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The Book Of The Damned (2006)

The Book of the Damned (2006)
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3.79 of 5 Votes: 2
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1585092789 (ISBN13: 9781585092789)
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The Book Of The Damned (2006)
The Book Of The Damned (2006)

About book: I'm actually surprised I managed to finish this book. It had a lot of potential, I thought - supposedly Fort's ideas inspired a great many writers whose work I enjoy, including H.P. Lovecraft, Robert Heinlein, and Stephen King. As soon as I started reading, though, I could tell it would be a slog to get through; the writing is dense and unorganized and frankly most of it is crazy. But some of the basic premises are thought-provoking: for instance, excessive trust in current scientific understanding can cause people to work overly hard to fit all observations into the existing framework, missing places where that understanding is incomplete or incorrect. Where might those places be today? Also, there's the occasional hilarity of passages like the following:"But it is our expression that there are no positive differences: that all things are like a mouse and a bug in the heart of a cheese. Mouse and a bug: no two things could seem more unlike. They're there a week, or they stay there a month: both are then only transmutations of cheese. I think we're all bugs and mice, and are only different expressions of an all-inclusive cheese."But by the sixth or seventh consecutive chapter of lists of weird weather reports*, I very nearly gave up on the book. Fort will occasionally have a thesis or at least some kind of direction to his writing, but more often than not he just lists news blurb after news blurb, with little to no connection between them. He accuses scientists of cherry-picking data to fit their existing theories and then promptly turns around and cherry-picks stories to fit his own alternate explanations. And his writing style is strangely bipolar; he rambles on and on through maddeningly long paragraphs and then abruptly switches over to short phrases emitted as staccato non sequiturs.I'm still not quite sure what kept me going through all that. I think it may have been just a simple change from talking about bizarre weather to strangely carved stones or something, and the novelty was enough to pull me forward. But for whatever reason I did keep going, and I found that what I tended to enjoy the most were Fort's theories trying to explain odd happenings. Some would make good premises for science fiction novels (Earth has been visited by aliens, but the reason that we don't see any of them any more is that one particular alien race has laid claim to our planet and is warning/fighting all the rest off - but why?) while others are kind of brilliantly searing horror scenes (a giant space snake has been slain in a cosmic battle and its blood and gore rain down upon the Earth). Most are just crazy, though - not just impossible as we understand the universe, but also poorly thought out and confusingly explained.So in the end, I wouldn't really recommend reading this book. And I'm still kind of amazed I'm giving it two stars instead of just one (or none at all). But something did keep me going through it, and I felt the need to try and explain why, even to myself - hence the weirdly long review for a book I didn't like that much. I think perhaps I'll close with another quotation from the book, which I feel sums up the whole experience nicely:"I have discovered a new unintelligibility."*By the way, there sure were a lot of reports of strange things falling from the sky from the late 1700s through the 1800s, especially since as far as I know almost nobody any more reports rains of blood or "flakes of a substance that looked like beef" or "things like gelatinous hat crowns." I guess this illustrates the leaps we've made in communication. News reports are no longer collected by talking to someone who says "my second cousin's wife's best friend says that three weeks ago hailstones the size of cows fell on a farm three counties over," which results in a story published long after the fact and distorted by the weakness of human memory. Now, we've got tweets and cell phone videos and all kinds of ways to record and instantly corroborate or debunk stories. Kind of an interesting cultural shift along with the technological one there.

Swimming in the Super-Sargossa Sea"In the topography of intellection, I should say that what we call knowledge is ignorance surrounded by laughter."A beautifully researched book from the early 20th Century that posits what passes for truth and knowledge as espoused by scientists, especially Astronomers and Meteorologists, is simply what is convenient rather than what is truth. The basic theory is that if we continue to search and question, all things considered certain will melt away and it is vital that we continue to seek and question so that we can continue to evolve.This fits quite nicely in line with other books that have interested me of late that continue to push me to remember that the questions are far more important than the answers and the more we look the more we uncover about ourselves and the world (and cosmos) around us."My own version is: that nothing indicates anything, in a positive sense, because, in a positive sense, there is nothing to be indicated. Everything that is called true must merge away indistinguishably into something called false. Both are expressions of the same underlying quasiness, and are continuous."Fort meticulously researched this and so the large number of citations from news stories and journals can get overwhelming to the reader, but his commentary in between is worth the price of admission (free electronically!) for those that can push through. Recommended for seekers of the truth, skeptical scientists and theologians, and anyone interested in what could really be out there.
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Reviews
Matthew Conroy
Oh goodness, this was appalling. I love the idea of a collection of unexplained events and phenomena. But Mr. Fort spends huge amounts of space complaining about scientists being disingenuous in their scientific pursuits. His evidence for this is not the fact that the events remain unexplained; rather, his evidence is that they have not en-masse accepted his preposterous conclusions regarding these events. For example, he attributes all unusual events of falling things (e.g. ice, leaves, frogs, blood, fish) to extra-terrestrial vehicles, without a shred of evidence for such a conclusion. I feel embarrassed for Mr. Fort.
John
While he could have done with a fraction of the material and still driven the point across, this work is still filled with interesting questions concerning a number of what Fort calls "Damned" facts - facts destined to be rejected by science. He talks throughout of the mentality of science to reject "non-proper" facts such as these or to explain them away and shove them into the current knowledge, despite possible misplacement there.Very interesting, but poorly written and rambling.He talks often of a large super-sea in the air, and superconstructions that supposedly explain the numerous astronomical and weather-like phenomenae he examines. Whether he is joking or not is hard to tell, but what is sure is the works main point is the mentality of what he calls Positivism in science.If you are interested in Blood Rain, mysterious objects that fall from the sky, blackened cities, UFOs or other similar events, this is a great classic to jump into.
Anna Prejanò
Fortunatamente preso in biblioteca, date le quotazioni elevate nei giri di usato. Volevo leggerlo perché citato appassionatamente da Pauwels e Bergier nel "Mattino dei maghi". I "dannati" sono fatti esclusi dalla scienza ufficiale: "alcuni di essi sono cadaveri, scheletri, mummie che si contorcono, che camminano vacillando, animati da compagni che sono stati dannati ancora in vita. Ci sono giganti, profondamente addormentati, che passeranno vicini. Ci sono cose che sono teoremi e altre che sono solo spazzatura: essi sfileranno sotto braccio a Euclide con lo spirito dell'anarchia. Qua e là svolazzeranno delle sgualdrinelle. Molti sono dei buffoni, ma molti sono della massima rispettabilità. Alcuni sono assassini". Il brano citato (che prometteva bene) serve a dare un assaggio dello stile di Fort, a tratti metaforico e divertente. Peccato che il libro sia davvero una lunga sfilata di fatti, ma terribilmente monotona e appesantita dalla minuziosa citazione delle fonti (comprensibile visto lo scopo di Fort, che non è quello di intrattenere il lettore). Ho deciso di abbandonarlo dopo quasi cento pagine di piogge rosse, nere, gialle, gelatinose, di sangue, di carne, di zolfo ecc.
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