I’ve done it the last three Sundays already, so why break from tradition now? Also, these posts are just so easy to write that they practically do it themselves.
Without any further preamble, here is The Bookends Of My Life – Part 4.
Since I just dedicated an entire post to Star Trek yesterday, I think it’s fitting to continue on in that franchise and discuss one of my favourite Star Trek novels of all time. It was a tough decision (you try picking one out of the 350 I have) but I came to a conclusion and I’m pretty certain it’s the right one. Unless I change my mind, which is very likely (and could happen in five years or five minutes; sometimes I just never know).
My favourite Star Trek novel is Star Trek: The Next Generation: Do Comets Dream?
I have been reading Star Trek since I was very young, almost as long as I’ve been watching the TV shows. This particular novel I read when I was maybe twelve years old. It was definitely before I went to High School, so twelve or thirteen sounds about right. Up to this point in my life, all that I had read was Science-Fiction and Fantasy – Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and other books like these. What really set Do Comets Dream? apart from the other books I’d read was the philosophical nature of the story. Basically, there is this planet where the inhabitants believe that every 5,000 years their world will be reborn. The novel starts when this date is just days away, and the crew of the Enterprise are on the planet for a mission. They detect that there is a comet heading for this planet and it will collide on the very day that the planet’s inhabitants believe their world will end.
This puts Captain Picard in a tense and delicate position. It is his duty to protect life at all costs, so he feels obligated to destroy the comet and save the planet. On the other hand, he is afraid of what the consequences will be if he averts the disaster, leaving the people questioning everything that they have built their lives around. There is also the Star Fleet Prime Directive, which is a law that states no one in Star Fleet can affect the culture, technological advancement, politics, etc. of any world. Would diverting or destroying the comet go against the religion and culture of these people? The debate begins.
Sorry for my terrible summary. I hope I didn’t make the book sound like crap. There is more to the story – including a realization that the comet is alive, so destroying it is out of the question – but this is the basic outline to the main events. What really grabbed my attention, though, was the way the author dealt with the debate over everything. Should they destroy the comet, killing a life form and saving a planet of people, but going against all of their religious beliefs? Should they let the comet follow its course and destroy the planet? It was unlike anything I had ever read before, and it really made me start to think about ‘the bigger picture’ of everything – including my own life.
It was at this time I started to realize that, since its beginnings, Star Trek itself had been making social commentaries on nearly all aspects of life, and when this dawned on me I started watching Star Trek with ‘new’ eyes, and it took on a deeper level of meaning for me. It’s a great Star Trek book that I think everyone should read, even if you’re not a trekkie like me.
The next book I want to share is a more popular one that most of you have probably heard about, but I’m betting many of you have not read. It’s The Great Gatsby.
For a long time I had mixed feelings about this book. For a novel so short, it sure seemed to just drag on and be quite annoying at times. I didn’t like the characters, I didn’t understand the plot, I didn’t find it interesting and I didn’t think it was relevant. Those were my thoughts after I first read it when I was sixteen.
Fast forward a couple of years to when I was eighteen and I read it again just for kicks. I must have been on crack or something equally potent before (maybe just too immature?) because I loved it the second time. It was really good and I could feel the emotion that Fitzgerald entwined into his writing. It really came from the heart. I finally understood the concept of the American Dream as it applied to Gatsby, and the full scope of misery that the story portrays. I guess it goes to show that books can take on different meanings when you read them at different stages in your life. Maybe I’ll pick it up in five years from now and have another awakening.
The last book I want to talk about is one I’m dying to read. Like many of the books I want to read, I bought it years ago and just haven’t got around to actually reading it, although I’m still excited about the day when I will read it. I love the movie and, even though I’ve heard mixed reviews about the book, it’d be nice to see where it all started and read the author’s original story. What book am I talking about? Well I won’t tell you, I’ll just show you!
I better get back to studying now. Tomorrow is my last final! Yes, finally!
If you’re curious about my motivations for The Bookends Of My Life, check out the first post: The Bookends Of My Life – Part 1.
Just for the hell of it – in the hopes I may get an extra page view out of it – here are links to the other posts in this series:
Thanks for reading!