Saturday, June 16, 2012
Ahmed & the Oblivion Machines: Review
I found Ahmed and the Oblivion Machines sitting on a display honoring Ray Bradbury. I'd never heard of this one before and Robin over at the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge gave us a mini-challenge to read something by Bradbury this month--in memory of one of the great writers. So into the library bag Ahmed went.
It is the story of Ahmed, a young boy who stares at the stars a little too long one night as his father's caravan is crossing the desert. He falls from his camel and is lost in the desert. He is certain that he will die and begins weeping in sorrow. His tears awaken an ancient, forgotten god Gonn-Ben-Allah. Gonn-Ben-Allah takes the boy on an amazing journey through past and future to teach him wisdom and the power of dreams.
This is a very short, lovely little fable about man's quest for flight--into the air and to the stars--by one of the 20th and 21st centuries' great wordsmiths. The language of Bradbury is a delight to read (and to hear--because the language echoes in your mind as you read). Bradbury was probably the first author who taught me what good writing was. I read his Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man long before I ever ventured on any of the standard classics of literature. Not that his books aren't classic--they are. His stories are timeless and his language takes the reader outside himself in the way that all good literature does.
This is a lovely story for children of all ages with delightful illustrations by Chris Lane. One thing I did not get...the use of "Oblivion Machines" in the title. I'm not sure how oblivion machines = flying machines, or even if they're supposed to.... Three stars.
Just as all men do not laugh or all women move alike, so all boys do not weep alike. It is a language that the ancient gods know. For the tears that fall come from the soul out of the eyes unto the earth.
Prayer builds a mighty fortress upon air.
The simplest songs are best.