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What are you reading?

Kaplan

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John Wyndham: The Day of the Triffids, 1951.

Three disasters combine to wipe out England and maybe the whole world. Strange lights in the sky from a falling meteor - or is it a malfunctioning weapons satellite? - make everyone blind, apart from a select few. With their prey thus hindered the triffids (genetically modified, 7 feet tall, poisonous, flesh eating, walking plants) have their day. And then an unknown plague hits.

With its description of a devastated London and a flight/search through the occupied countryside, this owes much to War of the Worlds. In turn it was itself highly influential; both the movie 28 Days Later and the tv-series The Walking Dead owe their opening scene to Triffids. Brian Aldiss called this a 'cosy catastrophy' but I found it both bleaker and scarier than the zombie stories it inspired, likely because throngs of blind people searching for food and fighting for survival is more relatable than the undead.

As always with the best of these stories it's not really about the external happenings, but about the breakdown of civilization and the moral choices faced by the survivors. A genuine SF classic for a reason, this was a great read.

929031345_max.jpg

My preferred book pusher had five editions in print, I went with the one above.
 

smittycl

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John Wyndham: The Day of the Triffids, 1951.

Three disasters combine to wipe out England and maybe the whole world. Strange lights in the sky from a falling meteor - or is it a malfunctioning weapons satellite? - make everyone blind, apart from a select few. With their prey thus hindered the triffids (genetically modified, 7 feet tall, poisonous, flesh eating, walking plants) have their day. And then an unknown plague hits.

With its description of a devastated London and a flight/search through the occupied countryside, this owes much to War of the Worlds. In turn it was itself highly influential; both the movie 28 Days Later and the tv-series The Walking Dead owe their opening scene to Triffids. Brian Aldiss called this a 'cosy catastrophy' but I found it both bleaker and scarier than the zombie stories it inspired, likely because throngs of blind people searching for food and fighting for survival is more relatable than the undead.

As always with the best of these stories it's not really about the external happenings, but about the breakdown of civilization and the moral choices faced by the survivors. A genuine SF classic for a reason, this was a great read.

929031345_max.jpg

My preferred book pusher had five editions in print, I went with the one above.
I read that ages ago and enjoyed it. Also remember The Midwich Cuckoos.
 

Kaplan

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I read that ages ago and enjoyed it. Also remember The Midwich Cuckoos.
I read The Chrysalids last year and enjoyed that too. Received 10 new books yesterday - The Midwich Cukoos will probably be in the next batch I order.

1718971590079.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Geoffrey Firmin

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John Wyndham: The Day of the Triffids, 1951.

Three disasters combine to wipe out England and maybe the whole world. Strange lights in the sky from a falling meteor - or is it a malfunctioning weapons satellite? - make everyone blind, apart from a select few. With their prey thus hindered the triffids (genetically modified, 7 feet tall, poisonous, flesh eating, walking plants) have their day. And then an unknown plague hits.

With its description of a devastated London and a flight/search through the occupied countryside, this owes much to War of the Worlds. In turn it was itself highly influential; both the movie 28 Days Later and the tv-series The Walking Dead owe their opening scene to Triffids. Brian Aldiss called this a 'cosy catastrophy' but I found it both bleaker and scarier than the zombie stories it inspired, likely because throngs of blind people searching for food and fighting for survival is more relatable than the undead.

As always with the best of these stories it's not really about the external happenings, but about the breakdown of civilization and the moral choices faced by the survivors. A genuine SF classic for a reason, this was a great read.

929031345_max.jpg

My preferred book pusher had five editions in print, I went with the one above.
M.O.G read that in high school in 1973..😱
 

Kaplan

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Alfred Bester: The Demolished Man, 1953.

"There hasn't been a successful premeditated murder in 79 years. Espers make it impossible to conceal intent before murder. Or, if Espers have been evaded before the murder, they make it impossible to conceal the guilt afterwards."

Bester's first novel and winner of the first Hugo Award has the leader of a multinational corporation trying to get away with murder in a battle of wits against a mind reading cop. Hugely influential on Philip K Dick and others of the SF New Wave, as well as William Gibson and Cyberpunk. While it doesn't dethrone his later The Stars My Destination that I read last year, Bester is so much fun to read that I want to pick up his collection of short stories too.

the-demolished-man.jpg

The current print edition that I got has a rather disappointing print-on-demand-ish cover so here instead is a cool vintage cover found on-line.

138783.jpg

The first edition had a nice Mad Men intro vibe.
 

Kaplan

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Richard Matheson: I Am Legend, 1954.

"Something black and of the night had come crawling out of the Middle Ages. Something with no framework or credulity, something that had been consigned, fact and figure, to the pages of imaginative literature."

In the far future of 1976 the fallout from The Bomb brings dust storms and vampiric infection, leaving a single survivor to fight the hordes without and the despair within. A quick read with its 160 pages and a delightfully bleaker ending than its three movie adaptations dared. Another greatly influential classic, but I much preferred Matheson's 1971 short story Duel.

i-am-legend.jpg

I got this decent edition from the Best of Masterworks imprint.

i-am-legend-iii-matheson.jpg
 

smittycl

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Richard Matheson: I Am Legend, 1954.

"Something black and of the night had come crawling out of the Middle Ages. Something with no framework or credulity, something that had been consigned, fact and figure, to the pages of imaginative literature."

