Irvine, CA, United States | Member Since 2009
You must like laughing at yourself, being all too human, satirically inclined and liked "Catch 22" to enjoy this. If you do, you will have a constant smile as Vonnegut delivers one tongue-in-cheek, overt choke, or silent satire, after another. There is no sacrosanct part of the universe safe from his prying black humor--from humanity itself, to politics, racism, class, the Vietnam (et. al.) war, capitalism, religion, morality, suicide, justice or the American Way ("Being an American means never having to say you're sorry, "--I was on my mountain bike high in the Santa Ana Mountains when I heard that one and laughed out loud, nonstop). Nihilism may be your only safe ground, but I can't be sure.
The most hilarious turning of humanity on it's head is told in the story of ''Protocols of the Elders of Tralfamador,'' where the story is that Germs are the real intelligence behind the universe, manipulating and causing humans to propagate its species and spread it's DNA throughout the universe as a result of our trashing and poisoning the planet. That was one of the most fascinating and poignant parts of the novel for me. If that story is all you read, it is worth the price of admission alone--hilarious.
The book ends (not a give-away) revealing that he has killed exactly as many people as the number of women he has had sex with--his dripping with satire take on morality, as if one "good" sexual relationship can be balanced by one "bad" killing. Just a bunch of Hocus Pocus, Charlie Brown ("hold that football still, Lucy.")
Nietzsche's analysis and critique of false authority, master-slave relationships, herd morality, rationalistic/scientific barriers to living fearlessly are amazing critiques for the time he wrote, and flew in the face of the rationalistic zeitgeist of Kant, Hegel and science.
His critique is very psychological, in that he does not himself present a rationalistic argument for or against his views (although he reveals brilliant thinking), but rather a series of observations/aphorisms which we automatically string together as his "philosophy" (and then wonder what he said). He makes scathing observations of the Jews being the cause of the despised master-slave relationships, and compounded by Christians. For sure, he despises weakness.
Because of his own questioning of human motivation leading to the destructive master-slave devaluation of human, I find myself analyzing his own motivation for his concerns. While his interpretation of women parallels hatred of weakness everywhere, his misogyny, mistrust and devaluation seems embedded in every pore of his being, and explains most of his philosophy as a rant against how his mother (including father) treated him. He describes women as like a cat, they do their own thing, they have claws waiting to strike and are fundamentally manipulative and shallow.
If my impression of Nietzsche's devaluation of human relationships (esp. with women) is accurate (his self/other esteem is relationally absent), then he is blind and in contempt (indignant) of any relational resolution to his existential predicament. His primary target therefore is anyone who presents a threat to him, his thinking, his power/right to live fully.
More interestingly, this theory helps explain the either/or, master/slave position which he takes as the truth of the human condition. Since psyche (which is conditioned by society he states)/people/society/ bad philosophers/scientists/politics/countries are not to be trusted, the first goal is to avoid being a slave of your own weak conscience or that of anyone else's, have the courage to be master of your own soul, and do not be afraid of your passions/instincts/impulses, but let them give you instinctive taste/guidance, power, freedom of will, nobility--not made weak by conscience.
His use of the term "Truth" is almost always stated in some disdainful way against others, especially philosopher metaphysicians who go around telling others what "Truth" is. His effort is to invert this terrible misconception, and restore the meaning of truth as ones own Will to Truth (which becomes Will to Power), the power to be who you are based on your own value. The ultimate truth in life is thus to embrace the value of your own power. He often speaks positively of artists who engage in their expressive, empowered freedom in life (i.e., Wagner).
He states that "all organic functions [including sexuality] could be traced back to this Will to Power" (36)--this is his claim about reality/truth. There are thus two reading of Nietzsche--the amoral, harsh, cynical, heartlessness, and the one that some of us would like to believe: that his thoughts just haven't been developed clearly and that he is more artistic in his nature (and that Santa Claus and Heaven are not in jeopardy). It is not hard to see why his ideas became usable for Hitler's regime. We can thank subsequent philosophers who salvaged his genius out of his darkness.
