As mentioned in my previous post Future History Lesson, a passing quote in the science-fiction novel “Starship Troopers” by Robert Heinlein piqued my interest on two events in real history: ‘Horatius at the Bridge‘ and ‘The Death of the Bon Homme Richard‘. What I discovered in both cases I found so rich in story, that I had to explore them further. Below is what I discovered about Haratius. The surprising story of Bonhomme Richard can be found in Part 3 (coming soon).
Horatius at the Bridge
When first digging I could not find a specific work with this title, but there was a lot of information to be found on the person and the event. I eventually discovered that “Horatius at the Bridge” was the title of some editions of the narrative poem “Horatius“ by the Victorian Era historian Baron Thomas Abington Macaulay which was published in his book “Lays of Ancient Rome“ in 1842. It was very popular in England at the time, memorized and recited avidly, and taught in schools. Even close to a hundred years later Winston Churchill recalled memorizing it. You can download a free public domain digital ebook of the entire “Lays of Ancient Rome” via Project Gutenberg, available in multiple file formats. Continue reading Horatius at the Bridge
First, I’ve been a big fan of Heinlein for awhile, but strangely had never read this novel which many regard so highly. I had seen the crappy movie supposedly based on it, but let me say that movie really holds no similarities to the novel except for some characters’ and alien species’ names. Worse the movie turns some of the deeper but controversial aspects of the novel on their head, and turns the entire story into a farce. For example Heinlein’s novel portrays a democratic society in which suffrage is earned by a term of government service – in the case of the main characters this happened to be military service. The movie version portrays a fascist society where the only road to citizenship was through the military — kind of like non-citizen inhabitants of the early to mid Roman empire who could earn citizenship only after serving 25 years in the Roman legions.
I’m getting off the topic, which isn’t so much about the future the novel portrays, but about detailing some things I learned from a “future history lesson” today’s reading inspired me to take. Continue reading Future History Lesson
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars First Published: 1988 Read from: June 16 to August 24, 2013
Wyrd Sisters – Monty Python meets Shakespeare
I feel like I didn’t give Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett a decent chance and suspect it is more deserving of a 4 star (I really liked it) rating than the 3 star (I liked it) that I have given it here. I had read a lot of Discworld novels recently, and about half way through other books I have been reading began to take over my interest. So there was a long delay finishing this book (finishing it over a month… wait, 2 months?!… from when I started). I’m afraid that effected my appreciation of it. WHILE reading it however I VERY much enjoyed this book.
Reading Discworld novels is like reading a very yummy snack that while it is NOT junk food, you can only eat so much of it in one sitting. In many respects I think if I had been in the mood and read this book as it was meant to be read, I believe it would have been one of my favorite Discworld novels so far. Very much a cross between Monty Python and Shakespeare’s Macbeth.