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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Sunday, April 28


I’m an old-school fan of science fiction, cutting my baby teeth on the sci-fi pulp magazines of the 40’s and 50’s like “Amazing Stories” and “Astounding Stories,” Edgar Rice Burroughs’ series about Mars and Venus and the Earth’s core. I passed by the stuff from those considered to be the fathers of sci-fi—Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. Then later I whetted my growing appetite on the futurist visions of Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, the fantasies and horrors of Ray Bradbury, then graduated to the more literary works of Arthur C. Clarke, George Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz, Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, Herbert’s Dune, Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar, and too many others to mention. It goes without saying, then, that I was also a fan of sci-fi series on television and the many great sci-fi films—2001, a Space Odyssey, Star Trek, Star Wars, The Hunger Games, Cloud Atlas, Looper, The Matrix, WALL-E, Alien, Planet of the Apes, Contact, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Soylent Green, and The Thing (although I’ve always been partial to the old 1951 Thing with James Arness instead of the more recent versions).

And so I was pulled to the theatre for Tom Cruise’s Oblivion. I’d give it three out of five sci-fi stars, and the movie’s title may be an indicator of where it will end up on a list of great science fiction films. I was a little disappointed in the plot, but the visual imagery made it worthwhile. Cruise and his partner Victoria have been assigned to a nearly lifeless Earth to patrol and maintain the huge vacuums that hover above the diminished oceans and suck up the water to be used for fuel on Jupiter’s moon Titan, where the remnants of earth’s population have emigrated after our planet had been nearly destroyed and made uninhabitable by an alien race that had come to take over the earth. In the ensuing war, the aliens blew up the moon, causing a cataclysmic disaster on earth—earthquakes, tsunamis, and radiation. We won the war but lost our planet, with only a few aliens, called Scavs, roaming the surface, trying to destroy the drones, small, round cyber policemen there to protect the water vacuums. And John Harper was there to protect and service the drones. He and his partner live in a Jetsons-like sky villa, complete with swimming pool and landing pad for the small ship Harper flies to conduct his business. As I said earlier, the gadgetry and scenes of a desolated earth were more intriguing to me than the plot, which included a small group of humans led by Beech (Morgan Freeman) and Sally (Melissa Leo), whom we see only as an out-of-focus black and white face giving Harper and Victoria their orders from the far away Titan. The plot evoked memories of past sci-fi flicks—Memento, Looper, Back to the Future, and Terminator—with their juggling of time and replication of people. I enjoyed the movie, but my wife Rosalie would have hated it. Must be a guy thing.
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