Formosan Odyssey

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Re: Formosan Odyssey

Postby divea » 09 Jun 2010, 23:46

AJ, please tell the author, we'd like to read tthebook and if he has spare copies he can feel free to PM me. Thanks :)
"It is the weak who are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong. "
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Re: Formosan Odyssey

Postby bismarck » 10 Jun 2010, 00:37

almas john wrote:I know the chap who wrote it. He asked me to post this:

Thanks for your kind works folks. Books are a matter of personal taste so it's no big deal if you disliked it. Hopefully, the next one will be much better.
The references to imbibing of the sacred juice were not planned, certainly not done as a gimmick or angle, but rather a simple result of the fact that when I’m not drinking (which isn't often) I’m thinking about drinking. Actually, I removed some of the boozing references from the book on the advice of a couple of people (although opinion was decided on this), and I decided not to write up a couple of funny drinking episodes despite them being relevant and very good copy.

The “Odyssey” in the title is Taiwan’s colourful journey, not mine. My “travels” in the book are obviously not worthy of the name, not much more than walking across the road. I used the travel aspect to provide a platform for descriptions of modern Taiwan and to give readers a break from some of the heavier ‘istorical material. I also used the travelogue parts to provide a contrast with the real adventures of those pioneering days, and thereby showing how much things have changed.

As for Zender’s comment on the martial arts stuff (God, I almost wrote “marital arts”) I pretty much agree with him. I’m a cynical old bastard, and I wish I had added more skepticism to the unit. Of course, the “Harnessing Chi” title is a bit of a give away for people that know me; it is in fact a subtle piss-take. I personally think a lot of the kung fu stuff is bollocks but I didn’t have enough space or expertise to go into it in detail. I wanted to be open-minded and I didn’t want to insult people by calling it bollocks and not backing it up.

And importantly I wanted to keep my powder dry on the subject because I planned to (no, “planned” is too strong), I was seriously thinking about writing a book on Martial Arts in Taiwan). The idea was to go up to Taipei (running a guest house project that never got off the ground) and try a few kung fu schools – both serious and more unusual. I figured having a close look at Chinese martial arts would be a fantastic framework for a book; you’ve got tonnes of history, fighting, lots of bullshit, eccentric characters both foreign and local, the gangster underworld etc. There would be a lot of laughs for sure. And for a bit of comedy gold extra I was hoping to enroll in that school run by that Tu Jin-Sheng chap who does the “iron willy” training.

Alas, things in Taipei didn’t work out and I moved back to savage territory in the south. The Taiwan story told through martial arts is a book that won’t be written by me, but I’m more than happy to help anyone who would like to do so.

Pity. It would have been a good read, I'm sure. And a good laugh.
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Re: Formosan Odyssey

Postby flike » 10 Jun 2010, 06:57

aj, here in God's country this book is out of print. I can buy it for about US$77 used, though. It's available shipped from some godforsaken place in Oregon by the_book_community (where alas it's currently being outsold by "Calculus: Early Transcendental Functions" :) )

Please tell your friend that of this writing his book has earned a staggering 19,748 reviews at the_book_community alone. :eek: In the past twelve months 94% of reviews were 'positive'. I don't know exactly how others measure success, but by my standards I call JACKPOT. Please pass on my heartfelt congratulations to the author.

And youse who're sittin' on a copy and broke, get in touch with this joint in Oregon, USA, ok? You know you need the coin! If you sell your copy to this joint, it's got to start lowerin' the price. Right? Hurry!

Anyway, well done aj's friend. :thumbsup:
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Re: Formosan Odyssey

Postby almas john » 10 Jun 2010, 07:15

flike wrote:aj, here in God's country this book is out of print. I can buy it for about US$77 used, though. It's available shipped from some godforsaken place in Oregon by the_book_community (where alas it's currently being outsold by "Calculus: Early Transcendental Functions" :) )

Please tell your friend that of this writing his book has earned a staggering 19,748 reviews at the_book_community alone. :eek: In the past twelve months 94% of reviews were 'positive'. I don't know exactly how others measure success, but by my standards I call JACKPOT. Please pass on my heartfelt congratulations to the author.

