Hello, there, Dear Reader. It’s just past noon here on Tuesday, December 29, 2020, and it’s “seasonably” cool in New Hometown, Florida. The current temperature is 73˚F (23˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 50% and the wind blowing at 8 MPH (13 KM/H) from the east-northeast, the feels-like temperature is 73˚F (23˚C. According to the forecast on my computer’s Weather app, we can expect partly sunny skies and a high of 73˚F (23˚C). Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy, and the low will be 60˚F (15˚C).
Yesterday I received my last Amazon order for 2020: a hardcover copy of Richard Dreyfuss and Harry Turtledove’s The Two Georges: A Novel of an Alternate America, 1996. I have not started reading it – I have quite a tall “to be read” pile – but this 1996 novel depicts a world in which George Washington capitulates to King George III and the North American colonies remain in the British Empire.
Per the book’s description on Amazon: A story of murder, intrigue, and a stolen painting portrays America as it might have been, had George Washington surrendered to George III.
I bought this alternate history book for two reasons. First, I’m a fan of actor Richard Dreyfuss, but I had no idea he had co-written The Two Georges with Harry Turtledove until I read about it in Dreyfuss’ Wikipedia entry. Apparently, the Oscar-winning author also enjoys alt-history fiction, which is Turtledove’s main genre as a a storyteller, and judging from the roles he has chosen and the various interviews he has participated in (notably the behind-the-scenes docs for Jaws, American Graffiti, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind), he is also a well-read, erudite individual.
Second, I started reading Turtledove’s Ruled Britannia, a stand-alone novel that depicts a Great Britain occupied by Spain after a successful invasion by the Spanish Armada. Set eight years into the occupation, the novel is a tale of intrigue and political drama with William Shakespeare – yes, that William Shakespeare – as a playwright who must hide his loyalty to the deposed Queen Elizabeth from the Spanish while secretly collaborating with the English resistance. I have not finished Ruled Britannia, but I like what I’ve read so far.
So, yeah. I decided to close out this dreadful year of 2020 by treating myself to the Two Georges and Paul Duncan’s The Star Wars Archives: Episodes IV-VI 1977-1983 – 40th Anniversary Edition, an oral history of the making of the original Star Wars trilogy. Published on December 13, 2020, this work (the first of two books) examines the genesis and production of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi from the perspective of “the Maker” himself, George Lucas.
From the book’s dust jacket blurb: Star Wars exploded onto our cinema screens in 1977, and the world has not been the same since. After watching depressing and cynical movies throughout the early 1970s, audiences enthusiastically embraced the positive energy of the Star Wars galaxy as they followed moisture farmer Luke Skywalker on his journey through a galaxy far, far away, meeting extraordinary characters like mysterious hermit Obi-Wan Kenobi, space pirates Han Solo and Chewbacca, loyal droids C-3PO and R2-D2, bold Princess Leia Organa and the horrific Darth Vader, servant of the dark, malevolent Emperor.
Writer, director, and producer George Lucas created the modern monomyth of our time, one that resonates with the child in us all. He formed Industrial Light & Magic to develop cutting-edge special effects technology, which he combined with innovative editing techniques and a heightened sense of sound to give audiences a unique sensory cinematic experience.
In this first volume, made with the full cooperation of Lucasfilm, Lucas narrates his own story, taking us through the making of the original trilogy―Episode IV A New Hope, Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, and Episode VI Return of the Jedi―and bringing fresh insights into the creation of a unique universe. Complete with script pages, production documents, concept art, storyboards, on-set photography, stills, and posters, this is the authoritative exploration of the original saga as told by its creator.
I received my copy the day before yesterday, and although I have glanced through it – far more than I have done with The Two Georges – I probably won’t be ready to review it until mid-January at the earliest.
So, as you can see, my TBR pile just keeps on growing and growing.
Other than that, I don’t have any news worth reporting. Life here has gotten stale and monotonous for me ever since COVID-19 changed our daily routines, and I’ve never been much of a fan of the New Year’s celebration – a legacy handed down from my late mother, who hated the holiday after my father’s death in February of 1965. From what little she told me, Dad loved New Year and celebrated it with both gusto and panache. I guess my mother’s grief was accentuated by the cheeriness of the holiday season, and although she could handle Christmas with some degree of good humor, she couldn’t maintain the stoicism farther than December 26. And since my half-sister is a heavy drinker and was arrested once – that we know of, anyway – for drunk driving in Miami, that added to Mom’s aversion to December 31/January 1 partying.
Well, that about wraps up this post; it’s still early in the day here, so I might write another post here later this afternoon.