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novacop923 has commented on (13) products.

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Cat's Cradle

novacop923, April 13, 2012

He shoulda stayed in college!

There's no such thing as "ice nine," nor could there ever be; "Bokononism" isn't so much a half-baked Buddhism or Taoism as it is a smug excuse for pseudo-enlightened Westerners to laugh at others behind their back; Mona's probably the most "pedestalized" and least realistic woman character I've come across in literature of this pedigree; etc.

Take all the pretensions out (those listed above, and the wall-to-wall others) and the propulsive force of the novel ceases to exist. I read this in college and was underwhelmed, to say the least (at the Univ. of Chicago, I might add -- and, while the Common Core science requirements sure were hard, *I* didn't drop out and invent my OWN!). Only later did it dawn on me that the shared "smugness" was part of -- nay, the very CRUX -- of its "appeal."

Save your time & money. Read Pynchon's "V." -- published the same year -- instead, and you'll have so many "guns" in your psyche fired you'll be set for life!
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These Children Who Come at You with Knives, and Other Fairy Tales: Stories by Jim Knipfel
These Children Who Come at You with Knives, and Other Fairy Tales: Stories

novacop923, January 27, 2012

Don't get me started 'bout this one! I kept having to put the book down and "collect myself," it's so funny!

Jim Knipfel is a brilliant, wryly-observant writer, and, while the "wry" part of that last often tends to outweigh the "observant" in all-too-often a case, Knipfel manages to pack in paragraph after paragraph of evolving, expanding, wider-range extrapolation in each of these semi-humorous, semi-tragic "fairy tales."

(Well, alright ... only the chicken story is really & truly "tragic," but ... it made me sad!)

You'll have "trouble" getting through this if you read this aloud to people (start with the "Preface," a "Creation Myth," featuring Satan -- or, um, "Satan" -- as the Head Guy, and see how far you get before everyone "loses it"!).

I have no idea why this book didn't make a bigger "splash" when it came out in 2010 [I just happened across it, sitting on the shelf here at Powell's, last Fall], other than the usual "getting on the radar" problems which you probably don't need me to tell you about.

Just as well ... if YOU pick it up, I guar-ron-TEE it'll make a really, really big "dent" in YOUR life, and you'll wonder how you ever got along with out it, why no-one ever thought of this before, and why all these tons & tons o' folks around you don't know about it

Ah well ... such is the satisfaction of "knowing better"!

CAVEAT [albeit, in this case, of the "opposite" kind than usual]: You may want to "test drive" the thing before you read it in public (like a coffee shop, say). You start cracking up, people might look at you with a "Wha?" look on their faces, and you'll just have to be like "Sorry, sorry, I'm just ..." (hold forehead with hands) " ... it's just ... " (coming closer, but then cracking up again) " ... ahh ..."
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novacop923, January 21, 2012

You won't forget this one!

Ramsey Campbell is what you might call "Horror's best kept secret" ['cept, there was never any INTENTION to keep him secret!], or a "horror writer's horror writer" [if you check out the back covers of his books, you find the likes of Clive Barker, Stephen King, and Peter Straub all but falling over themselves, trying to out-do each other in praising him; a phenom. I've only ever encountered elsewhere with Wm. S. Burroughs, whose books feature the likes of Joan Didion & Anthony Burgess, praising HIM to the High Heavens], but: the fact remains, he simply makes most "horror" practitioners NOWADAYS [Eli Roth, are you reading this? CAN you read?] look like the pansy-ass, sadistic little Nazi wanna-bes they truly ARE -- closer to a Mengele-meets-Pavlov frappé than capable of anything Hawthorne, Poe, or Bierce ever came up with.

(Hmm ... I'm digressing a LOT in this review ... better "wrap up" before I lose my audience ...)

This book:

(1.) Is scary as all-git-out;
(2.) Accurately limns the modern-day society we live in (like Stephen King, often credited from bringing the Horror genre from its ghettoization in the realm of "the Catholic" to the realm of "the Protestant"), and PROCEEDS from THERE, rather than trying to back-end or jury-rig a "scary story" that bleeds over into (all-but-inevitable) story-ruining implausibilities;
(3.) Get the "LURE" of such cults (over-organized religions; the Cult of the Nazis; "Satan"-worshippers; etc.) so UNCANNILY right that there isn't a WHOLE lot of reassuring space left in the reader's psyche after you finish the book and return to "daily life" . . .

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Night Child (Ace Fantasy Book) by Jes Battis
Night Child (Ace Fantasy Book)

novacop923, January 21, 2012

A breath of fresh air in contemporary horror lit!

As good an example as any that the "Gothic/Horror" can, at times, be the ONLY venue to deal with human needs & wants which extent beyond the "convenient" -- as well as the workings of power behind the scenes, and their centuries-old history (or, at least, prime the reader for the fact that they necessarily would HAVE a "centuries-old history").

Personally, given that Jes Battis, Mario Acevedo, and Jenna Black (all three favorites of mine) are now writing in the wake of what historical-vampire novelist Chelsea Quinn Yarbro established -- and she's STILL around & writing at a healthy clip -- I think it's safe to say we are living in an unprecedented time for literature. (Ditto the case with Cory Doctorow getting out there while Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, et al., are still "in the trenches" -- and, for that matter, Ethan Clarke, who I take to be an inheritor of the Aaron Cometbus "punk memoir" mantle.)

Kudos to Jes Battis for the kick-off to a great new series (and, yes, the later books are just as superb!).
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In Extremis: The Most Extreme Short Stories of John Shirley
In Extremis: The Most Extreme Short Stories of John Shirley

novacop923, January 20, 2012

This is my favorite (pub. in 2011) book I read in 2011(*)!

John Shirley's the "real deal" -- which is somehow both an egregious understatement as well as being a statement of fact.

Among the "dabblers" in "extreme" fiction laboring [in either prose or film form] nowadays, few use the "genre" to map out psychological states under what you might call "duress" -- but Shirley, somehow, manages to capture these states -- these "thoughts within thoughts," (causally, emotionally, & experientially rendered) -- which is no less significant a boon to the rest of ours's culture than Charlie Parker's coming back with "demi-semiquavers" (which, admittedly, I only know about secondhand, from reading "Gravity's Rainbow"!).

Read Shirley and you'll FIND OUT what "darkness lurks in the hearts of man" (and, of course woman) -- because, unlike none-too-many poseurs to name, he MAPS the TERRITORY!

Kudos, John Shirley! I say Kudos!
(*) RUNNERS-UP: Emma Forrest's memoir "Your Voice in My Head" and Chuck Palahniuk's novel "Damned."

I know, I know: Murakami, Dan Simmons, and Albert Brooks (!!! -- a futuristic novel called "2035"!) all published stuff this year, but ... well, I'm TRYIN' to keep up, o.k.? (I'll have to catch 'em in paperback!)
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