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Discussion Thread for Silverlock November 4, 2007

Posted by Michael in Blogroll, Literature.
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Silverlock by John Myers is our November book club selection (by Mrs. Peel). This post is just to set up the discussion thread. As in the past, I’ll temporarily put this post in the blogroll for easy access until we start a new book.

Comments

1. kevlarchick - November 4, 2007

I just started reading Geezer’s Point of Impact. I like it.

I’ll catch up this month. It’s only the 4th.

2. Retired Geezer - November 5, 2007

Thanks for trusting my recommendation. I really do think you’ll enjoy it.

3. geoff - November 5, 2007

My copy just arrived. Kind of excited to read this again – the last time was in 1980.

4. Mrs. Peel - November 8, 2007

My slightly used copy is here!

By the way, Michael, the blogroll link looks broken.

5. Cathy - November 8, 2007

Our copies arrived today also. They are in purrrrfect condition — don’t look used at all. I almost wanna mail the bookseller a few more bucks.

6. Michael - November 8, 2007

Thanks, Mrs. Peel. I’ll fix it.

7. Mrs. Peel - November 8, 2007

Does anyone else have a hell of a time remembering how to spell Mabo Mabigo Maboginog Mabinogion?

What are the Indians in ch. 3 from? Robinson Crusoe? I read that ages ago…

8. Mrs. Peel - November 8, 2007

The song about the Alamo is TEH AWESOME.

9. Sobek - November 10, 2007

Just got my copy tonight. The first 8 pages are pretty good. I have no idea who is floating on that beam with the protagonist. I have a feeling much of this will go waaaaay over my head.

10. Mrs. Peel - November 10, 2007

Taliesin. He’s an actual person who morphed into a mythological figure, sort of like King Arthur or Robin Hood (if there actually were such men), but recently enough that we definitely know who he was in addition to knowing the myth. I think the myth is probably more relevant, as he’s linked to Gwyddno Garanhir, Ceridwen, and other important figures in Welsh mythology (hence my reference to the Mabinogion, which I still haven’t read). He’s linked to Arthur as well and is supposed to have been a bard in his court.

(Some of these characters appear in Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising sequence, which is how I know who they are.)

(On a related note, I was proud of myself when I caught the Rime of the Ancient Mariner references before the Mariner himself hove into view, but that was, sad to say, more due to my familiarity with Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency than with Coleridge.)

11. Sobek - November 11, 2007

Dirk Gently was one of the most brilliant books I’ve ever read. The Coleridge bit was beyond perfect.

12. Mrs. Peel - November 12, 2007

Arrgghh. In my edition, Hermione was spelled correctly for the first few occurrences, but has now changed to “Hermoine.”

13. skinbad - November 13, 2007

Mine is on order. I found myself, unexpectedly, in a mall last week and couldn’t remember the name of the book. I asked for “Silverpick, Silverlick, or Silverback.” They couldn’t help me and she said the computer was blocked from getting to wordpress. Oh well. I’ll ketchup.

14. spongeworthy - November 14, 2007

Thanks, guys, for turning me on to this book. I found a copy through the library, a new edition. It doesn’t say on the copyright when it was first published. Anybody know?

15. geoff - November 14, 2007

I believe the first publication was 1949.

16. skiboyx - November 16, 2007

So here’s the deal champs, the mods are gonna keep this thread open, but you may only list a song ONCE. K? Don’t piss off TFX. He ruins worlds.

Is Your Soul for Sale? – The Old Dead Tree

17. Sobek - November 16, 2007

The first part was interesting. It slowed down a bit right around the beginning of part 2. It’s a little too episodic in form to let me just sit down and plow through a few hundred pages at a sitting.

18. Reetescanna - November 18, 2007

yo
sorry. They told me that you may suggest how to go to the library.
Thanks!

19. skinbad - November 20, 2007

Mine’s still on order. Recognizing that December is usually kind of crazy, should we let this one run through the end of the year and pick it up again in January? Anyone care one way or another?

20. geoff - November 20, 2007

If anyone needs another, older, little-known sci-fi/fantasy work to tide them over, I can recommend Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay (available for free from Gutenberg). From the Wikipedia entry:

A Voyage to Arcturus is a novel by the Scottish writer David Lindsay. First published in 1920, it combines fantasy, philosophy and science fiction in an exploration of the nature of good and evil and their relationship with existence. It has been described by the critic and philosopher Colin Wilson as the “greatest novel of the twentieth century” and was a central influence on C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy.

It’s a little slow until Chapter 6, but it’s pretty good thereafter, and has an ending that sticks with you. Here’s what one reader had to say:

I suggest that A Voyage to Arcturus is a great novel, despite the above shortcomings because of the profound vision behind the book, and the clarity with which it is conveyed. After spending time with the book, you, the reader, may find yourself changed. If not changed then at least questioning your assumptions about life. Only a great book can accomplish that.

21. Retired Geezer - November 20, 2007

should we let this one run through the end of the year and pick it up again

That would be nice. I’m running behind a little.

BTW, we had the first snow of the year this morning. My daughter, the transplant from California, said “Wow, it’s just like in the movies”.

22. daveintexas - November 20, 2007

I haven’t ordered it yet.

*hangs head in shame

23. Retired Geezer - November 20, 2007

I really like C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy.
The last volume, That Hideous Strength, reads like today’s headlines.

24. geoff - November 20, 2007

I really like C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy.

I read that in 9th or 10th grade, and liked it, but I remember very little of it. You know, that wouldn’t be a bad selection for this crowd. Most people have read it, but I’ll bet it would generate some animated discussions.

25. Retired Geezer - November 20, 2007

Well, it’s 3 fairly short books but it’s a pretty fast read.

I’ve read it probably 4 times.

My favorite CSL book is “The Great Divorce”.

26. Sobek - November 20, 2007

Am I the only one reading this month’s book?

27. geoff - November 20, 2007

Mrs. Peel is probably done, and I’m about 180 pages in. Spongeworthy said that he was also reading it. Haven’t heard if Cathy and Michael have actually started.

BTW, I think you in particular should read Voyage to Arcturus.

28. Cathy - November 20, 2007

We have our books.

I started, and will finish by EOM given time over Thanksgiving holiday.

Maybe Michael will build some fires that I can cozy up to for the occasion.

*hint…hint*

29. Sobek - November 20, 2007

I’m about 230 pages in.

30. geoff - November 20, 2007

I’m torn between being amused by the Don Quixote scene and wishing he had captured some of the poignancy of that story.

31. See-Dubya - November 20, 2007

I just finished CSL’s space trilogy last month. First book was useless, second OK, third one RG’s right on. I’m sitting there thinking SOROS! SOROS! the whole time.

32. daveintexas - November 20, 2007

That Hideous Strength

Redken Hair Gel #5.

It’s rated 4 on the Fujita scale.

33. Amish Tell - November 24, 2007

Professional bulletproof Dedicated Server

Ok James – hold your bulletproof dedicated server in front of your head, while i shoot you in the face.

Stupid spambot.

34. Mrs. Peel - November 24, 2007

I’m finished…just waiting for the rest of y’all so I wouldn’t spoil anything. I liked it. The ending surprised me, as I was expecting the author to go all moral relativist on us.

I LOVED Perelandra and really liked That Hideous Strength. I need to reread those.

35. BrewFan - November 24, 2007

James comment wasn’t bulletproof, amish!

36. Sobek - November 26, 2007

Finished. I liked the book. I won’t comment on it until everyone else has a chance to finish.

37. You cant judge an amish by looking at his cover - November 26, 2007

I havent read this book. Probably wont. Not exactly a big reader these days. But i gather that there are a lot of literary references, yes?

This site may help with sorting them all out:

http://www.anitraweb.org/commonwealth/refindex.html

38. Retired Geezer - November 26, 2007

I’m liking it but I’m discovering that I’m not as well read as I thought I was. I’m getting the easy ones like Robin Hood, James Fenimore Cooper and Cupid but there are a lot that I don’t know.

39. dr4 - November 26, 2007

Do they make an annotated version of the book?

40. Retired Geezer - November 26, 2007

Amish, thanks for that link. Some of the internal links are dead but the outline is very good.

I missed far more than I even realized.

41. geoff - November 26, 2007

Do they make an annotated version of the book?

Yes.

42. geoff - November 26, 2007

I’m discovering that I’m not as well read as I thought I was.

