Τρίτη, 21 Αυγούστου 2012

What I Think About Stuff-Why Haven't You Read This?


Every Book Ever, given form by Ryowazza.

Why Haven’t You Read This? Or You’re running out of excuses, fast.

There isn’t really much I can brag about

Except for my extensive knowledge of useless pop culture trivia


And my passion for comic books and books in general. I’m not big on video games, you see (pretty much gave up on them since 2007) and I’m not really a movie buff

I watched Scarface for the very first time last week and I’ve never even once watched a Rocky movie.
But books and comic books? Dear sweet Jesus, let me have at ‘em! I remember how my mother kept pestering me to start reading, back when I was 10 years old with my head on the clouds, kept telling me how awesome reading is and how I ought to start doing that and I kept coming with idiotic excuses.

In the end, through sheer, bloody-minded tenacity, she got me down to reading my very first book. Wanna know which book that was?

Come on, admit it. You thought it was going to be Huckleberry Finn.
War. Of the Goddamn. Worlds. Martian tripods with invisible laser beams stomping through 19th century London. I remember how I started off the book, going: meh, this should help me pass the time till Goosebumps is on TV.

And then I saw this:
Psst! 10-year old me? Shit your pants yet?
I remember reading through the terrifying scene where the first Martian walks-crawls his way out of his pod and feeling this terrible chill run up my spine.

Long story short, I missed that Goosebumps episode, and pretty much the whole season, since well…how am I supposed to care about plant-monsters and aliens that keep trying to hard when they have to compete with Wells’ scary as fuck masterpiece?

As you can understand, I was immediately hooked. I went through Wells’ the Invisible Man in less than a week, then ripped my way across Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and a number of other awesome stories.

13-year old me didn’t know what hit him.
Naturally, I went through Lord Of The Rings (not getting much of an impression out of it, mind you. 
 After all, I had just gone through a series of books detailing travelling through space and fighting iunhuman races WITH YOUR MIND) and a number of other fantasy series, but they didn’t quite fit the bill for me.


Except for Elric, which fit me like a three-piece suit molded around my body, made from intelligent polymers

You’ve read my little bit of how I got started with comic books back in my MiracleMan review, so I won’t be wasting your time with a lengthy introduction. The long and shot of the matter is this:

I absolutely fucking love reading.

This article is intended as a way for me to present to you a number of books which you may or may not have heard of. Hardcore fantasy, scifi and comic book readers might have recognized or read the titles and even scoff at my limited pretentiousness. To these people I will say:

There’s the comment section, sweetie. Why don’t you drop a line?

So let’s start off by categories. First and foremost:

SCIENCE FICTION:

Or Samurai Hacker Delivery Boy versus the World

Snow Crash is a book about a US that has lost its shit and slid down into chaos, allowing multi-national corporations to step in and take over, dividing the land and the market according to their whims. It is also a book about transhumanism and the human language. It’s also a book that shouldn’t be made into a videogame, because there isn’t one publisher out there with the balls to tackle its themes.

Unless it’s Valve, in which case I will play the shit out of it.

In Polish Science Fiction, Mind Blows You!

Inventions. Robots. Super-science. Escapades through physics and a dash of political commentary.  Machines that  can create anything starting with the letter N. General Insanity.

This is a book that deals with really heavy subject matter (such as the nature of free will, for instance), but reads like an old Soviet Animation Cartoon. It’s insane, but in controlled doses that serve to make it even more awesome.

And lo, it came to pass that man split unto three kinds and dared to cross the boundaries of his own universe.

Diaspora is the Penultimate novel on Transhumanism. It deals with the advances in technology in a distant future, where humanity has been split into three groups: the Fleshers (biologically enhanced humans), the Gleisners (robots with human brains) and the Citizens (digital humanoids who live in a super-powered version of the internet). 

It’s a story about mankind’s survival, of big dreams and great leaps. It’s a story full of wondrous imagery and the best hard scifi book I’ve read so far.

Immortal robots, men unto gods and the War on Mars. Also, free will.
People keep telling me I’m busting their balls over this book, which is a good thing because I won’t let up until every single member of the teeming masses of humanity has read it. It’s a book that is essentially a supercondensed form of the madness and depression of its time. But, like every successful scifi book, there is always light in the black. And you can’t get any more light (or any more black) that this.

FANTASY:

Hair-splitting…GO!

Though technically considered a scifi novel, the Lord of the Light’s science is…well…way too rubbery for me to consider it an actual book on fictional applications of scientific principles. It is, however, the quintessential book on the war of Good Vs Evil, of one man seeking to undo the status quo and of men and their deeds and how they may become as unto gods.

