Author Topic: What books are we reading at the moment ?  (Read 425777 times)

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5750 on: October 05, 2019, 07:42:15 pm »
The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap. I picked it up back in March at 99p, thought I'd step outside my comfort zone, I wouldn't normally choose a book maked in the "Romance" genre, I dunno, I may have been drunk at the time.

The story is centred around examining what might happen if  a blind person became able to see and is a first novel. Let's get the romance out the way: it wasn't too bad. IME "romance" differs from a novel in the superfluity of relationships and too much detail in the "dot dot dot"bits. With that in mind, I'd classify it as a novel, pleasingly the "dot dot dot" was just that.

The main relationship is an exploratory lesbian one, I found it sympathetic to the point where you feel invested in the outcome, which is always positive. Since finishing I have checked to see that Joe Heap is a man, he is and that surprised me.

The writing is fair to good, and I was mostly able to forgive the pace (staccato) and plot issues (incredulous, predictable) that you may find. The central character who creates the Rules for Seeing is almost too good to be true in many ways, but none the worse for that. Overall, I'd recommend it.

Mr Larrington

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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5751 on: October 06, 2019, 10:04:37 pm »
Sight Unseen ~ Graham Hurley.  Second of his Enora Andressen series and I fear there will be more to come.  I know They say "Write what you know" but recycling bits of your back catalogue is not what They meant.  Hayden Prentice is Bazza Mackenzie v2.0 and Ms Andressen stretches credibility far beyond its elastic limit.  Bah!

Still, Philip Pullman's "The Secret Commonwealth" is sitting on the coffee table making "read ME next" noises  :)
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5752 on: October 06, 2019, 10:12:27 pm »
Sight Unseen ~ Graham Hurley.  Second of his Enora Andressen series and I fear there will be more to come.  I know They say "Write what you know" but recycling bits of your back catalogue is not what They meant.  Hayden Prentice is Bazza Mackenzie v2.0 and Ms Andressen stretches credibility far beyond its elastic limit.  Bah!


Ah, now I remember why I don’t have that on my radar.  I read the synopsis of the first one and decided it sounded too trippy even for my low standards.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

ian

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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5753 on: October 07, 2019, 12:10:14 pm »
Alistair Reynold's House of Suns, which I found unread in the summer house (I know, apt). While an interesting story (so far), my gripe is the two main protagonists are inseparable and have precisely the same voice, and the first-person perspective swaps between them, so I keep having to check back which one is which since the only way to figure it out is to look for a mentioned name or a gender pronoun. The flipping points of view doesn't in any way benefit the story so far and since they're effectively the same, it offers no additional incite of perspective. It would have been a lot better if he'd just picked the one. There are not so many writers who can really do multiple first-person perspectives.
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Riggers

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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5754 on: October 07, 2019, 01:06:48 pm »
Fielding's Tom Jones – and yes, even on the first page I'm being flummoxed with words such as: eleemosynary, calipee, contemning. It's going to be a long 636 pages.

Have started also, John James Audubon's biography by Richard Rhodes.
Certainly never seen cycling south of Sussex

Mrs Pingu

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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5755 on: October 08, 2019, 06:47:23 pm »
Anybody read the more recent Alistair Reynolds books?
I read them up to On The Steel Breeze and didn't finish that trilogy as I wasn't finding them that engaging.

I see there's another Prefect book and the Revenger series out since then. Any good? Or is he just doing it for the money now?
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5756 on: October 08, 2019, 08:44:33 pm »
I enjoyed the Prefect one,  I've not looked at the Revenger stuff.

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tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

ian

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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5757 on: October 08, 2019, 08:45:30 pm »
Anybody read the more recent Alistair Reynolds books?
I read them up to On The Steel Breeze and didn't finish that trilogy as I wasn't finding them that engaging.

I see there's another Prefect book and the Revenger series out since then. Any good? Or is he just doing it for the money now?

I gave up with the elephant books. Don't get me wrong, I like elephants and they've as much right as anything to be in space, they were just mostly dull and to be honest, he doesn't have the writing chops to write from the perspective of African characters. Or elephants. Write what you know, they say.*

I didn't mind The Prefect (or whatever the second one was called, they for some unknown reasons faffed around with the titles) and the first Revenger book (not read the second yet).

