Friday, December 03, 2004

TITLE: Manned space flight [by] Max Faget. Co
AUTHOR: Faget, Maxime A. (Maxime Allan), 1921-
SERIES: Holt library of science, ser. 3
PUBLISHED: New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston [1965]

This is a remarkable book - it could be a script for the entire history of Human Space Flight, thus far. All the technical issues, and how they might be solved are logged. Lots of good info about Mercury (he designed the ship; the program was complete at the time) and Gemini (co-designer, and it was under way). The info about Apollo is very detailed - you can see how methodical the program was, if almost every detail was known in 1965.

Science Fiction: The Literature of the Technological Imagination
(8 lectures, 45 minutes/lecture)
Course No. 296

Taught by Eric Rabkin
University of Michigan
Ph.D., University of Iowa

Good, thoughtful survey of SF. At some point I can't stand this kind of thing - misses the point, the joy of story when you start projecting too much focus on Oedipal stuff - Everything from Frankenstein to Godzilla (really!) is Oedipal. I lose patience with analysis at some point and think "this is the joy of a story told around the campfire! don't get so het up!" I remember an anecdote of Asimov's - how he realized what fun this was when he was merely re-telling stories from the pulps to his chums. I think that gets lost here.

But many good historical details, following the growth and spread of SF.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Alan Dean Foster

Flinx and Pip come back to Earth searching for clues to Flinx's mysterious origins. After seducing an unsuspecting government worker to access classified files, he uncovers connections between his mother and a secret society. He tracks members of the group back to a remote desert planet but before he can get answers, he is captured by carnivorous Aann!

This is a nice series - in some ways it reminds me of Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy. Longer running, and more convoluted, Heinlein's novel and this series are both riffs on the Prince and the Pauper kind of story; an orphan with greater means and power than he can imagine - and how he learns what it all means.

Fun book - on to the next one!