Who Killed the Fonz?

The answer to Who Killed the Fonz? comes as James Boice brilliantly ties together the threads of this novel. Noir, sit-com, character study, and meditation on the distance from youth to adulthood weave together in a well-paced story. Set in the early 1980’s, Richard Cunningham returns to Milwaukee to mourn his lost friend. Readers are treated to vignettes from classic episodes, nostalgically enjoying touches from our own forty-odd year affair with Happy Days, while marveling at Boice’s ability to evoke those simple feelings and at the same time deepen the meaning of those times with the adult perspectives of Richard. Richard struggles to reconnect with old friends, and to find a place—even a temporary place—in a town he knows but no longer really understands. Old foes and new friends steadily draw Richard to a stunning revelation, as Boice shows you the threads of his Very Special Episode noir-style tapestry. He picks them up, fiddles with them a bit, makes you understand their importance, and puts them down. He shows the reader everything, and keeps the solution behind a beautiful screen of compelling plot and fascinating character until the very last second. 

 

Space Opera: The Highest of High-stakes Battles of the Bands!

A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented—something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding.

Once every cycle, the great galactic civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix—part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Species far and wide compete in feats of song, dance and/or whatever facsimile of these can be performed by various creatures who may or may not possess, in the traditional sense, feet, mouths, larynxes, or faces. And if a new species should wish to be counted among the high and the mighty, if a new planet has produced some savage group of animals, machines, or algae that claim to be, against all odds, sentient? Well, then they will have to compete. And if they fail? Sudden extermination for their entire species.

Enjoy an excerpt of Catherynne M. Valente’s sparkling prose:

So where is everybody?

Many solutions have been proposed to soothe Mr. Fermi’s plaintive cry of transgalactic loneliness. One of the most popular is the Rare Earth Hypothesis, which whispers kindly: There, there, Enrico. Organic life is so complex that even the simplest algae require a vast array of extremely specific and unforgiving conditions to form up into the mostbasic recipe for primordial soup. It’s not all down to old stars and the rocks that love them. You’ve gotta get yourself a magnetosphere, a moon (but not too many), some gas giants to hold down the gravitational fort, a couple of Van Allen belts, a fat helping of meteors and glaciers and plate tectonics—and that’s without scraping up an atmosphere or nitrogenated soil or an ocean or three. It’s highly unlikely that each and every one of the million billion events that led to life here could ever occur again anywhere else. It’s all just happy coincidence, darling. Call it fate, if you’re feeling romantic. Call it luck. Call it God. Enjoy the coffee in Italy, the sausage in Chicago, and the day-old ham sandwiches at Los Alamos National Laboratory, because this is as good as high-end luxury multicellular living gets.

The Rare Earth Hypothesis means well, but it’s colossally, spectacularly, gloriously wrong.

Tattoos on the Heart and Barking to the Choir

Fr. Greg Boyle has been working to reduce the terrible effects on people of gang activity for decades.

This Fresh Air segment originally aired in 2017.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/563734736/563828471
His work is important, and his stories are both heartbreaking and inspiring.

His two books are worth a look. His first, Tattoos on the Heart, and his latest, Barking to the Choir.

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity. –Douglas Adams