Saturday, 19 April 2014

American Fiction

Still no Call Me Joe from Amazon. Meanwhile, I am rereading The King Of Torts by John Grisham. When I started to read Poul Anderson's science fiction as a secondary school pupil in the 1960's, I would have regarded an American legal thriller as mundane by comparison. Now, of course, I know better.

Grisham's DC street lawyers and tort billionaires, like Anderson's Nicholas van Rijn and expeditions to unusual planetary systems, are literary expressions of the dynamic society inhabited by Grisham and Anderson alike. Rich lawyer's private jets flying from Washington to New York in forty minutes are exact equivalents of van Rijn's hyperdrive ships flying between planetary systems faster than light.

Grisham, like Anderson, describes spectacular wealth but values basic humanity. Anderson additionally values knowledge of the universe, with serious scientific speculation about stellar and planetary evolution. We need fiction about contemporary society and also about our place in the cosmos.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I too have read some of John Grisham's novels, including THE KING OF TORTS. Altho I don't recall enough about that book to really comment on it. "Torts" refers, I believe, to that branch of the law dealing with how injuries to body and property are penalized and compensated for.

And while I think John Grisham is more to the left than I am, he does not seem extreme about it or a fan of the belief that more and more power should be concentrated in the state.

By and large, however, I would have preferred living either in the days of Poul Anderson's Polesotechnic League during the earlier life of Nicholas van Rijn or the Terran Empire of Dominic Flandry's time. Because my belief is the real future of mankind lies in getting off this rock!

Finally finished reading John Wright's THE JUDGE OF AGES, so I feel free to read one of Poul Anderson's books. Thinking of rereading the Time Patrol stories.

Sent an email to Subterranean Press to remind them I pre ordered a copy of MULTIVERSE two years ago. I hope the copies we both ordered comes soon! I'm anxious and concerned about how well, skillfully, and respectfully other authors have done using characters and "worlds" created by Poul Anderson.

And I hope your son in law is gettting better. I'll say a special Easter prayer for his good health.


Paul Shackley said...

Ketlan is much recovered. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes.
I have not ordered MULTIVERSE yet, although I need to start thinking about that. I expect to hear about it from yourself and maybe others before I have seen a copy myself. But it will be good if, this time, the blog can start by featuring opinions other than mine for a change.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Oops! My mistake! I thought you had pre ordered a copy of MULTIVERSE. And I hope I will be commenting on that book in this blog.

And this blog is starting to get some comments from writers as prominent as S.M. Stirling. I'm esp. keen to read his Time Patrol pastiche featuring an attempt to thwart the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand. Once I thought of it, I'm surprised Poul Anderson himself never wrote a Time Patrol story using that idea.

I'm glad Ketland is much recovered! I'll read a chapter of Luke tonight with the special intention and prayer of doing it for his continuing recovery.

Happy Easter! Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Happy Easter!