Captain_Bravo

What's the last non-Trek book you've read?

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Sim   

And again a classic and a modern novella from the series:

"Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators in The Mystery of the Moaning Cave" by William Arden. Another pretty cool classic. :)

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And modern novella #181: "Die drei ??? -- Das Kabinett des Zauberers" (="The Magician's Cabinet") by André Marx from 2015.

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Many modern novellas stray further away from the original formula of the classics, but not so this one. The story about a magician is very much in line with the kinds of ideas the classic novellas featured. And again, Marx showed his pretty good writing skills, IMO.

 

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Sim   

"Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators in the Mystery of the Blazing Cliffs" by M. V. Carey -- another classic:

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Yay! UFOs! :laugh:

As usual in this series, the UFOs turn out to be fake in the end, a scam to rob a millionaire -- but it's pretty cool aliens play a role at all! I already loved this story as a kid, because of that.

Again, M. V. Carey shows that among the classic authors, she has a knack for weird Californian characters. This time, the "robber Barron" millionaire scared of government, anarchists and collapse of the financial system, with his wife in the UFO cult. Great stuff! :thumbup:

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kenman   

Probably my last for a while, I finished up the second and final Volume of Fourth Doctor DWM strips. A few characters or minor plot points where hinted at in this Volume which came into play during the Fifth and Sixth Doctor's runs on the strip. There were enjoyable stories in here, but on the whole I think they were just finding their feet with the strip right before the Fifth Doctor took over. 

I think I need a break from the Magazine strips though. I was kinda slogging my way through these Fourth Doctor strips. I just wanted to wrap up his era. Someday maybe I will give the Seventh Doctor strips a go, but he was im the strip for a while (1987 right up to 1996), and I understand it is kind of a messy run, from its eary days while he was still on TV, to its messy continuity with the Virgin books, and eventually its anandoning that continuity in favor of starting fresh...so I am a little reluctant to dive into that right now. 

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kenman   

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.  Actually reading this books has been on my list for so damn long, finally getting to it feels very rewarding, and the fact that it is so well written and entertaining makes it all the better.  I was reading the Hobbit when they first started advertising the film versions of these books, and part of me was really into the idea of trying to read them before they came out...but it just didn't happen for whatever reason (it was, for me, middle school, and I both lacked the attention span and/or had other interests like music and girls I had no chance with).  But having loved the film versions and waiting so long, I am glad to have finally gotten to it...and it was so engaging I've barely done much else but breeze through the first book in a week or two.  I haven't watched much TV or movies, or even been on this board as much, because I've been too engaged in the book in my free time.  Cracking into The Two Towers tomorrow!

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Fellowship is an enjoyable one. Any favourite parts? I particularly like the stuff at the beginning with the party, and then the scenes in Bree. There's also the Council of Elrond, and the Moria segment...

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kenman   
On 5/9/2017 at 6:50 PM, Explorer3 said:

Fellowship is an enjoyable one. Any favourite parts? I particularly like the stuff at the beginning with the party, and then the scenes in Bree. There's also the Council of Elrond, and the Moria segment...

I enjoyed the whole book, Bree is good stuff, and the Party is good solid character building. Moria is probably my favorite section of the book though. 

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kenman   

Finished up "The Two Towers" a couple of days ago.  The second entry is very different in style, in that instead of following Frodo's perspective throughout, the first half follows everyone but Frodo and their adventures following the breaking of the Fellowship at the end of the previous book, and how they all continue on from there; with the second half picking up on Frodo and Sam's journeys and their dealings with Gollum/Smeagol.  Really good stuff, and I am already a few chapters into the final book.

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kenman   

Took me long enough (busy month!) but I finally finished up the third and finale book of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy; "The Return of the King." Great conclusion to the epic, and very satisfying when I got to the end. I haven't read the Appendices yet, but will probably hold off and skim through them on a later date. 

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the last non trek book I read was cane and abe by james grippando.about a lawyer being a suspect as a series killer and the killer of his wife.

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kenman   

Took a trip back into the world of the Doctor Who Magazine Comic strips, reading the first two volumes of the collected Seventh Doctor stories.  The first Volume,"A Cold Day in Hell" is, like all of Panini's Who collections, wonderfully put together and restored, but early on some of the stories in that volume didn't totally work for me.  The first story tries to wrap up the Sixth Doctor comic era by having a finale adventure for the Talking Penguin (a shape shifter who prefers to be a penguin) companion "Frobisher," but just continuity wise it just feels out of place with the Seventh Doctor...too many references to "since Peri left" which just doesn't fit my head canon as Peri left a long while before the Doctor became the Seventh.  They should've just started fresh...time has passed, there is a new Doctor, and if you are going to say goodbye to Frobisher anyhow?  Why shoehorn him into the start of a new Doctor's run.  But as the old guard from the Fifth/Sixth Doctor's run on the strip moved on and new blood took over, things got slightly better and felt fresh again, including a running gag in which the Doctor is always landing and immediately realizing he has not yet found his friend's birthday party, which he can't find. 

The second Volume "Nemesis of the Daleks" featured a renegade badass called "Abslom Daak" in the opening story (who appeared in a couple of one-off stories that didn't feature the Doctor in the 70s, that also appear in this reprint), who is a Dalek killer with a chainsaw sword. And the stories are mostly pretty good in this set, though a good chunk of them didn't actually originate in Doctor Who Magazine, but were featured in a short lived Marvel UK publication called "The Incredible Hulk Presents," and as such they are a bit shorter than the usual DWM story.  I enjoyed most of this book though...good old fashioned Doctor Who.  And while, so far, the Seventh Doctor's run isn't as strong and consistent as the Fifth and Sixth, or even the early days of the Fourth, it is still solid enough to be considered canon for me. 

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Bought Jeffrey Kluger's new book on Apollo 8, but I'm saving it for Comic Con, because often times I wind up needing entertainment in the hotel after I come back to crash and rest my arthritic bones...:laugh:

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kenman   

Read the Third Volume of the collected Seventh Doctor comic strips from Doctor Who Magazine, titled "The Good Soldier."  This was the strongest collection so far, actually felt like a collection of stories that worked together, as opposed to just a variety of random stories (the first set seemingly taking a bit of time before finding a groove with the Seventh Doctor, the second being one great opening story, followed by a bunch of one-offs that appeared in a different short lived Marvel publication).  In this set, we start off from the moment Ace joined the strip, and the opening and closing stories of the volume are written by the head writer/script editor of the McCoy era, Andrew Cartmel, with a great big story in the middle called "The Mark of Mandragora" which has two lead-in one-offs as well.  All around a good set, stronger stories, a more cohesive tone, and Ace!  At least of r this set, it felt the most like the Seventh Doctor's run on TV, which makes sense as the stories in this began about the same time that a new season of Doctor Who might have started, but (of course) did not.  A good collection!

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Sim   

I've been reading a lot about Buddhism in the past days. It's one of the major world religions I've so far not known much about.

I've been reading in two introduction works, "Buddhismus" by Hans Wolfgang Schumann which is more popular, and "Einführung in den Buddhismus" (="Introduction to Buddhism") by Michael von Brück, which is more of an academic work. To find a Baha'i approach, I consulted "Buddhism and the Baha'i Faith" by Moojan Momen.

And I read some translations of Buddhist scriptures, mainly from the Pali Canon, from the Pitaka of teachings, mostly German translations by Karl Eugen Neumann. And "Udanavarga", a Tibetan text that isn't part of the Pali Canon, but shows some similarities to the "Dhammapada", translated by Michael Hahn.

