Saturday, October 24, 2015

Book Blogger Hop Halloween Edition, October 23rd - October 29th: 126 Is the Seventh Magic Number in Nuclear Physics

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Name one book you've read in the past that still haunts you today.

I read it years ago, but the scariest, most haunting work of pure fiction I can recall reading is the Alan Dean Foster novelization of Alien. Maybe it is because I read it when I was thirteen. Maybe it is because I read it when I was away from home for a month to have reconstructive surgery on my hand and was already feeling a bit unsettled. Maybe it was because I had no idea that it was related to a movie and went into the book cold. No matter the reason, I remember the book being absolutely terrifying as the crew of the Nostromo seemed to be completely helpless against the alien creature they brought aboard their ship. I saw the movie years later, and I recall thinking that the alien in the movie Alien was far less formidable than the alien in the novel Alien. Somehow, Foster was able to make the crew's situation seem even more hopeless and the alien even more frightening than the movie ever did.

Another possibility would be to go with a book that relates to the real world terrors humans have inflicted on one another. I will never forget the horrific violence of apartheid as portrayed in André Brink's A Dry White Season. The oppression and dehumanization of an entire people is presented in such stark and uncompromising terms in the novel that it is impossible to either look away or to forget. The venality and brutality of humans is on full display in the book, although it is tempered somewhat by the protagonist's idealism, although his concern for the vicious nature of the regime under which he lives is somewhat belated as a result of his own unwillingness to believe the claims made by his doomed black friend. Whether we condemn our fellow man through our violence and venom, or merely through indifference, A Dry White Season gives us a haunting look at how humans are all too capable of being the worst monsters we can conceive.

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