Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Autmn Colds and the Three Body Problem

It's Autumn.  The leaves are falling and the rain has returned.  Last week I managed to catch the cold The Child caught from his school peers.  The fever dream I had was weird, and I should have written it down.  The cold adversely affected my sex life (cue the verse about being too tired from the song "Life in the Fast Lane"), with resulting oh-so-subtle dreams of making out in the front seat of a roller-coaster while it goes into a tunnel... and some not-so-subtle ones that I'll let folks imagine.

The difficulty with colds is that they reduce my attention span and make me feel stupid.  This makes it difficult to write or to read anything much above the level of Calvin and Hobbes.  During recovery, I did manage to rustle up enough brain power to finish up "The Three Body Problem."  I like the way that the author, Liu Cixin,  can explain scientific ideas.  Sometimes, I noticed blocks of exposition, and I'm on the fence about the use of flashbacks.  I think I'm not understanding his characters' motivations, which is most likely a cultural thing.  The book has a strong totalitarian/we're-doomed feel to it, and I'm wondering if that's a Chinese cultural thing similar to the British cultural "life's-a-bitch-and-then-you-die" theme, or the American cultural "plucky-nerd-saves-the-world-and-is-sexually-fulfilled" theme.   I need to read Mr. Liu's afterward again, because he confesses to being awestruck by science, astrophysics, and math--and I'm only tangentially seeing his wonder in this novel.

Monday night, David Brin visited the Wordos in Eugene.  He's very entertaining and interesting.  Among the many topics he here was a brief discussion about aliens.  Afterward I was thinking that in some ways Liu Cixin's Trisolarian aliens are a return to Gort and Klaatu, with the theme that humanity is collectively unfit to manage itself (and collaterally, life on earth).  I prefer E.T. aliens... or, actually Vulcans.  Hmm.  Or Wookies.  Or Minbari.   Darn, looks like everybody wants prosthetic foreheads for their real heads. 
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