It’s been a while since I read a book with
a manifesto printed inside the front cover. Spirits
Abroad is published by a Malaysian imprint that stakes its ground out very
explicitly on page one, and it’s so tempting to get all academic and unpack that
through the sociolinguistic frames of World Englishes, ELF, the Expanding
Circle and so on. For now though we’ll just focus on one point: Fixi Novo’s deliberate
and specific repudiation of italicized loanwords, as “italics are a form of
And so we reach the last Culture book I
remember enjoying unreservedly the first time I read it. I don’t think that’s
just a result of me becoming a more discerning/ picky/pretentious reader in the
years since –it’s not too controversial to claim that the forthcoming Surface Detail and The Hydrogen Sonata are among the less strong entries in the series
– but coming at this for a second time it’s apparent that the warning signs were
definitely peeking through.
The best laid plans, eh? I’ve been doing a
fair bit of domestic travel this summer for seminars and the like, and figured
that getting a stack of reading lined up would be a good way to eat up all
those hours on the shinkansen. I’d finally got hold of a Harper Voyager edition
of Count Zero, and what with it being
anniversary it seemed like a good idea to read straight through the entire
Sprawl Trilogy and stick up one huge megapost at the end of the month.
My kids are, as is now mandatory, huge fans
of Frozen. Fortunately it’s a pretty
good movie; I don’t know if my increased tolerance for schmaltz is due to parenthood
or if it’s simply concomitant with the increased confidence of age, but god I
love me a showtune. Let it Go has
inevitably joined Jabberwocky and Where the Wild Things Are in the limited
pantheon of things I can recite the words to by heart.
Now y’see sass is one of those words that rubs me up the wrong way. Just a
little mind, more of a brief flick than a full on rub, but it undeniably goes
against the grain and leads to what should be a very pleasant sensation feeling
a little awkward for all concerned.