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Any of you ever ready the Isaac Asimov Foundation saga?
i read them; or at least i believe i read the ones you're referring to. i don't recall there being five of them at the time though - i'm pretty old :tongue:.

i mostly remember the mule. i think he came in later when i had lost interest in whatever else was supposed to be going on. but the concept he exemplified has stayed with me for most of my life.
 

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i read them; or at least i believe i read the ones you're referring to. i don't recall there being five of them at the time though - i'm pretty old :tongue:.

i mostly remember the mule. i think he came in later when i had lost interest in whatever else was supposed to be going on. but the concept he exemplified has stayed with me for most of my life.
You know, I would have been shocked if at least one other person on this forum hadn't read these books haha!

There are 7 books in total believe it or not - the final book written, which oddly is the 2nd book in terms of the time-line, was the final novel written by Asimov I believe (TBC).

I'm actually onto the very book now where the Mule is introduced (Foundation and Empire). I vaguely remember that the final book has a bit of a disappointing ending.
 

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You know, I would have been shocked if at least one other person on this forum hadn't read these books haha!

There are 7 books in total believe it or not - the final book written, which oddly is the 2nd book in terms of the time-line, was the final novel written by Asimov I believe (TBC).

I'm actually onto the very book now where the Mule is introduced (Foundation and Empire). I vaguely remember that the final book has a bit of a disappointing ending.
I've read them all, plus a lot of the Robot books. Asimov has a reputation for shallow characters, but the Mule was an amazing creation, and I have thought about him for years. That's saying a lot, because I read so many books, I forget most of them unless reminded.

Asimov took a long break after the original trilogy, written in the 1950s, then added four more, written in the 1980s and 1990s. It's a little disconcerting when you read them, because Asimov's style changed over the years, and some are a lot better than others. I agree, I wasn't thrilled with the final book.

I just finished Ann Leckie's fantasy Raven Tower, which I raced through. She's a great author. Very interested in pronouns - this one is narrated in 2nd person, very unusual.
 

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I've read them all, plus a lot of the Robot books. Asimov has a reputation for shallow characters, but the Mule was an amazing creation, and I have thought about him for years. That's saying a lot, because I read so many books, I forget most of them unless reminded.

Asimov took a long break after the original trilogy, written in the 1950s, then added four more, written in the 1980s and 1990s. It's a little disconcerting when you read them, because Asimov's style changed over the years, and some are a lot better than others. I agree, I wasn't thrilled with the final book.

I just finished Ann Leckie's fantasy Raven Tower, which I raced through. She's a great author. Very interested in pronouns - this one is narrated in 2nd person, very unusual.
Agreed, the 2 sequels and 2 prequels written in the 80s and 90s do, as you say, have a very different style. Coupled with the fact they are both one long story of the same person - the prequels both being about Hari Seldon and the sequels being about Golan Trevize - rather than 'short stories' of different characters across different time periods.

I've not read the Robot book's but hoping to get to them after re-reading the Foundation series.

I just looked up Raven Tower:

"...Eolo discovers that the Raven's Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself...and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever."

I now want to read this!
 

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It's funny we're talking about Asimov. I was just about to say I finished I, Robot (a re-read). I also read What every BODY is saying, a decent book about reading body language (3/5).

Now, I'm doing a quick re-read of The Knife of Never Letting Go and following it up with Foundation as I'd like to read this Asimov work that I actually have never tackled before.
 

