This one tops my list. I LOVE this movie. Michael Cain playing Sherlock Holmes as a fictional invention of Dr. John Watson, played by Ben Kingsley, who is the real brains behind the sleuth. Cain and Kingsley are perfect together and the script is hilarious.
This is obvious. While I would have loved a couple of sequels back in the 80s, I think it would be even more interesting to see a sequel done today. Most of the cast is still around. It’d be fun to see how Buckaroo has aged.
Again – why were de denied this. I often read comments that believe that Jack Burton is actually the side-kick in the story, but while that may be true to some extent, it’s still Jack’s story, told from his perspective. And he’s is so much clueless fun. It’d be great to see him lost in the middle of some other supernatural adventure. Again, it’d be interesting to have Kurt Russell return to this role after so much time.
I know – the original movie is a travesty. At least for diehard Doc Savage fans. But, after watching it when I was young, I had always hoped the presumed sequel would be more serious in tone and correct some the films failing. There is a possibility that Shane Black will direct a Doc Savage film, but given the history of great geek stories actually making it to the screen, I’m not that optimistic.
Which brings me to John Carter – great geek story that took a century to make it to the screen. It will never get a sequel, but that isn’t really the fault of the film or the filmmakers as much as the marketing team. Read John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood by Michael Sellers for an exhaustive account of Disney’s failure to market a great tent pole film.
This is a great little action film with a slight sci-fi twist. It’s a tightly scripted story directed with minimalist flare by Joe Wright. The story of a special young girl, played brilliantly by Saoirse Ronan, trained to avenge the death of her mother. I’d rather see a sequel to Hanna than the next Bond film.
This is such a weird and quirky little film with Bill Pullman as a detective that I can see why it never made enough money to justify a sequel. But that doesn’t keep me from wishing I could see Daryl Zero striking out to solve another case.
Wizard of Time 3 (The Edge of Eternity) is finally off to the editor and proofer. Hopefully I will be able to have it out by the beginning of May.
Now that my brain is free from figuring out the intricacies of time paradoxes I’ve had a few minutes to think about other things, in particular the announcement last week that scientists in Antarctica had discovered what they believe to be observable proof of gravitational waves during the ultra brief inflationary period of the Big Bang. There is a very easy to follow overview of the science by Slate’s Bad Astronomy blogger Phil Plait that explains the importance of it.
This got me contemplating not the origins of the universe, but the importance of the science that looks for the origins of the universe. Fundamental science, or pure science, seeks not to find scientific solutions to problems, but rather to understand the essential aspects of, and rules governing, the universe.
There are those, mostly economic Libertarians, who will argue that pure science is waste of public funds and that scientific advancement progressed perfectly fine under hobby scientists and the free market investment of funds in scientific solutions to specific problems. There is a succinct summation of this notion here.
It is a well presented argument, but seems intellectually incomplete. The examples given do show a great advancement from science funded by private individuals and companies in the past. However, I cannot fathom a free market scenario that would lead to the investment in pure science endeavors like the Large Hadron Collider or the BICEP2 facility in Antarctica that made the recent discovery of gravity waves. Investors in a free market system expect a return on that investment. Money spent looking to examine how various molecules affect cancer growths may lead to new treatments and therapies that in turn could provide a profitable return for the investment. No one is likely to make money from the discovery the Higgs Boson or by proving the inflationary theory of the Big Bang.
Many people will see this as a proof that such research, almost entirely funded by government tax dollars, does not actually benefit society at large and is therefore as clear waste of public funds. If there is no practical application for the scientific knowledge gained from the research, no way to monetize the discovery, then there is no way for it to benefit humanity. The antipode argument to this free market position would be not that we should cease taxing citizens to fund scientific research, but that we should spend this tax revenue on concrete social welfare programs to help people directly; such as education, poverty relief, and healthcare.
