Friday, March 24, 2000

Future Perfect...

The premise of the anthology How to Save the World, edited by Charles Sheffield is jokingly put forward that science fiction writers have the best ideas; they just never get to implement them. This collection is a mixed bag; some, like "Raw Terra," weren't interesting enough for me to finish. A major theme of this collection is the law of unintended consequences -- "Choice," "The Meetings of the Secret World Masters," "Souls on Ice," "The Product of the Extremes," and others all show less than utopian outcomes when the solutions are implemented. But for near-future SF, this is a pretty good collection of short stories. 3 1/2 stars.

Kartchner Caverns

We toured Kartchner Caverns Thursday. Kartchner just opened up in November, but it's already really popular. Tours are sold out into June. The Caverns were discovered in 1974 by a couple of guys who kept them a secret. In 1978, they clued in the Kartchners, who own the land, and in the 1980s, they brought the state of Arizona in. The neat thing is that since the caves were kept a secret until the state took over, they've never suffered from any vandalism and are in pristine condition. It's a "wet" cave, which leads to some very interesting formations. Unfortunately, they didn't let us take any pictures, but I have a feeling pictures wouldn't capture these amazing formations. Some looked like Cthulhu, but the "cave bacon" was especially neat. It really looks like bacon. Anybody who's in southern AZ should have a look at some really impressive caves...but make your reservations months in advance.


Wednesday, March 22, 2000

It's No Hitchhiker's...

Well, today in Arizona was spent looking for the ghost towns of Gleeson, Courtland and Pearce. It actually snowed, so the weather wasn't really up for poking around in the ruins. And to the extent it was, well...the ruins weren't so exciting.

But the car trip did give me a chance to finish Douglas Adams' Starship Titanic by Terry Jones. Take a computer game written by hilarious author Douglas Adams, get Monty Python's Terry Jones to write the novel (naked), and you get...a novel that reads like it was based on a computer game. Some talent shines through, but not worth a full review. Sigh. 2 stars.

Tuesday, March 21, 2000

Rocket Boys

Greetings from Arizona, where I'm kicking back, relaxing and getting some reading done. My latest read is Homer Hickam's Rocket Boys, the based-on-a-true-story tale of the author's childhood growing up in a coal town of West Virginia and making his dreams of building rockets come true. (This book was the basis for the movie October Sky.) One of the more enjoyable books I've read in a while. 4 1/2 stars. Read my review. Also check out