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just finished west of sunset, by stewart o'nan. it's a novelized account of f. scott fitzgerald's last years, when he was 'washed up' but trying to keep his wife's asylum fees paid by script writing for hollywood. highly recommend. i've always liked fitzgerald, although it's been decades since i first read all his books.

the back-cover blurb says 'it doesn't matter if he was a friend of [whoever]'s for real or not; he is now'. i mention that just because having read this, i disagree. the book is so well done, and so sympathetic and perceptive, that now i feel like i do 'need' to know if [whoever] had been a real friend of his. with a less perceptive and tender writer, the inventions might have been obvious. with this one, everything flows and i'd rather know what was true about him than perpetuate a fiction just because it's told well enough to seem plausible.

i especially like this author for showing fitzgerald as taking writing itself seriously. and i like his attention to zelda and the dynamic between them as well. he's understated but meticulous. there's nothing meretricious about his treatment, which i really appreciate given how lurid and facile a book about the fitzgeralds could be.

now onto my second book of the weekend, another unreliable-narrator book called the pocket wife by susan crawford. it's a whodunnit, of course. can't help noticing that bridget jones triggered a waterfall of knockoff novels that were mostly extremely awful. whereas with gone girl, in my personal opinion the copycats have actually been a steady process of improving on what was (in gone girl and if you ask me) nothing more than a sketchy hanging of flesh on the scaffolding of a clever idea.

so far i'm liking this one. i like the main character, basically. she's bipolar, and what i like about this book so far is that it actually feels like a book with a bipolar protagonist. instead of 'oh, she's bipolar' just being a glib gimmick to compromise her credibility and get the reader guessing wrt the plot.

books cost a buck fifty each at a local loonie store :tongue:. i'm having a very good weekend so far.
 

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Delphic Seer
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d'oh. now that i'm a few weeks clear of shark, i finally know what it's been reminding me of. tree of smoke, by denis johnson. i KNEW there was something. it's hard to define what it is exactly, but i'm pretty sure it's both the content and style.

they're both war-based (wwii and vietnam, respectively). both rather horribly graphic, but very gauzy on actual details so you get left with these impressionist smears of distressingness, like bloody thumbprints on glass. and they're both constructed in this way that's probably intentionally designed to be just-give-up grade of confusing on characters, timelines, material plot and what's actually going on where and with who at any particular time. you're very helpless as the reader. i think that's part of the intended experience, and i'm fine with that.

glad to have got that puzzle figured at last. currently just bought one veryserious book - more iris murdoch - one have-no-pride true crime thing from ann rule - and something i can't classify yet because i have no idea what it is. i picked it up for the author whose name might be julian barnes.
 

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I mentioned to a friend that I was in the mood for a weird book, and was handed Samuel Delany's The Einstein Intersection. It is the second weirdest book that I have every read. Number one is The Circus of Dr Lao. Both are great in their strangeness and defy description.
 

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i'm on arthur and george by julian barnes. think i spoiled it for myself by . . . spoilering myself. i'd rather not have known what it's about. but i'm not going to punish barnes for my own lack of discipline.
 

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i'm the only one reading, i guess . . . oh well.

bought the executioner's song in a thrift store. do i like norman mailer? hell no. do i have any interest in gary gilmore? not much. but i'm in a state where just looking at the spines of fiction makes me feel like i already know all the possible topics inside, and i don't care about any of them.

 


- 'sweeping saga' of something or other. don't care.
- multi-generational something or other. oh my god, the amount i don't care.
- 'one [wo]man's' something to something something. i HATE that 'one blah blah' phrase. so much i just can't imagine what kind of 'something' would even get my attention if it follows it.
- children get beaten.
- children get raped. this is tricky to articulate, but i'm quite sincerely saying it's got to where it offends me how frequently this trope seems to get thrown in these days. like 'oh yeah, better make sure it's got that there somewhere'.
- mono-generational family strife/conflict/secret-comes-to-light of some kind; i don't care.
- deduct 40 points for "war-torn" anything.
- any book, ever, that has a title built on the rote formula of 'the [profession noun]'s [family-relationship noun]'. i don't even know what most of these books are about. the titular formula is (again) so facilely pompous, i can't picture giving a damn.


so non-fiction is where i'm gravitating these days. can't say i give any cares about gilmore either, but i think the appeal of non-fiction is i know it's actually happened so i don't have to ask my burned-out imagination to invent any belief. i can just let the facts happen to me. i'm at a pretty low ebb.
 

