Plastic food and cow tools

I don’t know why, but the photo on the right of Phyllis’s daughter Charlotte immediately reminded me of Gary Larson’s famous Cow Tools. (Click on the cartoon to read a biographical article about him in Salon, btw.)

I don’t know exactly why… Is it their facial expressions – half proud, half clueless? Is it the uselessness of the items in front of them? Is it the absurdity of the set-up?

I don’t know, but I know that the two pictures bring up exactly the same emotions in me, and I can sit staring at them for ages.

Alternate pasts

Lying in bed this morning, I was trying to analyse the similarities between two of my favourite books, Between the Rivers and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

Between the Rivers (by Harry Turtledove) takes place in Mesopotamia (hence the name) in antiquity. The basic idea is that gods are as real as people believe them to be, and the main plot is about a young man’s fight to liberate himself and his people from the gods. It has many similarities with the same author’s Thessalonica which takes place in Greece at the time when Christianity was replacing the Pantheon.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (by Douglas Adams) is mostly set in modern times in England, and it involves time-travel, aliens and Coleridge (both the man and two of his poems). The basic plot is that Coleridge had to be prevented from finishing Kubla Khan to save the world.

What seems common to these books is that they claim that the past was different from what we believe it to be. I’m not sure whether this is an insight of any great importance, though, and I definitely doubt I’d like every book fitting this description.

The Grapple

I just finished reading Harry Turtledove’s Settling Accounts: The Grapple, taking place during World War II in an alternate world where the South won the American Civil war. As usual, the plot moves along at a snail’s pace, the dialogues are unimaginative, and the whole thing is totally predictable as soon as one realises that the Confederate States = Nazi Germany.

So why did I buy it as soon as it came out, not even waiting for the paperback? I guess it’s like watching a sitcom. I read and enjoyed How Few Remain, and after that I always just wanted to read the next book in the series. I had not in my wildest dream imagined Turtledove would write so many books (How Few Remain, American Front, Walk in Hell, Breakthroughs, Blood and Iron, The Center Cannot Hold, The Victorious Opposition, Return Engagement, Drive to the East and now The Grapple).

But by now I need to know how it goes on, so I’ll preorder In at the Death as soon as I can. :-/

Turen går til Mælkevejen

Jeg har fundet en side med en beskrivelse af DR’s version af radioudgaven af The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, oversat af Jesper Klein under navnet Turen går til Mælkevejen. Jeg anser det for et betydeligt bedre navn end Håndbog for vakse galakseblaffere, der slet ikke rammer tonen i originalen. Også Kleins oversættelse af Ford Prefect til Opel Kadett er fremragende. Men nu mangler jeg bare af finde ud af, hvordan jeg kan få fat på det danske radiospil – der ser ikke ud til at være links til køb eller download på DR’s side.