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Lamrot Hakol (Despite Everything)

Musings and kvetchings and Torah thoughts from an unconventional Orthodox Jew.

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"I blog, therefore I am". Clearly not true, or I wouldn't exist except every now and then.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Emergence (book review)

, by David Palmer, is one of my favorite books in the world. Actually, if I'm posting a review of a book, odds are that it's one of my favorite books in the world, because I'd be unlikely to waste my time reviewing something I dislike (yes, J.R.R. Tolkein, I'm looking at you).

Anyway, I really liked Podkayne of Mars when I was a kid (the original editor's ending; not Heinlein's horrible one), but Candy Smith-Foster, the protaganist and narrator of Emergence is everything Poddy was, and more. In the wake of an all out bioatomic war that's killed virtually everyone on the planet, 12 year old Candy sets out to find the other survivors.

I know, it sounds like any number of other post-apocalyptic novels, but trust me, it's nothing like them. This is not War Day, and it's not The Stand. Candy is cheerful and almost painfully optimistic. Determined and lethal (the youngest ever 6th degree black belt in karate), her adventures are a roller coaster of hope and achievement. The one thing that may be difficult for some readers is that Candy writes in a sort of shorthand. Well, in the story, she's actually keeping her journal in Pittman shorthand, but even what we read leaves out unnecessary bulk. Articles, pronouns, etc., that are implicit. But once you start reading it, you quickly stop noticing the unusual style.

The book is inexplicably out of print. But I've seen it in used bookstores, and you can always try Bookfinder. And if you click on the image at the top, you can see a comment on the book's Amazon.com page from Palmer, saying that he's working on a sequel (!), which I hadn't known about until I started writing this review. I hope they re-release Emergence when the sequel comes out, because this book is just too good to disappear.

On the back cover of the edition I have, there's a line from Spider Robinson that says "You, lucky reader, are about to meet one of the most engaging characters in science fiction history -- and the best new writer since John Varley -- and if you fall hopelessly, shamelessly, head over heels in love, don't say I didn't warn you." Honestly? I don't think I could say it any better than that.

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Starting fresh

So. How many blogs have I started? And how many have I kept up with? Hint: the answer to the first question is significantly larger than the answer to the second.

Maybe part of the problem is that I've been trying to specialize. I made this blog as a main blog, Word Soup for literary stuff, Tipot BaYam for Torah tidbits. I thought for a while that I'd try and do a weekly parasha thing, but I never got around to it (story of my life). Then there was Torah 101, Orthodykes and Comic Geekery. Sheesh, what a waste.

So I think I'm going to pretend all those other blogs don't exist, and that this one is my only one. And maybe cat-blog for a while. Cat-blogging is when you bore people with what's going on in your life, or what's on your mind. Treating a blog as sort of a personal journal. I suspect no one actually reads this thing, but it might amuse me to look back and see what I was thinking about previously. And maybe I'll start with some reviews of books and movies and whatnot that I really like. I mean, there's stuff out there that most of the mass culture doesn't really know about that's seriously excellent. If I can get it some web presence, that's a worthwhile use of the blogosphere, no?

Caveat lector: If anyone is actually reading this, some of my blog posts may amuse you, but others may annoy you, upset you, or even anger you. There's a little x in the upper right hand corner of your screen if you need it. It's like an emergency exit. Which isn't to say you shouldn't feel free to post comments. I'm always up for dialog.