Finished The Revolution Business, latest entry in the Merchant Princes parallel-world series by Charles Stross.
Not as bad as the last one, where the heroine basically sat on a train for the whole book: has a few interesting developments. Apparently one problem with the early part was that the publishers insisted on slicing up the story into different volumes than originally intended, so some bits just didn't make sense, like a single chapter with characters totally isolated from the rest of the action. That seems to have been sorted out now. However, I don't think Stross has really got the hang of epic-fantasy style plotting: you really need a kind of Fourier synthesis of a book-level story arc with some kind of climax, and a series-level story line. Instead he just has a series of events with a fairly pointless cliffhanger at the end (the synopsis of the next book reveals it anyway).
At the beginning of the series the interesting ideas and economics carried it through, but there's not much new in this volume.
Even so, I do want to find out what happens so I'll probably keep following the series, but as with this one I'll wait for a cheap paperback or library copy rather than grabbing the initial hardback as I did at first.
What I'm Watching
Saw low budget Britflick Centurion at the cinema. Loosely based on the legend of the Ninth legion. In Roman Britain a small group of survivors of a legion massacred by Picts in Scotland tries to make it to safety.
Starts off reasonably well, but gets steadily more boring after the first half-hour or so, for a number of reasons. The budget for extras and CGI seems to evaporate after that, so instead of a legion you just have a handful of characters, with fight scenes a bit reminiscent of those embarassing documentary-history reenactments.
If you're going to have a movie where the protagonists are remorselessly pursued, the pursuers really need to look scarily remorseless. Here though the chief pursuers are slightly-built young women, and the dramatic tension of "will our rugged hero get beaten up by a girl" isn't that terrific.
Also, the plot is predictable, and with both sides depicted unsympathetically it's hard to care too much about the group.
So, nice idea, but not really recommended. Nicely OTT turn from Dominic West as a hardbitten Roman general though.
Politics. UK Polling Report on the YouGov regional polling: uniform swing gives CON 245, LAB 273, LD 100; but this suggests both Con and Lib Dems will do slightly better with CON 262, LAB 245, LD 111.
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