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Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:25:11 PM EST) Reading, Watching, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Zendegi", "The Magician King". Watching. Links.


What I'm Reading
Zendegi by Greg Egan. Near future science fiction novel. Has an interestingly prescient start, with a democratic revolution taking place in the Middle East, partly fuelled by mesh-networking cellphones.

However, the meat of the story doesn't really start until very late in the book, and the rest of it isn't that interesting. There's some mild consumer goods futurology that's fairly familiar from Slashdot or BoingBoing, and rather flat characters going experiencing painstaking but unconvincing emotional journeys. I preferred the days when Hard SF writers blithely ignored human relations instead of laboriously sketching them out.

It's a shame Greg Egan was born so late: he's a fantastic short story writer but a bit weak as a novelist where you need more depth than a brilliant idea.

Overall, OK but not brilliant.

What I'm Reading 2
Finished The Magician King by Lev Grossman. Sequel to "The Magicians", may be the middle part in a trilogy.

Very good fantasy, self-consciously responding to Narnia and Harry Potter. It has similar tropes but takes them more seriously, with a bit of angst and suffering mixed in with geeky references.

This one sags a little bit compared with the first book, but comes to an excellent conclusions.

Well worth reading if you liked the "The Magicians", but you couldn't really start with this one.

What I'm Watching
Saw the highly acclaimed Italian gangster movie Gomorrah. on DVD. Follows several different characters involved at different levels of gang corruption: young teenagers obsessed with gangster movies who keep quoting Scarface, a toxic waste dumping scandal, and a tailor involved with sweatshop labour.

I think I might have liked it at the cinema, but couldn't get into it on DVD. The multiple points of view mean it lacks a strong focus, and it's filmed in a realistic but dull documentary style. It might be just a lack of attention span though: I read this Bordwell article recently, and the average shot length in Gomorrah must be enormous.

Overall: probably a good film, but I didn't like it that much.

Links
Economics. Factchecks: UK household debt not highest in world, effects of 50p tax rate. Corporations adjust to the shrinking middle class with Hourglass Strategy (video). Consultation fails because individuals who know little are swayed by those who know less. Credit ratings and volatility. The jobless young.

Society. Violence in decline. France after the burqa ban.

Articles. A man's guide to a woman's wardrobe. Author misrepresented.

Pics. Tragedy webcomics. Honesty webcomic. Loch Ness monster back. Wildlife photography.

Politics. Electoral plan could remove 10 million voters (Previously: looks like ConDems are emulating Republicans). Squatting and the Tories.

Video. Duck eats pizza. George Lucas Noooo added to more movies. ISS timelapse. Old guns of James Bond video with advisor Geoffrey Boothroyd. Milky Way timelapse.

Sci/Tech. Old spy satellite. Are Wet-Induced Wrinkled Fingers Primate Rain Treads? Will Your Favorite Star Survive Color? Dear Microsoft: It's not me, it's you. Zombie Caterpillars Rain Death From Treetops. The new Apple advantage.

Random. Online pregnancy test. Hidden cameras reveal what girls look at. Word "cocksure" nothing to do with male chickens.

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Nice and light, in a lady's handbag | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
You Bastid! by me0w (4.00 / 4) #1 Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:53:05 PM EST
I did your online pregnancy test and you knocked me up! We're having a girl.


"the only reason we PMS is because our uterus is screaming at our brain to go out, get fucked, and have a baby ... and it makes us angry."

Aaaaaaargh! by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:07:59 PM EST
I mean: yay?
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
egan's new book by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 09:56:29 AM EST
while somewhat didactic, seems to be much more fun and interesting than zendegi.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
Bordwell article by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 05:35:18 PM EST
Was very interesting. Liked the way he looked to technical influences and showed the link to the silent era rather than just having a kids these days can't concentrate grumble.

If you think about what people do when not reading a book or watching a film, they will look around at different things or the general environment quite often. In this way rapid cutting or a mobile camera seems more natural than looking at the one thing for 10s, then another, and so on. TV is more vulnerable to this I guess - the cinema screen is large enough to let the eye roam around and change focus even within a static shot.

Ok, argument from common sense unbacked by empirical data.

Iambic Web Certified

Nice and light, in a lady's handbag | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback