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A 'Fables' tale outside the main thread of the stories, this predates the material most readers are familiar with. I've loved the main Fables storyline, but this book was a bit disappointing. We find Snow White in the land of the Arabian Fables, trying to make a pact with them. But she finds herself under threat of death, and telling stories to stave off death each night. Sound familiar?

Each story adds background to the history of the Fables, and each is illustrated by a different artist. It's interesting if you're familiar with 'Fables,' but probably confusing and pointless if you're not. And even if you know the background, it's not as good as the main story. Not the equal of its brilliant predecessor, Hyperion.

But a good book nevertheless, and worth reading for the conclusion of everything started in Hyperion. The structure isn't nearly as good most of it looking at events through the dreaming mind of a cybrid who can "see" events across hundreds of light years in real time And involving both the "Ultimate Intelligence" created by the machines read "God" , and an equivalent essentially dreamed-into-being by humanity.

Better than that implies, it's still good, but it definitely feels like he's struggling to write himself back out of the corner he got himself into. In A Wizard Ged was years old. In Tombs he was a secondary character, but he was perhaps And now, he's become archmage of Roke as mentioned at the end of the first book , and I would guess between 55 and 60 years old.

The book starts with the prince Lebannen from Enlad coming bearing the news that there are rumours that magic is failing in the Reaches. Ged sees something in Lebannen and Lebannen worships the ground that Ged walks on this isn't particularly well played by Le Guin , so the two set out on a archipelago-spanning journey to try to find the cause of the problem.

Much of the book is about dealing with the fact that you will eventually die - no one lives forever. Ged is apparently the only person in the world who truly believes this, and those that don't believe are all being influenced by While I enjoyed revisiting the single greatest hero of my childhood Ged , this is definitely the weakest of the three books in the initial trilogy Le Guin wrote these three in a clump around , but would after revisit it with a couple more novels and some short stories.

It's heavy-handed and pedantic in its lessons about accepting what we've been given, and the story has little joy or pleasure in it. Moore writes comedy fantasy, in this case about a knight Terry in love with a princess he's too poor to marry. She loves him too, but is under threat of an arranged marriage. So to solve this problem, Terry sets out to kill a dragon in the kingdom because then he'll get the princess - after all, it has the force of law and legal precedent and there are plenty of lawyers in this kingdom.

He succeeds in killing the dragon after several weeks of hunting This is the kind of humour Moore uses, contrasting standard fantasy tropes knight and princess with modern concepts lawyers, re-zoning, sliced bread The writing is utilitarian, but he manages a lot of laughs and I enjoyed it. Feet of Clay is the 19th Discworld novel, which introduces golems. Golems are made of clay, and must have a master - for whom they will work tirelessly 24 hours a day. They're nearly indestructible, and when one apparently goes on a rampage, the watch has some very tricky detective work to do.

At the same time, Lord Vetinari is also being poisoned, causing further problems. I wasn't expecting to enjoy this one much - I suppose I keep expecting the Discworld books to fall off in quality as they progress, in large part because I know I wasn't that enthusiastic about 's The Wee Free Men. But, while they've been uneven, there hasn't been the slow downward trend I keep looking for.

I enjoyed this one a fair bit, and thought he managed to pull of one of his best interchanges ever towards the end of the book. So stop reading this review now if you're planning to read the book. Vimes had a feeling about the immediate future and took a few steps away from Dorfl. A bolt of lightning lanced through the clouds and hit Dorfl's helmet. There was a sheet of flame and then a trickling noise. Dorfl's molten armor formed puddles around his white-hot feet. The jokes about religion and authority are very good for most of the book, but this particular joke is a favourite.

Superbly written, a rather bizarre story of the life of a man. Very hard to explain. I put it down for eight months - the plot isn't captivating, but the writing is. Very good. It's a dark book, but the prose is convoluted and elegant and the story is positively psychedelic.

Finch is set in the same city of Ambergris roughly years later - the city is now partly flooded and is fully under the control of the sentient-mushroom gray caps. The prose is choppy and much more direct than that in Shriek : it's probably a deliberate attempt to imitate a more "noir" style of writing possibly even successful but hugely less appealing to me. The story is also too long, and incredibly grim, making Shriek look like a sunny walk in the park it isn't.

If you're a fan of noir, steampunk, and psychedelia, this might appeal to you McNeil's work is uneven but always interesting and beautifully drawn. This is a hell of a whack at the possibilities of cyberspace and some of the issues that might arise. Magri White is an artist of sorts: his mind holds the place "Elsewhere" that thousands of people visit through their computers every day. It's a wonderful place. But Magri's family wasn't very nice, and since he's a place he hasn't slept since he was eight years old. What happens if he has psychological issues? I read this as McNeil posted it online, and was completely sucked in.

It's written from the point of view of a man, and I was very surprised that this storyteller who had the male viewpoint completely nailed was a woman. A brilliant artist with a lot of insight into human behaviour - this is a really great graphic novel. Csikszentmihalyi was the originator of the term "Flow," the idea of getting so into your work when it's the right combination of challenging and interesting that you fail to notice time passing. This isn't his first book on the subject, but I chose this one because of "engagement with everyday life" in the title.

It's a fascinating book, he's researched the subject in considerable depth. It's also inspired me to find more things that put me in a "flow" state, which is a very good thing. I got to page of excluding notes, index A very well-known book of short stories by Willis, including her well-regarded "Fire Watch" in which a young university history student is sent back in time to the London Blitz during the Second World War.

The story shares the same universe as the brilliant The Doomsday Book , and in fact the protagonist's roommate is Kivrin of that title. I was singularly unhappy with the collection as a whole: "Fire Watch" wasn't bad but neither was it great, and the final story "Blued Moon" was likewise okay. I disliked many of the stories, and truly hated "All My Darling Daughters. Another author aspiring to write a trilogy, starting with this, the first book she's ever written.

Micklem is very good at world-building, bringing us to a land ruled by those of "the Blood. It's quickly established that there is no law beyond what the Blood do: if they harm mudfolk, the only problems caused are if you've damaged someone else's worker so they can't work. The mudfolk were created by the gods, but those of the Blood are descended from the gods - or so we're told, but although there was a lot of worshipping, there was no visible action from any god during the book.

While much is made of the difference between Blood and mud, they can and often do interbreed. Our main character is Firethorn, a mud woman who follows a knight of the Blood to war or at least to the King's preparatory war camp, where nearly half the book takes place. And her life is miserable. There's sex, there's scalping, there's mud, unhappiness, rape, poisoning, murder. There's no happiness and no beauty anywhere to be found in this book, and that's where it fell down for me: I don't need unremitting grimness from a book, it needs bright spots, achievements - that's why I read. I quite enjoyed Shades of Milk and Honey the first in that series and her first published book : she did a fine job riffing on Jane Austen's style and settings, and bringing magic into that world.

It was a good book that didn't need a sequel, but apparently the sequels were successful without my being interested in them - imagine that. Recently I found out she'd written a science fiction novel about memory in the age of perpetual connection, I was immediately interested because she's a good writer with interesting ideas. The book finds antiquities dealer Katya Gould typing on a typewriter about her bike ride in the woods. The typewriter thing is one of the conceits of the book: there are typos throughout, and the occasional cross-out. The exact date is never established, but the antiquities she deals in would seem to indicate that our time is perhaps 50 years behind them.

She often records huge chunks of her life and uploads it to the cloud as she goes. This is so common that it's a horrible shock to her when she becomes disconnected in the woods - that NEVER happens. A man shoots some deer in her sight in itself an unusual and improper act and then kidnaps her. But she cannot record, she has to remember it for herself. And no one is going to believe her because there's no recording. She survives to type the story on the antiquity she was transporting at the time, although she never actually determines what the man was doing or why she was kidnapped.

But she speculates a bit, and it's somewhat alarming. The book made me think a bit about what it would be like to live when recording of everything is very common, and about the mutability of memory. But these are both subjects I've thought about before which is why I was interested in the book , and while she did a decent job, it certainly wasn't ground-breaking.

I read it many years ago, and have recently been working my way through many of the better SF books of the past 50 years. Our protagonist is William Mandella, a conscripted soldier in an already outdated future it was written in some of his ideas of the future are already clearly and blatantly wrong.

After mankind has expanded to the stars, they've encountered the Taurans - and a war immediately ensues. Which means you lose years of time. So the war stretches across centuries, and soldiers often return decades or even a hundred years after they left, so they don't understand the culture of the world that's still sending new draftees Haldeman's views on homosexuality were probably quite enlightened for the s, but come across as a bit dated and unpleasant in The technology around computers is of course somewhat dubious.

