Science Fiction ≠ Science Fiction


As a kid I loved to read science fiction. Even though I have not read any Asimov, Heinlein, Pohl, Herbert or Fredric Brown lately, I still have fond memories of it all. I believe, though I couldn’t prove it to you, that it had a lot to do with my present attitude towards science. Certainly, I didn’t particularly like my science classes in school (until I got to college and took Geology) and my best grades were not in any of those courses, so I can only attribute my current fascination with all things scientific to the fiction I read as an adolescent. In turn, my love of science has underpinned my atheism, so indirectly, there is a definite link between Dune and my religious viewpoints.

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Thoughts on Zadig

The current Non-Believing Literati book is Zadig, by some guy named Voltaire. My copy indicates that it was “Translated from the French Original of Mr. Voltaire”, and was published in MDCCXLIX, so if some of the quotes I use look a bit archaic, you now know why.

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A Doghouse Of One’s Own

Call me Ishmael. At least, that’s what my master calls me. He found the name in a book somewhere; he’s always reading books, never has much time for me, other than to throw me a mostly-eaten leg of mutton or some scraps from the table. What kind of name is that for a dog? I’m a pedigree English Sheepdog, (though plagued with a lean and hungry look)! I have papers, dammit! He could have called me Spot, it would have been more appropriate.

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Lynch-Mob Morality

In Politics, it never hurt anyone’s career to join a moral lynch-mob, especially when sexuality was involved.

Madeleine Witherson, the Whore of Babylon, as she’s referred to in Christopher Brookmyre’s Not The End Of The World, has the most realistic, reasonable attitude towards sex that I’ve come across in a long time. She asked herself, early in the book, what “exposing [her pubic hair and breasts] to a video camera had to do with a Jewish philosopher preaching tolerance in Roman occupied Palestine”. As a result, she becomes the most sympathetic character of the book.

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Blatant Promotional Meme

OG tagged me with the latest meme. OK. I’ll play, but only because I’ll get to use it as a blatant plug for the Nonbelieving Literati. Here’s the premise of the meme.

1. Grab the nearest book (that is at least 123 pages long).
2. Open to p. 123.
3. Go down to the 5th sentence.
4. Type in the following 3 sentences.
5. Tag five people.

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A Plague of Carnivals. No, Wait! A Carnival of Plagues!

By now you should all be familiar with the Nonbelieving Literati, that book club (without the clubhouse) of sorts originally originated by the ever original Exterminator. If not, back up five words and click. Once there, check out his side column which should help explain a lot. You could also click on some of the discussions I posted of previous books we discussed, which I have conveniently linked to in my right hand column.

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The Lonesome Sparrow

Relationships of ownership they whisper in the wings
To those condemned to act accordingly and wait for succeeding kings
And I try to harmonize with songs the lonesome sparrow sings
There are no kings inside the Gates of Eden

Bob Dylan

As I begin to write this post, I’m not sure what this verse from The Gates of Eden has to do with Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow, except that the entire time I had the book in my hand, I kept hearing the song in my brain, and in particular, this verse. Dylan will do that to me. When I hear a phrase or a word that was used as part of a lyric in a Dylan song, the song comes rushing in, and often I go rushing to the stereo to listen to it. When Hurricane Katrina made so much noise a few years ago, I found myself listening to Dylan’s rant about the injustice heaped on Hurricane Carter. Continue reading

Lamb, by Christopher Moore

“You think you know how this story is going to end, but you don’t.”

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Some Thoughts on Julian


This book got off to a good start by providing the spark for a post I wrote about a month ago, so for that reason alone, it was worth the price (well, maybe not to you, but to me it was only about 3 bucks at Clearly, I jumped the gun on our discussion with that post, but since it was simply an observation based on an offhand comment in the preface to the book, I trust everyone will treat it as a teaser.

I’m not going to analyze the book from a literary point of view. I think I was put off of formal book reports in Catholic school, when they gave us books like Melville’s’ Billy Budd, and told us to write what felt like a college level dissertation on the themes of the book, without telling us what those themes were. So, here, I’m going to simply note a few things that struck me while reading the book, and defer to all of you more literary minded literati. Continue reading