Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Monday, 29 October 2012


Edward W. Said, 1978
(October 2012)

There’s a type of person. A certain type of person. You know who I mean, the type that’s heard about ‘books furnishing a room’ and taken that to mean that books are more important for what they look like and what signals having them is supposed to send out than the words and ideas they contain. Wankers, in other words.

Friday, 26 October 2012

One Thousand Years of Rice

I was in the sixth-form when we got our first computer. Prior to that I’d had an NES, which I brilliantly got for christmas a few months before the SNES came out, making it almost instantly obsolete. Nothing’s changed, I still have a lousy sense of timing when it comes to technology. My old laptop died and I had to replace it just a couple of months before Windows 7 came out. The new one had a free upgrade, but the amount of form-filling and verification required was insane. They required everything up to and including a mouth swab for a DNA sample.

Monday, 22 October 2012

The Hydrogen Sonata

Iain M. Banks, 2012
(October 2012)

Whoo, look at me. All kind of topical like, doing a book post mere weeks after its release. Hey, it’s quick for me, alright?

Friday, 19 October 2012

Cause for Celebration

One Year! One year old! Yeah, baby. Who’d have thought we’d manage to maintain interest this long? I’m so proud of you all.

Still, we managed it somehow. Here’s to the next 12 months. Fun times ahead, oh yes indeed.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Pandemonium: Stories of the Smoke

Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin (eds), 2012
(October 2012)

I’m a winner baby! Well, runner-up at least. If you’re at all interested in speculative fiction then you should be aware of the fine pair who run pornokitsch, and occasionally edit short story collections such as this under the Pandemonium umbrella. I made a mildly amusing comment on a competition blogpost a while back and this ebook was my reward.

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller, 2011
(October 2012)

Now, this is a good one. Another wartime love story where everyone dies, but somehow not depressing in the slightest.

Monday, 8 October 2012

A Farewell to Arms

Ernest Hemingway, 1929
(September 2012)

At the start of the winter came the permanent rain and with the rain came the cholera. But it was checked and in the end only seven thousand died of it in the army.

Friday, 5 October 2012

In Defence of The ALT V

Book Five – Larry Cotter and The Mercifully Truncated Dénouement

Right, what do we have left to cover? Unconvincing teenage angst? No, don’t need that. Vital plot elements that have somehow remained unmentioned for the previous five years? Nope. Idiotic controversy sparked by throwaway extratextual comment regarding secondary character’s sexual orientation? No way, hose.

The Harry Potter connection was always pretty tenuous anyway. Probably better to drop it now before I mention the physical impossibility of a seventeen-year-old boy spending weeks traipsing around the woods with only a similarly aged girl for company without sneaking off for at least one covert hand-shandy behind a bush. I can suspend my disbelief for the broomsticks and wizards and talking snakes, but a heterosexual teenage boy who’s never tugged himself off to the thought of his closet female acquaintance? You can push the unbelievability thing only so far.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Is That a Fish in Your Ear?

The Amazing Adventure of Translation
David Bellos, 2011
(September 2012)

“Translating something ‘from cold’, ‘unseen’, out of the blue’, or, as some literary scholars would put it, ‘translating a text in and for itself’ isn’t technically impossible. After all, students at some universities are asked to do that in their final examinations. But it is not an honest job. It can only be done by guessing what the context and genre of the utterance are. Even if you guess right, and even granted that guessing right may well be the sign of wide knowledge and a smart mind, you are still only playing a game.”
(p78, emphasis added)

Anyone fancy translating that into Japanese?