Monday, May 16, 2011

Come Monday...Simon of Space

“Come Monday…” is a weekly series that will involve a review of, or commentary about,  websites, movies, documentaries, television shows, sports, music, and whatever else may tickle my fancy at the time.  Be assured that these reviews will be generally positive, as in accordance to the Jimmy Buffett song “Come Monday.”  This is subject to change, however.  In fact, I would be most derelict in my duties to neglect going on a rant every once in a while.  For rants promote change, and change can be good—right?  Therefore, since good is generally considered as being a positive force in 99.3% of the parallel universes that I am aware of, even a rant could be considered as being something positive, and a genuine hissy-fit would be even better (so I’m told).

In the May 6, 2011 edition of [Sites To See], one of the sites included was that of [Cheeseburger Brown], who is an accomplished author of science fiction. The image that I featured was from one of his novels, [Simon of Space].

In reply to my notification of his site being included, after thanking me for including his site, which I greatly appreciated, he asked me if the reason why I chose the Simon of Space image was because of getting a Christian message out of the book or just on account of it being eye-catching? Since I hadn’t read the book, I answered that it was just on account of it being rather eye-catching, but his question sure peaked my curiosity. So, I promised to read it as soon as I was allowed and enabled to.

Do you remember the first moment of your life?

I do, but then most people suffer from the inherent deficits of infancy when they are born, whereas I had the special indignity and privilege of being thirty-six years old at the time.

I admit that I did soil myself. In this respect I am on par with a lot of other people, though my insides were not stuffed with healthy black meconium but rather the still spicy remains of a sumptuous meal enjoyed shortly before the beginning of my life.

And to be entirely truthful the first first moment is hazy. I was lost in a world of synaesthetic fire, pawing out at the incoherent jangle of sudden perceptive barf that stabbed in at the amorphous horror that was quickly coalescing into my sense of self.

I was released into a blazing light, and then I fell down.

It was bliss. There was a world of smooth coolness firmly beneath me and a world of warm, blurry fog above me. I felt very peaceful. I could have lived a life splayed out like that, seeing nothing and understanding none of what I heard -- currents of air, chirping birds, approaching footfalls, shouts of alarm. It was all a wondrous symphony of inexplicable and awesome stimuli, now that I'd managed to throttle the input a little by lying face down.

That's when the apes came. They rolled me over and wiggled their lips at me while they grunted. I thought it was beautiful and magical.

With the benefit of hindsight I recognize now that they were people, just like me. They were my fellow travellers. They had rushed over because I had collapsed as soon as I stepped out of the gate. What they wanted to know was, "Are you okay?"

In reply I smiled serenely and reached out to touch their sparkly, wet-looking eyes. Funny monkeys!

"I think he shat himself," concluded somebody.

There I was, not two minutes old, lying on the polished floor of the travel terminal, a crowd of cooing strangers gathering around me, their periphery being pushed aside by concerned authorities and their minions. I was the subject of some excitement. That much was clear even to me as I drooled and hummed, dazzled by the sun.

An auspicious start, wouldn't you say?

Yes, it was a very auspicious start to a very entertaining book. For like all great works of science fiction, Simon of Space is simply a great story, with references to technologies that we can merely dream about today. Hence, what makes science fiction science fiction.

Oh yeah, it is indeed a great story about a 36 year-old man embarking upon a journey to discover just who he was, and is—for that matter, which takes you on a ride that is taking place several thousand years into the future. It is a fairly bright future, but as it is written, the more things change, the more they stay the same [Ecclesiastes 1:9].

I absolutely hated the way the book ended, however. Since I do not want to give too much away, that is about all that I can say about it.

In all fairness, you might consider it to be a perfectly fine way to put an end to Simon’s journey, and some Christian themes were recognizable to me. They were amongst those that I now know to be false, but you really do need to read it for yourself. I don’t think you will consider it a waste of your time after you are done, and you just might learn a thing or two about yourself along the way.

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  1. I've never been a fan of science fiction but I'm sure it's a good read for those that do like that type of book.

  2. Dear FishHawk,

    Thanks for troubling to review Simon of Space. As you know, in response I emailed you and you emailed me and I suggested we continue in public commentary and so here we are.

    There are spoilers.

    In the book, a man is held accountable for actions he cannot remember. FishHawk says, "I would have liked Simon being absolved of all crimes without him having to endure the memories of his former self."

    Presumably, this is because we find the Simon of the present to be sympathetic despite his history. He seems nice. FishHawk continues:

    "For making him endure those memories was making him even more of a victim than those effected by his previous actions, but I can certainly see where that would be considered woefully unjust by many."

    Are we not ultimately suggesting, then, that amnesia cures sin? Are we not culpable if we not aware? If not, who does own that culpability?

    If no one, does that mean sin can exist without being attached to a sinner?

    I'd be interested to hear your take!

    Cheeseburger Brown

  3. Thanks for stopping by again, my dear Ann!!! Well, when it comes to what I consider to be really good science fiction, the advance technologies just add to the story instead of being the story. Be assured that this is what happens in Simon of Space.

  4. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Cheeseburger!!! Well, after I sent you those emails, I was told that your ending to the book is consistent with what often takes place in true Christianity. For Christ Jesus paid the price in full for all of our sins, and whoever wants to believe that, will not be punished for their sins, come Judgment Day. Ah, but unless that happens just before they take their last breath in this world, they are still stuck with the memories of their sins, and those who are like me, suffer greatly because of that. Making it even worse, is learning more and more about just how perfect our Heavenly Father truly is, which greatly magnifies our own imperfections. Then there is the worrying about not having enough faith in His grace, which adds all the more to the guilt. For if our sins are truly forgiven, it is waste of time to get bogged down in shame, but on the other hand, taking His grace too much for granted is a road that leads to destruction.


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