I disagree with both of these arguments. simply because we spend our collectively collected funds on pure science doesn’t preclude being able to use similar monies to help those less fortunate within our society. And the collective investment in pure science does benefit our society enough to justify the expense and the personal loss of income from the imposed taxes. In the example of cancer research, while drug companies invest billions in the attempt to discover new molecules that can provide life saving treatment, the majority of the money being spent to investigate and reveal the biological nature of cancer itself comes from government grants. This seems to me a good balance of use of our collective resources. The pure science research in to the causes and processes of different cancers would not likely return a profit for a corporation (what could they patent?), while the costs of discovering and researching new treatments can prove prohibitively costly for government programs.
Regardless of these economic rationalizations, the main reason I am thrilled by the use of public monies to probe the mysteries of the universe is because the results of these discoveries, like those provided by CERN or the Mars rover Opportunity, or the Hubble Space Telescope, give us insight into how our universe came to exist, what it’s existence looked like in the past, and what it’s existence may look like in the far future. Moreover, and maybe more importantly, these pure science projects give us a deeper understanding of our place in the universe. Astrophysicists work to discover how our universe came into being as evolutionary biologists and anthropologists work to learn how humans came into being even as neurologists seek to discover how we manage to be aware that we are beings in an ever expanding universe.
The ongoing scientific project to understand how the universe works and why it works the way it does is not merely a means of advancing different technologies and practical engineering applications, it is a means of assuaging the near mystic drive of humans to explore and understand our surroundings; whether to look over the next mountaintop to see what the neighboring valley might hold, or to peak into our neighboring star systems in the hopes of discovering a world similar to our own and, hopefully, that we share our ever-expanding universe with someone else. The deeper our understanding of the universe, the deeper our understanding of ourselves, and the depth of that self-knowledge will inevitably inform our lives and our choices on this small, planetary refuge of life we call home.
Since I’ve been writing young adult novels for the last few years, mostly aimed at kids around 13 years old, and since I am leaving that behind to begin writing an epic fantasy series geared toward adults after I publish WOT #3, I thought it would be fun to create a list of books I loved when I was a 13 year old kid — The books that both consciously and unconsciously influenced my storytelling of the last few years. So here are my favorite books from childhood. You’ll no doubt notice they are nearly all sci-fi or have a sci-fi angle.
I’ve written about this novel before. It was one of my first blog entries. Also Heinlein’s first novel. A fun story about a bunch of teens building a rockets ship and taking it to the moon where they find…oh I won’t spoil it.
The Marvelous Inventions of Alvin Fernald Alvin’s Secret Code, Alvin Fernald, Foreign Trader, Alvin Fernald, Mayor for a Day, Alvin Fernald, Superweasel.
These were just some of the titles in the Alvin Fernald series. They were all published in the 1960s and early 70s. So, why was I reading them in the 80s? Because that’s the kind of library we had in my small town. Books stayed in the shelf a long while and not many new ones arrived to displace them. I loved the series though. Alvin was a bit of a brain, his sister a precocious tagalong, and his athletic best friend a stalwart companion. The adventures were always entertaining and usually had an interesting science based message behind them.
This series was one of my favorites. A club of young teen scientists who get into a series of crazy adventures in a small town. Made me wish there were some scientist kids in my small town who wanted to form a mad scientist club. While the science was a bit dated even by the time I read them, the stories still have a bold imaginative punch. What 13 year old science geek wouldn’t want to refurbish a submarine to explore the town lake or stage a UFO hoax? My Young Sorcerer’s Guild series is a loving homage to Brinley’s work.
I started reading these stories when I was around 10 years old and consumed a bunch of them before I finally moved on to more adult sci-fi. I think I read the last of them (Danny Dunn and the Heat Ray) when I was 13. That was when my dad, who thought I should be reading something a little more sophisticated, handed me Lucifer’s Hammer.
