Some recent reading
Here's a quck rundown of some recent reading:
Have Space Suit, Will Travel: by Robert Heinlein. I don't know how many times I've read this, probably a good half a dozen. It forms the template for young sf action-adventure for me, very entertaining stuff. Teenager Kip enters a contest to win a trip to the moon colony, but comes in second and wins a second-hand spacesuit. Disappointed, he still puts in a lot of work to refurbish the thing and is wandering the woods wearing it when, coincidentally, a flying saucer contacts him and spirits him away on an interstellar adventure. Lots of fun stuff. Interesting to see the technology that Heinlein was sure to include in the story (slide rules, polarization) that are matter-of-course or even obviated now. Also interesting at the end to see a common Heinlein trick in these juveniles: at the end Kip's father, already known to Kip as a really wise man, is respected at the highest echelongs of planetary society. All in all, a very good, fast read. One of Heinlein's best.
The Buzzing, by Jim Knipfel. A disappointment. The cover blurbs, especially the quote from Pynchon, make it sound like a lot of fun. A newspaper reporter in New York, who specializes in the weird and wacky, stumbles across a very weird conspiracy (I had thoughts of Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49"). It had potential, but fell flat to me. There was some weird editing, and just a general lack of enthusiasm. A poor ending, too.
Gemini 6: The NASA Mission Reports I picked this book/CD combo up at a science museum last week. Gemini 6 was a really interesting flight. First, the Agena satelite they were to rendezvous with failed ot make orbit., so the flight was redone to let them rendezvous with the long-term Gemini 7 flight. Then a near catastrophe struck at the launch for the repurposed mission, as the Titan booster lit up, then died again. Wally Schirra was really cool as he decided not to eject, but to sit on the rocket. After the Gemini 7 rendezvous is made, they return with some wonderful pictures. This is an interesting book, comprised of press releases issued before the flight, then a long astronaut debriefing after the flight. I would have liked to had long transcripts of capsule communications during the flight. But the debriefing was really interesting, and shows a lot about these astronauts. They have a tremendous command of the details of what happened at all times during the flight. This is remarkable, then you remember that these guys are test pilots, and this testing and memory is part of what qualified them for the mission. Really interesting reading. The CD is also nice, with lots of too-small MPGs of different parts of the flight. (There are some good pictures here.)
Bay of Souls by Robert Stone. First Stone novel I've read in decades. This one is slimmter than many, but the story is riveting. It starts as kind of a cliched story of a middle-aged college professor having an affair with a younger colleague. Then the story changes, as he follows her to a Caribbean island, and discovers that there's a stranger side to her, involving both the CIA and voodoo. An island vacation turns into a weird nightmare involving the fight for her soul and the revelation of the loss of his.
9:56:19 AM Permalink