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Author Topic: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!  (Read 5222 times)

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Offline George-2.0

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #150 on: November 23, 2020, 07:53:52 PM »
Quote
#11b Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer


I haven't read the book, sounds like I should give it a go. Saw the movie and liked it, It reminded me of two Tarkovsky adapted, Lem's Solaris, especially - and Stalker, with the zone.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 07:56:03 PM by George-2.0 »


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #151 on: November 23, 2020, 09:30:25 PM »
Quote
#11b Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer


I haven't read the book, sounds like I should give it a go. Saw the movie and liked it, It reminded me of two Tarkovsky adapted, Lem's Solaris, especially - and Stalker, with the zone.

#9 on my list. i really must check out the other two books in the trilogy.
FINE


Offline stansimpson

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #152 on: November 24, 2020, 01:31:31 PM »
directed by Alex Garland of Ex-Machina fame.

I get him and Alex Proyas mixed up (The Crow, Dark City) and had to check IMDb for the differences. Alex Garland, interestingly, wrote the novel the Leo movie The Beach is based on. He went on to write screenplays for two more Danny Boyle movies (28 Days Later & Sunshine) as well as Never Let Me Go and Dredd. He's also doing the script to Halo next (if that ever comes out).

Anyway, back to the books.....


Offline CJones

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #153 on: November 24, 2020, 05:28:48 PM »
#9 Animal Farm, by George Orwell

3 Lists, 41 Points
Top Vote #4 dbsommer

“The Seven Commandments:
Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.”

“Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.”

“No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?”

“Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

“Four legs good, two legs better! All Animals Are Equal. But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.” 

A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned –a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.
When Animal Farm was first published, Stalinist Russia was seen as its target. Today it is devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell’s masterpiece have a meaning and message still ferociously fresh.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

George Orwell wrote the manuscript in 1943 and 1944 after his experiences during the Spanish Civil War. In the preface of a 1947 Ukrainian edition of Animal Farm, he explained how escaping the communist purges in Spain taught him "how easily totalitarian propaganda can control the opinion of enlightened people in democratic countries." This motivated Orwell to expose and strongly condemn what he saw as the Stalinist corruption of the original socialist ideals. After seeing Arthur Koestler's best-selling Darkness at Noon, about the Moscow Trials, Orwell decided that fiction was the best way to describe totalitarianism.

In the preface, Orwell described the source of the idea of setting the book on a farm: "...I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge carthorse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat."

According to Orwell, the fable reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. In case it isn't obvious, Old Major represents either Marx or Lenin, while Napoleon is clearly Stalin. And a case could be made that Snowball is Leon Trotsky. Orwell, a democratic socialist, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism. The Soviet Union had become a brutal dictatorship built upon a cult of personality and enforced by a reign of terror.  Orwell wrote that Animal Farm was the first book in which he tried, with full consciousness of what he was doing, "to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole".

This is another case of "I haven't read the book but I have seen the movie." Funnily enough, they showed this to us when I was in either 9th or 10th grade, and at the time I did not make the connection to Communism at all.

Speaking of the movie, the entire thing is on Youtube if anyone wants to see it.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/XXkicQRl6vg" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/XXkicQRl6vg</a>

Fun Fact: In 1944 the manuscript was almost destroyed when a German V-1 flying bomb hit his home in London. Orwell spent hours sifting through the rubble to find the manuscript intact.

Fun Fact: Apparently there is a second movie, made in 1999. This is the first I've heard about it. It received mixed reviews, with much criticism aimed at its ending, where a new family arrives who works together with the animals to make a better future.


Offline CJones

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #154 on: November 24, 2020, 06:30:02 PM »
Speaking of the Animal Farm movie, I ran across this article from the New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2000/03/18/books/how-the-cia-played-dirty-tricks-with-culture.html

Quote
Many people remember reading George Orwell's ''Animal Farm'' in high school or college, with its chilling finale in which the farm animals looked back and forth at the tyrannical pigs and the exploitative human farmers but found it ''impossible to say which was which.''

That ending was altered in the 1955 animated version, which removed the humans, leaving only the nasty pigs. Another example of Hollywood butchering great literature? Yes, but in this case the film's secret producer was the Central Intelligence Agency.

The C.I.A., it seems, was worried that the public might be too influenced by Orwell's pox-on-both-their-houses critique of the capitalist humans and Communist pigs. So after his death in 1950, agents were dispatched (by none other than E. Howard Hunt, later of Watergate fame) to buy the film rights to ''Animal Farm'' from his widow to make its message more overtly anti-Communist.


Offline CJones

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #155 on: November 25, 2020, 09:09:49 AM »
Just FYI, I'm going out of town for the next few days. Don't expect any more updates until Friday or Saturday. Happy Thanksgiving  :)


Offline Russoguru

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #156 on: November 25, 2020, 03:39:32 PM »
Thank you for hosting this list CJones. We all really appreciate it. :)


Offline CJones

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #157 on: November 28, 2020, 07:37:30 PM »
#8 Watership Down, by Richard Adams

2 Lists, 49 Points
Top Vote #1 dbsommer

“Animals don't behave like men,' he said. 'If they have to fight, they fight; and if they have to kill they kill. But they don't sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures' lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality.”

“The full moon, well risen in a cloudless eastern sky, covered the high solitude with its light. We are not conscious of daylight as that which displaces darkness. Daylight, even when the sun is clear of clouds, seems to us simply the natural condition of the earth and air. When we think of the downs, we think of the downs in daylight, as with think of a rabbit with its fur on. Stubbs may have envisaged the skeleton inside the horse, but most of us do not: and we do not usually envisage the downs without daylight, even though the light is not a part of the down itself as the hide is part of the horse itself. We take daylight for granted. But moonlight is another matter. It is inconstant. The full moon wanes and returns again. Clouds may obscure it to an extent to which they cannot obscure daylight. Water is necessary to us, but a waterfall is not. Where it is to be found it is something extra, a beautiful ornament. We need daylight and to that extent it us utilitarian, but moonlight we do not need. When it comes, it serves no necessity. It transforms. It falls upon the banks and the grass, separating one long blade from another; turning a drift of brown, frosted leaves from a single heap to innumerable flashing fragments; or glimmering lengthways along wet twigs as though light itself were ductile. Its long beams pour, white and sharp, between the trunks of trees, their clarity fading as they recede into the powdery, misty distance of beech woods at night. In moonlight, two acres of coarse bent grass, undulant and ankle deep, tumbled and rough as a horse's mane, appear like a bay of waves, all shadowy troughs and hollows. The growth is so thick and matted that event the wind does not move it, but it is the moonlight that seems to confer stillness upon it. We do not take moonlight for granted. It is like snow, or like the dew on a July morning. It does not reveal but changes what it covers. And its low intensity---so much lower than that of daylight---makes us conscious that it is something added to the down, to give it, for only a little time, a singular and marvelous quality that we should admire while we can, for soon it will be gone again.”

[Referring to Cowslip's Warren] “The rabbits became strange in many ways, different from other rabbits. They knew well enough what was happening. But even to themselves they pretended that all was well, for the food was good, they were protected, they had nothing to fear but the one fear; and that struck here and there, never enough at a time to drive them away.They forgot the ways of wild rabbits. They forgot El-ahrairah, for what use had they for tricks and cunning, living in the enemy's warren and paying his price?”

“Bluebell had been saying that he knew the men hated us for raiding their crops and gardens, and Toadflax answered, 'That wasn't why they destroyed the warren. It was just because we were in their way. They killed us to suit themselves.”

‘Thlayli,’ he said, ‘we’ve unblocked a run out here. I can bring in enough rabbits to pull down this wall in four places. Why don’t you come out?’
Thlayli’s reply, when it came, was low and gasping, but perfectly clear.
‘My Chief Rabbit has told me to defend this run and until he says otherwise I shall stay here.’
‘His Chief Rabbit?’ said Vervain, staring.
It had never occurred to Woundwort or any of his officers that Thlayli was not the Chief Rabbit of his warren. Yet what he said carried immediate conviction. He was speaking the truth. And if he was not the Chief Rabbit, then somewhere close by there must be another, stronger rabbit who was. A stronger rabbit than Thlayli. Where was he? What was he doing at this moment?"

“Silflay hraka, u embleer rah!”  <--  Lapine profanity, roughly translates as "Eat shit you great stench"

“All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.”

One of the most beloved novels of our time, Richard Adam's Watership Down takes us to a world we have never truly seen; to the remarkable life that teems in the fields, forests and riverbanks far beyond our cities and towns. It is a powerful saga of courage, leadership and survival; an epic tale of a hardy band of adventures forced to flee the destruction of their fragile community... and their trials and triumphs in the face of extraordinary adversity as they pursue a glorious dream called "home". Welcome to the warren.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The story began as tales that Richard Adams told his young daughters Juliet and Rosamond during long car journeys. As he explained in 2007, he "began telling the story of the rabbits ... improvised off the top of my head, as we were driving along", The daughters insisted he write it down—"they were very, very persistent". After some delay he began writing in the evenings and completed it 18 months later. The book is dedicated to the two girls.

