Author Topic: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!  (Read 4987 times)

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Offline George-2.0

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #90 on: October 28, 2020, 09:23:17 PM »
Ha, and just when I mention the possibility of partnering up with Cole on a pick, here it is.

I've enjoyed what Wyndham I've read, The Midwich Cuckoos and The Chrysalids (which I have a feeling Stan Lee read, as it might have inspired, in some way, his X-Men). Triffids is my favorite, I want to check out The Kraken Wakes, just because it would be fun to say things like, "When are they going to RELEASE THE KRAKEN!?" -or- "Have they RELEASED THE KRAKEN yet?" -or- "hurry and RELEASE THE KRAKEN already!" while I read.

I love John Wyndham -- super fun sci-fi reads. Triffids and Midwich are the best, also good are Kraken, The Chrysalids and The Trouble with Lichen, and I have a soft spot for Chocky, which is super short and worth a read.

I based my hopes on the fact that you had Finney on your list, and I thought, maybe you'd like Wyndham too.

My library doesn't carry Chocky or Kraken, but I'll keep my eyes peeled for other reading options. (maybe used copies, maybe a PDF file)

BTW - Warren Ellis wrote a webcomic (and it looks like the website is gone) titled FreakAngels that was based on the Midwich Cuckoos, a kind of what if? What if the Midwich Cuckoos had survived. It was pretty amazing.


Offline ColeStratton

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #91 on: October 29, 2020, 11:58:38 AM »
Ha, and just when I mention the possibility of partnering up with Cole on a pick, here it is.

I've enjoyed what Wyndham I've read, The Midwich Cuckoos and The Chrysalids (which I have a feeling Stan Lee read, as it might have inspired, in some way, his X-Men). Triffids is my favorite, I want to check out The Kraken Wakes, just because it would be fun to say things like, "When are they going to RELEASE THE KRAKEN!?" -or- "Have they RELEASED THE KRAKEN yet?" -or- "hurry and RELEASE THE KRAKEN already!" while I read.

I love John Wyndham -- super fun sci-fi reads. Triffids and Midwich are the best, also good are Kraken, The Chrysalids and The Trouble with Lichen, and I have a soft spot for Chocky, which is super short and worth a read.

I based my hopes on the fact that you had Finney on your list, and I thought, maybe you'd like Wyndham too.

My library doesn't carry Chocky or Kraken, but I'll keep my eyes peeled for other reading options. (maybe used copies, maybe a PDF file)

BTW - Warren Ellis wrote a webcomic (and it looks like the website is gone) titled FreakAngels that was based on the Midwich Cuckoos, a kind of what if? What if the Midwich Cuckoos had survived. It was pretty amazing.

I've seen Chocky a few times at used book stores, usually sub $10. It's only 150 pages.
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Offline George-2.0

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #92 on: October 29, 2020, 05:07:29 PM »
Ha, and just when I mention the possibility of partnering up with Cole on a pick, here it is.

I've enjoyed what Wyndham I've read, The Midwich Cuckoos and The Chrysalids (which I have a feeling Stan Lee read, as it might have inspired, in some way, his X-Men). Triffids is my favorite, I want to check out The Kraken Wakes, just because it would be fun to say things like, "When are they going to RELEASE THE KRAKEN!?" -or- "Have they RELEASED THE KRAKEN yet?" -or- "hurry and RELEASE THE KRAKEN already!" while I read.

I love John Wyndham -- super fun sci-fi reads. Triffids and Midwich are the best, also good are Kraken, The Chrysalids and The Trouble with Lichen, and I have a soft spot for Chocky, which is super short and worth a read.

I based my hopes on the fact that you had Finney on your list, and I thought, maybe you'd like Wyndham too.

My library doesn't carry Chocky or Kraken, but I'll keep my eyes peeled for other reading options. (maybe used copies, maybe a PDF file)

BTW - Warren Ellis wrote a webcomic (and it looks like the website is gone) titled FreakAngels that was based on the Midwich Cuckoos, a kind of what if? What if the Midwich Cuckoos had survived. It was pretty amazing.

I've seen Chocky a few times at used book stores, usually sub $10. It's only 150 pages.

Found it for $6.80 total at Thriftbooks.

I'm doing a couple from Raymond Chandler that I checked out from the library (I've never read him before), but they're quick reads, so I'll be digging into to Chocky soon. Thanks for the recommendation.


Offline CJones

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #93 on: October 29, 2020, 06:55:49 PM »
#26a Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton

2 Lists, 28 Points
Top Vote #9 goflyblind

“You know, at times like this one feels, well, perhaps extinct animals should be left extinct.”

“But now science is the belief system that is hundreds of years old. And, like the medieval system before it, science is starting not to fit the world any more. Science has attained so much power that its practical limits begin to be apparent. Largely through science, billions of us live in one small world, densely packed and intercommunicating. But science cannot help us decide what to do with that world, or how to live. Science can make a nuclear reactor, but it cannot tell us not to build it. Science can make pesticide, but cannot tell us not to use it. And our world starts to seem polluted in fundamental ways---air, and water, and land---because of ungovernable science.”

“Malcolm: A karate master does not kill people with his bare hands. He does not lose his temper and kill his wife. The person who kills is the person who has no discipline, no restraint, and who has purchased his power in the form of a Saturday night special. And that is why you think that to build a place like this is simple.
Hammond: It was simple.
Malcolm: Then why did it go wrong?”

“Life will find a way.”

An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now humankind's most thrilling fantasies have come true. Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them - for a price.

Until something goes wrong....

In Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton taps all his mesmerizing talent and scientific brilliance to create his most electrifying technothriller.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Similar to how his other novels represent science and technology as both hazardous and life-changing, the novel highlights the hypocrisy and superiority complex of the scientific community that inspired John Hammond to re-create dinosaurs and treat them as commodities, which only leads to catastrophe. The similar fears of atomic power from the Cold War are adapted by Michael Crichton onto the anxieties evoked by genetic manipulation. Jurassic Park can be considered a modern retelling of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, where humanity creates without really knowing what it is creating. Henry Wu is unable to name the things that he creates, which alludes to Victor Frankenstein not knowing what to call his flawed imitation of God's creative powers.

Hard to talk about the book and not also talk about the movie. Four studios bid on the movie rights before the book was even published. Spielburg bought the rights for $1.5 million, plus Crichton received another $500K to co-write the screenplay. It's an interesting comparison between the book and the movie. Hammond and Malcolm are both a lot less likable in the book. They both die. Gennaro OTOH is a lot more likable, and he survives. Tim and Lex in the movie are basically Tim from the book split into two people. Lex from the book is an obnoxious sports freak who contributes nothing and is effectively cut from the movie. The aviary sequence was cut, and later made it into JP3, and the original opening was repurposed for the opening of The Lost World.

Speaking of The Lost World, Crichton had to retcon Malcolm back alive for the sequel. He had never written a sequel before, and didn't write the original book with one in mind. But he was pressured to do so, keeping in mind that there would almost certainly be a sequel to the movie, and he wanted to be a part of that. Unfortunately, Jurassic Park kinda centered around Ian Malcolm; or at least Michael Crichton thought so. He considered him the "narrator" of the story.

Fun Fact: This isn't the first story to have a theme park based on dinosaurs cloned from fossil DNA. That honor goes to Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth, from 1973 (unless anyone knows of one even earlier than that)


Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #94 on: October 29, 2020, 07:17:55 PM »
Jurassic Park is one of the rare times I've liked the movie more than the book, the book gets way too long winded at times.  I did like the 2nd book better than the movie.

Also the rants against science are badly formed, and kind of wrong, but I guess science is a shorter word than engineering...  Science is not a belief system, it is just a method for trying to figure out how things work, engineering is how things get built.  Genetics is science, figuring out what genes do, genetic engineering is tinkering with genes to make something new.