But overall, the book still ranks among the best of military SF novels, a dark tale of history completely bypassing soldiers, abandoning them to brutal culture shock when they return to a home planet they don't recognize generations later. The ending is surprisingly abrupt and upbeat, and yet oddly appropriate to the book. This deserves its place among the best SF novels. Raphael Carter's first and, as of , only novel The Fortunate Fall was published in It's commonly listed as "post-cyberpunk," and is on several must-read lists.

Our antagonist is Maya Tatyanichna, who is a "Camera. Although that's moderated by her "screener," a person who effectively edits her output on the fly. Carter is a fan of throwing readers in at the deep end - putting you in a scene, letting the novel play out, and feeding you information about the world as it progresses. Normally I'm a fan of this style, strongly preferring it to the "no reader left behind" style where you're front-loaded with the world's details and behaviour.

But for this figure-it-out-yourself style to work And Carter just leaves too many things dangling, presenting dozens of situations or characters with huge questions attached that aren't clarified for pages or, I suspect in several cases, at all. I don't mean the "will they try to kill our protagonist later? And the problem with that is that you eventually forget some of these open questions - so when you're given the answer, you don't even know it had a question attached anymore.

This leaves the world ill-defined in your head, and I felt that way about this book from one end to the other. For example, very early on it's made clear that "drinking tea with the PostCops" is a truly horrible thing. Like bad, or Soviet Russia dissident vanishment bad. It's mentioned more than once, but not explained until page I spent the book believing that "post" meant "after" it doesn't and that "drinking tea" was a euphemism it isn't.

They're "PostCops" because they've loaded Emily Post wetware and are super polite as they serve you tea and ask you endless questions. And at the end, you vanish. Another example is "The Guardians. They're mentioned multiple times - but it isn't until around page that you find out they were Americans maybe this was meant as a big surprise. The Guardians were driven out by the Unanimous Army - again, mentioned and not explained for a hundred pages. I think the author meant the book to address the atrocities of war, the curtailment of personal rights, and to a lesser extent dealing with grief.

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All seen through the eyes of a distinctly unpleasant narrator. It was mildly interesting, but also a struggle to get through. The fifth book that Gladstone has written in the "Craft Sequence" - although fourth chronologically within its world. Gladstone's penchant for writing out of order has significantly reduced the suspense that could have existed in his stories had we not already known that certain characters survived.

She's stayed on after the events of the first written book, Three Parts Dead - an odd behaviour for a Craftswoman, as Craftsmen are in general on the opposite side of the table from gods. And now she has a significant crisis on her hands, because Kos loves Seril, and Seril, although resurrected, is A still technically dead, B weak, and C likely to be perceived as a significant financial liability to Kos when the truth comes out Several other major and minor characters from Three Parts Dead reappear. The writing is consistently good, with moments of excessively clever: "The Evangelists, thank any and all gods, had coffee: grim, nasty stuff, notes of hydrofluoric acid, undertones of charcoal, ground glass mouthfeel, aftertaste of squid.

The sheen across the top reminded Tara of oil slicks she'd seen. But at least it was coffee, by someone's definition. Gladstone writes a lot of his prose like this, although happily not usually quite so flashy, but it's sometimes a bit tiresome to read. Again, as with his other books, the story is good. But this book sees his promise of "four books in the Craft sequence" which he made after the first or second book fall by the wayside. This is the fifth book, and I really wish he'd stuck to his promise. It's by no means a bad book, but it no longer has the spark and the life that was most visible in the first book and which has been slowly fading ever since.

He's a hell of a world-builder, and he should go build another world. It's a venomous satire - although of what hadn't quite become clear yet. Perhaps just daily Australian? It's very well-written, it's occasionally funny Scalzi's reboot of H. Beam Piper's minor classic Little Fuzzy. I've heard Scalzi talking about this book a couple times, and he explained how even though Little Fuzzy is now in the public domain, he and his agent went to the Piper Foundation now owned by Penguin I believe and wrote them a cheque for the privilege of doing this reboot.

It's been a long time since I read the Piper, but I've always been fond of it. I don't remember it well, but it seems that Scalzi has actually done a fairly good job with it. It's updated, it's amusing, it's an enjoyable read. I don't think Piper was aiming for anything more, and Scalzi doesn't aim higher either. For younger fans and those put off by the inherent Sixties assumptions of older SF or fans of the original looking to revisit these old friends, the Scalzi version is a fun ride. Gladstone continues with the impressive world-building and the slightly hallucinatory combination of religion, magic, and technology.

As he puts it in the afterward, "Every book's a journey - sometimes you go to Hawaii, sometimes you go to Mordor. For this book I did a bit of both. The idols are essentially non-sentient gods, which means that in his mythology Although they require worship and good handling and deposits of soul. Which all undoubtedly sounds weird if you haven't read any of his books, but it really works. Kai's problem is that she tried to save an idol as it died as a result of bad investments We also follow the story of Izza, who is the story teller of a small band of street kids in the same city as Kai.

They seem to have had a series of small gods, who helped them - on an island that is officially free of all gods. And Izza is helping Cat who was in Three Parts Dead , who's recently arrived on the island on an unexplained errand. An academic somewhere could write a long and very interesting paper about Gladstone's views on police. In the first book, "Justice" is a group of people who are linked to a semi-sentient authority, and essentially controlled by it.

But Justice isn't actually very good at looking at the facts, and the off-duty Justice workers tend to have horrible addictions because going off-duty is a wickedly bad come-down. The portrayal of the police in the second book is the most positive of the lot: on duty, they're only semi-human, they're heavily fortified In this book, we have the Penitents: these are three metre tall stone giants that enforce the law, each of which has a person trapped inside it for months or years: and they scream in pain the entire time.

He's very inventive, but I wonder about his views on justice and the police. Anyway, another good book. I've had the impression that the next will be the last in the Craft series. I hope so, although this is one of those very rare cases where I think he could actually continue to mine this idea further. Originally Sandman At its best, the original Sandman series is among the best comic books ever created.

This one tells the story of a young woman who doesn't dream, and her friends in New York City. She finds herself back in her very well constructed dream, but it's been taken over by "the Cuckoo," and a couple of her friends from the real world have been dragged into the fight. Good, but not Gaiman's best. Considered one of the great books of the genre, I direly wanted to re-read it after I read the sequel Beyond the Blue Event Horizon recently. That's an unimpressive book: this, on the other hand, has re-affirmed itself as one of the best SF novels ever written.

Our main character is Robinette Broadhead, living the high life on an over-populated Earth. He's seeing a computerized psychologist he calls Sigfrid, who over time slowly pushes him toward a deeply traumatic moment in his life. The novel alternates between his sessions with Sigfrid in which he mostly avoids talking about his past and flashbacks to his time on Gateway, which is an alien artifact circling the Sun left half a million years ago by an alien race known as the Heechee. Gateway is littered with Heechee ships. The problem is, humans don't know how to fly them.

You can make them go , but where you end up is a total crapshoot. And whether you come back is equally a crapshoot. Not too surprisingly, Robin is terrified to go. And he meets a woman on Gateway, Klara, with similar issues. But eventually they go out together - a long trip in a small tin can that produces nothing of value All of this and much more is slowly and painfully revealed through the course of the book - interspersed with mission reports, personal ads, letters home, and various other Gateway documents that really add flavour to the place.

The ending is seriously shocking, and still a hard thing to read even knowing the outcome from my previous long ago reading of the book. The sequel to The Initiate Brother , and the end of this two book series. The book follows the Shonto defense of the Empire against an invading army - while simultaneously dealing with an emperor who refuses to believe that the invasion exists. It's also about "the initiate brother" of the previous book, Shuyun, who comes into his own.

There aren't a lot of mesmerizing non-fiction books in the world, but this is one of them. It takes a certain skill to make the tale of John Snow and Henry Whitehead read like a detective thriller, especially when the author declares the outcome in the first few pages. This is all about how Snow and Whitehead dissected and stopped the Cholera epidemic in London, and how Snow eventually convinced the world that the disease was spread by water, not smells. And the effect that revelation had on both medecine and the way we build cities.

The book drops off considerably in the last chapter and a half as Johnson switches from historical narrative to future speculation. But to that point it's admirable and utterly fascinating. Both a grandiose title and a big claim - and not inaccurate. I used to claim that it reads with the tension of a murder mystery - even though you know the outcome. On this second reading I was astonished at the immense amount of technical information he goes through. And not about inherently exciting subjects: an incredible number of deaths, water pumps, sewers, cesspools, diseases, and informational maps.

