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review 2019-09-28 05:46
“Poo-tee-weet?”
Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut

Took some pages for the book to grab me. If I'm honest, I'm pretty sure it was the chat with his war-buddy's wife, and as it happens, it is something of a key for the whole book. There was a promise there

 

If I ever do finish it, though, I give you my word of honor: there won’t be a part for Frank Sinatra or John Wayne.
“I tell you what,” I said, “I’ll call it ‘The Children’s Crusade.’”

 

It was kept, in sub-title and spirit.

 

There is nothing that could ever come close to glorifying war inside these pages. The theme is how absurd a beast it is, the little and big tragedies, how far in time the damages travel (and who was that said that wars die only with the last soldier that fought in it dies?). Hell, the whole way it's constructed is thoroughly trafalmadorian, which we would call hell of a PTSD outside any sci-fi bent mind.

 

It's also so bittersweet and human. There was also this other bit near the beginning that caught me

 

And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human.

 

Because... well, I guess because it kind of encapsulates the thing, and how it feels. It's horrible, and terrible, and pretty disgusting, and so are almost every character in one aspect or another, but you are compelled to look. The dead demand to be witnessed and acknowledged and war sucks.

 

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review 2019-05-09 05:59
Simple language unfurling
Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories - Truman Capote

More character studies and vignettes than stories, the deceptively simple way they are written is perfect.

 

The gem of the lot is certainly Breakfast at Tiffany's. In essence the movie was faithful to the story (except the end), but Holly is a crueler and wilder character in the pages, less cute, more vindictive, and all the more tragic for her yearning of freedom and belonging at once. And compelling, like some free animal you could find in a jungle. Holly's own word is that she aspires to be "natural" and it fits.

 

Christmas Memory and Diamond Guitar fight for second spot, but the first edges over because I'm a sucker for nostalgic little things that contain the world.

 

House of Flowers was... oddly pretty in imagery, and surprisingly positive in a way. Maybe subverting tropes was the name of the game.

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review 2018-10-28 01:45
Competition for survival
The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham

This one went into and explored many of the points that I thought Chocky would, which is doubly great because creepy kids are disturbing as hell, and because I can give Wyndham props for not repeating himself in hindsight.

 

There are differences with the pop-culture classic movie, as it always happens. Beyond the distillation over our narrator and Zellaby (which I imagine stems from a wish to transfer all the BAMF quality from the seemingly absent minded old man to a younger MC), the big fact is that the mind reading is not part of the original book. There is enough flash and imminent danger with the will thing. The hive mind is the cherry that makes the eerie otherness cake.

 

I loved how things proceed slowly, and this insistence of going about business as usual. When the mothers bring the babies back to town, you immediately go "Oh, fuck", and in their heart of hearts, you know every character kinda does too, but they bury themselves in self denial. And as the book comes closer to the end, you start thinking back to Zellaby's wondering if civilization had not been a bad survival idea.

 

Seriously, for all the old man seemed to everyone as digressing from the current point, he was very much clear-sighted.

 

I loved the sci-fi call backs (and the niggling for none going into the morally ambiguous). Some of the doubts it tries to posit (specially on evolution) are a matter of "science marches on" but I always end up finding the idea of outside influence entertaining. The social commentary (outside the references to sci-fi, that is after all a commentary on society too) was a mixed bag, some insightful, some blithely chauvinistic, and there is what is clearly a lesbian couple never addressed as such, so maaaybe fair for its time.

 

At any rate, I had fun reading it. And that's a good way to wrap up my bingo card and get my reading black-out. Just to wait for the calls now.

 

 

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review 2018-01-18 16:41
Scrupulous title
Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King
  • 1922: Three quotes to define it:

 

"And is there Hell, or do we make our own on earth?"

"The dead don't stop"

“Poison spreads like ink in water.”

 

  • Big Driver: The post reaction was full truth, from the confusion, pain, wound-licking, hiding, weighting paths, shying from the future shame to rage and wanting to get back, all the steps. The gun-totting revenge a real pipe-dream.

 

  • Fair Extension:

"This isn’t some half-assed morality tale."

Said the devil.

 

  • Good Marriage: Holy Molly, this one was disturbing and twisted and awesome. My favorite of the collection.
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review 2017-09-21 05:49
Weaker than predecessors
Just After Sunset: Stories - Stephen King

A weaker read for me than his other short-story collections on the whole. N. is spectacular, though.

 

Willa: OK, sentimental ghost story

The Gingerbread Girl: Good thriller

Harvey's Dream: Now we are talking. For extra kick, which one?

Rest Stop: Awesomesauce!

Stationary Bike: If not writing, then images. And addictions. I love how he has his "go to" obsessive mind-itches that he always comes back to write about.

The things they left behind: I liked bits and pieces *shrug* I tend to avoid lit on the topic

Graduation Afternoon: Vignette building for that last snapshot. Meh

N. : This one was freaky scary. Likely because we all are little OCD. Best one in the book.

The Cat from Hell: Liked this one, and that gruesome end!

The New York Times at special bargain rates: Liked the idea. Sweet and sad.

Mute: I found this one funny in a bewildering way.

Ayana: People passing it on. A lovely concept. 

A very tight place: It was good. And gross (so very gross). And good.

 

 

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