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Rebirth of Reason

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Saturday, February 5, 2005 - 2:17pmSanction this postReply
Matthew,  Who did this review?

Jason D.

Post 1

Saturday, February 5, 2005 - 2:53pmSanction this postReply
Hi Jason,

I did. Why? Didn't you like what I wrote?

I guess I could've done it a little differently, so feel free to comment :-)


Post 2

Saturday, February 5, 2005 - 7:29pmSanction this postReply
Hi Marcus,
Well, I did want to take into consideration the author (and anything I might know about him) before giving feedback.  With that said:
Unfortunately I didn't like the review, as a review.  The first sentence threw too many names at the reader - remember Rand's comments on "crow epistemology".   The review as a whole assumes too much knowledge on the reader's part.  I did like the parenthetical comments, though, as a means of explaining who the characters were.  But, what's cavorite? Who is Campion Bond? These are distracting questions.

If the cavorite theft was the central plot device, why give away the fact that it was retrieved?  

Overall, the review didn't give the reader any real reason to read the book - unless one likes basic melodrama and action (I'm not saying that's all that's in the book, just that that's all the reader takes away from the review).
Something just occurred to me - by saying the "reader" I'm just talking about me, and I take full ownership of my comments :-)

Post 3

Saturday, February 5, 2005 - 10:33pmSanction this postReply
I agree. 

Reading the first paragraph, was like drinking water from a fire hose.

Post 4

Saturday, February 5, 2005 - 11:00pmSanction this postReply
I was wondering why you chose to post a review of this title, MH? Not that it's a bad thing, I liked the story myself...
It's funny, I was flipping through channels and the movie version was on...synchronicity, haha. Anyway, watching the movie again and comparing it to the book made me think of an Objectivist spin (it is called "The League of EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN, after all)...

The movie version has the same characters, for the most part, as the comic...(it is neat to see all those characters from classic literature together in one story...) with an important addition: Tom Sawyer. While the other characters are European, Sawyer is American. In the movie, the story is set at the turn of the century, and revolves around a plot to start a world war. The European heroes band together to stop it, with mixed results, as each "hero" presents a tragic flaw. However, it is the addition of Tom Sawyer that makes the difference, with his youthful optimism and can-do attitude. At the end of the movie, the villain is defeated, and the crisis averted, but with the death of Alan Quatermain, who passes the torch to Sawyer, who represents the new century of American dominance.

The other heroes have also found redemption through Sawyer, with a desire to start anew, to see the new century without hiding, suggesting a vision of celebrating the heroic in a way not too incompatible with Objectivism. (I'll leave it to Marcus to find the flaws!).

It is interesting to note that the movie was done without the involvement of the comic's creator, Alan Moore, who is aware of Rand and not a fan. (He has called her fascist...) The movie is better for this, even if the comic is enjoyable in its own way.

(Edited by Joe Maurone on 2/05, 11:04pm)

Post 5

Saturday, February 5, 2005 - 11:22pmSanction this postReply

If you enjoyed the plot device of bringing together all of these 19th century literary figures, I might suggest that you take a look at the science fiction author Philip Jose Farmer, who, so far as I am aware, originated this idea.

Farmer grew up reading the pulp stories and science fiction of his youth and fondly incorporated their characters, as well as other actual historical individuals into many of his own very pulp-like novels. He has written stories in the Tarzan and Doc Savage universes and created a series of R-rated adventures ("A Feast Unknown", "Lord of the Trees" and "The Mad Goblin") where the two do battle against one another along with a host of other similar literary figures. In "The Adventures of the Peerless Peer", he teamed up Tarzan with Sherlock Holmes.

He wrote "A Barnstormer in OZ" where a Kansas pilot makes his way to the land of OZ for some interesting adventures. And one of my favorite of his stories is "The Other Log of Phileas Fog". One day, while rereading Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days", he was struck by a number inconsistencies and gaps in the original story. His novel tells "the story behind the story" of what actually took place during Fog's trip! Captain Nemo is a character in this story.

Kurt Vonneut Jr. wrote stories that incorporated the fictional author Kilgore Trout as a character. Farmer got Vonnegut's permission to actually write a novel posing as Kilgore Trout. The result was "Venus on the Half Shell".

The culmination of this approach was Farmer's magnum opus, the Riverworld Series - especially the first three books, "To Your Scattered Bodies Go", "The Fabulous Riverboat" and "The Dark Design". Here, the author has every human being who ever lived reserected along the shores of a very long river. The story centers on a number of historical figures including the explorer Sir. Richard Francis Burton, Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain), King John of England, the girl who was the real-life model for "Alice in Wonderland", and so on (including the author himself who's stand-in is Peter Jarius Frigate) as they search for answers to the mystery of how and why they are there.

If you are looking for high literature or deep insights, this is not the author for you. However, if you want reasonably well written, light weight, adventure story, you may find him enjoyable.
(Edited by C. Jeffery Small on 2/05, 11:38pm)

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Post 6

Sunday, February 6, 2005 - 1:32amSanction this postReply
Hi guys,

Thanks for all the feedback. I can see this review should have been done a lot better - sorry! At the end of the day though I think you do have to have at least some interest in 19th century fiction to really appreciate the book, so my listing the League members was intended to grab the attention of that audience on SOLOHQ. Obviously it didn't come over that way :-\


Cavorite is the compound Prof. Cavor uses to power the spacecraft in First Men On The Moon, and Campion Bond is to my knowledge actually an original character created by Moore (though the name itself may come from James Bond and 1930s adventure character Albert Campion). With hindsight I probably shouldn't have stated that the cavorite is retrieved from the oriental crimelord, but that is only part of the story and happens probably less than halfway through the book.


A lot of SOLOists seem to like superhero comics (including myself). The League comics take heros from 19th century literature and places them in effect in a superhero comics setting, so I figured some here might be interested. And although Moore isn't an Objectivist, there is a definite streak of romanticism in his work, which to me makes it worth reading (something that seems to come over much more strongly in the second volume of League adventures, but more on that when I've finished it).

As for the movie, I enjoyed watching it, and I take your point about Quatermian symbolically passing the torch to Sawyer, but in all honestly I have to say I preferred the book. Adding Tom Sawyer and Dorien Grey is one thing (I figured that was done because many Americans wouldn't be as familiar with some of the other heros) but there were too many other changes - Mina's a vampire for no apparent reason, the Invisible Man isn't meant to be the Wells character, I didn't like what they did with the villain and they throw in that hocus-pocus ending with an African shaman apparently trying to resurrect the dead Quatermain. In the book it seems like he and Mina are heading for romance.


I've heard of Farmer and will certainly check out his work - I think there is definitely room for "lighter" entertainment alongside philosophy-laden thousand page novels :-)


(Edited by Matthew Humphreys on 2/06, 1:35am)

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