Watership Down was rejected seven times before it was accepted by Rex Collings. The one-man London publisher Collings wrote to an associate, "I've just taken on a novel about rabbits, one of them with extra-sensory perception. Do you think I'm mad?" The associate did call it "a mad risk," in her obituary of Collings, to accept "a book as bizarre by an unknown writer which had been turned down by the major London publishers; but," she continued, "it was also dazzlingly brave and intuitive." Collings had little capital and could not pay an advance but "he got a review copy onto every desk in London that mattered."

The Economist heralded the book's publication, saying "If there is no place for Watership Down in children's bookshops, then children's literature is dead." Peter Prescott, senior book reviewer at Newsweek, gave the novel a glowing review: "Adams handles his suspenseful narrative more dextrously than most authors who claim to write adventure novels, but his true achievement lies in the consistent, comprehensible and altogether enchanting civilization that he has created." Adams won the 1972 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject. He also won the annual Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, a similar award that authors may not win twice. In 1977 California schoolchildren selected it for the inaugural California Young Reader Medal in the Young Adult category, which annually honours one book from the last four years.

I had Watership Down at #2 on my list, so I was surprised to find that I did not in fact have the top vote :) I read the entirety of the second half of the book, everything involving Efrafa, in one sitting. Granted, I was stuck on an airplane flying cross country at the time, but still... I have an incredibly short attention span so that is unheard of for me in any situation.

What I particularly liked about the book was how thoroughly grounded in reality everything was, and how fleshed out Lapine society was, complete with their own language and mythology. All of the geography in the book is real, including Nuthanger Farm, and the behavior of the rabbits is based heavily on "The Private Life of Rabbits", by British naturalist Ronald Lockley. By the time you get past Cowslip's Warren, and on to Efrafa, you can really feel like, even in the ways in which they don't act like real rabbits, it almost seems plausible that rabbits could act like this, given these circumstances.

There are multiple movie and TV adaptations of Watership Down, only one of which I've seen, and that's the 1978 version, famous for its graphic violence. I like the movie well enough, though it does leave out or simplify quite a bit. That's to be expected of a 102 minute long movie.

Fun Fact: In the original version of the story, the one Adams told his daughters in the car, the rabbits were significantly more anthropomorphized than in the book. They could use tools, including bows and arrows.

Fun Fact: Watership Down inspired the creation of Bunnies & Burrows, a role-playing game in which the main characters are talking rabbits, published in 1976 by Fantasy Games Unlimited. Fantasy Games Unlimited published a second edition of the game in 1982, and the game was modified and republished by Steve Jackson Games as an official GURPS (Generic Universal RolePlaying System) supplement in 1992.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/9v4ZiCcyFOc" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/9v4ZiCcyFOc</a>


Offline dbsommer

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #158 on: November 28, 2020, 08:57:09 PM »
I saw the movie on HBO as a small child. Was amazed one day when I went to a book store and saw the paperback of it and insisted my parents buy it for me, and loved the fact there was so much more to it than the movie. For Christmas I wanted a hardcover of it, because it was that good. I read it once a year for five years or so. The only time I've done such a thing.

I am positively delighted someone else thought highly of it. I legit thought I would be the only one who would not just put it on a list, but might have been the only one who read it. It's not a conventional story that's easily categorized and it is often overlooked by many since it's about rabbits.

Stephen King is a fan as well. He has Stu Redman from 'The Stand' talk about reading the book in the library and being amazed by it. Also King's summation of the book via Redman is probably the most accurate way of doing it.

I'm sure there are other books in this vein, but that Adams made the animals just animals, yet at the same time made them relatable to humans while keeping them animals was quite the balancing act. They are not Disney characters, they are rabbits.

I thought the sequel book (which is just a collection of short stories) was garbage. It had none of the feel of the original. I was horribly disappointed.

BTW, in the above scene Hazel is John Hurt, which means that is another on screen death for Mr. Hurt who has more of those than even Sean Bean.

Art Garfunkel's 'Bright Eyes' was written for the movie and fits well with it.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2020, 09:06:44 PM by dbsommer »


Offline CJones

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #159 on: November 28, 2020, 10:20:37 PM »
I thought the sequel book (which is just a collection of short stories) was garbage. It had none of the feel of the original. I was horribly disappointed.

That's a shame. I never attempted to read it because I was afraid that would be the case.


Offline linszoid

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #160 on: Today at 11:38:22 AM »
Watership Down is something I've been meaning to read since forever.