To Spend Time On…

… reading. Lately, I’ve read quite a bit — science fiction mostly, the rest would fall under the genre of philosophical writings. I’ve also got my hands (finally, around six-seven years after starting with the first book!) on ‘Noble House’ and ‘Whirlwind’ which means that when I wish to continue reading about British arrogance and commerce in the Far East I can freely continue doing so. Clavell is a bit too good to miss out, so I’m planning to take it up as one of the next (not the next though: first I’ll make sure I’ve got all of the New Republic Era //all == as much as I can and have// read; after that a bit of Mahan, and then, I guess, onwards to the Clavell books). 

I started using an interesting web-site called GoodReads.com. Seems to keep a list of what I’ve (you’ve) read — something that I consider rather useful. I have tried to keep such a list in the past but it never works out; on the computer/online it should amount to something better though. 

Reading the New Republic Era has made quite an impression though: with the previous ten-odd books by J. Marsden (on Australia and such) and now a whole lot by different authors I’ve seen how there’s a difference between styles, and what that actually means. Just to bring out a few, then if we look at Matthew Stover (Natalie would probably cringe just on hearing his name) then he often starts long discourses about things not-that-directly related to everything else. Yet, it suits me well since I see the relevance of the things he poses and it creates a deeper background; Roger MacBride Allen on the other hand uses deeply comical situations along with fast-paced action which has made me like the overall depth less though the few scenes that are in all of them do make a sort of impression as well as the characters he creates; Timothy Zahn is just great, of his creation is the tactical genius Thrawn and I believe that (much like John Howe in his newsletters) Zahn allows himself to dedicate the entire art-ful being that he projected into Thrawn into the entire action of his writing — the books simply flow and while not as funny as MacBride Allen’s they still offer a sense of completeness and thoroughness; finally, John Marsden

Ah, John Marsden’s books… I have to say, it might have been the first young adult (or whatever-nonsense they call that) series that I ever read, but it was good. Enjoyable. The language, as has been often noted, was exactly that — deeply in line with the intended audience. The books — content — is not that wonderful in the Tomorrow and Ellie series but it is still an interesting question to wonder about, especially given the war is a simple background setting to the larger problem of human interaction. I do deeply recommend reading Marsden and not for the same reasons for why people should read either J.R.R. Tolkien, J. Clavell, W. Somerset Maugham, or Kawabata Yasunari. No, the reason to read John Marsden is to read about becoming human/inhuman, growing up — no, not exactly that: I cannot place my hand (paw?) on what it is that is there, but there’s something worthwhile… it is not the beauty of the style nor any other obvious literary quality, but something less tangible perhaps (or therefore, instead, more tangible?).

I did also want to say a word about a few of the characters that have struck me as wonderful as few can be from the New Republic era books that I’ve read, but I believe I’ll keep that for another time now.
 

Stargate SG-1

 It’s a pity how quickly people are apt to disregard sci-fi just because it is sci-fi. That is both disrespectful towards the shows (or books or short stories etc etc) as well as to the people who do so. In any case, the only thing they achieve is locking out a massive genre with potentials that reach beyond the stars. 

One of the better sci-fi shows I’ve ever come across is from the Stargate franchise, namely Stargate SG-1 which lasted for near to 10 seasons. Therefore, I recently took it up (somewhat due to the influence of a good friend) to rewatch the entire show, and having now done that, I can say that I am not disappointed. I believe that it was one of the episodes that I saw which made me post my recent entry "Input and Output". That being done, I am confident that at some point in the future, I will address some notable writers I’ve come across as well as other sci-fi shows and whatnot; however, this post reflects a few of my key thoughts on SG-1. 

Firstly, the episodes I found most notable from the ten seasons (nine in total):

The episode number in each of those lines links to a description of the episode (hopefully). Also, while I’m sure that I’d describe all of them differently than what is said in those SG-Wiki articles, I still found it somewhat interesting to go over some of them. 

For some reason, ‘Abyss’ seems to have remained in my mind the most while before watching them (again) I had the feeling that ‘The Fifth Race’ and ‘Crystal Skull’ were the best. I’m not sure of the relevance of this, but it does show a changed perspective, a different point of view. ‘Abyss’ is much more of a spiritual episode than either of the two — they are ones where powerful and mystic (then mystic) alien cultures are met, in rather interesting circumstances, and with the aura of awe present. 

Connections

 I just finished (re)watching [6×06] Abyss of Stargate SG-1. It has to be one of the best episodes of the show, and it seemed relevant in some interesting way. The weather outside (the English meadow with Norfolk Terrace and the cold waters of the Broad under the cover of white clouds), the thoughts generated by the episode, and the few songs I listened to after it (‘Storms in Africa’, ‘Book of Days’, ‘Key of the Twilight’) all seemed to form a whole. 

And for some reason, the name Kilimanjaro keeps coming up. First encounter this week was in the retelling of a story of a story, second time in sir Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘The Songs of Distant Earth’ ("Why had he dreamed of Kilimanjaro?"), and now in a few searches over the internet. 

I wish I’ll be able to say something along the lines of "And there was never another time like that first time in Africa!" someday in the not too distant future. Something about it manages to captivate my imagination.