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Three Thoughts

Just a grab bag of thoughts and opinions I've been meaning to share...

I never had the honor of meeting John Glenn, but his death saddened me. The last of the Mercury Seven. I am old enough to remember when NASA first introduced them to the world... and incidentally coined the term "astronaut" (before that, we called them "spacemen"). The dawn of the space age! An age, sadly, that now seems to be passing, at least insofar as manned exploration is concerned. If you had asked me in 1961, I would have said by 2017 we would certainly have a base on the moon, and maybe one on Mars. Hard to believe all seven are gone. They were all heroes to me.

Now that WESTWORLD has finished its first season, I see that HBO is going to be rerunning its crime and courtroom drama, THE NIGHT OF. If you missed it last time, don't make that mistake again. Yes, it's very dark, but damn, this is brilliant television, with a bravura performance by John Turturro at its heart that ought to win him a whole shelf full of awards, if there is any justice.

Emily St. John Mandel appeared at the Jean Cocteau Cinema last month (you can find my post about her downstream), and I had the honor of interviewing her. I had long been an admirer of her SF novel, STATION ELEVEN, which I thought deserving of a Hugo nod... but at the time of her appearance, I had not read any of her three earlier novels. She was such a charming and fascinating guest, however, that I made up for that lack afterward, and now I am even more impressed with her talent than I was before. LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL, THE SINGER'S GUN, and THE LOLA QUARTET are not science fiction or fantasy -- don't know how to characterize them, "literary noir" is about the best I can do -- but damned, they are good. Fascinating characters, original stories, and such gorgeous prose. Rich, evocative, beautiful writing, but never intrusive. She makes her people and her places come alive in a way that draws you in and will not let you go. I can't wait to read what she does next.


Dec. 13th, 2016 12:40 am (UTC)
If you were writing Westworld, what would you make of Season 2, in broad strokes? Is it possible that they keep adding deeper and deeper "layers" to it, like the park being a simulation inside a spaceship where the ETs turn out to be alien robots themselves by the last season?
Dec. 13th, 2016 12:42 am (UTC)
I am not writing WESTWORLD, so I'll leave these questions to Jonah Nolan and Lisa Joy, and enjoy their answers.
Dec. 13th, 2016 01:41 am (UTC)
I guess the samurai hosts and the EW logo in the finale mean something.
Dec. 13th, 2016 05:17 pm (UTC)
Dec. 13th, 2016 12:44 am (UTC)
I loved Station Eleven
She's a very talented writer. I can't wait to read her next book....and yours George.😉
Dec. 13th, 2016 12:47 am (UTC)
Visually stunning.
I could not agree more, regarding The Night Of. It was beautifully well-shot too. Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood, Good Night and Good Luck, Inherent Vice) was the Director of Photography for the first episode and masterfully set the visual template for the entire run. Such an impressive show, all around.
Dec. 13th, 2016 12:49 am (UTC)
GOT Question
Not sure if this is the time, but what the heck:

How would a fighter like Daario Naharis do against Jaime Lannister (with his hands, of course). Would Daario win due to his multiple fighting style advantage?

I'm terribly curious. Would love to hear a hint from the legend himself.

Thanks my friend!
Dec. 13th, 2016 05:03 am (UTC)
RE: GOT Question
This sort of question is better discussed on a fan site like Westeros or Tower of the Hand.
Dec. 13th, 2016 07:31 pm (UTC)
Re: GOT Question
Understood. Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge it!

Will have to give Westworld a try as I hear it's absolutely phenomenal.
Dec. 13th, 2016 12:57 am (UTC)
Space Exploration
Elon Musk made an ambitious presentation regarding Mars manned missions recently. According to him, we are only years away from sending people to Mars, and even though Space X's projects have been known to delay, the company is reliable, and they have proven themselves again and again by being innovative and efficient.

So don't lose hope on space exploration just yet!

Here's the link of the presentation in case you are interested:


Dec. 13th, 2016 04:13 am (UTC)
RE: Space Exploration
Marie Humbert
Dec. 13th, 2016 11:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Space Exploration
If you don't know it already, Wait But Why is an awesome blog and the writer is quite the fan of Elon Musk, and worked with him to explain and popularize his ideas and goals. Obviously he's biased about this but he also does his research, and his blog posts about SpaceX (and Tesla) are mindblowind.
Alex Alexis
Dec. 13th, 2016 01:02 am (UTC)
Moon base in 2022
We may not be too far from having a moon base as NASA plans on spending $10 billion to do so in 6 years. Anyway, thank you for the recommendation, if Emily writes anywhere near as well as you I would like to read her books.
Dec. 13th, 2016 01:07 am (UTC)
Hello don't screen this. But I want about to write about what is happening in Aleppo it's heartbreaking to see the mainstream media silent about and I would appreciate if you use your platform to spread awareness of the massacre that is happening.
Lincoln Maurice
Dec. 14th, 2016 08:05 am (UTC)
I'm so with you on this. It sends everybody is just throwing their arms up in the air and saying "sure, just give it back to Assad." I'm disgusted, really.
Dec. 13th, 2016 01:39 am (UTC)
SpaceX is building a crewed capsule and Musk seems fully intent on his Mars mission.
NASA's manned spaceflight program is probably over, but I think that manned spaceflight might just be getting underway.
Lance Sampson
Dec. 13th, 2016 02:23 am (UTC)
Is Westworld worth watching? I've heard a lot of good things about it but haven't tuned in yet and wasn't sure what to expect.
Dec. 13th, 2016 05:04 am (UTC)
Westworld was terrific.
Dec. 14th, 2016 08:37 pm (UTC)
Westworld was indeed terrific!
I concur with George, Westworld is well worth the watch. I personally think it's probably even better for those who can binge watch it back to back. Also, I would recommend finding a blog or vlog source to watch-assist. I must confess I was confused (in a good way) the first 5 weeks of the show. Mind blowing plot and fascinating concepts. A Scifi lovers wet dream! I can't wait for Season 2!
Dec. 13th, 2016 07:51 pm (UTC)
It's definitely worth watching. J.J. Abrams and Brian Burk are involved, and it was co-created by Jonathan Nolan, based on a movie made by Michael Crichton! It's cerebral sci fi, it's high budget so it looks beautiful, and it's definitely one of the best series to come out this year.
John Nelson
Dec. 13th, 2016 03:05 am (UTC)
I love how much you're such a supporting fan of other authors and series (if not down right the king of pure spirited fan boys). I sometimes forget that you're this super famous guy, as you talk humbly and enthusiastically about others in the industry. I particularly love your support for women authors. I've learned more about literature and cool stuff in the last year and a half from your blog than I have from talking to gernal fans. Your child like love of it all is contagious.
Dec. 13th, 2016 05:01 am (UTC)
I grew up NASA, my father signed on for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions starting when I was ten so, yes, all astronauts, then and now, are heroes for me. And being a very small part of all that probably also explains my life-long love of science fiction/fantasy.
Dec. 13th, 2016 06:17 am (UTC)
Having written so much for television, can you still enjoy programmes like Westworld without thinking about them too critically?
Dec. 13th, 2016 06:56 am (UTC)
RE: Westworld
Dec. 13th, 2016 07:28 am (UTC)
Remembering John Green
It makes me very sad to hear about Jon Green's death, but he will always be remembered for the contribution of continueing our space farring development. It takes true bravery to go up there, and I hope his contribution will aspire others to do as he did. In the grand schieme of things, Interplanetary travel is one of the most crucial aspects of our species, and for this, he is one of the most important humans to have lived. May he Rest In Peace.
Lincoln Maurice
Dec. 14th, 2016 08:08 am (UTC)
RE: Remembering John Green
I think you mean John Glenn. John Green, author of The Fault In Our Stars, is very much alive and well, despite his disappointment at missing out on seeing Hamilton recently.
Dec. 15th, 2016 03:04 am (UTC)
RE: Remembering John Green
Oh yeah, that's my bad. I think it was a typo, I was useing my phone. Small keyboard.
Dec. 13th, 2016 09:56 am (UTC)
Station Elven
I read Station Eleven on your recommendation and absolutely love it, I'm still not sure which genre it fits into. But thank you all the same !
Çağrı Akkuş
Dec. 13th, 2016 10:12 am (UTC)
I finished Westworld last night and it was incredible! I watched two episodes per day and boy it was a ride!

Tiny question about ASOIAF; Will we ever learn what do the Pink, Gold and Purple Graces do? Would you tell me what they do? I was re-reading Dany chapters and I realized I enjoyed the tidbits about the Graces.
Dec. 13th, 2016 12:33 pm (UTC)
I remember my family getting up to watch Glenn's flight. We huddled around our old black and white, my mother crying in fear for the man, and watched history being made. It's sad, the progress we haven't made.
Dec. 13th, 2016 02:55 pm (UTC)
I thought Station Eleven was fantastic...in fact it was one of those books that I deliberately had to stop myself from reading all in one sitting so that I could read it slowly over a few weeks and stretch out the enjoyment over time. I'll have to add her other novels to my list!
Dec. 14th, 2016 04:01 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed Night of..... stunning performance from John Turturrro. Im wondering will there be a season 2. Would be good to see how he handles others cases. :)

West world "Idea" was good, I like the plot n the twist, tho I hope it picks up in the second season, if they go to a samurai world or Medieval one will be awesome :)

Will check out the Singers gun and Lola Quartet :) sounds good.

Amanda Bazan
Dec. 14th, 2016 09:50 am (UTC)
North of Trump
How are you going to feel when "north of the Wall" just means Canada? This has been on my mind for at least a few nights now.
Dec. 14th, 2016 11:33 am (UTC)
A long time ago
I had the honor to meet John Glenn several years ago at a talk in Michigan. Fascinating man who will be missed.

The Night Of was my favorite show of this year. Fantastic performance by Turturro as you say and subtle, but brilliant from Riz Ahmed too. That's the kind of show that I can chew on for days.

Station Eleven was so excellent. Easily one of the best recent novels that I've read. I've been looking for new books to read over the cold winter months so I think I might check out Emily St. John Mandel's other works. Thanks for the recommendation. :)

Edited at 2016-12-14 11:34 am (UTC)
Mike Rubin
Dec. 14th, 2016 05:27 pm (UTC)
Don't forget...
...also, don't forget that The Expanse is set to begin season 2 on Feb 1 with a double episode.
Dec. 14th, 2016 06:53 pm (UTC)
I loved Station Eleven. I read it on YOUR recommendation (thanks!) Emily drew me in so deeply that I had to spend moments acclimating myself back to reality each time I set the book down. I've also been remiss to seek out and read more of her work. So many stories to consume! Anyways, there should be a tv series featuring the Traveling Symphony.

I also watched Westworld. It was ok - certainly better than average tv, but it wasn't til the last two episodes that I felt like they'd nailed the 'unexpected'. I <3 Maeve.

I skipped over 'The Night Of' the first time it aired. It was, as you say 'dark'...too dark for me.

John Glenn was a hero. rip.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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