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Wednesday, 29 December 2021


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History of the Future was quickly Kindled via your link. Sounds like my cup of tea.

I'm going to suggest a fiction book for next year (you could even start it 1/1/22 and that would be next years book). The Overstory by Richard Powers. The overstory of the book is lots of the current research on trees and forests. Plenty of facts about the magnificent, long lived beings that manufacture the very air we breathe. And that's just a small part of what they contribute to the world. The fiction part is equally as good. It made me even more aware of all I take from the world, while giving back so little. Which is why we have the global climate crisis. Humans burning up the world.

As a counterpart to your current non-fiction and if you find the time, try "The Dawn of Everything" to look into the other direction in time. Not only interesting, but also nicely written (as far as I can judge - English is my second language).

Ah, popular lit. This is a propos, as I am currently making my way through The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles, and wondering if it is worth it. I keep thinking of it resembling some popular TV show, with quirky characters who are supposed to be loveable, etc.
I don't need to 'pass the time,' so a fat, mediocre novel isn't really what I want. Yet I will read it all because, darn, I do want to see how it comes out. I sure hope Towles doesn't pull a Dei Ex Machina.

Concerning "deus ex machina", not quite. A pedant speaks (or rather, quotes Wikipedia):

"Deus ex machina is a Latin calque from Greek ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός (apò mēkhanês theós) 'god from the machine'. The term was coined from the conventions of ancient Greek theater, where actors who were playing gods were brought onto stage using a machine. The machine could be either a crane (mechane) used to lower actors from above or a riser that brought them up through a trapdoor. Aeschylus introduced the idea, and it was used often to resolve the conflict and conclude the drama. The device is associated mostly with Greek tragedy, although it also appeared in comedies."

Knew you'd want to know that. You may be mixing it up with "the ghost in the machine", a rather different concept.

Best wishes for 2022!


[That was the origin of it all right, Mike, but in lit crit it has the common meaning as specified.

We no longer believe in gods, small case, plural, except perhaps insofar as an author gets to act as one to his or her characters! --Mike]

Hailey's television script, Flight into Danger, set the the standard for disaster movies. I'm not sure if he had Leslie Neilson in mind when he wrote the script for Flight into Danger, but without it we might not have "....and don't call me Shirley."

The ending …

not related but I read an analysis of the chp 24 or the ending of odyssey lately. It is always fascinating how anyone, the Greek included (Homer may be) handle the case that it is obviously impossible for the main character to kill all his clan lead man and live ever after. But the Greek legend is that he did. What should you do.

Why not start reading the Novels of your friend John Camp?

[I have read several! --Mike]


It's not really worth pursuing, but I refer you to the difference between the Latin prepositions "ex" and "in". Enough said!


In my opinion the first A. H. (with John Castle) book "Runway Zero-Eight" is also his best. It's rather short novel with a perfect plot.
I have many other books of A. H. ("Airport" and "Hotel" among them), but none of them is as good.

Many of us cannot own every book that we want but I may have a compromise solution. Most states like Michigan have a statewide library system (ours is called Melcat) that lets you borrow books from almost any library in your state including universities. For instance right now I have on order a DVD lecture by John Szarkowski on Eugène Atget and also a four volume set of books that he did on Atget. Also waiting on these; Vivian Maier : the color work, Picasso & the camera by John Richardson and Deus ex machina by Ralph Gibson. There is no way that I can afford to buy these but being able to just read them is the next best thing.

If you are interested in this contact you local library and see if your state has an inter-loan system. Rarely have I searched for a book and not been able to find it in the state system

The B52s covered Paperback Writer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCdHW9tULHM well worth a look.

I read mostly police procedurals and sci-fi.

John Holland said "His novels will not likely continue to be read, but instead, they will live on in the movies and TV shows they inspired."

Which reminds me of an exchange of dialog in the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (aka the whale one). The crew travels back in time to present day San Francisco, and Kirk, a lover of old literature attempts to blend in with his verbiage. Spock calls him on it.

Kirk: You're referring to the colorful metaphors? The double-dumb ass on you? You'll see it in the literature of the times. The collected works of Jacqueline Susanne, the novels of Harrold Robbins.

Spock: Ahh. The Giants.

I'd give odds that dialog was from ghost writer Nicholas Meyer.

I watched the original Airport film, in Vienna, dubbed into German, at the time of its release in 1970.

The original aeroplane disaster movie, that provided the template for future 'disaster' movies, is 'The High and the Mighty', 1954. Quite unknown, but rather a good film.

Never read his books. Too busy reading the adventures of James Bond.

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