And youse who're sittin' on a copy and broke, get in touch with this joint in Oregon, USA, ok? You know you need the coin! If you sell your copy to this joint, it's got to start lowerin' the price. Right? Hurry!

Anyway, well done aj's friend. :thumbsup:


Thanks flike.
God, what a rip off! Hate to see that kind of greed at the best of times, but doubly so for books. I better get my friend to put some copies on the net in order to undercut any would-be profiteers.
As for 19,000 reviews um... that's for the book seller called "the book community", not the book. :cool:
And as for needing coin, yes, as always but I must say I've had a nice cushion of several thousand NT these past months. Been a good three months since I turned over the sofa and went through the closets looking for stray coins.
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Re: Formosan Odyssey

Postby zender » 10 Jun 2010, 08:57

almas john wrote:
flike wrote: . . . it's currently being outsold by "Calculus: Early Transcendental Functions" :)

No shame in that! ETF is a damn good read and is on the shelf of every fan of The Calculus. :neutral:

almas john wrote: I better get my friend to put some copies on the net in order to undercut any would-be profiteers.

OR

Get your friend to slowly release the last few precious copies one at a time at increasingly higher prices. :bravo:

But first check the sofa.
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Re: Formosan Odyssey

Postby ironlady » 10 Jun 2010, 20:57

How about putting out an ebook version? If he has the original files for the book in some digital format, it's very easy to do through someplace like CreateSpace.com or Lulu.com. The profits aren't huge, but I doubt he's getting much given the Taiwanese distribution system for book sales, either.
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Re: Formosan Odyssey

Postby divea » 27 Jun 2010, 15:32

Thanks to a genuinely kind fellow, I am reading the book now and just finished with the cultural revolution (C13 Cannibals). So first let me say this, I love the parts where the author describes Taiwan,they are witty, descriptive and accurate. I say parts because he dwells on China more than on Taiwan.

Like he went on and on about foot binding, but never spoke about foot binding IN Taiwan. Do the Taiwanese like small feet? Is that why we see so many women's heels peeping out of their footwear because they don't want to admit that they need a bigger sized shoe?
Ditto with Cannibalism. There are books and books on both these subjects, but I fail to see the point of how it relates to Formosa. I mean, in the book the author talks about cannibalism in aboriginal culture and then jumps to the cultural revolution (I don't doubt it, having heard first hand accounts from displaced victims), but what happened to people executed in Taiwan? Were they dehumanized further? How did the cultural revolution affect Taiwan, what was happening here?


I am just thinking aloud is all, maybe it will become clearer as I read on further. The best part about this book is that it is an easy read. :thumbsup:
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Re: Formosan Odyssey

Postby Camphor Press » 06 Jan 2014, 09:18

After being out of print for a decade, Formosan Odyssey will be re-released in e-book format as part of the launch of a brand new digital publishing house, Camphor Press. Based in Taiwan, and focused on the island and its neighbours, we'll be publishing some hard-to-find classics from the region, as well as new books on a variety of topics including travel, history, and culture.

Formosan Odyssey will feature a new afterword by the author, looking at the changes that have taken place in Taiwan in the time since the book was first published. It also has a new cover:

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To keep up to date with our plans and releases you can either subscribe to our mailing list or like us on Facebook.
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Re: Formosan Odyssey

Postby headhonchoII » 06 Jan 2014, 09:40

What it still has the same author, he hasn't been updated?!?
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Re: Formosan Odyssey

Postby Camphor Press » 06 Jan 2014, 10:03

The author steadfastly refuses updates, and still wears glasses that were last fashionable in 1987.

This post was recommended by headhonchoII (06 Jan 2014, 10:50)
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