Electric Grandmother

Maggie Croft's Personal Journal young spirit, wire-wrapped
spark electric grandmother
arc against the night

-- Lon Prater
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I don't read as much as I used to, and I wish I could. Most of my reading involved critting. And perhaps this is why the reading I've done lately (a big burst of it) has been so pleasurable.

I've been reading some Theodore Sturgeon. Such wonderful stuff. It's my favorite type of spec fic, particularly sci-fi: Stories where science is essential to the story, and where the story is illuminated by the humanity involved. I read so much stuff where there's no heart, no humanity. Only sci-fi gadgetry and transparent statements on the state of the world.

For example, I've run into a lot of stories lately that try to address the current creationism/evolution/ID discussion. Most of them fail miserably. But then I recently read Connie Willis' "Inside Job". Among other things, the story does consider this topic. And she's the only one who succeeds. But I shouldn't be surprised. It is Connie Willis.

Finally, definitely of note, I read Asimov's "The Last Question". What a great story! I was reared on Asimov, and though I have read some of his short fiction, I had never experienced this wondrous gem of a story. How horrible for me. Really. This story filled me with a sense of wonder, awe and joy that I haven't felt for a long time. I have been moved and had my world view/paradigm shaken up lately, but rarely have I felt such a sense of wonder for many, many years.

I see this causing me to move into going back and rereading some of the classics in speculative fiction again. The kinds of stuff I read during my formative years, but haven't read recently because there's some fine recent stuff lying around, too. Like Connie Willis. (Did you hear she has a new novel due in the spring? I know, I can't wait, either.)

I have learned a lot critting other's stories, but geez -- there's got to be so much for me to learn from the masters, too. I can't remember the last time I read Heinlein. It's possibly been a decade. How sad is that?

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