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I mentioned to a friend that I was in the mood for a weird book, and was handed Samuel Delany's The Einstein Intersection. It is the second weirdest book that I have every read. Number one is The Circus of Dr Lao. Both are great in their strangeness and defy description.
oh my. delaney WAS 'weird', or i guess is since he's still alive. nova was the one that stuck in my mind, but it was relatively straightforward. i recall reading dhalgren only because it was so out of my mental reach none of it even comes back to me now.

"weirdest book i ever read" would be an interesting conversation. i don't think i track like that though. my mind doesn't really seem like it registers weird until we're suddenly over a line and into turf that i'd more call 'repellent'.
 

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i'm the only one reading, i guess . . . oh well.

bought the executioner's song in a thrift store. do i like norman mailer? hell no. do i have any interest in gary gilmore? not much. but i'm in a state where just looking at the spines of fiction makes me feel like i already know all the possible topics inside, and i don't care about any of them.

 


- 'sweeping saga' of something or other. don't care.
- multi-generational something or other. oh my god, the amount i don't care.
- 'one [wo]man's' something to something something. i HATE that 'one blah blah' phrase. so much i just can't imagine what kind of 'something' would even get my attention if it follows it.
- children get beaten.
- children get raped. this is tricky to articulate, but i'm quite sincerely saying it's got to where it offends me how frequently this trope seems to get thrown in these days. like 'oh yeah, better make sure it's got that there somewhere'.
- mono-generational family strife/conflict/secret-comes-to-light of some kind; i don't care.
- deduct 40 points for "war-torn" anything.
- any book, ever, that has a title built on the rote formula of 'the [profession noun]'s [family-relationship noun]'. i don't even know what most of these books are about. the titular formula is (again) so facilely pompous, i can't picture giving a damn.


so non-fiction is where i'm gravitating these days. can't say i give any cares about gilmore either, but i think the appeal of non-fiction is i know it's actually happened so i don't have to ask my burned-out imagination to invent any belief. i can just let the facts happen to me. i'm at a pretty low ebb.
I know what you mean. I refuse to read any more books about middle aged women trying to find meaning in their lives. Right now I'm mostly reading science fiction and books recommended by James Mustich. I just finished the Bobiverse trilogy, by Dennis Taylor. Pretty good, focused on AI and what it would really be like to have space battles. It reminded me of The Martian. I really enjoyed Anne Leckie's new fantasy, The Raven Tower, which is narrated by a boulder/god. Not surprisingly, it covers a loooong time period.

I am almost done listening to the sci fi classic, A Canticle for Leibowitz, which I think every INTJ should read. It is very INTJish, and also excellent. Full of thoughts about religion, science, society, humanity's drive to self-destruction, but all on a very practical level somehow. It is the only novel that Walter Miller finished, but if you only could write one book, this is one to be proud of.

And I have started a Reader's Advisory notebook, sorted by genre/topic. (Reader's Advisory is librarianspeak for what you say when someone asks "Do you have any good books I might like?") The experts say you shouldn't think about it by genre, but more based on things like , "is this character based, or is it plot driven?" Which is all well and good, but when I do that I can't think of anything at all. So I'm going by genre and topic, which is easier. And I'm doing it in a selfish way. I'm not including books that I think other people might like. It only has books that I think are great. I don't have much in it yet, but it is a fun project.

My Weird In a Good Way list (doesn't have much on it yet.)

Chesterton, G. The Man who was Thursday. I still don't know what that book was about. I suspect neither did Chesterton.

Delany, S. The Einstein Connection (mentioned in previous post)

Abbott, E. Flatland. Satire about society, plus geometry and exploring dimensions! Everybody should read this one.

Finney, C. The Circus of Dr. Lao. So, so weird, defies description. Mythology, circuses, racism, sexism, mythology again?

Murate, S. Convenience Store Woman. Very odd narrator, who lives her life according to rules of her employer, the convenience store. I loved it.

Murakami, 1Q84. Really, anything by Murakami would qualify. I loved the portal to another reality in this - the side of a busy freeway, a place where people on foot are out of sync with the world and its rules.


Non-fiction picks. You are probably familiar with most of these, but maybe some will give you ideas on what to read next:

Capote, T. In Cold Blood - true crime, classic

Krakauer, Jon. Into Thin Air - outdoors, adventure, disaster. Krakauer almost died on this Everest expedition. Very thoughtful, well done.

Kean, Sam. The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons - popular science, history of the study of the brain. Anyone interested on personality theory would like this one.

Duhigg, C. The Power of Habit - popular science, self-help. I don't usually like self-help books, but I found the exploration of why and how we form habits fascinating and useful.

Bryson, BIll. A Short History of Nearly Everything - overview of everything!

Blum, D. The Poisoner's Handbook - all about the history of poison. Great in a gruesome way.

Bowler, K. Everything Happens for a Reason, and other lies I have loved - explores the prosperity gospel, where it came from, the way we easily fall into its traps. Entertainingly written and surprisingly cheerful - the author has stage 4 cancer.

St Augustine. Confessions - if you're in the mood for something to really make you think. The first coming of age book.

Isaacson, W. Steve Jobs. Great character study, warts and all.

Winchester, S. The Professor and the Madman: a tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English Dictionary The title says it all.

Sheinkin, S. Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the secret history of the Vietnam War. Sheinkin is good at making something complex accessible, without dumbing it down.

Jerome, J. Three Men in a boat (to say nothing of the dog) - Victorian camping. Hilarious.

Twain, M. Life on the Mississippi - I especially liked his description of learning to navigate the river. Twain at his best.

McPhee, John. Oranges. Or any of his books. He can make ANYTHING fascinating. That man can really write.

McCloud, S. Understanding Comics: the invisible art. Terrific, overview and analysis, written as a comic book.

Alexander, W. 52 Loaves: One man's relentless pursuit of truth, meaning, and a perfect crust. Surprisingly thoughtful and moving, as well as informative and funny. Plus it has great bread recipes at the back!

Bryson, B. A Walk in the Woods. Funny book about a novice hiking the Appalachian trail.

Theroux, P. The Great Railway Bazaar. Traveling by train through Asia. Theroux is a terrific travel writer - here he gets the balance of personal stories, observations of where he has been, and the history of the place just right.

Chatwin, B. In Patagonia - I haven't actually read this one, but this book is famous and rejuvenated travel writing. I am looking forward to it.

Pirsig, R. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I recommend this to college or high school students on summer break who are trying to figure out what on earth to do with their lives.

Larson, E. Devil in the White City: Murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America. When mass murder meets the entrepreneurial spirit. Terrific.
 

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I refuse to read any more books about middle aged women trying to find meaning in their lives.
HAH. but . . . margaret drabble? actually, the probable reason why i like the radiant way trilogy is that those three women aren't tryint to find meaning in their own lives. they're too busy musing on everything else in the world. i'm going to be interested in what you think of chatwin. i have read that one and i will keep my lip zipped.

paul theroux has also accumulated one of the most prolific, diverse and imo fearless fictional canons around. idk if you've read any of it. my personal favourite among the travel books are riding the iron rooster and the kingdom by the sea.

he's a weird one. what i loved about early theroux was his willingness to document little micro-moments of sheer human nature in his own self. especially petulance. in the most recent one of his that i've seen the petulance has gotten unpleasant. it's like the whole book is one long litany of scoring grudge points off his first wife for how much better his new wife is handling his new trek across asia by train. but in the earlier ones he's still got enough distance from his own childishness to be appealing.

i somewhat like jerome. i thought some of men in a boat was a bit twee and whimsical, but that was the style of the time. you know who surprised me (roughly same era) though? priestley. somehow i came into possession of quite a subset of his novels and i was really startled and impressed by how tough-minded and thorough his social canvases were.