 

So far, it has been most enlightening. I imagine that Buddhism is more easily accessible for Western atheists than, say, the monotheist religions, because you can as well see Buddhism as just a philosophy -- if you leave aside all the metaphysical embellishments around the core teachings. The practize of meditation has even been scientifically proven to work, so supporters of Buddhism never get tired of emphasizing how Buddhist teachings are absolutely compatible with modern science.

As I've mostly focused on the core teachings of the perhaps oldest Buddhist school, Theravada, which -- perhaps -- contains the most original teachings and least later additions and influences from other sources (compared to Eastern Vajnarana, Tantrism and Mahayana), I'm indeed surprised how thoroughly rational, intellectually challenging and coherent the teachings are (as far as I've been able to comprehend them so far), so much it makes sense to look at it as a scientific attempt to categorize and lay out a theory about the inner workings of human perception.

 

For me personally, it's also an intellectual challenge to bring Buddhist teachings in coherence with Baha'i teachings, to increase spiritual growth (hopefully :giggle: ): Although the Baha'i religion stands in the tradition of Abrahamitic monotheism (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and uses many similar terms and concepts, the Baha'i teachings explicitly acknowledge Buddha as a "Manifestation of God" alongside Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and Baha'u'llah; in fact, you cannot embrace the Baha'i Faith, without at the same time accepting the authority of the other Manifestations, including Buddha.

But how do you reconcile a faith/philosophy, that explicitly denies the existence of a soul, refuses to make statements about God and has a particular idea about reincarnation (though not of the self or soul, but of certain attributes) with monotheist conceptions? However, if you believe in Baha'u'llah's teachings and Baha'i theology, you have to.

I've got quite a few ideas about that, and insights which have been most enlightening to me, but I assume nobody here is particularly interested in them, so I won't bother writing them all down. :laugh: (If you're curious, just ask!)

Just so much: A major teaching in the Baha'i Faith is about the importance of detachment from material, worldly matters on the path of salvation; Buddhism obviously is much more detailed on the "how" of achieving that, which is of huge benefit for my Baha'i interests. Also, the practize of meditation (I've started meditating a week ago, mostly mindfulness exercizes inspired by Buddhism), which is explicitly demanded in the Baha'i Faith, has yielded interesting effects on me already.

 

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Bill Nye's "Everything All At Once."   

Bought it last week; started leafing through it.  Not going to get too into it right now, because there are a few other books I plan on buying (and immediately reading) at Comic Con next week.  But so far, it's typically Bill Nye; autobiographical, with some nicely pre-chewed science and frank philosophizing, delivered in an acerbic-yet-optimistic way.  

Sometime after Comic Con (and after I have time to finish Jeff Kluger's "Apollo 8") I want to go back and finish this one.

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6 hours ago, Autocad said:

I read "Destined To Witness".$_32.JPG?set_id=89040003C1And was that an interesting book!

^
This sounds fascinating. 

I’m going to look this one up.  

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Sim   
12 hours ago, Autocad said:

I read "Destined To Witness".$_32.JPG?set_id=89040003C1And was that an interesting book!

Interesting!

I think I saw the author in a talkshow a long while ago... if I'm not confusing it.

What were the most interesting things you found in it?

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Autocad   

Well, he was the son of a Liberian diplomat and a German lady.

Some of his teachers were very prejudiced and some were very accepting. And his friends accepted him. It's a tad slow here n there, but really ..as Spock would say "Fascinating!". He had a great recall of what went on.  . After the war, he went to Liberia and met his father. The interesting insights, going from an industrialized nation, to a third world country. Then to the USA. He passed away about 10 years ago in Florida.

 

I have passed the book around to friends and they all liked it.

 

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Sim   
3 minutes ago, Autocad said:

Well, he was the son of a Liberian diplomat and a German lady.

Some of his teachers were very prejudiced and some were very accepting. And his friends accepted him. It's a tad slow here n there, but really ..as Spock would say "Fascinating!". He had a great recall of what went on.  . After the war, he went to Liberia and met his father. The interesting insights, going from an industrialized nation, to a third world country. Then to the USA. He passed away about 10 years ago in Florida.

