Saturday, April 4, 2009

not forgotten

Just in case you wondered work is progressing, albeit slowly, on the most recent painting. Nor is it typical of the way I usually do these things since this is more of a combination of the pen and ink style of the 'adventure's ink' things with color added.

So far I've been having fun and may even have finished it but for the fact of getting involved in a 2000 page over the top, hilarious, heart stopping sci-fi space opera novel by my favorite intelligent adolescent, Peter Hamilton. I needed a little vacation from normality because normality nowadays is scaring the hell out of me. I have to admit having read them as they were originally released but just for the hell of it decided to read them consecutively now that nearly five years have gone by.

'Pandora's Star' and 'Judas Unchained' describe Hamilton's vision of the late 24th century, hundreds of worlds within hundreds of light years from the Earth have been peopled (collectively known as the 'Commonwealth'), not by way of space ships, but through man-made stable wormholes connected by giant trains. People have continued to do what we do best and that's repopulate and consume. Virtually all of the one hundred billion human beings are connected by instantaneous communication - the Cybersphere, which is built into the brain along with other electronic enhancements.

The other great human advancement concerns mortality: specifically, every 20-30 years or so, those humans who can afford it get 'rejuvenated' and restored to physical adolescence with full memories of the previous 'life'. People work to pay their rejuve insurance. Dying in an accident is no problem since most have available a dormant clone. With this technological 'advancement', Hamilton asks some very complicated ethical questions about aging, and what it really means to be an individual person.

Everything is seemingly blooming and nice, but a secret brotherhood, The Guardians of Selfhood, keeps insisting that humankind is being manipulated by an invisible alien, whose ship was found on one now inhabited planet - Far Away. The brotherhood is making preparations, smuggling weapons and weird pieces of equipment in order to face the alien. Of course, no sane people would listen to their blabber.

But things change when an ageing astronomy professor discovers the disappearance of two distant stars. The story gains steam as an FTL starship (obsolete tech in this age of wormholes) is built in order to learn why the double star system known as the 'Dyson Pair' has been shielded by some sort of force field. Is it meant to keep the natives of that system within, or to protect them from something outside? As if that weren't enough, the brotherhood decides to prevent this excursion.

Even as this is going on, the author continues his journey through genres - a murder mystery is solved (yes, I know I explained that people can be rejuvenated here, but wait for it); a low-tech fantasy theme is introduced (a funky inn on a planet where high-tech doesn't work, a native boy who wants to join the explorer etc.) that at one point presents readers with a trek across a frozen planet, and there's even a priggish dad with an ickily cute family (complete with dog) on one of those impossibly utopian planets. There's a helpful AI (or is it?) and aliens too.

About 700 pages in, we finally meet the creepiest villain(s) alien of all (eek! hive mind!), after which the tale cascades on swiftly on to the end of part I. If you want to know about part II you may just have to read it for yourself because I'm tired now.

I had implants * done on Thursday with the result I'm still not feeling my best.. but I'll get there and I'll get back to the painting too.

(* dental, not flotation...)

22 comments:

Seraphine said...

Hi Susan! Congratulations on your new implants! You and Crow must be insanely excited.
I've heard it brings motorboating to a whole new level.

susan said...

sera - Contrary to your assumption what they really mean to susan is extra maneuverablity and speed when we go hang gliding together. Well, she hangs and I glide but whatever - you get the idea.

regards, Crow

Utah Savage said...

I love the progress you've made. Glad you're having fun. It's fun for me to see where you're going with this. I just needed to visit you today. Now I'm going back to bed.

Happy gliding.

Seraphine said...

as regards your painting, i love it! it's different because there's no border, but it still feels like looking through a window at something fantastical. this one is about faces, from the masks on the wall to the strong-faced woman, to the tame yet dangerous mouth of the cat. My eyes are borderless saucers of admiration for your art.

Seraphine said...

i've visited your blog almost every day for the longest time, i'm sure for over a year. and i swear, i have blinders on because sometimes i miss the most obvious things.
i just found your adventures, ink album.
what a wonderful treat to go through all 70 of your ink drawings in one sitting. each tells a story, and i've been reading your blog long enough to know some of those stories.
but regarding life in general, maybe it's good not being too observant, because then there is something left to interest and surprise.

Liberality said...

Gee, even Utah's aviator is a model, as she was in real life ;)

susan said...

utah - Always glad to provide some amusement for what else is life about?

sera - It may yet develop a border but the main design comes first then I see what may relate. This one definitely has some character going on.

I'm glad you discovered the album. Remember, the first lesson of psychedelics is having the filters drop.

liberality - Ahh, avatar. Yes, it's an interesting and unique image.

The Crow said...

Beautiful, beautiful...

Hope you are soon feeling better.

:)

Rob Broadwell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lover of Life said...

I'm hooked! Once I make it through the five I've got going, this just might be my summer read.

Your painting is looking really good!

susan said...

the crow - Thanks. It looks like I'll be home for the week so I'll visit earlier in the day than usual.

lol - I think I like sci-fi so much because not only does it allow me some entertaining time travel but it also postulates a future where humanity has moved beyond a dangerous period - now.

Peter Hamilton is pretty cool but so is Iain M. Banks who just can't write fast enough to keep me satisfied.

Glad you like the painting :-)

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Susan
I hope you’re feeling better soon.The painting is coming on very well. I am amazed at the number of moral and philosophical questions these dramatized space stories create, so I' m sure they help keep our mind fresh. Asking questions about aging is always interesting don’t you think?, since in youth I had the feeling of being invincible as far as health is concerned but as time goes our feelings about longevity change. I find the recurrence of past patterns combined with accumulation of experience has its ups and downs. I think you’re more likely to be who you are but at times you’re also more likely to despair over the continued evidence lack of reverence for all life. Still one remains optimistic and there is undeniable sense of wonderment ably demonstrated in your interesting post.
Best wishes

La Belette Rouge said...

The Guardians of Selfhood. I want to join that group. Love it!!
p.s. I love that you felt the need to clarify about the the type of implants you got.

Gary said...

Interesting post and insights into the process. Any good drugs with the implants?

susan said...

lindsay - Thanks so much for the good wishes. I've been ordered to stay home for a week of rest and in my opinion painting counts.

Yes, the concepts raised in well written science fiction novels are often thought provoking. Imagining how different the world would be with just a small alteration is a fascinating mind game to play.

belette - They were about the coolest group in the novel and had huge gene modified horses called 'Charlemagnes'.

gary - If only :-)

Seraphine said...

i always have to have some control, psychedelics or not. i've never learned to completely let go. even imagining a blank chalkboard is hard.

susan said...

sera - Having control or holding on tight? I still have dreams of falling from a great height.

The Crow said...

Susan: I came back to admire your painting again and noticed the detail in the background. Those Greek masks are fantastic!

You're good!

Randal Graves said...

Did those dental implants come with a link to The Google?

linda said...

flotation, hahaha! well, you haven't yet lost your sense of humor however that book you are reading would make me lose mine....not my cup of tea!! I like to read books about living in france, leaving and living in france, finding oneself living in france, eating in france, what fashion is doing in france, you get the idea!

loving your painting/drawing, I would call it a painting, and it sure is utah!! it's gorgeous and I love the tiger, you do cats so well, I am envious!! I would rather do cats , well, big cats , than dragons but dragons seem to be my unexpected forte........so how are you feeling? besides glad to get that over with! I left you a long comment over on my blog...now I'm off to michael's, a store I detest but with gkids coming for TWO!2!!!! (OMG) weeks with parents and other set of son and wife too, I have some stuff to collect to keep them busy and OUT of my paints! take care of you and get well~
xoxox

susan said...

the crow - They are kind of nice, aren't they? I had fun with them.

randal - Doesn't everything?

linda - Yeah, reading sci-fi is a peculiarity of mine and while I'm at it I'll admit to enjoying another genre as well - mysteries. But I'll read anything if it allows a cup of tea and my couch.. even books about France.

Between the extractions and bone grafting last September and the implants and more bone grafting last week I'm not feeling totally great yet. It's like the universe saying, 'Think you're still young? Hah!'

The Cunning Runt said...

I used to LIVE for science fiction, 'till I read "1984" in junior high school. That about cured me of my ability to read.

It's strange how this one book instigated this last forty years of depression...

I'm enjoying seeing your progress on this piece, though!