The success of this book suggests I wasn't the only person who found his coverage of these topics fascinating: he lays out the state of science at the time a deep belief that bad smells aka "miasma" spread disease and the uphill battle that John Snow and Henry Whitehead had to prove that cholera was in fact a waterborne disease. That idea of Snow's was incredibly radical at the time, and Whitehead went from being his greatest adversary to being his greatest supporter. Possibly the best non-fiction book ever written about any aspect of science, I cannot recommend this one enough. In the last chapter he does some speculating about the future of science based on what he's written and that part is a bit off-key, but It's pure genius.

A live boy is transported to the afterlife by a ghost hunter who accidentally returns both a ghost and the live boy. The problem is A motley crew attempts to catch up to Garth the boy as he goes trotting about the landscape on the horse skeleton that got him sent over and that subsequently befriended him. But there are strange forces at work Kowal continues the story of Jane, now with her husband. They go on a honeymoon to Belgium, where they encounter the return of Napoleon and things get unpleasant.

It felt awkward and contrived and I was sick of Jane's damaged sense of self-worth that Vincent is constantly having to prop up even before I started this book: it gets very tiresome by the end. Kowal is a decent writer but I think her energies would have been better spent on new material: instead this series this is the second, following Shades of Milk and Honey extends at this writing in to four books. Maia is the exiled fourth or fifth I lost track son of the emperor - banished to a country estate in part because he's half goblin in a land of elves - when the airship carrying his father and all his brothers explodes.

Suddenly this untutored 18 year old is in charge of a large empire. The book follows his struggle to come to terms with his change of status and try to rule justly while not getting killed, a rather difficult thing given that he knew no one at court when he started.

Addison has a particular love of multi-syllabic names for people and places that I found fairly annoying, a fine example being "Untheileneise'meire" with the knowledge from the pronunciation guide at the back of the book that "There are no silent letters in Ethuverazhin".

Addison's main aim seems to be to show that Maia is swamped in court politics that he doesn't understand: she does this passably well, although I think " The Initiate Brother " does the politics substantially better. But Maia is a likable guy and the book is overall a fast and enjoyable read: recommended. Our narrator, Korvas, is doing a sideshow talk to a crowd and trying to part them from their money to hear his story.

He's a former cheating carpet merchant, obnoxious, hypocritical, a boaster, and many other things besides You see, Korvas has inherited from someone he didn't know, which kind of surprises him a small box with four drawers. These drawers provide him with things: rarely ever things he wants, but always things he needs - even though he often doesn't see it that way. The box may contain the power of the gods, or it may be a god The story doesn't go beyond the relatively common fantasy quest format as Korvas tries to figure out how to A save himself, and B save the world, but it's a fairly unusual quest with an entertaining narrator, and I found it a fast and very enjoyable read.

It turns out that the Greek Gods are not, in fact, dead. They're living in an incredibly squalid house in London, doing the things Greek gods always do: grandstanding, hitting on mortals, acting out on petty jealousies, and getting laid. The first fifty pages are hysterically, laugh-out-loud funny, but the rest of the book doesn't live up to that. Still, engaging characters and an enjoyable plot make this a light and easy read. Imagine Terry Pratchett with sex thrown in: and the similarities don't end there, she borrows from his and Neil Gaiman's views on old gods.

I wonder if the name of one of the main characters being "Neil" is just a coincidence Mary had twins, the brothers Jesus and Christ. Christ was very pious, always going to temple and studying scriptures. Jesus was a wild child, always causing problems - and often bailed out by Christ. But in later life it was Jesus who preached, who had followers, who saw the coming Kingdom of God. And Christ became the quiet man in the background recording Jesus' progress. Pullman has re-envisioned the story of Jesus Christ.

I would say he was trying to make sense of what the real happenings were that led to the scripture we know today, but I don't think that's where he's coming from as an avowed atheist. I think it's more likely he thinks of it as a vehicle to place doubt in the mind of Christians. But when asked, he can retreat into another entirely plausible explanation: it's about storytelling, and how stories change through time and retelling, and how they can be made more powerful through correct choices of those changes. Unfortunately, he's opted to use very simple language and very little in the way of description - presumably to have something similar to a storyteller's verbal delivery - and thus has left us with a sparse and unexciting story of morality.

This book is of course controversial with the Christian Church. The irony of that is that if they'd simply ignored it, this story would have had very little power because I like Pullman and I wanted to like this, but it's succeeding because of the controversy, not because it has much merit.

Many people prophesied that a book written by Pratchett and Gaiman would be very good, but I'd have to say that's kind of a gimme - not a hard prediction to make. And one that turned out entirely accurate and, in fact, "nice," in the sense Agnes Nutter uses it, meaning "precise". Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett are both famous on their own - Gaiman best known for The Sandman also known for many other things , and Pratchett for the Discworld series of books.

Their working together was a dream come true for many fans. The end times are nigh, and the angel Aziraphale "An angel, and part-time rare book dealer" and the demon Crowley "An Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards" - who have both been stationed on Earth and have become friends - are NOT looking forward to having their comfy jobs terminated by the Apocalypse.

Of course they have jobs to do, and authorities to report to Due to a mix-up at the children's hospital, the son of Satan is placed with a perfectly ordinary British family and named Adam, instead of becoming the son of the American diplomat in the U. And so Adam slowly warps the small town of Lower Tadfield into his own image of perfection which Wikipedia points out is almost exactly like an old series of British children's books called Just William. A blurb on the cover from the New York Times declares this "A direct descendant of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ," and that's an accurate assessment: this is to religious fantasy what HHGttG was to science fiction.

As with so many Pratchett books, the plot isn't really the point - although in this case I think Gaiman's influence led to a plot more thought-provoking than Pratchett's usual stuff. And I think that together they've also produced better characters than they do alone, even if most of them are still drawn in broad strokes. Intermittently hysterically funny, and always entertaining. Highly recommended. I wish they'd written another book or two together. Illustrations by Dave McKean. Gaiman is clearly a fan of McKean, having worked with him on numerous occasions.

But this is perhaps the first time I've liked his illustrations, in this case rather simple monochrome sketches. The story is about a young boy growing up in a graveyard. His family was murdered, and "the man Jack" who did it is determined to kill him And so the boy, now known as "Nobody Owens," is raised by ghosts, and acquires some very strange talents, and equally strange friends. Gaiman's writing is excellent, with a particular knack for giving substance to characters with only a short description.

Very enjoyable. The main conceit of this YA novel is that the main character and her family and friends are all characters in a book. When someone reads the book, they have to sprint about, reading their lines. The concept is cleverly developed, and there are many good ideas, but none can equal the initial concept. It's a very good book even for adults that doesn't quite live up to its initial brilliance. Post-cyberpunk action-adventure SF. The main character, Ian Cormac, is what amounts to a federal agent, defending the integrity of Earth Central?

When the book begins, he is "gridlinked," permanently connected to all the computers and AIs surrounding him - but shortly finds out that he has to become un-gridlinked or permanently lose his humanity. Which he does - and is then confronted with an unusual case while a psychotic maniac from a previous case attempts to track him down and kill him. The book is definitely an enjoyable read - reasonably well written, lots of action. But the ending is extremely unclear about what happened, and I found that pretty annoying.

The Night Watch has been beaten into complete insignificance by the crime in the city, and Captain Vimes of the Watch has slowly slid into alcoholism although Pratchett would never use that word, seeing it as merely heavy drinking in the face of an obstacle and easily solved Things begin to change when a dragon starts attacking the city and Carrot joins the watch. Carrot Ironfoundersson isn't a dwarf, although he's having trouble adjusting to that fact. He grew up as a dwarf after his parents found him as a baby. By the time he got to be 6'6", his parents found it necessary to admit to him that he was, in fact, an adopted human.

And so he ventured to the city Ankh-Morpork, of course with his unbending morality, durable sword, and not terribly swift brain to make his way in the world. The Watch are one of Pratchett's more memorable crews, particularly Carrot. I prefer my heroes reasonably intelligent, but I'm willing to make an exception for one as charming, literal-minded, and funny as Carrot. The book is written in the second person, with chapters being from one of three perspectives: Sue a cop , Elaine a forensic database analyst , and Jack a game designer and programmer.

They are dealing with a huge bank robbery inside a MMORPG - an apparent impossibility in a non-PvP zone - and the massive real-world fall-out that follows. The writing style is an incredibly annoying conceit. The ideas on near-future gaming and espionage are actually quite interesting and the book is structured reasonably well, but the writing style wore me down to where finishing the book was a bit of a chore.

