WANDering Minds

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

This series is one where the author made pretty much every character have some sort of stand-out feature. Now, you're probably thinking "Well, that's what all good authors should do to help you with remembering the characters." Yes, well, fantasy series go a little overboard in that they all feature fantastic things and out-of-this-world business. The focus isn't on an accountant who likes soccer, or a paperboy who has acne. The books are about a wizard boy who was almost murdered in infancy by a deadly curse.

Once an author commits to that starting point, things can only get crazier from there.

So you'd imagine it would be hard to single out any characters as noteworthy if they are all noteworthy, right? It's interesting how some characters' personalities still filter through to you. One such personality is that of Luna Lovegood.

Luna is at-once likable, very aloof and adorable. Contemplative, but rather spacey. Always full of surprises, but you can always bet on her saying something wonky. Which is good. The last thing we needed was a pair of Hermiones, am I right?

Anyway, she was a good friend to ol' HP, and he was always grateful for that. A friend that could be counted on. And when an evil wizard is trying to murder you and all sorts of crazy is wreaking havoc upon the school you love, reliable friends are a must.

Book O' Gold

Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge
Illustration by Ed Moody III

Rainbows End is the winner of both the Hugo and Locus Awards for 2007. Although a great book, I read it with skepticism. Vinge expects us to believe that in year 2025 most of the world's population will be "wearing". Smart clothing and contact lenses capable of overlaying computer generated images onto reality allow wearers their choice of many augmented realities. AND... a major character in the book is a rabbit.

I definitely found this vision of 2025 hard to swallow, but as soon as I finished reading the book I noticed the release of several alternate reality apps for the iPhone. Although these apps are in their infancy, it is easy to see the attraction of viewing the world with the addition of layers of info and enhanced visuals. Vinge may be onto something after all.

A pencil sketch, photographed, photo shopped, and topped off with a layer of contact lens scifi. Layers. It is all about the layers. Oh, and let's not forget Rabbit.