Sunday, September 09, 2007

Books now read in ’07: 88
Title: The Accidental Time Machine
Author: Joe Haldeman
Genre: Science Fiction
Date Completed: 9-3
Pages: 276

It’s been a busy week with little time for reading. I did complete Joe Haldeman’s The Accidental Time Machine (more on it later) and I plowed through about four issues of The New Yorker (I’m now up to date). Work, which took me to Boston, consumed most of my time, although work was a bit book related.

Book related in that Doris Kearns Goodwin was the keynote speaker at my company’s meeting on Tuesday in Boston and I was her escort. Ms. Goodwin dazzled the audience, receiving a standing ovation for her discussion of Lincoln, LBJ and FDR. Her speaking skills mirror her skills as a writer -- she knows the power of a good story. I found Ms. Goodwin to be charming. It's no surprise that she is exceptionally intelligent and knowledgeable on current events. I did not expect her to be so funny.

(FYI, I have four or five first editions written by Ms. Goodwin. She signed all those last year at the National Book Festival on the Mall in Washington, D.C.)

I attended a luncheon Thursday in which Tom Brokaw was the keynote speaker. I had hoped to have two books signed by Mr. Brokaw. That did not work out. Mr. Brokaw is slightly more unapproachable than Ms. Goodwin.

I did succeed in having Bill Rodgers sign three books. Mr. Rodgers (no not that Mr. Rodgers), won the Boston Marathon in 1975, 1978, 1979 and 1980. He was, for a brief span of time, the greatest American marathon and currently, in any historical ranking of American marathon greats, would take second only to Olympic gold medal winner Frank Shorter.

The time machine in Joe Haldeman’s new book really is accidental. A push of a button and grad-school dropout Matt Fuller’s calibrator disappears only to re-appear seconds later. Another push and it disappears again.

Matt, of course, turns himself into a human guinea pig and goes along for the ride. The machine disappears for longer and longer periods of time and, since the time machine travels one way – into the future – Matt can only continue to push the button traveling farther and farther into the future in the hope of finding the technology that will allow him to return to the past.

The Accidental Time Machine is all about the journey and Matt’s is an enjoyable one.

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