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text 2018-04-26 12:48
"The Library At Mount Char" by Scott Hawkins - DNF at 6% - this one's not for me.
The Library at Mount Char - Scott Hawkins

I started this book more than three months ago. I kept coming back to it and deciding to read something else. Today I did that again and decided this one just isn't for me.

It's well written: strong characters, vivid action, a clear sense of place and lots of "something wicked this way comes" foreboding. But the pulse that beats beneath the start of this book is one of protracted, ritualised, violent abuse of children.

I'm sure there's an intriguing rationale for the abuse. There may even be a rebellion against it but I don't want that abuse in my head so this book and I have no future.


I haven't given a star rating as I don't think it's fair, given how little of the book I read. I'm putting this down to a poor buying decision on my part.

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text 2018-04-22 22:02
Reading progress update: I've read 90%. - loved the guidance on inter-species sexual etiquette.
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

One of the alien gurus makes some amusing assertions about sex and then gives some good advice that made me smile.


I liked:

"Where there’s a wang there’s a way."

And the tongue-in-cheek paraphrasing of William Gibson's

"The future is alreay here - it's just not evenly distributed" 


"Sex is universal, it’s just not evenly distributed."


But what I liked most was this advice on how to treat a sexual partner from another species:


"...don’t giggle when the other entity takes their clothes off, secure enthusiastic consent, don’t mix silicon and carbon without extensive decontamination protocols, tidy up your house if you expect to bring someone home, don’t expect anything you wouldn’t offer, remember that every person is an end in themselves and not a means to an end, don’t worry too much about what goes where and how many of them there are, don’t mistake fun for love, try your best, be kind, always make them breakfast, and use protection."

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text 2018-04-22 19:41
Reading progress update: I've read 84%.- What is it about Alien bar scenes? Clippy is a... Boredom. What a semi-final
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

What is it about Alien Bar Scenes?

So, just like the Alien bar scene in Star Wars, this one went on for too long and tried too hard. Lots of originality. Not so much fun. I did like the replica Hilton thing though. A great metaphor for Purgatory.


Clippy is a...

The 321 AI race as Clippy was a hoot. God, how I hated Clippy. And do you think that AIs are named after an old spreadsheet program from Lotus but spelt backwards?



The human race lacks the attention span to face the possibility of total annihilation for sixteen days without getting bored and turning to gambling and mindless entertainment. That insight right there explains the whole Cambridge Analytica-enabled, Russian-funded rise of the Far Right in Europe and the otherwise inexplicable Trump.


What a semi-final

That was a great twist. Got my attention all the way back and blew away the cobwebs from the Alien Bar Scene.



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text 2018-04-22 14:09
Reading progress update: I've read 57%. Nice thought and a below the belt reference
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

Here's a quote that I'd like to believe is true but is probably only comforting:


"Because the opposite of fascism isn’t anarchy, it’s theater. When the world is fucked, you go to the theater, you go to the shine, and when the bad men come, all there is left to do is sing them down."


I think the previous contest stories give a nice context but go on too long. I liked the idea of the monstrous Flus who were completely unable to perceive their own monstrosity.


Most of the pop references are fun but quoting Conchita Würst was below the belt. I think this was one of the worst points in Eurovision history.


She wasn't a phoenix, just a bird set alight for our amusement.



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text 2018-04-21 17:20
Reading progress update: I've read 42% The Real Test, Who Do I Want To Be and DJ Bobo
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

This book is starting to consume me. The more I read the more I need to read.


I started off thinking Douglas Adams on speed but now I'm thinking Terry Pratchett minus the benign optimism.


Three things stuck with me most in the last few chapters:



Anyone who enjoys this kind of book is going to cheer at this ulitmate test because they'll ace it:


"Are you kind enough, on your little planet, not to shut that rhythm down? Not to crush underfoot the singers of songs and tellers of tales and wearers of silk? Because it’s monsters who do that. Who extinguish art. Who burn books. Who ban music. Who yell at anyone with ears to turn off that racket. Who cannot see outside themselves clearly enough to sing their truth to the heavens. Do you have enough goodness in your world to let the music play?
Do you have soul?"




Here's how the band members are described:


"Decibel Jones always lived in the moment; Omar Calis»ôkan always lived in an uncertain future. Mira, he supposed, had always lived in her own head and allowed others to visit once in a while. With advance notice. And extensive decontamination protocols."


I could never be Decibel Jones and I'm thankful for that. I want to be Mira and used to think I was but these days I'm worried that I'm becoming Omar.





DJ Bobo is one of the dominant figures of the music scene here in Switzerland. There's only 8 million people here, a quarter of them are foreigners and only half of what's left speak the same language so being famous in Switzerland is not like being famous in the UK. Still, I like the guy, so I was pleased to see that Chapter 14, "Vampires Are Alive" is named after his most famous stage show.

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