Welcome to the February issue of the Musings of the Othar. This month’s Feature Article will be taking a look at Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy in Red Mars.
Many years have passed since my initial reading of Robinson’s Mars Trilogy, and I was surprised that I came away with a completely different perspective than I did during my original reading. This got me to thinking about what makes a novel stand the test of time, particularly a science fiction novel that is dealing with the not-too-distant future. At first I was wondering if it was me, the reader, who had become more jaded and less optimistic over the years, but I decided that this may only partially explain my inability to imagine the future Robinson was presenting. Granted, science fiction is not expected to accurately predict a specific future, but in many ways, I’d always thought the Mars Trilogy was proposing a future that was within our grasp if we had the foresight and imagination to seize it. Sadly, I’m no longer as optimistic as I once was of Robinson’s vision coming to fruition, even if it may never have been as expansive as we witness in Red Mars. Of course, this is not a criticism of Robinson’s work as much as it may be a criticism of us as a society, but we will explore this train of thought a little more deeply in the Feature Article.
The Fayersae Histories continue this month, and as I get further into the details of the back-story to the Harmony of the Othar Saga, so many threads of possible story lines are opening up that it is getting frustrating, especially when I realize that there just isn’t enough time to put words to all my notes and ideas; it is a good exercise in staying focused, however. I will continue to present the Fayersae Histories from the perspective of Blonhaft and Brancynn’s parents, while giving the reader a glimpse of Avanian’s childhood at Spirit. Perhaps the future will see some of the other branches presented.
Also, check out the progress updates to the Harmony of the Othar Saga. This past month Heart of Hauden became available in print, and I’d like to thank everyone who has picked up a copy. January was an extremely busy month as I focused on trying to get the word out about Heart of Hauden, but progress on book two, Animus of Hauden, is ongoing. I will confess, however, that progress on book three has slowed.
On a personal note, I have been struggling with the decision to purchase an e-book reader now or to wait, and the announcement of the iPad has done nothing but further delay my decision. When writing the draft to this piece, I had originally said that I thought Apple’s foray into the e-book market was a positive thing for authors and consumers, but after reading about the pricing dispute between Amazon and Macmillan, I’m not so sure on the consumer end. I need to see where this goes. I understand that this might be shaping up as a “squash” Amazon moment for the publishers and Apple, but which direction are retail prices going to go? Right now, the dispute seems to be over Amazon’s $9.99 price ceiling being too low for the publishers, and the publishers certainly seem eager to shift to Apple’s model which allows them to set the retail price. It would probably be futile to try to predict where this all ends up, so I won’t even try. All I hope is that at the end of the day we have a single e-book format, I can purchase e-books from any retailer, and then read them on whatever device I decide to purchase.