Tag Archives: C.S. Lewis

New Acquisitions

Someone please stop me!!

First pick-up was:

I love C.S. Lewis’s work in general and his theological work in particular (although do I prefer Chesterton over Lewis? hmmm). And how can I pass up a book that contains an essay titled “Fern Seeds and Elephants.”

Second Pic was:

This is from 1954 and is pre-Vatican Two. It has some lovely (and some rather homely) art in it and a wealth of information on many things Catholic: stations of the cross, extreme unction, baptism, the thingamabobs that make up a priests “uniform”, etc, etc.

In the Missal (a thing I still find hard to penetrate conceptually) they give you the years 1954 thru 1972 instead of using a generic system by which you identity which of the possible fourteen calendars you are in for any possible year, say 2017? Can you imagine someone throwing this set out and getting a new one in 1973 because they ran out of years?

Ah, and the smell of the set. That old book smell. I don’t know what it is. Do books that come out now end up with that smell? Is it the ink? This is a closed box set so the aging of the pages and ink and binding is somewhat preserved in a hermetical atmosphere and the tones are that much more sweet. You can’t get that out of a digital book. And they will always be at a loss for it.

But it proves a nice thing to begin the day looking them over.

But as it is I am four weeks into N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God and I am only on page 67. My reading slows to an absolute crawl during allergy season and my waking hours are usually less than sleeping hours.

Of course a crawl is about 200 pages a week, but it has been all fiction as I can’t attain the level of focus required for Wright’s subject at this time. I hope the Cottonwood clears up by next week.

Interestingly, my wife has just recently started to suffer from seasonal allergies and she is hating it. “This is what you have been living under all these years?! I feel as if I’m having a stroke!”

Yeah, love, it sucks big time.

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The Value of Hume

I was, during a break, thinking a bit of C.S. Lewis’ On Miracles, when I had a sudden bit of potential integration that I can do nothing with at the moment. In one of the early chapters he is talking about the limits of experience. This was in relation to a naturalist approach to universal explanation. Basically how wide the naturalist abstraction is compared to the personal evidence that can conceivably support it.

As a philosophy with any positive value, Hume’s seems out the gate to be a piece of mud. However, mud has its uses. His shattered, fractured universe is quite useful when we think about the edifices that people stand on unknowingly. How much is assumed, unexamined, unexplained, even unrecognized, from one instance to the next instance.

Immanuel Kant was, historically, the man who attempted to put Humpty Dumpty back together after Hume busted him up…

Few people go through life terrified that the car they are traveling in will suddenly cease to exist right out from under them, or that the ball they are throwing will turn into a dragon and burn them where they stand. But why shouldn’t these things happen? If these things do not happen, surely, some lesser things of the same nature happen all the time? Should we fear that they could happen but just haven’t, at least not in our personal experience?

Why not? These are pretty easy questions in philosophy. Or, rather, such questions have been part of philosophy for millennia. But what about whole world-views? What part of it is blind faith on the part of the holder? And how much is derived from things they can actively demonstrate?

What can one stand on? How much of your views of the world, of the nature of things, of people, politics, right and wrong can you account for? And how much of it is words put together without referent, without ground?

I think most people would be astounded to find there is very little they can account for. And little of that they can piece together. What is your experience of a house but the Continue reading


Great C.S. Lewis Quote

I was replying to someone in a theological debate and looking up a C.S. Lewis quote that I remembered reading awhile back. It is from an essay collection called God in the Dock. It is in chapter four, Answers to Questions on Christianity.

Question 11

Which of the religions of the world gives to its followers the greatest happiness?

Lewis:

Which of the religions of the world gives to its followers the greatest happiness? While it lasts, the religion of worshipping oneself is the best.

I doubt this is true. I have seen many a self-satisfied idolators of self (hell, I was one, I probably still am) they never look very happy to me. Drunk, maybe, not happy.


Good Science Fiction Sites

Let’s first say that it ain’t the big sites. Unless you are interested in what is happening… right now… No! you missed it… right…wait…NOW! No! You missed it again. Myself I like the past stuff better than the current stuff. I have three current authors I read: John C. Wright and Vernor Vinge (Vinge certainly doesn’t write enough) and Gene Wolfe.

There is just too much great stuff to gamble on the present and reading the tastes of current authors at SF Signal gives me no indication I would enjoy their works. Perhaps that is not fair, but as a consumer I merely have to choose, I don’t have to be fair.

Anywho the first up is the site of author John C. Wright. He does a lot of other topics other than science fiction (and will have opinions that are bound to piss some people off, but that’s your problem) but the man knows his stuff. I can’t even begin to enumerate the authors he opened me up to over the last several years: David Lindsay’s Voyage to Arcturus, C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy to name but a few. I even got turned onto Lafferty because he mentioned the outlandishness of Past Master and I thought the title cool enough to look up. Hence a love affair commenced and the rest is history (between I and Lafferty, not I and Wright although I am to be counted as a fan of his works as well). Best to search his site by keywords; his subjects can vary wildly.

Next up is a site devoted almost exclusively to science fiction literature, particularly New Wave science fiction of the 60’s and 70’s, by a Mr. Joachim Boaz called Science Fiction and Suspect Ruminations. This is a great site. This guy digs up the most arcane, forgotten books and does pretty in-depth reviews of them. He has turned me onto some real gems. One such was Brian Aldiss’ Non-Stop (also known as Starship); one of the best constructed books I’ve ever read. Some of what he digs up I’ve never heard up, and sometimes the author I’ve never known about either.

The third site is a specialized site for fans of R.A. Lafferty called The Ants of God are Queer Fish (it is a Lafferty reference and unfortunately not one I fully get as I have never got my hands on the story referenced). But if a Lafferty story or novel leaves you scratching your head (and that will happen) Mr. Petersen should be able to help you out. This is for the initiated, if you have never read Lafferty then not much is going to make sense on the site. There is also a FaceBook page for Lafferty fans started by the same author of The Ants of God are Queer Fish. I myself don’t have a FaceBook account as I don’t want unwanted communications from ghosts of the past. But… there you go.

If all you’ve been exposed to as a science fiction is the latest Star Wars tie-in books or the latest whoever it is, give these sites a look – and spread your wings!

 


R.A. Lafferty Tomorrow!! And New John C. Wright!! And More Randian Disappointment

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Just a reminder that the first of 12 R.A. Lafferty volumes is released tomorrow! Buy! Buy! Buy! So all 12 volumes will be published and I can get them all.

Here is the table of contents for this first edition.

Contents:

  • Introduction by Michael Swanwick
  • The Man Who Made Models
  • The Six Fingers of Time
  • The Hole on the Corner
  • Square and Above Board
  • Jack Bang’s Eyes
  • All But the Words
  • The Ungodly Mice of Doctor Drakos
  • Frog on the Mountain
  • Narrow Valley
  • Condilac’s Statue or Wrens in His Head
  • About a Secret Crocodile
  • Days of Grass, Days of Straw
  • The Ninety-Ninth Cubicle
  • Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne
  • Parthen
  • The Skinny People of Leptophlebo Sttreet
  • Rivers of Damascus
  • Afterword by John Pelan (the publisher)

If you want to experience outside the normal bounds of whatever it is you have read in your life indulge in some Lafferty. If not for your own sake, then do it for mine!

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Also tomorrow is the third installment of John C. Wright’s Count to a Trillion series. So far I have loved the series. The only caveat is his tales are dense and I read some 50 – 60 books a year. I have to find some synopsis to remember exactly where the last book left off…

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I am afraid I am going to end up being one of those ex-Objectivists that end up Continue reading