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Posts Tagged ‘Sci-Fi’

Rational extrapolation is a pistol, effective only at short ranges and not very effective there.  …  Prediction is a rifle, less accurate as the range increases.
   —   Gene Wolfe
From his introduction to the book: “The Complete Hammer’s Slammers, vol. 1“, written by David Drake
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I “discovered” Kurt Vonnegut Jr. when I was going through my first Science-Fiction reading phase back in high school (way back in the late 60’s early 70’s).   I read a couple of his novels and really enjoyed them, so whenever I would stumble upon one of his books on a store shelf, I’d pick it up for my “library”.
I bought “Welcome to the Monkey House” (1968©) back in my Army days and have carried it around the world with me ever since.  Last summer (2011 that is), I took it along with me for its second trip to Liverpool, determined to read it.  I didn’t, but I read another Vonnegut (Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons), and it rekindled my interest so I set “Welcome” on my nightstand, hoping I’d get around to it sooner rather than later.  I guess since I bought it 40 years ago, reading it after another year and a bit is “sooner” rather than later…
Anyway, the book is absolutely terrific!!
It is a series of 25 short stories from Vonnegut’s early writing (50’s and 60’s).  A few are Sci-Fi related, but all are really about humanity.  Almost every story has a “twist” at the end which, for me, was unpredictable.  Okay, maybe not “unpredictable” as by the fourth or fifth you KNOW there will be a twist so you’re left trying to anticipate it, but most still surprised me.  Some will make you almost cry, some will make you almost laugh out loud, but all will make you feel better about yourself (and maybe even humanity).
The book is a very fast read.  The stories average 12 pages, so you can complete one and put the book down for a while as you wind your way through your day.  I had training in San Francisco during the week, so I read the first five or six stories on the BART  traveling to and from and then finished the book yesterday while home in bed with my kidney stones flaring up.  Very highly recommended!!!
Oh, in case you’re wondering how I know when I bought this book, when I was in the Army they used to make us write our names and the last four digits of our social security number in the book as it was a personal belonging which they would ship home in the event they had to ship you home too…
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Yesterday, I picked up my copy of “Inception” on DVD and watched it when I got home.  It’s a terrific movie!  On second viewing, the love story (the main character and his dead wife) actually make the movie for me.  Yes, there is the Sci-Fi, and yes, there is the action and convoluted plot, but to me, the power of the movie comes from his enduring love.
I still feel the movie (as stated above) is terrific, but in all honesty, it does NOT translate to the small screen as much as I had hoped.  It’s a bit like the movie “2012” in that regard.  The special effects are so grand, they lose detail when compressed on to a TV (I have a 48-inch HD TV).  The scale is particularly lost in the mirror and folding city scenes.  Still, I know it’s a movie I’ll watch again and again over time, so it’s nice to have the convenience of owning the DVD.
I’m still undecided about the ending…
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