Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Nothing Lasts Forever.. Hold On, I've Only Started!

From wikipedia.orgFrom
Well, after taking last week off, it's back to work tomorrow, and I ain't looking forward. Also a bit depressed at wasting the week. There was a lot I wanted to do, but I ended up watching old television series, reading and sleeping in. Not bad in themselves, but a holiday when I could ill afford one.
Anyhow I'm reading James Blish's 'The Seedling Stars', a collection of four interconnected stories. Blish is a far more intelligent writer than Russell and manages to intertwine scientific and philosophical issues neatly. The central idea is about genetically altering humanity to exist in the harsh environments of alien worlds. Blish knows his science, but there is a major religious subtheme going on. The first story, 'Seeding Programme', involves an 'original sin' of sorts (the creation of the Adapted Men themselves); the second, 'The Thing in the Attic', deals with Man's eviction from Paradise (and going to Hell); the third, 'Surface Tension', well, I'm only on that. I should say that in the first story, Blish also brings in a political dimension, creating a commercial entity, the Port Authority, with global power and short-sighted vision. (Let's hope the guys who run the toll bridge on the M50 don't read it. I also suspect it is Blish's Port Authority that gets lampooned in the cult classic, 'Nothing Lasts Forever'; see that if you haven't already.) He is a little naive in his argument, but there is still an implicit criticism of the restrictive demands of capitalism on science that holds true. Blish's science-goggles tend to blind him to the uncomfortable nature of some of the alternatives he seems to be proposing though. Anyhow not finished yet.

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