redbyrd_sgfic (redbyrd_sgfic) wrote,

A Monday of Unusual Suckitude

Monday- how did this day suck?- let me count the ways: (aka, my trip to Dallas)

2:50 am get up
3:10 am leave for airport in 29 degree F freezing drizzle
4:00 am arrive at airport
4:10 am discover flight is canceled (and have been rebooked with connection)
5:30 am still waiting in line to check in for new flights behind 27 Puerto Ricans with 300lbs of luggage each- plus a guy and his dog going to the Philipines
8:00 am find a corner of terminal that is slightly less drafty than waiting are.  Put on all layers of clothes practical- and mittens.  Curl up w/head on briefcase for a short nap.
9:45 am board 10:15 flight for Washington DC (this does not resemble Dallas in any respect! for one thing it was warm and sunny)
11:30 am arrive in Washington DC and find out connecting flight has been delayed.
1:00 pm  note that meetings I was supposed to be in Texas for have started. 
1:50 pm  take off for Dallas (finally!)
5:30 pm EST (4:30 CT) arrive in Dallas  (which is also 29 degrees, though the freezing rain has fortunately stopped)
8:00 pm EST (7:00 CT) arrive at hotel
8:10 pm EST (7:10 EST) discover hotel does *not* have *free* internet- bleh!

Thanks to the prolonged travel day Monday, I can review two more books.  Sunday night J and I sorted
through three crates (of about 70 lbs each) full of unread books, and so I pulled out a stack of paperbacks
to take with me on the trip.  I was in a mood for classics (probably thanks to the Stirling tale I finished
last week), so these are older books.

Destination Infinity by Henry Kuttner (original title: Fury, 1956)
This is from the classic period of SF, and is a not atypical tale.  It's the 27th century, and Earth
is long dead.  Humanity inhabits domed cities underneath the oceans of Venus (I seem to have a Venus
theme going this month!)  Humans are divided between the normals and the mutant Immortals, who live
about a thousand years.  The story centers around a decadent society that has ceded nearly all power to
the Immortals, and a young Immortal - who believes he is human- who tries to shake up the system.

This was a decent read, though not outstanding.  The author does have a neat ending twist, but the
deception that leads the main character to believe himself human is not actually related to the main
plot of the story, and the author is forced to change point of view rather awkwardly to make the story
work.  I give it a C+.  The modern reader will find the style dated, but the writing holds
the attention and the setting and dilemmas are vivid and well drawn.  The tale would be stronger if the
main character were more sympathetic and the numerous villainous plots were somewhat more coherent.

Eclipses by Cynthia Felice
I quite liked Cynthia Felice's Water Witch, and so was hoping for a similarly enjoyable read from
this book.  Her tale is set on a Earth colony where water is very scarce,and the nominal ruler of half the planet
is the man who manages the water rights.  The world-building was interesting and well drawn, the characters developed. 

However as the story book progressed, I started to wonder with some dismay, where the heck was
the plot?!

By the time I finished, I was forced to conclude that this is in fact a novel about a woman's disfunctional
emotional life, that just happens to be set on another planet.  If you want to read a novel with an unusual setting,
you might enjoy it.  There is a plot- but it's a romance/character development plot, not really a science fictional one.
The SF elements are all about the setting.  While the climax depends on the SFnal setting, the story could have been
written in a mundane setting just as well. 

Felice also fails to deal with- or even acknowledge!- two issues that are personal hot-button topics for me- gross power
imbalances in relationships, and the problems of dictatorship as a form of government.  I didn't like it.  I think it is
probably an adequate novel, but it is a) not the kind of story I enjoy and b)not a character who I liked and c)casually
tosses aside several subplots which interested me more than the story the author actually finished. 

I crashed early and hard last night and actually got up and exercised this morning.  Which is probably a good thing, since the meeting caterers kept us amply supplied with sugary snacks.  And the meetings were long.  I think my buttocks went to sleep. 

On the plus side, the coworker who is here with me  is fairly cool, and has similar taste in restaurants, so we're a) not hanging around drinking with customers and b) not eating boring food in the evening.   And I have legitimate excuses for expensing internet access for the rest of the trip.  Yay. 

I'm just hoping that Thursday will be a better travel day for the trip back!

Tags: books
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