Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Still lost? (yawn)

kw: book reviews, essays, collections, popular series

I watch so little TV that I don't think I've seen more than one episode of any of the popular series, and few enough even then. I watch AFV when I can—it's my laugh therapy—, a little news, and an occasional sports event with my son. I avoid dramas and dramatic series: I don't like having my emotions messed with. They are sufficiently messed up already! (I wonder if other Bipolar folks watch less TV than ordinary.)

So, Getting Lost was my wildcard book, when I saw it on the "new" shelf at the library. I haven't seen a single episode. The full title is Getting Lost: Survival, Baggage, and Starting Over in J. J. Abram's Lost, and it is edited by Orson Scott Card, one of my favorite writers of SF (In this case, that means Social Fiction: group and personal psychology in a future or fantasy setting), even though his themes come from Mormon history and Mormon mythology (Alvin Maker is just Joseph Smith redux).

Reading the essays, I realized, "These folks are really into it!" I didn't read the final chapter, one-third of the volume, which is a detailed glossary and character study of the series. Are you into Lost? Get the book for that chapter alone.

The essays bring up some fascinating insights: TV Series as replacements for the serial novels that made Dickens and Doyle famous; Lost in particular as a modern Canterbury Tales (quite a good insight, really); explorations of leadership, a kind of beyond-Secrets-of-Attilla manual. Well!

I remember having the insight (and perhaps I wrote about it, I don't recall) that TV nearly killed of live attendance at race tracks, and that TV plus legal off-track betting will almost surely do so. TV is also killing off many kinds of reading. Why buy Analog or Omni when you can watch the SciFi channel? Simply apply Sturgeon's law (90% of everything is junk) as a filter, and you'll come across an idea worth thinking about every day or so. Well...YOU could. I won't! I am a reader.

Anyway, I am much less enamored of this book than a dedicated Lost watcher is likely to be. The writing is superb, and the ideas are stimulating.

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