It's Eastier Saturday, I'm in my flat, feeling a bit dizzy.
- Blindsight, Peter Watts
- Keeping It Real, Justina Robson
- Red Country, Joe Abercrombie
- The Fire Sermon, Francesca Haig
- Elric of Melniboné and Other Stories, Michael Moorcock
- A Man Lay Dead, Ngaio Marsh
- Enter a Murderer, Ngaio Marsh
Blindsight is fascinating sci-fi about the nature of consciousness, but lets itself down with over-ambitious prose. I found the appendices more fun than the book itself.
Keeping It Real is light-hearted escapist wish fulfilment, but alas not my wishes. I've never wanted to do that to an elf. Mostly harmless.
Red Country is everything you'd expect from a Joe Abercrombie First Law book. Gritty, amoral characters strive against an uncaring universe and emerge at the end with hollow victories simply dripping with dramatic irony.
I picked up The Fire Sermon because it was written by a Tasmanian, and because the author appeared on a panel with another author I like (I forget who). It checks many of the boxes of current popular Y.A. fiction: in a post-apocalyptic world, a tough, outcast female protagonist teams up with a weaker male sidekick to prevail against an oppressive regime. But that really undersells it. The writing's good, and even though it has Hunger Games tropes it reads like a more grown-up scifi that speaks to current social issues.
I decided to get into Elric again after reading a lengthy Ferret Brain rant on Conan and a long Guardian piece on Michael Moorcock. It's pulp written on a deadline but oh, so good.
Jolie's been reading Inspector Alleyn books from Ngaio Marsh for a while and has been loving them, so I thought I'd give them a go. It's classic 1930s crime fiction, with Alleyn being a Scotland Yard police inspector who actually solves crimes.
The first one, A Man Lay Dead is fun, but it's in the second one that Marsh seems to relax a bit and really get going. They aren't the kind of books where you can puzzle your way through and figure out who's the murderer is. Often the key clues are actually hidden from you the reader. Nevertheless, the dialogue is great and a fun time was had by all.
- Seeing Like a State, James C. Scott
- I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That, Ben Goldacre
- Bad Pharma, Ben Goldacre
- Why We Get Fat, Gary Taubes
I like reading Ben Goldacre's books because he makes me feel smarter than I actually am. I get to vicariously participate in his clever debunking of shoddy practices, all the while chuckling to myself about how I'd never fall for that nonsense. It's wonderful.
If you've never got into any of his stuff before, check out his video on better data in politics. It's only five minutes long and well worth it.
Seeing Like a State is enormous, or at least felt enormous. I spent forever reading it and maybe even longer procrastinating on reading it.
The book explores why governments can sometimes do things that are catastrophically, abysmally awful even though the overall intent was to positively change society. The answer is couched in dense, non-committal, academic writing, and I really would need to do a separate post to do it justice.
Why We Get Fat is Good Calories, Bad Calories but vastly more succinct. In it, Taubes ditches all of the history-of-science bits from his earlier book and distils the message down into a small number of short chapters. Recommended.
I read all of the Bendis / Mack / Brubaker Daredevil run, as well as Alias by Bendis & Gaydos. It's amazing, although a little too dark in places. Apparently it's being made into a Netflix TV series called "AKA Jessica Jones", so stay tuned for that one.
We went to the London Super Comic-Con and bought a bunch of things, including Captain America: Winter Soldier Dossier Edition, Fear Itself, Blackest Night, and Original Sin.