Glory Road

[Amazon Link]

I read this back in the 1960s, on my initial round of Heinlein-devouring. That was a school library book, and I remember being kind of shocked that the Omaha Public Schools would think this sort of filth was suitable for young eyes. (Didn't stop me from reading it though.)

The pic/Amazon product link over there on the right is the same edition I now own. Apparently set me back a cool $2.50 back in 1984 or so; it has languished unread on my paperback shelves until now. One of the reasons for my Heinlein-rereading project, now with a mere 31 books remaining.

The narrator is Evelyn Cyril "Oscar" Gordon; as the book opens, he is rattling around Europe after an unpleasant hitch fighting an unnamed war forthe US Army. While on a clothing-very-optional island off the French Riviera, he gapes at a beautiful unclothed woman, who tells him he's beautiful.

Intrigued by a classified ad that promises adventure, he's surprised that the offer is made by the very same woman! He signs up for a perilous, complicated quest for the "Egg of the Phoenix". They, with her grumpy assistant Rufo, set out on their universe-hopping exploits.

What follows: magic, swordplay, fisticuffs, culture clashes, all incredibly dangerous. Plenty of PG-13 talk about sex, where 20th Century American mores are derided as hopelessly out of step with the rest of the universe. There are a lot of winking references to other fantasies: Tolkien, Carroll, Baum, and probably many others I didn't pick up.

This is literally fantasy, both in the usual sense, and also in the adolescent wish-fulfillment sense. What male American teenager doesn't want to take off on a wacky adventure with a gorgeous babe who routinely sheds her clothes?

That said, there are a few pages here, where Oscar is in battle with the guardian of the Egg of the Phoenix, I think are among the best passages of Heinlein I've read.

Here's an odd thing: once the Egg is retrieved, you've still got about 30% of the book left to go. This is filled with… not a lot of things actually happening. A lot of dialogue, a lot of monologue. It's not awful—it's Heinlein, after all—but I'm not sure that was a good call. Nobody asked me.

URLs du Jour

2018-11-01

[Amazon Link]

  • At Reason, Katherine Mangu-Ward reassures those discouraged by the mathematical unlikelihood that bringing your wisdom to the polling place will make a whit of difference in the outcome: It's OK Not to Vote.

    You're probably a good person, or at least you try to be. You want to do the right thing. But are you having trouble shaking the sense the you might have better things to do next Tuesday than voting?

    Instead of trying to motivate yourself and others to do a thing that feels pointless, why not stop to consider the possibility it actually is pointless? And not in an "all of human endeavor is pointless" kind of way. In a highly specific way that can actually be dealt with productively.

    She's probably correct. Still, I'll be voting on Tuesday. And KMW gives me a dispensation, sort of, further on in her article: "And listen, if you're in it for the warm fuzzies and the people-watching, that's fine. Maybe your own pleasure in the act of voting is the best you can do with your time to make the world a better place. That's OK."

    I resemble that remark. Probably more than I should.


  • Everybody seems to be referring to this, so why should I be an exception: CNN Anchor Don Lemon: Stop Demonizing People, And Also White Men Are Terrorists.

    CNN’s Don Lemon called for Americans to stop demonizing any one group of people on Monday, before immediately saying that white men are terrorists.

    People say I should watch things "outside my bubble", but I think watching CNN would have unhealthy effects on my blood pressure.


  • At NR, Kevin D. Williamson recounts the tale of Green Floyd: Roger Waters and the Great Green Chevron Scam.

    The slow unraveling of the case against Chevron has been eye-opening, not least for the glimpse it offers into the way money moves through the progressive activist world.

    The background: Chevron was accused of inflicting horrible suffering on the people of Ecuador through mismanagement of drilling operations there, contaminating the groundwater and exposing thousands of people, mostly in nearby indigenous communities, to a stew of toxic sludge. The most obvious problem with the case was that Chevron had never drilled for oil in Ecuador; it acquired Texaco, which had done so years before, in partnership with the Ecuadoran state oil company. At the conclusion of its operations, Texaco received a formal certification from the government of Ecuador that it had cleaned up after itself (at a cost of about $40 million) and that it was released from further liability for the operations, which were continued by the state oil company. Like many state oil companies, Ecuador’s had at times been something less than scrupulous in its observance of environmental standards. Its operations are likely the source of the pollution in Ecuador.

    What about Roger Waters? Well, he apparently stands to make millions in the (fortunately unlikely) event that Chevron has to pay out billions to its corrupt legal antagonists. Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash, Rog.


  • At AEI, Jonah Goldberg notes the obvious: The Pittsburgh massacre wasn’t Trump’s fault, but he’s not helping.

    The debate over whether or not President Trump encouraged the man who set out to slaughter Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh really isn’t a debate at all. It’s a shouting match.

    “Yes, he did!”

    “No, he didn’t!”

    And it will likely only make things worse, as each side grows increasingly deaf to its own heated rhetoric and ever more furious at the other’s.

    Here’s a better question: Is Trump helping?

    The answer is obviously no — and that’s bad enough.

    We have all heard of "whataboutism". Is there such a thing as "of-coursism"? The feeling that nearly everyone is so addled by tribalism, you need to state completely obvious facts, prefacing them condescendingly with "Of course,"?

    Of course, very few Trump fans are dangerous bigots.

    Of course, there's something about Trump that attracts dangerous bigots.


  • And the Google LFOD alert rang for the [Brockton MA] Enterprise News story: More squirrels, more roadkill in Massachusetts.

    An uptick in squirrel population this year is translating into more roadkill across Massachusetts, challenging an ongoing state effort to protect wildlife and reduce car crashes.

    Massachusetts residents -- especially those living in suburban and urban areas -- may have already noticed a large number of squirrels scampering around backyards and along fences, which state scientists say is the result of more food being available in recent years.

    “The last couple of years have had high acorn and nut production,” explained Dave Paulson, endangered species review biologists [sic] at the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

    Here too, although I'd guess New Hampshire doesn't have an official Endangered Species Review Biologist to weigh in on this completely obvious matter.

    (And why is an "Endangered Species Review Biologist" talking about squirrels? Shouldn't he leave that for the UnEndangered Species Review Biologists? I'm sure the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has some of those too.

    And where's LFOD? Um… ah, here 'tis:

    Good for a chuckle, Vicki, but I'm not sure that's what General Stark had in mind.