A science fiction fan friend of mine has been maintaining for years that, despite my issues with Heinlein's politics and later writing, I should read Have Spacesuit, Will Travel - one of Heinlein's early juveniles. Here on eartli they may have been practicing. There they are perfecting their song. Our future Ues in Universality, not won by violence, but by the strength derived from our great ideal — the reuniting of all mankind. Hamsun, as I have often said, is one of the authors who vitally affected me as writer. None of his books intrigued me as much as Mysteries. In that period I spoke of earher, when I began to take my favorite authors apart in order to discover their secret power of enchantment, the men I concentrated on were Hamsun first of all, then Arthur Machen, then Thomas Mann.

When I came to reread The Birth of Tragedy I remember being positively stunned by Nietzsche's magical use of language. Only a few years ago, thanks to Eva SikeHanou, I became intoxicated once again with this extraordinary book. I mentioned Thomas Mann. But it was Mann's skill as a writer of short stories, or novelettes, which most intrigued and baffled mc during the " analytical " period I speak of At that time Death in Venice was for me the supreme short story.

In the space of a few years, however, my opinion of Thomas Mann, and especially of his Death in Venice, altered radically. It is a curious tale and perhaps worth recounting. It was like this. During my early days in Paris I made the acquaintance of a most engaging and provocative individual whom I beHeved to be a genius. John Nichols was his name. He was a painter. Like so many Irishmen, he also possessed the gift of gab.

It was a privilege to listen to him, whether he were discussing painting, Hterature, music, or talking sheer nonsense. He had a flair for invective, and, when he waxed strong, his tongue was vitrioHc. One day I happened to speak of my admiration for Thomas Mann and, before long, I found myself raving about Death in Venice.

Nichols responded with jeers and contempt. He admitted he had never read it and thought my proposal an excel- lent one. I shall never forget this experience. Before I had read three pages Thomas Mann began to crumble. Nichols, mind you, had not said a word. But reading the story aloud, and to a critical ear, suddenly the whole creaking machinery which underlay this fabrication exposed itself.

Half- way through I flung the book on the floor. Later on I glanced through The Magic Mountain and Buddenhrooks, works I had regarded as monumental, only to find them equally meretricious. This sort of experience, I must quickly add, has happened but seldom to me. There was one outstanding one — I blush to mention it! How on earth I had ever managed to find that book " funny " is beyond my comprehension. Yet I had, once. Indeed, I remember that I laughed until the tears came to my eyes. The other day, after a lapse of thirty years, I picked it up and started to read it again.

Never have I tasted a shoddier piece of tripe. Another disappointment, though much milder, lay in store for me on rereading The Triumph of the Egg. It came near to being a rotten egg. What I started to say is that, in rereading, I find more and more that the books I long to read again are the ones I read in childhood and early youth.

I mentioned Henty, bless his name! Imagine not having read any of these men since boyhood! It seems incredible. One of these, I recall, was about our great " hero " for a day — Admiral Dewey. Another was about Admiral Farragut — probably about the battle of Mobile Bay, if there ever was such an engagement.

Regarding this book I recall now that, in writing the chapter called " My Dream of Mobile " in The Air-conditioned Nightmare, I was actively aware of this tale of Farragut's heroic exploits. Without a doubt, my whole conception of Mobile was colored by this book I had read fifty years ago. But it was through the book on Admiral Dewey that I became acquainted with my first Hve hero, who was not Dewey but our sworn enemy, Aguinaldo, the Fihpino rebel.

My mother had hung Dewey's portrait, floating above the battleship Maine, over my bed. Aguinaldo, whose likeness is now dim in my mind, links up physically with that strange photograph of Rimbaud taken in Abyssinia, the one wherein he stands in prison-Hke garb on the banks of a stream. Little did my parents reaHze, in handing me our precious hero.

Admiral Dewey, that they were nurturing in me the seeds of a rebel. He was the fu-st Enemy Number One to cross my horizon. I still revere his name, just as I still revere the names of Robert E. Lee and Toussaint L'Ouverture, the great Negro hberator who fought Napoleon's picked men and worsted them. Or Emerson's Representative Men? And why not make room for another early idol, John Paul Jones? The spectacular story of this man's life is one of those projected books which Cendrars has not yet written and probably never will. The reason is simple. Following the trail of this adventurous American, Cendrars amassed such a wealth of material that he was swamped by it.

In the course of his travels, searching for rare documents and buying up rare books relating to John Paul Jones' myriad adventures, Cendrars confessed that he had spent more than tenfold the amount given him by the publishers in advance royalties. The first person to whom I ventured to read aloud was my grand- father. Not that he encouraged it! I can still hear him saying to my mother that she would regret putting all those books in my hands.

He was right. My mother did regret it bitterly, later. It was my own mother, incidentally, whom I can scarcely recall ever seeing with a book in her hand, who told me one day when I was reading The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World that she had read that book years ago herself— in the toilet. I was flabbergasted. Not that she had admitted to reading in the toilet, but that it should have been that book, of all books, which she had read there.

Reading aloud to my boyhood friends, particularly to Joey and Tony, my earhest friends, was an eye-opener for me. I discovered early in hfe what some discover only much later, to their disgust and chagrin, namely, that reading aloud to people can put them to sleep. Either my voice was monotonous, either I read poorly, or the books I chose were the wrong sort.

Inevitably my audience went to sleep on me. Which did not discourage me, incidentally, from continuing the practice. Nor did these experiences alter the opinion I had of my little friends. No, I came quietly to the conclusion that books were not for everyone.

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The Barbarian (Tales of Aurelia, Book Two)

I still hold to that view. The last thing on earth I would counsel is to make everyone learn to read. If I had my way, I would first see to it that a boy learned to be a carpenter, a builder, a gardener, a hunter, a fisherman. The practical things first, by all means, then the luxuries. And books are luxuries. Of course I expect the normal youngster to dance and sing from infancy. And to play games. I would abet these tendencies with might and main. But the reading of books can wait. To play games. Ah, there is a chapter of life in a category all by itself I mean, primarily, out-of-door games — the games which poor children play in the streets of a big city.

I pass up the temptation to expand on this subject lest I write another, very different, kind of book! However, boyhood is a subject I never tire of Neither the remembrance of the wild and glorious games we played by day and night in the streets, nor the characters with whom I hobnobbed and whom I sometimes deified, as boys are prone to do. Time and again, in my writings, I have made mention of the amazing acumen we displayed in discussing the fundamental problems of Hfe.

Subjects such as sin, evil, reincarnation, good government, ethics and morality, the nature of the deity, Utopia, life on other planets — these were food and drink to us. My real education was begun in the street, in empty lots on cold November days, or on street comers at night, frequently with out skates on. Naturally, one of the things we were forever discussing was books, the books we were then reading and which we were not even sup- posed to know about.

It sounds extravagont to say so, I know, but it docs seem to me that only the great interpreters of Uterature can rival the boy in the street when it comes to extracting the flavor and essence of a book. In my humble opinion, the boy is much nearer to understanding Jesus than the priest, much closer to Plato, in his views on government, than the political figures of this world.

During this golden period of boyhood there was suddenly injected into my world of books a whole Hbrary, housed in a beautiful walnut bookcase with glass doors and movable shelves, of boys' books. They were from the collection of an Englishman, Isaac Walker, my father's predecessor, who had the distinction of being one of the first merchant tailors of New York. As I review them now in my mind, these books were all handsomely bound, the titles embossed usually in gold, as were the cover designs.

The paper was thick and glossy, the type bold and clear. In short, these books were de luxe in every respect. Indeed, so elegantly forbidding was their appearance, that it took some time before I dared tackle them. What I am about to relate is a curious thing.

It has to do with my deep and mysterious aversion for everything English. I beUeve I am telling the truth when I say that the cause of this antipathy is deeply connected with the reading of Isaac Walker's Httle Hbrary. How profound was my disgust, on becoming acquainted with the contents of these books, may be judged by the fact that I have completely forgotten the titles. Just one lingers in my memory, and even this one I am not positive is correct : A Country Squire.

The rest is a blank. The nature of my reaction I can put in a few words. For the first time in my life I sensed the meaning of melancholy and morbid- ity. All these elegant books seemed wrapped in a veil of thick fog. Not one ray of light issued from these musty tomes. It was the primordial slime, on all levels. Senseless and irrational though it be, this picture of England and the EngHsh lasted well into middle life, until, to be honest, I visited England and had the opportunity of meeting EngHshmen on their own native heath.

