Three anniversaries of note are being celebrated. They're worth celebrating, as they rank among my favorites, so I, for one, will celebrate them.
First, two golden anniversaries. "A Wrinkle In Time", Madeleine L'Engle. I didn't read it fifty years ago. Was just five. Probably first read it seven years later - and man, what fireworks it launched in me. Such plotting and cleverness. This is what writing and science fiction was about to me, great characters, interesting ideas. I loved that book.
Then...I forgot about it. It fell into a crevice in my brain. It wasn't until I read Rebecca Steadman's "When You Reach Me" last year that I remembered "A Wrinkle In Time". Ms Steadman's main character, Miranda, loves "A Wrinkle In Time", carries it and quotes it, while solving riddles that ends up involving...time travel! It's so well done and clever, it's worthy of being mentioned at the same time as "A Wrinkle In Time". Thank you, Madeleine L'Engle, for writing such a book, and to Rebecca Steaman. They inspire the writer, science fiction fan, thinker, and dreamer dwelling inside.
Right in line with science fiction and technology, John Glenn was launched in Friendship 7 and circled the Earth three times. This is a bitter, satisfying, and disappointing anniversary. Although the Soviets already had more hours, this was part of America's effort. Beyond Glenn's flight, we put people on the moon and created the space shuttle system. Costly achievements, yes, in terms of human life and funding, but America's space program helped create a new national identity, re-establishing us a can do nation. As an anniversary, then, it seems like we've fallen from the great heights of 'can do if we put our minds to it' to, oh, that costs too much, that's too hard. It saddens me how much of our current visions are reduced to costs and politics. Perhaps anniversaries of what we have done, for many more will come, and we'll hear many great things about how great we are as a nation, will stir someone enough to act.
The other anniversary is the 30th of a favorite science fiction movie, "Blade Runner". I watched it again the other night on AMC. Number one, I'm not a big Harrison Ford fan but I'm a Philip K. Dick fan and enjoyed the book at the core, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" What a cast. Besides Ford, with Sean Young, Joanna Cassidy, Daryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, and Edward James Olmos.
Then you have people who often get less attention, who are also favorites. William Sanderson, who played JF Sebastian, was on "Newhart" as Larry, one of the locals. Larry always introduced himself, "Hi, I'm Larry. This is my brother, Darryl, and my other brother, Darryl." Later, he was part of "Deadwood", which never got a proper send off.
Also in "Blade Runner" was Brion James. I've seen him in so many, many movies, often playing a cop, such as in "48 Hours" (with Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy) or in westerns like "Silverado" (with Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, and Brian Dennehy, to name some in the movie) and other science fiction, such as "The Fifth Element" (a strange Bruce Willis movie). He died young, just 54 years old, of a heart attack.
If you've not read "A Wrinkle In Time" and "When You Reach Me", I recommend them. They're young adult and easy reads (and pass them on to some young people -- see John Farley's blog at WSJ - http://tinyurl.com/87d8m2x). The dystopic noirish "Blade Runner" is more of an acquired taste, but it suits my palate just fine.
As for John Glenn's Friendship 7 flight, share a moment with me. Look up at the moon, and the stars far beyond it. Think of all the great recent discoveries about new worlds that have been discovered, and then, dream....
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com