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Wolf to Man Wednesday

What I've Finished Reading

[There were a lot of things he could say.]
There were a lot of things he could say. "Son of a bitch!" would have been a good one. Or he could say "Welcome to civilization!" He could have said "Laugh this one off!" He might have said "Fetch!"

But he didn't, because if he had said any of those things, then he'd know that what he had just done was murder.



The Fifth Elephant. You know, I would have been perfectly happy with a big pile of dumb jokes about trousers and Chekov. I don't need the abrupt sideswerves into bottomless quarry lakes of emotion. And I kind of expected this to be a break from that kind of thing (for no particular reason, except the genre shift to Comedy Transylvania). I should have known better! Anyway, it's not like I mind. I don't love all of the Comedy Transylvania stuff quite as much as I love the polis, but The Fifth Elephant grew on me pretty quickly once it started to grow on me.

And now [SPOILER]Sybil and Sam are going to have a baby, which is both adorable and alarming.

Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth. I had a good time with these books, right up until about the last ten pages of Foundation and Earth, where I just wasn't on board any more. In general they suffer a little by comparison with the original Foundation books just because we're stuck with the same set of characters for two whole novels. Asimov's broad-brush characterization works just fine in a novella-length snapshot of made-up history, but starts to lose some of its appeal once we're spending every day with the same three people.

I wasn't particularly happy about [this really is a major spoiler]lonely immortal space mastermind Daneel Olivaw, and the argument for the final decision re: Galaxia was kind of weak even by handwavey sci-fi standards. Plus, it was never really clear why Trevize was so convinced that Earth held the key to everything, unless you assume that he's already read the galley proofs for this book about himself. Or that the [SPOILER]immortal space mastermind planted the idea in his head, which I find kind of boring. I'm not really into the thing where Asimov tries to hitch the robot books up to the Foundation history, though it was still nice to see some of the old Spacer worlds again (well, sad, but that's time for you). On the whole I enjoyed them, but they probably won't be perennial favorites and I might just mentally erase some of the continuity to please myself. But I'm still in the mood for Asimov, so I might also push on and read Prelude and Forward the Foundation, too.

What I'm Reading Now

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett. This is a Shakespeare homage (with a dash of Fisher King) and a complete delight. I haven't been terribly interested in the magic side of Pratchett up to now, except as a joke and situation generator, but the three witches are such great characters. They're perfectly balanced -- that is, equally funny and distinct from one another -- in a way that reminds me a little of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Plus, the young by-the-book witch Magrat reminds me a lot of Amy Santiago. She wants to do things the right way, with a coven and sigils and proper bonds of sisterhood and all that, and can't understand why the older witches aren't more interested in being nurturing spiritual mother figures and using the right consecrated knife. Magrat isn't happy when she has to help them do an emergency demon summoning in an old wash-house, with a bunch of rusty household implements and a scrubbing board for a Shield of Protection. But it works, doesn't it? Meanwhile, the new king is having a rough time of it, being haunted by the old king and his own guilt about stabbing the old king in the back. How can he make it right? By hiring one of those playwrights to do up a play about how much better he is than the old king, of course! What could go wrong? I am pretty sure that something is going to go wrong.

What I Plan to Read Next

It's back on the 99 Novels train with The Old Man and the Sea, a book I probably read in school at some point but have no memory of. And Night Watch, probably.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
lost_spook
Sep. 7th, 2016 05:33 pm (UTC)
It has been a long time since I read the Foundation books, but the one thing I remember really clearly is that I likeed the first (two? or how many) and then hated the last ones because of exactly the things you didn't like above, which were respectively really really annoying and hard to swallow/anti-climactic. (I am entirely unconvinced by the [Spoiler (click to open)]humanity becomes big blobby one planet entity because hello have you met humanity lately or ever? So, yep. I think picking and choosing continuity is the only thing to do in response. You should definitely read the others in search of which bits of continuity are allowed on your timeline. (You don't have to make the timeline on a chart in coloured pens, but you could.)

And, yay, Wyrd Sisters! I thought you would like the witches when you got to them, and I'm so glad you seem to be! (And you can already see why random crossover memes one time giving me "Miss Marple and Granny Weatherwax find a baby abandoned on the doorstep" was the best.)
osprey_archer
Sep. 7th, 2016 05:49 pm (UTC)
"Miss Marple and Granny Weatherwax find a baby abandoned on the doorstep"

Did you write a story about this? I feel like this might be the best story.

Clearly the baby grows up to be a badass witch detective who looks gentle and unassuming while secretly being totally unsurprised by the depravity of humanity.
lost_spook
Sep. 7th, 2016 08:34 pm (UTC)
It was for the 15 Characters Meme, so it wasn't actually a prompt (although I did manage to write the one where Miss Marple is obviously more awesome than Dracula aka my random only popular fic in the universe). Which is just as well, because as you say, it would be the best story and who could do it justice?

Clearly the baby grows up to be a badass witch detective who looks gentle and unassuming while secretly being totally unsurprised by the depravity of humanity.

You also would not mess with that baby, that's for sure. Or if you did, you'd regret it for the rest of your life.
evelyn_b
Sep. 7th, 2016 06:07 pm (UTC)
There's an "original trilogy" that is really just a lot of novellas mashed together in three volumes, published in the early 1950s.

And yeah. It's not like the Galactic Empire was all that plausible, but I was ok with it - if I wanted to be a sci-fi snob about myself, I would say this is because the G.E. is just history on an improbable scale, while Galaxia is a genuinely new way of life. But it's so damn unappealing! [Spoiler (click to open)]I don't want Donald Trump's brain in my brain, just on the off chance that it might save us from intergalactic space worms or whatever. Anticlimactic is the word. (But I still enjoyed at least 70% of the books, so I shouldn't be too grumpy).

I love the witches! And I don't know exactly what would happen if Granny Weatherwax and Miss Marple found a baby together, but I would be very interested to find out.
lost_spook
Sep. 7th, 2016 08:32 pm (UTC)
If they ever have a chat show thing for people who were BETRAYED BY THE ENDING, that series is so winding up on there. To be fair, there are a lot of Galactic Empires, but I have nothing to say because your horrifying idea under the spoiler cut was so horrifying I can't talk about it any more. (See, Asimov, DID YOU THINK OF THAT???) /o\

The baby would have the best and scariest godmothers in any fictional reality anywhere. You would not mess with that baby if you wanted to stay alive and not think you were a frog.
osprey_archer
Sep. 7th, 2016 05:50 pm (UTC)
Man, I really need to reread Pratchett. I read a whole bunch of his books back in high school and reading your comments about him is really driving home how little I remember about most of them.

But there are also so many books that I haven't read for the first time yet! The eternal struggle between rereads and new reads.
evelyn_b
Sep. 7th, 2016 06:14 pm (UTC)
Well, if it helps you decide, the Pratchett books are very fast reads. More so than Nana! If you liked them in high school and haven't read them in a while, I suspect you might find even more to appreciate now. Read Wyrd Sisters with me; it's short and the witches are very, very funny, and if you have ever had feelings about Shakespeare they will be expertly reawakened. <3

Or, you know, read a book you haven't read before; I won't be mad. :)
wordsofastory
Sep. 7th, 2016 06:21 pm (UTC)
I have gotten a bit stalled on my Pratchett reread while I try to catch up on other books, but I always enjoy seeing your reviews! Wyrd Sisters is one of my favorites, though possibly just because I love Shakespeare parodies.
evelyn_b
Sep. 7th, 2016 08:06 pm (UTC)
Shakespeare parodies are the greatest. Actually, you don't even have to rise to the level of "parody;" I'm also happy to laugh like an idiot at anything that purports to be a first draft of Shakespeare, with a bunch of first tries crossed out. Or maybe that counts as a parody, too? Anyway, those are gold.

Wyrd Sisters is so much fun. I'm looking forward to the inevitable play-within-a-play (or book).

Edited at 2016-09-07 08:11 pm (UTC)
wordsofastory
Sep. 8th, 2016 03:08 am (UTC)
I love those "first drafts" too!

One of my favorite parts of Wyrd Sisters is that Pratchett gives the "Out, damned spot!" complex to the Macbeth equivalent instead of Lady Macbeth. I've read essays arguing why it makes sense for Lady Macbeth to be the one who has regrets, despite her original determination, but there's something very satisfying about switching the roles.
a_phoenixdragon
Sep. 8th, 2016 01:59 am (UTC)
*HUGS*
liadtbunny
Sep. 8th, 2016 02:28 pm (UTC)
Yay! Witches:) I bought 'Carpe Jugulem' from a charity shop last week to force me to get round to re-reading the witch books (I too am suffering new or familiar qualms).

I'm surprised you didn't go for 'Equal Rites' first with your Pratchett FOMO. It's very quick and painless if not his best. 'Witches Abroad' next \o/.
evelyn_b
Sep. 8th, 2016 03:55 pm (UTC)
I had every intention of reading Equal Rites first, but then the library didn't have it and I got lazy and impatient! This one has been a good introduction to the witches, I think.
sue_bursztynski
Sep. 9th, 2016 11:11 pm (UTC)
The Granny Weatherwax in Equal Rites is recognisable, but not exactly the Granny Weatherwax of the other books. Can't explain. It doesn't hurt to come back to it, though. And it does explain, more or less, why Granny is holding that sign saying, "I Aten't Dead" when she Borrows.
sue_bursztynski
Sep. 9th, 2016 11:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, it's wonderful reading these posts with someone just discovering Terry Pratchett! I love Wyrd Sisters! The strange thing is reading Witches Abroad and realising it's only the second Witches novel, because you feel you know them so well by then, how can it only be two books in? Finish this. Then read Witches Abroad immediately!

I loved The Fifth Elephant.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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