When I came to Dickens, these first impressions were, of course, corroborated and strengthened. His books were sombre, terrifying in parts, and usually boring. Of them all, David Copperfield stands out as the most enjoyable, the most nearly human, according to my conception then of the word. Fortunately, there was one book which had been given me by a good aunt,f which served as a corrective to this morose view of England and the English people. I remember distinctly the pleasure this book gave me. There were, to be sure, the Henty books, which I was also read- ing, or had readjust a Httle earHer, and from which I gained a wholly different notion of the English world.

Sombre, tragic, full of mishaps and accidental or coincidental misfortunes, Hardy's books caused me once again to adjust my " human " picture of the world. In the end I was obhged to pass judgment on Hardy. For all the air of realism which permeated his books, I had to admit to myself that they were not " true to life. But this is a book by an Irishman, and an unusual one it is. At any rate, Claude Houghton has done more than any Englishman, with the exception of W.

I have by now read the majority of his works. Whether the performance is good or bad, Claude Houghton's books captivate me. Many Americans know I Am Jonathan Scrivener, which would have made a wonderfiil movie, as would some of his others. It is called Hudson Rejoins the Herd. In a lengthy letter to the author I explained why this seemed to be so.

The outer circumstances were " disguised," but the inner ones were hallucinatingly real. I could not have done better myself For a time I thought that Claude Houghton had in some mysterious way gained access to these facts and events in my life. In the course of our correspondence, however, I soon discovered that all his works are imaginative.

Perhaps the reader will be surprised to learn that I should think such a coincidence " mysterious. Of course. But still I am impressed. Those who think they know me intimately should have a look at this book. And now, for no reason, unless it be the afterglow of boyhood reminiscences, there leaps to mind the name of Rider Haggard. There was a writer who had me in his thrall! The contents of his books are vague and fuzzy.

Spanish Fiction in the Digital Age | SpringerLink

This adolescent period over, it becomes increasingly difficult to strike an author capable of producing an effect anywhere near that created by Rider Haggard's works. For reasons now inscrutable, Trilby came close to doing so. Trilby and Peter Ibbetson are a unique brace of books. That they should have come from a middle-aged illustrator, renowned for his drawings in " Punch," is more than interesting.

I can imagine with dread what Henry James would have made of such a subject. Oddly enough, the man who put me on the track of Du Maurier also put into my hands Flaubert's Botiuard et Pecuchet, which I did not open until thirty years later. He had given this volume and the Sentimental Education to my father in payment of a small debt he owed. My father, of course, was disgusted. With the Sentimental Education goes a queer association. Somewhere Bernard Shaw says that certain books cannot be appreciated, and should therefore not be read, until one is past fifty. One of those he cited was this famous work of Flaubert.

It is another of those books, Hke Tom Jones and Moll Flanders, which I intend one day to read, particularly since I have " come of age. Strange that a book such as Nadja, by Andr6 Breton, should in any way be linked with the emotional experiences engendered in reading Rider Haggard's works.

Each time I read it I go through the same inner turmoil, the same rather terrifyingly deHdous sensation that seizes one, for example, upon finding himself completely disoriented in the pitch blackness of a room with every square inch of which he is thoroughly famiUar. Perhaps the association is not so far-fetched after aU, considering the peculiar sources from which the Surrealists gathered inspiration, nourishment and corroboration. Nadja is still, to my way of thinking, a unique book. The photos which accompany the text have a value all their own.

At any rate, it is one of the few books I have reread several times with no rupture of the original spell. This in itself, I do believe, is sufficient to mark it out. Many is the time I spent whole days at the pubHc Hbrary looking up words or subjects. Here again, to be truthfiil, I must say that tht most wonderfiil days were passed at home, with my boon companion Joe O'Regan. Bleak, wintry days, when food was scarce and all hope or thought of obtaining employment had vanished.

Mingled with the dictionary and encyclopaedia bouts are recollections of other days or nights spent entirely in playing chess or ping pong, or painting water colors which we turned out like monomaniacs.

Daptar pilem deungeun

As usual, one word led to another, for what is the dictionary if not the subtlest fonn of " circuit game " masquerading in the guise of a book i With Joe at my side, Joe the eternal sceptic, a discussion ensued which lasted the entire day and night, the search for more and more definitions never slackening.

It was because of Joe O'Regan, who had stimulated me so often to question all that I had blindly accepted, that my first suspicions about the value of the dictionary were aroused. Prior to this moment I had taken the dictionary for granted, much as one does the Bible. But that day, shifting from derivation to derivation, thereby stumbling upon the most amazing changes in meaning, upon contradictions and reversals of earUer meanings, the whole framework of lexico- graphy began to sHther and slide.

In reaching the earUest " origin " of a word I observed that one was up against a stone wall. Surely it was not possible that the words we were looking up had entered human language at the points indicated! To get back only as far as Sanskrit, Hebrew or Icelandic and what wonderful words stem from the Icelandic! History had been pushed back more than ten thousand years, and here were we, stranded at the vestibule, so to speak, of modem times.

That so many words of metaphysical and spiritual connotation, freely employed by the Greeks, had lost all significance was in itself some- thing to give us pause. To be brief, it soon became apparent that the meaning of a word changed or disappeared entirely, or became the very opposite, according to the time, place, culture of the people using the term. The simple truth that life is what we make it, how we see it with our whole being, and not what is given factually, historically, or statistically, appHes to language too. The one who seems least to understand this is the philologist.

But let me get on — from dictionary to encyclopaedia. It was only natural, in jumping from meaning to meaning, in observing the uses of the words we were tracking down, that for a ftiller, deeper treatment we must have recourse to the encyclo- paedia. The defining process, after all, is one of reference and cross-reference. To know what a specific word means one has to know the words which, so to speak, hedge it in. And this is probably because the original source is never known. But the encyclopaedia! Ah, there perhaps we would be on firm ground! We would look up subjects, not words.

We would discover whence arose these mystifying symbols over which men had fought and bled, tortured and killed one another. But you will never penetrate the mystery! Who, after all, are these pundits entombed in the encyclopaedias i Are they the final authorities? Decidedly not! The final authority must always be oneself. These wizened pundits have "labored in the field," and they have garnered much wisdom. But it is neither divine wisdom nor even the sum of human wisdom on any subject which they offer us.

They have worked Hke ants and beavers, and usually with as Uttle humor and imagination as these humble creatures. One encyclopaedia selects its authorities, another other authorities. Authorities are always a drug on the market. When you have done with them you know a Uttle about the subject of your quest and a great deal more about things of no account. More often than not you end up in despair, doubt and confusion. If you gain at all, it is in the sharper use of the questioning faculty, that faculty which Spengler extols and which he distinguishes as the chief contribution made him by Nietzsche.

To read the encyclopaedia was like taking a drug —one of those drugs of which they say that it has no evil effects, is non habit-forming. Like the sound, stable, sensible Chinese of old, I think the use of opium preferable. If one wishes to relax, to enjoy surcease from care, to stimulate the imagination — and what could be more conducive to mental, moral and spiritual health? Looking back upon my days in the Hbrary — curious that I do not recall my first visit to a Hbrary! Often I read at random, whatever book came to hand.

Sometimes I buried myself in technical works, or in handbooks, or the " curiosa " of Hterature. There was one shelf in the reading room of the New York 42nd Street Hbrary, I recaU, which was packed with mythologies of many countries, many peoples and which I devoured Hke a starved rat. Some- times, impeUed as if by an ardent mission, I burrowed in nomen- clatures alone. There were other times when it seemed imperative — and indeed it was imperative, so deep was my trance — to study the habits of moles or whales, or the thousand and one varieties of ophidians.

Here I must diverge to make mention of those Httle books which one stumbles on accidentaHy and which, so great is their impact, one esteems above whole rows of encyclopaedias and other compendiums of human knowledge. These books, microcosmic in size but monumental in effect, may be Hkened to precious stones hidden in the bowels of the earth. They are almost as Hmited in number and variety as crystals in nature. I will mention two at random which I came upon much later than the period I speak of but which iUustrate my thought.

It is one of the strangest I know of, though the subject, apocatastasis, is one of the perennial themes of religion and philosophy. One of the freakish things connected with this unique and limited edition of the work is the error in spelling made by the printer. At the top of every page, in bold type, it reads : apocastasis.

