Print Story In the name of the Pizza Lord
By TheophileEscargot (Mon Apr 07, 2008 at 08:13:18 AM EST) Reading, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Small Favour", "Colours in the Steel", "Hide and Seek". Web.

What I'm Reading
Small Favour by Jim Butcher is the latest Dresden Files book: about wizard-detective Harry Dresden.

Another very good one: action-packed, not too angsty, as Dresden takes on the Denarians again while tracking down a missing person; simultaneously fighting off a nice line in comedy villains: the Gruffs, inspiration for the classic Billy Goat fairytale.

The detective elements have receded into the background a little bit in favour of action and serious plot. The long term plot advances tantalizingly in this one: really want to see how the new Knight of the Cross works out. I would be wishing him to write faster, if it wasn't for the terrible example of Charles Stross' overproduction. Write good, Jim.

Well worth reading if you're following the series, but not really a good place for beginners to start as it's pretty complicated. You're best off starting with Fool Moon (2) or Grave Peril (3) as the series started off a bit weak as Butcher learned his stuff.

Favourite quotes on the fansite.

What I'm Reading 2
Colours in the Steel is the first book in the Fencer trilogy by K.J. Parker. This is the first book she's written (under this name at least). Looks suspiciously professional though: maybe she's had some practice.

Still a certain amount of realistic nastiness. Not as angsty as the Scavenger trilogy though. She's a bit lighter on the details of ironmongery and fencing here too, maybe lacking confidence for the detailed Clancy-esque technical details of the later books.

Plot is quite dramatic, though it relies on coincidence too much, without the excuses of Scavenger. Has some of the same themes.

On accuracy, after going through that TTC course on "Great Battles of the Ancient World" I find it a bit hard to believe that nomadic horsemen could master siege engine warfare so quickly when the ancient Greeks had such problems with it, but even so it's remarkably realistic for a fantasy.

Worth reading.

What I'm Reading 3
Grabbed the second Rebus detective book Hide And Seek. Streets ahead of the first: much more realistic with a homeless addict bumped off with toxic heroin. Mystery elements are there now, though still a little clunky.

According to the author introduction Rebus still isn't really a developed character yet.

Will keep going when I get the chance. Not sure if the later ones will be better.

Coming Soon
Will be going through the next two books of the Fencer trilogy. Also after asking about classics of genre fiction I found The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (Queen of the Regency Romance) in my local library, so I'll be trying that sometime. Synopsis:

When the redoubtable Sir Horace Stanton-Lacy is ordered to South America on Diplomatic Business he parks his only daughter Sophy on his sister in Berkeley Square. But Sophy's cousins are in a sad tangle. The heartless and tyrannical Charles is betrothed to a pedantic bluestocking almost as tiresome as himself; Cecilia is besotted with a beautiful but quite feather-brained poet; and Hubert has fallen foul of a money-lender. It looks like the Grand Sophy has arrived just in time to save them all.
I was a bit cowardly though: waited till Burly Cockney Male Librarian was on the phone so that Smiley Euro-accented Lady Librarian would check my books out instead.

I wrote this on Metachat.

Magic pen game (MeFi)

Mexican Absolut ad annoys Americans. (mecha)

Theophiles (no relation) the successor site to the departed Christdot is now up and mostly running. Journals don't seem to work yet, but they've had to work hard to get it up at short notice.

A contrarian Kaletsky argues there will be no recession.

Long article on tribalism (via ALdaily).

The vanishing asylum seeker

Across the EU, new asylum applications have fallen dramatically, which some governments attribute to their policy changes. New research shows that tougher policies are indeed deterring asylum seekers, though perhaps less than government ministers would like to claim.
Matthew Parris on new TV satire show
My own experience, as an MP and then as a journalist leaves me ambivalent about the power of satire to change things. Unless a satirist - in print, picture or TV image - goes with the grain of how the public are already beginning to see a political leader, his work is wasted; but what he can do is echo and amplify - and, with humour, give wings to - ideas that are already current...

I'd be more confident of satire's power to hurt (as opposed to embarrass) if I hadn't seen for myself how much most of our political and media class crave the attention, however cruel, of satirists. When Spitting Image decided not to replace their famous puppet of Brian Walden with a puppet of his successor [Parris] on Weekend World I felt desolate.

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In the name of the Pizza Lord | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden)
Doubts about political humour by Alan Crowe (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Apr 07, 2008 at 09:04:49 AM EST
I try to explain one concern, lamenting that British voters today put much faith in satire. I see important areas of politics where satire cannot venture.

I also see satire as depending on shared, unspoken assumptions. Political progress depends on articulating the unspoken, so that it can be critiqued. This kills the joke. I don't see the serious work of politics as compatible with humour.

It might be much more damaging to today's politicians if we refused to laugh. Think about the prisons crisis. The government caused this by pushing for tougher sentencing but not building more places in anticipation of prisoners failing to leave on account of their longer sentences. The fundamental problem seems to be an unwillingness or an inability to do the appropriate arithmetic.

People in power don't do their sums! Ho ho! What if we refused to laugh?

What? No Woodiwiss? by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Apr 07, 2008 at 09:17:40 AM EST
I was certain you'd start your foray into bodice-rippers with Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower, one of the first romances to be published as a paperback original and widely held to be patient zero by those studying the spread of the modern paperback romance genre.

Mexican Absolut ad by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #3 Mon Apr 07, 2008 at 09:37:27 AM EST
Most of the whiners are ignorant of the history in question.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
We won that war fair and square by LinDze (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Apr 07, 2008 at 06:24:43 PM EST
If they want Texas and the south west back Id say fine. As long as they repeal Cinco De Mayo and recognize the rightful rule of a suitable french(/spanish/british) puppet emporer.

Also, as I recall, the marines kicked some more mexican ass in the early 191Xs.

-Lin Dze
Arbeit Macht Frei

[ Parent ]
No problem. by Tonatiuh (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 02:35:28 AM EST
We will recognize a suitable Emperor and then we will execute it, as we did with the last one.

[ Parent ]
Tribalism in the middle east by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Apr 07, 2008 at 11:53:37 PM EST
The US uses "combat" anthropologists and I suspect that the Sunni awakening has a lot to do with this.

Glad to hear the next Iain Rankin is better by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 12:29:11 AM EST
I think I might skip forward a bit in teh series though. At some point, I'm in no hurry to read any more at the moment.

Apologising or saying you were wrong on the internet REALLY throws people.

It's political correctness gone mad!

Sorry about that. by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 02:00:42 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Argggghhhhh!!!! by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #11 Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 04:59:42 AM EST
*Runs away in confusion*

It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Ooops! by Breaker (4.00 / 2) #12 Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 05:12:50 AM EST
I was wrong!

[ Parent ]
KJ Parker by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 02:00:22 AM EST
Currently reading the first in the Engineer trilogy (Devices and Desires).  Good read so far.

If you really want a rollicking heroic fantasy, get Joe Abercrombie's "The Blade Itself".  He starts off in this first book as a good writer.  Then improves again in "Before They Are Hanged". By the time he gets around to "Last Argument Of Kings", he's on fire.  Very rare for me to read a set of books twice back to back.

The Blade Itself by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 09:04:44 AM EST
Other people have recommended that too... might move onto it when I've finished the current batch.
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 ]
In an Absolut World.... by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 02:37:48 AM EST
... we will get all of it!

And Canada also!

Ha, ha. ha! (where is my cat? I need to stroke her now).

In the name of the Pizza Lord | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden)