Social events this week sucked up a lot of time, so not much reading got done.
I reread THE LATHE OF HEAVEN by Ursula LeGuin (all rights with current holder, book doesn’t give cover artist) to accompany the 1980 film adaptation (see the next post), which may have been a mistake: the movie’s very faithful, so a lot of the punch went out of the story. And it is a strong one, as a psychiatrist discovers and exploits a patient’s ability to alter reality with his dreams by retconning history (ordered to reduce overpopulation, George imagines a plague wiped out most of the population six years earlier). However it’s also very heavy on technobabble about Dr. Haber’s brainscanning equipment, which honestly feels completely unneeded (but biofeedback had a novelty factor back in the early 1970s, so maybe it was more interesting then). And at times, Le Guin’s criticism of the scientist doesn’t seem to go beyond Do Not Tamper With God’s Domain, even though it’s gussied up in Eastern mysticism (and suggesting it’s hubris to save someone’s life if you don’t know they’re a good person is frankly creepy). Interestingly, Le Guin’s novel sees global warming as a 21st century issue, but can’t imagine any progress on gay rights (the brief reference to gays-as-child-molesters is offputting, to say the least). I also wonder if setting it in Portland, where she lives, doesn’t contain a few in-jokes an East Coaster like me doesn’t pick up.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: The Grid by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis is the weakest of Johns’ JLA collections so far. Set right before Trinity War, it has some good individual stories (the League expands its membership and the newbies take on the team’s old foe Despero) but as it progresses the fact it’s all just build up to the Trinity War, and to the subsequent Big Event felt rather annoying (not to mention having two stories in this volume also in the other TPB wastes a lot of space), as if the tales were just marking time.