Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Starting off my Sci-Fi Summer at Station Eleven and on the lookout for The Tommyknockers

June has officially begun and so has the Sci-Fi Summer Readathon for those of us who gladly join in with Seasons of Reading on their literary adventures. I started reading two of the three books that I chose for this challenge at midnight and made some good progress on them so far.

 As of now, I'm fifty pages into Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which has ended one world and begun another in a brief span of chapters. The leading lady of this story is Kirsten, whose strongest memory of how things were before the Georgia Flu wiped out most of civilization is witnessing the onstage death of legendary actor Arthur Leander during a performance of King Lear.

Twenty years later, she is a member of a band of actors and musicians called The Traveling Symphony who go from town to town, performing the works of Shakespeare. Their newest stop, St. Deborah by the Water, doesn't seem as friendly as it once was but I'm sure Kirsten and company will find out why all too soon enough.

What's strongly amusing to me in such a sad sounding story at this point is the infighting and deep emotional connections among the members of the Symphony, a familiar theme in many stories about groups of entertainers. That element alone only goes to show you that the more some things change, others always manage to stay the same:

My page count in Stephen King's The Tommyknockers is ten pages shorter  than my start in Station Eleven but to be fair, the King novel is way longer and needs more time to set the story table for some plot point supper.

Our tale begins with a simple walk in the woods, as reclusive writer Roberta "Bobbi" Anderson trips over what she thinks at first is an old tin can but upon further inspection, it appears to the edge of a much larger item that she feels compelled to dig up.

Bobbi soon realizes that the strange buried object is having a powerful affect on her, causing her to lose time and sleep for hours among other symptoms. Yet, she becomes convinced that what she's uncovered is a flying saucer and that for now, she has to keep this bizarre project a secret.

Stephen King is not a fan of this particular book(it was written during a bad period in his life) but in his nonfiction work On Writing, he does cite H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space" as an influence on The Tommyknockers.

However, there is a well known genre author named Kim Newman who feels that this is King's version of Quatermass and The Pit, which was both a BBC miniseries and a Hammer film back in the sixties.

The Quatermass of the title is a scientist leading a team of workers to excavate a site in London where it turns out, a space ship has been long buried. During the dig, the ship begins to have a strange effect on those who stay near it too long, to the point where Quatermass fears what is to come from such otherworldly influence. Maybe I should check this movie out,it sounds better than the Tommyknockers miniseries adaptation, that's for sure:

As soon as I finish up one of these books, I'll start reading Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union, a detective noir novel set in an alternate universe in which the Jewish homeland has been set up in Alaska rather than Israel. Should be a thought provoking read indeed.

I wish the best of luck to all of my fellow partakers in Sci-Fi Summer and look forward to hearing more about the books you chose for this splendid start of the season. Since fantasy is also allowed, I might try to finish those last hundred pages I have left to read in Dragonfly in Amber. 

 Part of the reason for my delay is that it's basically the second season of Outlander, which I'm watching now and I want to have a little bit of surprise available to me as a viewer. But then again, the sooner I finish Dragonfly in Amber, the sooner I can start Voyager(the third book in Diana Gaboldon's series) and that's a strong check in the plus column there.

These long fantasy series are both a blessing and a curse to get through sometimes but well worth the trouble, I think. Of course, some might argue over which is better but in reality, that's a fun debate to have that doesn't really need a winner,since we all win with plenty to read:

1 comment:

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

You have chosen some good ones to read. I've been wanting to read Station Eleven. I'm trying to remember if I have it or not. I had forgotten what it's about, but reading about it now...definitely time to read it. I have not read Tommyknockers either. I did not know that SK was not a fan of it, but I can understand.

Thanks for joining us for another read-a-thon. I hope you're able to meet your goals. :)