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Old 10-28-2008, 10:28 AM   #46
bill_mchale
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Bill, I agree with you, that I've met some seriously bent Objectivists. But then again, if you're a Trek fan you can't say you haven't met some insanely dedicated, even religious, Trekkers. Some of my best friends...

True, but I would point out that while Roddenbery did infuse Trek with his philosophical ideas, he never meant, I think, the series to be considered a serious philosophical work. Rand very much meant her novels and the work she did afterwards to be taken as serious philosophy.

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Old 10-28-2008, 10:38 AM   #47
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10. Harry Kemelman's Rabbi Small mystery series - helped break through my generic-media-based-lowest-common-denominator-perspective of religions - plus great fun mystery stories that don't revolve around blood and gore.
The "Rabbi" books are great fun, and interesting portraits of the Jewish community Rabbi Small serves.

Another series with a similar bent are Charles Merril Smith's "Reverend Randolph" books. C. P. Randolph is a former NFL quarterback who heard the call, quit football at the height of his career, and became an Episcopalian priest. He finds himself selected to take over a prosperous Chicago congregation, and must balance his priestly duties and his relationship with his TV anchorwoman girlfriend, while solving the odd murder that drops into his path.
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:45 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by bill_mchale View Post
True, but I would point out that while Roddenbery did infuse Trek with his philosophical ideas, he never meant, I think, the series to be considered a serious philosophical work. Rand very much meant her novels and the work she did afterwards to be taken as serious philosophy.
And that's part of the problem. Rand was indeed attempting to be a serious philosopher, but it's difficult to do that and write good fiction. H.G. Wells was a Fabian Socialist, and his later works suffered as his Socialist leanings took front and center, and the books turned from entertaining fiction to propaganda.

You can make a case Rand's work started out as propaganda, which can be deadly.
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:16 AM   #49
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Dennis,
What I find interesting is that I can be engaged by books with lots of political and social ideas. For example, I like all three of Heinlein's most famous works (Star Ship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) but I am not turned off by the strong political or religious ideas in any of them; I think in large part because the works are so very different. Heinlein is exploring the ideas, not necessarily preaching them (Though Moon is a Harsh Mistress seems to come close to his personal beliefs I think).

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Old 10-28-2008, 11:56 AM   #50
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Dennis,
What I find interesting is that I can be engaged by books with lots of political and social ideas. For example, I like all three of Heinlein's most famous works (Star Ship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) but I am not turned off by the strong political or religious ideas in any of them; I think in large part because the works are so very different. Heinlein is exploring the ideas, not necessarily preaching them (Though Moon is a Harsh Mistress seems to come close to his personal beliefs I think).
Oh, I agree, and Heinlein is an example I'd use too. I don't think it's possible to separate your own beliefs and attitudes from your fiction: they can't avoid coloring the work. But RAH was telling a story first, and the ideas were implicit in the story. He wasn't using the story as a platform from which to push his ideas.

And Heinlein may present ideas you disagree with, but he forces to to examine his ideas and your own and explain why you disagree, if you expect to do so successfully. Examining your own beliefs can be a real challenge, as they often live on an unconscious level. They are attitudes and feelings, not reasoned statements.

A lot of Heinlein's work can be viewed as RAH systematically examining the Midwest Bible Belt beliefs he was raised in, and saying "Does this make sense?", with the answer often being "No!". His proposed alternatives can incite passionate denials, and even Heinlein fans can bicker endlessly about some of his books.

An example is _Starship Troopers_, and whether the government described is a military government. You can make a case for it: the system is described as an outgrowth of a major war that seems to have largely collapsed both combatants, with the genesis in local pockets of order imposed by returning veterans who trusted each other, and placed restrictions on who could join the club and get a say in how things are done. By the time of ST, getting the vote requires completing a term of Federal Service, but lots of Federal Service positions aren't military per se.

I think Moon does somewhat express RAH's own beliefs. An old friend who knew him socially once sent Heinlein a card asking if his beliefs could be largely described as Libertarian, and RAH replied "Yes".
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:13 PM   #51
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LOL.. well Dennis, we could really cause this thread to wander far from the point if we start discussing Heinlein's works... I was just using them as an example. I disagree with a lot of what Heinlein wrote, but I enjoy his writing that is for sure .

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Old 10-28-2008, 12:18 PM   #52
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The first Star Trek books I ever read where the TV adaptations by James Blish. Then I read Spock Must Die by Blish. Been reading Star Trek fiction ever since.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:22 PM   #53
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The first Star Trek books I ever read where the TV adaptations by James Blish. Then I read Spock Must Die by Blish. Been reading Star Trek fiction ever since.
And how did it change something in your life, Jon?
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:31 PM   #54
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And how did it change something in your life, Jon?
Got me started on the raod to becoming a trekkie.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:39 PM   #55
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Fair enough, Jon.
And you're now partly responsible for a heap of trekkie-related ads on this page.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:43 PM   #56
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Fair enough, Jon.
And you're now partly responsible for a heap of trekkie-related ads on this page.
What trekkie or Star Trek related ads have you seen? I've yet to see any. What I saw were some really god awful ads for ebook comparisons that are terrible overall.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:46 PM   #57
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There were several a few minutes ago. Now it's just:

"The Star Trek Quiz
If you think you know all about Star Trek, prove it!
Quiz-Challenge.com"
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:57 PM   #58
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On the main topic:

Me being an ex-musician,the book that changed me most (and the only non-religious book that had an impact on me so far), is the bio written of Jaco Pastorius (A recommendation for any serious bass player, brass orchestra leader, and serious all round musician): "The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius" !

Not only does the book write about the good times of a man growing up in Fort Lauterdale FL, picking up the bass as an instrument at an early age, and becoming one of the worlds most successful bassplayers ever, but it also talks about his wrong choices, drugs, alcohol, women, and his life right AFTER the peak of his life.
How it ended, family and friends' and witnesses...
I felt that reading this book has done me good in the sense that it allowed me to almost live his life,without going through the failures he went through.
And it's a great lesson for musicians and artists in general!
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:52 PM   #59
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The book that changed my life completely? Had to be Dick, Jane and Sally. Turned those funny little squiggles on the paper into actual words. The rest is just follow on.
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Old 10-28-2008, 03:04 PM   #60
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Fair enough, Jon.
And you're now partly responsible for a heap of trekkie-related ads on this page.
Watching trek, and reading it has enabled me to sweep any Jeopardy category on Star Trek. Is that a life change?

BOb
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