Monday 30 July 2012

God's War

Kameron Hurley, 2011
(July 2012)

Sometimes when I’m playing CIV I like to give my leaders deliberately overblown and bombastic names: Tharg the Mighty, Gutpunch the Terrible, Cocksmash the Worldfucker. You get the idea. Those are purely for my own personal amusement though; it takes a pretty high level of chutzpah to give your debut novel a name like God’s War. You can be farily certain this isn’t going to be a delicately wrought meditation on beauty, loss, and the impermanence of the human condition.

Thank fuck for that.

Friday 27 July 2012

Tits and Ass(es)

Chewing The Cud, Part One

Herbivorous men. Grass eaters. I’ve touched on this before, and I promised (to myself if no-one else) that I’d come back to it later. So here we are.

In all honesty I’m not sure quite where to go with this, I just hit upon a very clever (and I do mean very clever) little opening conceit, and thought I’d run with it a bit. Of course, having now taken it for a little jog I’ve realised that it’d be better as an opening to part two, so you’ll just have to wait until then. It’s definitely worth waiting for though; as I said, it is very clever.

So in the meantime please join me on a directionless thrash through gender politics and social ossification in early 21st Century Japan. Don’t pretend like you’ve got anything better to do.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Wrong About Japan

A Father’s Journey With His Son
Peter Carey, 2005
(July 2012)

You can forget what it’s like to be on the outside looking in. Of course, the extent to which you ever really ‘in’ is debatable, though that’s no more true in Japan than anywhere else. Just in case you were in any doubt that every culture has its own little foibles and obsessions which can be initially baffling to outsiders, at one point Carey asks one of his interlocutors about a Japanese person’s class background.

Monday 23 July 2012

Class Squared

Japan’s world champion women soccer team have kicked up a fuss after being left in economy class while their male colleagues lived it up in business on a flight to Europe for the Olympics.

“I guess it should have been the other way around,” World Cup heroine Homare Sawa, 33, told Japanese media after arriving in the French capital on Monday.

“Even just in terms of age, we are senior,” she said, with a smile.

“When we won the World Cup, our seats were changed to business class for our return flight,” she said. “I hope we can produce a good result again and be treated the same way.”

Friday 20 July 2012

Bring me my Arrows of desire

This clip. Have a look. It comprises an impressively large number of things I can’t fucking stand. The petty middle-class jingoism we English do so very well. Hyper-idealized cod-religious guff about a place that never has and never will exist. Smug, self congratulatory pride in an idea which is well past its prime, if you can count centuries of subjugation and conquest as ‘prime’. Small minded, Little Englander parochialism played out in the faded grandeur of an empire which was obtained, like all empires, through the murder and exploitation of millions.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

The Long Earth

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, 2012
(June 2012)

I’m obviously a huge fan of Terry Pratchett. While I’ve only read Stephen Baxter’s Destiny’s Children series, that at least displayed a pleasingly ambitious sense of scale. So I was really looking forward to this.

Monday 16 July 2012

Transmetropolitan Vol. 7 and 8

Vol. 7: Spider's Thrash, Vol. 8: Dirge
Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson 2000/2001
(June 2012)

Ah, Spider, my old friend. Nice to have you back.

Friday 13 July 2012

Mmmmm… Sacrilicious

“…hence I will excite their minds
With more desire to know, and to reject
Envious commands, invented with design
To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt…”

God, I love my job. It was my base school’s culture festival last Saturday, and that’s always a great reminder of how creative and motivated the students can be when the leash is loosened a bit. Great fun.

The school’s pretty high level, and has a specialist art course. Every class produces a big mural/poster to hang outside their homeroom, and the kids spend a couple of weeks getting it ready. The 3rd year art course class did a pastiche of the Last Supper, with Kocho-sensei as Jesus and various other teachers as the apostles. It was the last thing I was expecting and I pissed myself laughing when I saw it. I think the students were just happy that someone had got the joke. That’s the trouble with parodies; if people don’t know the source material, they can die a rapid and embarrassing death.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

The Bloody Chamber

(June 2012)

I should have read this years ago. Literally. I did English electives at uni and this was required reading for one of them. Didn’t read it back then though. Was too busy indulging other pursuits and just winged it in the tutorial. In retrospect if I had actually read the damn thing, it might have saved me a fair bit of grief.

Monday 9 July 2012

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Monday 2 July 2012


Ian McDonald, 2007
(June 2012)

A real curate’s egg, this one. I read River of Gods a while back and it was exceptional. Exotic, exciting, excessive (in a good way) and other words beginning with ‘ex’. This was less captivating. Not bad, but I ended up reading it in parallel with another book which is something I very rarely do; I usually prefer focusing on one thing at a time.