As foretold, I read Joanna Russ' We who are about to (mild spoilers). Since unlike Samuel Delany who wrote the introduction to the current reprint, I don't believe in giving away the surprises, I'll put a few general comments first for those who are about to read the book (ahem), while the "spoilers" go below the fold.
So, did I get my epiphany? No, but I may well have, had I read it at the time I read the other books I mentioned, when I, when the books, their subjects were younger. That is not to say that the subject-matter were no longer relevant — unfortunately, it is, and from a certain angle, it may never go out of style. In fact, the topic was strong enough to carry me through the booklet within a single day, in stark contrast to my reading habits. This however was despite of the presentation, not because of it. The book is written "backwards"; much of the "drama" stems from the fact that we don't learn enough about what motivates the characters until it's too late to make much of a difference, and even then, we don't learn much. (Unfortunately that way, we never get a chance to like or at least understand most of the characters, which limits the story's impact.) When a story mainly dealing with a philosophic issue only implies the characters' respective view-points, something has gone wrong. To add insult to injury, the only real — and I'm using the word loosely — excurse into philosophy consists of the first-person narrator dwelling on their religion, which doesn't seem to actually contribute much to the story, or the book's main theme — if anything, it may detract from it, almost suggesting that requesting basic human rights is little more than a religious preference. This seems a little odd in a book that's in part about not giving up what was achieved in age of enlightenment.
Like 28 days later, We who are about to has two major parts, and once more, a story that tries to be two things ends up being neither — personally, I gravitate towards do one thing, and do that right. Another gripe is that the narrator uses a text-recognition system (much like what Orwell called speakwrite in 1984). This works splendidly in the latter half of the book (and is, indeed, necessary), but fails miserably in the first half as conversations between the dramatis personae are sometimes presented as part of prose like they would be in a book, sometimes in a more conversational style, but never in reported speech, and often repeat details you simply wouldn't give if summing up tonight this morning's conversations. As if to make up for these blunders, a lot of attention is paid to making it seem as though you could dictate and erase, but not easily edit entries — relevant information is sometimes given as an afterthought — and in many cases, not at all. This does not serve to make the book an enjoyable read, and the lingering suspicion that the author put more effort into trying to impress us with her apropos knowledge than into proofreading doesn't help.
In short, while I'm not as unhappy with the book (spoilers!) as some, I must admit that the execution is lacking, the exploration of the main theme is only cursory, and that the 2nd half is outright ineffectual (I'll suggest a book that implements part II much better below the fold as to avoid revealing what it's about):
"I like what you're trying to do, but not how you're doing it."
But then, you could level that criticism ("they're a good scientist, but their writing leaves much to be desired") against virtually any hard sci-fi author …
In der US-Ausgabe 36 von Harley Quinn kommt so ein Gangster vor, der eigentlich deutsch hätte reden sollen … hätten sie doch jemanden gefragt, der sich damit auskennt!
Auch wenn ich vermute, dass eigentlich "Die, scum!" gemeint war (Get it? Get it?) — als langjährige Freundin würfellosen Rollenspiels hat mir die Sprechblase natürlich trotzdem Tränen der Rührung in die Augen getrieben …
Philips has an interesting project featuring (immobile) robotic cats that can display a wide array of facial expressions to be used as social cues in human-robot interactions. True, the cat may be sausage-lipped, tell bad jokes, and move in a slightly jerky fashion, but it's definitely a step in a very interesting direction, and I for one applaud them for taking it. (See the site for more info, images and movies to reach your own conclusions.)
Sometimes, a book can change everything.
Your perception, how you look at life. You put down the book, stunned. You try to grasp the immensity of what has happened: an epiphany. Things will never be the same.