Something even more freakish, however, something which is apt to give the lovers of Blake the cold shivers, is the reproduction of WiUiam Blake's Hfe mask from the National Portrait Gallery, London which is given on page Return to or toward a previous place or condition ; re-establishment ; complete restoration. The final restoration to holiness and the favor of God of those who died impenitent. The periodic return of a revolving body to the same point in its orbit. Carcopino Paris, : " Apocatastasis is the word which the Chaldeans had already used to describe the return of the planets, on the celestial sphere, to the points symmetrical to their departure.

It is also the word the Greek doctors employed to describe the return of the patient to health. Lawrence with invaluable material for the writing of Apocalypse. Without knowing, Carter has also given me, through his book, the material and inspiration with which I hope one day to write Draco and the Ecliptic. This, the seal or cap- stone to my " autobiographical novels," as they are called, I trust will prove to be a condensed, transparent, alchemical work, thin as a wafer and absolutely air-tight. As a philosophy of Hfe it not only holds its own with the bulkier systems of thought propounded by other great figures of the past but, in my mind, surpasses them in every respect.

It has one element which wholly sets it apart from other philosophies of hfe — humor. Aside from the celebrated follower of Lao-tse who comes a few centuries later, we do not meet with humor in these lofty regions again until we come to Rabelais. Rabelais, being a physician as well as a philosopher and imaginative writer, makes humor appear what in truth it is : the great emancipator. But beside the suave, sage, spiritual iconoclast of old China, Rabelais seems Hke an uncouth Crusader. The Sermon on the Mount is perhaps the only short piece of writing which can be compared with Lao-tse's miniature gospel of wisdom and health.

It may be a more spiritual message than Lao-tse's, but I doubt that it contains greater wisdom. It is, of course, utterly devoid of humor. Two Httle books of pure hterature, which belong in a category all their own, to my way of thinking, are Balzac's Seraphita and Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha. Seraphita I first read in French, at a period when my French was none too good.

Peter Pinne

The man who put the book in my hands employed that artful strategy I spoke of earHer : he said almost nothing about the book except that it was a book for me. Coming from him, this was incentive enough. It was indeed a book " for me. I have since, if I may put it thus, " experimented " with it by handing it to people who were not ready to read it. I learned a great deal from these experiments. Seraphita is one of those books, and they are rare indeed, which make their way unaided.

Propaganda can do nothing to make it more widely read. Indeed, its virtue Hes in this, that never at any time will it be effectively read except by a chosen few. It is true that in the beginning of its career it had a wide vogue. Are we not all famiHar with the exclamation of that young Viennese student who, accosting Balzac in the street, begged permission to kiss the hand that wrote Seraphita? Vogues, however, soon die out, and it is fortimate they do, because only then does a book begin its real journey on the road to immortaHty.

It was a book I had to read at any cost because, so I was told, it was the fruit of Hesse's visit to India. Suddenly I found myself with two copies of it, in German, one sent me by my translator, Kurt Wagenseil, the other sent by the wife of George Dibbem, author of Quest. I had hardly finished reading the original version when my friend Pierre Laleure, a bookseller in Paris, sent me several copies of the Grasset edition.

I immediately reread the book in that language, discovering to my delight that I had missed nothing of the flavor or substance of the book because of my very rusty know- ledge of German. Often since I have remarked to friends, and there is truth in the exaggeration, that had Siddhartha been obtainable only in Turkish, Finnish or Hungarian, I would have read and understood it just the same, though I know not a word of any of these outlandish tongues. It is not quite accurate to say that I conceived an overwhelming desire to read this book because Hermann Hesse had been to India.

It was the word Siddhartha, an epithet which I had always associated with the Buddha, that whetted my appetite. The Prince of Enlightenment! Somehow, that appella- tion never seemed to fit Jesus. A man of sorrow — that was more my conception of the gentle Jesus. The word enHghtenment struck a responsive chord in me ; it seemed to bum out those other words associated, rightly or wrongly, with the founder of Christianity. I mean words such as sin, guilt, redemption, and so on. To this day I still prefer the guru to a Christian saint or the best of the twelve disciples.

About the guru there is, and always will be, this aura, so precious to me, of " enlightenment. I shall therefore content myself with quoting — for the benefit of those who know how to read between the lines — a few words Ufted from an autobiographical sketch by Hermann Hesse in the September, , issue of Horizon, London. Neither my writings nor my paintings do in actual fact conform to reaHty, and when I compose I often forget all the things that an educated reader demands of a good book — and above all I am lacking in a true respect for reality.

I see that inadvertently I have touched on one of the vices or weaknesses of the too passionate reader. Lao-tse says that " when a man with a taste for reforming the world takes the business in hand, it is easily seen that there will be no end to it. I have spoken of my letter- writing mania. I have told how I sit down, after closing a good book, and inform all and sundry about it. Admirable, you think? But it is also sheer folly and waste of time.

The very men I seek to interest — critics, editors, pubHshers — are the ones least affected by my enthusiastic howls. I have come to beheve, in fact, that my recommendation is alone sufficient to cause editors and publishers to lose interest in a book. Any book which I sponsor, or for which I vmte a preface or review, seems to be doomed. As best I can put it, this unwritten law runs thus : " Do not tamper with the destiny of another, even if that other be nothing but a book.

It is, sadly enough, the fact that I identify myself with the poor author whom I am trying to aid. Some of these authors, to reveal a ridiculous aspect of the situation, have been dead a long time. They are aiding me, not I them!

Generation X Remixed

Of course I always put it to myself this way : " What a pity that so-and-so or so-and-so has not read this book! What joy it would give him! What sustenance! This book, I am told, is selling Uke hot cakes. However, I take no credit for this ; it would have sold as well without my preface. Concerning two writers particularly, I have penned the most ardent, urgent letters imagin- able. A schoolboy could not have been more enthusiastic and naive than I.

In writing one of these letters, I recall, I actually shed tears. It was addressed to the editor of a well-known pocket book edition. Do you suppose this individual was moved by my unrestrained emotion? It took him just about six months to answer, in that matter of fact, cold-blooded, hypocritical fashion which editors often employ, that " they " always the dark hones had come to the conclusion, with deep regret the same old song , that my man was unsuitable for their list.

Gratuitously they cited the excellent sales enjoyed by Homer long dead and William Faulkner, whom they had chosen to publish. Fantastic as it may sound, it is nevertheless the truth. It is exaaly how editors think. However, this vice of mine, as I see it, is a harmless one compared with those of poHtical fanatics, miUtary humbugs, vice crusaders and other detestable types. In broadcasting to the world my admiration and affection, my gratitude and reverence, for two Uving French writers — Blaise Cendrars and Jean Giono — I fail to see that I am doing any serious harm.

Perhaps my extravagant statements do contain an element of insensitivity. But then I was never what is called " discreet " or " deUcate. And so, i l am guilty, I beg pardon in advance of my friends Giono and Cendrars. But I will not hold back my words. The course of the previous pages, the course of my whole hfe, indeed, leads me to this declaration of love and adoration.

I had just a few minutes before catching the train for Rocamadour and I was having a last drink on the terrasse of my hotel near the Porte d'Orleans when Cendrars hove in sight. Nothing could have given me greater joy than this unexpected last-minute encounter. In a few words I told him of my intention to visit Greece. Then I sat back and drank in the music of his sonorous voice which to me always seemed to come from a sea organ. In those last few minutes Cendrars managed to convey a world of information, and with the same warmth and tenderness which he exudes in his books.

Like the very ground under our feet, his thoughts were honeycombed with all manner of subterranean passages. I left him sitting there in shirt-sleeves, never dreaming that years would elapse before hearing from him again, never dreaming that I was perhaps taking my last look at Paris. I had read whatever was translated of Cendrars before arriving in France, That is to say, almost nothing.

My first taste of him in his own language came at a time when my French was none too proficient. I began with Moravagine, a book by no means easy to read for one who knows Httle French. I read it slowly, with a dictionary by my side, shifting from one cafe to another. I remember well the day.

Should Cendrars ever read these lines he may be pleased, touched perhaps, to know that it was in that dingy hole I first opened his book. Moravagine was probably the second or third book which I had attempted to read in French. Only the other day, after a lapse of about eighteen years, I reread it. And I had thought my French was null!

Here is one of the passages I remember as clearly as the day I first read it. It begins at the top of page 77 Editions Grasset, I tell you of things that brought some reUef at the start. There was also the water, gurgling at intervals, in the water-closet pipes. A boundless despair possessed me. I cite them not to brag of my powers of memory but to reveal an aspect of Cendrars which his English and American readers probably do not suspect the existence of 1. I, the freest man that exists, recognise that there is always something that binds one : that Hberty, indepen- dence do not exist, and I am full of contempt for, and at the same time take pleasure in, my helplessness.