Not a book aimed at young teens, simply one I loved as a young teen. A dead space probe arrives in a solar system and leads to a military ship being pressed into service as a research and ambassadorial vessel. Great fun. Especially when you’re 13. I read this right after Lucifer’s Hammer. Right before devouring everything Niven and Pournell had written, along with nearly everything Heinlein wrote.
A crew of teens from an elite space academy head out into deep space and struggle with interpersonal issues and the usual shipboard dangers. How could things go wrong with six brilliant, attractive, and hormonally crazed teens in charge of an interstellar space ship? I’m surprised it hasn’t been optioned for a series on the CW network. I was a great read as kid through (although the illustrations were definitely not age appropriate – not that I complained at the time).
I was watching the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead this week and it got me to thinking about why I liked the show. I’ve never been very interested in zombie stories. They simply don’t appeal to me very much. I enjoyed The Night of the Living Dead mostly because I thought it was a brilliantly made low budget film and those always interest me. I read World War Z, but didn’t really enjoy it as much as appreciate the skill of the writing and the depth of the research that went into it. It wasn’t the kind of story telling that appeals to me. In fact, calling it storytelling feels somewhat generous. It’s more like deep world building. A big story is being told, but not the sort that involves following characters over time through a plot of events. It’s exactly what it sells its self as – a verbal history of a fictional global event.
However, while I’m not usually interested in zombie stories, I do love a good post-apocalyptic story. The drama of struggling for existence in the face of global societal collapse creates a compelling backdrop for telling stories about characters and how they adapt to the destruction of the world. So, I thought it would be fun to pick out my favorite post-apocalyptic stories. It turned out to be a longer list than I had expected. I suspect this is because as a teen growing up in the 80s in the US, and being a fan of sci-fi, I read a lot of post-apocalyptic stories. I started out with a list if 19 novels and films (many of the films being adaptations of the novels). I trimmed this down the to the top 10.
In no particular order, here are my favorite post-apocalyptic tales:
This is at the top of the list purely because I saw it recently. As I said, I don’t usually enjoy zombie stories, but I love this show. I don’t always like the characters, don’t always like the way the writers choose to tell the individual episodes, but I always enjoy the overall story of a small group of strangers coming together to survive. I’ve read some interesting discussions on the web about the dichotomy between Rick and the Governor and how they rule their respective kingdoms. I was surprised to find that people would prefer to be lead by the Governor. Can’t quite figure that out. The only time you want a madman leading you is when you are too afraid to lead yourself.
I read this when I was a teen. Maybe 13 years old. I checked it out from the local library in my small town. A story about a young teen in a small town in the 50s when a passing comet leaves behind a ‘dust’ that causes all machinery to cease functioning. I’ve just started rereading it again, and while it does not hold up to my memories of it, the novel it fun. The clearest memory I have of the novel is explaining it to my grandmother only to find that she had read it herself when she was young. The idea that my grandmother read sci-fi had my mind reeling.
I loved this novel as a kid. I was about 12, I think, when I inherited a copy from my dad after he’d finished reading it. A comet strikes the earth and a large cast had to survive in the aftermath. It hooked me in reading Niven and Pournelle for years.
I read this a few years ago. I had been email with Steve Chbosky, the writer/producer of Jericho a few months before the show came out (I gaffed Steve’s first feature film The Four Corner’s of Nowhere back in the 90s). Anyway when he told me what the show would be about it got me thinking about small towns dealing with nuclear attacks and this had been a novel I had always meant to read. I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. Sadly, more than Jericho, which I never managed to get into the way I had hoped.
Another 50′s story of a small group of people dealing with the aftermath of nuclear war. I saw the film first and then read the novel. I loved the both. They had a mater-of-fact workman like style to them devoid of the sort of melodrama that could have overwhelmed them.
The BBC has a habit of cancelling shows I love. This is one of them. A band of strangers tossed together in the wake of a global pandemic that had eradicated most of humanity. I really enjoyed the characters, and for the most part, the storylines. The question of how people survive is central to the story. What will you do to survive? Will you exploit others to your advantage or try to protect them?