i liked pirsig in the same way that i liked the eden express. dispassionate but very down-to-earth personal accounts of madness; but not just madness. i like how he had a life and a thing he was doing, as well.

i think you should read 'i see by my outfit' if you can find it. by peter s. beagle. he's best known for the last unicorn which is my last favourite of his fiction (i like a fine and private place, me). outfit is awesome, and beagle's non-fiction narrator voice is inimitable.


i like bryson's information books enormously. his travel books are hilarious, but he's even more interesting when he settles down and just talks about things that interest him.

i'm halfway through gilmore. it is actually pulling me in - slow start imo, but now i'm to where my main problem with the book is it's so bloody heavy. you can't just carry it in one hand and keep reading it while you go about everything else.

edit: also, yes, i'm a krakauer fan. for a person who despises extreme-adventurists and has issues with climbers particularly, i sure pay them a lot of left-handed tribute in the reading i do. i've read most of krakauer's books that i'm aware of, and they've all been interesting.
 

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HAH. but . . . margaret drabble? actually, the probable reason why i like the radiant way trilogy is that those three women aren't tryint to find meaning in their own lives. they're too busy musing on everything else in the world. i'm going to be interested in what you think of chatwin. i have read that one and i will keep my lip zipped.

paul theroux has also accumulated one of the most prolific, diverse and imo fearless fictional canons around. idk if you've read any of it. my personal favourite among the travel books are riding the iron rooster and the kingdom by the sea.

he's a weird one. what i loved about early theroux was his willingness to document little micro-moments of sheer human nature in his own self. especially petulance. in the most recent one of his that i've seen the petulance has gotten unpleasant. it's like the whole book is one long litany of scoring grudge points off his first wife for how much better his new wife is handling his new trek across asia by train. but in the earlier ones he's still got enough distance from his own childishness to be appealing.
Maybe I can take on Drabble some day. But for now, no. I read the blurbs for some of her books and just felt tired. I will track down the Peter Beagle, that sounds interesting. I read The Last Unicorn umpteen years ago. I'll report back on Chatwin.

I know what you mean about Theroux. I also really liked Riding the Iron Rooster, and The Mosquito Coast is remarkable, kind of a re-imagined Heart of Darkness. The final scenes on the beach are still vivid to me, 30 years later. But then I read that one you read (I forget the title) in which the main character (who is clearly Theroux) is pretty awful, constantly comparing the new wife to the old, and putting friends in difficult situations. I would like to say this shows self-awareness, but it felt more like self-justification, as if Theroux can clearly see his own poor behavior, and is trying to get us to accept that it is not so bad, because he is so honest about it.
 

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I just started the 27th book in the "Shannara" series...read a little bit pretty much every night, but almost exclusively fiction since I don't get much reading time and it's just my final chance to relax and unwind and disconnect from the day before sleep.
 

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Maybe I can take on Drabble some day. But for now, no. I read the blurbs for some of her books and just felt tired.
lol okay. her 60s and 70s books are really interesting sociology to someone my age, but i like the radiant way ones for the amount of totally spurious and secondhand erudition ends up sticking to the skin of your brain by the end of it. plus, i have a bit of a soft spot for the socialist, do-gooder couple in it.

The final scenes on the beach are still vivid to me, 30 years later.
geez yes. and he's responsible for at least one entry in my 'books i will never subject myself to again': chicago loop.

But then I read that one you read (I forget the title) in which the main character (who is clearly Theroux)
if it was thinly-disguised autobiography, then i think it's my secret history. horrible book. horrible man. the one i'm actually thinking of is actually a sort of revisitation of the railway bazaar journey, xty years later. full of grievance and grudge and passive-aggressive scorekeeping. ghost train to the evening star.

