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I Can Relate     Print Topic    
User Topic: Betrayed Men - Part 14
StillGoing
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Default  Posted: 9:07 AM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Have any of you guys read Cormac Macarthy's "The Road"? I keep hearing that it's great, but kind of depressing and intense....

I thought it was the worst book on its subject matter I have ever read in my life. If it wasn't written in such a simple, stupid flow I wouldn't have bothered to finish it. I actually picked up Twilight while I was reading The Road just to read something that was less stupid. Yes. Twilight was less stupid than The Road.


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7116 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
Ascendant
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Default  Posted: 10:07 AM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Wow. Ok. That's interesting to me, because from what I can tell we have similar tastes. I read a sample, and the prose style does seem kind of weird to me, but the reviews are damn-near all high praise. Hmmm.


“Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.”

Posts: 1616 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Illinois
jjct
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Default  Posted: 10:08 AM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I wouldn't read it based on SG's description.
I went over and checked on goodreads.
Reviewer "Keely" obviously delights in his rather lengthy evisceration:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6288.The_Road?from_search=true

Well done. I wouldn't waste my time on that blithering tome.


Posts: 6023 | Registered: Dec 2007 | From: texas
wincing_at_light
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Default  Posted: 11:25 AM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm 100% with SG on this one. I thought The Road was technically proficient, and was probably good enough for folks who don't read much SF -- since dealing with the apocalypse in a "serious literary" way would seem novel -- but it didn't cover any ground wasn't more adequately covered elsewhere.

I think McCarthy is (in general) a talented and insightful author, but with this book, he's getting the same sort of literary fellation that Margaret Atwood gets, when the only decent dystopian SF novel she's ever written was The Handmaid's Tale. She'd be an average writer inside the genre, but since her audience wasn't largely weaned on SF, the old ideas she tackles seem fresh and new.

If you want solid post-apocalyptic fiction, try Miller's Canticle for Liebowitz, which is probably the seminal SF work on the subject. Then, go back and read The Road, and you'll see all of the places that McCarthy was (no pun intended) treading the road others had more capably laid out before him.

(Now, as an aside, if you want to talk to me about The Road as a metaphor for young men growing into adulthood and negotiating the relationship with their fathers, with the male social identity, and the hard realities of masculine adulthood, then we can talk. The ground rules are agreeing that the post-apocalyptic setting is just backdrop, and The Road is *not* a post-apocalyptic novel.)


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6690 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
StillGoing
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Default  Posted: 12:35 PM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I love how he prefaces that like an Asimov robot. Sardonic Observation: I'd almost believe he was one, since he has no understanding of beauty or human emotion. Biting Quip: However, he violates Asimov's first law of robotics, since his work allows harm to come to humans.

Oh fuck, that man is a master.

Love that review jj, great find.

I don't think The Road is good at any level other than it being accessible - as wal put it, technically proficient, though I'd say more along the likes of technically acceptable.

As a SF/Fantasy it fails utterly and completely. There is no consistency whatsoever, and the world it is set in makes absolutely no sense. It does not function according to any laws of science or magic - in the sense that well written stories of the fantastical demonstrate the cost of shortcuts through magic, the doom of a broken oath, so on. The world of The Road is arbitrary, incoherent and nonsensical.

We could say that it's supposed to be metaphor but I think it fails there as well, simply because his chosen medium is a failure. If you try to pour a fine wine into a pile of glass that was once a vessel, you still get a mess all over the floor. His inability to tie any coherent idea together through his environment gets so much in the way of whatever it is he is trying to tell his audience - the struggle to hold onto ones idealism in the face of inevitable and overwhelming doom or even the definition of ideals in a world lacking them, the struggle for a man to be a father guiding his son, they all just suck.

As a father metaphor, it doesn't just fail just because of the story vehicle, but that the man never actually teaches the boy anything. It's not a story about a father. It's a story about a man trying to protect innocence with no goal in mind. Even at the end, he simply hands the boy off and that innocence is sheltered and protected by someone else. There is no growth of the characters, no transference of knowledge, wisdom, love, companionship, anything. The boy is an object into which every character in the book pours in whatever it is he tries to have them objectify the boy as. If that was his goal then, well, he could have done a better job of that also, because it comes out looking flat and stale.

There's no hard reality of masculine adulthood because there's just no adulthood. The Man makes a series of stupid decision that he never explains, and the road he follows is a road that he has no idea of the destination. The substance of that is not fleshed out in this book at all. It's just empty twaddle to fill pages in an attempt to flesh out an idea that every single person in the history of fiction writing has put their hand to. It's like Unbreakable. If Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson had not *made* those characters interesting, there would be no story. The origin story of a hero is an interesting one, but Shamalayananawawa failed in the same way The Road fails. He just does not understand the environment he is working in and seems to think he's not just the first to put his hand to working it, but awesome at it because he's seen some kind of success.

The way the road paints random people as evil and amoral goes so far into the stupid that it fails to deliver that message also. There is a scene where they follow a trio of people, one of which is a pregnant woman. She gives birth, they gut and eat the baby. This should be fucking horrifying, but Killer Klowns from Outer Space is more horrifying than this scene because it just fails to deliver anything. Why did they feed her enough to keep the fetus alive to term? Why did the fetus survive at all in that horrible world where it never stops raining but somehow ash still covers the planet for ten years and doesn't turn to mud? Why do things decay if everything except humans are dead, including bacteria? What the fuck has been making a breathable atmosphere for the last decade? So much of this train wreck piles up it blocks the view of what he is trying to deliver. Horror at what people can do? Stupidity, amorality? What?

It's just a terrible, terrible book all around. If you have never read a post apoc before, never read a book that is a long metaphor, go for it. I just can't find anything to redeem it at all. Like I said, I even preferred Twilight. At least the author of Twilight is aiming at a story she enjoys telling and wants to make sure the reader is aware of where she's taking them. The characters are stupid and trite and cliche but there are actual characters. The characters of the road are like AI mobs in the original DOOM. Zombie soldiers that all look the same, then occasionally a grunting fireball demon. Look, a bad guy.

No, wait. The Road does have two redeeming features for me. It gives me something to rant about, and the understanding that I really can write something worth publishing, because I am fairly confident even I can give a better story in every respect than that junk offers.

eta:

Still have not got around to Canticle yet, sorry.

If I were to recommend post-apoc stories I'd go with a bunch of shorts from the old school crew like Fritz Lieber. I really enjoyed The Postman by David Brin - he constructed an excellent post apoc world and while he's not just AMAZING technically, his character development and story flow is well done. The main character follows a story of being a man who really doesn't have much left at all to believe in, and ends up becoming someone in which other people believe. His own cynicism crumbles in the face of ideals he's built along the way. He becomes a leader and a warrior.

A Boy and his Dog is a truly fucking weird post apoc but it's iconic. If we wanted a world of metaphor and incoherence delivered in a story that someone can follow and enjoy, that one takes the cake. A kid who can talk to a telepathic dog, and the dog is smarter than most people. The kid is always looking for some girl to screw and the dog is always looking for food. There's even a giant, creepy robot clown. It's very Fallout. Which is another great story, delivered in a video game medium. It's up there with Planescape: Torment as far as story goes.

We don't even need to talk about Dick. Dick is the master of melding ideals with fucking weird metaphor in a world that shouldn't work but somehow becomes believable through his writing.

So much great post-apoc out there. Christian Cantrell's "Containment" was fun. I want to read the Metro 2033 series by Dmitry Glukhovsky since the two games were a couple of fucking masterpieces of post apoc storytelling on their own, and the author had a hand in the stories iirc.

Just too much out there to waste time on a road that goes nowhere and leaves you asking What The Fuck, Man.

[This message edited by StillGoing at 12:48 PM, September 22nd (Sunday)]


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7116 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
LosferWords
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Default  Posted: 12:46 PM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

As far as post apocalyptic novels are concerned, I've recently enjoyed The Passage and The Twelve by Justin Cronin. I think the 4/5 star rating on Amazon for both of those books were well warranted.

Posts: 4557 | Registered: Dec 2010
Ascendant
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Default  Posted: 12:51 PM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Just checked out the description for "Canticle for Liebowitz". Sounds interesting... I'll check it out. Kind of reminds me of "Foundation"... Terminus in particular.


“Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.”

Posts: 1616 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Illinois
hurtininHouston
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Default  Posted: 1:35 PM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I haven't gone back and looked at all the #'s. I guess I have my own.
#1 I thought you had cheated on me
#2 Everyone thought you were better looking than me
#3 He have me attention and made me feel good
#4 Our marriage wasn't the best at the time
#5 I never meant to cheat on you
#6 I never stopped loving you
#7 It was very uncomfortable ( but started setting up meeting #2)
#8 He made me feel good about myself
#8 aw fuck it they are all the same right! They all say the same shit!
To keep saying, oh it was so uncomfortable, I didn't enjoy it. I glad he went limp and didn't finish.
Then why make another "appointment"????
Somebody crack me another beer! I don't give a shit what brand as long as it is cold!!!!
H

Posts: 46 | Registered: May 2013 | From: Houston
aesir
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Default  Posted: 2:47 PM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

It's not a story about a father. It's a story about a man trying to protect innocence with no goal in mind. Even at the end, he simply hands the boy off and that innocence is sheltered and protected by someone else. There is no growth of the characters, no transference of knowledge, wisdom, love, companionship, anything.
...
There's no hard reality of masculine adulthood because there's just no adulthood. The Man makes a series of stupid decision that he never explains, and the road he follows is a road that he has no idea of the destination.

Okay, that sounds more like a metaphor for some modern parenting and education.

Still not going to read it, but thankfully you guys have saved me about two hours of watching it on Netflix, although that means I will probably spend even more time looking for something else. (Have you ever noticed it takes longer to find something on Netflix than it does to watch it?)


Your mileage may vary... in accordance with the prophecy.

Do not back up. Severe tire damage.


Posts: 14924 | Registered: Nov 2007 | From: Winnipeg
Ascendant
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Default  Posted: 2:57 PM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

(Have you ever noticed it takes longer to find something on Netflix than it does to watch it?)
ESPECIALLY at 2:15 am when you can't sleep. I always end up watching "Locked Up Abroad", or "I Almost Got Away With It"


“Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.”

Posts: 1616 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Illinois
MC_Jack
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Default  Posted: 3:19 PM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

whoops wrong thread. first blunder like that in 18 mos.

[This message edited by MC_Jack at 3:23 PM, September 22nd (Sunday)]


I am not a marriage counselor. I chose "MC Jack" in the spirit of a handle like "MC Hammer" or Young MC"...there is a lot of 'rapping' here, no? At the time I did not know what MC stood for on this site. Duh.

Posts: 792 | Registered: Mar 2012 | From: West Coast of Hopa-hopa-land
MoreWould
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Default  Posted: 4:12 PM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Have you ever noticed it takes longer to get FWW to agree to tell you something than it takes for her to tell it?

Or that it takes longer for you to get over it than it took for her to do it?

Or, that she spent significantly less time deciding to fuck up your M than it took her to fuck it up?

Or even worse, that POSER got in her pants faster than you did?

With all this shit going on, it's a miracle you can find anything to watch on Netflix. They might as well copy Google's "I'm feeling lucky" button for the good their pitiful search function does.

Oh shit! Trigger, trigger. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you.

[This message edited by MoreWould at 4:13 PM, September 22nd (Sunday)]


Me BH/WH, 63
Her WW/BW, 62
Her DDay Dec 1976 OMW at the door
My DDay, ~ 2years later, confessed ONS the next day
R via "Sweeping under the rug"
Still married, 40 yrs, mostly OK
2 kids, 24 & 20

Posts: 347 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Colorado
Sal1995
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Default  Posted: 4:30 PM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Or even worse, that POSER got in her pants faster than you did?

Nope, but only because that's a near impossibility. But POSER did well, I give him credit for that. And I didn't have the challenge of turning a married woman. Although after spending 5 months on SI I'm not sure it's much of a challenge at all.

So it wasn't my awesomeness...my wife was just promiscuous and damaged by a FOO from hell. Huh.


