Science fiction double feature, Dr. X will build a creature…

So this blog is really nothing more than thinly veiled record of hippie nerd consumption. Socially conscious or not, I’m a big fat capitalist at heart…

Number one; If you haven’t been keeping up with the effects of cyclone Nargis in Myanmar  you should be. They can’t refuse assistance forever. Neither can they seize and misappropriate it all. To that effect, I’m pointing out mercycorps.org, a charity that provides aid/relief/improvement. I’m pointing them out for a couple of reasons but primarily because they work with root causes of problems when they can, and in instances such as Nargis, they often help by working with/through existing local aid organizations whenever possible instead of creating new ones, basically letting the developing world develop with the assistance of, instead of reliance on, “developed world” workers. Seems to me as though this ups their chances of getting into really unreliable places. So check it out.

I found out about mercycorps.org via the new issue of Organic Style, which is back in effect in paper-saving online format ONLY as of this year…you can even get a free subscription at their website. Not only is the content excellent, but this has got to be the most readable and easily navigated online magazines I’ve ever seen. It actually looks and reads like an actual magazine, not like an assortment of links to articles.

I have a tendency to dog-ear pages with good quotes on them whenever I read a favorite book. I’m currently rereading Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow and I think every other page has bent corners…it’s one of my favorite speculative fiction novels. Unfortunately, it’s also one of those books that sounds very freaky when I try to describe it to other people. The basic plot hinges around a Jesuit priest, who along with seven other people, is chosen as part of a group of scientists and missionaries given the honor of making first contact with alien life when it’s finally discovered. Disaster strikes, and the next thing you know, you have one very dispirited former priest going through one very public inquisition based on his attempts to describe the love of God to an alien culture…

See what I mean? Freaky stuff. But still, it’s a beautifully reverent novel that deals with some pertinent issues via its massive otherworldly metaphor. It’s also full of quotes like this one, coming from the mouth of one of the main characters…

“[This is] how it feels, when I let myself believe. Like I am falling in love and like I am naked before God. And it is terrifying, as you say. But it has started to feel like I am being rude and ungrateful, do you understand? To keep on doubting. That God loves me. Personally. Does that sound arrogant? Or just crazy? To think that God loves me.”

Not the stuff of ordinary science fiction.  I’d put more quotes, but that would just be boring, and the book is far more interesting than any hackneyed description I could give it…so just read it. And when you’re finished with that, read the sequel Children of God. The Sparrow, roughly speaking, takes a lookat God’s love. The sequel jumps ahead and takes a look at the purposes inherent in God’s love.

Interestingly enough, author Mary Doria Russell isn’t a Christian. She used to be, but converted to Judaism as an adult.

Typing all of that just sparked a very odd memory…years ago, when I was a student, I went to a conference talk given by a writer, pagan, and communications guru named Sam Smith. He said something that really stuck with me, and has ever since…that it’s interesting to live in an era where most people only find truth about the heart and the mind via fiction, because those truths are rarely overtly addressed in the trappings of modern reality.

Hmm. Don’t know if I agree or disagree with that. For that matter, I’m not really sure I understand what that actually means. But it’s certainly food for thought. What do you think?

And what do you want to bet Sam Smith has no recollection of saying that?

 

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