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As the Bookworm Turns (Current Reading Thread) 
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Burning Godzilla
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Just about to start Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? by George Axelrod (1956), the original play from which the movie with the same title but a completely different plot was taken. The author is probably best known for the play The Seven Year Itch.

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:54 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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I'm rereading Olaf Stapledon -- Last And First Men, and Star Maker. The former is more marred than I remember by the early chapters' indulgence in the British version of nazi race science. But even in that, Stapledon was, as always, an original thinker. And once past that, he's lost none of his impressiveness -- as Aldiss said, his level of mindblowingness "is truly frightening at times." The list of standard science fictional ideas that he thought of first is longer than anyone who hasn't read him could believe. It's amazing that, compared to Verne and Wells, he's nearly forgotten. He just didn't bother with making his stories fun to read, is all.

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Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:27 am
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Burning Godzilla
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Stapledon's stuff is truly astonishing in its scope. For a couple of novels that are somewhat "smaller" and therefore may be more fun, try Sirius and Odd John.

__________________________________________________________________________

Well, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? turned out to be a deal with the Devil yarn (in which the demonic character is a literary agent who takes ten percent of your soul for every wish granted.) Like the Studio One episode he wrote, "Confessions of a Nervous Man," the whole thing seems to be a meditation on George Axelrod's sudden success as a playwright with The Seven Year Itch.

Next up:

Chronocules by D. G. Compton (1970). I expect this to be science fiction of a high literary order, based on other works I have read by this author. I note in passing that this book was once published under the unlikely title Hot Wireless Sets, Aspirin Tablets, the Sandpaper Sides of Used Matchboxes, and Something that Might have been Castor Oil.

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:06 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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If you dig diligently enough, you can find the most fascinating media at the thrift stores around here. A recent trip to the Goodwill in Severna Park turned up a copy of the famous 1972 self-help book Open Marriage: A New Life Style for Couples. I'm not sure how surprised I should be that the "having sex with people outside the marriage" part (which is the first thing anyone thinks of when they hear the phrase "open marriage") turns out to consume only one half of one chapter. The real thrust of the book is that marriage works better when each spouse is allowed and encouraged to maintain his or her individual identity, associations, and interests, rather than limiting both parties to only those experiences that are mutually agreeable in the name of couplehood, and that the spouses' roles within marriage should be determined on an ad-hoc basis arising from the spouses' individual needs and talents instead of uncritical conformity to century-old cultural expectations. Today that sounds self-evident to the point of banality, but apparently it was some radical 1upmushroom for people who came of age in the 50's. The one bit that's still radical (the aforementioned half-chapter) has the authors essentially saying, "Some might argue that the principles laid out thus far, if taken to their logical conclusions, would permit even sexual relationships outside the marriage. To that, we respond: if that works for you, then sure-- why not? It's your marriage. You make the rules."

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Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:04 pm
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The concept has certainly grown and broadened since then.

("The 100 mile rule", eh?)

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"This is a Star Trek that pretends to have balls, but continues to prove that those balls are actually rubber prophylactics pretending to be balls." -- Bj

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Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:22 pm
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After the very well-written Chronocules (but with a cast of characters who, although complex, are for the most part not very likable at all), I have just started Kampus by James E. Gunn, (1977), which seems to be an extrapolation of the Student Power movement of the 1960's/1970's into an extreme. Should be interesting.

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:58 pm
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Just started The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. It's about a rich woman whose expertise in life was building tiny replicas of crime scenes to help catch killers.

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Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:01 pm
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Well, Kampus turned out to be an episodic novel, with the protagonist journeying across the country, encountering all sorts of folks and situations. There was a lot of philosophical and political conversation, and the whole thing seems to be the author's reaction to the radical student movement of the 1960's.

Next up:

No, But I Saw the Movie edited by David Wheeler (1989). This is an anthology of stories that were adapted into films. (But is Psycho really based on Robert Bloch's short story "The Real Bad Friend"? Isn't it just from the novel Psycho?)

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:39 am
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Pellucidar by Edgar Rice Burroughs. In this sequel to At the Earth’s Core David Innes manages to return to Pellucidar only to find that Hooja the Sly One has convinced David’s followers that he had abandoned them for the surface world and has thus wrecked David’s burgeoning empire. Hooja also made off with Dian the Beautiful making finding her David’s top priority with rebuilding his empire secondary. Aside from Dian’s constant need of rescuing this book deals with David and Abner bringing modern warfare to Pellucidar in the form of gun powder and the first Pellucidarian navy. The effect that “civilization” has on this primitive world is well handled by Burroughs making this an excellent science fiction read.

My full review of Pellucidar is up at Guardians of Geek.

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Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:51 pm
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In the midst of The American Mercury Reader (1944), an anthology of works from the magazine of the same name, celebrating their twentieth anniversary. This was sent to subscribers only, and carries the warning "THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR SALE." It should be an interesting look at an influential periodical from Prohibition to WWII.

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:42 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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There's this strange little blog where the writer stays in character as a science fiction fan of 1960 (as of this writing; he lets time go forward at its normal pace as the blog proceeds) who reviews "new" magazines and movies and TV shows and the space race and so on, strictly from the point of view of somebody in that time.

http://galacticjourney.org

Anyway, as he reviews "new" publications, he adds links to places where you can read what he's talking about, when it's available. Thanks to one of these links, I was able to read the original version of Harry Harrison's first novel, Deathworld, as it appeared in Astounding/Analog. (This was the period when the magazine was in the process of changing its name, and both appear on the cover.)

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/28346/28 ... 8346-h.htm

It's a fast-paced, vivid adventure story about a planet where all life forms seem to have a single desire: to kill humans. The explanation for this is interesting, and a bit unexpected for Astounding/Analog.

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:57 pm
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I'm about to start Dame Edna Everage and the Rise of Western Civilization: Backstage with Barry Humphries by John Lahr (2000), all about the Australian comic actor (and his alter ego) who seems to be much better known in the UK than in the USA. Should be enlightening.

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:23 pm
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I started reading Deathworld. Pulpy, but it's got me a bit intrigued.

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"This is a Star Trek that pretends to have balls, but continues to prove that those balls are actually rubber prophylactics pretending to be balls." -- Bj

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Sun Feb 15, 2015 11:48 pm
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supersonic man wrote:
I started reading Deathworld. Pulpy, but it's got me a bit intrigued.


Perfect description. It's definitely an old-fashioned action/adventure yarn, but with some intelligence behind it.

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:06 am
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Victoria Silverwolf wrote:
supersonic man wrote:
I started reading Deathworld. Pulpy, but it's got me a bit intrigued.


Perfect description. It's definitely an old-fashioned action/adventure yarn, but with some intelligence behind it.


I suspect it's a book James Cameron read when he was younger; the planet from the first volume is quite similar to the one in Avatar.

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Checkpoint Telstar enters the ring for the RussellMania review roundtable, taking a look at Ken Russell's 1971 masterpiece The Devils.

The Fiasco Brothers Watch a Movie watch Vampyr and talk about dream logic in a silent German film about a vampyr.


Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:50 am
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