Monday 29 February 2016

No Ghosts in This City

(February 2016)

A slim and brutal volume of short stories in and about the Indian state of Assam. If, as I was, you are a little hazy on the details, Assam is in the North East of the country, in that strange island of India wedged above Bangladesh, and almost entirely sundered from the rest of the country except for a slim corridor along the Brahmaputra.

Saturday 27 February 2016

City of Illusions

(February 2016)

So then, Le Guin. The little corner of contemporary capital-C Culture I tend to most often inhabit might, for want of a better phrase, be designated as ‘Progressive Speculative Fiction’. A clumsy label, but you get the general idea. And within this niche the closest thing going to an unimpeachable godhead, a figure held in universal awe and reverence, is Ursula K. Le Guin.

Thursday 11 February 2016

Invisible Cities

(February 2016)

I’m just going to park this here, as another of the foundation texts for this month’s reading. Not going to do much more than that as, to be honest, I’m completely incapable of saying anything intelligent about it within the timeframe I’ve given myself. (Also, bronchitis). Let’s just say that, taking the project as a whole, I don’t think that will be a problem, so I’m just going to leave a space here for a link to the eventual summary where I’m clearly going to tie it all up nicely and we’ll all be able to bask in my powers of for-, and indeed in-, sight.

Wednesday 10 February 2016

The Death and Life of Great American Cities

(February 2016)

We’re going to kick off Arbitrary Theme Month with a couple of foundation texts, the cover blurb of the first of which informs us that it is “perhaps the single most influential work in the history of town planning.” Now, I realize that on first reading this sounds a little like being the most famous Belgian, but that in itself is a measure of how little thought we (still) seem to give one of the most important fields of human organization.