Archive for March, 2012

Space Opera Highlights

Posted March 28, 2012 By Jandy

Space Opera is a subset of science fiction that usually includes star travel and sweeping stories. I’ve been reading stories from this genre since the 1960’s. Before that I was reading horse stories, Enid Blyton, or Dick and Jane.

io9 is “a daily publication that covers science, science fiction, and the future”. There are articles, discussion forums, blogs, etc. found there that are wonderful. I have read many of their articles.

The one I read today is a must read for those of us who like space opera.

Major Highlights in the History of Space Opera

I expected to see H.G. Wells on this list, but he’s only referred to in passing. Then I realized that while he wrote science fiction, he may not have written space opera. This article goes back to 1901 and a novel titled A Honeymoon in Space by George Griffith.

Read the article. It’s fascinating. If you like science fiction, you may want to follow io9.

Early Twentieth Century Architecture

Posted March 19, 2012 By Jandy

What does early twentieth century architecture have to do with reading, you ask?

I am nearing the end of Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City. The fair has closed, the murderer is in jail, and the madman has struck. The murderer still has to be tried, we still have people’s lives to finish, and a few more things to tie up.

I’m reading about the architecture of the Chicago World’s Fair and how its influence spread into the 20th century with its gothic columns and Romanesque feel. Another Chicago architect (Sullivan) blasted the fair’s architect (Burnham) because the style lasted over long.

About two months ago I read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. She used the world of architecture as her background. The battle was over architects keeping to the traditional intricate styles against the architect whose innovations shook the field to its core. I can’t help but wonder if Sullivan’s attack of Burnham was part of Rand’s influence for her epic novel.

Finished! And Worth It

Posted March 13, 2012 By Jandy

1Q84 was due back to the library today. I was able to finish it at lunch time. I highly recommend it – if you have perseverance. It’s fascinating. It’s not easy reading. It challenges the mind with its twists and turns. It’s long. It has strong characters. It takes a while for it to become coherent in your mind. The backup characters are also strong, but strangely murky at the same time. The story line cannot be explained in a couple sentences – but a longer explanation would ruin the story.

If you like fantasy and you like a challenge, you should try 1Q84. It’s not witches and wizards fantasy, but rather an alternate reality fantasy. And it’s done extremely well.
Here’s my review.

1Q84 Take Two

Posted March 7, 2012 By Jandy

Last month I told you my woes about reading the library copy of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. The saga continues.

After putting my name on top of the waiting list, another copy came into the library last week. I picked it up, then laid it aside to finish the book I was reading at the time. Monday morning I returned to the dentist’s office for the final visit for a new crown (sound familiar?). I opened the book to the beginning of the chapter that was interrupted in the previous copy. I turned the page…

This copy had the same publishing flaw as the first copy – 30 pages missing. This time I discovered that the next group of pages had been printed twice. Argh!!!

I took it back to the library last night. I was lucky enough to have the same librarian help me who had the first time I took the book back. Once again he tried to apologize. By now I’m guessing they probably have more in the system from that flawed publishing run. He took the book to return. Fortunately, he had noticed another copy on the 7 day no holds/no renewal shelf. I checked that copy out – after we made sure the pages were correct this time.

I only have a week to read another 400 dense pages. This time I’m putting my current read to the side. I want to finish 1Q84. I have a new tooth problem and have a dentist’s appointment this afternoon. I’m taking this book with me for while I wait. Here’s hoping I get further than page 532…