May 2010


First of all, the department changed the course number, and the class was listed in the schedule of classes as simply “Readings in Literature.”  No one knew they were signing up for a science fiction class.  A couple were pleased.  Some were stunned.  Some are gone.  To make matters more complicated, the first book on the reading list, The Stars My Destination, is out of print (even though according to the bookstore Random House took the order and only told the store last minute).  Scrambling to rearrange the schedule, I’ve had to front load the movies, so we’re barely underway and watching 2001: A Space Odyssey—all of it.  Fast-paced it ain’t.  So a week has gone by, they’ve watched two movies, and I barely know them except for their names.  They turn in the first paper on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? when we return on Tuesday.  I’ve read the novel close to a dozen times now and still enjoy it and find new things in it.  Here’s hoping my students liked it too.

Sarah and I vacationed in DC and took advantage of its many socialist pleasures like public transportation and art museums.  Since I’m writing about angels, I went hunting in the Renaissance and came back with some interesting images.  Check out the colorful wings on this flock:

My favorite, however, has to be this Nativity with the tiny angels just visible in the top of the stable, and an air traffic controller guiding them in:

This review appeared recently on Beam Me Up

Tails of Wonder & Imagination
Edit by Ellen Datlow
from Night Shade Books

Do you think of yourself as a cat fancier? Do stories about cats or with cats as the main character garner more than just a little interest? Well have I got a book for you! Tails of Wonder edited by Ellen Datlow has collected some of the finest “cat? stories I have seen to date. Now I am not talking about the cutesy puss in boots tales (no pun intended) either. Some of the most heart wrenching and frightening stories are contained within the covers, by some of the most esteemed authors in the field today. Stephen King, George R.R. Martin and Mary A. Turrizllo to name a few. Mary’s story you might remember from an earlier BMU program, is Pride which tells the story of a long dead sabre tooth tiger brought back through regressive dna (I know, I am mangling the science) and the horrifying effect that the big cat has on modern society. Or the absolutely indescribable Cat Skin by Kelly Link and one of my favorites in the book Healing Benjamin by Dennis Danvers is absolutely heart breaking.

Forty two stories in all with a fine intro by Ellen gives enough selection than anyone is likely to find several well worth the cost of the volume. I thought I would be wanting at the end knowing that most of the stories would be classified as fantasy, but I had no problem getting to the end and often a lot of trouble just putting it down.

This would be one that I would suggest you checking out no matter what your main story venue is. I think even the most hardened amongst us can warm to this collection.

posted by Beam Me Up at 2:50 PM on May 13, 2010

Summer school starts Monday, so I’m crazy busy.  I’ll be back with news from that front when time allows.