Wednesday, 23 July 2014

English in Japan in the Era of Globalization

(July 2014)

Yep. Interesting, as you’d expect. I’ll get something more scholarly and substantial written up over at the other place eventually (maybe).

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Country of Ice Cream Star

(July 2014)

This is a little off-the-radar, if reviews in the Guardian and Independent can count as off-the-radar. What I suppose I mean is that in the grubbier SFF corners of the web I occasionally inhabit this has received absolutely no play whatsoever. Arguably writing a widely-read and controversial (for want of a better word) article about old-school SF isn’t the best way to ingratiate yourself into that little community, but your Tors and your SF Signals don’t seem to have clocked to this at all. This is both a surprise and a shame because The Country of Ice Cream Star is a very special book indeed.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Harbinger of the Storm

(July 2014)

Harbinger of the Storm represents a very clear progression from its predecessor, Servant of the Underworld, both in terms of narrative development and authorial skill. It’s still, like an elderly priest’s ears, a little ragged around the edges, but it moves the story forward easily and significantly and the missteps are, in general, fewer and less significant than before.

Monday, 7 July 2014


Dung Kai-cheung, 1997 [Dung Kai-cheung, Anders Hansson, and Bonnie S. McDougall 2012]
(June 2014)

Hong Kong is a pretty special city. I’ve only been a couple of times, and at this stage of my life I imagine actually living there would fairly rapidly end up with my appearance in local newspaper stories with the word ‘rampage’ in the headline, but as a place to visit it’s really like nowhere else I’ve been. Even trying to begin to unpack the various interweaving narratives of globalization, (post)colonialism, trade, capital, and belonging that wrap around every stone of the city is a herculean task, and one I’m certainly not up to in a 700 word blog post.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Shock of the New

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything specifically about Japan, but then this categorically isn’t a blog about Japan, so I don’t know what you’re complaining about. I don’t. No, YOU shut up. Anyway, the reasons for this go beyond just a lack of time. The simple truth is that I’ve been keeping this blog for almost three years now and it really feels like I’ve covered most of the stuff in the news already.

Monday, 30 June 2014


(June 2014)

How do we judge those who find themselves on the wrong side of history? That question is easier to answer in some cases than others, of course, but it’s not too difficult to conceive of someone who makes bad decisions for good reasons, or even someone who makes good decisions that ultimately turn out badly. Unexpected consequences and all that.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Locke and Key, Vol. 1 and 2

Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, 2008-2009
(June 2014)

We interrupt our scheduled programming for a spot of light relief. Well, I say ‘light’. It’s more, erm, ‘horror’. And it’s not especially relieving, either, what with, y’know’ the horror and everything. It is an interruption though, so at least there’s that.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Inversions – Half-Time Report

A confession. I started reading Inversions with the full intention of going up to Chapter 12, then pausing and writing this up, seeing what everyone else was saying, going for a sit down and a cup of tea to cogitate upon the undoubtedly excellent and insightful comments of my fellow travellers on this here readalong, then sleeping on it, seeing how I felt in the morning, and only then forging ahead armed with new and varied insight and a vastly improved appreciation for the joys of reading, the singularly uplifting experience of sharing a journey with like-minded folk, and the wit and craft of the dearly departed Mr Banks. And then some 36 hours later I finished reading the epilogue and realized I’d rather fucked it up. Oops.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Inversions – Pre-Match Warm-Up

The football theme seems timely, if depressing for those of you with Iberian, Anglo-Saxon, or Japanese connections. Personally I’m being forced to work my way further and further down my list of tenuous national connections in search of a team left in the competition to support. On which note, allez les Bleus!

This should also act as a warning to anyone expecting this to be a tightly focused or well-organised affair; digressions will be both tolerated and positively encouraged. That said, I should probably get on providing structure, so this here post will act as an index for things, and I’ll update it as we progress. At present the team-sheet looks like this –

Feet for Brains
     - Half Time

And for the sake of convenience, here are my Half Time and Full Time reports as well.