Archive for January, 2011

Top 10 cocktail party non-sequiturs

January 14th, 2011 3 comments

If you really need to end a conversation in a hurry, wait until the other party has made what they consider to be a witty or important point, and then say one of the following:

(in random order…I don’t know which one is the funniest. I don’t know if any of them are funny!)

10. “That’s fascinating, but I don’t think the Bishop would have seen things that way.”

9. “What did you do with the marmot when you were finished?”

8. “It’s amazing how the artist deconstructed the entire paradigm ontologically through the medium of inverse interpretive dance”

7. “I don’t care what your favorite data pattern is, I still like the smell of fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies!”

6. “Colorless green ideas actually don’t sleep furiously. I know for a fact they have insomnia.”

5. “How can you say something like that in presence of Her Majesty the Queen?!”

4. “God is actually shaped like a slightly lopsided rhombus.”

3. “I am working on a theory as to how the pigs procreate, being that they are green circles lacking in both legs and external reproductive organs”

2. “The gleam in your eye definitely strikes me as that of a time traveller. Your secret’s safe with me, but tell me, how do you like things here in the 18th century?”

1. “Sixteen badgers along with four raccoons, eh? And only three pounds of kidney beans, you say? Wow, you are amazing!”

Thanks! I’ll be here all week, don’t forget to tip your hostess.

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Review: Across the Universe

January 9th, 2011 Comments off

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

“Across the Universe” is an excellent, fairly fresh take on the generational starship theme written for teenage/young adult readers. The basic themes are familiar – a passenger in hibernation is unexpected woken up, the cloistered society of the ship has gotten really weird over hundreds of years, and a tyrannical leader rules with an iron fist (and some help from genetic engineering and drugs). However, the author deftly blends these themes together, creating believable, sympathetic characters living in an environment that is weird enough that you wonder how things really work. The story itself is fairly straightforward, told from the alternating perspectives of the two protagonists – the teenage girl unexpectedly awoken, and the son of the ship’s absolute leader.

As both protagonists discover more and more about the truth of the situation on the ship, they are faced with a bit of a murder mystery as well as threats from both the ship’s dictator, Eldest, and the various forces that are keeping most of the people living on the ship in a state of almost animal-like somnolence. For those who like the science in their sci-fi, the author is quite believable, creating a realistic shipwide ecosystem, as well as not forgetting small touches, like the fact that the accents of the people living aboard would have gradually changed over hundreds of years to be difficult for a newly-awaked person to understand.

This isn’t merely lightweight teenage reading. The author imbues even the dictator Eldest with humanity and you can really appreciate the reasons he made the choices he did, even if in the end you will probably not agree with them. No one-dimensional villains here. There’s a small amount of PG-rated romance between the protagonists, but also a few scenes of slightly less mild sexual and physical violence, but nothing outside of the scope of similar books. “Across the Universe” will appeal to both fans of dystopian young-adult literature (readers of the Hunger Games trilogy and the Uglies will likely enjoy “Across the Universe”) as well as anyone who enjoys science fiction or dystopian novels.

Categories: Books, reviews Tags: