March 25, 2008 by korshi
I went to Gould’s, a monster of a second-hand bookshop near where I live in Sydney today to get my hands on two specific books- Solaris by Stanislaw Lem and Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard’s book I thought I should read to find out if the theories expounded in my previous post were on the money; Lem’s because, after a bit of research into the 2002 film starring George Clooney, I discovered that Solaris was a much more interesting topic than I had realised, so I wanted to read the novel, and watch the 1972 Russian film by Andrei Tarkovsky, before coming to any final conclusions.
The literary gods were not on my side however, and finding specific books among the endless piles of gold and dross in Gould’s is near impossible at the best of times. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though; the English edition of Solaris is a translation of a bad French translation from the original Polish , which Lem has attacked for its poor quality, so maybe it’s better that I rely on internet reviews and synopses for my knowledge of it.
I did however have a dig in the science-fiction and religion/New Age/self-help/Paranormal sections, and in amongst endless copies of Shirley MacLaine’s “Don’t Fall Off the Mountain” and The Celestine Prophecy I found a few gems. I decided to stay away from any more Von Däniken (and his countless imitators), having found him pretty repetitive and uninspiring (see my previous post).
What I did buy though were…
Light Years by Gary Kinder, a fairly uncritical account of the antics of Eduard “Billy” Meier, somewhat uncritically described on the cover as “The Best Documented, Most Credible UFO Case Ever”. I was planning to devote a later post to Meier and his visitors from the Pleiades, and this seemed like exactly the sort of detailed introduction to him that would be hard to find on the net.
Communion is a fairly iconic book about a man’s reconstructed memories of an alien abduction that looks to be pretty relevant (and also a bit creepy…)
Finally, I also found Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, classic sci-fi by an author I’ve been interested in for a while. Stapleton sounds a lot like me philosophically, an agnostic leaning towards atheism but interested in religion. C. S. Lewis, of Narnia fame, hated him, but found inspiration from Stapledon in his own Space Trilogy, even going so far as to put his philosophy into the mouth of the satanic villain. Since both authors have something to say about space and gods, I thought it would be interesting to have do a post looking at their similarities and disagreements.
All that for only AU$19!