If the Catholic blogosphere were somehow a public gathering, I’d be tempted to run through it in a polar bear costume and yell, “I like Philip Pullman,” just for the spite of it. Instead, I get to read real books mostly before I go to bed at night.
I’d been meaning to read Alastair Reynolds’ Pushing Ice (reviewed here) for some time. On the other hand, I’ve also been avoiding it. What turned me off to the book was the plot synopsis about Saturn’s moon Janus peeling out of its orbit and shooting off into interstellar space. That just seemed like a too-weird pseudo-sf idea: where an author or filmmaker does something almost inexplicable and the point of the drama is how people react to it.
I had read a few of Reynolds’ earlier novels, and while I enjoyed them for ideas, I thought less of the character development and writing style.
Where this book was concerned, two out of three isn’t bad: good characters and a smoother style made up for aliens and a clunky moon leaving orbit. Like most good sf, it operates on different levels: a mystery as the humans try to discover what happened to them, a personal drama between two women vying for power and control, big sf ideas about the far future, small sf ideas about life on a spaceship.
Alien life isn’t a good thing in my book. There’s enough drama in the human mind and heart to keep a good story clicking. Maybe it’s my philosophy funk that tells me there are no aliens and we humans have the universe to ourselves. But I don’t need no stinkin’ aliens, even if they are called “Musk Dogs.”
On the other hand, The Echo Maker by Richard Powers was almost all about the inner realm of the human mind. It was not a fast read, but it was emotionally intense: a man who suffers an accident that impairs his brain, a caregiver sister who is not recognized, two love interests of the woman, a doctor whose professional and personal life implodes, and a mystery that slowly unravels.
And for film, we went to see Enchanted the other week. My wife liked it a lot. As did our daughter. I found it more fun and interesting than I thought it would be. And Amy Adams has a nice singing voice and good acting chops while being easy on the eyes.
I’m surprised Disney allows one of its own films to take a few pokes at the formula. The songwriting is not quite top shelf, though the music fits pretty well. Lucky thing the movie has a plot.