All the Birds of the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. Appealing, whimsical novel by the editor of IO9 which seems to have effortlessly achieved cult geek status. Two bullied teens form an alliance in high school: would-be witch Patricia and gadget nerd Laurence. The high school scenes are depicted with excruciating horror.
Later in a world plaguedby environmental collapse, the two meet up again while working for opposed organisations.
I really enjoyed reading this while it lasted: it's great fun. However it seems a bit forgettable after it's over: pandering only works so far. Well worth a read if you liked either Lev Grossman's "The Magicians" or "Ready Player One".
What I'm Reading
Read The Manual by The KLF. after the good Dr linked to it in the last diary. Hastily written after their number one "Doctorin' the Tardis" it explains in detail how to make a hit record in 1988. It's still fascinating reading: the dated bits are nostalgic and some bits still seem to apply: a groove and a catchy chorus are the most important elements. Some quotes.
If you have all that done and it’s not yet one o’clock, start listening to the “Hits” and “Now” compilation LPs from end to end. Of course, your conditioned brain will tell you it’s all a pile of shite and pale into insignificance compared to the Golden Era in Pop, when you were on the cusp of your adolescent years. Dig deeper into your heart and you will know that you are just lying to yourself. All eras in pop music are golden ages, or will be looked upon as such by the only generation that matters at any given time. Not only are all ages in chart pop equal, chart pop never changes, it only appears to change on its surface level.What I'm Watching
Singers – good or bad – are invariably a problem. They not only make incredibly bad time keepers which can lead to disasterous consequences when you are facing a jam-packed schedule during the period when your record has entered the Top 30 but not yet made Number One, they also tend to confuse their role as singer of songs with that of would-be world leaders.
There’s at least a half a dozen LPs and two films to make, an art exhibition and a ship we want to buy – all by the end of the year and here we are wasting our time writing a book that will be completely redundant within twelve months. An obsolete artefact. It’s only use being a bit of a social history that records the aspirations of a certain strata in British society in the late eighties. Nothing that any Sunday supplement advertisement could not already tell them. It’s obvious that in a very short space of time the Japanese will have delivered the technology and then brought the price of it down so that you can do the whole thing at home. Then you will be able to sod off all that crap about going into studios.
Saw Captain Fantastic on disk. Viggo Mortensen stars as the hippie father of six who leads an idyllic life in the Pacific Northwest, giving his kids and implausbily thorough grasp of philosophy, science and politics as well as a vast practical experience in survival and off the grid living. After the death of the mother the family travel on a bus to New Mexico to attend the funeral.
Has some very good moments, some beautiful scenes, and good comedy as the family encounter America. The ending though dissolves into sentimentalityand the problems just melt away as it turns out he just has to try a bit harder to look after the kids. Overall though a decent movie.
People ask: if robots are stealing all the jobs then why is employment at record highs? But imagine what would happen if someone unveiled a robot tomorrow which could do the work of 30% of the workforce. Employment wouldn’t fall 30%, because while some of the displaced workers might give up on work and drop out of the labour force, most couldn’t: they need the money. They would seek out other work, glutting HR offices and employment centres and placing downward pressure on the wage companies need to offer to fill a job: until wages fall to such a low level that people do give up on work entirely, drop out of the labour force, and live on whatever family resources they have available, or until it becomes economical to hire people to do very low productivity work--serving as the fifth landscape worker on the household staff of a very rich tech magnate, for example.
Given the structure of our social safety net, automation tends to increase poverty and inequality rather than unemployment.
Politics. London Britain First demo defeated. A sensible Brexit deal is more probable than you think (Alt Google link). Thomas Piketty: What would a democratic Euro Zone Assembly look like? Draft treaty on the democratization of the governance of the euro area. Netherlands election. White supremacism is not nationalism :
American rightists have always seemed to me like part of an international, borderless white supremacist movement - a sort of global white-ist Ummah. They always seem to have much more allegiance to their co-racialists in other countries than they do to their own non-white countrymen.Random. Mysterious Tales of Murderous Trees Twitter thread: @vqnerdballs explains Christianity to @EWErickson. Map: what if every European independence movement won?
Articles. Old movie websites. The culture war over religious morality has faded; in its place is something much worse. Doomguy knows how you feel. The Boxing Day football match that got women kicked off the pitch.
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