Friday, February 8, 2008

Fantasy and Reality

28 is Harry Turtledove's The Wisdom of the Fox, a sword and sorcery epic which is, as always, grand and sweeping. It is interesting to see the hero, having won fair lady, lose her to a passing horse trader because he didn't pay enough attention to her, being too busy trying to keep the peace in a barbarian-beset land. His sidekick, Van of the Strong Arm, is a perfect echo of the Gaul Viridovix in the Legion Cycle by Turtledove, so perfect that it is distracting at times -- I find myself questioning what book I am reading.
29 is a non-fiction book, The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson. It is subtitled Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, which is a good summary of the book. It speaks of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, the people who built it, dreamed it up, and those who exploited it. It is also the story of H. H. Holmes, a psychopath that used the Fair to kill perhaps 200 people, mostly young women. Actually, with all the news stories that came out as they traced him and his killing spree, I'm amazed I've never heard of him. It's full of interesting ways that the Fair influenced our world: Walt Disney's father helped build it, and told him many stories of the fantastical buildings, L. Frank Baum wrote Wizard of Oz after seeing the White City, and Frank Lloyd Wright got his start here.

No comments: