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.
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.
Dung Kai-cheung, 1997 [Dung Kai-cheung,
Anders Hansson, and Bonnie S. McDougall 2012]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 –