I confess I'm struggling with House of Suns, seriously every chapter I have to go back and check which character's first-person perspective I'm in this time, and considering I can see what the ending will be, that will make it more annoying. It would have been far better if he'd picked the one character and run with it. Ironically, I was looking in the summer house for Century Rain which I have read and I'm sure I enjoyed. I'm sure I saw it in there. I figure I must have read House of Suns as I bought it, but that said, it lacked the usual signs of molestation by my grubby paws and evidently didn't make a crater in my brain.

*which is why I'm a female, undead librarian with a taste for fresh blood and weapons-grade sarcasm.
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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5758 on: October 08, 2019, 08:53:36 pm »
I've read "House of Suns", but can't remember the plot, which is probably not a good sign.


I enjoyed "Century Rain" very much, but for some reason he's said he won't write any more in that setting  :(
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5759 on: October 08, 2019, 09:05:15 pm »
Anybody read the more recent Alistair Reynolds books?
I read them up to On The Steel Breeze and didn't finish that trilogy as I wasn't finding them that engaging.

I see there's another Prefect book and the Revenger series out since then. Any good? Or is he just doing it for the money now?

I gave up with the elephant books. Don't get me wrong, I like elephants and they've as much right as anything to be in space, they were just mostly dull and to be honest, he doesn't have the writing chops to write from the perspective of African characters. Or elephants. Write what you know, they say.

Elephants in space? I thought Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle had killed that idea utterly to DETH with "Footfall" (Elephantine aliens attempt to invade and terraform Earth. Hilarity doesn't ensue).

Here's a review, which is more interesting than the book itself: https://jamesdavisnicoll.com/review/footfall
"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5760 on: October 08, 2019, 09:18:51 pm »
Elephants in space.  Pah!     Reynolds should always be honoured for giving us Pigs In Spaaaace !      I don't think Link Hogthrob would really have gotten on with Scorpio though......


https://revelationspace.fandom.com/wiki/Scorpio   Contains Spoilers for those who haven't read the Revelation Space books.
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5761 on: October 08, 2019, 10:05:30 pm »
I liked Footfall. My first introduction to the Orion Drive.

I'm just about to read today's chapter of Roger Zelazny's A Night in the Lonesome October. A friend put me onto it, apparently it's a thing to read it a chapter a day throughout October. Though yesterday I had to read two chapters as I forgot the night before.

And coming tomorrow I've got Marcus Aurelius'seseses Meditations that I bought on a whim from Amazon today.
Miles cycled 2014 = 3551.5 (Target 7300 :()
Miles cycled 2013 = 6141.4
Miles cycled 2012 = 4038.1

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5762 on: October 09, 2019, 09:44:57 am »
Anybody read the more recent Alistair Reynolds books?
I read them up to On The Steel Breeze and didn't finish that trilogy as I wasn't finding them that engaging.

I see there's another Prefect book and the Revenger series out since then. Any good? Or is he just doing it for the money now?

I gave up with the elephant books. Don't get me wrong, I like elephants and they've as much right as anything to be in space, they were just mostly dull and to be honest, he doesn't have the writing chops to write from the perspective of African characters. Or elephants. Write what you know, they say.

Elephants in space? I thought Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle had killed that idea utterly to DETH with "Footfall" (Elephantine aliens attempt to invade and terraform Earth. Hilarity doesn't ensue).

Here's a review, which is more interesting than the book itself: https://jamesdavisnicoll.com/review/footfall

Honestly, I never got as far as the elephants being in space, since that was the third book in the inevitable trilogy and I'd given up by then. Possibly the reviews lied. Elephants in space would have relieved the boredom of some seriously dull and two-dimensional protagonists.

Reynold's is a bit hit and miss, he can't really do characters well and tends the labour the exposition and description, but I quite like the broad canvases of the universes he creates.
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T42

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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5763 on: October 09, 2019, 11:31:57 am »
Yeah, I've bounced off a couple of Reynold's operas.  And that other fellow, wossisface, McDivitt?  (Takes his name from a divot, a small clod of earth?)  Very workmanlike authors.

Following Spesh's mention of Neuromancer & C° I'm re-reading it and chuckling at the idea of someone in the future thinking 3 Mb of RAM worth the pinching. Still, it's OK otherwise.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Mr Larrington

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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5764 on: October 09, 2019, 01:04:13 pm »
Having just re-read Sir Phil's "The Book Of Dust" for familiarisation purposes I am now well into part two the second, viz. "The Secret Commonwealth".  Good so far.

