Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A novel you want to read

This evening I had a little thrill. I was standing in my kitchen when I realized I was about two weeks late for watering my plants. I went into my pantry to grab my two-gallon watering pitcher, when suddenly my phone rang. I grabbed the thing, only to read: "check batteries." Shit. I took the few steps to my old - 40-year-old - wall phone to pick up the call. After all, it could be important! At the same time, my kitchen light bulb quit. Standing there in the dark, I listened to the caller. Or tried to. The old phone had no volume enhancement. No yelling, so to speak. And my poor ears need phone yelling. And there was no caller ID. (40 years ago, you know.) The caller, a woman, I could tell, was mumbling about something. Maybe a scam, maybe something legitimate. I couldn't tell, so I hung up.

Drat. I climbed onto a chair and changed the light bulb, bringing light into the kitchen again, and put three new AAA batteries into the phone. And thought of Joe Haldeman's latest novel.

Haldeman is the Vietnam War vet who wrote the seminal "Forever War." It was a science fictional story about future people fighting alien "bugs" but it really was about humans' foibles. Haldeman, a really super writer, has a new book out titled "Starbound," and it is very cool. And I'm not going to spoil the plot for you. Except for what I've already said.

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