James sent me a science fiction book (the Sparrow by Mary Russell) for my birthday and it looked like a deep introspection book.  

It has been many years since I was an avid fan of Sci Fi so I decided that before I jumped into the deep end again I would test myself on something more mainstream.  I read Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.  A classic.  I do not think I actually read the book before (although I owned a copy) but I certainly remember the Disney movie.

If there is any doubt that Jules Verne was a time traveller from the future going back to 1865 this is it.  He nails the nuclear submarine concept 100 years before its time with all-electric drive as well as scuba diving.  Granted he did not remember his geography well, but what the heck, most of my peers do not know it either.

When I finished I dipped into The Sparrow.  The Times review called it Powerful and Disturbing .  Jesuit priests join a group to travel to a new planet to meet new life forms and (I suspect) convert them to Christianity.  The book is really a metaphor of the Jesuits going to Africa and South America in the 16th century. 

Disturbing is an understatement but it was still fascinating.  The same fascination as looking at Hieronymus Bosch paintings (again from the 16th century) of his visions of Hell.  An alternative view of what a civilization, that seems like paradise, could become.

Not sure I want to read books by Mary Russell again, but it does remind me that great Science Fiction authors stretched the boundary of what could be and what might be. 

Thank you James.  Took me out of the comfortable rocking chair of my recent readings, but I will definitely read a comfort book next.