Archive for February, 2013


After reading Ender’s Game I thought that I should try a much older sci-fi adventure to see how the writing differs.  When I discovered that C.S. Lewis wrote “Out of the Silent Planet” and the fact that the title is a very catchy Iron Maiden song, I set about to listen to that book next.

CSLewis_OutOfTheSilentPlanet

 

Lewis was extremely descriptive is his settings.  So much that I literally allowed my mind to blur the scene together and not get to hung up on what the scene would exactly look like.  I did like, however, the description of how Ransom could not make sense of much of what he saw on the new planet.  I compare this to learning my new job.  When I became a “pump man” for oil well bottom hole pumps, when I entered the shop for the first time…all the pieces were just bits of metal, that they had purposes and different sizes. It took my brain a moment to understand that and about six months to internalize the same, and just now after about my seventh month I am becoming useful.

I will comment that it was an exhausting mental effort to listen to the whole book as quickly as I did (about 3 days in the work truck and a little at home), but it was a fantastic story and even better from a viewpoint of science in the 1930’s and 40’s.  It felt oldschool and classy as the characters were all gentlemen in their own way.

I fear that much of the philosophy was lost on me, I know that the book makes the alien planet out to be a heaven of blissful people that never think any harm and makes humans out to be monstrous…but there was a lot more that if I had been reading the book instead of listening to the audio, I would have underlined or highlighted.

Some great quotes from the book:

“The love of knowledge is a kind of madness.”
C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

It is a little maddening to start learning something, get really excited or experience please from the learning and then want to know everything there is to know on the matter and all in the same night!

 

“And I say also this. I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes.”
C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

Opposition in all things makes the good enjoyable and the bad fearful…or something like that…

 

“A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.”
C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

This makes sense in the book, but I fear that dwelling on one good memory instead of moving forward to make many more worth while memories is a dangerous thing.

Fleeting Ideas and Dreams

Can you possibly enumerate the number of times that you have had a dream?  An amazing dream?  One that surely meant something or could have become a novel and then a hit movie?  And then moments after waking forget it entirely.  Often for me I recall in the middle of the day that I had such a dream and am tormented because I did not recall the dream..merely that the dream did happen and I have no recording of it in any fashion.

The same happens on ideas.  I will have an amazing idea and then think, “oh I will write that down later.”  And later comes and goes and the ideas is dead forever.  Even worse I have a great idea, I record it, I date it, then I never do anything with it.  I was appalled with myself when I looked at when I had the idea to make a YouTube series and it was over a year ago.  The worse part was that I comforted myself thinking that surely in a year I will get to it, but after the year has past it was still a daunting task and I am just now getting a few episodes together that I am sure are terrible…but I have to learn sometime right?

The fact that dreams and ideas are so fleeting fall in line with the theory that I take away from the Matthew Effect (https://hartsoffice.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/the-matthew-effect/) If we will not take out ideas and run with them…then we will not get more and even worse, what we already have will be taken away!

I read “Enders Game” when I was in Elementary school…and I can easily say that I did not absorb a single word of it.  Though I did remember the little surprise near the end of the book.  It was really interesting to listen to the book and the company that did the recording did a masterful job even with the impersonations of different characters voices.  I has to listen to the book in 5 minute intervals to and from work in the morning, coming home for lunch and leaving work for the day.  I was fortunate to have a few times where I delivered an oil pump that I could listen for a 2 hour stretch.

Enders Game has an incredible way of showing how a bully to a young child can be torture and also how it can make you stronger if it does not break you.  I also really enjoyed how the characters were so young and yet doing amazing things.  I wonder how far from fiction this would be if children could be given the opportunity or even the pressure to excel.

I have some quotes that I really liked that were just mind blowing when you stop to think about them for a few minutes:

“Perhaps it’s impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

I have found this to be true, the meanest example that I will admit to is when I was really young and was making fun of a kid for stuttering…after a little bit of that it took me a little while to stop stuttering, either way I got my just deserts.

“Humanity does not ask us to be happy. It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf.”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

This quote rang loud and clear over and over again in my mind.  It adds to my theory on how no one cares and it does not make them evil…they just don’t.  When you make interactions with people, they need you to work, or to do something or to even listen to them and help them through their problems.  But they are not, initially, asking you to be happy, just to be brilliant on their behalf.

“No book, however good, can survive a hostile reading.”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

Pretty self-explanatory…a book cannot combat a bias.  I on somewhat on the fence about this…if you are really looking for the truth or for understanding a book can whittle away at you.  If you are dead set to not be persuaded you will likely not read the book or get very far in it.

“The essence of training is to allow error without consequence.”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

Probably my favourite words in the book.  So many times I have been terrified in training, when this should have been my mantra.