I really enjoyed the first three novels of S.M. Stirling’s series. I felt it dragged a bit heading toward the end. So much so, that I have yet to finish the final two novel. However, he sets up a very interesting world, one where the power had gone out and where the laws of the universe have changed. Not only can electricity not be generated, but gunpowder will no longer work, as well. The story blends elements of post-apocalyptic sci-fi with medieval history and fantasy. I have no way of knowing if the creators of Revolution read the novels before creating their series, but I wish they had simply optioned Stirling’s work rather than fashioning a pale imitation.
How can you not like a post-apocalyptic vampire story. These are sci-fi vampires, borne from a mysterious virus and the work of government scientists meddling with things they don’t full comprehend. Once loosed on the world, these vampires destroy it. The story is told in an odd manner, the first 300 pages being essentially a prologue for the following 500, but I found the characters consistently engaging and the writing excellent.
How could this not make the list. The ultimate end of the world clash between good and evil. Literally. I haven’t read this in ages, but it sticks with me over the years. The post-apocalyptic work that all others get compared to for theme, character creation, breadth of storytelling. I think I need to read it again.
Here, in no real order are the runners up. Several of them should have been on the top list, but I didn’t want to make this an exhaustive exercise.
I haven’t been blogging at all lately. Mostly because I’ve been busy with the day job and traveling for work and trying to edit The Edge of Eternity (The Wizard of Time – Book 3). Also because I haven’t been all that interested in blogging recently. Not exactly sure why. But it didn’t seem to make much sense to force myself to write something I wasn’t all that interested in writing. Honestly, I’d rather spend that free with my wife.
Hopefully in the new year I’ll bet back to a more regular blog cycle. I’m not making a resolution about it. I don’t make resolutions. It’s too depressing when I inevitably break them. But goals are nice. I have several goals for 2014. Getting The Edge of Eternity published by the end of March. Finally publishing my nonfiction book The Alchemy of World and Soul. And writing as many episodes as possible for the new serialized epic fantasy series I’m starting. That seems like more than enough for one person for one year.
It’s been a busy month since my last post. A job that took me to Chantilly, France. A week in Paris with my wife. A few days back in NYC. Then 10 days in Santa Monica and San Francisco to visit friends and to officiate the wedding of a childhood friend. Then a week to recuperate.
Needless to say, I have not been getting much editing done on The Edge of Eternity (Wizard of Time Book 3). Hopefully I can get the second draft finished by mid-November and a third draft by the end of the year, get it to the editor/proofers in January and have it out in March. That’s the plan.
My last post about sci-fi films of the 1950s left me wanting to watch a few. This last weekend, my wife indulged me in a mini sci-fi film festival to celebrate my 45th birthday. We watched The Thing from Another World, Forbidden Planet, Willow, and Stargate.
My wife’s enthusiasm for sci-fi films from the 1950s does not approach my own. In the same way that my understanding of physics does not approach Stephen Hawking’s. But, she loves me, so she hung in there. She did ask me at one point what I liked about these old movies, because the appeal isn’t obvious to her. The special effects tend to look kind of cheesy, the dialogue is stilted, and the stories can be hard to relate to.
This got me to thinking about the question of what attracts me to sci-fi and fantasy in general. The answer was not immediately clear to me.
Why are some people attracted to one genre of writing or entertainment over another? Why do some folks love westerns, while others like horror, and other mysteries or romances? Why do some people eschew genre trappings and only pursue contemporary fiction and drama?
In my own case, something about sci-fi and fantasy lights up the neurons of my brain in a way that other fiction never has. I appreciate a good mystery and love a good western, but nothing kindles my interest like sci-fi and fantasy.
