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I went off and read Under the Dome, after wanting to kill the tv show for being so, so stupid, so now at least i've read a Stephen King book all the way through. It was actually ok. Very readable, for something that is almost 18000 kindleblobs long. 18000. (Thats second only to A Dance With Dragons, in terms of things ever read on kindle, and ADWD has like a hundred pages of appendices.) So there was still some skimming involved, but mostly it was very readable. I ended up taking the story more as a sort of...fable, that an attempt at realism. Its moralistic, political, didactic. That's the point. Every mystery, every subplot, every character arc, all circle back to The Message. (It reminded me of Rowling's The Casual Vacancy that way, which is also a tale of small town depravity with a tonally incogrous ending.)I thought it was fairly effective, so I'm ok with that, but I can see how people would get annoyed with the resolution if they're not reading it that way. Spoiler Read more... )

William Gibson, Pattern Recognition was ok. Gibson has a way of picking out these little human moments amidst all the technology. I guess that's what all of cyberpunk is trying to do, really, but he actually pulls it off. That said, the ending was meh, plot-wise, and I'm not sure what the balance of the book really was, in terms of the ideas he's bringing up - critical or supportive? Alienating or cool? There was a cake-and-eat it quality, where the hunt of marketable cool is so much consumerist nonsense (the best line of the book is "she had once met the actual Mexican who first wore his baseball cap backwards"), yet all the characters are carefully, endlessly, unimpeccably preciously cool and all live in perfect, minimalist apartments and wear gorgeous monochrome clothes and so on that are lovingly described all the time. There's a lot about the internet (yes, um, duh) that is familiar and intimate - forums as home spaces, the nuances of internet friendships, the way they cross into the real world - but it isn't novel, just accurate (which, to be fair, a lot of literature, including sf, still isn't that way, about the web as a lived experience) and maybe more so from 2002. The books does feel more recent than that. So that's something.

Gave up on Around India in 80 Trains. What a waste of a concept. Totally banal. I appreciate that there's no attempt to exoticize India in the book, but there's no attempt to do anything else either. There's just a sort of dull, jaded misery. "Went to temple. Oh, look at all the terrible silly tourists, doing the exact thing I am. But I'm not taking it seriously, hah!" No actual description of temple appears. So, um, what are we reading here? In the end, I came to appreciate the descriptions of the tourists, mocking as they are. Theres at least a glimpse of the real there. (Oh, less said about the trains the better. No background information whatsoever, no research, no history, no statistics, no nothing.) But mostly it's just moody, navel-gazing and bland. It would be an ok blog, if you actually knew this person. Not sure why it became a book.


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May 2017

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