Offline dbsommer

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #95 on: October 29, 2020, 07:21:35 PM »
Yeah, I'm one of those that saw the movie, read the book, then went 'Damn, I liked the movie way more.'. Sort of like Jaws, also by Spielberg, curiously. Mind you, there was a lot of good in the book that wasn't in the movie, but overall it's not even remotely my favorite Crichton book. (Andromeda Strain was)

Actually, I enjoy Crichton's screenplays more than his novels. Westworld, Coma, and the overlooked 'Looker' were by him and are highly ranked films for me. The man was multi-talented. But alas, did not make my list of novels.



Offline goflyblind

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #96 on: October 29, 2020, 07:24:09 PM »
i like a lot of his ideas, but crichton is a bit of a jerk.
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Offline dbsommer

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #97 on: October 29, 2020, 07:27:35 PM »
Jurassic Park is one of the rare times I've liked the movie more than the book, the book gets way too long winded at times.  I did like the 2nd book better than the movie.

Also the rants against science are badly formed, and kind of wrong, but I guess science is a shorter word than engineering...  Science is not a belief system, it is just a method for trying to figure out how things work, engineering is how things get built.  Genetics is science, figuring out what genes do, genetic engineering is tinkering with genes to make something new.

Yeah, aside from the characters being unlikable, the theme was off putting for me. I also disliked the idea that *every* failsafe somehow managed to get circumvented via nature/chaos theory. It felt too contrived.

My favorite part in the book was how they figured out the number of dinosaurs was in excess of the theoretical number with the computer and upping the search parameter. Something like that I can see as a mistake in the programming. But adding failure after failure everywhere else, it was too much.

« Last Edit: October 29, 2020, 07:30:34 PM by dbsommer »


Offline Russoguru

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #98 on: October 30, 2020, 06:47:14 AM »
I love John Wyndham -- super fun sci-fi reads. Triffids and Midwich are the best,
And I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott fight a Triffid that spits poison and kills.


Offline CJones

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #99 on: October 30, 2020, 08:11:15 PM »
#26b 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Vingt Mille Lieues sous les Mers), by Jules Verne

2 Lists, 28 Points
Top Vote #4 Edward J Grug III

“The sea is everything. It covers seven-tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and life-giving. It is an immense desert place where man is never lonely, for he senses the weaving of Creation on every hand. It is the physical embodiment of a supernatural existence... For the sea is itself nothing but love and emotion. It is the Living Infinite, as one of your poets has said. Nature manifests herself in it, with her three kingdoms: mineral, vegetable, and animal. The ocean is the vast reservoir of Nature.”

“I am not what you call a civilized man! I have done with society entirely, for reasons which I alone have the right of appreciating. I do not, therefore, obey its laws, and I desire you never to allude to them before me again!”

“No sir, it is evidently a gigantic narwhal!”

"I hope that his powerful submersible has defeated the sea inside its most dreadful whirlpool, that the Nautilus has survived where so many ships have perished! If this is the case and Captain Nemo still inhabits the ocean—his adopted country—may the hate be appeased in that fierce heart! May the contemplation of so many wonders extinguish the spirit of vengeance in him! May the executioner pass away, and the scientist continue his peaceful exploration of the seas! If his destiny is strange, it's also sublime. Haven't I encompassed it myself? Didn't I lead ten months of this otherworldly existence? Thus to that question asked 6,000 years ago in the Book of Ecclesiastes—"Who can fathom the soundless depths?"—two men out of all humanity have now earned the right to reply. Captain Nemo and I."

When an unidentified “monster” threatens international shipping, French oceanographer Pierre Aronnax and his unflappable assistant Conseil join an expedition organized by the US Navy to hunt down and destroy the menace. After months of fruitless searching, they finally grapple with their quarry, but Aronnax, Conseil, and the brash Canadian harpooner Ned Land are thrown overboard in the attack, only to find that the “monster” is actually a futuristic submarine, the Nautilus, commanded by a shadowy, mystical, preternaturally imposing man who calls himself Captain Nemo. Thus begins a journey of 20,000 leagues—nearly 50,000 miles—that will take Captain Nemo, his crew, and these three adventurers on a journey of discovery through undersea forests, coral graveyards, miles-deep trenches, and even the sunken ruins of Atlantis.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

First let's get this out of the way: 20,000 leagues refers to distance traveled, not any depth attained as is often assumed. The book uses metric leagues, which are 4 km, so 20,000 leagues = 80,000 km, almost exactly double the circumference of the Earth.

The novel was first translated into English in 1873 by Reverend Lewis Page Mercier. Mercier cut nearly a quarter of Verne's French text and committed hundreds of translating errors, sometimes drastically distorting Verne's original (including uniformly mistranslating the French scaphandre — properly "diving suit" — as "cork-jacket", following a long-obsolete usage as "a type of lifejacket"). Some of these distortions may have been perpetrated for political reasons, such as Mercier's omitting the portraits of freedom fighters on the wall of Nemo's stateroom, a collection originally including Daniel O'Connell among other international figures. Nevertheless Mercier's text became the standard English translation, and some later "re-translations" continued to recycle its mistakes (including its mistranslation of the novel's title, which, in French, actually means Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas).

In a notorious 1961 article, Theodore L. Thomas denounced the novel, alleging that "there is not a single bit of valid speculation" in the book and that "none of its predictions has come true". He described its depictions of Nemo's diving gear, underwater activities, and the Nautilus as "pretty bad, behind the times even for 1869 ... In none of these technical situations did Verne take advantage of knowledge readily available to him at the time." Even so, Thomas admitted that despite poor science, plot, and characterization, "Put them all together with the magic of Verne's story-telling ability, and something flames up. A story emerges that sweeps incredulity before it".

Mercier's errors were corrected in a fresh re-examination of the sources along with a new translation, by Walter James Miller in collaboration with fellow Vernian Frederick Paul Walter. The volume was published in 1993 by Naval Institute Press and subtitled "The Completely Restored and Annotated Edition". Its text tapped into Walter's own unpublished translating work, which Project Gutenberg later made available online.

Today, Thomas's observations are held in low regard, having been comprehensively debunked in the 1993 Naval Institute Press edition. Thomas had made the fundamental blunder of accepting the original translation's errors and deletions without referencing Verne's French. As the Naval Institute translation documents, every detail denounced by Thomas was actually perpetrated by Verne's first English translator, Lewis Page Mercier.

I'm embarrassed to say that I've owned a copy of this book since childhood, and I still have it in my bookcase, but I've never actually read it. I tried to read it, long, long ago, decided it was boring after the first chapter, and never tried again  :-[ The only Jules Verne book I have read is Journey to the Center of the Earth, which is pretty good. Spoiler, they don't actually get anywhere near the center of the Earth. IIRC they only get ~15-20 km down (18 I think).

Fun Fact: Jules Verne wrote a sort of sequel to 20,000 Leagues, called The Mysterious Island. It's actually a crossover sequel to both 20,000 Leagues and another Jules Verne book, In Search of the Castaways. In it, which takes place during the American Civil War, five Northern prisoners of war escape during the siege of Richmond, Virginia, by hijacking a hydrogen-filled observation balloon. After getting swept up in a storm they crash on an island approximately 1600 miles east of New Zealand. The island turns out to be the home port of the Nautilus, which had escaped the Maelstrom and continued to sail the seas until Nemo was the only one left alive. He'd been living on the island ever since.

On his death bed, Captain Nemo reveals his true identity as the lost Indian Prince Dakkar, son of a raja of the then-independent territory of Bundelkund and a nephew of the Indian hero Tippu-Sahib. After taking part in the failed Indian Rebellion of 1857, Prince Dakkar escaped to a desert island with twenty of his compatriots and commenced the building of the Nautilus and adopted the new name of "Captain Nemo". Before he dies, Nemo gives them a box of diamonds and pearls as a keepsake. Nemo's final words are "God and my country!" ("Independence!", in Verne's original manuscript). The Nautilus is scuttled and serves as Captain Nemo's tomb   


Offline CJones

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #100 on: November 02, 2020, 06:12:59 PM »
#24a Harry Potter series, by JK Rowling

3 Lists, 29 Points
Top Votes #14 Linszoid, CJones

“One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”

“Ginny!" said Mr. Weasley, flabbergasted. "Haven't I taught you anything? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain?”

“I want to commit the murder I was imprisoned for.”

“It is a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.”  <-- I can personally attest to this

“I DON'T CARE!" Harry yelled at them, snatching up a lunascope and throwing it into the fireplace. "I'VE HAD ENOUGH, I'VE SEEN ENOUGH, I WANT OUT, I WANT IT TO END, I DON'T CARE ANYMORE!"
"You do care," said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. "You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.”

“Do you remember me telling you we are practicing non-verbal spells, Potter?"
"Yes," said Harry stiffly.
"Yes, sir."
"There's no need to call me "sir" Professor."
The words had escaped him before he knew what he was saying.”

“Albus Severus," Harry said quietly, so that nobody but Ginny could hear, and she was tactful enough to pretend to be waving to Rose, who was now on the train, "you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew.”

Harry Potter's life is miserable. His parents are dead and he's stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he's a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Since the release of the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, on 26 June 1997, the books have found immense popularity, positive reviews and commercial success worldwide. They have attracted a wide adult audience as well as younger readers and are often considered cornerstones of modern young adult literature. As of February 2018, the books have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, making them the best-selling book series in history, and have been translated into eighty languages. The last four books consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history, with the final installment selling roughly eleven million copies in the United States within twenty-four hours of its release.

According to Rowling, a major theme in the series is death: "My books are largely about death. They open with the death of Harry's parents. There is Voldemort's obsession with conquering death and his quest for immortality at any price, the goal of anyone with magic. I so understand why Voldemort wants to conquer death. We're all frightened of it." Rowling stated that "Harry Potter books have always, in fact, dealt explicitly with religious themes and questions" and that she did not reveal its Christian parallels in the beginning because doing so would have "give[n] too much away to fans who might then see the parallels". In the final book of the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Rowling makes the book's Christian imagery more explicit, quoting both Matthew 6:21 and 1 Corinthians 15:26 (King James Version) when Harry visits his parents' graves.

I've read every book except the last one. Not sure why I never finished the series. I guess I just got burned out on it. Plus I didn't really much care for Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince.

Fun Fact:  The first book has been translated into Latin and even Ancient Greek, making it the longest published work in Ancient Greek since the novels of Heliodorus of Emesa in the 3rd century AD. The second volume has also been translated into Latin. Some people have way too much time on their hands. 


Offline linszoid

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #101 on: November 02, 2020, 07:13:49 PM »
I really thought Harry Potter would be higher. They are quite enjoyable reads.

Someday I'll get around to watching the movies.


Offline dbsommer

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #102 on: November 02, 2020, 07:46:58 PM »
Only read one of the novels and I found it very... basic. TBH I'm surprised it caught on the way it did. There was nothing about it that felt groundbreaking in any way, but that's just me.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #103 on: November 02, 2020, 08:15:30 PM »
Maybe not groundbreaking, but entertaining.

I had no interest in Potter, but I was seeing someone who was into them, so I bought her one of the new books when it came out and wound up reading and enjoying them. The Pastor at my Church read them too (there were protests against them among some religious folk, which is how the conversation came up), Saying that I didn't vote for them, they weren't really in the top 25 conversation for me.

Oh, and part of the laughs I got from the Rifftrax riffing on the movies was them pointing out things that bugged me about them as well. (I liked them, but still, there were bits that didn't completely work).
« Last Edit: November 02, 2020, 09:12:56 PM by George-2.0 »


Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #104 on: November 02, 2020, 11:47:26 PM »
They were near the bottom of my list, I bought the box set when it was on sale on Amazon many years ago and read the first 3 and enjoyed them, but then kind of forgot about them...