?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

hey but no presto

I was supposed to go into the VA today for pre-operation stuff, which I assume means blood tests & such, but the vascular clinic dropped the ball, and so the surgery & prep will be put off until next week. At least it's not going to be on the 8th; aside from it being a Holy Day of Obligation, I'm planning on spending some time with my parents at the Family Plot. Since it's that time of the year again.

On a more cheerful note, I went out and deposited a few checks with the bank. Hopefully the coming month will see more of that. I also cashed in my free rental coupon from Blockbuster and wound up with three movies since they had a ROGO deal going on. This means that I need to find time between now an noon next Tuesday to watch Hancock, Iron Man, and Jarhead. I would rather have seen Starship Troopers 3, which is supposed to be so bad it's actually kind of good, but they didn't have a copy at the Blockbuster I went to. In the same strip mall, there's a Giant which is oddly retro and cute; it's so much smaller than the other stores I usually shop at and yet seems stuffed to the rafters with all manner of foodz. I walked in originally intending to just cash in my free Coke 12-pack coupon and get the Giant club card, but left with some half & half and tea as well. (You can't have enough tea around the place.)

I forgot to mention that over the weekend I stopped in at the library and picked up Juggler of Worlds by Niven and Lerner along with Here Comes Civilization, which is the second volume in the complete William Tenn collection. Neither one of them particularly impressed me.

Part of the problem with Fleet of Worlds and its sequel is that they are, to a certain extent, fix-up novels that knit together the Beowulf Shaeffer stories with "The Soft Weapon", using some interstitial material which has to do with the Puppeteers' human slaves and their rebellion against their alien masters. Perversely, the shift in focus from the human slaves to Sigmund Ausfaller, agent of the ARM, does a great job of rounding out the personality of Ausfaller (previously just a minor character in "Neutron Star" and "The Borderland of Sol") while making the second novel much less readable. Also, the ongoing joke/plot device of having the clinical paranoid Ausfaller being the deadliest enemy of the Puppeteers precisely because nobody else is paranoid to suspect them of the conspiracy they are actually committing gets really old after a while, to say nothing of self-contradictory: since Ausfaller has actual enemies, he's not really paranoid, is he now? Sigh. I'm going to keep reading because I want to know how it ends. Niven and Lerner seem to have boxed themselves into a plot corner, and I honestly don't see how they're going to get out of it without a deus ex machina, but then again Larry Niven is the one with a shelf full of Hugo Awards, and I'm not, so there you are.

Here Comes Civilization suffers from the fault of all complete collections, which is that even the best authors have written & sold crappy stories, and a complete collection by definition includes those stories. For all that Robert Silverberg sings Tenn's praises in the introduction, we ought to be honest here and say that Tenn wasn't all that as a writer. Unlike Cyril Kornbluth, when he dies, he won't leave us anything nearly as grand as The Instrumentality of Mankind or "The Little Black Bag"; "Firewater" and "Down Among The Dead Men" are pretty good, but not great. (YMMV) So, yeah; I'm mostly just browsing through the collection looking for the good stuff, and not finding much. vOv