I would like to say this shows self-awareness, but it felt more like self-justification, as if Theroux can clearly see his own poor behavior, and is trying to get us to accept that it is not so bad, because he is so honest about it.
i try not to type people. but i type theroux :tongue:. according to me he can't be anything other than a not-necessarily-healthy infp.
 

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^^^ also, i think the difference between him in iron rooster and other earlier books is he's not invested. he's got this nice distance and one of the things i admired and liked most about him was the universality of his reportage. he'd tell it against himself just as readily as against anyone else, and you could somehow tell he was telling it 'against' himself. as a writer.

and he really was such a unique and perceptive noticer of human nature that it was awesome. i laughed some of the hardest i've ever laughed while reading, at that scene in the chinese train where the party high-up is trying to passive-aggress him out of his window seat and he keeps holding out and holding out and pretending he doens't notice the pressure [while providing a translation of the subtext with each new attempt]. and then all of a sudden he snaps and he calls the guy 'fish face' in english at the end of his final response.

the later stuff, i just look for the exits because it's got this vibe like he means it. he's still in it and he's venting and wallowing. he believes in it, is how it feels. like he thinks he's tattling on the world instead of himself. it's really not pleasant and it sure cured me of a pretty steady 30-year crush i've had on him.
 

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finished with gary gilmore. definitely a . . . money's-worth book in terms of pages per buck. it was more interesting than i expected it to be as well. it doesn't pretend to be anything but a collage of subjectivities, which i found to work mainly because it incorporates input from such a wide range and large number of different players. it's also refreshing in a niche like this, where it seems like every dink with a keyboard appoints him or herself a droning socio/crimino/psychological expert on no better credentials than 'x is a criminal and i'm not'. i also appreciated mailer for [seeming at least] to stand back from the story and let it take care of itself.

i can't say it was thought provoking. which works for me too. i wasn't reading the thing to have my thoughts provoked; i'm pretty tired of people trying to provoke them for me atm. i was just reading it for pretty much what he delivered, so that's a win.

not moving on to anything new atm.
 

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I've been reading a lot as usual but haven't been posting about it.

I've completed at least another Jung book - no, two - with Turi since last making an update here.

Last night I read a Beauty and the Beast retelling that wasn't bad. I gave it 4/5 stars and if you want to check it out, it's currently free on kindle. Not recommending it; just saying it was entertaining. It's called Dragon Rose by Christine Pope. If you actually want a really good retelling, the best one I've read (in my opinion) is called Hunted by Meagan Spooner. A close second would be Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier. And I must say that Fairy Tale retellings is one of my favourite genres and Beauty and the Beast is my favourite fairy tale.

I also have gotten into the Accursed Kings series which is similar to my Philipa Gregory phase last year around this time. While Philipa Gregory writes about the Tudors and Plantagenet's, Maurice Druon writes about the French Court in the 1300s - ????s. I finished the first book, The Iron King and am into the second book. Very well written historical fiction and I appreciate the references/bibliography and the pains he takes to make everything as true to fact as possible.

I also wanted to revisit material on the inferior function (typology) so I picked up Was that Really Me? by Naomi Quenk (I actually hadn't ever read it) and I enjoyed reading it a great deal. It helped me to understand a lot of dynamics regarding personality and reminded me of things that I haven't thought of in a while, so it was a nice read.

In my quest to understand the Anima/Animus and male psychology a bit more, I read He by Robert A. Johnson. It was one of those gems that just changes the way you think about things. I highly recommend it for those who would find the subject material interesting. It's told in a fairy-tale fashion and holds a lot of layers of meaning, as if reviewing someone else's really interesting dream. While I also have She and intend to read it as well, I decided to put a pin in that and get some more "light reading" done in the meantime because that book was so intense it's going to take a while for it to sink in.

Even though I'm reading so much I'm actually behind right now on my yearly goal of 50 books a year. I tend to read the most as it gets colder (I'm still in the Northern Hemisphere), So I'll probably get a bunch read all at once here at the end of the year.
 
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