Book Review #16

The Whenabouts of Burr

I just got back from a short time travel trip.

I recently visited the website of a female author. She has written 5 or 6 Young-Adult Sci-Fi books, all centered on Mars – ‘The Tunnel on Mars, A Ranch on Mars, Subduing Mars, etc.’  The post I read was her book-review of Time And Again, a seminal time-travel novel.

I told her that I was also fascinated with time travel stories. I showed a bunch of them in my post of books read in 2016. I remembered a somewhat different time-travel book, and suggested it to her. Later, I went back in time, dug it out of my hoard of old Sci-Fi books, reread it, and decided to do a book review of it.

The Book: The Whenabouts Of Burr (1975)

The Author: Michael Kurland

The review: The time travel in this book isn’t – quite. It’s a story about parallel Universes, and alternate Earths, created by different choices at significant historical nexus points, like the Aaron Burr/Alexander Hamilton duel. Like a deck of cards skewed sideways, each reality is just over nine hours from its neighbors. The more levels you travel through, the further back in time you go.

It’s a great device for the author to make sociological comments – a fun game of “What If”. In some levels, Burr lives, but becomes an exiled political outlaw. Some levels have benevolent, supportive democracies, others have restrictive tyrannies. On some worlds, Europeans did not reach the Americas, and the natives have developed their own civilizations.

The sharpest social comment/warning comes from the author’s description of Prime Time, the world which originally developed the Temporal Translation Technology. The people have become like professional Victorian tourists, slumming, and gaily gadding about the alternate words, observing. The entire society has become effete and static. There is no interest, or challenge, nor further research or advancement through struggle, because they now steal/import all discoveries and new technology from the other ‘Earths.’

Published only a little over 40 years ago, it’s not as old as many of my books. It was a fun re-read, and a warning reminder of how Western society may be going. I got back in time to publish this post, and I’ll move forward, to have another ready in a couple of days. See you then. 😀

Advertisements

Don’t Get All Emotional

Emoticon

23 Emotions people feel, but can’t explain

http://fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com/post/122182141428/23-emotions-people-feel-but-cant-explain

Sonder: The realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.

Opia: The ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable.

Monachopsis: The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.

Énouement: The bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self.

Vellichor: The strange wistfulness of used bookshops.

Rubatosis: The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.

Kenopsia: The eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that is usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.

Mauerbauertraurigkeit: The inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like.

Jouska: A hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.

Chrysalism: The amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm.

Vemödalen: The frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist.

Anecdoche: A conversation in which everyone is talking, but nobody is listening

Ellipsism: A sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out.

Kuebiko: A state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence.

Lachesism: The desire to be struck by disaster – to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire.

Exulansis: The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.

Adronitis: Frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone.

Rückkehrunruhe: The feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness.

Nodus Tollens: The realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore.

Onism: The frustration of being stuck in just one body, which inhabits only one place at a time.

Liberosis: The desire to care less about things.

Altschmerz: Weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had – the same boring flaws and anxieties that you’ve been gnawing on for years.

Occhiolism: The awareness of the smallness of your perspective.

There’s no sense asking if you’ve experienced any of these.  We’ve all experienced them all, and will continue to, only now we’ve got a label that we can point to.  I will experience my usual, clearly-labeled pleasure if you visit, read, comment….  You know – the usual, happy déjà vu.  😀

 

 

WOW #25

Embarrassment

“Twenty words that will show your age.” – That’s the title of one of Dictionary.com’s articles.  Another is, “Only kids from the 90s know these words.”  I was already feeling old, when I ran into….

BAGATELLE

Definitions for bagatelle

something of little value or importance; a trifle. a game played on a board having holes at one end into which balls are to be struck with a cue. pinball.

Origin of bagatelle Bagatelle came to English from French, from Upper Italian bagat(t)ella, equivalent to bagatt(a) “small possession.” It entered English in the 1630s.

And the bagatelle begat Pong. And Pong begat the video arcade. And the video arcade begat the game console, and people began to ignore each other, even sitting side by side. And the game console passed its mighty power unto the smart phone and the tablet. Mesmerised by the pretty blue screens, people began wandering around, bumping into each other, street signs, and mall fountains.

….I’ve got no finish for this post, just the usual random rant about the speed and scope of social and technological change – seemingly within a fruit-fly’s life-span – from mechanical to electric to electronic to digital, and soon, to quantum, from 6-volt cars to 12-volt, from 120-volt home appliances to 12-volt-transformer units, from incandescent lights, to fluorescent, to LEDs.

I’ve played a variety of pinball machines as a teen. Even younger, my parents gave me a Christmas present of a bagatelle. It was an undersized spring-loaded plastic replica of a 1911A Colt .45 caliber pistol, which fired pea-sized ball-bearings at targets enclosed by plastic dome, 18 inches away. It may have been the cause of my life-long love of the ‘look’ of the venerable, American-designed and made pistol. It was an inexpensive bagatelle game then, but if I’d kept it in good condition, I could have sold it to a collector for enough to finance my retirement now.

In my little hometown in the late 1940s and ‘50s, there were a few intellectuals who actually used the word ‘bagatelle.’ The phrase, “It’s a mere bagatelle.” might have been a requote of actor/comic W. C. Fields. Of course, the illiterate pond-scum that I was forced to hang around with said, “A mere bag o’ shells.” The informational value is almost the same – an inconsequential thing of little value.

Your visits and comments are not a mere bagatelle. What have you got to say about this dated old word?

To Post, Or Not To Post

To post or not to post….

It’s New Year’s Eve….
We have friends coming over….
I have food to help prepare….
I’m fighting a nasty head cold….
I have nothing in the bank, ready to publish….

What shall I do??! What shall I do?

procrastinate-no

Thank you to all who have stopped by to read my posts this past year (and all years before).  I hope you’ve had a Merry Christmas, and that you have a Happy and Prosperous New Year.  Drop in again on Monday, and I’ll try to be sober and inspired enough to have something for you.   😀

A To Z Challenge – O

april-challenge

Holy moly, we’ve reached the letter

letter-o

To succeed at this elongated A to Z Challenge, I have an obligation to write about some things whose names begin with O.

Let’s start with my blog-stats. That doesn’t begin with O.  Intellectually, I know that they don’t really reflect reality, or are important in themselves. Others have told me so, but still, I have that little bit of irrepressible OCD – that little bit of an obsession to obtain warm proof that I am liked and respected.

Now while it’s true that some of you folks couldn’t care less about whether others like what you write about or not, I like to make room in my rather thick Scottish skull for people who heap abundant praise on me for my writing. I like to believe that people appreciate my wit – but I’m only half right.

When a new reader makes a comment, I’ve been known to gushingly reply, and urge said visitor to return and comment – often.  I don’t know which is worse and more embarrassing, being obsequious – or being obnoxious.

Still, I am optimistic that my writing will improve and become read by more people who say that they love me – and not just in a prison sex kind of way.  I will continue to observe my stat numbers, and keep an open mind.

Well, don’t just sit there. Click ‘like.’  Heap praise.