May 30, 2011

If you landed here due to a comment I made

If you landed here due to a comment I left on your blog through ROW80  my active website is 


Please come visit me over there.  


Thanks!

December 28, 2010

Mr. Linky is ready for you to sign up for 2011 Voyages

2011 Mind Voyages 


Are you ready for a new voyage or want to continue an old voyage?

Mind Voyages has a new home for sign ups on the 2011 Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks blog. 

Click here to sign up on Mr. Linky and continue the voyage. 

I'll be continuing the journey with some new voyages  and all the action will be taking place over on 52 books.  If you've been following, update your reader to the new link. 



The Rules

  1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011. 
  2. Our book weeks will begin on Sunday.  
  3. Participants may join at any time.
  4. All books are acceptable except children books.
  5. All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc.
  6. Books must be finished in 2011.
  7. Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2011.
  8. Books may overlap other challenges.
  9. Create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  10. Come back and sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" below this post.
  11. You don't have a blog to participate.  Post your weekly book in the comments section.
  12. Mr. Linky will be added to the bottom of the weekly post for you to link to reviews of your most current reads. 
All the mini challenges are optional. The goal is to read 52 books. How you get there is up to you. For those doing Mind Voyages only, the voyages remains the same.  Or you can jump in an play along.  Mix it up anyway you like. 

Thank you to everyone who participated this year and to everyone who has been following our progress.  

December 14, 2010

Ready to continue the voyage in 2011?





2011 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge

This past year has been awesome and I've had lots of fun.  2011 is almost upon us and time to start thinking about making some changes.  As I mentioned, I can't maintain two blog challenges at the same time so going to blend Mind Voyages with Read 52 books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge. 

You'll have the option of continuing the voyages, starting a new voyage or blending with the other challenge.  I've come up with a variety of mini challenges as well which will help people reach the 52 books goal.  The Mini challenges are also for those folks who don't think they can or have the time to read 52 books.  Challenges within the challenges.  Set a goal and go for it.  You'll be able to link to your reviews on the other blog as well.

The goal is simply to read (at least) one book a week for 52 weeks or 12 books in 12 weeks.

1)  Mind Voyages is a science fiction / fantasy challenge to explore the hugo and nebula winners, take side trips through the different decades reading the nominees, check out Philip K. Dick and Robert Heinlein.   Also, Since I can't  possibly imagine a reading challenge without exploring new releases that come out in 2011, we have the all inclusive Pluto challenge. Links to all the voyages are available on the Mind Voyages blog.

Moon Voyage :  Read at least 6 winners on the Hugo Winners List

Sling shot back to Earth
:  Read at least  3 winners on the Nebula Winner's List

Venus Voyage:  
Philip K. Dick Quest  - Read at least 2 of his books

Mercury  Voyage
:   Robert Heinlein Quest - Read at least 2 of his books

Mars Voyage
:   Read at least 6 winners on the Hugo List and take a side trip through the 21st century and read at least 4 nominees.

Go into Warp Drive and visit the other planets


Jupiter Voyage
:   Go side tripping 90's Style

Saturn
:  Go Side Tripping 80's Style

Uranus
: Go Side Tripping 70's Style

Neptune Voyage
:  Go Side Tripping through the 50's and 60's

The I'm going to Pluto because Pluto is still a planet as far as I'm concerned Voyage:  
Mix it up, choose the number of books you want to read from each voyage, include some new books you pick up along the way and enjoy the ride. 
2)  Read around the World:   I probably did read around the world last year but didn't pay much attention. So this year I'm paying attention to setting. Keep track of where the story takes place and see how many places you end up. 

3)  Ireland Reading Challenge: or just stick with one country such as Ireland and read books set in Ireland, written by Irish Authors or with an Irish theme. Pick 2, 4, 6, or 12 books to read.

4) Jane Austen Mini Challenge: Read Jane Austen's books -Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion. All can be found online here.

5)  Well Educated Mind Mini Challenge:  The Well Educated Mind written by Susan Wise Bauer is a guide to reading the great works.  Read 3 books from each category: Fiction, autobiography, history, drama and poetry.  

6) New Author Mini Challenge:   Read at least one new to you author per month.

7) Try a new genre challenge: Read at least one book in a genre you've never tried before. 

8)  E-Book reading challenge:   read at least 3, 6, 9, or 12 e-books this year. 

9)  Chunkster Challenge:  Chunksters are considered books that are over 500 pages in length.  Read one chunkster a month.  

10)  Read 12 classics in 12 months 

A new year, a fresh slate.  Time to discover some new friends and rediscover some old friends. Make the challenge as easy and casual as you want or spice it up and challenge yourself. Explore a bit, but most of all have fun.

The rules:


  1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011. 
  2. Our book weeks will begin on Sunday.  
  3. Participants may join at any time.
  4. All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc.
  5. Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2011.
  6. Books may overlap other challenges.
  7. Create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  8. Come back and sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" in the 52 books blog.
  9. You don't have a blog to participate.  Post your weekly book in the comments section.
  10. Mr. Linky will be added to the bottom of the weekly post for you to link to reviews of your most current reads. 
Get set to blast off for a new year and update your readers to follow 52 Books in 52 Weeks.

December 08, 2010

Plans for 2011



If you would like to continue the voyage or plan a new voyage, Mind Voyages is going to be melded in with the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge which will be continuing in 2011.   The voyages will be considered mini challenges within the 52 books challenge and Mr. Linky is posted weekly on the 52 books site for you to link to your reviews.  I worked rather hard to create this blog and don't want to see it go to waste. So the blog will remain up so folks can refer to the links for their voyages. 

The voyages are:

Moon Voyage :  Read at least 6 winners on the Hugo Winners List

Sling shot back to Earth:  Read at least  3 winners on the Nebula Winner's List

Venus Voyage:   Philip K. Dick Quest  - Read at least 2 of his books

Mercury  Voyage:   Robert Heinlein Quest - Read at least 2 of his books

Mars Voyage:   Read at least 6 winners on the Hugo List and take a side trip through the 21st century and read at least 4 nominees.

Go into Warp Drive and visit the other planets


Jupiter Voyage:   Go side tripping 90's Style

Saturn:  Go Side Tripping 80's Style

Uranus: Go Side Tripping 70's Style

Neptune Voyage:  Go Side Tripping through the 50's and 60's

The I'm going to Pluto because Pluto is still a planet as far as I'm concerned Voyage:   Mix it up, choose the number of books you want to read from each voyage, include some new books you pick up along the way and enjoy the ride.

December 01, 2010

Post your Reviews - July to Dec

July - December 2010 Reviews

Post will rotate to the first of the month every month


Link to your reviews.   Please link to your review url and not your blog url.  If you have multiple reviews indicate multi reviews in parentheses after your name.  Otherwise type in the name of the book in parentheses after your name.


September 19, 2010

Journey's End!

Canyon Bend - Courtesy Moodflow.com

Journey's End

I'm coming in for a landing, having reached the end of my journey.  I've run out of gas, food and energy.   Was I successful, let's see
 
  1. The Demolished Man - Alfred Bester (Hugo 1953) 
  2. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury (Hugo 1954)
  3. Dune - Frank Herbert  (Hugo 1966) 
  4. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlein  (Hugo 1967)
  5. Spin - Robert Charles Wilson (Hugo 2006)
  6. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller  - 1961 Hugo  Started and couldn't finish
  7. To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Phillip Jose Farmer  1972 Hugo Started & couldn't finish
  8. The Mists of Avalon - Marian Zimmer Bradley
  9. The Eye of the World - Robert Jordan 
  10. Something Wicked This Way Comes - Robert Heinlein
  11. www.wake - Robert J. Sawyer
I successfully completed the moon voyages by reading 6 Hugo winners and the Mercury Voyages by reading two Robert Heinlein books.   It seems I did go to Pluto and back, kind of meandering about through the stars on my way.  I discovered a few things along the way - that I can't read all of one genre without getting bored, I need a variety.  That books which entertained and engaged me back in my 20's, no longer engage me in my 50's.   That I've gotten rather picky about what I do read and if I'm not enjoying it, stop reading, put the book down and go on to something else.   That I don't like time limits and too many choices overwhelm me.    

So, my journey has come to an end.  We started out with 26 voyagers joining me and all have crash landed except for maybe Eric, Heather and Miss Mouse.   I'm going to let the blog go static for the rest of the year because honestly, I simply don't have the energy to maintain it.  Life is set to get a bit more busy in the coming months with the start of my next class, Short Stories and Nanowrimo in November, plus other writing projects I want to work on.  Thank you to all who have been participating, following and lurking. 

"Nanoo Nanoo!"-  Mork
 


September 04, 2010

1967 Hugo Winer: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress




 The Moon is a Harsh Mistress


By


Robert A Heinlein






"It is a tale of revolution, of the rebellion of the former Lunar penal colony against the Lunar Authority that controls it from Earth.  It is the tale of the disparate people--a computer technician, a vigorous young female agitator, and an elderly academic--who become the rebel movement's leaders.  And it is the story of Mike, the supercomputer whose sentience is known only to this inner circle, and who for reasons of his own is committed to the revolutions' ultimate success."  (Publisher: Orb Books, 1997 1st edition back cover)


Robert Heinlein won 4 Hugo awards and 3 retro Hugo award for his works including The Moon is a Harsh Mistress in 1967.  He was considered one of the most influential science fiction writers and won the first Damon Knight Grand Memorial Master award for lifetime achievement by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.   Many of the central themes in Heinlein's works included race, individualism, sexual freedom, philosophy and politics. He created many Utopian worlds revolving around political themes from liberal to conservative to fascism to libertarian.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is a Utopian tale of a lunar colony in 2075 rebelling against authority and setting up a libertarian style government and is intriguing and thought provoking. The moon has been designated a penal colony and is populated by "loonies,"  who are either prisoners, political prisoners or descendants of prisoners.   Once prisoners have served their sentence they have to continue living on the moon because, after a few months, irreversible biological changes to their body force them to remain. They live in underground colonies and make their livings by exporting ice and wheat to the Earth. The men outnumber the woman two to one which has resulted in woman taking multiple husbands.  There are basically no laws and the population is self regulating.  Their women are held in high esteem and justice is served by ousting the trouble maker through an air lock.   They are loosely regulated by a Warden and all the facilities are controlled by one master computer, the HOLMES IV whose name is Mike.

"Mike was not official name; I had nicknamed him for Mycroft Holmes, in a story written by Dr. Watson before he founded IBM.  This story character would just sit and think--and that's what Mike did.  Mike was a fair dinkum thinkum, sharpest computer you'll ever meet."  (pg 11-12)

The story is narrated in first person point of view by  Manuel Garcia "Mannie" O'Kelly-Davis, a computer technician who takes care of the computer and discovers it has been malfunctioning out of boredom and is making mistakes on purpose.   Because controlling all the lunar functions only take up about 2% of it's operating capacity, the computer started learning as much as possible in it's free time and became self aware. 

"But on Monday, 13 may 2074 I was in computer room of Lunar Authority Complex, visiting with computer boss Mike while other machines whispered among themselves. 

Some logics get nervous breakdowns. Overloaded phone system behaves like frightened child.  Mike did not have upsets, acquired sense of humor instead.  Low one.  If he were a man, you wouldn't dare stoop over.  His idea of thigh-slapper would be to dump you out of bed--or put itch powder in pressure suit.

