Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet and Quartet (2012)

So there are bound to be spoilers here so read with caution.

Going through my parent’s  bookshelf I came across a rather peculiar book, a science fiction book for children that was written in the 1950s. Now Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron is the second of 8 books about Basidium a small planetoid about 50,000 miles out from earth and the Mushroom people that live there.The most striking thing about the book is not the talk about a tiny planet close to earth that is the perfect size for little boys, but the discussion of holes in space. For a book from 1956, I didn’t expect to have really any talk about holes in space since black holes were not yet common knowledge. All in all this was an interesting read about outer space. I find that outer space from before the “space age” began a special time in fiction. I simply adore Tintin’s adventures in outer space and who can forget the classic Georges Méliès film A Trip to the Moon. All of these are wonderfully imaginative exploration into the universe and it is something that I think has been lost in science fiction.

Now to balance out the childness of the first I also watched Dustin Hoffman‘s Directorial debut this weekend Quartet is a wonderful movie. then again most of the actors in it Billy Connolly, Maggie Smith, and Michael Gambon (the names most Americans know) are great in just about everything they are in. Quartet is about a retirement home for musicians, and trying to put together a show to save the home. Reg, Wilf, and Cissy are three of the quartet that sang The Rigoletto, considered by many to be the best since the war and into the retirement home come a new member who happens to be their fourth Jean. They try to get Jean to join them in singing but she refuses. It turns out that Reg and Jean were once married for 9 hours and did not end on good terms. While this is going the retired musicians give lessons on their instruments or provide lectures on various topics.  Reg gives a lecture about opera to high school students, describing it to them and how it used to be performed to crowds of commoners and how the rich people made it more prestigious, Reg says that opera is like rap where as in opera you sing your feelings in rap you just speak them out. I think this is a wonderful point, the arts should be for everyone not just those who have the money to go see a play. It would be wonderful if we as a society cared as much about the arts as we do about sports.


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