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A PhD in Fantasy

Even your mum likes me.


Griffintown - Marie-Hélène Poitras Une écriture souvent prétentieuse trempée dans une mélasse de romantisme bourgeois. Apparemment que c'est ce qu'aiment les gens qui encensent ce livre. J'imagine aussi qu'ils ne sont pas vraiment dérangés par l'inauthenticité du langage des personnages, ou par leur caractérisation paresseuse. Et les bribes semi-autobiographiques sont d'une suffisance qu'il vaut mieux ne pas trop s'y attarder...Il est clair que l'auteure a du talent et un don pour l'imagerie poétique, mais de mon point de vue elle n'a pas démontré son aptitude à raconter une histoire intéressante ou simplement crédible et bien développée. J'aurais préféré qu'elle s'engage à fond dans le "réalisme magique" au lieu d'y mettre seulement un orteil. Parce que son truc est ni réaliste, ni magique.

A Spell for Chameleon (The Magic of Xanth, No. 1)

A Spell for Chameleon - Piers Anthony So, Piers Anthony is a pervert, a sexist pervert. That this particular book was written in 1977 is no excuse. That out of the way, what we have here is a classic light fantasy full of nice ideas and concepts. But the story lacks direction, a bit like a badly planned Dungeon and Dragons session: "an encounter! another encounter! a fight! you fall in a hole! Oh, look, a dragon! a sexy babe! another fight!" What also annoyed me was the constant rationalization. Characters talk all the time about their motives, fill the plot holes by ad hoc explanations, etc. Rule number 1, Piers: Show, Don't Tell. Final argument for why this book sucks: rape apology. Yeah, that's right. There is actually a rape trial in this book. (Spoiler alert: rapist gets scot-free, of course). Let's look at a couple extracts: "Bink felt sorry for his opposite. How could she avoid being seductive? She was a creature constructed for no visible purpose other than ra- than love". " 'Your opposite, the one you almost raped'. The bailiff smiled, making a signal with one hand (...) 'Not that I blame you' ". At that point, there's just nothing left to say. I finished the damn book... and I doubt I'll read anything else by Anthony in the near future.PS: Breasts breasts breasts getting married is what you should do breasts let's get married.

The Belgariad, Volume 2: Castle of Wizardry, Enchanters' End Game

The Belgariad, volume 2: Castle of Wizardry, Enchanters' End Game - David Eddings Thank gawd it's over.Now, I don't regret reading this... but I could've spent my time enjoying better literature, that's for sure. So this is straight YA fantasy, even if it's not marketed as such. Sad thing is, I would've enjoyed this series so much at 12-14 years old. Much older now, I can still like The Belgariad as a light story: tired, drunk, it's still readable (so add a half-star, if it's a main concern for you). As a LoTR clone, it does an OK job, being easy to read (look at all the 'Tom Swifties' though), easy to understand, easy to follow. But... YAWN! So much bickering and snarky comebacks, you'd think the whole thing is a teenage TV show. Oh wait, it this, somewhat. At the end, it's so nice and sweet that you really cannot hate it. Like your slightly racist and sexist grandfather who lived through a different Zeitgeist, Eddings will still warm your heart. But you'll wish for some female characters who are more than passive aggressive bitchy control freaks. The end.

Guerre de mouvement et guerre de position

Guerre de mouvement et guerre de position: Textes choisis et présentés par Razmig Keucheyan - Antonio Gramsci, Razmig Keucheyan Pour une introduction générale à Gramsci, Keucheyan fait un travail de synthèse admirable. Son écriture est claire, passionnée, et elle apporte un éclairage nouveau des Cahiers de prison, notamment l'analyse du fordisme, des rapports de genre ou de la culture populaire, thèmes qui sont rarement mis de l'avant lors des présentations typiques de Gramsci.

Authority Lobo Holiday Hell TP

Lobo/The Authority: Holiday Hell (Authority (Graphic Novels)) - Keith Giffen;Alan Grant;Simon Bisley Just read one story. Fun spoof of The Authority. (Almost better than Authority issues 1-8).

The Construction of Social Reality

The Construction of Social Reality - John Rogers Searle Not as helpful as I'd imagined. Searle gets caught up in all sorts of contrived linguistic mess to justify empty points. And I'm sitting here screaming: "This is trivial!" "Tautology!" "Show me the content"!.


Disgrace - J.M. Coetzee Read in about a day... Good litterature, made a big impression on me, but it's so depressing. Despicable characters. No future, no hope. A pretty convincing warning about what happens when you decide to fuck your students. I'll keep it in mind. Think I'll go back to SF and fantasy sooner than later. The real world is such a downer.

Before They Are Hanged (The First Law: Book Two)

Before They Are Hanged  - Joe Abercrombie Liked this even more and I feel that Abercrombie is improving, although there is a anti-climatic endinq... not quite 5 stars yet. Now what I'd really love to see is a Bethod POV (or one of his sons!)

Storm Front (Dresden Files Series #1)

Storm Front (Dresden Files Series #1) - Some will say: since Storm Front is Butcher's first, the writing is amateurish at best. Others will complain about the latent sexism and all the bad tropes from the "Noir" genre. You might find that part of the story is incoherent or makes no sense at all. Worse, characters' motives are made to suit that same convolted plot. The whole thing reads like a (teenage) male power fantasy. The critics are right. 'Tis all true.So why did I enjoy it? I keep my 13 year old self very close... and it's fun. Roaring fun. Fun like wizards, mafia, faeries, underground clubs, scorpions, hookers and giant swords. Don't take this novel too seriously and you'll enjoy it too.

Turn of the Screw (A Norton Critical Edition)

The Turn of the Screw - Deborah Esch, Jonathan Warren, Henry James One of the those weird books that could be rated 1 or 5 stars. A short novella (85 pages) yet it took me forever to read. How to descibe it? Let's just say that the genre is puritan England meets gothic litterature. Austin meets Lovecraft (not kidding, it's as good and as bad as all that). Can't tell any specifics without ruining the story. I don't really recommand it, except to very patient readers, the ones who like intricate prose and somber moods.

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet Series #1)

A Wrinkle in Time (The Time Quintet #1) - Anna Quindlen, Madeleine L'Engle What can I say: I knew it was a children's book, from a christian perspective on top of it. I don't know why I expected to really like it. Without spoiling anything precisely, let's just say: Jesus + science + individualism against darkness and communism. Which is funny because I never saw anti-conformism, let alone enlightenment and science on the same side as christianity. Strange product of a strange time, perhaps. Oh yeah, and English-speaking good-natured "beastly" aliens too. *Sigh*. It IS a children's book. What did I expect anyway?

When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden

When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism - Bill Maher The less is said about this piece of paranoid, islamophobic crap, the better. To think I sorta liked Bill Maher before - despite the douchiness and all the zionist apologetics. To add insult to injury, this pamphlet isn't even funny. Not once.

Crack'd Pot Trail [signed tc]

Crack'd Pot Trail [signed tc] - Steven Erikson I'm worried to see that so many of Erikson's fans do not see the brillance in this short book. It makes me wonder if those people really understand some parts of the Malazan books, especially the funny/selfconscious banter. This particular novella might be his best yet, although to be honest, I don't think I could handle 1000 pages of this! Works perfectly well in a short format, though. If you like Kruppe, you'll love this. If not, well..As I said before, while I like Esslemont too, his writing often feels like "Erikson for dummies". Crack'd Pot Trail is Erikson for intellectuals in a metatextual way. Screw the critics, screw the fans, they know nothing.

Eclipse Of Reason

Eclipse Of Reason - Max Horkheimer That was amazing. A bit depressing because of the contemporary relevance of its main argument (against instrumental reason and mass culture), but really edifying. It's the perfect introduction to the Frankfurt school and to the "negative dialectics" approach. Horkheimer's critique of American pragmatism is too dismissive perhaps, but besides that, this short book is pure genius.

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance - Stephen J. Dubner, Steven D. Levitt Some parts a little amusing, most parts ideological bullshit posing as 'objective' science. They should have at least stayed in their own field (microeconomics). Not very credible in topics such as health care or climate change.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream - J'ai changé d'opinion finalement... c'était juste trop intense et trippant - et drôle et méchant et intelligent vers la fin. Un classique, même si c'est à la fois plus "adolescent" et moins politique que je ne le croyais.