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po silvertop the rogue
02-02-2005, 08:55 AM
The Crazy Years
by Spider Robinson (Benbella Books)


"You can't see the forest for the trees..." You can't really look at human culture objectively through human eyes- not and see the obvious little blindspots we have as individuals and as cultures.. because we don't *see* the blindspots. That's *why* they're blindspots...
Ok then- what about finding someone who has spent years twisting his brain into new shapes- trying to think like something "other than human"- What about someone who makes a living trying to think like an alien? What sort of insights would you expect to learn from the viewpoint of such a detached observer?
Let's find out. (Cue the Twilight Zone music..)
Submitted for your approval: Spider Robinson, professional Science Fiction author. Born and raised in New York, a child of the 60's- he has since won almost every possible award in his field, relocated to Canada (where he lives with his wife and family) and had for the past few years (alongside writing best-selling fiction) been writing a non-fiction observation and opinion column in Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper (as well as Galaxy Online). Spider asks small questions, like "Why do we have a Heat-producer (Oven) and a Heat-sink (Refrigerator) in the kitchen side by side *unconnected* to each other?", "We spend far too much of our lives in the bathroom, why don't we ever make it comfortable?" Or big questions like "How can human beings voluntarily place faith in any religion that insists they attack and kill other people in the name of *peace*"...
Entitled "The Crazy Years" (a phrase borrowed from the classic Robert Heinlein timeline of future history- describing the tempestuous adolescent period of civilization) this collection showcases some of Spider's best essays.. and some of his favorites.
Spider is actually *better* than an unbiased alien observer- because Spider *wants* us to succeed and survive.. he's on our side. And Spider knows that sometimes the only solution is to grin and bear it- but the emphasis is on "grin"- a sense of humor is essential in life. You'll find these columns just as laugh-provoking as thought-provoking (but isn't that the case with all the great comics?)
Spider is willing to point the finger at himself just as often as he jabs it at us.. From the silliness that reigns supreme in the US (as seen by a US citizen living abroad) to the idiosyncrasies of every human on the planet- *someone* has got to be able to sit back and laugh out loud, appreciating the jokes we force ourselves to live through.

I guarantee that anyone emerging from this book will not only find their cheeks hurting from laughter and also the question “Why?” on their lips, but will also find themselves curious about Spider’s fiction; The Callahan’s tales (improbable stories set in the most amazing series of bars), his time-travel books, the Stardance (zero-gravity dance) trilogy and his recent suspense novel “Very Bad Deaths” (amongst others).

--And as usual, any Northeastern PA readers can call The Weekender and mention this title and possibly win one of two prize copies I have received from the publisher!

Have a good read!

s.

Phoenix McHeit
02-02-2005, 09:14 AM
ooh Po - that sounds like its just up my alley. I love thought-provoking humor! Thanks for the tip!

Fiona Freckl'dbottom
02-02-2005, 09:18 AM
Well done, Suentus. Looks good!

Margaret
02-02-2005, 10:57 AM
:bananada:

New book to read, I got a new book to read!

Thanks for the review, dear sir!