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Posted: 27 April 2007 03:18 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Everybody knows Whitley Strieber, I think.  He started out as a mediocre horror novelist before he discovered he could make more money pretending his fantasies were real and writing books about alien abductions.  But now, frustrated I guess by the complete absence of any kind of evidence for abductions, he’s gone back to writing fiction, a novel called [i:5cd1faf3db]The Grays[/i:5cd1faf3db] (although why anyone would write fiction about something he thinks is really happening is something I can’t quite figure out).

Anyway, this novel is the print equivalent of those horrible sci-fi B-movies, the ones which are so unbelievably inept, they can actually be fun to watch.  Time and again, you come across scenes in the novel which the author no doubt fondly imagined were spine-tingling chillers, but the whole set-up is so ludicrous, you’re laughing your face off.  We have aliens who build spaceships out of popsicle sticks and tin foil (just like the wreckage found at Roswell, naturally) and yet can withstand anything the U.S. Air Force can throw against them (but apparently suffer engine failure when they get too close to radar?).  We have President Truman making a treaty with the Grays, agreeing to keep their presence on Earth absolutely secret.  In exchange, the aliens agree to…well, as far as I can figure out, the only thing the aliens agreed was to only abduct people when they really, really feel like it.  We have a Lost Civilization of "Nordics" who thousands of years ago designed the Great Pyramid as a "soul transfer" device and colonized a distant planet (Was someone been watching "Stargate" by any chance?)—but of course this was in the olden days when, unlike us poor dweebs in the 21st century, they understood how physics "really works".  We have one captive Gray (Roswell again, of course), kept in a Top Secret, completely unguarded government faciltiy in the bedrock 200 feet below a ranch-style house in Indianapolis.  No, I’m not making this up.

In the end, this "mind-bending journey behind the curtain of secrecy that surrounds the subject of aliens" (according to the jacket blurb) turns out to be trite and rather silly.  Oh, and would it be too cynical to point out that the way the novel ended, he pretty much has to write a sequel, if not a whole series?

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Posted: 04 June 2007 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I currently have read a few books.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
This book is post-apocalyptic, and the interesting bit about this book is that the writer tries to make it a very possible scenario in the united states. Its in the near future and it doesn’t give the cause but there are some touching moments, some very graphic parts, canabolism. It had me intrigued. 

Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson
This book was Sci Fi Cyberpunk novel in the future when the internet is more like the matrix where you can log in and out as you wish. And it gives a VERY interesting parallel between religion and a virus, in fact they make the definition of the two the same. Great read.

Starship Troopers
Wow… the movie really just made fun of the book. The book is completely serious, I haven’t read to many war novels, just one other one (All Quiet On The Western Front) but this one was great. The psychology in it makes me think. At one point it talks about crime and punishment now and then. How now its a science that physical pain works over hard work. Also the notion of having to do your DUTY, and doing your DUTY makes you moral. What philosopher always talked about DUTY, was that Hegel?

The Diamond Age by Neil Stephenson
Its basically an Enders Game story made for a little girl. The littler girl has run away from an abusive man(mothers boyfriend) And the brother finds a book and gives it to her. This book is sci fi. The Book which she recieves is a prototype and it teaches the girl everything she needs to develop the power to will her own future. And then at the very end of the book it begins to go far left feild where she leads an army of children that take over… It was great up until the end.

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Posted: 06 June 2007 10:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Someone bought me a Streiber book years ago (my wife….maybe?). It makes sense that he is a fiction writer since his non-fiction is also fiction.

I recently read Dick’s “A Scanner Darkly” for the first time. I haven’t seen the movie version or read the comic book adaptation. The book was a really fun little read in a kind of quirky way that I suppose is pure Dick. The bicycle gears scene actually made me laugh out loud.

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Posted: 06 June 2007 06:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I love Philip k dick! Did you know his fan club members call themselves Dick Heads?  Hahaha!!11!!one!1!

I remember doing my first philosophy report on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by him, what a great read! Then I read Man In A High Castle, up to the end it was excellent! Then i searched for a sequel and was bummed to find out Dick was to disturbed by what the Germans did to the jewes to bother to do any more research after and quit on it.

I wanted to read A Scanner Darkly before i saw the movie but It wasnt at the publiv library!  It aws a entertaining movie though. It deeply disturbed me at the very end… In a good way, thats really sick.

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Posted: 08 June 2007 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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WITHTEETH - 04 June 2007 06:32 PM

Starship Troopers
Wow… the movie really just made fun of the book. The book is completely serious, I haven’t read to many war novels, just one other one (All Quiet On The Western Front) but this one was great. The psychology in it makes me think. At one point it talks about crime and punishment now and then. How now its a science that physical pain works over hard work. Also the notion of having to do your DUTY, and doing your DUTY makes you moral. What philosopher always talked about DUTY, was that Hegel?

