Showing posts from June, 2021

Deathworld 2 (Deathworld #2) (1963)

by Harry Harrison Jason dinAlt is kidnapped by a religious fanatic called Mikah,  but before he can be delivered for "justice," they crash land on a planet where the inhabitants have divided themselves into tribes, each of which has ritualized a field of technology from their fallen civilization.   This story is a big disappointment after the stellar first installment.   Author Harry Harrison gets quite preachy and didactic here, and while I share his mistrust of those who claim moral authority over others, he doesn’t find an interesting way to make his point.   Harry Harrison Instead, we are treated to lectures and harangues from Jason to which Mikah has no good answer because he’s just the cartoonish Straw Man in Harrison’s argument.   In addition, Jason displays a deep understanding of engineering principles that was not evident in the last book and which one wouldn’t expect to be among the skill set of a former professional gambler.   But worst of all, Meta, Kerk, and the

High Fidelity (2000)

Director: Stephen Frears Writers: D.V. DiVincentus & Steve Pink & John Cusack and Scott Rosenberg, based on the book by Nick Hornby Stars: John Cusack, Jack Black, Todd Louiso, Iben Hjejle, Lisa Bonet, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joan Cusack Audiophile Rob Gordon (John Cusack) runs his record  store, pines over his latest failed relationship, and looks for the next.   That's about it.  No high concept plot here.   Just a very insightful film about smart people living a little off the mainstream and trying to make it work.  I would like to live in the same neighborhood with these characters and hang out with them, which is just about the highest praise I can think to give.  The whole cast is outstanding, but Jack Black and Todd Louiso stand out as Rob's employees, who were hired to work part-time but have made the record store the center of their lives.

Nine Stories (AKA For Esme--with Love and Squalor) (1953)

by J.D. Salinger What is the opposite of prolific ? Answer: J.D. Salinger. J.D.Salinger The reclusive author had a rather meager output  compared with other writers of his stature, but the extraordinary quality of his work has assured his exalted place in American letters.  Though I was impressed by "Catcher in the Rye," I found it to be a bit overrated.  (I intend to reread it someday to see if I'm really willing to stand by that statement.)   For me, it is the short fiction in this volume that truly reveals his talent.   Salinger often uses the uncomprehending bewilderment of children as a vehicle for observing the disappointments of adults.   Two of my favorites are "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" (a young man, traumatized by WWII and deeply disappointed by the human race, makes a startling choice) and "The Laughing Man" (though typically not very concerned with plot in his stories, Salinger here concocts a crackling adventure tale worthy of the best