I always loved to read as a kid. My father was a bibliophile and my parents were big on reading being a thing you did as a kid. They were always buying me books, until I started getting an allowance and buying my own. The first book I remember really being interested in enough to want to read twice was a sci-fi book. The first sci-fi book I ever read. I think I must have been about 8 or 9 years old. I remember I was in 3rd grade. I think.
I can’t remember the title of the book, but I remember it was about a space ship that traveled to the moon. To me, most stories have two layers of interest. What the plot is about and what the characters do. But even in that simple sci-fi story I could see a third layer of ideas, even if I couldn’t articulate that. The ideas drew me in.
Sci-fi, far more than fantasy, is about ideas. In essence the idea of a world where things we can only imagine now are possible. This, for me, is probably the essential appeal of sci-fi and fantasy. The immersion in a world that is different from our own. In sci-fi it’s usually an extrapolation forward into some possible future, while in fantasy it’s usually a reimagining of a particular time in our past. In sci-fi the impossible is accomplished through science and technology, while in fantasy the impossible is accomplished through magic.
In both the stakes are usually higher than what you might find in other genres. In a mystery the heroine is trying to find the killer. In a western the hero is trying to defeat the outlaw and maybe save the town. In sci-fi the hero might be trying to save the entire planet from an alien invasion, or in fantasy the heroine might be trying to save the whole kingdom from a monstrous menace.
Ideas. Heightened stakes. Immersive alternate worlds. Possible futures. Heroic characters.
Really, what’s not to like?
Of course it’s deeper than that. There is also a strong vein of justice that dominates genre fiction. Criminals get caught in mysteries. Outlaws brought to the law in westerns. Romance, sci-fi, and fantasy also have a strong sense of moral justice running through them. That, I think, is also part of the appeal. When you read a contemporary non-genre novel you expect that the villain may go unpunished or the protagonist may be a reprehensibly unlikable character. Some genre fiction blurs that moral line with unsavory characters and plots with thwarted justice, but by and large they present relatively stable moral universe. Evil is punished and good rewarded.
Now, there are probably plenty of pseudo psychological explanations for why people would be attracted to that kind of story world. I can only speak for my own, and hope that I am aware enough of my motivations and desires, conscious and unconscious, to explain them accurately. For me it is not that I wish to escape from the ‘reality’ of our world with its moral complexities and vagaries, but rather that I enjoy imagining the possibility of another world where things are not more simple, but rather where that complexity engenders a deeper sense of the best potentials of human nature even when confronting the worst aspects of human behavior.
So, in a nutshell that’s why I like sci-fi and fantasy and why I choose to write the kinds of stories I do rather than other kinds of stories.
I like ideas. I like imaging other possible worlds. I like adventure. I like heroism. I like seeing the impossible accomplished. I like justice.
I also like aliens, cool space ships, robots, ray guns, magic swords, dragons, and castles.
Maybe that’s why I really like sci-fi and fantasy.
I have always had an odd fascination with sci-fi films from the 1950s. More than any other decade the films of the 1950shave always seemed to epitomize the classic sci-fi story tropes: Space Travel and Exploration, Alien Invasion, Atomic Apocalypse, Mutant Madness.
Maybe I was influenced by reading my grandfather’s old copies of Popular Science and Popular Mechanic from the 50’s. Maybe it was because our rural school library had such out dated books on space travel. Maybe it was because I started reading the sci-fi of Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, and Bradbury from the 50s. The first sci-fi book I ever read was Rocket Ship Galileo. Maybe our local UHF station played more sci-fi films from the 50s than from other decades.
