1984

Finally, I managed to read “1984“, the famous book by George Orwell, about the “big brother”. And I must say that there is a reason for being so famous.

First, the plot: in 1984, the world is divided by three super-powers, on an eternal war. One of these powers, Oceania, is being ruled by the Big Brother, and he sees everything and knows everything. TV sets on every house and place can send information and gather information around, so no one is really free. Everyone must follow the Big Brother and work for the Party. The story picks up one citizen, Winston Smith and his quest to find out what freedom is.

One thing to note is that this book starts as a story about a cruel world, where no one is really free, but later you’ll find out that it really is a manifesto to anarchy surrounded by a story.

There is one thing you’ll note reading this book: every time things get grimmer and heavier, Orwell throws you a paragraph long enough to make you lose focus on everything else; on really heavy moments, you’ll get a paragraph that fills a whole page and keeps going; on light moments, paragraphs are small and easy to read. It really looks like you must also suffer when the characters in the story are suffering.

A good read, a little boring sometimes, worth the time, nonetheless.

The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide

I finally managed to finish reading my The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide book, with all the stories about Arthur Dent and the famous guide.

As I pointed before, there are 6 stories inside of it, all related. And, as I pointed, the first books are quite good, going pretty close the movie (or the other way around, if you read the book before seeing the movie).

The problem is that, for some reason, the things I found most amusing about it were slowly being removed for the story. “Hitchhiker’s” do an excelent job playing with the infinite improbability generator, but it got somewhat forgotten on “The Restaurant”, so Douglas Adams focus on something else for the nonsensical fun of the book: Marvin. But Marvin also got out of the stories in “Life, the Universe and Everything”, so you got to hold on something else. And that something else also got scrapped later. And so on.

That’s what I think the later books fail: they lost completely the sense of continuity, there isn’t the nonsensical fun the first books had and they appear to be more a sci-fi book than a comedy book. Ok, they are somewhat fun, but not as fun as the first ones.

Books, books, books!

I went to the movies and, again, felt the need to buy another book. But, this time, things changed: I bought two books.

The first one is one of the books you need to read to get your geek badge: “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”. It is a big book, with all Douglas Adams’ related books: “The Hitchhicker’s Guide To The Galaxy”, “The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe”, “Life, the Universe and Everything”, “So Long, and Thanks for All The Fish”, “Mostly Harmless” and “Young Zaphod Plays It Safe”. I already finished reading the first one and, to be honest, it is quite… boring. I believe the main reason is that I saw the movie before reading it and the two are quite the same thing, with a few things in different order and some other things from the other books (I already read some of “The Restaurant” and some parts of it were in the movie). A fun reading, nonetheless, as Douglas’ writing style is quite amusing.

The second book I bought because of an ad. That’s right, I bought a book just because some television ad. The ad in question is the one Apple presented in the super bowl and the book is “1984”, by George Orwell. That is the book of the “big brother”. Not the stupid television show with stupid people, but the notion that everything you do is saw by someone else.

So, right now, I have plenty of reading.

I should stop going to the movies…

… ’cause everything I go, I buy a new book. Very soon, there will be no free space in my room (two geeky points to everyone that thought “heh, book overflow”).

This time I got The Beatles, Letras e Canções (“The Beatles, Lyrics and Songs). It is a book with the lyrics of every Beatles song, with a small history of each. I never knew that Paul’s mother was named Mary and, in a dream, she appeared to him and said “Let it be” (Paul was in a court fight with John at the time). The only problem is that the histories are really short so the author decided to explain what the music says. Actually, he put a translated version of the song.

Anyway, a good quick reading and won’t affect my “Sci-Fi = Sci-Filo” reading.

Scifi = Scifilo

To save the night, I bought a book titled “Scifi = Scifilo” (original title: “The philosopher at the end the universe”, ISBN 85-7316-392-5). Actually, I read the first chapter before seeing “Episode III”, so I saved my night before ruining it. :)

This is a book about philosophy and such, but the author takes the route of using movies as base for every point he does. The first chapter is about… we. What we are, what we are doing here, and such. To point that, he uses Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” as to point what we see and how the others see us. Actually, he uses much more “Sisifo”, the man in the Greek mythology that had to move a big boulder over a hill, just to see it go down when get there. Anyway, he points that we see our lives like a story, where we are the main characters. But that’s the same for everyone: we are the main characters of our lives, but just some supporting character or even just doing a small part in other people’s lives. And, using “Sisifo”, he points that what we accomplish in life is almost like preparing others to do the same thing we will do our entire life. A nice way to get depressed.

Other movies he uses are Matrix, Terminator 1 and 2, Total Recall and 6th Day, Minority Report, Hallow Man, Independence Day and Alien, Star Wars and Blade Runner.

So, here I go to my little trip to Philosophy for Dummies.