It’s also heavily influenced by Hindu mythology and that’s always a plus in my book.

Religious ethics and the responsibility of God toward Man and vice-versa? In my fantasy?

If you’ve never heard of Terry Pratchett (being stranded in a desert island since the 70’s and all that), then you should know that he is one of the most influential writers in fantasy fiction to this day. If you’re not planning to read through the legion of his work and have dared your friends to find his best book and at the same time the best book in the genre, then you can’t go wrong with Small Gods.

What is Small Gods? It’s a tale on the ethics and structure of religion, of ancient Greek and medieval philosophy, of Gods (petty and not-so-petty) and faith. It’s an exciting read and it hits your brain like a Mack truck.


I’m just gonna leave this here…

To paraphrase Tony Montana: Fuck Conan the Barbarian! And fuck the fuckin' Fellowship of the ring! Fuck 'em all! I bury those cock-a-roaches!

‘Nuff said.

Golems, trains, war, socio-political uprising.

I want to go on record and say I do not really like all of Mieville’s work. Hell, I hardly made it through the City and the City. But Iron Council is his best and greatest fantasy work. Why? Well because it’s trippy as fuck, has a great pacing, a lot of really cool scenes and it takes magic and the book’s pseudo-technology in levels that absolutely blew my mind.

Iron Council is one of those books that doesn’t seem to leave an impression, mostly because it burrows through your eyes in the ridge between the hemispheres of your brain and waits to pounce on your unsuspecting imagination when you least expect it.

HORROR:

Nine, ten, never sleep again…

Chuck Pallanhiuk is one of those writers I stumbled upon, being oblivious to his fame and all that and to be perfectly honest, I picked up haunted for its price-to-page count ratio. Then I shut up and kept throwing my money at him.

What is Haunted, you’ll ask? Haunted is a series of horrible stories about horrible people that deal with small horrors. Pallanhiuk’s work mostly deals with lives messed up due to such occurrences and Haunted is his greatest work on losers who nearly destroy everything and those around them.

Terrible things happen to good people.
If there’s anything the Japanese can pull of perfectly in fiction, it’s sci fi and horror. Oh dear God, the horror. I don’t know why Japanese writers always get me right where it goddamn hurts the most, but I can’t deny that they do it, most of the time. Zoo is one such case. It’s a collection of stories that range from chilling to plain old creepy and I loved them for it.

The story that launched a thousand evil AIs.
Just read the goddamn book. You don’t need people to spell this shit out for you and ruin everything.

Fuck you Mr. Lindquist. I Gave you my money and you gave me nightmares

The one and only book about vampires that made me care enough to read through it. And I fucking hate vampires.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

These books, despite not making them in the must-reads, are just a few examples of writing styles and ideas I think people should really expose themselves much more to, in order to…well…inform themselves better in a literary manner.


Now, now, stop booing…

I fucking hate the Vampire Hunter D anime. I consider their premises idiotic and their art style all over the fucking place, lacking focus. The books hardly fare any better on this matter but you know what? 

They are written in the style of 20’s pulp magazines, with all the grandeur and over-the-topness they can muster. They’re not great, but they make for excellent, entertaining reads and I had a lot of fun by reading the text in a deep, radio-announcer voice and playing some old brass-band music in the background.


Rage…washing over me!

Ranbdom Acts of Senseless violence is an angry, angry book. It’s a book about a US in a state of economic collapse,  about people caught up in the middle of it, about blood and madness in the everyday life of an otherwise normal family. 

It’s a book about a country slowly but surely losing its mind. It also goes through five presidents in three years. Protip: not one of them gets a chance to resign.


The literary equivalent of taking a long piss after hours of fapping.

The single funniest, most unsettling book I’ve read since I went through Charlie and the Glass Elevator.

You know, the book where shape-shifting shoggots eat everyone on a space station. FOR KIDS!

And speaking of shapeshifting aliens…


I’ve got your number you slippery little bitch.

Ever seen John Carpenter’s the Thing? Was it scary? No? Of course it wasn’t because after all you could see the shit happening, couldn’t you? They didn’t solely take place inside the confines of your brain, where you can’t get away from them, no matter how far you run, am I right?

It’s not like reading this book is worse than the movie, since the monster suddenly gets tailored to turn into your own worst nightmare, right?

Right?

Addendum:

Fiction is all well and good, but I’d like to take a little bit more of your time to propose one last book for you to read and that’s

It’s a book that deals with the role of piracy and the free exchange of information in the modern world, as well as with the way piracy and the freedoms presented to us via the internet, technology and augmented reality have affected our society. 

Even if you aren’t a gadget-science-what have you buff, this book is a must read in the interests of understanding how popular culture and trends change society as a whole.

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