I recently received this book review about a book I personally recommend — Exophobe — thought it might motivate someone to read the book !!!

— Enoch

REVIEW STARTS HERE –>

If you like your science fiction leavened with humor, brainy wordplay and a whiff of romance, look into D. Kenton Mellott’s latest novel, Exophobe. Enoch Maarduk, the quirky narrator, engages with the reader immediately, drawing you into his semi-geeky, restless bachelorhood. It’s Friday night and he’s torn between following a Google thread on Gilgamesh and chasing babes with his pals at the local watering hole. Initially, Gilgamesh wins and the reader is treated to an overview of Sumerian trivia. But the web surfing soon turns serious—toward the electromagnetic energy spectrum—and the plot shifts into high gear. By Chapter Two, Enoch’s life is threatened by a polyester-clad heavy, saved by a requisitely gorgeous female agent named Phoebe Scarlett O’Hara and is introduced to PHANTASM, an uber CIA-like agency that both welcomes and threatens Enoch’s existence.

As an English teacher more inclined toward Dickens and Austen than Heinlein… I was wary about tackling a new science fiction novel for review. Lengthy exposition seems to be de rigueur for this genre… distancing the reader from the story, diluting its literary possibilities. In this case, however, Mellott’s highly verbal central character talks directly to the reader, drawing “you” into the meandering byways of his mind. Enoch is unable to resist a horrible pun, then apologizes; throws out a pithy Latin phrase, then suggests “you should look it up. Really.”; slyly references Dante, Shakespeare and Voltaire. By Chapter 3, you’re in his head and willing to follow him anywhere. When he confronts the Eemees (electro-magnetic entities), the alkaloid peptides, and ultimately the quantum cascade laser, a little exposition can be excused. The book is skillfully wrought, with enough geeky stuff to satisfy the sci-fi regular and more than its share of literary-historical-philosophical musings to appeal to the rest of us.

— from Suzanne Yuskiw, Maryland reviewer

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Okay, I want to address a topic which apparently has been chapping the tight arses of certain Puritanical linguists and semi-erudite English teachers who take vociferous umbrage in the use of the word “unperfect” in my website tagline — “Surviving in a perfectly unperfect world.”

Yo — I grasp that “unperfect” is not a word. This was utilized after much and great deliberative deliberation to illustrate the veracity of the tautology expressed in the website tagline itself.

In other words — anal wordsmiths — it freaking IS an unperfect world — starting with the tagline. Sigh. In this case the imperfection is consciously chosen and desired. In “real” life — though — we usually abhor and shun such imperfections — despite the fact that the struggle to overcome them is what defines us as human. It’s that journey-destination thing.

Actually — perhaps it is wrong to even think that this is a perfectly unperfect or imperfect world.

The idea of perfection is an obfuscation of the underlying nature of existence, in that the idea of ” perfection” should not even be utilized — the very fact that something exists implies a certain level of perfection. I’m happy to be perfectly effing alive, capiche?

I’d like to go further with this concept, but a perfectly cold beer is waiting for me and I must attend to it before the unperfections of the world precipitate its global warming.

Hah.

–E

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I live on the third floor of a three-story condo unit. Nice community. Gated. Not sure how secure it is though. I was visiting with Pat — the maintenance guy — the other day and we started talking about security and somehow he let it slip that the gate code for the maintenance crew was “1234.”

Really?

I’m thinking that if Riff or Raff wanted to get into the complex, well, they wouldn’t have to hack through many code permutations. Fug.

Anyway — yesterday I’m sitting in my somewhat secure third-floor condo living room when I get a call from Mando, one of my best pals. The other being Tom. Both being ex-hackers in the business of helping other companies avoid being hacked (in fact see the recent post here entitled, “MORE MYSTERIOUS STUFF.”). Mando is calling from Vegas. Business, he says. Of the monkey variety is what I’m thinking, but I let it slide in the name of friendship.

A favor. That’s what he says he needs.

You know how favors and friends go. You call a friend when no one else will help. You are not permitted, by the Immutable Law of Friendship, to decline.

What kind of favor, I delicately ask. Like a reluctant snake-handler milking a black mamba.

Mow my grass, Mando informs me.

Now, there are many things Mando could have asked of me as a favor. Check on his mail. Feed his dog. Pick up his mom at the airport. Stalk his ex-girlfriend Lisa who supposedly stole some of his vintage baseball cards. I would gladly do any of those.

Yard work, however, strikes me as pointless, disheartening, depressing, and self-defeating. A blow to the human spirit. A reminder of our sad human condition.

I mean, think about it. Grass is a weed.

It is simply something that makes dirt look acceptable. People only allow it to grow because it is generally stable and grows uniformly. It is orderly and neat, unlike the lives of the people mowing it.

So, not only are you tending to and nurturing a weed that never stops growing, you must continue to cut it — for-freaking-ever.

You NEVER accomplish anything. You cut it; the effing weeds grow back. It’s what they do best.

It’s like the damn mythological hydra — cut one head off and two grow back — you are always mowing the grass. You are always reminded of the sheer and utter pointlessness of life. Gawd, I hate effing yard work. It’s bullsnarf. An affront to human dignity. A bane on existence.

Fine.

I am now sitting at my computer typing this blog entry. I am drenched in sweat and irritation since I have just returned from Mando’s house. Where I tended to his weeds and cut the grass, front and back, and edged and trimmed the front like a crazed grass-infused artisan.

I feel demeaned as a human.

But, damn, that front yard sure looks good.

E

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I freely admit it — I loathe editors.

Okay, maybe that’s too strong. I hate editors.

Wait, that’s not fair. I despise editors.

Hmm.. they serve a useful purpose (I suppose) kind of like a virus that kills weak cells for the good of the overall organism. Anyway — I wrote this little spin on the famous speech by Hamlet and made it apply to editors and editing in general.

If you have ever been “edited” you will appreciate this —

From Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet (with apologies)

To edit, or not to edit — that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the book to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous composition,
Or to take pen against a sea of errors,
And by opposing end them? To proof, to proof,
No more, and by proofing to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That books are heir to, ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To proof;
To proof, perchance to approve, ay, there’s the rub;
For in that proofing what edits may come
When we have shuffled the book off to press,
Must give us pause: there’s the fear
That makes calamity of careful editing. . .

And here is the original text —

To be, or not to be — that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep–
No more–and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep–
To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.

E

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“In despair there are the most intense enjoyments, especially when one is very acutely conscious of the hopelessness of one’s position.”

–Fyodor Dostoevsky – Notes from Underground, 1864

“Reality precedes thought, thought shapes reality.”

–Paul Tillich, Christian Theologian

“When the ancient world was in its last throes, the ancient religions were overcome by Christianity. When Christian ideas succumbed in the eighteenth century to rationalist ideas, feudal society fought its death battle with the then revolutionary bourgeoisie. The ideas of religious liberty and freedom of conscience merely gave expression to the sway of free competition within the domain of knowledge.”

–Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel, Manifesto of the Communist Party

“Weariness that wants to reach the ultimate with one
leap, with one fatal leap, a poor ignorant weariness that does not want to want anymore; this created all gods and after-worlds.”

–Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

“Imperious Caeser, dead and turn’d to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
O! That that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter’s flaw.

–William Shakespeare, Hamlet

74:38 Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds.

–Koran, The Cloaked One

The naturalist sees human freedom as little more than the freedom of homo faber and fails to appreciate to what degree the human spirit breaks and remakes the harmonies and unities of nature. The idealist, identifying freedom with reason and failing to appreciate that freedom rises above reason, imagines that the freedom of man is secure in the minds impetus toward coherence and synthesis.”

–Reinhold Niebuhr, “The Nature and Destiny of Man”

Labor Omina Vincit — Perserverance overcomes everything

–Latin expression

The key however is that if truth is too complex and frightening; the taste for the truth is an acquired taste that few acquire.

–Martin Buber, Theologian

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