Who knows. Whatever the reason, the fascination with sci-fi film from the 50’s has clung to me. In college I took a film history class. As my research project I wrote a paper titled The Apocalyptic Nature of Science Fiction Films of the 1950s. I lost it somewhere along the way. It’s one of the few things I wrote in college that I wish I could go back and read. I won’t attempt to recreate it here, but I thought it might be fun to share my favorite sci-fi films from the 50s. So, here they are:
I love this film. It’s a great first contact story. Alien arrives to tell us to keep to ourselves or else. No “Hi, great to meet you. Would you like to join our interstellar club?” No “Surrender your planet.” No “Surrender your biologically incompatible women.” Just a simple “We see what sort of riffraff you are and if you try that in our neighborhood, we’ll kick your ass.” And there’s the whole bit with the alien (who looks very human as they tended to in the 19050s) on the run and the romantic interest with the single mom. There’s even a scientist and a kid. All this movie needed was a central dog character.
Scientists trapped in the Antarctic discover a flying saucer and a giant ‘thing’ in a block of ice. What could go wrong with melting the ice to take a closer look? I love a story about people stuck someplace remote who have to deal with some dire problem all alone.
This is super cheesy, but I still love it. Another planet is swing by ours. From where? How is that possible? Won’t it be a frozen wasteland? Such things need not concern you. They certainly didn’t concern the filmmakers. Humanity must build a rocket. Or, the rich guy must build a rocket. And save all the white people. Or at least I assume they only saved the white people, unless all the other folks where in 3rd class. For all its faults, many of them omnipresent in films of the era, it’s still a fun little story.
A crew trapped in space with a creature that is killing them one by one. Sound familiar? No its not Voyage of the Space Beagle (first story) or Alien. They’re all similar tales, but this one I find fun in only the way a 1950s film with a limited budget could be.
Martians invade. Apparently without first doing a site survey to make sure they’d be getting a hospitable world after killing all the natives. If only they had thought to wear surgical masks. A ridiculous ending (from the book) but still a fun Aliens Are Destroying The World film.
I had only ever seen the Americanized version (Godzilla) until a few years ago. This is a much superior film. Thoughtful, engaging, and a giant fire breathing monster kicks down a city. What’s not to like?
I saw this when I was about ten for the first time. Spent weeks hoping someone would send me a crazy machine to assemble in my basement. It’s a nice twist on the first contact story. They’ve come for our help. After a fashion.
There is so much to like about this film. A story inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the set design, Walter Pidgeon, a robot, a deserted alien city, a mysterious monster, interstellar space patrol. It’s like someone figured out how to make the perfect 1950s film equivalent of a sci-fi burrito. Yum.
This is probably my favorite of all the sci-fi films from the 50s. Simple, leans storytelling. Part of what I love about it is that it is a story that doesn’t require most of the usual trappings of a sci-fi film. No special effects. No space ships, or robots, or unusual set design. Just people in a small town trying to deal with their neighbors not being their neighbors anymore.
Teens save the world from mounting man-eating meteor menace. A great small town against the alien story. They never explain how the damned thing gets around so fast when it’s not on screen, but the story had just the right amount of tension, horror, and teen rebellion.
An end of the world story that plays out very differently from the usual atomic apocalypse tale. The people of a small Australian town pull together to face the end rather than turning into a bunch of selfish savages.
The first draft of The Edge of Eternity (The Wizard of Time – Book 3) is finally done. Now I will hopefully have more time for blogging inbetween revisions. I hope to have it revised, edited, proofed and beta read by sometime in early 2014. I had hoped to have it done by the end of the year, but my day job schedule is going to be too busy for that.
I was thinking that it since I’ve been writing YA fantasy and sci-fi it might be fun to post the books I most remember from my own youth. So here they are:
What I remember most about reading this is my dad wondering aloud if I should be reading it because I was only 13 and he hadn’t read it until he was in his twenties. I think I must have said something like “It’s not my fault you’re slow.” Very smart ass. I remember being so bummed when I wasn’t able to watch the 1980 NBC TV mini-series based on the book. It stuck with me so long that two years ago I found a copy on DVD bootlegged on line and bought it for $10. It doesn’t hold up so well. But interesting. I can see why I was so attracted to it. I’ve always been attracted to utopian and dystopian stories.
