July 02, 2005

Og Smash

The Neaderpundit recently made his way through Atlas Shrugged, and gives his cliff notes version:

Liberalisim at it's core is a desire to drag everyone down to the level of the lowest of the low, to take away from those who work hard for their success and give to layabouts. About racheting down the freedom of the individual until the gummint must decide everything for everyone. It's true on a corporate level and on an individual level. The end result of all this robin hooded stupidity is that everyone's lives turn to shit, fairly quickly.

Well, duh.

Okay, confession time: I've never read any books by Ayn Rand.

*ducks large rock thrown by JohnL*

Honestly, the ideas are good, but I can't force my way through the books. I started a friend's copy of The Fountainhead a couple of days ago, got about 10 pages through it, and I couldn't take it any more.

Alternative recommendations for books are always welcom.

Posted by Owlish at July 2, 2005 10:55 AM | TrackBack

Check out Robert A. Heinlein. I've only read a few of his books, and he seems to be rather hung up on sex/marriage arrangements in society, but I'd recommend "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" and "Stranger in a Strange Land".

Posted by: Brad Warbiany at July 2, 2005 09:16 PM

What Brad said. Heinlein is a better storyteller, hands down, but I know you've read some of him.

The Fountainhead is my favorite Rand work, as it still contains some honest joy mixed in with the didacticism (didacticity?)

Atlas Shrugged is a challenge for a lot of people. Including my beautiful and intelligent wife who loved the story but skipped over the repetitive (i.e., preachy) parts. I like it, but can objectively acknowledge the weaknesses pointed out by others. Sort of like my enjoying heavy metal when my classical snob friends point out its objective shortcomings compared to Bach.

Since you've had trouble with Rand's novels, I would strongly recommend trying her novella Anthem, which is a wonderfully poetic book about an individual in a future dystopia. The closest to SF that she came (and the inspiration for Rush's 2112). It's a very short and easy read.

If you can make it through that, then try out her first novel, We the Living, which is a semi-autobiographical account of a young girl living through and trying to escape the communist revolution in Russia.

Posted by: JohnL at July 2, 2005 11:57 PM

Some people just don't like Rand's stylized writing style. Personally, I had trouble putting Atlas Shrugged down (read it in three or four days when I was 15).

But I'll second JohnL's recommendation. Anthem is lyrical, beautiful, and unlike anything else she wrote. The climactic moment will bring a tear to your eye.

Unless you're, you know, an insensitive pig. :-)

I love Heinlein, and Moon... is great. I also recommend Starship Troopers (the book, not the abysmal movie), Glory Road, Revolt in 2100, ... I'd better quit.

Posted by: Richard G. Combs at July 4, 2005 10:50 PM

Before we get too many recommendations, I've read a fair amount of Heinlein, although somehow never "Stranger in a Strange Land," which is probably his most famous work. I'll plan on hunting it down. I have a boxed set of his works with Revolt in 2100, The Man who Sold the Moon, Menace from Earth, Double Star, and Puppet Masters. Plus Expanded Universe and Friday.

Any other recommended authors?

Posted by: owlish at July 4, 2005 11:42 PM
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