Wonder Books

From The American Scholar, a review of the style of popular and literary fiction based on healing journeys: Brooklyn Books of Wonder, by Melvin Jules Bukiet. It’s a savage assessment of my least favourite literature, sentimental fiction. It has a good explanation of why this stuff sellsit works: narcissistic empathy. Read it, weep and perceive …

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Sir Joseph Banks

Through the SciTech Daily site, a link to “Master of the Enlightenment”, Andrea Wulf’s review of The Scientific Correspondence of Sir Joseph Banks, 1765-1820, edited by Neil Chambers. Sir Joseph Banks was Patrick O’Brien’s model for Stephen Maturin, a leading character in the Aubrey & Maturin novels. O’Brien drew on Banks in two ways. In …

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The Wild Trees

Richard Preston recognized a good story when he heard about Steve Sillett, ninja climbs and the quest for the tallest tree. He told the story effectively in “Climbing the Redwoods”, written for the New Yorker (ninja version here), and republished in Best American Science Writing 2006. He has managed to write it again, even better, …

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SF Titles List

When Randy and Garth blogged about this list, I copied it and worked through it. The part about marking the ones you loved get interesting. There were books I loved once, but have lost their bloom, and some now seem to have been a great waste of time.

Reading List

Randy’s point about the fall TV lineup is good. There is so much material, so little time. The days of 3 channels are long gone. I have the same problems with reading material. I have picked up several mystery or thriller titles, primarily serials, out of loyalty to the writer. I see them on the …

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Starship Troopers

The Wikipedia entry of the day relates to Robert A. Heinlein’s novel Starship Troopers. I was impressed by the novel when I was 14, less impressed when I was 20, and more impressed today. Heinlein wrote a good story and rendered the didactic and tendentious as palatable. I have never been clear on whether Starship …

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