matt Godfrey

It pains me to say it, but I did not like this book. At all.

 

I knew going in that it might not work for me. I've read one of Aickman's collections so far, and many of the stories left me unsatisfied. But, it was just one collection; maybe I read it wrong? It happens. But after listening to this wonderfully narrated story, I think it will be a long time before I attempt to read the other Aickman collection that I own.

 

The man writes beautifully, there's no doubt about it. He is also capable of sly social commentary and has a keen eye for the reasons behind certain behaviors; I appreciate that. But, and forgive me for asking, where is the damn story? This seemed more like a rambling tale about repressed sexual feelings, that sometimes features a nice enough lady named Grizelda. There are a few, I stress FEW, weird moments...and that's about it.

 

The narration here is fantastic and to be honest, if it weren't for Matt Godfrey's soothing voice, I would have ditched this book without finishing. It seems like with such promise in the voices, the story just HAD to get better, or at least show up. But sadly, it never did.

 

As I mentioned, the prose itself was excellent as was the narration, hence my 3 star rating. If I were rating on narration and quality of prose ONLY, it would be 5 stars. But for me, there has to be a story, and here I could not find one. This is obviously how I and I alone feel about The Late Breakfasters. Your mileage may vary.

 

*I received this audiobook free from the narrator in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-25 17:21
Weirding It Out with Weird Enough: Dune Re-Read Update #4

 

 

 

Brief Recap:

 

1. Paul & Jessica finally meet Fremen, Stilgar's clan, who are about to kill them but are convinced to take them along. This decision is due to convergence of multiple factors, including Kyne's (who is the Liet) last decree to the Fremen, Jessica's sharp mind, BG myth-seeding, Fremen legends, the duo's weirding ability to fight etc.

 

2. Kyne is left to die in the desert by Harkonnen and takes part in a huge info dump before he kicks it. The main idea behind that dump and what Stilgar lets on to mother & son is that the Fremen are slowly amassing enough water to change the face of Arrakis. It won't happen in a day, it won't even happen in their time, but the world'd better watch out when it does!

 

3. We meet Paul's future intended, Chani, who is also Kyne's daughter & Stilgar's niece. Paul struggles with the pressure of the impending bloody future, crippling presence of prescience, and killing a person not because his life was in danger but because the Fremen was an idiot! The Fremen's wife and two sons are now under his care and will remain so for at least a year. His legend continues to grow and overshadow what he is trying to do.

 

4. Jessica enters into a whole ritual back at the Fremen settlement and walks out irreversibly changing her unborn daughter and with the memories of the previous Reverend Mothers.

 

5. Harkonnen is his evil, loathsome self but Feyd isn't a lightweight either. Then there is the emperor who is trying to make things uncomfortable for the both of them.

 

6. Of the Atreides can, Idaho is dead, Hawat has been employed by Harkonnen (and seems to be driving a wedge between the Duke & his nephew), & Halleck is on board a Guild ship along with a few of his men.

 

Find the rest of the review here, here and, here.

 

This time, we started at the beginning of the third book and read all the way to the end.

 

A summary of what happened:

 

1. Paul kicks Harkonnen, Guild, and Royal ass and takes over the world!

 

The Major Players

My Thoughts

 

Wow! I thought there wasn't that many pages left for all that to happen and I could not have been wrong. When I think back on everything that happened, it seems as if the author first intended Dune to be just one novel and not a sweeping series. I mean, that could be the reason behind packing so much of action in the last third of a novel that was not too thick to begin with.

 

This part of the story was filled with amazing lines that made my eyes pop out quite a few times.

Consider the time when Paul faced 3 Sardaukars and refused to be cowed, instead saying:

 

 

 

 

and these two ver different interactions with Gurney:

 

 

 

Surprisingly, after all the doom and gloom, this part seemed lighter to me, even though it had a climactic battle etc. For instance, we find out that Paul tried to go where even Reverend Mothers are scared of stepping. This is the conversation between Jessica and Chani while they stand over Paul's head and argue:

 

"How could you do such a foolish thing?

He is your son", Chani said.

 

Then, there were some deep insights that we hear from Paul as he evolves and becomes wiser. Thinking about Sardaukar, he muses:

 

They'd never known anything but victory which, Paul realized, could be a weakness in itself.

 

Saddened about Stilgar's awe and obedience for the Lisan al-Gaib, Paul thinks:

 

It was a lessening of the man, and Paul felt the ghost-wind of the jihad in it.

I have seen a friend become a worshipper, he thought.

