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Two More…

June 28, 2008

Example

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Greetings all.
Whoa…
I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time (though the Oprah endorsement put me off for a little while). Thankfully my in-laws came down to visit and they brought with them a copy of the book, which my mother-in-law had listened to as a book on tape and loved.
I ripped through ‘The Road’ in two days, and I’d be willing to say that this is the first modern novel I’ve read in many, many years that I would recommend wholeheartedly as a genuine literary classic.
Cormac McCarthy is one of those contemporary authors who I’d heard about for years but never connected with (probably because no one I trusted recommended his work). When ‘The Road’ came out to almost universal acclaim I was intrigued, and then – as I said – when Oprah chimed in (I happen to be one of the minority that thinks Oprah is deeply full of shit, possessed of a messianic complex and a major representative of the lightweight form of self-analysis so shallow as to be completely meaningless, thus my reluctance to read ANYTHING she recommended).
Anyway…
I heard enough positive things about the book from other, reliable sources that I figured the Oprah endorsement was a fluke of the “even a broken clock is right twice a day” (the other intersection of our interests being Mr Obama) school, so when a copy dropped in my lap a few days ago I set upon it like a hungry wolf.
First off, if you are in the grip of a serious depression I would suggest that you avoid ‘The Road’ until you’re in a “better place”.
This is bleak, gut wrenching stuff.
I won’t drop any spoilers, but I will tell you that McCarthy has crafted one of the first post-apocalyptic novels that in no way romanticizes life after the bomb (or whatever it is that’s devastated the world).
I’ve been on an apocalypse-lit binge of sorts for the better part of the last year, and I would say that ‘The Road’ is by far the best of the lot, comparing favorably with ‘Earth Abides’ by George R. Stewart. It never descends into science fiction (though there are elements of horror, never supernatural) and is possessed of a spare, deceptive simplicity.
Beautifully written, an absolutely perfect, heartrending (especially if you have children) book.
Highly recommended.

NOTE: I had to come back and write some more about this amazing book. I finished it around 3PM this afternoon and I haven’t stopped thinking about, or realizing how much I was moved by it. How much of this is the book itself or seeing myself and my son(s) reflected in McCarthy’s characters I can’t say yet, but I suspect I’ll be obsessing about it somewhat over the next few days/weeks/months, up to and likely including reading it again after I get a little time between my mind/emotions and the book. Go get a copy.

Example

Fuzzy Sapiens by H. Beam Piper

Greetings all.
Guess who’s back? Back again?
Me…
Once again I’ve gone ahead and finished two books since I last posted, but since I’ve bee busy, with the blogging, and the job (as it is) and the family stuff, that’s just how it is.
‘Fuzzy Sapiens’ is the sequel to H. Beam Piper’s ‘Little Fuzzy’, which coincidentally I just happened to have on hand as I read both books in an omnibus of Piper’s ‘Fuzzy’ stories.
‘Fuzzy Sapiens’ continues the tale of the Fuzzies, now recognized as sapient beings on their home planet of Zarathustra and all of the events that unfolded as a result of that decision.
The story takes some interesting turns, and the main characters – most of whom are carried over from the first novel (there’s not time lapsed between the end of the first novel and the beginning of the second) are well developed.
Though the plot of the second novel struck me as a little trite – considering the depth of the issues Piper addresses in both books – I still think it made for an enjoying, if slight read. I only mention that last criticism because the brevity of ‘Fuzzy Sapiens’ cast a similar light on the equally brief ‘Little Fuzzy’, bringing the first book down a step in my estimation.
That said, if you’re looking for a quick read, you could do a lot worse.

Now reading – Not sure yet….

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6 comments

  1. Hi Larry,

    H. Beam Piper was one of the first SF writers I
    read way back in ’66 – I’m talking books here as
    opposed to comics. I’ve been thinking about re-reading Piper as it’s well over 20 years since the last time and my memories aren’t particularly clear other than he was one of those writers whose evry book I tried to track down.

    You might find this site worth a look – among other things it’ll tell you how to make a Fuzzy action figure.

    Now to look for “Space Viking” … after I finish
    George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones”


  2. Hi Larry,

    H. Beam Piper was one of the first SF writers I
    read way back in ’66 – I’m talking books here as
    opposed to comics. I’ve been thinking about re-reading Piper as it’s well over 20 years since the last time and my memories aren’t particularly clear other than he was one of those writers whose evry book I tried to track down.

    You might find this site worth a look – among other things it’ll tell you how to make a Fuzzy action figure.

    http://kuoi.com/~kamikaze/Text/piper.php

    Now to look for “Space Viking” … after I finish
    George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones”


  3. Hi Larry,

    H. Beam Piper was one of the first SF writers I
    read way back in ‘66 – I’m talking books here as
    opposed to comics. I’ve been thinking about re-reading Piper as it’s well over 20 years since the last time and my memories aren’t particularly clear other than he was one of those writers whose every book I tried to track down.

    You might find this site worth a look – among other things it’ll tell you how to make a Fuzzy action figure.

    http://kuoi.com/~kamikaze/Text/piper.php

    Now to look for “Space Viking” … after I finish
    George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones”

    I’m enjoying the blog.


  4. Sorry about the duplicated comments – as you’ll have gathered I haven’t figured out how to edit things properly 🙂


  5. Hey LArry…
    Been enjoying your music blogs for sometime now and decided to peek in on the literary side and I like what I see. [When do we have time for all of this, tell me?]
    Anyhow, having just finished The Road recently myself I was interested in what you had to say. I, too, have a post-apocalyptic predeliction in books. Being 57 this year I have read quite a few of tyhem in my 45 year love affair with all things Sci-Fi and fantasy. Earth Abides, Farnham’s Freehold, Boy and His Dog,…I wish I could remember all the related novels and short stories I have encountered in my readings over the years. (I’m much better at remembering music and music titles). I was interested in seeing just recently that ‘The Road” will be coming to a thatre near you and me this Fall. This will not be a feel good film for the family, but I will do my best to go see it. Guess I’ll look online and see who might be directing/producing and starring.
    thanks for all your blogwork. I don’t know how you do it all. Do you actually have a job? A Girlfriend? A Wife or family? I’ve started a blog but was not able to commit all the time I KNOW I should have to keep it current and working. Answer me this, if you would…does it pay in any way? I’d really like to know, because I DO like to write and maybe I’m just missing the point.
    Thanks
    Duncan


  6. Duncan
    Glad to hear you’re digging the blogs. I actually have a job (who knows for how long…), a wife and two small boys.
    I stay busy.
    If the fifteen year old me could look in on the 46 year old me, his head would explode…
    L

    PS No money whatsoever in this pursuit. Seriously….



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