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Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by drafttek, Aug 7, 2007.
The classic "must read" for any pilot. PM me if you want it.
Already read it, excellent book! Lousy movie BTW
Never saw the movie. And I know I will be branded a heretic for saying this, but I thought the book was mediocre.
(accompanied by sound and smell of sizzling flesh)
Still, Ken, you have to admit: when Gann describes the rain in South America as being like "a cow ****ing on a flat rock," you got the image pretty well, didn't you?
Doh! Ken, be carefull! You'll be banned by the mods!
Definitely not a page turner IME (except for a couple chapters), but still worth reading.
Currently on loan to a guy at work. I'll post when it's available again. You may now continue the heresy.
It's not only what he says but, how he says the words.
I think he must have gone to writing school or something.
It is one of the few books I've re-read and will read again.
I just re-read it, found it excellent, but didn't see the movie. My copies available, just let me know.
Gann seems to evoke different opinions from different people. Personally, I think he was one of the few writers to use a lot of wordy sentences and pull it off. I really like his books, but plenty of others don't. Now Hemingway? His writing sucks if you ask me! Entire paragraphs made up of convoluted single sentences.
I loaned "Fate is the Hunter" to an airline pilot. He couldn't get through it. "Too many words" he said. The guy flys an Airbus and probably wanted the book to read it's self.
i know an airline pilot with a watch calculator, while watching him calculate the tip at a restaurant on his watch, he mentioned "I dont do math" Former F-16 pilot and has flown about everything from fokker triplanes to MD80s
Ernie is my hero!!
Loved the book but I agree the movie was mediocre. It does have my favorite aviation line of all time. I'll paraphrase cause I don't have a copy of the movie.
Flash back to Captain Savage flying a C-54 to Greenland in the winter. The whole crew is in the cockpit sweating and peering out the wind screen looking for the field. Savage has his feet propped up and is playing a tune and acting cool as a cucumber. He looks around and says "Relaxe. The field is just at the end of this Fijord." A crewmen asks "How do you know that?" Savage replies "It has to be. We're out of fuel." Just then the lights of the runway appear in the windshield.
A classic. I tried it on my crew one time and it didn't go over real well.
The "Fate is the Hunter" movie really soured Gann on Hollywood. The Hollywood execs only wanted the title. They didn't care about book at all. After that Gann never gave up creative control on any of his projects.
My copy is now available again. PM if you want it.
Strange that he would be so naive to not realize what was going to happen since he had worked for many years in the entertainment business prior to making that movie deal.
Just saw "Island in the Sky". What a great movie. No women, no love interest, just human drama.
That's the problem with movies today they always have to have a spin to attract women for the box office $$$. A recent anamoly was Master and Commander with Russell Crowe. Great film.
Elmore Leonard was so mad with what happened to his first stories sold to Hollywood he wrote "Get Shorty" as revenge. "Shorty," BTW, is partly based on what he really went through when one was supposed to be a movie with Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman drove him nuts in several meetings over a few years.
Once Danny DeVito and Quentin Tarantino bought the rights the movies have been a lot more faithful to what Elmore Leonard writes.
I'm currently on chapter 2, I love the way in chapter 1, he described his impression of an ATC controller whom he'd never seen as "probably bald and unloved by his wife". In the next paragraph he referenced his call to "the neglected husband" I think I laughed my a$$ off!
BTW, if you love this type of aviation adventure/biography try Northstar Over My Shoulder by Bob Buck, it is fantastic.
Is Gann still alive?
Nope... I forget when he died, but he did.
I just found out he died in '91.
Mediocre? You gave it a better review than I would have. I know it's a classic, I just don't think it's very good.
And Gooneys. Beautiful, airworthy Gooneys.
The book is ok. It is not the great American story but it is ok. The movie however sucks the big fuselage.
Hmmm....lots of posters think the book was mediocre. I thought the story line was mediocre, but I thought the writing was actually outstandingly good. I've re-read sections here and there when I feel like picking up a book for just a short interlude, and rarely do I come away without finding a turn of phrase that I find clever. I wonder if that makes me a mediocre reader?
"Mediocre" I don't get... to me, Fate is just full of great stuff, and I for one, like the way he told stories. He had a dry wit- maybe that puts some people off.
And I suppose the story isn't exactly an epic because it is basically a memoir, fictionalized according to Gann, but obviously based on some real adventures and misadventures.
"Too many words" is another strange comment to me... reminds me of what the Emperor supposedly once told Mozart about a new piece: "too many notes..."
Gann wrote for an audience that had about double the vocabulary of today's average American, as well as a firmer schooling in syntax, metaphor, etc.
That's worth noting when critiquing his work.
I just finished it. I thought that it was pretty good.
He hated the movie. The studio bought the rights so they could own the title. The movie had little/nothing to do with the book, other than that.
I read a lot, at least I used to before I decided I wanted to be a pilot. I am actually looking forward to attaining my license so I can read a good book that has nothing to do with aviation.
Unless, it is a book by Ernest Gann. Fate is the Hunter is without a doubt one of my all time favorite books. I think you have to develop a taste for his style of writing. I gave a copy to my brother who claims to also be an avid reader, he could not stand the book at all. He didn't even get through the first chapter.
The only thing I didn't like about Fate is the Hunter is that it ended! Waah!
I have not been able to find any other titles by Ernest Gann that are still in print. Then last week, I was talking to my sisters husband up in Canada and he told me he has several books by Gann that he has had for years. He said he would dig them out and send them to me. Can't wait to get them.
I enjoyed "Hostage to Fortune", his autobiography. He was an interesting guy and involved in many things other than flying.
After years of procrastinating I finally read it. Was on a DL flight to Belgium. In a window seat. It was a bit uncanny looking out at a moonlit Canadian landscape from 30k+ while reading his descriptions of flying in the northern latitudes.
I loved that book and the way Gann writes. He puts you there, right into it.
My brother and his wife are avid readers, they belong to a reading group up on their mountain. (Idylwild). I assumed they would like 'Fate is the Hunter' as much as I did, so I loaned them my copy. Neither one of them could get past the first chapter for some reason, they gave the book back.
I think some folks just have a hard time keeping up with Ernest Gann and his unique writing style.
I just finished "Island in the Sky" by Gann. I guess I must have read the authentic account of that incident, that the book is based on, somewhere along the line because it was all to familiar to me. Even though I knew the story, I still could not put the book down.
My copy of 'Island in the Sky' is a very old paperback, printed in 1944. It's pages feel very fragile and are brown around the edges. It has a used books store's rubber stamp on the inside cover. The cover and some of the pages have stains on them.
It makes me wonder what the history of this copy has been. Who owned it, did it travel through the war zones, what are those stains? Whatever, it was a great read.
I'm about halfway through it. I can't put the damn thing down - what a great book. Gann and his peers were the true pioneers of modern aviation, with charts that had huge sections marked "unexplored" and navigation by octant.
For some good stuff, read Nevil Shute's No Highway, about an aeronautical engineer who predicts metal fatigue in the tail of an airliner that crashes in Labrador. Since Shute was an aeronautical engineer himself who worked for deHavilland and Vickers, the novel has none of the usual flaws you find in novels about flying written by non-pilots. The narrative of the survivors of the crash in winter is such hostile country is fascinating.
Shute also wrote On The Beach, the nuclear-war aftermath novel. An interesting, if somewhat depressing, read.
Another good aviation book: Chickenhawk, by Robert Mason, about his time as a Huey pilot in `Nam.