Thursday, August 16, 2007

"(may the Siberian tundra lie lightly on your beloved bones)"

Waiting for the Barbarians

-What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.

-Why isn't anything going on in the senate?
Why are the senators sitting there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What's the point of senators making laws now?
Once the barbarians are here, they'll do the legislating.

-Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting enthroned at the city's main gate,
in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor's waiting to receive their leader.
He's even got a scroll to give him,
loaded with titles, with imposing names.

-Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

-Why don't our distinguished orators turn up as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and they're bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

-Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion?
(How serious people's faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven't come.
And some of our men who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.

Now what's going to happen to us without barbarians?
Those people were a kind of solution.

~Constantine P. Cavafy

It seems i might be kind of hooked on this space odyssey thing (just like Arthur Clarke himself was, because even though he swore he had left it behind him when he finished 2001: a space odyssey {though Kubrick was the one to tear up his sets so no one could film a sequel~they did anyway~though i haven't seen it} Clarke ended up going on to write 2010: odyssey two~and two more after that~and i will probably end up reading the entire sage because that's just the type of girl i am...actually, i truly wouldn't mind taking a nice long space odyssey right about now...)

The trouble, sometimes, with books that seem to offer explanations for other books is that they might interfere with your self-made explanations which might have been working very well for you until someone came along and explained to you just how not-well they were working...

2010 is a bit different to 2001 in that the focus stayed more tightly on the journey of one ship, the Russian Leonov~sent to discover the fate of the Discovery, the failure of HAL 2000 (maybe he should have been HAL 2001...just a silly joke there...), and also gather further information on the "black monolith" if possible. Clarke also went into deeper exploration of character relationships which made it a little more of an enjoyable and page-turning read for me. The character of David Bowman seemed to change direction somewhat from the last novel and there also seemed to be some plot discrepancies (though i didn't have the first book to check it out). As always, Clarke is a master of his craft and extremely well-versed in his science. I just love reading his stuff...

No comments: