torsdag 25 december 2014

The Quiet Season


Hereby some unstructured ravings and rants.




"Screaming at the window"... thus the song "Diary of a Madman" by Ozzy Osbourne. So why this quote? Am I, Svensson, screaming at the window these days? Not exactly. I just like the tone of that line: "Screaming at the window"... Ozzy knew what he spoke about in writing a song by a madman. He had mental illness in his family and he also wrote "Am I Going Insane", with Black Sabbath. "Diary" was an Ozzy solo song.

Madness rides the starwinds... Lovecraft said. OK. At my house this season there's no tangible madness, it's rather ice cold winds and snow en masse, at least outside. But never mind that. I'll stay inside for some days now.

The picture was taken last autumn. I like it because it's a selfie of the "not posing" kind. Enjoy.

- - -

What's up next on the blog? I dunno. This and that, chit-chat, dissertations, fiction and fact or whatever. As for my current reading habits I now read the venerable Robert Heinlein (American, 1907-1988), mostly his 40's and 50's stuff. Bare-bones operational and scientific narratives by a both knowing and arrogant as well as intriguing and thought-provoking author. You could quote his circa 40 books and both get examples of nihilist reductionism and spiritually affirmative views. But what I nowadays like with the man are the operational, military-style organized adventures such as "Sixth Column", "The Puppet Masters" and "Starship Troopers". As an ex-Navy Lieutenant Heinlein knew a lot about conducting operations, both intelligence-wise and more hands-on. He knew the routines of an operational organization, he knew about managing people, he knew about hierarchies and why they are needed. Keyword: responsibility.

The narratives of his novels are credible; with the speculative, Sci Fi-element added they are deathless yarns, even though the narrative style is a bit bare-bones and devoid of atmosphere. But this is compensated by a catching dialogue, succinct summaries of this-and-that scientific background, some wise-cracking and the en passant-dropping of wisdom.

In short: from, say, 1950 and well into the 1980's Heinlein along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke was considered as SF:s "Big Three". Bless the other two but the one in the trio selling the most today is Heinlein and there's a reason for this: readability, relatability, a narrative tone that's personal and yet efficient. Then it's no downside that the man also, in many respects, was a rightwinger: duty, honour country; only by taking responsibility you become free and "there aint no such thing as a free lunch". This was his lasting creed, as I see it.




Related (in Swedish)
Heinleins författarskap: några anteckningar
George S. Patton, Jr
D-dagen 1944
Slaget om Caen, del 1
"Camouflage", en krigsroman jag skrivit

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