All posts by LRS

WE’RE ALL MAD HERE

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“”‘What sort of people live about here?’

‘In THAT direction,’ the Cat said, waving its right paw round, ‘lives

a Hatter: and in THAT direction,’ waving the other paw, ‘lives a March

Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.’

‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.

‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘we’re all mad here. I’m mad.

You’re mad.’

‘How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.

‘You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’

Alice didn’t think that proved it at all; however, she went on ‘And how

do you know that you’re mad?'”

“So, Mr. Dodgson, let me pose the same question to you that young Alice asked of the chimerical cat in your own story: how do you know whether you are mad or not mad? How would you satisfy yourself that I am not mad? How do we know that everyone is mad or not mad?”, I said, rising from my chair to place the manuscript upon the sideboard. 

I refilled my pipe once again, in anticipation of the protracted debate that was sure to follow on the heels of these profoundly absurd, yet existential queries and arguments.

Mr. Dodgson did not seem the least bit nonplused by my insinuation  regarding his sanity, or the sanity of all. Rather, he thanked us very cordially for our hospitality, rose from his chair and reached the door to exit the apartment. As he reached the door he turned back to me. 

“Mr. Holmes, I will leave the resolution of this mystery entirely in your very capable hands. If anyone were able to solve the questions you pose to me, I assure you that I am not that man. Neither are any of the mentors whom I have studied, including Sir Isaac himself. I trust that you will be kind enough to inform me of your eventual success, if such is possible. Good day to you, gentlemen”.

With that, he departed, clomped down the stairs. Through the window we saw him walk briskly away through a light drizzle of rain in the direction of the train station.

“What do you make of it Holmes?”, asked Watson, who seemed to have been disquieted by our visitor. “I must admit that our meeting with this  gentleman is the most perplexing I have ever had,” he said, resuming his seat in front of the fire.

“Yes. Most perplexing, indeed”, I agreed, taking my own seat and refilling my pipe. “Most perplexing.””

— Excerpt from SHERLOCK HOLMES: MY LIFE, by Lawrence R. Spencer

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TEMPTATION REMEMBERED

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TEMPTING RESISTENCE

DEFINITION OF “RESISTANCE”

1. A force that tends to oppose or retard motion.

DEFINITION OF “TEMPTATION”

Synonyms:
allure, charm, entice, influence, invite, lure

Often used in the same context:
allure, contempt, dreamt, entice, exempt, infatuation, lure, seduce, temp, temptation, tempted, tempting

More general:
appeal, arouse, attract, bid, excite, invite, persuade, provoke, sex, shake, shake up, stimulate, stir, turn on, wind up

More specific:
bait, bewitch, call, decoy, lead on, magnetize, mesmerize, spellbind, stool, tweedle

READ WHAT THE MASTER READS

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826525Since I received and published the interview transcripts from the late Nurse Matilda MacElroy, which I published in the non-fiction book  Alien Interview,  I have become a great fan of  E. E. “Doc” Smith,  (May 2, 1890 – August 31, 1965) an American science fiction author, best known for the Lensman and Skylark series.  He is sometimes called the father of “space opera“.

After reading these two series of books, and a few others by the same writer, I can understand why Doc Smith was an influence of the iconic writers and film makers such as George Lucas, who reveals in his biography, that the Lensman novels were a major influence on his youth.   And, J. Michael Straczynski, creator of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, also has acknowledged the influence of the Lensman books. Sir Arthur C. Clarke‘s space battle in Earthlight was based on the attack on the Mardonalian fortress in chapter seven of Skylark ThreeSuperman-creator Jerry Siegel was impressed, at an early age, with the optimistic vision of the future presented in Skylark of Space.  Ron Howard‘s Imagine Entertainment and Universal Studios are in negotiation with the Smith estate for an 18-month film rights option on the series.

In order to gain a greater understanding of his books, and the amazing science and philosophical points of view revealed by “The Master”, Doc Smith, I thought it would be a good idea to read some of the books that influenced “The Master”.  Read the works of “The Master”, but also read what “The Master” has read.

In his 1947 essay “The Epic of Space”, E.E. “Doc” Smith listed (by last name only) authors he enjoyed reading:

709882

John W. CampbellL. Sprague de CampRobert A. HeinleinMurray LeinsterH. P. LovecraftA. Merritt (specifically The Ship of IshtarThe Moon PoolThe Snake Mother, and Dwellers in the Mirage, as well as the character John Kenton), C.L. Moore (specifically Jirel of Joiry), Roman Frederick StarzlJohn TaineA.E. van VogtStanley G. Weinbaum (specifically Tweerl), and Jack Williamson. In a passage on his preparation for writing the Lensman novels, he notes that Clinton Constantinescu’s “War of the Universe” was not a masterpiece, but says that Starzl and Williamson were masters; this suggests that Starzl’s Interplanetary Flying Patrol may have been an influence on Smith’s Triplanetary Patrol, later the Galactic Patrol.  The feeding of the Overlords of Delgon upon the life-force of their victims at the end of chapter five of Galactic Patrol seems a clear allusion to chapter twenty-nine of The Moon Pool; Merritt’s account of the Taithu and the power of love in chapters twenty-nine and thirty-four also bear some resemblance to the end of Children of the Lens. Smith also mentions Edgar Rice Burroughs, complaining about loose ends at the end of one of his novels.

Smith’s daughter, Verna, lists the following authors as visitors to the Smith household in her youth: Lloyd Arthur Eshbach, Robert HeinleinDave KyleBob Tucker, Williamson, Frederik Pohl, Merritt, and the Galactic Roamers. Smith cites Bigelow’s Theoretical Chemistry–Fundamentals as a justification for the possibility of the inertialess drive. There is also an extended reference to Rudyard Kipling‘s “Ballad of Boh Da Thone” in Gray Lensman (chapter 22, “Regeneration,” in a conversation between Kinnison and MacDougall).

Sam Moskowitz‘s biographical essay on Smith in Seekers of Tomorrow states that he regularly read Argosy magazine, and everything by H.G. Wells,Jules VerneH. Rider HaggardEdgar Allan Poe, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Moskowitz also notes that Smith’s “reading enthusiasms included poetry, philosophy, ancient and medieval history, and all of English literature.”

Sourcehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._E._Smith#Family_and_education