Edit: perhaps I should have gone to sleep instead of finishing it, especially coz it'll be another two years before the denouement comes out.  Usual mixture of beguiling fantasy and sharp digs at the Church, the Military-Industrial Complex, IS and, on page 592, Bloody Stupid Johnson.

Approved.
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Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Mr Larrington

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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5765 on: October 11, 2019, 12:28:49 am »
"Many Rivers To Cross", the umpty-threeth of Peter Robinson's Banks novels.  County Lines drug-dealing seems all the rage these days.  If Mr Rankin does it in the next Rebus, which must be due shortly, Harsh Words will be uttered.

Edit: Thin.  Identity of murderer telegraphed in big flashing neon letters.  Time Banks took early retirement.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

telstarbox

  • Loving the lanes
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5766 on: October 11, 2019, 09:14:19 am »
I'm really looking forward to reading this


Quote
Excellent Essex by Gillian Darley – a long-overdue celebration
Beyond white vans and stilettos ... an original and beautifully written celebration of a much-maligned county

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/oct/11/excellent-essex-gillian-darley-review
2019 🏅 R1000 and B1000

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5767 on: October 11, 2019, 11:21:24 am »
Fielding's Tom Jones – and yes, even on the first page I'm being flummoxed with words such as: eleemosynary, calipee, contemning. It's going to be a long 636 pages.

One of my all-time favourite books. I remember being similarly flummoxed by eleemosynary - a word he seems particularly fond of, uses it often - but if you can get over that, it's a rollicking good read.

And incredibly smutty.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5768 on: October 11, 2019, 02:06:32 pm »
The Three Kings by Leo Moynihan

Not normally a fan of biographies but we got a review copy sent to the office and I'm interested in the subjects, so thought I'd give it a go... It's about the three greatest British football managers of the 20th century - Matt Busby, Jock Stein and Bill Shankly - focusing on their common heritage growing up in mining communities in the Scottish lowlands, showing how it made them the men they became. Stirring stuff. Really enjoying it. You can imagine it being made into a TV miniseries, combining archive footage with a narrative voiceover by Ken Stott or Robbie Coltrane. Maybe some atmospheric Celtic tunes in the background.

ian

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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5769 on: October 11, 2019, 09:15:27 pm »
Because of you, one of my emails today featured the word eleemosynary. Admittedly, the last time I emailed that person, I used the phrase lacunaceous diatribe.

I'm really looking forward to reading this


Quote
Excellent Essex by Gillian Darley – a long-overdue celebration
Beyond white vans and stilettos ... an original and beautifully written celebration of a much-maligned county

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/oct/11/excellent-essex-gillian-darley-review

I know what my wife is getting for Christmas.
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Mr Larrington

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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5770 on: October 13, 2019, 03:31:03 pm »
The Institute ~ Stephen King.  Think "The Dead Zone" meets "Firestarter".  Better than some of his other recent offerings.
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Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5771 on: October 14, 2019, 10:05:05 am »
Oh, do let me know how it goes, M. le Maire.  I've not read The Outsider yet... would it be best not to?

Mr Larrington

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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5772 on: October 14, 2019, 12:22:14 pm »
"The Outsider" was OK too.  I'm thinking more along the lines of "Mr Mercedes" and sequels, which started promisingly enough and then turned smelly and brown.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Riggers

  • Mine's a pipe, er… pint!
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5773 on: October 15, 2019, 11:49:59 am »
Still getting through Tom Jones. God, it's a heavy book!!!
Certainly never seen cycling south of Sussex

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
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Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5774 on: October 15, 2019, 12:06:12 pm »
Still getting through Tom Jones. God, it's a heavy book!!!

Books from back then had bigly, clause-infested sentences.

That said, there's a monster from Gabriel García Márquez somewhere that I think tops 2,500 words. OK, I lied, Google says it's 2,156.

I dedicate this one to Spesh, who noted my occasional breathless and lengthy flights of consciousness.

Quote from: The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship, Gabriel García Márque
Now they’re going to see who I am, he said to himself in his strong new man’s voice, many years after he had first seen the huge ocean liner without lights and without any sound which passed by the village one night like a great uninhabited place, longer than the whole village and much taller than the steeple of the church, and it sailed by in the darkness toward the colonial city on the other side of the bay that had been fortified against buccaneers, with its old slave port and the rotating light, whose gloomy beams transfigured the village into a lunar encampment of glowing houses and streets of volcanic deserts every fifteen seconds, and even though at that time he’d been a boy without a man’s strong voice but with his’ mother’s permission to stay very late on the beach to listen to the wind’s night harps, he could still remember, as if still seeing it, how the liner would disappear when the light of the beacon struck its side and how it would reappear when the light had passed, so that it was an intermittent ship sailing along, appearing and disappearing, toward the mouth of the bay, groping its way like a sleep‐walker for the buoys that marked the harbor channel, until something must have gone wrong with the compass needle, because it headed toward the shoals, ran aground, broke up, and sank without a single sound, even though a collision against the reefs like that should have produced a crash of metal and the explosion of engines that would have frozen, with fright the soundest‐sleeping dragons in the prehistoric jungle that began with the last streets of the village and ended on the other side of the world, so that he himself thought it was a dream, especially the, next day, when he. saw the radiant fishbowl. of the bay, the disorder of colors of the Negro shacks on the hills above the harbor, the schooners of the smugglers from the Guianas loading their cargoes ‐of innocent parrots whose craws were full of diamonds, he thought, I fell asleep counting the stars and L dreamed about that huge ship, of course, he was so convinced that he didn’t tell anyone nor did he remember the vision again until the same night on the following March when he was looking for the flash of dolphins in the sea and what he found was the illusory line, gloomy, intermittent, with the same mistaken direction as the first time, except that then he was so sure he was awake that he ran to tell his mother and she spent three weeks moaning with disappointment, because your brain’s rotting away from doing so many things backward, sleeping during the day and going out at night like a criminal, and since she had to go to the city around that time to get something comfortable where she could sit and think about her dead husband, because the rockers on her chair had worn out after eleven years of widowhood, she took advantage of the occasion and had the boatman go near the shoals so that her son could see what he really saw in the glass of; the sea, the lovemaking of manta rays in a springtime of sponges, pink snappers and blue corvinas diving into the other wells of softer waters that were there among the waters, and even the wandering hairs of victims of drowning in some colonial shipwreck, no trace of sunken liners of anything like it, and yet he was so pigheaded that his mother promised to watch with him the next March, absolutely, not knowing that the only thing absolute in her future now was an easy chair from the days of Sir Francis Drake which she had bought at an auction in a Turk’s store, in which she sat down to rest that same night sighing, oh, my poor Olofernos, if you could only see how nice it is to think about you on this velvet lining and this brocade from the casket of a queen, but the more she brought back the memory of her dead husband, the more the blood in her heart bubbled up and turned to chocolate, as if instead of sitting down she were running, soaked from chills and fevers and her breathing full of earth, until he returned at dawn and found her dead in the easy chair, still warm, but half rotted away as after a snakebite, the same as happened afterward to four other women before the murderous chair was thrown into the sea, far away where it wouldn’t bring evil to anyone, because it had. been used so much over the centuries that its faculty for giving rest had been used up, and so he had to grow accustomed to his miserable routine of an orphan who was pointed out by everyone as the son of the widow who had brought the throne of misfortune into the village, living not so much from public charity as from fish he stole out of the boats, while his voice was becoming a roar, and not remembering his visions of past times anymore until another night in March when he chanced to look seaward and suddenly, good Lord, there, it is, the huge asbestos whale, the behemoth beast, come see it, he shouted madly, come see it, raising such an uproar of dogs’ barking and women’s panic that even the oldest men remembered the frights of their great‐grandfathers and crawled under their beds, thinking that William Dampier had come back, but those who ran into the street didn’t make the effort to see the unlikely apparatus which at that instant was lost again in the east and raised up in its annual disaster, but they covered him with blows and left him so twisted that it was then he said to himself, drooling with rage, now they’re going to see who I am, but he took care not to share his determination with anyone, but spent the whole year with the fixed idea, now they’re going to see who I am, waiting for it to be the eve of the apparition once more in order to do what he did, which was steal a boat, cross the bay, and spend the evening waiting for his great moment in the inlets of the slave port, in the human brine of the Caribbean, but so absorbed in his adventure that he didn’t stop as he always did in front of the Hindu shops to look at the ivory mandarins carved from the whole tusk of an elephant, nor did he make fun of the Dutch Negroes in their orthopedic velocipedes, nor was he frightened as at other times of the copper‐skinned Malayans, who had gone around the world, enthralled by the chimera of a secret tavern where they sold roast filets of Brazilian women, because he wasn’t aware of anything until night came over him with all the weight of the stars and the jungle exhaled a sweet fragrance of gardenias and rotter salamanders, and there he was, rowing in the stolen boat, toward the mouth of the bay, with the lantern out so as not to alert the customs police, idealized every fifteen seconds by the green wing flap of the beacon and turned human once more by the darkness, knowing that he was getting close to the buoys that marked the harbor, channel, not only because its oppressive glow was getting more intense, but because the breathing of the water was becoming sad, and he rowed like that, so wrapped up in himself, that he. didn’t know where the fearful shark’s breath that suddenly reached him came from or why the night became dense, as if the stars had suddenly died, and it was because the liner was there, with all of its inconceivable size, Lord, bigger than, any other big thing in the world and darker than any other dark thing on land or sea, three hundred thousand tons of shark smell passing so close to the boat that he could see the seams of the steel precipice without a single light in the infinite portholes, without a sigh from the engines, without a soul, and carrying its own circle of silence with it, its own dead air, its halted time, its errant sea in which a whole world of drowned animals floated, and suddenly it all disappeared with the flash of the beacon and for an instant it was the diaphanous Caribbean once more, the March night, the everyday air of the pelicans, so he stayed alone among the buoys, not knowing what to do, asking himself, startled, if perhaps he wasn’t dreaming while he was awake, not just now but the other times too, but no sooner had. he asked himself than a breath of mystery snuffled out the buoys, from the first to the last, so that when the light of the beacon passed by the liner appeared again and now its compasses were out of order, perhaps not even knowing what part of the ocean sea it was in, groping for the invisible channel but actually heading for the shoals, until he got the overwhelming revelation that that misfortune of the buoys was the last key to the enchantment and he lighted the lantern in the boat, a tiny red light that had no reason to alarm anyone in the watch towers but which would be like a guiding sun for the pilot, because, thanks to it, the liner corrected its course and passed into the main gate of the channel in a maneuver of lucky resurrection, and then all the lights went on at the same time so that the boilers wheezed again, the stars were fixed in their places, and the animal corpses went to the bottom, and there was a clatter of plates and a fragrance of laurel sauce in the kitchens, and one could hear the pulsing of the orchestra on the moon decks and the throbbing of the arteries of high‐sea lovers in the shadows of the staterooms, but he still carried so much leftover rage in him that he would not let himself be confused by emotion or be frightened by the miracle, but said to himself with more decision than ever, now they’re going to see who I am, the cowards, now they’re going to see, and instead of turning aside so that the colossal machine would not charge into him he began to row in front of it, because now they really are going to see who I am, and he continued guiding the ship with the lantern until he was so sure of its obedience that he made it change course from the direction of the docks once more, took it out of the invisible channel, and led it by the halter as if it were a sea lamb toward the lights of the sleeping village, a living ship, invulnerable to the torches of the beacon, that no longer made invisible but made it aluminum every fifteen seconds, and the crosses of the church, the misery of the houses, the illusion began to stand out and still the ocean liner followed behind him, following his will inside of it, the captain asleep on his heart side, the fighting bulls in the snow of their pantries, the solitary patient in the infirmary, the orphan water of its cisterns, the unredeemed pilot who must have mistaken the cliffs for the docks, because at that instant the great roar of the whistle burst forth, once, and he with downpour of steam that fell on him, again, and the boat belonging to someone else was on the point of capsizing, and again, but it was too late, because there were the shells of the shoreline, the stones of the street, the doors of the disbelievers, the whole village illuminated by the lights of the fearsome liner itself, and he barely had time to get out of the way to make room for the cataclysm, shouting in the midst of the confusion, there it is, you cowards, a second before the huge steel cask shattered the ground and one could hear the neat destruction of ninety thousand five hundred champagne glasses breaking, one after the other, from stem to stern, and then the light came out and it was no longer a March dawn but the noon of a radiant Wednesday, and he was able to give himself the pleasure of watching the disbelievers as with open mouths they contemplated the largest ocean liner in this world and the other aground in front of the church, whiter than anything, twenty times taller than the steeple and some ninety‐seven times longer than the village, with its name engraved in iron letters, Halalcsillag, and the ancient and languid waters of the sea of death dripping down its sides.
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