Everyone discovers that when they read this book.

43. Xrezimain - December 2, 2007

Proverka

44. Cathy - December 2, 2007

I’m NO WHERE finished with this thing. Sorry, gang.

Did we decide to stretch it out through December and pick our next book for January?

45. Retired Geezer - December 2, 2007

I’m still reading it too.
Let’s bump December back to January.

46. Cathy - December 2, 2007

Do we take a vote or sumthin?

47. Michael - December 2, 2007

Yeah, I say we bump it too. I’m behind. Like everyone else, I’ve been busy studying quantum mechanics and Farsi.

48. BepGLalaLam - December 4, 2007

To begin with, that I am not a problem-one on my set of problems, which developed as a result of depression and I can never escape from it, precisely vybirayus for a couple of days and then she returns …
… laugh, I have a child, almost two old. VERY difficult child, from birth has gipervozbudimostyu (most likely because of the small generic trauma, neurology). I love VERY her baby, and fanatically madly, BUT … since she was born, my life has become a nightmare. My life, full of freedom, has ended. Maybe I was not ready for this, I do not represent that of a child may be difficult NASTOLKO. Typically, children godiku to become more calm, but my daughter all of these 2-year daily from morning until night nerves treplet me – it applies to a day, vizzhit, screaming, crying and zakatyvaet siteriki on any issue and without … I slvshaniya standing and waiting her pony vizgov became hysterical woman probably just nerves or to a feature … I am constantly opdavlennoe mood .. I began to suffer from insomnia, about 3-4 nights straight, but woke with such feeling, and that is not asleep (although we prosypaemsya in 11). Woke with a patient’s head, depressed and with the understanding that a new day of nothing but
yelling and Hysterical not bring my child ……… Even when docha not crying and behaves jail (sometimes), I still suppressed …
In fact that 8 months ago I dispersed with her husband, simple ovystavila him for the door … it was impossible to live together, the permanent zadvigi were inexcusable … but despite all this, I very much miss it, and one very seriously. mom helps, live together now, but still serious …
All the time feel loneliness, I need a man to life, but I can not find anyone yet, as I am emotionally drained and in a form with someone familiar unrealistic … everything seemed to me a monster …
this move as a black stripe??

P.S. Please administrator michaelscomments.wordpress.com. If the thread is not to be in category “Discussion Thread for Silverlock”, I ask you to move my thread to the correct category.

49. mesablue - December 4, 2007

I want some of what BepGlopPlop is on.

50. Muslihoon - December 4, 2007

Are those Russian words sprinkled in there?

51. Anonymous - December 4, 2007

yep. i googled a few. the same post was on this site a few months back:

http://www.aamulehti.fi/

52. Anonymous - December 4, 2007

and its on gamespot too. I dont get this sort of thing.

53. Michael - December 4, 2007

I reckon its just a lonely soul crying into the dark. The postscript, along with the lack of a commercial link, indicates that the comment is clearly not just a spambot.

54. mesablue - December 4, 2007

Smart spambot?

55. geoff - December 4, 2007

The postscript, along with the lack of a commercial link, indicates that the comment is clearly not just a spambot.

Well, whatever it is, it’s probably farther along reading Silverlock than you guys.

Back to work!!

56. Michael - December 4, 2007

Possible, Mesa, but where’s the money? No link, except to the Google sign-in page.

57. mesablue - December 4, 2007

Sneaky spambot?

58. Michael - December 4, 2007

Geoff, I’m wounded. I put up a post just to slam the Chinese, which I thought would certainly be Geoff-bait, and you are wasting time on your homework rather than helping me out.

59. geoff - December 4, 2007

I saw that post, but only had time to skim it. It looks like good stuff – I’ll probably read it thoroughly in about 5 hours.

60. BepGLalaLam - December 5, 2007

So dear readers forum! What in your view should be present man? What qualities have? What should be able to do?
Interested in your opinion?

P.S. Please administrator michaelscomments.wordpress.com. If the thread is not to be in category “Discussion Thread for Silverlock”, I ask you to move my thread to the correct category.

