Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Not Earth Shaking, But Unquestionably Thought Provoking.

Just finished The Quiet War by Paul McAuley.
A far future revolt between earth and
the folks who have colonized the outer solar system.

There are two speculative science delights in this book.
The work on earth to re-establish the destroyed ecosystem.
And, the genetic hacking used to survive away from Earth.
I usually find plausible hope delicious. I run a little low personally.
Science can solve all our problems! Really!
Then we can figure out how to solve the problems the solving caused.
Cynicism is not aiding and abetting a better life for me.

Why terra form a planet, moon or asteroid that can’t be terra formed.
Adapt, dig in, or build a cage. Do what needs to be done to survive.
Different atmospheres demand different bodies.

This four hundred page book plays much bigger than it looks.
Lots of political and familial intrigues and a very diverse cast.

The earth did not shake but the book kept me interested.
Glad I finished it, the reviews for the sequel are looking
very good and I’m looking forward to the rest of the story.

//Flashback:
“see a smiln’ woman and a frown’ man
she’s got a ring in his nose and a ring on her hand”
Savoy Brown - Blue Matter (1969)
End of Flashback//

About the flashback; music lives large in my head.
Books live large in my head too.
A good hook or a good quote deserves head space.
Both are more edifying and elucidating than myspace..

Regards,
Richard

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Do You Worry About Genetic Manipulation?

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi is a thought provoker.
Fear provoker might be a better descriptor if you have any
sparks at all jumping the synaptic paths in your cranium.

The book happens in a somewhat near future Bangkok.
A Bangkok protected by monstrous dikes and levees.
(The water is up again in this future)

The world has “contracted”.
Genetic manipulation of our crops has tipped the scale.
Famine, Blight, Plague; the whole shootn’ match.

Agra Business rules most of the world.
Thailand has managed to keep the world
and the Agra Businesses at bay.

Enough! I liked this one! The guy can write!
His characters are all flawed, beautifully flawed!
I could relate!

Regards,
Richard

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Think This Is A Rant. Mea Culpa and My Apologies, Sorta Maybe

A patron came in the other day asking for Orson Scott Card’s
new book Hidden Empire. She said I had recommended Empire
and wanted to know what happened next.
I did not remember recommending the book Empire.
I did not remember reading the book Empire.
Aging is not a funny thing.
I have now read the book Empire, I had not read it before.
Basic premise is Civil War in the United States of America.
With no real North South or East West divide it was a mess.
Blue States vs Red States with messy Urban Blues in the
midst of Rural Reds thrown in everywhere and don't forget Your Neighbors.
How could such a thing happen in the United States of America?
Simple, we are polarized as never before save the 1860's.
Just before the Civil War we all know about.
No one is moving an inch to meet in the center.
We are going down and we are going down hard.
I will undoubtedly read the new book to see what happens next.

But; and this is a really big but.
If you do nothing more, read the “AFTERWORD” p.341-347.

Everyone is “right” in what they think in today’s America.
Critical Thinking may now be defined as thinking critically of anyone,
absolutely anyone, who thinks differently than you.
We are all rocket scientist in this America.
I grew up in the late 50's and early 60's and remember Hope.
I wish there was a little more to go around.
Regards,
Richard