 

We also see changes in Paul's and Jessica's characters and it was amazing to read how far they've come. Paul still has some of the bitterness towards how his mother treated him. When she asks him about the many legends that the Fremen believed about him, he scoffs at her and replies:

 

"A Bene Gesserit should ask about legends?" he asked.

"I've had a hand in whatever you are", she admitted.

 

The admission from Jessica isn't the only evidence that she has changed. She doesn't know if she wants to leave this harsh planet and go back to a life of opulence. Moreover, at one point, she gives Paul her blessings that he should marry out of love and not to make a political match.

 

So Shipping These Two!

 

She even starts to equate herself with Chani:

 

While we, Chani, we who carry the name of concubine -- history will call us wives.

 

Weird Enough's Musings

 

Yes, I missed writing the last review. Guilty as charged. But now that I have finished Dune, I CAN FANGIRL PROPERLY! HOW AMAZING WAS THIS!!! Why, WHYYY had I not read this before! I will be forever grateful to my book dealer, aka Midu, for showing me the right path in the literary world.

 

Sooo, starting after Leto dies, we see Paul showing signs of the Kwisatz Haderach (but of course we knew that). The shocking thing was how quickly he grew from being a smart kid to understanding fully what he had become. His BG training and the fact that he was a Mentat combines to give him skills to see possibilities in the future. It makes him, as he says, “a freak.” (That right there broke my heart when he says that). It’s not fair for someone so young to see all the different ways that he can die.

 

Anyway, Paul moves on to become lead the badass Fremen while the Lady Jessica becomes the Reverend Mother. But, in the process, she shares the knowledge and memories with the fetus inside her. The girl who is then born is not a normal child, and many Fremen women are afraid of the way she carries herself like an adult—which, technically, she is.

 

I think I should mention here that I simply LOVED the details that made this book so real. The politics, the religion, the layered meaning of words, the ecology and how the Fremen adapted to it, the Shai Hulud and how it fits into the ecology, the weapons, the stillsuits—EVERYTHING! I loved how it all came together so perfectly (this was mainly why I actually Googled “How long did it take Frank Herbert to write Dune?” I just couldn’t believe that so much detail could be put into a book that has been worked on for a couple of years. Just for reference: it took Herbert six years).

 

Okay so back to the story. I appreciate how Paul takes the lead, even beating his own mother when it comes to observing a situation and handling it like a pro. His relationship with Chani was very sweet. I love how he cares for the Fremen and chooses another way when he is pressured to kill Stilgar.

 

The Baron’s death scene was great in the sense that with all the build-up of his schemes and villainy, his death wasn’t so special after all (what I mean is that we don’t see him thrashing and twisting away in agony as a typical book villain is usually “supposed” to when he is being killed). He loses what respect he had in front of the Emperor, and before he gets a chance to even take it back, Alia (Paul’s sister) kills him with a gom jabbar.

 

The Siblings Together

 

The fight between Paul and Feyd-Rautha was super-satisfying. :D I was all DIE YOU LITTLE BITCH during the fight (it is really, really, really difficult to keep a straight face, and not make any noise when you are reading the most exciting parts while commuting, just so you know).

 

The bonding at the end between Chani and Jessica hits you. Jessica doesn’t approve of Chani, mainly because her BG training keeps her thinking that she is not the right match for Paul—that he should be married to someone with a higher lineage. Her views change when Chani essentially saves Paul’s life. And when Paul sees Princess Irulan (the daughter of the Emperor) as the key to his success in the future, and plans to marry her, Chani becomes insecure.

 

Princess Irulan

 

This probably reminds Jessica of her own position as the Duke’s concubine, and the book ends with this powerful quote:

 

“Think on it, Chani: the princess will have the name, yet she'll live as less than a concubine - never to know a moment of tenderness from the man to whom she's bound. While we, Chani, we who carry the name of concubine - history will call us wives.”

 

Okay, since this is going to be the last instalment, here's all the fun stuff that I came across:

 

Make Sandworm Bread Today!

 

The Gummy-Worm World of Dune

 

Make your own Maker Hooks

 

And an interview with Frank Herbert himself in which he discusses the ecology of the world that he created!

 

Featured Image

 

We had an amazing time with this re-read. We hope you did too! Keep checking this spot to find out, if we do decide to continue with the other books in the series or not!

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text 2017-03-17 11:38
Nonfiction Library Book Haul
The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital - Alexandra Robbins
George Lucas: A Life - Brian Jay Jones
You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir - Felicia Day
Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior - Richard O'Connor
J.J. Abrams vs. Joss Whedon: Duel for Media Master of the Universe - Wendy Sterba

Been enjoying my foray into non-fiction. So I hit up the library and took out some nonfiction books I found interesting.  