 

I have passed the book around to friends and they all liked it.

 

If he's the guy from the talkshow, I remember he spoke perfect German, even the typical peculiar northern dialect, despite having spent most of his life outside of Germany. He certainly was an impressive guy!

Since migration to Germany from outside Europe is a relatively new thing (I think before the 1970s, Germany was ethnically virtually homogenous), it's still a tad unexpected when you hear a black person speaking without the slightest accent, or even in a regional dialect (which are dying out in some regions in favor of standard German anyway, so you usually associate such dialects with old farmers or workers). :laugh:

Today, it's no longer unusual to meet black people here... in my school for example, there were two (German) guys with a black father... but old people? Who even speak and behave like you remember your grandparents? That still breaks expectations a little... :laugh:

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kenman   

Reading some more Doctor Who Comics, first I diverged from the Doctor Who magazine volumes for a bit, and read "The Dalek Chronicles" which is a collection of the entire run of the Dalek comic strip that ran in the 60s. Interesting that unlike the separate Who comics from the same era (featuring the First Doctor and maybe this ran into the Second Doctor), this is a lot less juvenile, has better art, and seemingly has better stories (I've only glanced at the old TV comic Who stuff, but it seems not quite as evolved as later incarnations of the strip). The stories actually flow well into each other as well, which makes it a good read as a graphic novel. Rather fun to see the Daleks attempting conquer the universe from their point of view, even if some origin stuff doesn't quite mesh with the show proper. 

Then after I wrapped that up I moved back to the Seventh Doctor collections, and read "Evening's Empire" the fourth volume of his adventures in the DWM strip. The titular opening story was actually sort of a director cut of the original, as only the first part ran in DWM before production issues ended up canceing the whole story. Then they apparently finished the story as a graphic novel in color, but this new version restores the original black and white art and a few tweaks that they never did, with the original artist contributing brand new artwork. And it was a great story! Shame it never got to run in the strip as originally planned, but nice that the writer and artist finally were able to get it out there and have people see a story that sort of fell apart for them back in the day. The rest of the collection is solid, but the attempt at trying to tie the strip in with the Virgin book series that was running concurrently sometimes hinders the strip. This collection also goes right up to Ace's exit from the strip before the Virgin created companion Bernice Summerfield joined the strip. I think a decent collection of stories that is elevated by the really great opening story that has all new life in finishing a lost comic story. 

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kenman   

Another Doctor Who Magazine comics collection, this time it was "Emperor of the Daleks" a set which essentially wraps up the end of the Seventh Doctor's tenure as the regular Doctor in the strip, before the strip (seeing no return of the show on air in sight) decided to mix it up and move on from the Seventh Doctor and just play around and feature a different past Doctor for each story.  That was probably a good move, because while I didn't mind most of this collection, I must say the constant attempt at keeping continuity with a book series not everyone (including myself) was reading was problematic.  Essentially to understand some of the things that happen to the characters in the strip (Ace suddenly disappears with no explanation and at the start of this book is just replaced with Bernice Summerfield, who was created in the Virgin New Adventures series)...if you were only reading the comics, you were getting half the story it seems, and you were essentially reading a strip that had to play second fiddle to a book series.  I liked some of the stories in this set, and it should be said that while my experience with the character is entirely from some Big Finish adaptations of the NA novels and this strip...I like Benny as a character. But the lack of introduction of her in the strip (and the lack of explanation as to where Ace went) is definitely a problem.  But following on from the final story in this collection, they moved on from the Seventh Doctor and began to move on from having the strip play second fiddle to a book series...and when they finally did return the Seventh Doctor to the strip for one last tale before the the Eighth Doctor would take over, they managed to make sure they cut ties with the books entirely and scrap their continuity for their own.  It is a story I've yet to read, but I look forward to it (just as soon as that and all of the other Doctor one-offs) gets a book release. 

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