More and more I reaHse that I have always led the contemplative life. I am a sort of Brahmin in reverse, meditating on himself amid the hurly-burly, who, with all his strength, disciplines himself and scorns existence. Or the boxer with his shadow, who, furiously, calmly, punching at emptiness, watches his form. They are memorable ones and thoroughly the author's own.

Long before I attempted to make Cendrars better known to the American pubHc and to the world at large, I may well add , John Dos Passos had translated and illustrated with water colors Panama, or the adventures of my seven uncles. An evolved man, truly. Certainly an evolved writer. And this individual who has led a super-dimensional Ufe is also a bookworm.

The most gregarious of men and yet a soUtary. The logic of life. Life always with a capital L. That's Cendrars. The itinerary of his wanderings is more difficult to follow than Marco Polo's, whose trajectory, incidentally, he seems to have crossed and recrossed a number of times. One of the reasons for the great fascination he exerts over me is the resem- blance between his voyages and adventures and those which I associate in memory with Sinbad the Sailor or Aladdin of the Wonderful Lamp.

The amazing experiences which he attributes to the characters in his books, and which often as not he has shared, have all the qualities of legend as well as the authenticity of legend. Worshipping Ufe and the truth of life, he comes closer than any author of our time to revealing the common source of word and deed. He restores to contemporary life the elements of the heroic, the imaginative and the fabulous. One must read his early life especially to appreciate the truth of this statement.

He has consorted with all types, including bandits, murderers, revolutionaries and other varieties of fanatic. He has tried out no less than thirty-six metiers, according to his own words, but, like Balzac, gives the impression of knowing every metier. But read his Hfe! Describe two ways in which these organizations are similar and two ways in which they are different in their mission and actions. What does he mean?

How do cultural, religious, and societal norms in Cambodia and Thailand help or hinder sexual slavery? Provide at least two specific examples to bolster your argument. An abolitionist organization: Shared Hope International. Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. Worth Publishers. Disposable People by Kevin Bales. University of California Press. Gender, Trafficking and Slavery by Rachel Masika ed.

Team up with sororities or other student groups to host a fashion show, purchase jewelry from Nightlight, and raise awareness about the plight of sex slaves in Thailand. District Attorneys from the Department of Justice to give a lecture on sex tourism and the federal laws in place to stop Americans from engaging in commercial sexual exploitation of minors in foreign countries. How has the Protect Act assisted their efforts? Bonded forced labor is common in India, and Chapter Two introduces readers to the plight of Narayan, his sister Maya, and their family members trapped in debt bondage and forced to work in a brick kiln.

The family members receive a cash advance, if you will, and agree to work for the brick kiln owner, Mr. Vasu, until the debt is repaid. Thus, on the surface this simply looks like a business deal, not slavery. Maya and Ajay then willingly go to the brick kiln to pay off the debt. This simple business deal quickly turns into a nightmare as they are presented with a contract and impossible terms of repayment that they cannot read and do not understand; are forced to work long hours; suffer from verbal and physical abuse—including rape; receive little food; and are never allowed to leave the compound.

Focusing on justice systems around the world, IJM has four objectives: 1 victim relief; 2 perpetrator accountability; 3 victim aftercare; and 4 structural prevention. The organization investigates slavery around the world to free victims and secure local prosecutions of perpetrators. Because slavery is illegal in every country, it is not the lack of laws but the failure to enforce those laws that allows slavery to flourish.

While local police assisted IJM by freeing his slaves and arresting Vasu, he has yet to face trial or spend a day in jail for his crimes. The numbers are staggering. Kevin Bales estimates that there are between 18 and 22 million enslaved in India alone p. What is the rule of law, and why is the United States considered a country that promotes the rule of law? How are countries like India and Pakistan which Bales estimates has 2. If, as Haugen explains, coercion and deception are the two key ingredients necessary for injustice to flourish, concepts of law and justice must have concrete meaning.

Have students break into two groups and outline how IJM systematically secured freedom for 1 Narayan and Bishnu and those who had already escaped the brick kiln and 2 Vani and the rice mill workers. What other factors could lead to a reduction in debt bondage? Again, economics is key to forced labor.

He sells the bricks made from slave labor and pockets the profits. Who buys the bricks? How many entities are in that supply chain? When Batstone speaks around the country, he often mentions that he could be complicit in the global slave trade that very day because he does not know if slave labor helped to make his shirt, his shoes, the coffee he drank that morning, or dozens of other products he used during the day. Do your students know who made their shirts? How much did they pay for them?

Students could use as case studies the suit being filed against Firestone for using slave labor in Liberia or the transformation of the clothing industry Edun has spearheaded www. What role does education, or lack thereof, play in the proliferation of debt bondage? Children who are born in the brick kilns or rice mills must work beside their parents at very young ages, receive no education, and often inherit the debt of previous generations. They know of no other life, no other options. There are roles for college students in America to play that will help to end bonded labor in faraway places like remote villages in northern India.

Who founded International Justice Mission? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. To abolish slavery and liberate all captives, one person at a time. To persuade local authorities to enforce their laws against slavery. To serve and protect the poor and powerless of the world. Why did Maya, Ajay, and their relatives agree to the terms of the contract. How many bricks did Mr.

Vasu expect Maya and her family to produce daily? How did Mr. Vasu ensure that Maya, Ajay, and other family members would return from the market if he allowed them to go? According to Gary Haugen, what do oppressors use to commit acts of injustice and to discourage potential rescuers from coming to the aid of the victims? How does IJM get incriminating evidence from the slave holders themselves? IJM operatives pose as slave owners in search of runaway slaves to.

IJM operatives go undercover as slaves to gather information. To gain the cooperation of local law enforcement, IJM approaches the beat officers since they are the ones best acquainted with the illicit activities in their neighborhoods. Which is NOT one of the goals that must be met for a rescue to be successful? Why was IJM able to rush to free Maya and her family, when they would typically take several months to plan a rescue? Vasu had unwittingly provided evidence to IJM operatives. Vasu is still free.

Vasu is tracking her every move. International Justice Mission focuses on four objectives. List and briefly describe each of them. How do these objectives make IJM distinct from the abolitionist organizations discussed in other chapters? Briefly describe how Maya and her relatives were deceived into slavery. IJM opposes the practice of buying victims out of slavery. Why is this practice opposed? Explain your agreement or disagreement. Individuals like Mr. How does Mr. Understanding Global Slavery: A Reader Hearing of the U.

Government Printing Office. Does Slavery Still Exist? Utilizing FreetoWork. Ask those in attendance to reflect on the images. Charles was only 10 years old when he was abducted by the LRA on his way to school. Margaret was nine when her village was attacked by LRA soldiers scarcely older than her. Charles was forced into serving as a soldier, carrying a gun and committing atrocities for four years for a war he did not understand and a rebel group he did not support.

Margaret was forced to serve as a domestic slave and, eventually, a sex slave. These are the standard paths designated by the LRA for boys and girls. All of the children face physical abuse, extreme fear, isolation, and torture. Florence Lacor is one of the northern Ugandans working with World Vision to provide safety, shelter, and counseling to former child soldiers. She has a unique understanding of their suffering, because her own daughter was kidnapped from school and forced to serve in the LRA for eight years.

While she was finally reunited with her daughter, she knows many families who will never see their children again. As Chapter Three explains, some of the children are so brainwashed by their LRA leaders that they willingly stay with the rebels. Some of their families will not see them again because they have become devotees of LRA leader Joseph Kony and his civil war.

Most of the families will not see their children again, however, because the LRA uses these children to fight its bloody uprising. Children are killed in village raids, only to be replaced by newly kidnapped and terrified boys and girls. Margaret, too, found herself with Lacor at World Vision after she was rescued by the army. How could a civil war rage for more than 20 years with so few individuals even knowing about it?

Readers should see the faces of these children as they ponder why the world community ignored them. Many of them are forced into service, as is the case with those in northern Uganda. Why do children make useful soldiers? Students need an appreciation for a country that has been in conflict for much of its history.

Students must also understand the current conflicts in the region, not just the northern portion of Uganda. The sub-Saharan is awash in genocide, war, systematic rape, poverty, the AIDS pandemic, and instability. Still, there is hope for those in northern Uganda. Largely through the work of NGOs—some of them like Invisible Children as well as Resolve Uganda that are run by recent college graduates, the United States has begun to pay attention to the situation.

Peace talks have been taking place, and some of the families who have been forced to live in the IDP internally displaced persons camps are returning home. What role should the U. Moving from the U. After broadly reviewing the actions needed to end the tragedy in northern Uganda, the discussion can be concluded by focusing on what individuals thousands of miles away can do to bring peace and stability to the region. How can students assist brave individuals like Florence Lacor? How can they help with legislative advocacy?

How can they make a difference in the lives of a generation torn from their families, schools, and dreams? For how many years has the rebel army in East Africa been enslaving children? Which group is largely responsible for the enslavement of children in East Africa? Which African nation has been terrorized by rebel armies since ? What percentage of the rebel army is comprised of child abductees? Where did Charles and his siblings go to sleep at night to avoid capture?

How old was Charles at the time of his capture? What motivated Florence Lacor to work at the children-of-war center? What is the name given to those children who walk great distances at night to take refuge near a national army garrison in order to avoid capture by the rebel army? What was Charles required to do in order to be worthy to be an LRA soldier? What was the purpose of the amnesty law passed in ?

What stories about World Vision do the rebel commanders tell the child soldiers to dissuade them from attempting to seek refuge at World Vision camps? World Vision will punish them according to traditional tribal law.

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World Vision will send them to foster homes outside of their homeland. World Vision is required to turn them over to the UN to be prosecuted. World Vision will feed them poison or potatoes laced with glass. World Vision is a fictitious organization designed to entrap rebel. What symbolic ritual does Florence Lacor preside over once a month? What did General Kony declare to be the purpose of the war? Which African nation did the LRA agree to help in fighting its civil war? At what age did Margaret become an LRA wife? How did Charles escape from the LRA?

Briefly describe its impetus, major players, and which aspect of modern-day slavery is prevalent. Why are they forced to flee their homes each evening? To where do they commute? Why was this form of initiation so effective in ensuring Charles did not try to escape? An NGO with international statistics on child soldiers:. Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. Sarah Crichton Books. Children at War by P. Singer Endangered Children of Northern Uganda Fountain Publishing.

This book tells the story of the girls abducted at St. Soldier Child [a documentary by Neil Abramson]. Blood Diamond [major motion picture]. You can contact Keesey at ben invisiblechildren. Place them in a gallery on campus to raise awareness about the issue. Chapter Four exposes the sex trade in Europe by recounting the story of Nadia, a young Moldovan woman who is forced into sexual slavery after being lured from her homeland with the promise of employment abroad. Nadia, like many other young women in Eastern Europe, struggled to survive in the difficult economic times following the collapse of the Soviet Union in Near the Romanian-Serbian border, the girls were held captive in an old country home for a week before they were forced to sprint across the border into Serbia, under cover of night.

By now it is clear that she has been deceived into commercial sexual exploitation. She is raped repeatedly through the journey. After spending a month in an Albanian brothel, Nadia was informed that because of her age 22 she had been sold to an Italian. Although initially established in as a shelter for refugees, Regina Pacis became largely focused on catering to the plight of trafficked women around when Padre Cesare noticed a shifting trend in the demographic of those who sought his help.

Although his life has been threatened repeatedly, he is rescuing women from the hands of the mafia. Consequently, Padre Cesare no longer waits for women to arrive in San Foca seeking his assistance; he now has established Regina Pacis centers in Moldova and Romania in an attempt to shut down the trafficking of sex slaves at its source. Chapter Four returns to the issue of sex trafficking, but the traffickers include organized crime and the locations are more familiar to American readers.

This is a global issue, requiring a global response. Clearly, Nadia did not choose a life in the sex trade—she was deceived into leaving her family and threatened with death if she did not submit. Do they believe a woman in the U. Clearly, poverty can drive people to take risks they might not otherwise consider.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) - I Will Always Love You Scene (10/10) - Movieclips

Thus, some do willingly elect to become prostitutes or strip club dancers, assuming those occupations are preferable to their current financial strife. Is the U. Should Hollywood be held accountable for the messages it sends in its films? Eliot Spitzer? The U. Do students think it is the responsibility of the U. Should the U. What measures should the U. The Trafficking in Persons TIP Report, prepared and released by the State Department, is a detailed annual report that evaluates the performance of individual governments as they confront and prosecute human traffickers and ranks them into three tiers: Tier 1 being the most compliant with the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act and Tier 3 being those who are noncompliant and are making little effort to do so.

The first TIP report was released in July Is this apparent bias inevitable? International relationships are quite complex, and often one nation might make a concession in order to form an alliance or gain access to foreign resources. Is this ethical? If so, what issues and concerns do your students see as taking precedence? What Italian fishing village is part of one of the most trafficked route. Who established a shelter for refugees in the town of San Foca in ?

Padre Cesare Lo Deserto. What is the name of the San Foca shelter for refugees? What job does Katrina promise Nadia? What is the current term used to refer to modern-day slavery, as established by the League of Nations? What unexpected result of legalizing prostitution occurred in Germany and the Netherlands? What is one legal ramification of legalizing the sex trade? What has led to a dramatic drop in street prostitution and the influx of trafficked women in Sweden?

Upon what group of people do eastern European sex trafficking syndicates depend to sustain their operations? UN personnel eager to make economic inroads in Eastern-bloc. Which country is a strategic location for the transit of young girls from East to West? Which of the following is NOT one of the three main enemies in sex trafficking that Padre Cesare and his organization address?

What does Padre Cesare contend is a condition that often drives young girls to take the risks that can lead to their enslavement as prostitutes? What pieces of legislation passed by the U. Congress commits the U. Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the. Exploitation of Prostitution of Others. Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. Moldavian Embargo of Exported Goods. Though this description paints him as a very average man, he has done remarkable things—a testament to the difference a single person can make. Describe what you might be able to contribute—both now and in the future—to the effort to end human trafficking.

This chapter discusses how the collapse of the Soviet Union created an environment in which the black market could thrive but individuals, particularly women, find it difficult to merely survive. What circumstances exist in the U. Are there circumstances that might make some women vulnerable to becoming victims of human trafficking?

Explain your response. An old man is walking along a beach littered with hundreds of starfish. As he walks along, he picks them up, one by one, and tosses them back into the ocean.

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  • Why bother? What is your view of the fight against human trafficking—are you the teenage boy or the starfish-throwing man? Briefly describe how Nadia was deceived into the sex trade. Why did she leave Moldova? Where was she going? Where did she actually go? A web resource with materials: Human Trafficking.

    Arcade Publishing. Johns Hopkins University. Trade [major motion picture; one of the characters is eerily similar to Nadia]. Human Trafficking [a Lifetime Channel miniseries]. Host a debate on campus involving experts in sociology, psychology, gender studies, and international affairs. The quotations at the beginning of the each chapter of The Natashas provide a starting point for the awareness campaign.

    During that period, the city was rife with street children—youth who had been torn away from their families usually through a traumatic event , had no one to turn to for shelter or assistance, and had taken to living on the streets of Lima. The president of Peru at that time, Alberto Fujimori, vowed to cleanse the city of street kids; shortly thereafter, the dead bodies of children began showing up in city parks.

    She chose the kids. Once in the sex trade business, it is very difficult to escape. One eight-year-old girl, Sandra, was kicked out of her house by her mother and grandmother and was admonished not to return until she had money to contribute to the household. She was saved by Lucy but harbored the hope that she would one day be able to return to her family. However, when she was unable to earn money as quickly as she wanted, she began pimping in the sex trade as a way to make quick cash.

    Now 22, Sandra is the mother of two children and continues to enslave children in sex trafficking. It has been said that heroes are made, not born, and it is likely that many we deem heroes sought not so much to perform heroic deeds but rather simply to do what was right. Such is the case with Lucy Borja, whose kindness in inviting two boys to spend the night at her office spawned an entire movement that has led her to challenge local authority, question the practices of her government, and face off with the President Fujimori.

    What opportunities do we have on a daily basis to respond to the needs of others in simple ways? Why do we choose to address or ignore the needs of others? What would motivate us to become more involved? What simple ways can we help? Sandra was eight years old when her mother and grandmother locked her out of the house and refused to let her back in until she returned with some money.

    The notion that children are not valued is foreign to most who live in the U. It shocks us to learn that children are considered expendable by some people—even their own parents. Why might some cultures or individuals consider children to be an expendable commodity? What arguments might they make in defense of their decision to sell their children? What arguments might we give to convince them children are not expendable? Though as a culture the U. Ask your students to think of any examples of these. What are some situations or circumstances that might lead to such exploitation?

    How are these situations and circumstances the same as or different from those that led to child exploitation in other cultures? Does our society affirm this truth? Students may benefit from outlining her life from eight to Who were the major players in her life?