Archive for September, 2006

cat power!!

OMG, kitty!! And a Powerbook!!! Go here to see the cutest flickr photostream OF ALL TIME. I realise 90% of my cat-loving friends are also Mac-lovers. Maybe someone should do a poll…

39 Down, 13 Left (52 Weeks, 52 Books)

Diaspora takes place close to the next millennium when the Singularity is already in the distant past, though ‘fleshers’ still exist in various transhumanic forms back on Earth. Our posthuman brethren either take the form of the aforementioned ‘fleshers’ or as disembodied consciousnesses inhabiting ultrasecure servers known as ‘polises’ or as ‘gleisner’ robots out exploring the rest of the system.

The novel follows the experiences of a rare spontaneously generated ‘citizen’, Yatima, as ve (coined by Egan as a new pronoun) explores a world literally without boundaries or limits. An unavoidable extinction event leads ver and much of post-humanity to seek an alternative to the inevitable end of civilization in all its forms.Yatima serves a lens with which to understand the psychology and philosophies of post-human society and life.

This is actually the second time I’ve read this book, but it’s still as powerful as the first time round. Devoid of the usual anthropomorphic aliens of mainstream sci-fi, Egan imagines an arguably more realistic future, albeit one that might likely be beyond the ken of anyone of us living now. Swirling with wormhole theory, theoretical astrophysics and plain hardcore science, much of the time reading this book is spent attempting to understand the nigh-impenetrable discourse, more than following the standard adventure plots of most sci-fi.

I fucking loved every line of it. Egan never holds back and dumbs down to his reader, like most sci-fi often do. Character and plot development does suffer a little from the constant theorizing, but I really didn’t mind at all. Not that I understood much of what was being discussed beyond the slightest gist, but it’s this resolute refusal to water down the myriad possibilities of post-humanity and alien life that is so absolutely gripping. It also warrants mentioning that Diaspora contains the least likely instance of reference to Pinball Wizard ever imagined.

If you love sci-fi, you must read this book.

Diaspora
(ISBN No: 0752809253) Check NLB Catalogue for item availability.

My next book will be Martin Amis’ Night Train.

five questions

It’s not everyday I get tagged, so what the hell, here goes…

1. Why do you blog?
This blog started off as a way to document my job search after quitting tv earlier this year, but since I found a new job pretty quickly, this has become more a storehouse of information and fragments of my incessant web-surfing. Some posts about my family are a little more personal, but they exist on the blog to help remind me of significant events. I try to be a little original once a week and come up with a book review – I’m thinking of switching to a new project when my 52 books are finally up, so that ought to be fun.

2. Which author and/or book has most influenced you?
This is one of those impossible questions, innit? I’ve devoured books non-stop for close to 2 decades now and its pretty nigh-impossible to narrow it down to any one author or book. I can list a few authors who’ve pretty much defined my reading though – Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, Douglas Coupland and Stephen King. What sets these writers apart are not so much how I’ve enjoyed reading them, but how much I aspire to write like them as well.

3. Which three blogs do you most visit?
Gizmodo.com I love tech and I like taking the piss, and Gizmodo manages to combine both these things in a convenient, constantly-updated, piss-taking, tech-loving package. I like my tech news instantaneous, and it pleases me no end when the Apple store guy expresses surprise at my shockingly up-to-the-minute questioning. C’mon, doesn’t everyone stay up reading live-bloggings of Apple keynotes?

Pink is the New Blog Back at my old job, the staff was pretty much divided thus – those who read Pink, and those I wouldn’t hang out with outside of work. Yes, I know celeb gossip is both very gay and ultimately counter-productive, but goddam if I can’t get my daily dosage of Spederline shizz.

Warrenellis.com I can only wish that one day I’ll be as twisted as Warren Ellis, the sickest comics writer ever to troll the internets. I began my previous blog in emulation of his mutated, icky weirdness, but I’m plenty happy just to let him own my ass.

4. Why do you read fiction?
There’s no way of putting this without sounding trite, but fiction sometimes takes me away, and sometimes it brings me back. That pretty much sums it up.

5. What makes you laugh?
Mostly Grace, but oftentimes its friends, comics, cartoons, movies or blogs. I laugh at myself a fair bit, which is mostly healthy, I think.

Ok, that took a little longer than I expected. Thanks to Josh for the tag – I’m not tagging anyone, but feel free to try if you’d like.

extra extras

Behold the godlike genius that is David Bowie!

This one’s for you, Pagit…

banned books week

Today’s apparently the first day of Banned Books Week.

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2006, marks BBW’s 25th anniversary (September 23-30).

BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.

Lovely. Here’s Google Book Search with the goods as well.

Such Great Heights – Ben Folds

OMG, check out the totally mad arpeggios.

Couldn’t really see how the setup was for his piano apart from some towels, but he pretty much got that synth sound happening. Couldn’t really pick out what the other 3 guys were playing though. What a true innovator.

The Postal Service should have him on as a guest vocalist.

38 Down, 14 Left (52 Weeks, 52 Books)

The Human Fly and Other Stories is a collection of mostly teenage Americana by author T.C. Boyle. While mostly dealing with teenage perspectives, Boyle manages to inhabit an incredible range of voices and moods in the book. I particularly relished the story Beat, which is an affectionate and pretty much note-perfect send-up of Kerouac’s frenzied Beat stylings in which a wide-eyed 17 year-old meets the Beat Saint himself.

The rest range from realistically depressing depictions of real love, 50s teen night at the make-out point gone horribly wrong and a hilarious look at if Lassie ever got in heat. What really gets me about Boyle is how effortless he switches register and atmosphere between tales, while retaining a sort of signature absurdity that seems to me to be his distinctive voice. This book is practically brimming with wit and humanity at every turn, I think T.C Boyle is quite the interesting discovery.

The Human Fly and Other Stories
(ISBN No: 0670060542) Check NLB Catalogue for item availability.

My next book will be Diaspora by Greg Egan


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