Anybody read The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz?
If so... is it any good?
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Thread: Book thread!
02-08-2012, 06:55 #261
02-08-2012, 16:34 #262
02-08-2012, 19:50 #263
Reading "The King in Yellow". It's very... weird.
I'm not far into it yet, but-
SpoilerThe book itself was written in 1895, and the story is set in 1920. Germany fought and lost a war of conquest, and Russia has taken over most of Europe. The US was sitting pretty as a virtual utopia after curb-stomping Germany in the war.
A lot of emphasis so far has been placed on the repeal of all laws forbidding suicide, and the construction of buildings called "Lethal Chambers", where people can go and have themselves painlessly put down. I haven't gotten to why yet.
Through all this is a play called "the King in Yellow". The reading of the second Act apparently brainwashes and drives insane the reader, making him the willing servant of the otherworldly King for whom the play is named. Despite (or probably more accurately, because of) censorships, banning and confiscation of copies of the play, the number of the King's followers is steadily growing.
Strange and intriguing little world the author has made. I can already see why it had such a great influence on Lovecraft's work.
Last edited by Feannag; 02-08-2012 at 19:53.
02-08-2012, 21:18 #264
Reading an oldish book, the Complete Paratime by H. Beam Piper. First time I tried it I couldn't get into it, enjoying it much more this time, though I'm only about 50 pages in.
03-08-2012, 14:18 #265
04-08-2012, 15:03 #266
Speaking of second readings, I just re-read the Caves of Steel trilogy by Isaac Asimov and despite the old-fashioned language and slightly dated terms (they use actual film strips in their "film books" and file cards for their computers.) it still holds up very well today.
Ahem, though Asimov's view on females is slightly outdated. I don't think that a lot of modern women would agree with some of his comments about the female sex in the first book. (The protagonist's wife has to stop to fix her makeup after an emotional breakdown because that's what women did in the 1950ies when the book was written, apparently.)
But apart from that, it's still a good series today.
04-08-2012, 18:59 #267
I am almost done with Simon Beckett's "Whispers of the Dead" (Kindle is currently recharging) and although it was a good read, it was kind of predictable (if there isn't a big twist in the last chapter).
I will probably take a short break before the fourth book and start reading Edgar Rice Borrough's "Princess of Mars" (watched John Carter of Mars yesterday on blu-ray - review a little later).
06-08-2012, 15:47 #268
Just bought Richard Dawkins' The God Delussion, and also bought myself two books with a collection of various Lovecraft short stories. I have yet to start reading any of them.
06-08-2012, 16:02 #269
Read Poke the Box recently. Kindle edition was $3, so I figured what the heck? If you've read any of this guy's books (or any books to "inspire you" to entrepreneurship), there's no real reason to pick it up. It was a quick read, though, and I'm trying to keep myself motivated to move, so it wasn't terrible.
21-08-2012, 10:49 #270
Edgar Rice Bourroghs - A Princess of Mars
John Carter, a Confederate veteran of the American Civil War, goes prospecting in Arizona immediately after the war's end. Having struck a rich vein of gold, he runs afoul of the Apaches. While attempting to evade pursuit by hiding in a sacred cave, he is mysteriously transported to Mars, called "Barsoom" by its inhabitants. Carter finds that he has great strength and superhuman agility in this new environment as a result of its lesser gravity. He soon falls in with a nomadic tribe of Green Martians, or Tharks, as the planet's warlike, six-limbed, green-skinned inhabitants are known. Thanks to his strength and martial prowess, Carter rises to a high position in the tribe and earns the respect and eventually the friendship of Tars Tarkas, one of the Thark chiefs. The Tharks subsequently capture Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, a member of the humanoid red Martian race. The red Martians inhabit a loose network of city-states and control the desert planet's canals, along which its agriculture is concentrated. Carter rescues Dejah Thoris from the green men in a bid to return her to her people.
This was an interesting read after seeing the John Carter movie I reviewed a little earlier in the movie thread. This book was written almost 100 years ago, so you have to be aware of several things:
1. The way the story is told is hard to compare to how modern literature is written. The progression of the story is repeatedly stopped by pages of exposition, which is told from Carter's experiences of having lived on Mars for ten years, although he just spend a few hours or days there as the story progresses.
2. John Carter is a character that is morally superior to everything and everybody on the planet and borderline racists (A trait which he shares with other literature heroes of his time, like Karl May's wild west heroes Shatterhand for example). He solves every problem encountered in the book by one of three ways: a) killing things (very often) b) commanding others to kill things, because he is awesome or c) changing a thousand years of traditions by telling people he is awesome. Brains is no trait of him.
3. Dejah Thoris is one of the dumbest "damsel in distress" characters, which sheds a good light on the Dejah character in the movie and Lynn Collin's performance to give her at least some personality.
A lot of negative things, I agree. Despite those the multiple ideas that ERB conjured up are great to read:
>> Airships, inspired by the planes of the first World War
>> Radium is the great power source of Mars, from engines to bullets
>> The Tharks are a cool race and the "barbaric" cultural background is kind of interesting, reflecting a lot of Darwinism
If you are a fan of sci-fi like Star Wars or Avatar, you will find a lot of motives which very likely come from ERB's novels.
Don't read it for entertainment, read it as part of your socialisation to the fantasy and sci-fi genre.