Saturday, August 11, 2007

New books 8/10/07

I went to the library today for my usual weekly investigation of the New Books shelves, and found quite a few things of interest.

On the Wing, book two of Flying, a Trilogy, by Eric Kraft. The cover of this caught my eye, a classic 1950s illustration of man and wife in a convertible...except the car was up in the air along with a helicopter and an experimental single engine, single wing plane.

The dust jacket gives the plot:
In Taking Off, the first installment of Peter Kraft's beguiling trilogy, Peter Leroy built an aerocycle in his parent's garage, working from designs he found in Impractical Craftsman magazine. Cheered on by the gathered residents of his small Long Island community, Peter readied his contraption for the adventure of a lifetime, a solo cross-country flight to New Mexico and back.

Now Peter is ready to fly, and in On the Wing, he tells the hilarious tale of his journey across a mid-century America populated by eccentrics, crackerbarrel philosophers, and figments of the national imagination.

In small hops, mostly consisting of "taxiing" and "landing", he visits roadside attractions and unusual towns,...another where he is chased with pitchforks and shotguns by citizens still traumatized by Orson Welles "War of the Worlds."...

And in a parallel conteemporary journey undertaken with his wife, Albertine, the adult Peter revcisits his long-ago journey, navigating as Albertine drives a vintage automobile through a much-changed America, and misremembering every step of the way.

Other titles I picked up, which I'll get around to describing tomorrow, are

Bright of the Sky, by Kay Kenyon, fantasy fiction
Little Tiny teeth, by Aaron Elkins (not sf or fantasy but mystery, but heck, I like Elkins and this is new, so....)
Under A Green sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past and What they CAn Tell Us about the future
----one of at least three new books my library has recently acquired on global warming, the atmosphere, et al...
The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor, by William Langewiesche
and finally
Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons, by George Pendle (2005)

This last book illustrates the principle of serendipity. I'd just been writing an article on the book Rocket to the Morgue, a mystery novel from 1942 which has a character in it named Hugo Chantrelle who is actually based on John Whiteside Parsons. Of course Parsons' real "occult" activities are not mentioned in the fiction book.

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