Thursday, June 23, 2005


Once again the familiar cry goes up: "I've finished my book. What am I going to read next?" This is my cue to fossick around in the thousands of books in the house and find something that my sister will enjoy. This month she's read novels by Nevil Shute, Kerry Greenwood, Josephine Bell and Agatha Christie.

She's just finished a long spell of only reading non-fiction -- often really heavy volumes of history and theology. But it's obviously time for a change.

In previous years when this happened all the time, I used to keep a box of books at hand so I could just dip in to it as needed. Maybe I should start doing that again.

Rain all day and night yesterday. I know we needed some wet weather, but there must be a happy medium. Not as bad as Adelaide though -- they had their wettest June day since the Weather Bureau started keeping records.

Last week I came down with some sort of virus and snuffled and sneezed my way through the weekend. My sister suggested I should take an antihistamine Saturday night, but I was reluctant because we had to be up early Sunday for church and I didn't want to oversleep. Needless to say this wasn't a good idea -- it took me a long time to get to sleep and I had to lie on my back so that my mouth and nose drained, leaving the cat to take the prime spot in the middle of the bed.

Sunday night I took 2mg of Polaramine, slept for seven hours and felt a lot better. I probably should have done that Saturday night.

One of the reasons I've been short on cash is that I bought some books at the Thylacon dealers' table. They weren't that expensive for limited-edition collectible volumes but I did buy seven of them.

They're put out by NESFA press and feature all my favourite authors from my teenage years when I first started reading science fiction.

Entities: selected novels of Eric Frank Russell, Major Ingredients: selected short stories of Eric Frank Russell, The Rediscovery Of Man: complete short stories of Cordwainer Smith, First Contact: the essential Murray Leinster plus a three-volume set of The Essential Hal Clement.

So many great stories. I have all of them on my shelves already, but many of them are cheap paperbacks from the 1960s -- probably too fragile to re-read now.

These are big books. Solidly bound hardcovers, most of them over 500 pages each. There's enough good reading in them to keep me busy for months.

The crippled chick I mentioned a few days ago went into a decline and stopped eating. It didn't look well and we weren't surprised when it died overnight.

It was sad but we'd done everything we could for it -- my sister had kept it alive for weeks after it would have died out in the barnyard.

You can't save every sick animal I'm afraid.

Listened to Bette Davis in a radio play "Jezebel" on an MP3 disk of Academy Award Theater. This show aired on CBS radio throughout 1946; movie screenplays were adapted by Frank Wilson and directed by Dee Englebock. The original movie casts were used wherever possible.

One source notes: The series, sponsored by E.R. Squibb and Sons, only aired for one
nine month season. It's half-hour dramas, although decent adaptations
of the movies, were not able to complete with the hour-long ones by
The Lux Radio Theatre or The Screen Guild Players.

I haven't seen Jezebel for many years, but it was obviously an uphill battle for the writer to fit the movie into a 30 minute slot. If you just present the high points of a story without any of the quieter moments, it runs the risk of sounding like a parody of itself.

(Remember the classic MAD Magazine spoof of Readers Digest Condensed Books summarising Gone with the Wind in one page -- "They've fired on Fort Sumpter!" BANG! "Thank goodness that awful war is over.")

Abbreviation may be a necessary evil, as Aldous Huxley noted, but sometimes you can boil things down too far.


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