Friday, December 14, 2007

Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

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Okay - I actually read this over a year ago - but I came across Anne Lamott's reading of it at the library, so I've been hauling this around on my iPod for months, listening on and off. And finally finished it. It is a fine testimony,and an encouragement to believers who need an example that helps them realize "being an American Christian" doesn't require you to be follow GWB and the religious right in lockstep.

Funny, and sweet - hearing Lamott agonize over the ups and downs of life and faith is quite an inspiration.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Warlord of Mars

Text of the novel at Project Gutenberg
Audio from Librivox

The Warlord of Mars is a science fiction novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; "Yellow Men of Barsoom," "The Fighting Prince of Mars," "Across Savage Mars," "The Prince of Helium," and "The War Lord of Mars." The finished story was first published in All Story Magazine as a four-part serial in the issues for December, 1913-March, 1914. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C. McClurg in September, 1919.

Finally finished listening to this. I've had it rattling around on my iPod since August, when I listened to the first two Burroughs "Barsoom" books. These are great - dated, of course, but still phenomenal stories that had everything (and more) you'd expected in a space opera (I think "Sword and Planet" is the term for these).

Still, it's amazing to me to reflect on these epics with their huge battles ("piles" of corpses) and armadas of flying machines as coming from an era when planes were little more than powered box kites, and the biggest aircraft were blimps and zeppelins. Great fun and great adventure in these tales of John Carter, man of war and man of peace:

Twenty-two years before I had been cast, naked and a stranger, into
this strange and savage world. The hand of every race and nation
was raised in continual strife and warring against the men of
every other land and color. Today, by the might of my sword and the
loyalty of the friends my sword had made for me, black man and white,
red man and green rubbed shoulders in peace and good-fellowship.
All the nations of Barsoom were not yet as one, but a great
stride forward toward that goal had been taken, and now if I could
but cement the fierce yellow race into this solidarity of nations
I should feel that I had rounded out a great lifework, and repaid
to Mars at least a portion of the immense debt of gratitude I owed
her for having given me my Dejah Thoris.