Haven’t read this one, but you might also like The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (I think it’s Joe Haldeman!).

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Posted: 19 August 2007 12:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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While I had no comp I read a few great books and would like to share some of them with you.  I read both Acharya S. books:  “The Christ Conspiracy” and “Suns of God”.  It was, IMO, a very honest look at the Jesus myth and answered almost all my questions as to why the Bible as a whole has similar stories to other mythical stories.  She doesn’t con you like a member of the clergy would.  She is straight forward no holds bar and gives her sources so that you can not only look what she says up for yourself, but also do your own research.

I also read Bob Price’s “Deconstructing Jesus” and “The Reason Driven Life”.  Two great books written with Bob’s rapier wit.  He makes you think as well as laugh.  Now I will say The Reason Driven laugh he says a lot of things about the Fundies that I have said, but he still gives the non-theist food for thought.  He isn’t just writing in response to Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life” but to everyone- theist and non-theist alike in the book.  So you might find some of it useless, but you will also find some of it helpful too.

I did read Dawkin’s the God Delusion too, but found, except for the science discussion, nothing new for I’ve said virtually all of it myself before.  The only thing I would change is calling it a virus.  I tend to think of it as a symptom of a mental illness because I’ve found most extremists also have a mental illness along with their “delusion”.

Well that about wraps it up, unless you want to hear about the Sci-fi and alike I read too.  LOL

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 19 August 2007 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Absoltuley, I would like ot hear about the other stuff you read! Just as we were saying about POI, there’s a lot more to life than the struggle between reason and relidion, and I’m always looking for a good read! grin

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Militant Agnostic: I don’t know, and neither do you!

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Posted: 19 August 2007 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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OK.  I’m working on Gene Roddenberry’s Authorized Biography right now, autographed by Majel - “Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry” by David Alexander.  I found the most touching thing (so far) about it is that the last night had together Gene invited Majel to lie beside him (he was so sick that he had trouble sleeping, so she slept in the living room near their room, even so, Majel still did not sleep well).  She had walked into the master bedroom “to find Gene watching TV and wanted her next to him, in spite of the discomfort to his atrophying muscles, Majel got into bed and cuddled with him.”

“Over the next hour, Majel slowly turned down the television’s volume and Gene drifted off.  As Majel got up to go to her couch, Gene opened his eyes and said, “Sleep”.  Majel nodded and repeated, “Sleep”, and went off to the family room.  Gene closed his eyes as Majel left the room.  It was their last night together.”

I think that is the most dearest (can’t find words strong enough words so forgive the grammer faux pas) way to spend the last night with your beloved husband that I can ever think of having.  It was one of those images that was sad, yet gives you a smile.  It was most endearing.  You can find this book in the Roddenberry store on http://www.roddenberry.com

I think the one of the last books in the list of reading I read was “Death In Winter” byMichael Jan Friedman.  Beverly gets kidnapped and Jean-Luc is determined to find her.  It’s a bit of a love story mixed with action and suspense.

Oh wait!  I did read “Humanism as the Next Step”, but the short book has nothing new about Humanism, esp if you have read longer more detailed books about Humanism.  Well that is my month and a half’s worth of reading for me.  :D That’s 7 books plus the Gene’s book that I started just before I got my comp.  At least two are good size books- over 500 pages, but well worth the read.  Even Gene’s book is a good size too and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Gene’s even though I have not finished it yet.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 19 August 2007 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I recently red ‘Tall Tales from Mind and Brain’, by Sergio Della Salla. I enjoyed it very much. I guess almost no one of us currently believe in these myths, but the t explanation of why these myth are myth worths a read. I also read ‘the black book of psichoanalysis’, and I enjoyed it, event though I felt that there were a lot of anecdotal evidence which didn’t add anything to the case against psichoanalysis (very well supported, on the other hand).

On fiction, I guess I am growing old… I don’t have the motivation to read a new author. I just enjoy re reading Borges, Stanislav Lem, Dick and Cordwainer Smith.

I like to hear about your readings!

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Posted: 19 August 2007 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’ll join Barto in recommending Borges. I’ll also recommend Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum, Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum, Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red and Snow, Aldous Huxley’s Point-Counterpoint and Eyeless in Gaza, George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss… there’s very little literary fiction I read that disappoints me (and, conversely, there’s very little non-literary fiction I read that fails to disappoint me).

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Posted: 20 August 2007 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Over the weekend I read Edward Wilson’s The Creation and am now reading The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It is an amazingly funny and satirical spoof on religion, science, intelligent design and evolution.