Initially the humor fit the philosophy, eventually the humor did not fit the philosophy, nor was it humorous.
Kept waiting for this mystery to develop into an intelligent plot, but no such luck. Take standard motivations for serial killers and mix it in with a multiple personality, combine with a coded use of first names to spell out the clue and you get a terribly disappointing experience. Be warned.
While Wilbur Smith has written some very entertaining descriptions of another world at another time, his prose tends toward excess. Worse, this book is the second in a series of thirteen novels, and it feels like there are 12 other novels needed to make sense of the plot. Get ready to read all or none, or you will feel that you just eavesdropped in a plot which has a long way to go for satisfaction.
A well told story of the Detectives of the nature of the universe, told by one of the Detectives in a novel-like way while relatively painlessly explaining Quantum Field Theory and the usually suspected quantum particles, especially the Higgs Boson. This is a very timely book, given the July 4th announcement of evidence of the Higgs. It nicely rounds out Briefer History in Time and Grand Design by Steven Hawking, and Elegant Universe by Brian Green.
What a story-teller. King creates characters more vivid and real than people I know. Plus, I'm looking forward to hear more about how they are doing, even though (sadly) the story is over and they do not exist (unbelievable).
This is a case of Fantasy more real than Fact, and definitely stranger--with King (I hope). So, since release of this horror story first in 1978, only recently has the audio book been available (which is my weakness) so this is my first experience of this post-apocalyptic-battle-against-Evil.
I am now thoroughly convinced--we must take a STAND--even though the wheel starts all over again, anew, each time. Not that we necessarily have a choice, since we are apparently chosen by the Dark Man or the White Lady (Abagail) in our dreams, and devote our selves to either force according to how our egos have been stroked (Evil), or our egolessness has been rewarded (Good). Our dreams reveal our truth.
I was intrigued by the creep factor, since the premise of THE STAND is based on a man-caused outbreak of a Super-Flu which wipes out all but the antibody-resistant-Few; but is turbo-charged by the Dark Man, dark dreams, wolves, wolverines, the flying Eye, (Evil supernatural); and turbo-charged by the White Lady, white dreams, compassion, respect, and valuing of relationships (Good supernatural) .
Ok, I give. Yes, this is another Good versus Evil epic battle on par with Star Wars, but tonight, and the rest of my nights, I think I will pay attention to my dreams, lock my doors, and take my STAND. And you?
The initial social assessment of postmodernism was not too helpful, enjoyed the reviews of the postmoderns, but the critique from a Christian perspective was weak and not very helpful. Seemed like he was trying to apply a few concepts to Christianity, but he mainly took an onto-theological approach, which is the main point of postmodernism.
A good thriller.
Loved how the author turned the good guy into the bad
Especially liked the ending, keeping open the possibility of continued threat.
A good listen, must pay attention to keep the characters and events straight. Good suspense until the end.
As enjoyable as it was to rejoin Katniss in her battle against the Capital, the original creative and personal animosity/bonding of youngsters fighting for their lives, does not continue equally through this last part in the trilogy of the Hunger Games.
There is a reason Stephen King left this novel on his shelf for over a decade. While there is such promise to his premise, the delivery is truly weak. Especially compared to his earlier novels, one of which was evoked during this novel, i.e., "It". His reference to Derry and the evil of "It" underlined how much less a novel is "11-23-63". Although the premise is great, the action parts are great, there is such a nostalgia driving the novel, rather than suspense that I often found myself wishing I had fast-forward available on the audio version. He seems to be so lost himself in the mystification of the 60's that he couldn't distinguish between nostalgia and his previous capacity to maintain suspense ("The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon," for example). So if you can get the abridged version of this novel on audio, you would get the best of both worlds, a good science fiction (time-travel) story without the boredom of action-less descriptions going nowhere. A good editor would have helped immensely, but maybe Stephen King is too far beyond that now :(
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