Thursday, November 22, 2012

Redshirts

by John Scalzi

Giggle time! Redshirts takes the tropes of Star Trek and similar space operas and lampoons them from the perspective of the lower ranks of the ship's crew. Instead of trying to sound intellectual about it all, I'll simply say: It's funny, it's clever, and you should read it.

Check it out!
LibraryThing link

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Strangers From the Sky

by Margaret Wander Bonanno

This is one of those rare times when I pull a beloved book off my shelf and end up thinking less of the tome than I did on my previous readings. Strangers is a Star Trek novel, telling of a first contact between Vulcans and Humans. (This was written before the movie Star Trek: First Contact, so now we know that this story never really happened.)(Well, you know what I mean.) Like the movie, it wasn't enough to simply present the tale of this event. The author also had to include time travelling members of the Enterprise crew, in this case, from the original series. In the past, I enjoyed the cultural anxiety of the encounter and the building drama of the story. This time around, I also (eventually) got caught up in the plot, but I spent far too much time noticing the clich├ęs and two dimensional characters. I may hang onto the book out of nostalgia, but I really couldn't recommend that any one else pick it up outside of the waiting room.

LibraryThing link

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Where do We Go from Here?

edited by Isaac Asimov

This collection of science fiction stories written between 1934 and 1966 was published with the intention to "inspire curiosity" and "lead the student into lines of questioning of his own". To that end, Dr. Asimov followed each tale with a brief commentary and some questions related to the ideas used on the story. I originally bought this book for a high school course in science fiction. In that class, we never did use the questions, focusing instead on the literary aspects of the stories. Nor did I ever pursue Dr. Asimov's questions on my own. But, by golly, I certainly did enjoy the stories themselves, hanging onto the book for all these years. It's classic science fiction from the mid-20th Century. Man is often the master of his domain, either by conquering his environment or by inventing wonders that astound. Of course, that observation is what I picked up in my 2012 reading of the tales. What originally endeared me to the book is the variety of concepts and the well written stories that explored those ideas. Hopefully, Dr. Asimov wouldn't have been a too disappointed in my response, missing his goal as it does.

Back on my shelf it goes! 
LibraryThing link

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Friday, November 02, 2012

Post-Modernism 101

by Heath White

I love my wife. I love being married to her. Some days I'm more aware of the myriad reasons why I love being married to her. Today one of those reasons is this book. It's a library book, borrowed on her card and I'm so glad that she not only found it but also that she let me read it, too.

Post-Modernism 101 is an basic intro to the worldview of post-modernism from a Christian perspective. Unlike a lot of pieces I've read on the subject, Professor White's approach is to look at post-modernism from a more philosophical perspective, presenting it as an outgrowth of modernism, which was itself an outgrowth of medieval pre-modernism. By comparing and contrasting the three worldviews, Professor White avoids the "us versus them" tone that seems so prevalent in other writings on the subject. After presenting the history of the three views, he walks us through their approaches to such basic concepts as truth, morality and the self. The result is that post-modernism is not portrayed as the proverbial "enemy at the gates", but the latest brand of philosophy that the Church must engage. Personally I found the book both surprising and encouraging--surprising because I often found myself disliking modernism's views more than the rest. It's definitely a book on want to put on my shelf for future reference.

LibraryThing link

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