Friday, March 20, 2009

Food for Thought: Stocking the Shelter

During the recent two-week Lost hiatus (spanning from “LaFleur” to “Namaste,”) I have often found my days without suspense or action. My Wednesday nights are generally spent sitting forlornly in front of the television, trying to patch the gap left by Lost with Lie to Me, which is a good show. But it’s no Lost.

Occasionally, though, I stumble upon something that captures my attention and imagination the way Lost does. Something that mixes drama and science-fiction so well that it is perhaps comparable to Lost. With the long, eight-month hiatus looming in the distance, it is the time to start stocking our hiatus-shelter with reading materials and DVDs to keep us all happily occupied. Here are five suggestions I have for keeping your life mysterious during the hiatus.

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guinn

A short 192 pages, this tiny novel doesn’t seem worth it at a first glance. But inside, it is a well-developed science fiction novel in the vein of Philip K. Dick’s works. The story of a man who can change reality through his dreams, this book captures many of the right versus wrong themes that you often see in Lost, and offers wonderfully morally grey characters that can’t help but remind you of Benjamin Linus.

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Already the Lostpedia Book Club’s January selection, Watchmen is a wonderful graphic novel about retired superheroes investigating the murder of an old comrade. While this brief synopsis may not imply much to do with Lost, it is a deep book with many allegorical concepts. If you look for them, there are plenty of Lost references. And, as with above, the characters are as complex and tortured as anyone on Lost. As an added bonus, the back of the book features an endorsement from Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof, calling the book the “greatest piece of popular fiction ever produced.” Read the book, then see the movie.

Timeline by Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton has had an impact on the fanbase of Lost, even though his works have only been mentioned once on the show (in an offhand Jurassic Park quote by Nikki). But his real contribution was the book Prey, which in turn spawned the “nanobot cloud” theory that was very popular around the Lost community before it was eventually shot down by Damon Lindelof. I’m suggesting Crichton’s book Timeline, however, because it deals with time travel, which has become a staple of the show. A well-written masterpiece featuring similar paradoxes created by Lost, this is definitely a must read for any Lost (not to mention science fiction) fan.


This drama series ran for two seasons on HBO, and its cancellation is one of the greatest tragedies of modern storytelling. In the series, a travelling carnival working in the Dust Bowl meets a young man whom they deem is special, while many miles away, a preacher discovers that he has supernatural powers. Starring Lost’s own Clancy Brown (Kelvin Inman) as the preacher, and featuring direction by Lost producer Jack Bender, this show is a must-see for all science-fiction fans.


If you haven’t been watching J.J. Abrams’ new show, it’s not too late to start. Unlike Lost, Fringe is a monster of the week-type show (think X-Files) that has an overarching story. Starring Lost’s own Lance Reddick (Matthew Abaddon), this series is a wonderful break from many of the procedural dramas that plague primetime television. It’s my backup plan after the end of Lost.

Those are just five of my suggestions for your hiatus protection shelter for 2009-2010. That, of course, doesn’t include the obviously referenced books of VALIS, Slaughterhouse-Five, and The Third Policeman (all of which are fantastic reads).

However, I’ve already read and seen all of the things I listed above, so now I’m turning to you, the reader, for requests. Do you have a book, TV show, or movie that you think the rest of us should watch before the long hiatus hits? Share it with me and everyone else in the comment section.

Thank you, Namaste, and good luck.

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