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Boooooks

As I Lay Dying Review

Just finished Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. It's a crappy book. Not in the sense that it was badly written. It's well-written, the characters are portrayed well. It's crappy in the sense that every single person in the book is cracked in the head, and as you read it, you wish someone would just beat them all to death with a stick.

Man's wife dies. He insists on taking her to some other town to bury her, claiming it was her wish. Well, they've only got a rickety wagon and all the bridges have washed out in a storm, so they have to go the long way. In July. Can you imagine the condition the corpse had to be in after 9 days on the back of a wagon in July? Not to mention the coffin got submerged in the river at one point.

All the while, the husband just keeps going on and on about how hard life is to him but he doesn't begrudge anybody anything and blah blah blah. I hate martyrs. I share the sentiment of the doctor at the end of the book. "Of course he'd have to borrow a spade to bury his wife with. Unless he could borrow a hole in the ground. Too bad you all didn't put him in it too..." [emphasis mine]

He clearly deserves to be beat to death. The reason the everyone else deserves a good beating is because they all see he's a good for nothing whiner but they go along with all his bullshit. Sure, living with him has driven all of his kids insane, so you can't blame them too much, but the neighbors are more than willing to go along with his seriously bad judgment and his "poor me" attitude.

If i could, i'd have jumped into the book and wrung his neck about 2 chapters in.

Other than that, it was a good piece of literature.


By min | July 28, 2006, 1:26 PM | Boooooks | Comments (2)| Link



Diaspora Review

Fnord12 won't read it. He says if it takes me 3 tries and a website to get thru a book, he doesn't want to have anything to do with it. I don't think that's fair to poor Greg Egan. And anyway, you don't have to actually understand the math to understand the story. Despite my website reference, i think i only understood 1% of it all. So sad for me. Stoopid brain.

So, the plot. As provided by Amazon: "By the end of the second millennium, the human race has evolved into three distinct groups: conscious software programs known as citizens, sentient robots called gleisners, and unaltered humans or fleshers."

Actually, the fleshers are mostly genetically mutated/enhanced, but some remained unaltered. The book mainly follows the life of a citizen named Yatima. In the first half of the book, you see how Yatima starts as a sentient with no self-awareness - like a baby looking into a mirror for the first time - and evolves thru its experiences. The innocence/ignorance Yatima exhibits in the first few chapters are the best part, i think. Others' lives are often touched upon and later linked with Yatima's story.

The second half of the book deals with the discovery that the universe will soon be destroyed in a second Big Bang that nothing will survive. Yatima and others work towards finding a way to escape the outcome and this is where the math comes in. Hyperspheres. Five, six, nine dimensions. Oy.

I liked this book. I especially liked the math, but would definitely appreciate it if someone could sit down and draw me pictures to explain it. I also liked the interactions between the characters - how different must your frame of mind be when you can clone yourself and live completely separately from your clone for thousands of years, only to merge back into one identity in the future?

I think i liked it less than his other books, though. I think it was the ending. Sort of anti-climactic considering the whole "the end of the Universe" thing. I don't want to give away too much in case some of you want to read it (you know, the ones who aren't big weenies like FNORD). Let's just say that the ending is a quiet and calm affair. It fit. I wanted something more conclusive, mebbe, but it fit.


By min | July 27, 2006, 1:21 PM | Boooooks | Comments (2)| Link



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