Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Savages read Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



It would be more apt to call this book the unbearably pretentious dream fantasy of Kundera’s megalomaniac tendencies. Long but apt.

This author is terrible and his writing style is unredeemable. I went into this novel expecting a historical novel revolving around the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia and only found onanism; it’s a blatant self-insertion (you can tell that Tomas is Kundera’s ideal notion of a suffering intellectual male trying to live through the communist era).

Not to mention the intolerable misogyny rampant in the novel.

Women are just too light and flaky and want to be held down under a man’s body? !!!

Really, Kundera?!!

By what god-awful logic and mental gymnastics did you reach this conclusion?! Read Jeanette Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry; particularly the part about the twelve dancing princesses, you might just keel over when you find out that some women revel in being independent and go about just fine without a male counterpart.

Even Cervantes was familiar with this notion (See Don Quixote about the part of the shepherd maiden who did not wish to marry and just wanted to lead a simple life of taking care of her flock).

There are also some blatant double standards; so it is perfectly acceptable for Tomas to have illicit affairs behind Tereza’s back, but any notion that Tereza could do the same is met with Tomas marching her out to a field where executions were taking place and pointing out the firing squad in wait of any errant female adulterer?!!!

The part where Tomas offers her a dog and the justification behind is just ugly as sin.

This is not the first time Milan Kundera has failed me in terms of storytelling and narration. His other novel The Book of Laughter and Forgetting was also “enlightening”.

After finishing both books I came to the realization that Kundera is a misogynist, a pedophile, may harbor some cross species leanings, and is a terrible historian.

But worse of all he’s suffers from Jane Austen Syndrome (Provincialism); so much was going on in the country and abroad but you’d never know because the asshole writer was just too self absorbed with the mundane to see the house on fire.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Savages Read Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The Mote in God's Eye



The Mote in God’s Eye

Not bad. Not bad at all.

The story takes place far in the distant future, humans have managed to achieved faster than light-speed travel and have successfully colonized the known galaxy but are currently engaged in trying to snuff out insurrections within the empire after a long bloody civil war. The war isn’t important here as the novel actually revolves around humanity finding an alien probe which was launched from a nebula known as the Mote.

Up until that point humankind had been the only known sentient creatures in the galaxy. Some semi-sentient species have been discovered but nothing even closely capable of matching human intelligence.

Until now that it is.

When the alien probe was discovered envoys were sent to make contact with the isolated system. There they discover an alien race which they name the Moties and begin trying to establish cross-species relations.

Most of the crew was understandably excited and happy by this event. That sentiment soon changes though after some time the heroes discover a disturbing fact about the Moties that have them second guessing the wisdom of inviting the new race to join humankind outside their nebula.
The Moties seem to have an insanely high reproduction rate. A reproduction rate so accelerated that they managed to overrun their own planet with their prolific populace and have exhausted its natural resources. Whenever that happens the Moties engage in cataclysmic wars that basically annihilates their own numbers and gives them a few years for their planet to recover. But the recovery is almost moot as the cycle is nary unbreakable and repetitive as it repeats itself again and again and again, almost indefinitely.
To make things worse the Moties refuse to use any means for limiting their numbers such as prophylactics or birth control. Every time a Motie ruler attempts to break their self-destructive cycle one Motie Master refuses to comply causing the cycle to happen anyway. That’s how bad the Motie’s reproductive proficiency is; even one Motie Master rebelling can still cause the self-destructive cycle to occur.

I liked this novel based on the fact that the authors give a new twist on how alien contact can be dangerous to humans. The aliens in The Mote in God’s Eye are not really aggressive, nor are they a wise, peaceful loving, advanced race that will bring humanity enlightenment. The Moties are what they are; a species trying to survive but their inherent nature to procreate like rodents have rendered them a pestilence upon the world.

I didn’t like the Motie’s design but the story is good.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in science fiction.

  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Jane Austen is Overrated (Part 8)

There she blows!


Not an actual 8th installment in the Jane Austen lambasting series. I just noticed that it’s been almost a year since I posted anything anti-Austen and felt the need to re-establish my utter loathing for this hack of a woman.


Worry not though. Despite this not truly being an upbraiding of this fraud of an author I will soon find more ways to tear her books apart.

It's Alright Not To Finish A Book

There's a reason you're here, Jane.


It’s Alright Not to Finish a Book

No, really…

It’s okay…

A lot of readers have stumbled upon good books, great books, and lousy ones.

Most, when encountering an atrocious piece of fiction, might feel compelled out of obligation to finish a book despite its lackluster writing, style, story, or narrative.

But here’s the thing…

You don’t have to.

Books are not like movies. They are not short 2 hour commitments. A book is a piece of literature that requires at least 2 day’s worth of reading and at most one month’s worth of reading. A book demands a lot more out of its readers than a movie. It demands effort, attention, and complete mental absorption. 

