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LIBRO DE LOS CRANEOS, EL Tekijä: Silverberg…
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LIBRO DE LOS CRANEOS, EL (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 1972; vuoden 2008 painos)

Tekijä: Silverberg Robert (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1,0502519,147 (3.56)23
Four students discover a manuscript, The Book of Skulls, which reveals the existence of a sect, now living in the Arizona desert, whose members can offer immortality to those who can complete its initiation rite. To their surprise, they discover that the sect exists, and is willing to accept them as acolytes. But for each group of four who enter the rite, two must die in order for the others to succeed.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:Yodagasan
Teoksen nimi:LIBRO DE LOS CRANEOS, EL
Kirjailijat:Silverberg Robert (Tekijä)
Info:LA FACTORIA DE IDEAS (2008)
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
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The Book of Skulls (tekijä: Robert Silverberg) (1972)

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    Replay (tekijä: Ken Grimwood) (ostgut)
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englanti (24)  italia (1)  Kaikki kielet (25)
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 25) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
This book is rather different from the author's general science fictional output as it is a psychological study of four young men which was in a contemporary setting when originally published in 1972. The story is told from the four men's viewpoint and switches around between them so that we see their assumptions about the others and then how those assumptions are usually wrong.

Four young men are on holiday from their university where they are friends and/or room mates. The four are on a long road trip across America to find a retreat or monastery supposedly inhabited by men who are immortal. One of the four, a scholar called Eli, has come across a manuscript in the university library while there to look for something else and, intrigued by the illustrations of skulls in it, translated it. It turned out to be a guide for how to win immortality by turning up at the abode of the "monks" as a group of four to undergo initiation/trial. The snag is only two can win through: one must commit suicide - sacrifice himself for the group - and the other must be killed by the remaining three.

Eli believes totally in the message of the manuscript and has convinced the other three in the preceding months to accompany him to the place where he believes the monastery currently resides - it is presumed to have moved from one place to the other over the centuries, but before finding the manuscript, he had come across a newspaper article about a place which he believes houses the same order. Ned, who is a cynic, fluctuates in his belief and toys with the idea of committing suicide - as long as he can 'have' one of the others first, the physically attractive Oliver, while Timothy, from a long line of rich men, is going along for the ride and treating the whole thing as a game. As the trip proceeds we learn that Oliver is obsessed with living forever because his whole family died prematurely, leaving him the family farm - the sale of which paid for his attendance at the university. All four have dark secrets which later come to light.

The problem I had with the story, apart from the voices of the four being very similar, is that all are basically repellent characters - not only because of some terrible things they have done, but because of their attitude to women. Women are mentioned in the various flashbacks, and even where they are stated to be intelligent and strong characters in practice they are little more than chattels. The men constantly refer to women in abusive terms. One character "lends out" his girlfriend to another so that the latter can experience sex with an attractive woman whom he regards as out of his league - and she goes along with it. The attitudes to women are truly appalling and although some of this is a product of the book's time, it is hard to believe that all young men of the 1970s were as bad as this. There are women at the monastery, but they too are treated as possessions/vessels to teach the 'lads' how to control their orgasms. The bisexual character is also depicted along the lines of a stereotyped gay man of a kind that would not be tolerated in anything written today.

Although there is some clever switching around of whom we are led to believe will be the sacrifice and whom the murder victim, ultimately none of the four deserves immortality and all of them lost my sympathies, hence only a 2-star rating. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
Interesting book. Not so much horror or science fiction or fantasy as just a good well-written literary story. Virtually the entire book is chapters alternating between the four principal characters and their internal monologue. ( )
1 ääni MarkLacy | May 29, 2022 |
DNF @ p50. I don't know why SF Masterworks published this as there doesn't seem to be any SF content. There's plenty of misogyny though, plus a decent smattering of anti-semitism and homophobia. Meh! ( )
  SChant | Dec 12, 2021 |
Very good read! I was amazed at this book. Is it actually science fiction? Is it horror? I loved the ending. ( )
  Chica3000 | Dec 11, 2020 |
This heavily character-driven novel begins and continues like an interesting jaunt through america in a classic road-trip novel, but it eventually becomes something much more on two fronts that might possibly be just one.

Is it really about joining a secret society cult based on a the Book of Skulls that promises immortality at a price? Or is it really about exploring one's sexuality, with the majority of emphasis being on homosexuality?

I'm not saying that being a homosexual is the route to immortality in this tale. Far from it. It's incidental, but intricately linked to what the narrator is focused on within his own mind, always swirling closer and closer and closer and never quite being able to free himself through all the meditations and weird secret-society explorations because of it.

It can get a bit trippy, well beyond the sexuality aspects. Very '70's writing, with main focus on enlightenment and free love and using drugs to open their minds, but more than that, this is a very deep exploration of the mind and motives and reactions to so many conflicting desires. The narrator doesn't see himself as homosexual, he sees himself as bisexual, and all of it is just as muddied as his own hunt for personal enlightenment.

Death? Sex? Drugs? Quest? It's all part of the same novel, and it's very interesting on all those levels and also one more: Spirituality and mystery religions. Silverberg obviously has a great deal of knowledge about them and it held my attention nearly as much as the main tale. Fun stuff.

Other than that, it's nominally SF. It's more a tale of self-discovery during the 70's more than anything. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä (7 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Robert Silverbergensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetlaskettu
Alexander, PaulKansikuvataiteilijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Burns, JimKansikuvataiteilijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Lundgren, CarlKansikuvataiteilijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
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Coming into New York City from the north, off the New England Thruway, Oliver driving as usual.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

Four students discover a manuscript, The Book of Skulls, which reveals the existence of a sect, now living in the Arizona desert, whose members can offer immortality to those who can complete its initiation rite. To their surprise, they discover that the sect exists, and is willing to accept them as acolytes. But for each group of four who enter the rite, two must die in order for the others to succeed.

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