Happy Death (Of Life and Science Fiction)

Flash Gordon is worth watching — nothing like cheesy Sci Fi Channel shows to finish off the evening. Stargate SG-1 may be no more, but there will always be plenty of second-rate science fiction to go around. Ah yes, the time portals, alien bounty-hunters, and nearly witty dialog… I don’t know that I could survive without it. I’d quote the dialog here, but the choicest lines defy reproduction.

I’ve been reemerging myself in some scifi roots lately rereading a few of my favorite novels. Of recent times, Fitzpatrick’s War is one of my favorites — possibly because nobody has heard of it, possibly because it’s currently a standalone work, but most likely because it’s written with skill. The characters are craft into a future setting in the 26th century in which America has fallen by 2081, and a new confederacy has arisen. It’s future fiction with all the trappings of science fiction: altered scientific possibilities (via satellites that disrupt electricity), the movement and motion of empires and civilization (a la Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series), but also the crafting of excellent characters with breath and emotion and the ripples of change carrying them through the pages.

A book of classic scifi persuasion, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury has my eyes rushing through each page looking to find more fuel for my mind and being completely satisfied with ever bit of it. The book’s overall theme shines the spotlight on the topic of censorship of books. Firemen no longer put out fires (because houses are now fireproof), but instead have been recruited as the enforcers of the government’s censorship program to burn books.

Most interesting though in Fahrenheit 451 is not the obvious theme of censorship. It speaks directly to other problems envisioned by Bradbury when he wrote the book in 1953 which affect our world today and speak strongly of the human condition in general. The protagonist in the story, Guy Montag, has a wife who holds no love for him. She stares at the television walls in her house all day, and at night has her ears stuffed w/ ‘seashells’ (Bradbury’s envisioning of what could now be considered portable radios, or, more aptly to present society, iPods). People are so distracted living in the fast times and drowning their minds in fun/entertainment that in the process they lose something of their souls.

In any case, if you’ve never read either of these books, I recommend them. At some point, I plan to also reread 1984 and Animal Farm.

If you’ve got any scifi you’d like to recommend, please leave your comments. (Oh, and don’t bother mentioning Star Wars Universe, Star Trek, or Halo books. Plus, I think Master Chief has more important tasks for you than reading.)

A Sunday Entry

This weekend has been swell. Friday night after Navs I went to Amigo’s to hang out and talk, and after that went to Varv’s apartment, played Rummy, and we talked for quite a while. It was good times to get away from crowds and get some real conversation going. Not that the other conversations I had in the night weren’t real, but there’s some things you can’t talk about in crowds of ten people who don’t know you.

Saturday = ZOO! Omaha’s The Henry Doorly Zoo, to be precise. My favorite animals were the Polar Bears (in Japanese -> shirokuma), sharks, octopii, and penguins. It’s amazing to watch those animals and think how incredible it is to be separated mere inches from them because of modern technology and ultimately the marvels and wonders of God’s creation. I mean, there’d be nothing to put in the zoo if he didn’t make the animals and no way to hold them in if there wasn’t the technology. I think it would be even more incredible to see some of those animals in the wild. They’d be a lot more fearsome, eh?

Another fun aspect was being there with Jake, Amy Hatcher, April S., and Kanako. Kanako knows Jake and Amy and the other Navs who went to Shizuoka, Japan last summer. Anyway, it was good to spend time with some friends in a different environment than usual and enjoyed speaking a bit of Japanese with Kanako, although I know I could learn more of the language if I tried harder.

Saturday night was Brandon’s birthday. Went to that with Jake and knew many other people there, too. For Brandon’s birthday we made him a 25 song CD. It was Jake’s idea and a good one at that. 11 of the songs on the CD were Copa Cabana.

Today I’ve just done usual Sunday fare — church, ate dinner out at a house, napped, and read various items most of the afternoon. I occassionally find myself with a shortage of real bookmarks due to the amount of books I have being consumed or awaiting consumption at any one time. Today I read parts of The Bible, Wild at Heart, Spiritual Disciplines, The Passion of Christ, and Eyes of Heisenberg (odd sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert — not that good).

This week will be tough for school. I’ve got two midterms on Tuesday, each of which I’m inadequately prepared for. I will study much tomorrow and hope it to be enough. Thursday I have a paper due. But, joy of joys, FREEDOM of sorts comes Friday with the end of the school week and beginning of a Spring Break to be filled with its own busyness and not less requirements than usual, but different. (i.e. I must finally finish my English class. Must.)

Oh, and Phil’s site moved: http://philabowl.f2o.org/ http://thebolls.com/