Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Consumption and ague, foretold

Yesterday I finished the next Connie Willis novel I managed to obtain: Lincoln's Dreams. It's very short, so I was able to read it while travelling to and from campus. Once again, I think it barely qualifies as a sci fi, but hey, I'm not complaining if my stereotype of the genre can be broken down to the point where a historical novel like Lincoln's Dreams can win one of its awards.

Essentially, it's about Robert E. Lee, not Lincoln. Like many of Willis' other books, it's about time travel. Sort of. Or dream travel. The main character is a Civil War researcher obsessed with Traveller, Lee's horse; the author he works for is obsessed with seemingly predictive doom-filled dreams that Lincoln had, as well as where Willie Lincoln was originally buried; and lastly, there's a young woman who dreams Lee's wartime memories. (And I totally understand why the book is not more accurately called Robert E. Lee's Dreams. Different market niche.) It's a rather sinister exploration of the age-old idea that dreams "mean" something besides random chemical goings-on in the brain. It's also not as jolly as the last Willis book I read, but certainly not as grim and grisly as one of the first.

A great deal of the plot also focused on the fact that Willie Lincoln died of an unknown fever. And I just got through watching Amadeus, and Mozart died of an unknown fever.

If I were prone to believe these coincidences "meant" anything beyond their random juxtaposition, I would point to the curious fact that I now have a recurring fever and other symptoms of a suspicious and alarming nature similar to those my classmates have exhibited.

Clearly, the universe is smacking me down for not getting a flu shot!

No comments: