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Bullshit & Ignorance

November 7, 2010

On the subject of books

I just finished reading Zero History by William Gibson – which is I suppose a sequel to his earlier novel Spook Country. I got into Gibson by reading his cyberpunk classic, Neuromancer many, many moons ago. His more recent books have stepped away from the science-fiction he used to write – he’s still dealing with the same subjects of corporate corruption and industrial espionage, staples of the cyberpunk sub-genre of course, but he believes we’ve now reached a point where his fictions are being realised as facts. His recent books therefore, are set in our present day, with the technology he writes about being things we often use ourselves, or are at least aware of.

I enjoyed Zero History, though at times I felt like I was watching one of the new James Bond movies. I don’t mean because there was all kinds of spy stuff going on – but because throughout the book Gibson is dry-humping Steve Jobs and his ever expanding catalogue of over-priced, over-hyped Apple toys, to the extent it really started to feel like product placement. Maybe it was, who knows.

On the subject of movies

I watched The Crazies last night – that’s the 2010 remake of the 1973 film of the same name by Zombie-movie-godfather, George A. Romero. Remakes often fall short of original movies and while I must confess that I have never seen the original in this instance, the 2010 version is definitely worth a watch if you like horror movies. In many respects it’s something of a twist on a zombie movie in its own way, inhabitants of a small town in the US are infected by some form of toxin that makes them all start trying to kill each other and our band of plucky heroes makes a valiant attempt to fight their way out past hordes of zombies crazed infected people to safety, and just for an additional size 12 to the groin, the army has shown up in gas masks and isn’t letting anyone out.

There are plenty of suspenseful moments and aside from one or two “What the fuck are you doing?!” moments, generally the characters manage to avoid a lot of the typical horror-movie-survival mistakes that make me root for the monsters in a large number of the films I watch.

October 19, 2010

Turning Thirty

Today is my thirtieth birthday. Thirty, that’s an age that when I was a child seemed so ancient. Properly old people were thirty – real grown-ups are thirty. As I’ve crept closer to that age myself I’ve fortified myself with the belief that thirty is the new twenty. I wasn’t totally sure about that though, so just in case I was wrong, I moved to another country and got married.

No, really I did. I moved out of the UK and now live in the US of A with my new wife. Go me! I’m a proper adult and everything now. Mostly.

As a result of the slow pace of the immigration process I’ve had a lot of spare time on my hands recently, which I have used to good effect by catching up on my reading. I read Lemmy’s autobiography, “White Line Fever”, which was as enlightening as you can expect a book co-written by an aging speed freak to be, really. Entertaining enough mind.

On the recommendation of both my new wife, and my friend Solidus I have been reading my way through C.S. Friedman’s “Coldfire trilogy” I’d have finished it already, but, apparently we only had the first two books and for reasons I will probably never know, so did every bastard book shop in the entire of the United States. I checked them all, of course. Well, a handful of the ones near me anyway. Eventually I just bought it from Amazon because I couldn’t face the crushing disappointment of checking one more fucking bookshop to find they had the first two, but A HUGE GAP where the third one should be. Anyway, I have digressed some. In the gap where I was scouring the entire planet for a copy of “Crown of Shadows” I was bookless, and so once again stole a book from my wife’s shelves and read that while I waited.

The book I snatched was Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. My wife has two copies of this book, one is signed by the author, the other is not. I was happy to discover that the copy I had been reading was in fact the unsigned copy, as during the reading of said book, there was in incident involving two cats, the book and a cup of freshly brewed Earl Grey tea, with freshly squeezed lemon juice in it no less.

There are two other books in that series, too. Fortunately there is no need for me to scour the four corners of the earth to find them, as we have them already. Following the cats-and-tea incidents however, I am somewhat wary of reading the second in the series, which we have but the one copy of, and it’s a fancy hardback-no-longer-in-print-special-spangly-edition version and also signed. It would be just my luck the cats would decide to maim that one too.

Anyway. Good books are good. Read them if you haven’t already.