61. BrewFan - December 5, 2007

I was dumping BepGlalaLam comments as fast as it could put them up last night but I see he/she/it is persistent. Doesn’t look like spam but something isn’t right…

62. BrewFan - December 5, 2007

My guess is its a way to find out how closely the threads are being monitored before he/she/it turns loose the spambots on us.

63. skinbad - December 5, 2007

I’m not moving along on it very well either. Let’s finish it this month (December). So let it be written–so let it be bumped.

64. Ronswinstes - December 7, 2007

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Now it is necessary to place my site on any web-hosting .

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65. noyabrskmap - December 12, 2007

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66. skinbad - December 14, 2007

No I’m rolling, but I’ve got a ways to go. I’m trying to enjoy the story without thinking I should be marking off literary references. It’s good so far.

67. geoff - December 14, 2007

Finished it last night. The ending seems a bit abrupt, but appropriate.

68. Amish standing in an alley with a trenchcoat full of pig pancreases - December 16, 2007

psst….hey. You got money man?

You got the ‘beetus? well i got the cure.

69. dr4 - December 27, 2007

Christ i suck at book reports!!!

Ive tried to write this comment for the last 20 minutes.

I have a recommendation: Summer of ’42 by Herman Raucher.

It’s a very good book. Not too long. You dont need a masters degree in English lit to figure out whats going on. Its very funny. One of the few books that made me laugh out loud in several parts.

I cant really do the story justice but its about a teenager and his two dorky friends on summer vacation trying to figure out how in the hell they are ever going to get any girls. The main character falls in love with an older married lady and hilarity ensues when he tries to be mature ‘like Don Ameche’ and seduce her.

shit.

Even i dont want to read the book after reading my description of it. So frustrating. Just do yourselves a favor and pick up a copy in a used book store. You wont be disappointed.

Its cheap too:

http://www.amazon.com/Summer-42-Herman-Raucher/dp/0848803108

70. roadway - December 30, 2007

Hello guys. Just want to tell you – never ever use ” rodeway inn” those guys are cheaters- they overcharge you as much as thay can, and you
even can not get your money back.
So be careful!

71. Sobek - January 2, 2008

Okay, if you haven’t finished yet, you’re not going to finish, so I’m going to write some comments. But I’ll still give the warning:

**SPOILERS**

I generally liked the book. I liked the third part the best, because that’s where it gets the most philosophical. Shandon’s interview with Faustopheles in Dante’s inferno was wonderful. That they analyzed the literature, rather than merely acknowledged it, was the most interesting part.

The literary references were fun, but they were not all equal. As someone (geoff?) pointed out about the Don Quixote bit, some of them were just throw-away references that neither advanced the plot nor helped to develop character. They were references for the sake of references. One example was the fall of the house of Usher — the reference is just barely long enough to catch that it refers to Poe, but the terrified man fleeing the collapsing structure doesn’t affect anything that goes on before or after. The worst offender was the country of the Houyhnhnms, which was more of a rip-off than just a reference, and still failed to add anything.

By contrast, the Puck character was more than just a reference to Midsummer Night’s Dream. The scene served as a foil to show Shandon’s development as a sympathetic character, his movement from the man who tried to bed Circea to the man who loved Rosalette. The book was strongest when the literary references were more than just references.

That said, obviously the thing would have been far too dense — probably unreadable — if Myers had tried to cram more details in. And I think he acknowledges as much during Shandon’s trial, when the demon points out all the sights Shandon had not even seen, let alone experienced.

A few specific things:

1. Shandon asks Golias what the people of the Commonwealth do for a living. “They do better than that, Shandon; they live.” The line is similar to one from the opera La Boheme, where Rodolfo says (my translation): Wait, miss, I’ll shall tell you briefly who I am, what I do, and how I live. Who am I? I am a poet. What do I do? I write. And how do I live? I live!” Each of the answers is unexpected, and the last is precisely what Golias is getting at. And yet it’s ironic that the residents of the Commonwealth, by virtue of their citizenship, don’t really live at all, save in the minds of people who may or may not really live, in the sense that Rodolfo and Golias mean.

2. “A need of men, generally denied them, is to feel a part of something that works smoothly and well. In a mated crew the ideal is reached, the feeling of perfection passing back and forth from the individual to the team like an electric current. Until exhaustion breaks the spell, there is no more to be desired.” (p. 43).

