(note to friends: I meant to post this way earlier but hadn’t had time to edit it down. That’s why it refers to events way past. But the point is still fresh)
As is my fashion, I read a book on the plane. I read Time Machine on the way to Japan and King Hrolf Kraki’s saga on the way back. I have nothing to say about the latter except it would make an awesome series of movies with endless sequels and that modern literature lacks the sheer succinctness of poets of old. Of the Time Machine, well, what can I say, it was awesome, as expected. I also wonder why I didn’t read it earlier. It’s exactly the kind of book I would have read as a teenager, though I was much more into Asimov and Clark back then.
What made H.G. Wells such an awesome sci-fi writer (aside from those qualities that made him just plain old a good writer) was his ability to suspend disbelief by bringing heavy doses of real science into his stories while he makes his political commentary. My disbelief is not so easily suspended (one reason I seldom enjoy movies), so of course the SciFi I like is hard sci-fi, though I can appreciate the preposterous if it is at least internally consistent (e.g., if the way magic works makes sense and the world is as it would be were there magic; Lovecraft did this better than anyone else). His science isn’t the point of the novel. It isn’t to warn of an eventuality, but to make a separate point. It’s the good (for the time) science that draws you into the tale. Continue reading