If a book should prove to be terrible the reader is under no obligation to continue it. Life is far too short, and reading is too rare a hobby to waste on poorly written literature.







Friday, November 10, 2017

Currently Reading


Krull by Alan Dean Foster


An unusual novel so far.

It's a book that seems to blend fantasy and science fiction in the same universe. The story seems interesting so far and from the cover I assume that there's a movie adaptation. Once I'm done I will see if both the novel and movie are the same or if they deviate. 


The Savages Read Sinclair Lewis, Main Street



Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

A most disappointing read.

I should have known what I was getting into after having read Babbitt but I had foolishly decided to give this author another chance and instantly regretted it.

The story of Main Street follows Carol Kennicott. Carol was a newly graduated college student with high aspirations and ambitions for her future. She wished to make a career out of maintaining and developing quaint country villages. She thought that the best way to achieve this was by being a country doctor’s wife, soon though she realizes that country life, and specifically that of Main Street, was far too set in its ways to ever accept change.

In Carol’s defense she doesn’t leave a stone unturned in trying to find ways to win over the denizen’s over to her vision, but she still ultimately fails. Worse yet, she finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage in a boring provincial town that is slowly turning her into a dull provincial herself.

Had the author tried to have Carol try something radical like running away from her husband the story would have been good. Hell! If the author had tried to have her take the least ostentatious route of filing for divorce this would have come out as a good book.

But alas, it is not so.

Sinclair Lewis decided to resort to the most boring trick of all: an affair.

“Oh! Love Affairs! The dullest things in the world!”
-         Andre Gide, The Counterfeiters, p. 48


While Carol does eventually separate from her husband the separation itself comes very late in the story, takes up only a small portion of the narrative, and is made utterly pointless when a couple of years later she returns to him.

I will give William Kennicott credit though; he handled both the separation and Carol’s affair with a small time tailor remarkably well. He was not the typical oblivious/jealous husband. He showed that he could be understanding and thoughtful when needs be.

Still, that was not enough to save the story and make it a good book.


I can appreciate Lewis’ efforts to show small town and rural discrimination, prejudices, and capitalistic tendencies but it still was a grueling read.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Question!

Question to my readers (All 2 of you)

I just bought a bunch of science fiction books from a used book store and while cataloging them I noticed that there were a couple of books that are actually part of a series, and neither are the first books of either of their respective series.

So my question is:

Can I read either of The Wizard of Linn by A. E. Van Vogt without having read Empire of the Atom?


And...


Is it possible to read and understand The People: No Different Flesh by Zenna Henderson without having read the first book? 




Sunday, November 5, 2017

Currently Reading


Main Street by Sinclair Lewis is not my first Sinclair Lewis novel but it's certainly just as boring and tedious to get through as Babbitt. I had been thinking about dropping this one but the narrative has switched perspective to another character and I am hoping she doesn't prove to be as disappointing and boring as the first.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Savages Read Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse



Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse is a novel about a well to do, highly educated, eccentric recluse who suffers from bouts of depression, schizophrenia, and psychosis.

Harry, also known as the eponymous Steppenwolf, is an erudite man who seems to exist in a conflicting duality of Man vs. Beast (a wolf).

On one hand you have the man who idolizes culture, ethics, and books.

On the other you have the Steppenwolf who wants nothing more than indulge in the most sinful of vices and to tear at the constraints of manmade moral constructs.

I see this novel mostly as an intellectual who lauds himself as being very sophisticated but is dissatisfied with just being a scholar. Most of us have gone through what Harry is going through at one point in our lives or another (particularly when we hit our late 20s). We may be well read, decent, proper, and more knowledgeable than the average Joe but we’d trade it all in to live a second life as good-for-nothing, devil-may-care, shiftless, stoic, moral-less vagabonds.

Who of us has not moved about scholarly circles with ease and confidence but when met with rugged passionate adventurers would much rather trade in our lot for theirs?

There’s a certain appeal to the idea of being crass, organic, and stoic.

To be the type that does not answer to anyone and does as he or she pleases.

Many people lead respectable mundane lives and scorn those who do not, but secretly, in their hearts, they yearn to be that roguish never-do-well who has mischief in his eyes and an ever present bottle of gin in his hand.

This is Harry’s plight.

Harry grew up in a strict household where his boyish urges were suppressed and made out to be the shameful habits of the provincial. Instead of embarking on conquests of the flesh, travels through sensuality, and the forays of primal manhood (Which are the given rights of all Steppenwolves), Harry had been confined to the close constricting circles of the domesticated Plutarch. Instead of growing to be the long haired male Adonis of physical rigor he grew to become the embodiment of the meek office clerk.