Friday, October 6th, 2006
3:12 pm - Two Books and One Ugly Play...  
Reread Trader to the Stars, Poul Anderson's first collection of stories about Nicholas van Rijn. Three novelettes, three xenological mysteries to be solved to the future profit of Solar Spice and Liquors. About as good as I remembered, so it was worth the read.

---
The Final Solution is a very short novel by Michael Chabon about a very old man and how he solves the very curious case of the boy and his parrot. The old man is never explicitly identified, but it's clear from the get go that it's Sherlock Holmes in his beekeeping dotage. The case is a good one, and Chabon is fair with the reader, certainly much more so than Conan Doyle often was. I thought to myself, "D'oh!" when the old man figured out whodunnit, much as Watson might have in similar modern circumstances.

It's also a story about the mental and physical self-doubt that comes with aging. The old man is 89 and physically frail. It's become increasingly difficult for him to just tend to his hives, much less embark on an adventure. There's also the fact that he hasn't plied his trade in nearly thirty years. Is his mental acuity what it once was? The old man, once so arrogant in his confidence, wonders if he's up to the task. Struck a chord in me, it did.

---
I was listening to Wednesday's Dodgers-Mets game via MLB audio, and immediately following "the Play," Vin Scully told a great old joke about the Daffy Dodgers of the late twenties. One Brooklynite sees another peering through a hole in the fence at Ebbets Field, and asks him how the game is going. The second man replies, "The Dodgers have three men on." The first man then immediately asks, "Oh yeah, which base?"