The downside to talking about books

Ahh, nuts. The downside to talking about books is when you find yourself torn about what to read.

I don’t really re-read books very often. My long term memory tends to be better than most, despite my short term memory being more like reading a password, swivelling my chair, and having already forgotten it, lol. The things that stick in my memory tend to stick very long in my memory. When I re-read a book it tends to be because I’m starting to find specific details harder to remember.

Two good ideas for re-reading come to mind. Well, technically three but that’s a horse of a different color.

One is Speaker for the Dead and Ender’s Game. I first came across Ender’s game about a decade ago, and rather enjoyed that how it portrayed its children’s way of problem solving reflected my own childhood and peers. What really stuck with me about Ender’s childhood though was the side story of his siblings. The books were written at a point where for most people, the concept of usenet and BBS’s would have been foreign. Yet their activities as Locke and Demosthenes fortel of a world like my own where things like Facebook, blogs, and comments on news sites had become part of our real life. Plus there’s the fact that the ending screw, was pretty spectacular; Ender’s fate is far from returning home to a ticker tape parade.

The real draw for me however was Speaker. It’s dialog heavy with its drama and mystery as we’re integrated into Novinha’s family and the community on Lusitania. How Ender has coped with being forced into genocide and the excellent characters, rather than cardboard we’re presented with are a pleasure. But what’s really stuck with me is the piggies truly are an alien species different from our own, one which makes a strong contrast along side the Buggers and humanity. While most critters populating science fiction are enough like us, the Pequenios are very much “Xeno“– aliens, strangers. And I really liked that. The series’ concept of utlaenning, fraemling, ramen, and varelse is particularly fitting to that tale, pretty much: those close to us, those familiar to us, and what the heck are you?

Second on my temptation is S.A. Hunt’s The Outlaw King trilogy. Can’t recall if I first came across it by the recommendation of folks on Google Plus, or through a Humble book bundle I bought. But I remember it as good stuff. The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree helped splice me into it: interesting characters, a nice setting (I like watching westerns), and a fantasy world that makes you wonder how it came into being. I think by the time I finished Law of the Wolf, my response to Ten Thousand Devils was “Shuddup and take my money!”. I had come expecting pulp fiction and found enough depth that it left me wishing for more.

Third is Dune, but I know rather than revisit that old friend, I should pick up where I left off at in Messiah some years back. I think I’ve read Dune at least twice in the past twenty years, maybe even three times. It remains one of my favourite books. Also among the few that I have both a physical copy and an electronic copy.

For a long time, Dune was a curious film. One night when I was a kid, I watched maybe half of it with my mother. It’s probably a poor selection for a late night movie when you consider the cut was about three hours long, and you probably need to watch the film twice to understand it. But I enjoyed it.

Quite a few years later, my mother lent me her copy of the book, and when I saw how many appendices full of information about the world there were: I knew that I was going to enjoy the book. And then I realized the film cut out at least half of the content, in fact you’re probably getting just the most vital ~30% of it when you watch the ’84 film. That’s when I came to understand what the word abridgement meant.