Not being equipped for that, Mike indulged in phony answers with skewed logic, or pranks like issuing pay cheque to a janitor in Authority's Luna City office for $10,000,000,000,000,185.15--last five digits being correct amount.  Just a great big overgrown lovable kid who ought to be kicked." (pg 13) 
 

The story is broken up into three sections:  Book 1 - That Dinkum Thinkum  is the prelude to the revolt with Mannie, Wyoming Knott and Professor Bernardo de la Paz deciding, along with "Mike" to form a covert executive cell and begin recruiting members.  Book 2- A Rabble in Arms in which every single person wants to have their say in how the government will be run.  "Mike" is given the persona "Adam Selene" a mysterious rich backer who is the Chairman of the executive cell who never appears in public for security sake.  The professor actually sets up a "congress" simply to keep the people occupied while he and Mannie go down to earth to sell the benefits of a free Luna society.   Book 3 - TANSTAAFL  (after one of Heinlein's saying "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch")  in which Earth attacks and Luna figures out how to counter attack by flinging rocks at Earth.

I was intrigued by Professor Bernardo de la Paz who was an anarchist and when the new congress formed, was surprised they choose him as one of the permanent heads of congress.  He did his best to cast doubts and pick apart their ideas.  Some of his ideas were interesting, but scary to say the least.

"Comrade members, like fire and fusion, government is a dangerous servant and a terrible master. You now have freedom--if you can keep it.  But do remember that you can lose this freedom more quickly to yourselves than to any other tyrant.  Move slowly, be hesitant, puzzle out the consequences of every word.  I would not be unhappy if this convention sat for ten years before reporting--but I would be frightened if you took less than one year.

Distrust the obvious, suspect the traditional...for in the past mankind has not done well when saddling itself with governments....

I note one proposal to make this congress a two house body.  Excellent--the more impediments to legislation the better.  But, instead of following tradition, I suggest one house of legislators, another whose single duty is to repeal laws.  let the legislators pass laws only with a two-thirds majority....while the repealers are able to cancel any law through a mere one-third majority.  Preposterous?  Think about it. If a bill is so poor that it cannot command two thirds of your consents, is it not likely that it would make a poor law?  And if a law is disliked by as many as one third is it not likely that you would be better off without it?

But in writing your constitution let me invite attention to the wonderful virtues of the negative!  Accentuate the negative!  Let your document be studded with things the government is forever forbidden to do.  No conscript armies..no interference however slight with freedom of press, or speech, or travel, or assembly, or of religion, or of instruction, or communication, or occupation...no involuntary taxation.  Comrades, if you were to spend five years in a study of history while thinking of more and more things that your government should promise never to do and then let your constitution be nothing but those negatives, I would not fear the outcome." (page 301 - 302)


A large part of the story deals with the rights of the individual and does have a big libertarian slant, despite the professors attempts at anarchism and it's interesting to note that other readers believe the book reflects Heinlein's Libertarian beliefs.  According to David Boaz who wrote Libertarianism: A Primer

Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person's right to life, liberty, and property--rights that people have naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should be voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have not themselves used force--actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud.

Readers have had a hard time separating the author from the story.   In actually, he was very private about his political and religious beliefs.  According to the Heinlein society:

"People with particular slants seem to latch onto one work or another that suits their opinions or biases and take it as being representative of all of Heinlein. "Starship Troopers" is regarded by some 'fascist' (particularly after the hideous distortion presented in the movie version), it isn't . "Stranger in a Strange Land" became a banner book for liberals--yet it was written at the same time as "Starship Troopers" so couple the contradictions together on that account. Libertarians adore "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" with the anarchistic type of society that works so well, yet Heinlein came along with "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls" and smashed that same perfect setup to bits, showing the potential unpleasant outcome. For every political or social stance you care to choose to assign to Heinlein you can probably find something in his writing to support that opinion... and something else to contradict it"

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of stories about politics and wasn't too particularly thrilled with the story as the majority of the book is taken up with discussing politics and setting up the new government.  It was rather dry at times and the narrator's voice takes some getting used since he spoke with a dialect closely resembling Russian eliminating articles and some pronouns.  However, it is well written and does provides many diverse viewpoints for debate about the pursuit of liberty.

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