 

J.J. Abrams vs Joss Whedon could be interesting. Fan of both.

 

Looking forward to all of these!

 

Still deciding on my Friday reads. I will probably post them later today. Decisions, decisions...

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review 2017-03-06 15:36
The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett
The Secret of Ventriloquism - Jon Padgett

 

The genre of fiction that I identify as weird tales has always appealed to me, though it's hard to describe. There are also...flavors of weird tales, they're not always the same, even though they may belong to the same genre. For instance, Thomas Ligotti may be described as an author of weird fiction. While I love his style, I often find his work too nihilistic for me. Laird Barron could be described as an author of weird fiction as well, though his style generally leans toward cosmic horror. Lastly, Robert Aickman is admired as an author of weird fiction, but I often find his stories to be rather...unsatisfying. Jon Padgett, however, satisfied ALL of my wants and needs as a reader of dark and weird fiction. These stories have a clear beginning and end, (though some continue on, in other stories), and are as utterly satisfying as short fiction can be. In fact, I'd call them brilliant. That's right. BRILLIANT!

 

Starting with the appealing cover, (what horror fan could resist it?), and ending with Little Evie singing, in the story "Escape to the Mountain," (which makes me shudder just thinking about it.) These amazing stories are beyond impressive, each and every one of them.

 

After "Origami Dreams" I will never look at folded paper in the same way again. I will never see the word "appendage" again and not think of Solomon Kroth and his endless research in the University Library. I will not pass the abandoned paper mills in nearby towns without thinking of those ugly "paper mill days" and the filth they spewed upon the town of Dunnstown. I will never again pass a swamp without thinking of the room in "Indoor Swamp":

 

"Perhaps there is a room that contains a worn vintage tea party set with frilly dressed dolls, but one of those doll's heads gradually rotates completely around, going from an expression of knowing, smiling perversion to an open-mouthed, silent O of horror and back again."

 

I cannot possibly give this book a higher recommendation. As you read it, you may feel dizzy at times, or maybe even a little sick.

 

"You may begin to imagine you hear something that sounds like static or even the roar of an airliner. you may feel lightheaded like you are going to pass out. Ignore these feelings. They are normal."

 

They are a trifle. YOU are a trifle.

 

If you want to fully understand the meanings of these things, you MUST read this book. For me it started with the cover. It was the cover that made me BUY this book, rather than accept the free copy submitted for review to Horror After Dark. That's right, I bought it. You should too. Seriously. Right. Now.

 

Go here: The Secret of Ventriloquism

(You can add the audio for only $1.99 more!)

 

Usually this is where I say I was provided a free copy in exchange for honest feedback. However, (see above), I bought this book, and this is my honest opinion.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-05 12:39
Weirding It Out without Weird Enough: Dune Re-Read Update #3
Dune - Frank Herbert

 

 

 

Brief Recap

 

1. We meet Kynes, the Emperor appointed ecologist on Arrakis who is also a whole lot more but not letting on. People are scared of him and by people, I mean Harkonnen spies! He plans on hating the Atreides but they are just too cute and cuddly for him to loathe. Oh, and he is beginning to link Paul with the Messiah myth in his head, even when he doesn’t want to.

 

2. The Duke saves some men harvesting spice from a worm attack, even though they have to abandon the harvested product. Who can guess the party behind the almost-accident? That’s right; the Harkonnens! Two Fremen are spotted riding the worm by Paul, which Kynes denies vehemently.

 

3. It is hinted that the Emperor doesn’t really hate the Atreides but is scared about how popular and loved the Duke is, making the latter a threat that must be dealt with.

 

4. Jessica and Hawat have a psychic showdown, which Jessica wins (duh) but causes Hawat to be more attentive towards her (not that it did any good)

 

5. Harkonnens’ plan comes to fruition and the Duke dies while Yueh is not a complete bastard and gives Jessica and Paul a fighting (and since they succeed, escaping) chance.

6. It is revealed by Paul who turns into a computer-ish freak that Atreides and Harkonnens are genetically related.

 

7. Oh, and the evil Duke is a pedophile who has the hots for Paul!

 

Find the rest of the review here.

 

This time, we started with:

 

When my father, the Padishah Emperor, heard of Duke Leto's death and the manner of it, he went into such a rage as we had never before seen. He blamed my mother and the compact forced on him to place a Bene Gesserit on the throne. He blamed the Guild and the evil old Baron. He blamed everyone in sight, not excepting even me, for he said I was a witch like all the others. And when I sought to comfort him, saying it was done according to an older law of self-preservation to which even the most ancient rulers gave allegiance, he sneered at me and asked if I thought him a weakling. I saw then that he had been aroused to this passion not by concern over the dead Duke but by what that death implied for all royalty. As I look back on it, I think there may have been some prescience in my father, too, for it is certain that his line and Muad'Dib's shared common ancestry.

 

and read all the way until the end of the second book.

 

A summary of what has happened until now:

 

1. Paul & Jessica finally meet Fremen, Stilgar's clan, who are about to kill them but are convinced to take them along. This decision is due to convergence of multiple factors, including Kyne's (who is the Liet) last decree to the Fremen, Jessica's sharp mind, BG myth-seeding, Fremen legends, the duo's weirding ability to fight etc.

 

2. Kyne is left to die in the desert by Harkonnen and takes part in a huge info dump before he kicks it. The main idea behind that dump and what Stilgar lets on to mother & son is that the Fremen are slowly amassing enough water to change the face of Arrakis. It won't happen in a day, it won't even happen in their time, but the world'd better watch out when it does!

 

3. We meet Paul's future intended, Chani, who is also Kyne's daughter & Stilgar's niece.

 

 

Paul struggles with the pressure of the impending bloody future, crippling presence of prescience, and killing a person not because his life was in danger but because the Fremen was an idiot! The Fremen's wife and two sons are now under his care and will remain so for at least a year. His legend continues to grow and overshadow what he is trying to do.

 

4. Jessica enters into a whole ritual back at the Fremen settlement and walks out irreversibly changing her unborn daughter and with the memories of the previous Reverend Mothers.

 

5. Harkonnen is his evil, loathsome self but Feyd isn't a lightweight either. Then there is the emperor who is trying to make things uncomfortable for the both of them.

 

6. Of the Atreides can, Idaho is dead, Hawat has been employed by Harkonnen (and seems to be driving a wedge between the Duke & his nephew), & Halleck is on board a Guild ship along with a few of his men.

 

 

My Thoughts

 

Wow! A lot happens in this part of the book. I'm not even sure that I got all of it in the summary but I tried. Some parts that stood out to me, included this interaction between Hawat and his men:

 

 

The "fight" between Fremen and the much dreaded Sardaukar, if it can be called a fight. The Fremen are way way cooler than the Sardaukar, as you will see with this quote:

 

 

The Sardaukar approached the waiting group of Fremen in an enclosing half-circle. Sun glinted on blades held ready. The Fremen stood in a compact group, apparently indifferent. Abruptly, the sand around the two groups sprouted Fremen. They were at the ornithopter, then in it. Where the two groups had met at the dune crest, a dust cloud partly obscured violent motion. Presently, dust settled. Only Fremen remained standing.

 

 

Paul has all the charm his old man had and commands loyalty from whomever he meets is plain to see in this interaction he has with Idaho:

 

 

 

The imagery that Herbert uses to describe the desert is beautifully done and without any floweriness:

 

The sun dipped lower. Shadows stretched across the salt pan. Lines of wild color spread over the sunset horizon. Color streamed into a toe of darkness testing the sand. Coal-colored shadows spread, and the thick collapse of night blotted the desert.

 

Stars!

 

Something that bugged me was why, if Jessica is so smart & all-knowing, did she manage to get herself silenced by the Fremen, just when Paul needed her advice the most. He could have used her help while fighting Jamis to death. I mean, look at her in this scene where the Fremen are about to leave; she is so regal and everything and then she goes behaving like a pouty teenager!

 

 

Oh and the craftiness of the BG! They're like the Aes Sedai all over again:

 

(Irulan) You must remember that he was an emperor, father-head of a dynasty that reached back into the dimmest history. But we denied him a legal son. Was this not the most terrible defeat a ruler ever suffered? My mother obeyed her Sister Superiors where the Lady Jessica disobeyed. Which of them was the stronger? History already has answered.

 

(Jessica) Paul must be cautioned about their women. One of these desert women would not do as wife to a Duke. As concubine, yes, but not as wife.

Then she wondered at herself, thinking: Have I been infected with his schemes? And she saw how well she had been conditioned. I can think of the marital needs of royalty without once weighing my own concubinage.

 

 

Since I have been scouring the internet for anything and everything on Dune, here is what I have for you today:

 

Things that the New Dune Adaptation Should Have

 

Dune Tattoos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The song is, “Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim and not only does it contain the line, “Walk out rhythm, it won’t attract the worm”, it also features a dancing Christopher Walken. Watch it!

 

Oh and this joke that cracked me up:

 

 

 

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