Monday, 13 October 2014

Ghost in the Shell

Shirow Masamune, 1989-1997 [Frederick L. Schodt and Toren Smith, 2009, 2010]
(October 2014)

While we’re on the subject of Japanese-inspired cyberpunk (and isn’t it all, really), it seems the sensible thing to do is to head back to one of the ur-examples of the genre. Big hair, massive shoulder pads, cranial jacks, and high-legged swimsuits worn as daywear: late-eighties SF in a single sentence, ladies and gentlemen.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Out, Damned Spot

Or, Believing Your Own Bullshit

So this is going to be about the Comfort Women (again). And as an added topical extra I’m also going to be talking about #gamergate. If you find either of those two terms meaningful and want to back out now I wouldn’t blame you in the slightest.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Phantasm Japan

(September 2014)

We’ve established that I’m no fan of David Cameron’s, so you can imagine how much it pains me to say that every once in a while he, or at least his speechwriter, is capable of turning quite a nice rhetorical line. One specific instance sticks in my mind from ages ago, when he was baiting Tony Blair at Prime Minister’s Questions and claimed that, “He was the future, once.” And you know, this reminds me very much of Jesus Christ.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Tae Think Again

Here at This is How She Fight Start we like to pride ourselves on always being slightly behind the bleeding edge of the perpetually onrushing buzzsaw that is the 24-hour News Cycle. It’s the Ridcully approach to information management: if it really is important then people will still be talking about it a few days after the fact, and if they’re not, well, it can’t have been that vital anyway. And so it is that I eventually come to put down some thoughts on the Scottish referendum, a mere week after the fact. Next time I’m planning to discuss whether or not we should abandon the Gold Standard.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Monday, 8 September 2014

Spirits Abroad

(September 2014)

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 apology.”

Wednesday, 3 September 2014


(August 2014)

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.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Summer Lovin’

Well, that was an abortive attempt at a summer. It’s been the wettest, shortest, and sickest that I can remember in a long time. And now I’m back in school.

Monday, 25 August 2014


(August 2014)

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 Neuromancer’s 30th 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.