Me-45
WW-42
DDay 2/17/13, 10 month PA/EA
Final NC late Feb. '13
M - 18 years, together 19+
4 children

Reconciled


Posts: 1035 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Texas
noescape
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Default  Posted: 10:10 PM, September 22nd (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Sal, with all due respect to all our collective feelings, a married woman putting herself out there like a piece of flesh is no challenge at all. I hold no illusions about the role my WINO had to play in getting PoSERs to pay her attention, let alone advance past the first base. POSER didn't do well at all when he just had to be there to receive and make the right affirmative noises while she reflected all those wonderful fantasies off him just so she could justify acting out her carnal instincts. (*see WALs post a few pages back about how women are as base in their desires and being horn dogs as men are; they just do a good job of wrapping it up in terms like validation, affection and companionship/romance... Or something like that)

Posts: 739 | Registered: Feb 2012
HoldingTogether
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Default  Posted: 6:38 AM, September 23rd (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I really enjoyed The Postman by David Brin - he constructed an excellent post apoc world and while he's not just AMAZING technically, his character development and story flow is well done.

Couldn't agree more. The Postman is one of my all time favorite post apocalyptic novels.

On the other hand, the fucking movie they made out of it is the reason I will never forgive Kevin Costner. No matter how great he was in Bull Durham. I'm working on forgiving my FWW for fucking my best friend, but that shit that Kevin Costner did to The Postman was un-fucking-forgivable.


Me:BH 41
Her:FWW40(Walkinoneggshellz)
2 Beautiful little girls 13&10
Dday: 7/24/10 1yr EA turned 5 monthPA
"I gotta hole in me now... I got a scar I can talk about."

Posts: 338 | Registered: Aug 2010 | From: New Life
doubleboggy
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Default  Posted: 8:13 AM, September 23rd (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Houston:

#5 I never meant to cheat on you

Yes, I got that one too. Even though she never did anything to prevent it and went out of her way to see him and make sure I wasn't around so they could be alone, she never meant to cheat?


I have became what I have beheld and am content that I have done right. - Elliot Ness

Posts: 84 | Registered: Sep 2013
StillGoing
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Default  Posted: 9:31 AM, September 23rd (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Yeah that movie was a mess. Though I kinda think everything he did through the entire decade of the 90s was a mess. It was like after Field of Dreams he segued into playing the exact same guy in a dozen different roles. Wish he hadn't wrecked Postman in that.


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7116 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
RyeBread
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Default  Posted: 9:53 AM, September 23rd (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Catching up:

I read The Road too. I don't know if I liked it or not. I enjoyed it on a certain level but there wasn't a real point to the book. A lot was left unexplained. When I finished it I felt frustrated. I will say that as I read the book I was always feeling hungry. He did a good job of conveying that

Kevin Costner, ya, not much to say there. I've never really been a fan.

On a personal note:
I got in an argument with the STBX last night. Told her she doesn't like to be told no after having to stand my ground on something with my son(her ss). She called me a jerk and selfish. Some people just can't handle the truth. Her inner insecurities are so draining. Being rational, reasonable, and calm isn't something she understands. This can't end soon enough.


Let him that would move the world first move himself. - Socrates

Posts: 957 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Midwest
kg201
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Default  Posted: 10:00 AM, September 23rd (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Not sure which number we are on, but there are two more that I just remembered. Luckily the MC called her out on these in our final MC session.

#1 You (meaning me) and AP could really be a source of comfort for each other when I pass away.

#2 AP really loves the kids, he can be like an uncle to them.

After the MC session she never brought these delusions up again, but I wonder if she really still believes them.


Me: BH, 39
Her: WW, 40
Together 18 years, married 15+
LTA 3.5 years, ongoing
Dday: 7/28/13
Divorcing, 3 children
---------------------------------
"There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity." -S

Posts: 385 | Registered: Aug 2013
RyeBread
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Default  Posted: 10:08 AM, September 23rd (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

#1 You (meaning me) and AP could really be a source of comfort for each other when I pass away.

#2 AP really loves the kids, he can be like an uncle to them.

Wow! The only comfort I would take in AP is beating his sorry ass. I'm sure I would feel better after that.

Those are some very delusional statements kg201. Glad your MC called her out on those.


Let him that would move the world first move himself. - Socrates

Posts: 957 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Midwest
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