Print Story It wasn't a rock...
By TheophileEscargot (Thu Oct 03, 2019 at 12:29:05 AM EST) Reading, MLP, Watching, Me (all tags)
Reading: "We Have Always Lived in the Castle","Machines Like Me", "The Prison Doctor", "Slow Bullets". Watching: "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood". Me. Links.

What I'm Reading
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Cult novel about a teenage girl living in a small, eccentric family in Vermont in the wake of deaths in the family. (I always used to get it confused with I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith,a cult novel about a teeange girl living in a small, eccentric family in England in the wake of deaths in the family, but they're different.)

Overall pretty good: the characters are grotesque but compelling and it has vivid descriptions of a claustrophobic life. However I didn't find the plot very interesting It seemed very obvious from the start who the poisoner was and it's hard to warm to the snobbish narrator.

What I'm Reading 2
Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan. Mainstream author tries out science fiction. The book is set in an intriguing parallel universe where Alan Turing survived and revolutionised the computer industry. It's set in an early Eighties of Margaret Thatcher and the Falklands War, but everyone has laptops and mobile phones, and most cars are self-driving electric models. The political developments are fascinating especially when Tony Benn becomes Prime Minister. I found it hard to reconcile the Eighties grimness with the technology though: why's everyone so broke when British-led technology is all over the place?

The main plot has an unsympathetic protagonist buying one of the first of a new model of android, while also building a relationship with his girlfriend who wants to adopt a child. He's not an appealing character and acts stupidly in various ways. I liked the depiction of the android, who is fully worked out and is neither just another person nor a cypher. He uses his high-speed processing to compose thousands of not-very-good haikus, and eventually acts in logical ways that a human would not.

Overall I liked the book: slow at times, but has some great ideas mixed in.

What I'm Reading 3
The Prison Doctor by Amanda Brown. Autobiography of a doctor who went to work in prisons after becoming disenchanted with her target-driven GP practice. Has some interesting anecdotes but doesn't shed that much light on the prison system

What I'm Reading 4
Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds. Short science fiction novel about ex-military passengers from different sides in a war awakening from suspended animation in a starship. Liked it a lot, not an absolute classic but very well-crafted and without any wasted space: refreshing in an age of drawn-out series.

What I'm Watching
Saw Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood at the cinema. Quentin Tarantino movie about an actor in career decline in Hollywood in 1969, and his stuntman sidekick. Not bad, has some nice period touches and cute details Like Sharon Tate in the cinema and how a stuntman fixes a TV aerial. I found it a bit dull for long stretches though, especially the interminable driving around scenes and the ending was exactly what I expected given Inglourious Basterds.

Big race is on Saturday. Tapering now. Really hoping to just finish. Not sure about carb loading: it sounds like nonsense but there seems to be some evidence for it.

Socioeconomics. Housing first polices help homelessness.

Sci/Tech. Ancient novelty baby bottles. Insect larvae farmed for fish food could reduce C02. Mobile typing speeds rival full keyboards.

Politics. Centrist politics will not defeat Boris Johnson's rightwing populism .

Articles. 6 Toxic Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Normal. The war on sex work. Are oysters vegan?

Video. Stuntmen react to bad or good movie stunts, more. Man rides bicycle in Austria.

Random. The 500 words highlighted as "especially entertaining" in the Chambers English Dictionary, via.

< Discuss | It was a ROCK LOBSTER! >
It wasn't a rock... | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)
I really liked Hollywood by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Oct 05, 2019 at 06:03:43 AM EST
Including the unhurried tone, and the perfectly retrofitted old movies. The class dynamics. The old Hollywood failures. And the unexpected lack of a torture scene. I even liked the maligned Bruce Lee fight. Note Bruce didn't actually lose.

I seem be the person I know that likes it most, though.

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Bruce Lee by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #2 Sun Oct 06, 2019 at 12:26:25 AM EST
I think if you're enough of a fan to know much about Bruce Lee it's hard to reconcile with the real one. By the time he was in Hollywood he was a cautious, networking profession who'd got his start by training stars before getting on screen himself: boasting and picking on-set fights would have been very out of character. Also they had all the weird yelping noises which were dubbed on later in his Hong Kong movies.
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?
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Perhaps by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #3 Sun Oct 06, 2019 at 07:29:08 AM EST
The line about beating Cassius Clay was very close to the Linda Lee biography quote, though.

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It wasn't a rock... | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)