Favorite books / What are you reading?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Snackpack, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. Akratus

    Akratus Bleep bloop.

    May 14, 2011
    I just bought the Barns and noble good looking but from my retailer way overpriced Frankenstein and Dracula that look so good together on the shelf. (I watched videos + pictures of them extensively.) Someone reassure me that I made at least a little bit of a justified purchase. Other than the fact that I have enough money to overspend a little bit.

    I had also ordered a directly from the states and thus way more agreeably priced Dune book, a Foundation Trilogy book and an Illiad+Odyssey book.

    Did I do good?
  2. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Hazel Hegemon oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010
    Dune book is good, but you should at least read the original trilogy to get the tasty picture.
  3. BigBoss

    BigBoss Your Local Scrub

    Dec 24, 2012
    So, I've been re-researching into the Occult and related areas of study again.

    I've been reading the Book of Shadows, which has a lot of interesting things (and weird) that I didn't see or get too last time.

    I've also be reading about Necromancy (the real deal, not the gaming definition) on the net, which was popular during the Renaissance and Colonial periods, but the art/school of study seems to have died during the Industrial Revolution.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
  4. Walpknut

    Walpknut This ghoul has seen it all

    Dec 30, 2010
    Read up on Gnostic stuff, that shit can get just down right weird.
  5. Akratus

    Akratus Bleep bloop.

    May 14, 2011
    I just took a look at the Folio society's selection.

    Need to commit sudoku now to repress pure WANT.
  6. It's seppuku.

    For those interested in the occult, you have to start at the bottom to understand occultist texts and not be influenced by dogmatism and other active entities trying to invoke messianic tenancies by manipulating your emotion over your logical process.

    I'll go ahead and link youtube videos for beginners to review. There are many books, and which one to read depends on what area of study you are unfamiliar with. I have collected many over the years, and their usefulness is only in proximity to the influence of purpose they serve.

    Also, it cannot be stressed enough that one has to study the current paradigm of religious theology to be able to comprehend the language that is used in the gnostic fashion.

    See, the core root of gnostic thought revolves around a psychology that is not unlike the scientific method. The issues that come from the practices of such require them to be under the guise of being occult in nature, for they deny the power of state run entities over the personal experiences and knowledge of individuals. This has made many gnostics "Gnostic is a broad term at the point to accentuate any mysticism incorporated as a branch from metaphysical thought." an enemy of state run entities and persecuted by major religions.

    As you will know if you study the subject, the practice of mysticism has followed the principles of the scientific method when exploring spiritual studies. This means that trial and error limits both practices, for the idea is a philosophical process for finding an idealistic "Truth". This means that both science, and mysticism can be backwards and obsolete. However, mysticism itself is buried due to persecution, and has been outshined by material expansion in the 20th century. This has caused social priorities dismiss the relevance of mysticism.

    Gnostic mysticism from all religious practices is caught on both sides by both science and religion, both trying to destroy its existence. However, it is the bridge that unifies both schools of thought.
    [h=3]Process[/h] The overall process involves making conjectures (hypotheses), deriving predictions from them as logical consequences, and then carrying out experiments based on those predictions to determine whether the original conjecture was correct.[SUP][4][/SUP] There are difficulties in a formulaic statement of method, however. Though the scientific method is often presented as a fixed sequence of steps, they are better considered as general principles.[SUP][25][/SUP] Not all steps take place in every scientific inquiry (or to the same degree), and are not always in the same order. As noted by William Whewell (1794–1866), "invention, sagacity, [and] genius"[SUP][26][/SUP] are required at every step.
    [h=4]Formulation of a question[/h] The question can refer to the explanation of a specific observation, as in "Why is the sky blue?", but can also be open-ended, as in "How can I design a drug to cure this particular disease?" This stage frequently involves looking up and evaluating evidence from previous experiments, personal scientific observations or assertions, and/or the work of other scientists. If the answer is already known, a different question that builds on the previous evidence can be posed. When applying the scientific method to scientific research, determining a good question can be very difficult and affects the final outcome of the investigation.[SUP][27][/SUP]
    [h=4]Hypothesis[/h] An hypothesis is a conjecture, based on knowledge obtained while formulating the question, that may explain the observed behavior of a part of our universe. The hypothesis might be very specific, e.g., Einstein's equivalence principle or Francis Crick's "DNA makes RNA makes protein",[SUP][28][/SUP] or it might be broad, e.g., unknown species of life dwell in the unexplored depths of the oceans. A statistical hypothesis is a conjecture about some population. For example, the population might be people with a particular disease. The conjecture might be that a new drug will cure the disease in some of those people. Terms commonly associated with statistical hypotheses are null hypothesis and alternative hypothesis. A null hypothesis is the conjecture that the statistical hypothesis is false, e.g., that the new drug does nothing and that any cures are due to chance effects. Researchers normally want to show that the null hypothesis is false. The alternative hypothesis is the desired outcome, e.g., that the drug does better than chance. A final point: a scientific hypothesis must be falsifiable, meaning that one can identify a possible outcome of an experiment that conflicts with predictions deduced from the hypothesis; otherwise, it cannot be meaningfully tested.
    [h=4]Prediction[/h] This step involves determining the logical consequences of the hypothesis. One or more predictions are then selected for further testing. The more unlikely that a prediction would be correct simply by coincidence, then the more convincing it would be if the prediction were fulfilled; evidence is also stronger if the answer to the prediction is not already known, due to the effects of hindsight bias (see also postdiction). Ideally, the prediction must also distinguish the hypothesis from likely alternatives; if two hypotheses make the same prediction, observing the prediction to be correct is not evidence for either one over the other. (These statements about the relative strength of evidence can be mathematically derived using Bayes' Theorem).[SUP][29][/SUP]
    [h=4]Testing[/h] This is an investigation of whether the real world behaves as predicted by the hypothesis. Scientists (and other people) test hypotheses by conducting experiments. The purpose of an experiment is to determine whether observations of the real world agree with or conflict with the predictions derived from an hypothesis. If they agree, confidence in the hypothesis increases; otherwise, it decreases. Agreement does not assure that the hypothesis is true; future experiments may reveal problems. Karl Popper advised scientists to try to falsify hypotheses, i.e., to search for and test those experiments that seem most doubtful. Large numbers of successful confirmations are not convincing if they arise from experiments that avoid risk.[SUP][30][/SUP] Experiments should be designed to minimize possible errors, especially through the use of appropriate scientific controls. For example, tests of medical treatments are commonly run as double-blind tests. Test personnel, who might unwittingly reveal to test subjects which samples are the desired test drugs and which are placebos, are kept ignorant of which are which. Such hints can bias the responses of the test subjects. Furthermore, failure of an experiment does not necessarily mean the hypothesis is false. Experiments always depend on several hypotheses, e.g., that the test equipment is working properly, and a failure may be a failure of one of the auxiliary hypotheses. (See the Duhem-Quine thesis.) Experiments can be conducted in a college lab, on a kitchen table, at CERN's Large Hadron Collider, at the bottom of an ocean, on Mars (using one of the working rovers), and so on. Astronomers do experiments, searching for planets around distant stars. Finally, most individual experiments address highly specific topics for reasons of practicality. As a result, evidence about broader topics is usually accumulated gradually.
    [h=4]Analysis[/h] This involves determining what the results of the experiment show and deciding on the next actions to take. The predictions of the hypothesis are compared to those of the null hypothesis, to determine which is better able to explain the data. In cases where an experiment is repeated many times, a statistical analysis such as a chi-squared test may be required. If the evidence has falsified the hypothesis, a new hypothesis is required; if the experiment supports the hypothesis but the evidence is not strong enough for high confidence, other predictions from the hypothesis must be tested. Once a hypothesis is strongly supported by evidence, a new question can be asked to provide further insight on the same topic. Evidence from other scientists and experience are frequently incorporated at any stage in the process. Depending on the complexity of the experiment, many iterations may be required to gather sufficient evidence to answer a question with confidence, or to build up many answers to highly specific questions in order to answer a single broader question.

    Alchemical study throughout ancient times was the root of all scientific thought and process of the modern era. It as-well follows the trial-and-error format, as well as the process of doubt over variable.

    To not become confused by modern lexicons and definitions, I will propose a few statements to clarify the framework.

    1. Language and mathematics are tied together through unknown processes, and are in fact two systems that clarify a set of rules to validate information.

    2. Alchemical thought, as well as ancient thought structures, did not separate the spiritual and material realms, and saw one as an extension of the other.

    3. Validation of all statements made from both schools of thought must be maintained, for natural systems degrade falsehood over time. Ignorance is the leash that the powerful use to pull the masses to their will.

    The information that is out there is impossible to format on a short-term basis. So, if anyone is interested in certain topics, I will be happily available to pitch in my experiences.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2016
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  7. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I'm taking baby steps into the realm of philosophy, and decided I'd start off with Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil.

    It'll be at my house within the next few days, can anyone with experience of the book give me the overview of what it's like, how it reads etc.
  8. Nietzsche was a post-enlightenment philosopher, so most of his ideas are antithesis of the concepts that were in vogue from the 15th century up until the end of the 19th century.

    I'd recommend these before going into Nietzsche






    And this one principally, is what all of Nietzsche work is in response to most of all.


    And this one, is the one that Schopenhauer was mainly responding to.


    Take note, that a dualism between materialism and orthodox philosophies of the Roman Catholic Church was the principle debate during the era of Nietzsche, and that this is a narrow view of "Western" philosophy at this time. The idea of time being a linear one, rather than a cyclic one or a membrane. There are some philosophers that added to the idea of consciousness and time being more than linear, however the majority debate was between time existing as a linear path towards some point, or that it didn't exist at all and was in the mind of the observer.

    The easiest way to begin study of philosophy, is to start in the west with Greece, then end in the end of the 20th century with Ludwig Wittgenstein. After that, move east into China with Confucianism, and all of the other schools during the waring states period.

    The next course, will be studying the Vedic traditions of India. This is a course that can be easy, or hard depending on how you pick up Buddhism when studying the east.

    After that, move into pre-history with gnosticism, shamanism, paganism, and the mother pearl...Ancient Egypt.

    And then, you are studying occult, back across the time line again from Ancient Egypt, up until Aleister Crowley, and the branches started by him that exist today.

    Ill end from one of my favorite quotes of all time from Denis Diderot of the Enlightenment era...

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2015
  9. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I've just ordered Plato's The Republic.

    Seems very interesting.
  10. It should be, it's the book modern western civilization is based off of.

    Theory of universals

    See also: Problem of universals, Allegory of the Cave and Theory of Forms
    The Republic contains Plato's Allegory of the cave with which he explains his concept of The Forms as an answer to the problem of universals.
    The allegory of the cave primarily depicts Plato's distinction between the world of appearances and the 'real' world of the Forms, as well as helping to justify the philosopher's place in society as king. Plato imagines a group of people who have lived their entire lives as prisoners, chained to the wall of a cave in the subterranean so they are unable to see the outside world behind them. However a constant flame illuminates various moving objects outside, which are silhouetted on the wall of the cave visible to the prisoners. These prisoners, through having no other experience of reality, ascribe forms to these shadows such as either "dog" or "cat".
    Plato then goes on to explain how the philosopher is akin to a prisoner who is freed from the cave. The prisoner is initially blinded by the light, but when he adjusts to the brightness he sees the fire and the statues and how they caused the images witnessed inside the cave. He would see that the fire and statues in the cave were just copies of the real objects; merely imitations. This is analogous to the Forms. What we see from day to day are merely appearances, reflections of the Forms. The philosopher, however, will not be deceived by the shadows and will hence be able to see the 'real' world, the world above that of appearances; the philosopher will gain knowledge of things in themselves. In this analogy the sun is representative of the Good. This is the main object of the philosopher's knowledge. The Good can be thought of as the form of Forms, or the structuring of the world as a whole.
    The prisoner's stages of understanding correlate with the levels on the divided line which he imagines. The line is divided into what the visible world is and what the intelligible world is, with the divider being the Sun. When the prisoner is in the cave, he is obviously in the visible realm that receives no sunlight, and outside he comes to be in the intelligible realm.
    The shadows witnessed in the cave correspond to the lowest level on Plato's line, that of imagination and conjecture. Once the prisoner is freed and sees the shadows for what they are he reaches the second stage on the divided line, the stage of belief, for he comes to believe that the statues in the cave are real. On leaving the cave, however, the prisoner comes to see objects more real than the statues inside of the cave, and this correlates with the third stage on Plato's line, understanding. Lastly, the prisoner turns to the sun which he grasps as the source of truth, or the Form of the Good, and this last stage, named as dialectic, is the highest possible stage on the line. The prisoner, as a result of the Form of the Good, can begin to understand all other forms in reality.
    At the end of this allegory, Plato asserts that it is the philosopher's burden to reenter the cave. Those who have seen the ideal world, he says, have the duty to educate those in the material world. Since the philosopher recognizes what is truly good only he is fit to rule society according to Plato.

    Think about that last statement. We in modern era do not elect leaders due to how well they did in war, or who they are related to, or how much they can bench-press. We elect them on what we perceive as their ideals.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2015
  11. Akratus

    Akratus Bleep bloop.

    May 14, 2011
  12. Dr. Combat Shotgun

    Dr. Combat Shotgun First time out of the vault

    Aug 19, 2010
    Just got a copy of Malleus Maleficarum aka Hexenhammer. Nobody expects the inquisition!
  13. BigBoss

    BigBoss Your Local Scrub

    Dec 24, 2012
    So I've been reading two E-Books here:

    1) What if the British won the Revolution?
    2) What if the Soviet Union won the Cold War?

    Alternate history's always fun. Especially when someone tries to describe a sceen of Soviet soldiers marching down Wall Street. Wait, Deja Vu?

    No but, the first book kind of sucks to be honest. It's just really bland, the author doesn't make any effort to make people want to get into the book. Plus, he's British, so he seems like he's just enjoying the idea of "What if British were the world's sole superpower today?"

    The second book is awesome though. The author doesn't just depict one alternate reality, but several. One features a Soviet America, like I described above, another features that, even though the Soviet Union went on to become the world's first superpower, the United States didn't exactly fall to Communism. Instead, Russia's modern position in international politics ends up changing with the US's. NATO comes pretty close to collapsing, Russia becomes the most influential nation in the world and U.N., and the United States becomes somewhat of a villain (kind of like Russia is now) as they try to pull various moves to regain their former power, etc. etc. Then the final piece of this alternate history version sees that, with the Soviet Union enjoying it's position as the world's foremost superpower, the fail to see China rise up as a nation that will challenge their power to the throne in the coming years. China and the US also have way better relations. Another alternative history see's collapse of the European Union, as both the Soviet Union and NATO scramble to take hold on as much as they possibly can. I haven't gotten to the end of the book, so far I've only gotten through about four out of eleven alternative timelines. One final timeline though at the end of the book (which I've skipped ahead to because I was interested) shows an alternative World War II. Nazi Germany never launched Operation Barbarossa, thus the Soviets were never part of the Allies. As a result, Japan never bombed Pearl Harbor, the US never entered the war, and the Allies consisted of the UK, France, and a small collective of other nations. Anyways, toward the early-mid 1940's, the Allies are forced to sit down and write a treaty with Germany. Thus, the world ends up looking like this:

    Europe is divided into three powers:
    • The Axis, controlled by Germany with the other nations simply puppet states. Germany controls western Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Denmark and several more. Italy, also a fascist state is Germany's closest ally, if not a puppet. Italy controls several nations in North Africa. France is now divided, Southeastern France is Vichy France, with the rest being the French Rep. Vichy France was administered by the Nazi German government well into the late 50's until finally being allowed to form it's own fascist government, and remains close to Germany. Germany also manages to bring the other Nordic countries under it's fold, completing Hitler's vision of a unified Nordic-Aryan nation. So, in short, Germany controls all of Central Europe, along with Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Germany becomes the first nation to launch both a satellite and man into space. Hitler ended up dying in the early 50's, only to be replaced by Himmler, who ousted out of power and resigned by the late 50's.
    • The Soviets: Russia controls alot of Eastern Europe, including Finland. The Soviets also end up rising to become a world power, with the Axis and Soviets occasionally butting heads, but never really resulting in full scale war. The Soviets often compete with the Germans over the Middle Eastern countries, with Israel still under control of the British, Iraq becomes a close Soviet ally. Instead of the Space Race being the US against the Soviets, it is now the Soviets against the Axis. So far I'm at the part where both the Soviets and Axis are racing to build their "moon rockets".
    • Western Europe: Consisting only of France, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal. Fascism in Spain ended up failing, and Spain eventually returned to a full-fledged Monarchy, just as it was in it's Colonial period. The UK, Spain, and France have developed a tight-knit military alliance, ever vigilant against a second possible Axis invasion.

    And, in other areas of the world;

    • The United States never entered the Second World War. Instead, it retained it's military isolationist policy held around the time of the First World War, and is now enjoying authority in both North and South America. Even though Canada is still a part of the Commonwealth, she has grown more close and attached to the US than the UK. The US still trades with both the Western European nations and the Nazi's (who the US actually has relatively warm relations with), however the Soviets still see the US as the worst of the worst, being one of the most capitalist nations on Earth. The Soviets are however, more focused on their ongoing Cold War and Space Race with the Nazis as of right now and don't have time for the U.S. The United States holds a relatively strong military, and is actively spread out across the Americas. Cuba never became a Soviet nation due to US early-intervention, and the US holds much more sway over South American nations than it does in the present world. The United States has military bases placed all over North and South America, and whatever the US says for the Americas, goes for the Americas. The US has developed it's own version of NATO, only to be renamed "ATO" (said as A-T-O), the American Treaty Organization which featured nearly every nation in the Americas and Caribbean. Thanks to US support, the countries of South America now hold a much more formidable military than they do in the present world. The US and A.T.O. aggressively guard the Americas against any outside attempts at imperialism or colonization, and both the nations of Western Europe and the Axis powers have come to respect the US and it's position in the world. The US does have it's own space exploration program, but it isn't funded nearly close to the rate it was during the modern timeline's Cold War. Also, instead the US Space Program, as is many of it's other programs, are not controlled entirely by just the US, but are instead jointly shared by A.T.O. nations. Spanish has also become an official language in the US, right alongside English during the 50's. The US also does not hold it's aggressive immigration policy towards Mexico and other American nations as it does in our timeline. As a matter of fact, not so many people from other American nations are immigrating now that they have a much more stable government, and comfortable lifestyle due to the US and A.T.O. taking a high interest in the development of these nations.

    • You were probably wondering about Japan, right? Well she's still out there, and is still an Imperial Empire. However, she doesn't hold as much territory as you would have expected. Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and several smaller pacific islands are all Japanese colonies (among several others), but China (who did unfortunately lose Manchuria to Japan), Vietnam, and Australia all managed to fight off the Japanese relatively well. During the 50's and 60's though, Japan has taken a bigger interest in scientific innovation instead of military prowess (although the Empire still holds a formidable military, not to be trifled with. The Japanese Empire holds the largest, most advanced Navy in the world), and is one of the world's leaders in technological scientific innovation, developing cures for several diseases as early as the late 60's and early 70's, and is the world's leader in computer and robotic technology. Japan is still very attached to the culture of the Meiji and previous Shogun eras, with it's soldiers still highly influenced by the Bushido Code and Samurai lifestyle. Shinto has also become the largest religion in Asia, and is the national religion of the Japanese Empire, with 85% of it's subjects claiming the Shinto religion. The Empire dominates trade in Asia, and is one of the most wealthy nations in the world.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
  14. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Hazel Hegemon oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010
    I've read The Big Sleep, which is my first time reading something from Chandler. It is also (most likely) the first time that I'm reading a hard-boiled novel and...well, damn it, it was such a fun read. Enjoyed it through and through.
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  15. Yamu

    Yamu Le Fromage Vieux oTO Moderator Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Jul 26, 2003
    If you're looking for more of the same and you don't mind a little bit of genre-bending, I'll not miss this (or any) chance to shamelessly push Altered Carbon, by Richard K. Morgan. Equal parts underworld noir and cyber(/augment/gene)punk in the updated 21st-century mold, it's easily one of the best hardboiled sci-fi novels I've yet run across. I'd be reading it again right now if I hadn't loaned my copy out.
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  16. UniversalWolf

    UniversalWolf eaten by a grue.

    Aug 28, 2005
    The Republic is great, for sure. It's also very dense. To understand it properly you ought to have a basic knowledge of the Peloponnesian War, including the Peloponnesian League, the Delian League, and the failed Athenian invasion of Sicily and its consequences.

    Great movie, too. One of the best Noir classics from the 1940s.
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  17. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Hazel Hegemon oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010

    I've thought of buying that one - I wasn't particularly familiar with it, but its translation was recently published here, so that caught my eye. The publisher is a solid one, at least as far as translations themselves go. The edition itself is not an eye candy or anything, but I'm not looking for such either.
    Thanks for the heads-up, I will buy it first chance I get.

    In the meantime, I'm reminded that I still haven't read anything by William Gibson. I feel ashamed to call myself a fan of cyberpunk. Or a fan of SF in general.

    Yeah, it's on my "To watch" list. It has been for some time, but since there's Lauren Bacall in it, and I've liked the book, it just got bumped to a lot higher position on the list.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  18. Akratus

    Akratus Bleep bloop.

    May 14, 2011
    I just ordered the harpercollins hardcovers of I,Robot and The Once and Future king.

  19. Yamu

    Yamu Le Fromage Vieux oTO Moderator Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Jul 26, 2003
    You're a madman, Akratus. A madman! I'm quite interested in the prettiness that is the B&N Dune hardcover, myself, but I can't justify it knowing that the sequels (at the very least, the first three) have little to no hope of ever seeing release in the same format.

    Similar concerns re: Foundation, as even without companion volumes the core series reached an official five books in length, but it's less troublesome there as everything after Second Foundation is its own story as much as (or even more than, stylistically speaking) a continuation of the trilogy.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
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  20. Akratus

    Akratus Bleep bloop.

    May 14, 2011
    Yeah It troubles me a bit too, but I haven't been able to find good looking versions of any of the other dune books anyway.

    I was very saddened today to learn that UPS truck wasn't bound for my home, but someplace else. But I did complete this collection!:

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