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Author: Dennis Schmidt
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
I am attempting to reread 10+ books in 2016 that I have rated highly in the past. I am not attempting to second guess or denigrate my younger self in any way but am wanting to compare how my tastes have changed and possibly matured. I am certainly much more widely read now [both in the good and bad quality sadly] than then.
I will hopefully be going into the reasons for any differences of opinions between then and now. If there is no difference of opinion, then it was a hellfire'd fine book!
Links may link to either Booklikes or Blogspot, depending on when the original review was.
A group of colonists from Earth, led by Cpt. Nakamura, have found the planet Kensho. A veritable paradise according to all and every scan that they perform.
Only Paradise holds a nasty secret, the Mushin. Ravagers of the mind, who destroy 80% of the colonists.
Now, 400 years later, one young man seeks the answer to Nakamura's koan, which promises freedom from the Mushin.
Since this is the second book in my Project Reread, I read it not only to see if I enjoyed it today as well as I did 10 years ago but also with the thought of contrasting my own changed viewpoints from back then.
This is my 5th or 6th time reading this book. I've recorded it in 2003 and 2006, I believe, but I read it at least once in college and 2 to 3 times between jr high and highschool. I probably first read this in '91 or '92.
5 Stars again. Now that is because I have such fond memories and it is a fun story. It is a great story about a young man learning to become a sword master and freeing humanity from the mind killers, the Mushin. I think my favorite part still remains the training by the Old Master [and yes, it is the type of book where the old master's name IS Old Master] and how he beat the living daylight out of Jerome. It was enjoyable to see Jerome grow, but not without making many mistakes along the way. He's no Gary Stu. Getting a facefull of a pot cover definitely keeps him humble :-) Or getting hit with a wooden sword in the balls. The Old Master was not gentle.
On the philosophy side, while my views haven't changed, I have a much deeper understanding and so the primer on Zen thought was childish and annoying. Not only do I disagree with it, but now I know why I disagree with it. I suspect if I read this again I'll be taking a star off next time for it.
How it compares to years past. It still holds up very well. As I was reading along, I could understand exactly why this appealed to me as a teen and later on in life. There is something necessary in taking action and Jerome would have been me and I would have been Jerome. It was uncanny how earnest, naive and single minded we both were.
Not that I have completely changed, my personality shape is still the same, but I am mellower and I have a longer view now. So the appeal isn't quite the same.
This book ends on a complete note. It was a standalone as far as I knew for many, many years. It wasn't until 2000 that I found the sequels. I found each successive book to be less enjoyable. However, this book is good enough that I am tempted to go read the rest of the series, just because.
Well, only if I can't find enough other books I want to re-read.