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Posted: 20 August 2007 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I enjoyed Huxley’s The devils of Loudun and Brave New World. I also read The doors of perception and Heaven and Hell. Reading the latter was a weird experience: while the Huxley’s skills to narrate was there, I first met the irrational Huxley. He did a lot of weird and unclear claims about the inhabitants of the ‘antipodal of our brain’ and the mechanism which could be used to translate yourself there.

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Posted: 20 August 2007 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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my girlfriend has been wanting me to read Brave New World, but I am always too deep in non-fiction.

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Posted: 20 August 2007 03:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I red Brave New World a lot of years ago. I think it is a great book, copied by a lot scifi writers.

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Posted: 22 August 2007 06:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Advocatus, as far as I know from a grass-cabbaged friend of mine whose into such things, the soul-transfer device in the pyramids thing was originally from Erik Von Daniken’s idiotic trash in the seventies.

Mriana, I haven’t read the God delusion (because I hardly ever read) but I think the crucial reason you might liken it to a virus would be the fact that religious convictions are a communicable mental disorder whereas mental illnesses are inductable but not contagious.

As to books, I rarely read any (because ninety per cent of the ones I start are trash so I get forty pages in and just the throw the bloody thing away), but of the ones I have read, I would say Cancer Ward (A. Solzehnitsyn) was my favourite, roughly sixty per cent of Crime and Punishment (F Dostoyevsky) was my second favourite but the other forty per cent I quickly realised wasn’t worth bothering with and promptly binned, and The Diceman (L Rheinhardt) would be my third favourite of all time.  This last is very trashily written, but has the advantage of haivng the most obviously demarkated filler that you ignore and skip past; it also had a fun subversive little trick of everything turning out for the best, despite the fact that it could so easily have turned out differently.

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Posted: 22 August 2007 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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narwhol - 22 August 2007 06:12 PM

Mriana, I haven’t read the God delusion (because I hardly ever read) but I think the crucial reason you might liken it to a virus would be the fact that religious convictions are a communicable mental disorder whereas mental illnesses are inductable but not contagious.

I still call it a mental disorder which is perpetuated by other religious people.  I have seen it happen many times and my step-cousin, who shot himself last night, is another good example of it all.  Not only did he have severe pain, even after 4 back surgeries, his dr took him off his pain meds (medical mistake) and my mother, aunt, as well as their church were trying deparately to “lead him to salvation and the Lord”.  rolleyes  They said he was wanting salvation and Christ just before he shot himself. Whatever!  The pain I’m sure was bad enough, but imposing guilt on him did not help him at all.  He is the second person in my family to commit suicide over things that even included religious issues.  I know sever and unbarable pain is enough to drive people insane, but the behaviours of the religious reich, which work heavily on the psychic, don’t help either.  Because of this, I avoid my relatives as much as possible.  It is a mental brain washing that I do not respect or want.  If they had not done what they did he might not have killed himself, we don’t know though.  However, I do blame them for not helping the situation and just making it worse.

So yes, I still believe it is a mental disorder, not a virus.  They catch a person when they are at their lowest and act like vipers.  Making supernatural promises of healing and eternal life.  We all know none of it is true, but they really believe it and if the person isn’t healed after supposedly being “saved”, they make it worse by saying, “Oh you didn’t really turn your life over to the Lord or you would have been healed.  Not being healed is proof you didn’t give your life to the lord.”  rolleyes  It’s a brainwashing that causes mental illness and sometimes leads people to suicide.  Maybe they would have and maybe they would not have committed suicide if no one imposed their superstitious religious dogma on them, who knows, but I do know the feelings of guilt did not help my cousin. As for my grandfather, well he was Dx’d with depression, refused to see a psychiatrist/psychologist because he believed they were of the devil, then he accused the drs of playing God, insisting the Lord should have taken him home by now.  He stopped taking all his heart meds. (mind you he had a few heart attacks before this) three days later, he died of cardiac arrest- in essence, he committed suicide.

So you see, Narwhol, it IS a mental illness perpetuated and encouraged by other religious extremists as they impose these insane beliefs on others as they demand they believe it or else.  The only way you catch it is if you fall prey to their brainwashing.  It’s all a mental trip.  Unethical Psychology used by those who know nothing about psychology, which is a double dangerous thing.

The only positive thing about all of this, is neither of them feel pain anymore.  That was it and I find it sad that they will never know that death is final and there is nothing more.  My cousin is out of physical pain, but it is a shame euthanasia is not legal in Missouri.  I could deal with that better than what he just did.  Religion would have had nothing to do with it.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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