I remember reading it when I was 13 and being very conscious that it was a novel that adults read and thought about. Always liked the mystical character Simon the most. I identified with him in a strange way.
I think I read this the summer I was 17 just before college. It has always been my favorite alien invasion story. Still waiting faithfully for the 5th book after 15 years. Guess I shouldn’t beat myself up for taking time with projects.
I am busy working on the first draft of The Edge of Eternity (Wizard of Time Book 3) and haven’t had much time for blogging. However, I thought it might be fun to post a list of my favorite spaceships from TV and movies. So, below you will find them in no particular order – except the last one.
The Enterprise (From Star Trek The Motion Picture)
I remember seeing this ship in the theater when the movie came out. I was probably 11 or 12. I had been reading about the design for months in Future Life Magazine. I wanted to live on that ship. I had seen Star Wars, but had never felt the same desire to inhabit the world of a space craft.
The Discovery (2001: A Space Odyssey)
I watched 2001 for the first time when I was about 16 after having read the book. It made me feel like I had stepped into the world predicted by Popular Science and Popular Mechanics and Chesley Bonestall in Colliers Magazine in the 1950s. My grandfather had some of these magazines in his basement and I had devoured them when I was 10 of 11. Seeing 2001 made me feel like those younger day dreams could come to life.
The Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)
Pretty much every male my age wanted to fly the Millennium Falcon when they were a kid. As an adult what I like about the ship is it’s non-symmetrical design. It’s a half saucer, with two projecting forward wings and an offset command module. And it moves in the direction of the narrow end of the ship. It breaks expectations in really interesting ways as a design, which I like about any work of art.
A living ship with sleek lines and an organic Art Nouveau meets alien spaceship design. Farscape is my favorite sci-fi show for the simple reason that when I was 13 I wanted to be John Crichton, even though he wouldn’t exist as a character for decades. Watching that show felt like having my childhood daydreams brought to life before my eyes. And, much like the reaction I had when I was a kid to The Enterprise from ST:TMP, I wanted to live aboard Moya the moment I saw the first episode.
Galactica (Battle Star Galactica Reboot)
What I love about the Galactica ship, and the bridge in particular, is that it seems so practical, so functional. It’s low tech as the future of space travel. I don’t have the same desire to hop aboard for an extended stay the way I do with Moya, but it feel like I could figure out how everything on the bridge worked and volunteer as part of the crew if I needed to.
The Crystal Ship (The Fountain)
This is my favorite starship design. So simple. So elegant. Implying a technology so advanced that it doesn’t need to present itself as technological. A crystal sphere with a tree as living cargo, crossing vast distances of space without even the suggestion of an engine room. The mystic explorer in me wants one badly.
The video above is a nice little synopsis of the novel and it’s major themes. The entire book encapsulated in 2 minutes and 35 seconds. Like a whole meal in tablet form from the Jetsons. Its creator sent me the link and asked me to share, which I encourage everyone else to do as well.
The video got me to thinking about the novel and thinking about reading it again. I can’t remember if I read it when I was 13 when I read 1984 and Brave New World for the first time, or whether I read it later, possibly in college. However, one of the nice things about having too many books (which really means I don’t have enough book shelves) is that I was able to find a copy in less than a minute.
It also got be thinking about Bradbury as a writer of short seminal novels – Fahrenheit 541, Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Dandelion Wine. Technically Martian Chronicles and Dandelion Wine are unified short story collections, but the thought that occurred to me is that these novel are an inspiration to a new writer like myself – to create something that is not simply entertaining, but a lasting work that that will speak to readers about core human issue decades in the future.
So, in the interest of inspiring myself, I’ll add 451 to the top of the reading pile and the film to the movie queue. Below is a little collage of the novel’s covers I created for fun. I always think it interesting to see how a popular novel’s cover changes over time, reflecting the design ideas popular culture at the time.