In the far future of 1976 the fallout from The Bomb brings dust storms and vampiric infection, leaving a single survivor to fight the hordes without and the despair within. A quick read with its 160 pages and a delightfully bleaker ending than its three movie adaptations dared. Another greatly influential classic, but I much preferred Matheson's 1971 short story Duel.

i-am-legend.jpg

I got this decent edition from the Best of Masterworks imprint.

i-am-legend-iii-matheson.jpg
Lots of stuff lately that I read seemingly ages ago.

Just a thought.
 

smittycl

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Apart from some Jules Verne I didn't really read any SF as a kid, so I have some catching up to do.
Always fun to catch up or revisit.
 

edinatlanta

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Finished this in a day. Highly recommended. Theres a sense though with old journalistic nonfiction that perhaps that moment has passed. Still, it was a well told story that is probably the only story told of West Indian sugar farm laborers exploitation in Florida. It sounds niche but it isnt. Interesting writing style of very short chapters alternating between narrative nonfiction almost gonzostyle journalism at specific moments oral histories and essay like features on the sugar industry. Honestly considering how limited the story is that was probably the only way to fill a book.

the book was based on his reporting for The New Yorker and sometimes it shows. Several chapters are word for word opened the same way. Also, the author's posession of a camera is a plot point multiple times and there are no photos accompanying the book. I don't know if that was harder to insert in 1989 but it would have been great to see the farms.
20240629_090221.jpg


ok so i have to start this by saying just how great libraries are. Im not sure when i heard about this book. I can't find it in my search history or amazon search. Im pretty sure it was this year that i heard about it (maybe from @Geoffrey Firmin idk but irregardlessly). The Atlanta-Fulton County Library System did not have a copy. A couple of clicks on the website later I requested an Inter Library Loan. Why? Doesn't matter I just wanted to read it for no higher aim than my entertainment. A few months later the book arrives from a library system in rural Utah. Why there and not one anywhere else? Who knows. Required no effort from me and no justification and no cost either. I even showed up to the branch like 2 minutes after closing. The librarian saw me in the parking lot I told her i was sad id have to wait another day for my book. She goes--oh are you the special order? I said yes she runs in and is clearly happy to have reopened for three minutes of her time.

The book itself was fantastic. I lived in Australia for three years growing up. Even went to visit my cousins farm in rural New South Wales. (Despite requiring nearly 15 hours of travel to get there the farm is apparently only on the edge of what could possibly be considered th Outback but is definitely the bush. And at iirc 1800 acres is small). So i have some familiarity with the bush but as Watson shows the bush has multiple meanings depending what part of Australia you are. Some of his musings are a bit old manish. He is a masterful writer but toward the end of the book, much like the end of a long trip in the bush, i couldn't have another description of spinifex or more flat open dry land and skimmed 20 of the last 30 pages or so.

20240629_090237.jpg
 

ppk

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Finished this in a day. Highly recommended. Theres a sense though with old journalistic nonfiction that perhaps that moment has passed. Still, it was a well told story that is probably the only story told of West Indian sugar farm laborers exploitation in Florida. It sounds niche but it isnt. Interesting writing style of very short chapters alternating between narrative nonfiction almost gonzostyle journalism at specific moments oral histories and essay like features on the sugar industry. Honestly considering how limited the story is that was probably the only way to fill a book.

the book was based on his reporting for The New Yorker and sometimes it shows. Several chapters are word for word opened the same way. Also, the author's posession of a camera is a plot point multiple times and there are no photos accompanying the book. I don't know if that was harder to insert in 1989 but it would have been great to see the farms.
View attachment 2207023

ok so i have to start this by saying just how great libraries are. Im not sure when i heard about this book. I can't find it in my search history or amazon search. Im pretty sure it was this year that i heard about it (maybe from @Geoffrey Firmin idk but irregardlessly). The Atlanta-Fulton County Library System did not have a copy. A couple of clicks on the website later I requested an Inter Library Loan. Why? Doesn't matter I just wanted to read it for no higher aim than my entertainment. A few months later the book arrives from a library system in rural Utah. Why there and not one anywhere else? Who knows. Required no effort from me and no justification and no cost either. I even showed up to the branch like 2 minutes after closing. The librarian saw me in the parking lot I told her i was sad id have to wait another day for my book. She goes--oh are you the special order? I said yes she runs in and is clearly happy to have reopened for three minutes of her time.

The book itself was fantastic. I lived in Australia for three years growing up. Even went to visit my cousins farm in rural New South Wales. (Despite requiring nearly 15 hours of travel to get there the farm is apparently only on the edge of what could possibly be considered th Outback but is definitely the bush. And at iirc 1800 acres is small). So i have some familiarity with the bush but as Watson shows the bush has multiple meanings depending what part of Australia you are. Some of his musings are a bit old manish. He is a masterful writer but toward the end of the book, much like the end of a long trip in the bush, i couldn't have another description of spinifex or more flat open dry land and skimmed 20 of the last 30 pages or so.

View attachment 2207025
Sugar plantation theme? First, A Dissappearence in Fiji by Nilima Rao now this. I'll follow the thread and look for this.

I loved A Disappearance in Fiji. It would make a great streaming movie.
 

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