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18507OT: Naturalist's parody

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  • sharani_sharani
    Jul 31, 2006
      Hello all
      Sometimes I marvel that I have the enviable job of reading book
      reviews and then getting to order the stuff to boot which appeals to
      me and then read it for free with my library card! Why only just today
      I decided to buy a PBS Nature dvd called The Dolphin Defender which I
      had seen a portion of on television and enjoyed immensely. For
      instance, the dvd includes the story of a Japanese fisherman who used
      to hunt and kill dolphins, then has a change of heart from hearing
      their cries and now he has changed his business to leading people
      on dolphin watching boat rides instead. Now I know that a dvd is not a
      book and watching it on television is not a review trade journal but
      you get the gist, right?

      There she goes! Writing about animals and the like as if they are far
      more fascinating than people and as if she wants to add naturalist as
      a suffix to her name. Now something else that I bought for the library
      that got rave reviews turns me to thinking on some of the inherent
      humor to be culled in this topic. I've been reading on my lunch
      hour/breaks a fantastic collection of short stories in the science
      fiction/fantasy vein called "The Ocean and All Its Devices" by William
      Browning Spencer (doesn't that name alone cry out to belong to a
      writer?). These short stories invariably surprise the reader as the
      plot unfolds, give a good haunting, and rank right up there as the
      best in the genre that I've ever read. Reviewers say his work is like
      H.P. Lovecraft. His story about lightbulbs will have you never
      thinking of them in quite the same way ever again. The futuristic
      stories about virtual reality and what he calls Big R (the
      real world) are eerily plausible.

      And then there is the last story called "The Essayist in the
      Wilderness" which had me laughing out loud at my own idiosyncracies.
      It concerns a married couple who quit their jobs teaching at a small
      college after they win the lottery. They read voraciously and wait for
      the muse to strike so that they can write their own great book too.
      The main character in the story decides he will write essays about
      nature even though he's never been much for the great outdoors.

      The house in the country they bought with their lottery winnings is on
      a lot of land with woods, a pond and creek. He starts exploring his
      backyard and writes,
      "Nature was boring. Turtles sat on logs soaking up the rays of the
      sun, as listless and devoid of interest as a pile of dirty
      socks...Nature's infinite variety was beginning to look like a rut. If
      you thought about it, even the seasons, rolling around every year in
      the same damned order (spring, summer, fall, winter, spring, summer,
      fall winter), suggested a dearth of imagination..."

      Now by the end of this tale all kinds of alien things are lurking in
      the woods, capturing his wife and what not, and his ignorance of basic
      biology, etc. means that he doesn't even realize what is happening
      right under his nose. Well I shouldn't say more because I'll totally
      give away the story but these make great summertime diversion if you
      like reading scifi/fantasy literature. And the last one about the
      wannabe naturalist has me laughing at myself. :-)