Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Additional ( Supplemental ) Commentaries

This is a collection of Reviews & Digressions relating to various books that i'm enthusiastic about.
They are Intended to be Referenced/Linked from the SideBar of The Front Blog Page for The Translucent Amoebae Consortium... Below: The Ads, Person Info & Fun Places to Visit...!

Ubik : Philip K. Dick
This is the only Dick Novel that i don't completely hate! Valis was the first Dick Novel that i really hated... and it was just a long harangue of sophomoric questions & meandering passages that were presumably inserted to bolster some presumed literary requirement for Character Development. It was awful. Dick is one of the best short story writers, living or dead, and these are the works that you should seek and gobble up like pumpkin pie & real whipped cream off a well exercised, shaved belly. There are few long stories ( novels, et. al., ) that are worth reading, the functionality of a story is the revelation of an idea, and that idea, if it's worthwhile, and is being presented by a competent storyteller, need not grope along a dining room's hard wood floor in the dark all afternoon. It should be succently told, so that you can get back to watching television. Dick knows this, and why he ever wrote so many novels, is indeed a mystery that future anthropologists will debate for centuries to come.
The reason that i didn't completely hate Ubik was that it closely mirrored my own understanding of how a fractional reality may be designed to use the least amount of computational resources & available memory. Its as if this idea has been around forever, at least since Plato's Cave allegory-- But now its being fleshed out and in a few months, or years, we will finally be watching our own creations muddle through their own fully defined worlds, that we created for them...! Will they be genuinely Conscious? We can only hope so, since it would silly to torment them if they were incapable of actually suffering.

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The Tao is Silent : Raymond Smullyan
While most of Smullyan's books are concerned with the details & fine subtle reasoning of Propositional Logic, The Tao is Silent is a detailed overview of the fine subtle insights of what may be called; Pure Taoism. Since Taoism was invented several hundred years ago, many religious adherents have attempted to put some meat on it's bones, since Taoism is the most Anorexic of all the World Religions. Like Buddhism, it's not even a True Religion! It doesn't have a God, It never reveals anything about an Afterlife, and with the possible exception of the mythical 'Peach of Immortality' It is completely devoid of Miracles, Saints or Holy Meteorites. Over the years, The priesthood of Taoism has added Religious Conventions to it's doctrine, and written voluminous commentaries on the life's of various adherents that have followed Lao Tzu along the river of life. But this book doesn't concern itself with any of that. Western Taoists, Those escaping the dogma & virginity of Catholicism, are much more enamored with the deep & benign simplicity of Taoism-- And this is what The Tao is Silent tries to explain to The Western Reader that is ready to consider that Gawd my be a Tool Box, rather than a Giant that steps on people.
This Book Needs No Title is one of Smullyan's first Puzzle Books and is filled with more Clever Puzzles, Paradoxes & Amusing Anecdotes. This is the mainstay of Smullyan's body of work.
To Mock A MockingBird is one of his later 'hard' books. He will start you off easily enough, ( usually ) just to get your feet damp, and familiarize you with what's expected of you, then begin to apply the layers upon layers of propositional symbolic logic that are algebraic equivalent of how intelligent beings & autistic monosavants are supposed to think intuitively...???
Sadly, i can't seem to recall the name of, or find any references to One of my Favorite Smullyan books that dealt with the Misadventures of Truthful Knights and Insane Lying Vampires...! Amazingly; Some of his books are out of print, and you may have to hunt and peck through used book stores to find this Treasure that is hidden away somewhere, just as Smullyan may have wanted...???

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Uncanny Tales : Robert Sheckley
Before i found Philip K. Dick, i'd read everything that i could find written by Sheckley, what is odd, i think, is that when you visit amazon.com and check the section for "Customers that bought this book, also bought..." you will never see a book by Dick...! These two writers seem to me, very similar in topicology and general rabid quirkiness...!

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The Way Life Works : Reference
If you've ever wondered how life works, this may be an excellent introductory book for you, or an intermediate book, or an advanced book... especially if you've already read a bunch of college text books and have absorbed all the vocabulary, but still can't make the intuitive leap of understanding how it all fits together. This book may appear to written for 3rd Graders, since it has a large page format, with each page covered with lush detailed, comically animated illustrations... But beneath that, is a carefully presented and thoroughly exhaustive exposition of how DNA makes us jump & holler. It may be missing some of the finest details that would allow you to build your own Frankenstein monster, but it will sufficiently shock you with fascinating factoids to make you a born again Creationist...! There's just no way that Cellular Mechanics could have evolved accidentally...!

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The Life of Insects : Victor Pelevin
The writing style of The Life of Insects is apparently quite common in Russia, but completely unheard of here in the West... The nut of it is; That while we are following a group of insects around town, the author's spatial orientation & particularly our dimensional perspective is constantly sliding back & forth, seamlessly, from an anthropomorphic to insectivoric point of view & back... like the slide on a Trombone with ADD.

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Juggling for The Complete Klutz :
John Cassidy, B.C. Kimbeaux & Diane Walker
Everyone need to learn how to juggle. Perfect for people with Low Self Esteem.

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Believe & Make Believe : Mitchell
This is an absolutely Wonderful book that i read over & over again during my tragic and neglected childhood.

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Unit Origami : Tomoko Fuse
Origami for Aspergerian's.

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Archigram : The Archigram Group
Architecture for the distant future. Back when it was written, that future was supposed to be now...!
What happened to The Future...???

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The Unhinged World of Glen Baxter :
Glen Baxter
Weirdness for people saturated into a vanilla stupor with the weird.

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The Fun House : Lynda Barry
Her drawing may seem primitive or 'naive' but i would beg to differ...!!!
Lynda is fine, fine artist, and her characters, are all my multiple personalities given individual bodies.

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Passport to The Cosmos : John Mack
i discovered a few weeks after i left Bremertowne in August 2004 that on the day that i left, or the day before i left, or around that time, Professor John Mack was killed by a drunken driver in England...! What a blow...! Professor Mack was the shining light of Academia that was trying to find the illusive truth behind The Flying Saucer Phenomena...!

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Secret Life : David M. Jacobs
Professor Jacobs is the Other Academic WizzKid of Flying Saucer Research, But curiously, Prof. Jacobs seems to think The Greys are Bad, while Mack thought that they were Good...!!!
Perhaps this is more enlightening that it would initially seem... The real truth, is that there is no real discernible truth...!!!
But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't keep looking... maybe we'll get lucky...???

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Visitors from Time : Marc Davenport
One of the most appealing things about this book is that it's so damn easy to read...! i love an easy to read book, and this one is easy, and yet it contains lots of clever ideas and explanations to many previously inexplicable Flying Saucer Phenomena, once you start to allow that maybe they're Amoralistic Time Travelers, and not Disfunctional Space Brothers.

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Archie McPhee Catalogue :
This is a Catalogue that is more collectible than all your National Geographic's and Hustler's combined.

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Fantagraphics : PublishingHouse
Buy some Blabs!

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In The Beginning : Walt Brown
This is an absolutely Wonderful Creationist book, even when it's completely Whack-O, it's lots of fun.
My Favorite section concerns the Frozen Mammoths & Rhinoceros, along with many other animals that were instantly ( ? ) Frozen above what we now think of as the Arctic Circle... Apparently just before they were refrigerated, this area was a semi-tropical grassland...??? You may have heard about one or two Mammoths having been frozen-- There are dozens of dozens of them...!!! This was not one exceptional case, it was something that happened to the whole world, as if it were suddenly tipped on it's side... Just like Velikovsky said it did... Here's the proof...!!!
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