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About KEV67

  • Rank
    Settling In
  • Birthday 06/18/1967

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  • Gender
  • Location:
    Reading, UK
  • Interests
    Victorian fiction, science fiction, economics, sustainability

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  1. Things in books that annoy you

    I do not like very unlikely coincidences in books, which are used to push the plot along. For instance, I thought it was very weak in Jane Eyre when she left Thornfield Hall in a random direction, was set down when her fare ran out, wandered around the countryside for a couple of days and then ended up at her cousins' door. If there had been some reason for her going towards a certain place, like the town name had a familar ring to it, that would have been better. I thought The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope was fairly realistic, except the plot depended on two characters not knowing each other, but known to someone else, independently going to live in the same house in London.
  2. Do you memorize poems ?

    I went through a period when I tried to memorize some poems. For most of my life the only verse I could remember was the Lord's Prayer and how to say grace, both from primary and middle school. Some of the poems I attempted to memorize were: Ozymandius Invictus If Let Me to the Marriage of True Minds... Partes Quies I Am The Rolling English Road Dulce et Decorum Est The King's Breakfast Leisure Blue Remembered Hills Psalm 23 Ode to a Mouse I suppose I should check if I can still remember them.
  3. Britain's all time top five authors

    I am still struggling to think of a fifth writer I would have in my top 5. I refuse to include Virginia Woolf. Having watched those Comoron Strike adapations on the BBC, I don't think I place J.K. Rowling on it. I quite enjoyed the TV adaptions but I did not think the plots were great. I am still considering my criteria: How long have they been read? (although I also want to pick something written 20th or 21st century) How influential have they been on society? How much great work did they produce? How often are their worked adapted for plays, radio, television, films? How many formats did they work in: novels, plays, poems, short stories, journalism, essays, biographies, philisophical or religious works, etc? How innovative were they? How many people actually read and enjoy their stuff? It might have to be Chaucer because I cannot think of anyone in the 20th or 21st century that stands out above the others (except Orwell). My own favourite 20th century author was George MacDonald Fraser of the Flashman books, but great as he was, he's not going to make it on the list. Robert Graves perhaps, but he just didn't write enough.
  4. Pubs in books

    There was a pub called The Ragged Trousers in Tumbridge Wells. I wondered whether this was a reference to The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. When I was walking from Liverpool St Station to Kings Cross Station one Sunday, I passed a pub called the Betsy Trotwood, who is David Copperfield's aunt. There is a pub in my home town of Reading called Great Expectations. It used to be a Mechanics Institute in Victorian times. Charles Dickens did a reading there once, but it was from A Christmas Carol.
  5. Science Fiction Masterworks

    I read quite a few of Frank Herbert's book, but I found the The White Plague rather nasty and stopped reading it.
  6. Science Fiction Masterworks

    I've only read these out of the list, and not all as SF Masterworks editions. I don't think they do include all the best science fiction titles. For example The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula Le Guin) is not there. Neither is The Mote in God's Eye by Jerry Pournell and Larry Niven. I am sure The Gods Themselves by Issac Asimov was in a SF Mastwerorks edition, but I do not see it in the OP's list. I thought that was pretty good. CAT’S CRADLE Kurt Vonnegut DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP Philip K. Dick DUNE Frank Herbert FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON Daniel Keyes FRANKENSTEIN Mary Shelley RINGWORLD Larry Niven TAU ZERO Poul Anderson THE CITY AND THE STARS Arthur C. Clarke THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY Douglas Adams THE INVISIBLE MAN H.G. Wells THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU H.G. Wells THE TIME MACHINE H. G. Wells THE WAR OF THE WORLDS H.G. Wells
  7. I am reading Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu. It's reminds me an awful lot of those Hammer House of Horror films from the early 70s. Vampire stories go back a long way. Which are the best?
  8. Things in books that annoy you

    In science fiction it annoys me if the SF aspect is only there to set up either a) some sort of alternative historical Earth with castles and what-not, or b) some sort of fantasy world with people resembling elves, dwarfs, etc. In both cases civiliation is recovering from nuclear war which set the date back to year zero. In the case of b) mutations caused by radioactive fall out led to the pointy ears and the short stature. Postmodern books that do not have beginnings, middles and ends in the correct order, and which have parallel stories that do not go anywhere annoy me. Surprisingly to me, since I am a bit of a reactionary and not a feminist, I don't like reading very macho characters in books. I really did not like How Green Was My Valley, and I disliked a SF book I read recently whihc had a rather domineering security officer.
  9. You're a Gissing enthusiast. Peter Ackroyd's book, Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golum has been made into a film and it's scheduled to be released in September. One of the characters is George Gissing!

  10. That's a bit different. Those people weren't named characters on the whole. There was the curate and one or two scientific types at the start. Otherwise the victims were just part of an anonymous mass.
  11. I wonder if it's Mrs Gaskell. I don't think she is the most miserable of the Victorian authors, but her mortality rate is similar to a World War I novel.
  12. Some excellent suggestions so far. How Green Was My Valley - Richard Llewellyn Don Quixote - Miguel De Cervantes The Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf The Island of the Day Before - Umberto Eco
  13. I have just read E.M. Forster's The Machine Stops. It's a bit like The Matrix and a bit like Brave New World. It seems to predict something like the internet.
  14. What makes sci-fi interesting?

    I think a decent stab at the science is important; otherwise it is just fantasy. SF books are often books of ideas, but if they break known scientific limits, such as travelling faster than lightspeed with no plausible explanation of how they do it, then to me they are fantasy or adventure books. Technology shapes society. A lot of SF books imagine what that society will be like, which pointless if the technology is unrealistic. Many SF books are projections of the fears of the time of writing, particularly dystopias. I am trying to think of some of my favourite SF books: The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournell - A first contact book. Basically it was a book about over-population. Ringworld, by Larry Niven - not sure if it fits my thesis about SF being a projection of modern fears, but it is an interesting idea, which sounded plausible when I read it. Larry Niven often wrote about criminal who killed people for their organs, but I can't remember if he was in the book. Dune by Fank Herbert - eugenics, a planet of inscrutable machine makers reminiscent of Japan, the control of spice needed throughout the galaxy reminiscent of oil. The Left Hand of Darkness , by Ursula Le Guin - quite a bit about gender, quite political. An envoy tries to persuade an isolated civilisation to join the community of planets. The science was pretty good. The Martian, by Andy Weir - not really a projection of modern society or fears at all, but the science was strong. Makes Mars colonisation seem plausible (although difficult). The Gods Themselves - the Earth has found a cheap and abundant source of energy, unfortunately it is damaging the environment in a big way.
  15. Favourite books from childhood?

    My favourite book was The Hobbit followed by Watership Down, which had similar plots. I read all Enid Blyton's Famous Five books. I never bothered with her Secret Seven. I liked the Willard Price Adventure series. They were about two lads who helped their father catch wild animals for a zoo. I liked the Dragonfall 5 books too when I was younger. They were about a family who flew an obsolete cargo spaceship.