Jul 9, 2010

The Thrilling Conclusion of The Crystal World

     So, with all the foreshadow the world around, with all the delightful plot developments (none of which really seem to draw you in or even really concern you), how possibly could this amazing book end?  By a general discussion about how the world is changing, like hiding the fact that Florida has been crystallized or how it was slowly going to overtake us all.  There had been blatant signs pointing out that being crystallized was amazing and a communing with God or something along that lines, like it doesn't kill you but unifies you.  Well, our main character with his weak personality becomes partially crystallized and nope, nothing except that rubies and gems hold in themselves light which seems to be time and melts the crystals for a short period of time.  Good to know but nothing amazing.  I don't understand why this one was considered an amazing book but I suppose I'm not on the board of 501 Books to Read because I certainly would not have picked it. 

     In the end, I was more disappointed than not, that's for sure.  It was hard to get through because the main character was petty and fickle with his love choices and then he leaves both of them to go wandering and keeps bumbling into situations and never are explained or even resolved.  So be it.  Good bye boring book, I've read you and am already trying to forget having done so.

      Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles are short, maybe 5-10 page stories time-lining our colonization of Mars and the effects of Martians and being interplanetary colonists have on both sides of the water.  It was started as random short stories in the 1940's and 1950's.  They were then compiled from their various magazines into a single short book with added original compositions to flesh out and complete them all.  It is a classic and in the sense of being an original and in the sense of being antiquated.  For example: in the year 2010 there is a census that put 10,000 people on Venus let alone Mars, if I remember correctly.  Tada.  It's the classic belief in space travel being the shaping drive of science for the next 50 years and a swift exponential increase of technology to match our ambitions to breach outwards into the last place we can look, beyond this planet.  If you enjoy sci-fi this is the most basic need and dream of the sci-fi.  It has more than just a classic that simply has plot.  This follows the rule of Nietzsche and the abyss of space and aliens looks back onto the human race.  This interacting relationship between man, the dream, and the Other makes even the oddest stories the best.  If I were to vote on this I say two thumbs up and a Irish jig.

Jul 7, 2010

Summer fun

     I need an impetus.  A goad, a driving force, an actuator for my morale and will.  It seems that an overwhelming fugue is easy to stumble into but tougher than molasses to completely lose.  Aarrg, existence, how I loath thee.  In this last lonely spiral of mine I quickly derailed the whole thing by following my one constant obsession: books.  I just read, in the last few hours, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert E. Heinlein also famous for another novel, Starship Troopers.  It was a cult novel, which I did a commentary about as one of my first blogs and it stands for good reason.  The main character, Valentine Michael Smith, is deliberately made into a messiah (actually commented that he is the incarnated Archangel Michael of biblical lore) who promotes sexual polyamory.  Of course, he has a superhuman POV and everything he does just proves his perfection beyond any human comprehension.  Randomly throughout the book Heinlein goes on rants expressing the views he really wishes you to hold and they slowly change throughout to inoculate you slowly into holding what seem as moral-shattering mores into acceptable if not quaint or sophisticated (depending how you internalize the whole situation I feel) cultural ideas.

     The basic plot is we tried to go to Mars, went a second time and found a human baby born from the first expedition who had been raised by Martians.  He returns to Earth naive yet more intelligent than us all.  He also is super rich and then he gets an ornery Yanky on his side and he starts a religion and is martyred.  Basic synopsis, sorry if you wanted to read it but it there wasn't anything even remotely resembling a plot twist nor was there any actual drama it's all smoothed over and then it asks calmly why you weren't panicking.  Even his gory death wasn't at all emotionally captivating so I really hope it wasn't meant to be.

     It was a good read, from a literature standpoint and not just as a soap box for these morally degenerate beliefs.  Oh, did I mention cannibalism?  Yea, they also hold cannibalism as awesome and it's how you 'grok' a person completely.  Yea, that's right, "grok," some mystic term that is so complicated that there's no even vague description comprehensible in English.  In the end I can only offer up my enthusiasm that this book wasn't a bad read but was very bad at pushing its religious beliefs since it mostly focused on deriding mostly Western religion and I kept poking in with the Buddhist teachings and valuing them against that.   It just didn't hold water, I'm sorry, it was nothing but a huge excuse to indulge in your own saturnalia.

     I also read a few other books in the last month and I will get myself through those, including next time commenting on the end of The Crystal World, which as a preview, did exactly what it promised, nothing.  I'll give some more details and all that since for now I'm out of my funk.  Let's hope it holds.