I’ve never been on a rowing team, but I agree that a need of mankind is to feel a part of something larger. One unifying aspect of western civilization, until comparatively recently, has been a common literary tradition. We still have it to some extent. If I use the phrase “turn the other cheek,” all of you know exactly what that means because you understand the context it comes from. But if I quote from Shakespeare, how many Americans will catch the reference? Or Milton? Or Plutarch?

3. “A man is not dead until he ceases to be curious,” (p. 57), and “What had impressed me was that this friar was well-informed and had a lot of fun out of that fact alone. In the past, if I had wanted to find out anything, it was always for a practical reason. Now I glimpsed the concept that to know a thing for itself could be a source of joy.” (p. 157).

I learned that same lesson, and now my family and friends aren’t surprised to hear I’m studying Farsi, or Algebra, or whatever it is that I’m on about at the moment. First time I learned it was about three stanzas into Dante’s Inferno which was the first classic book I ever read without being assigned to read it. I learned it again the first time I read a book on near eastern studies (in which I later earned my undergrad degree), and again on religious apologetics, and again when I got into politics.

4. Chapter 13: Shenanigans at Upton. I love the word “shenanigans.”

5. “Just the same, meeting someone who viewed human relationships with such a casual eye calmed me. I lost some of my indignation towards Golias. He had simply used me when he wanted me and discarded me when I was no longer useful to him. That was the way I myself had always acted. That was what I had always recognized, except for my recent period of mental aberration, as the normal in conduct.” p. 272.

This is why I like the third part of the book the best. The author is at his best when displaying human nature rather than name-dropping. I’ve felt that way. The best way to feel really, really bitter, to the point that you describe idealism as a mental aberration, is to get your feelings burned.

6. “He’s that gem of jackasses, the scholarly illiterate.” p. 277.

Heh. No wonder this book never caught on in the Humanities department.

7. “Because they’ve reached the dead end of being, which is to be able to think of nothing but oneself.” p. 310. This line, especially in light of Faustopheles’ statement in the preceding few paragraphs, preceded a fascinating scene from C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle by seven years. But it was still seventy-five years after a most amazing chapter in Edwin Abbott Abbott’s Flatland. That’s a great book, BTW.

8. “A man should be judged on his own positive accomplishments rather than on what others have done that he has not.” p. 348.

72. geoff - January 2, 2008

I liked the boat ride with the fools, as well. I thought Myers-Myers scored some wicked good points there.

73. geoff - January 2, 2008

Oops – I guess that that’s where your 6th point came from.

74. Sobek - January 2, 2008

Same with the fifth.

75. geoff - January 2, 2008

Same with the fifth.

Oh you’re right, but I liked the case studies better.

76. skinbad - January 4, 2008

Houyhnhnms–I agree with the point generally (re. literary passby references), Sobek, but those horses were all about reason. No passion or imagination or art. It was kind of a logical place for him to hit on his road to the pit.

I agree that the third part of the book was the best. An interesting read. Thanks to Peel for the suggestion.

77. geoff - January 4, 2008

The ideas and sense of progression are, I think, more clear in Voyage to Arcturus, which I suspect informed John Myers-Myers (as well as C. S. Lewis). In that book, the protagonist is exposed to several philosophies of living, such as living based on love or on duty, but comes to the realization at the end that it is the magnificence of life and spirit that should guide our philosophies.

Muspel was no all-powerful Universe, tolerating from pure indifference the existence side by side with it of another false world, which had no right to be. Muspel was fighting for its life– against all that is most shameful and frightful–against sin masquerading as eternal beauty, against baseness masquerading as Nature, against the Devil masquerading as God….

Kind of a mystical, cosmic version of Silverlock’s more mundane theme, where our world is the “false one.” Though perhaps Silverlock could be summed up as: “Better Living Through Literature.”

78. geoff - January 4, 2008

Thanks to Peel for the suggestion.

That would actually be my fault.

79. skinbad - January 4, 2008

Thanks Geoff. Voyage to Arcturus — something to add to my list. That’s both good and bad.

80. geoff - January 4, 2008

It’s available online. I would skim lightly over the first six chapters – they move pretty slowly are forgettable.

81. EffifeRal - January 27, 2009

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