ForeverBlueSkies - Life, the Universe and Everything - a blog

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sci Fi Geekery

Another blog post? So soon? Take the man's temperature! (Yeah, they took my temperature yesterday, just so they can find out WTF is wrong with me - heart, lungs, temperature & blood pressure are all normal but the claret they took out of my arm now needs to be analysed...)

So, as I watch with interest my friend Nigel's "progris riport" on Flowers for Algernon, I realise that the book he's reading is some 40 years old and a previous Nebula Award winner, along with other prestigious titles like, er... Dune!

Oh dear! As much of a pseudo-geek as I can be it suddenly dawns on me that I am so utterly lacking on my sci-fi novel geekery. Granted, I know some of the titles in the Nebula Award winners' list like Dune and Rendezvous with Rama and yes, a lot of author's names I know so well, like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke (who died yesterday), even Le Guin, Silverberg, Niven and Pohl.

But have I read any of these prestigious titles, have I immersed myself in the words of these award-winning writers?

In a word... NO!

That's so incredibly sad because as a child I was raised surrounded by these tomes. In the beige world of the 1970s the promise of the future was epitomised in the amazing allure of the Sinclair calculator, the digital watch, the ZX-81 and by the artwork on the covers of all the sci-fi novels...

And THAT is precisely my problem. As a small child I judged a book by its cover, I revelled in the joys of a Chris Foss spaceship on the front but I could not be bothered to trawl the big words of Asimov in order to see that vessel fight its way through the galaxy. That's where George Lucas came to my rescue...

In the summer of '77 I queued at the Odeon in Chelmsford to see Star Wars. The floodgates opened... In the town's other theatre I saw Battle Beyond the Stars and The Black Hole, I braved the ridicule of my uncle to watch the Empire Strikes Back, had my dad take me to Return of the Jedi. At home the three TV channels would occasionally show Logan's Run, Westworld or Silent Running...

OK, so maybe these aren't sci-fi novel/novella classics of the Nebula Award winning ilk, but 2-hour shows were better for a kid's attention span than a sprawling pseudo-intellectual paperback. But now that I realise I have missed out on such shining stars of the science fiction genre I feel that I need to renew my interest in sci-fi books, just as I'm recently rebuilding my E.E. Doc Smith collection...

But wait... I lie... I DID read *one* Nebula Award winner... I still have my copy of William Gibson's Neuromancer (Ick... New Romancer... get that thought out of my head) I cannot remember much of it but it was good, it was fast, geeky, techno, YES! Is it anything like Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash that I just started reading? Mick Jones, guitarist of The Clash, wrote the song Buckethead about Snow Crash for his Carbon/Silicon project with Tony James and it's my guitar hero that inspired me down the sci-fi reading route again...

Philip K Dick cover browserGah, I digress yet again... There's no time to digress, I must finish Snow Crash before I launch into 40 years of missed geekery, and that's not to mention all those Philip K Dick (he of Bladerunner et. al.) novels, I didn't realise there were SO MANY!

Anyone else here dig sci-fi? Got any books to add to my list of 40?

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Why does everything on eBay smell the same?

I'm not joking, haven't you noticed? Or am I the only one?

Everytime I order something from eBay, I open the parcel and get this same distinct aroma... seriously! Hence my question;
"why does everything on eBay smell the same?"
Boss DS-1 DistortionIt's this sort of pungent sweet musty smell, like everybody from whom I've brought anything on eBay smokes Turkish or Russian cigarettes and hordes away electronic gadgetry and EE Doc Smith & Sci Fi novels in dusty corners, the treasures finally squeezed into padded Jiffy bags with one last puff of foreign-flavoured nicotine to wish the items luck on their way to the leafy suburbs of green & pleasant Hampshire.

Go on, next time you order something used from eBay, get yourself a noseful and tell me I'm right.

Anyway, I'm going to be nosey now: what was the last thing you ordered off eBay...?

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsI just had txt with Becky.

She now knows I have my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. At least us Brits get some things before them damn Yankees ;)

I told her the queue outside Tesco, The Meadows, in Camberley was big... it surprised me too; there must have a hundred plus people waiting there when I turned up at ten minutes to midnight.

Becky had offered that when her copy turns up on our doorstep tomorrow morning I can read it... but I couldn't resist being part of the bundle for the last book in the Harry Potter... er... septology?

Right, I'm off to finish a bit more of it now; I told here that at the foot of page 35 it says;
"Back in his bedroom, Harry fiddled aimlessly with his"
But she didn't want to know in case I spoiled the plot...

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