Daguerrotype of Emily Dickinson.
Daily Thoughts 5/25/2009
I just finished reading Escape From Hell by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. It is a sequel to Inferno. After finding the exit to hell in the last novel, Inferno, Allen Carpenter, a science fiction writer returns to hell to try and help some people escape. He believes that some people are redeemable.
This hell is the hell of Dante's Inferno. The whole novel is one of poetic justice. The authors, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle throw various modern day villains into hell, including Kenneth Lay, the people who watched the levees in hurricane Katrina, Anna Nicole Smith, and other sundry characters. I especially like the motorcycle riding preacher, Aimee in this story.
The novel is not scatological or prurient. It is primarily philosophical, ironic, and sometimes darkly funny. Allen Carpenter visits the different places in Dante's Inferno and attempts to rescue people. The best part of the novel is when he rescues Sylvia Plath from her eternal state as a tree. Sylvia Plath travels with him through the whole novel. There may be some philosophical points of contention, the novel will not be agreeable with everyone. I did enjoy reading it very much. It is clearly a fantasy novel. I hope they write another sequel featuring Allen Carpenter, Dante did write Purgatorio.
Happy Memorial Day. Today is Memorial Day in the United States. I watched the parade go by my house. They had the usual groups, the veterans associations, the fire, police, ambulance, boy scouts, girl scouts, the sports leagues, the mayor, and the local car club. The car club had a number of old Chevrolet Impala's, Fords, a few army trucks, and some sports cars. Remember those who fought for your country.
I read some more of Fool's Gold by Mark Y. Herring. In the last chapter, he was railing against the Paperless Society. I don't think paper will ever completely disappear. What I think is happening is that people are getting much greater control over what they will put on paper. It is very easy with all the reviews of books all over the web and in print magazines to get reviews of books. There is also another phenomenon that is happening; the ability to look inside the book or sample a book. Many publishers are giving away the first set of chapters for a book. Amazon has their look inside the book program, and Baen gives away the first several of their science fiction books.
I think this selectivity is fueling print on demand which is the fastest growing segment of the book publishing industry. This is an article from Library Journal on On Demand Books. http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6659232.html?industryid=47175