This Book Is Full Of Spiders by David Wong. Horror comedy sequel to "John Dies at the End" involving extradimensional spider creatures.
Really liked it. The first book was a bit disjointed from being written in episodes: this one has a much more coherent plot. It cuts between different characters with chapters entitled things like "X hours before terrible event Y", giving it a very fast pace and loads of suspense. While there's a fair whack of gross-out horror-comedy, there are also some clever ideas about the zombie craze in society, and some nice technical geekery.
Very much recommended if you like any kind of horror or zombie fiction.
What I'm Reading 2
Ruling The Void by Peter Mair. Short book by a political scientist about the declining participation in party politics across Europe and in the wider world. You can see this in the slow but jagged decline in turnouts, but more importantly in the massive fall in party membership. This is accompanied by parties that are much less responsive to public will, and are increasingly disengaged from the voters. While political campaigns are highly competitive, the policy differences between the parties grow smaller, and so electoral outcomes have less significance. What political control there is is often farmed out to supposedly impartial bodies of experts.
I think there are two significant aspects to the book. First, there's a lot of evidence of these trends and how they are consistent across the whole Western world, not part of one particular nation.
Second, Mair regards this as a mutual set of processes that occur on both "public" and "politician" sides, and reinforce each other. As the public withdraw from politicians, it becomes harder for the politicians to build public support and broad coalitions. But as politicians withdraw, making their differences less weighty, handing off responsibilities to the experts and the EU, the public correctly deduce that politics is less important. There's a kind of reinforcing feedback cycle between them.
There are also some other details: Mair points out that as this process is happening, political scientists are reworking and redefining their definitions of "democracy" to reflect the systems that exist.
The book was completed by others after Mair's death. Possibly because of that, there's not even a cursory "what is to be done" section. There are no hints at a solution. In British politics it will be interesting to see what happens to Jeremy Corbyn's attempt to revive party democracy and significant policy differences in the teeth of near-hysterical opposition from all sides.
What I'm Watching
Saw the most recent Bond movie Spectre. Some decent action scenes. Tries a bit too hard to get serious and integrate the plots of the other Daniel Craig movies: the silliness and the angst don't really combine too well and making Blofeld his stepbrother seemed a bit daft. Not bad on the whole. Liked the double barrelled pistol the baddie uses.
What I'm Watching 2
Saw the Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Hercules movie. Solidly entertaining swords and sandals movie, thankfully eschewing CGI magic and monsters, with decent action and some gleefully scenery-chewing performances. Not a classic but undemanding fun.
Socioeconomics. Do Juvenile Curfews Increase Crime?
|< 2015, now with 20% fewer pages | Ohhh boy >|