Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Book-ish Things: "Space Vulture" and "To Whom Shall We Go?"

Space Vulture
I just want to say that my copy now can boast the autographs of both authors. This is largely due to the good nature and generosity of co-author Gary K. Wolf in shepherding it through the mail (y'all, he wrote Roger Rabbit and he's sending me emails now ... can life have any more twists and turns and delight? I think now!). He also has pestered his publisher not once but twice to see if I can read Space Vulture on Forgotten Classics. Alas, Tor is not responding. I will repeat my previous brief review of the book here as I have now read it three times and continue to enjoy it.
Wolf is the creator of Roger Rabbit and the childhood friend who he used to read science fiction with is now the Archbishop of Newark. Lamenting the lack of old-style sci-fi, they got together and wrote a completely enjoyable book. Featuring a villain worthy of Ming the Merciless from the old Flash Gordon series, this book takes the reader on a classic space opera journey. We follow heroic Marshal Victor Corsaire, rascally con man Gil Terry, courageous widow Sheriff Cali Russell, and her two young sons as they battle Space Vulture. One plot device was very obvious after two different characters mentioned if from their points of view but other than that, this was a rollicking good time!
The brief review that follows deserves much more than I currently have time to give and for that I apologize. I will have a series of these brief reviews coming up.

To Whom Shall We Go? Lessons from the Apostle Peter
by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
I received and read this before Archbishop Dolan was assigned to New York and began receiving so much attention. However, having read this book I felt sure that New York City was receiving a good shepherd. In To Whom Shall We Go, we are reminded of all St. Peter's strengths, weaknesses, joys, and sorrows. In short, we are shown his humanity as he follows Jesus in the Gospels and Dolan points out how our own natures are reflected in therein as well. This is a simply fantastic book and I say that as a person who has never been particularly interested in St. Peter. Here is a very brief excerpt from the section reflecting on Luke 5:4-11 when Peter has been fishing all night and Jesus tells him turn right around, to "put out into the deep" again and let down his nets. Dolan touches on so much more tangents in examining the theme of Jesus challenging us to "put out into the deep," but this bit has stuck with me for a long time so I share it with you.
I remember once seeing the late Cardinal John O'Connor surrounded by reporters on TV, being hammered with questions about his opposition to a plan for the widespread distribution of condoms in public schools to curb AIDS and teenage pregnancy. One of the reporters stuck a microphone in Cardinal O'Connor's face and said, "Cardinal, you're expecting an awful lot from people, especially our young people, in thinking they can control themselves. That's an awfully high standard. Isn't it just better to admit that people can't live up to this so they have to take precautions?

Do you know what the Cardinal replied? "Oh, no," he said to the reporter, "The whole world is saying to our young people, 'Be good, but -- wink, wink, -- we know you can't, so at least be careful.' Somebody has got to say, 'Be good; I know you can be,' and that has to be the Church."

Duc in altum: "Put out into the deep."

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