The Good Old Stuff: Andre Norton

Witch World: Norton, Andre: 9780441897087: Books

Before science fiction learned to be pretentious, it was fun. And no one was more fun to read than Andre Norton–at least according to my own young teen way of thinking.

I grew up on her books. I didn’t know “Andre Norton” was a pen name for Alice Norton. Nor did I realize she had over 300 books in print. Impossible to read them all. So this Christmas I asked for three of her more noteworthy books that I hadn’t read when I was a kid: The Time Traders, Witch World, and The Sargasso of Space.

Hooked! They’re just as cool as I remembered them. Too bad she never married and had children and grandchildren. Imagine: “Grandma, tell me a story!” But millions of us read her books; and by the time her long career, 70-plus years, ended with her death in 2005, she had won practically every major award you could win for science fiction and fantasy.

Andre Norton wrote both science fiction and fantasy and didn’t seem to care of they sometimes got mixed together. Her science fiction was of the kind classified by Isaac Asimov as Type One Science Fiction–which I translate as “Science, schmeience, we’re in it for the adventure!” And you can’t say her work was ever pretentious. Not ever.

Understand, I’m not holding these out to you as great Christian literature. Anyone who wants to become a writer can learn much by watching a master storyteller at work. I don’t think God requires us to make everything an overt theology lesson. Do we not know that simple pleasures come from Him? Sometimes a ride on the merry-go-round, a yo-yo trick successfully performed, a sip or orange juice, or the sight of a bright red cardinal in a green pine tree–sometimes these simple little things are exactly what we need, and God knows that. That’s why He’s provided them.


What to Do Now…?

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We actually have a bridge almost just like this, a mile or two from here. I wonder if it just might be our bridge!

As I set this blog up for the day, Patty reads me nooze items from the Drudge Report. Meanwhile, for the first time this whole winter, it has snowed outside! Gotta be a good three inches’ worth. New Jersey now has three inches more snow than Trinidad got this winter.

For some reason our political nooze seems especially grotesque today. I will never understand why there are Democrats.

I keep looking out the window at the snow. I know more than a few of you are heartily sick of snow this winter, but that’s only because you’ve had too much of it. Don’t be mad at me for enjoying this three-inch extravaganza.

Come on, now, Lee, there’s political nooze for you to cover–

I think I’ll go outside, stand in the snow, and enjoy a cigar. All work and no play, you know, makes Jack a dull boy.

And maybe a snowman…

Simple Pleasures

Image result for images of a chess game

God has given us simple pleasures to keep us sane. I don’t have space to list all the simple pleasures I enjoy, because in this respect, God has made me rich. And without spending a lot of money on it, either. But here are just a few of my favorites, which help me to avoid going off the deep end.

A sweet, sunny day, 70 or 75 degrees, my lawn chair, a nice cigar, and the book I happen to be writing at the time.

In bed with my wife, Peep the cat purring, and us with our bedtime books: Agatha Christie, Freddy the Pig, Narnia, and other favorites.

A nice game of chess by one of the old masters–Morphy, Marshall, Anderssen.

A Christmas tree.

Coasting downhill, no-handed, on my bike: makes me feel 12 years old again.

Combing Robbie, who can barely contain herself for pure pleasure.

A satisfying supper: Patty excels at creating these.

Jigsaw puzzles.

A snowy day.

And a tiger swallowtail butterfly visits our little garden…

I could go on with this all day and into the night. Thank you, Father in Heaven, for all of these and more–and for teaching me to appreciate them.