Showing posts with label astronomy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label astronomy. Show all posts

Monday, October 21, 2013

(four seasons...) art & imagination: `blue remembered earth' by alastair reynolds

trailer for blue remembered earth by alastair reynolds

in the thread on the four seasons, i discussed the novel `the botticelli secret' in the previous post. it did not really capture me, but it rekindled my enthusiasm for botticelli's wonderful painting `primavera' (`spring').

it then struck me that the four seasons are in fact a result of our earth revolving around the sun. did you know that the seasons do not have equal length? on the northern hemisphere currently (and for a long time to come) summer and spring are longer than autumn and winter...(see this website on the length of the seasons). the landmass on the northern hemisphere being the larger by far, this is likely to contribute to global warming.

but to be honest, it provides me with a nice opportunity to discuss one of my favourite writers: alastair reynolds. here we have a science fiction author who imagines whole worlds and futures in an astonishingly visionary way. and more importantly, the science in his fiction to me is always daring yet convincing. it is clear that everything is carefully thought out and executed, just like in the `primavera', with amazing eye for detail and yet never forgetting the larger picture.

it turns out that reynolds is a scientist, who worked for ESA before turning professional writer. no wonder then that his descriptions of space and science are so rich. still, no author really captures me if the characters remain too `flat'. in this respect also i find reynolds' books fascinating. the humanity of the (human(oid)) characters is ever present, and rings true.

doesn't it tell us something though, that the word for `imagination' is ... `imagination'? in other words: creating images? a writer creates images in our minds. art and imagination are seldom far apart.

perhaps no coincidence then, that reynolds imagines art-rich africa to be so important in the scheme of things to come. in `blue remembered earth', one of the protagonists (sunday akinya) is a future artist. not only are reynolds' descriptions of her works intriguing, he also manages to capture something of the struggle that each true artist faces, in any time. simply an engrossing and wonderful novel, thank you alastair!