Posts Tagged ‘Books’

The Last Question

January 24th, 2006 No comments

The Last Question is a short story by a certain Isaac Asimov. He is quoted as saying that it is his favourite of his short stories, and I can understand why.

I read it this morning, and I’m so impressed by it. It seems to have an amazing naivety to it, for example, the idea of space ships running on coal, humans using up all the uranium in the world for their power needs, and computers no longer needing transistor but instead reverting back to using “micro-valves”, but then you have to remember that the story was written in 1956. What struck me next about the story is it’s amazing insight – there is a casual reference to an “AC-Contact”, which sounds remarkably like a handheld computer, and computer systems that are natural language processors. These are all things that exist today (albeit in a limited capacity to those expressed in the story), that when written would have been considered pure fantasy. There is an amazing realisation brought through from the story that these things will happen, which is something that I had never really thought about before, and the question remains, what will human kind do when these things happen?

Finally, there is the ending. Which is just masterful. It actually reminds me a lot of the computer in “The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy”, but that is a different story.

The introduction contained on the linked page hints to a further underlying theme to the story, which I do have theories about, but I don’t want to spoil the ending….

N.B. This post has been back dated because I didn’t post it properly!

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Are You A Psycho – Part 2

November 18th, 2005 No comments

So Richard has managed to confirm what I have always known – he has psychopathic tendencies. Apparently, my boss is a psycho too. Nice! (I’ve moved my chair a little further away from hers now).

The answer to the question is quite simple: She killed her sister in the hope that the guy will be at her funeral too.

My first and only solution to the question was that the man was her sister’s new husband/boyfriend, or something like that. Everyone else who I gave the question to, seemed to come up with a similar answer to me, so at least I’m normal!

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Are You A Psycho?

November 16th, 2005 1 comment

I’m currently reading “Mary, Mary” by James Patterson at the moment, and close to the beginning there is a little test that a character performs on themselves.

Basically, the test is to see if you are a psychopath. If you can answer the question in the right way, you’re a nutter! So here goes: (incidentally, I’m not a knife-wielding maniac – contrary to what others might say)The mother of a single woman dies. At her mother’s funeral, the woman sees her most perfect man, but doesn’t ask for his name or phone number. The next day, the woman kills her sister. Why?I’ll post the answer in a couple of days, but if you want to have a guess, then leave a comment!

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Damn American….

October 5th, 2005 No comments

authors that don’t know symbols when they see them!

I’m currently reading Angels and Demons by Dan Brown (it’s the book in the series before “The Da Vinci Code”), and I’ve just hit the beginning of chapter 56. It starts with the following line:The four unmarked Alpha Romeo 155 T-Sparks roared down Via dei Coronari like fighter jets off a runway.This annoys me. The main character, Robert Langdon, is a symbologist, and therefore there are many references to symbols and symbology from ancient history.

What Brown has failed to do though, is notice that the car is actually called the τ-Spark – the first letter is the greek symbol “Tau” (lower case). Next time you see one, have a look, it’s not a “t” but a Tau.

Incidentally, for this post, I found this site, which appears to republish the entire “Angels and Demons” book verbatim – something that I am sure is not legal!

He’s also spelt the name of the car wrong! It’s called an “Alfa Romeo” not “Alpha Romeo”!
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"Good News, Bad News"

August 18th, 2005 No comments

I’m reading a brilliant book at the moment, called “Good News, Bad News”, by David Wolfenscroft (I think!).

I didn’t realise it at the time, but the author is one of the script writers of “Spooks” on the BBC (I believe it’s called “MI5” in the U.S.) which is a series that I absolutely love.

Thing is, I’m not far into the book, but already I’m loving it. There are a good number of surprises, and the pace is just perfect.

I’ll let you know what it’s like at the end!

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Getting Excited

June 23rd, 2005 1 comment

I’m getting a bit excited at the moment, as I’m coming to the end of “The Bourne Ultimatum” by Robert Ludlum, and it’s getting to a good conclusion.

I’ve read the previous two books and seen both the films (in an odd order – First Film, Second Book, Second Film, First Book, and finally Third Book), and the books are all absolute killers. As I find with most book/film combinations, the books are far better than the films, but to be fair in this case, the first film takes the basic plot of the first book (man wakes up in sea, finds that he is an assassin) but not much else (just check out this “essay“), and the second film is so far off the second book that you simply cannot draw a comparison.

As with this guy, I’ve found “The Bourne Ultimatum” a much longer read, and some of the action doesn’t seem to be there from the second book (I seem to enjoy the Delta character more than the Bourne character), but it’s still a must read, especially if you have read the previous two books.

Overall, I’d recommend the books to any one who enjoyed the films and has a good six months at hand to read the damn things.

I’m kind of wondering now whether I should buy “The Bourne Legacy”, which was written after Ludlum’s death by a close literay friend, so I’m expecting a different style of writing and may be a different direction than Ludlum would have planned. Has anyone read it and can provide a good comparison?

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