Friday, May 27

You've gotta restart somewhere

"You've gotta start somewhere" was the title of my second post a week ago, before the incredibly stupid delete-all event of a little while ago. Basically I just listed out what I was currently reading. Well, here's where I am now.

I'm in the middle of reading three different series. I often have multiple reads going on at the same time – again, in addition to my scholarly reading that's not part of this blog. I also gravitate toward series fiction, long-form story-telling.  It's what I like about comics - the never-ending story.  This time I'm just going to list them by series, then give each of the most recently-read volumes of each its own separate blog entry.
  • Planetary, by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday. This was a comic book series published by DC under its Wildstorm imprint between 1998 and 2009. It's collected in four trade paperback volumes. I read the first two some years back, then stockpiled the third and the fourth as they came out. They sat on my shelf for a while until a couple weeks back when I undertook reading them all the way through.
  • Perry Rhodan. You can find more information, including my write-up of the latest issue that I've read by going to my other blog, which is listed over yonder → … Briefly, Perry Rhodan is a German pulp magazine series that has been published weekly since September 1961 and is almost up to issue #2600 in Germany. An English translation of about the first 150 issues were published in the 1970s, which is when I discovered it. In this blog I'm just going to give notice when I've finished reading the next issue in that 1970s English-language series and that a new entry to The Perry Rhodan Reading Project blog will be forthcoming.
  • The Bronze Saga, by Mark and Karen Eidemiller. I'm reading this on my iPod Touch using the Stanza e-reader app. This is a series of fan-fiction that is available free through the Eidemillers' website. It has a premise that at first sounds wacky, but they make it work. Basically, the pulp hero Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze, fell victim to one of his arch-enemies after his last pulp-magazine adventure ca. 1950, was trapped in suspended animation for fifty years, then woke up to a world that had changed utterly. Dislocated in time, space, and spirit, he was found by an itinerant preacher, through whom he found Christ and became himself a traveling evangelist. The series is also called “The Christian Adventures of Doc Savage” – Huh?!, you say? That was my reaction too when I first heard of it via an episode of one of the podcasts that I listen to, Ric Croxton and Art Sippo's The Book Cave (the episode is here). But as I said above, they make it work. Mark Eidemiller has a thorough knowledge of the character and, more importantly, a real feel for him, and with few exceptions I, at least, feel that I'm really reading about Doc Savage. Sure, the series gets a bit overbearing with its evangelical tone at times, but everything else is so well-done that that does not detract from my enjoyment. Anyway, Doc being Doc, trouble has a way of finding him, and these stories (I'm currently reading #5, but I'm going to reconstruct my entry for #4 which also serves as an overview of the series thus far) are filled with much the same kind of adventure as the old 1930s pulps were.
Lest I leave the reader with the wrong impression, I feel the need to explain my reaction to the religious aspects of The Bronze Saga. Here's my own religious history, in brief: I was raised Southern Baptist, but had largely lost my faith by the time I was out of high school. Within just a few years, however, I had found it again, in the Roman Catholic Church in which I worship to this day. I'm pretty thoroughly a traditionalist Catholic. I don't wear it on my sleeve or anything, but I hope my faith shows through my life. Not wanting to be judgmental, I nevertheless must say that I find the overt in-your-face religiosity of many of the more evangelical Protestants who do seem to wear it on their sleeves to be quite sanctimonious. I am just not very comfortable around it. But despite the tone of the Christianity propounded in The Bronze Saga being somewhat "in-your-face," it is only one element of the stories and I must say again that they can be read as rousing adventure stories that do have a solid Christian moral foundation. And that aspect and viewpoint I am in perfect tune with, finding it indeed quite refreshing. I recommend them highly.

Beyond what I've just written, I don't really intend to go any further into my religious views, except where it's necessary and natural given whatever I might be blogging about in a particular instance. I do read a number of books on religious history or spirituality, and I will include those in this blog. I don't intend to record my daily spiritual reading, however ... unless something really strikes me.  Most importantly, however, I will not let this blog become a forum for religious debate and argument.  'Nuff said.

Anyway, that's where my reading stands pretty much right now. And you got a little more insight into who I am and where I'm coming from. For what it's worth.


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