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Showing posts from July, 2013

bookshop miscellany

(c) Beatrice Warde (1932)

What's the Hamlet of scifi? (Not the 'greatest and most complex work in its field': the book which earns you disapproval if you admit to not having read it.) Brave New World? Do Androids Dream? Dune? Gravity's Rainbow? It's hard to imagine anyone making fun of you for not having read 2001. So, is scifi less centralised and hierarchical, then? Maybe. Maybe the scifi world is just yet to have its Robert Hutchins, the fossilising stipulation. Maybe I've just not spent enough time around the geek equivalent of academic snobs: convention attendees.


Scandinavian countries are the least violent places in the world, all hovering around 0.5 murders per 100,000. But their crime fiction - unusually pessimistic, lonely, and depraved even for crime fiction - has been taking off like nobody's business. How long will it take for the entire population to be fictionally murdered?

Peter Singer

Speak now of the soul's ratchets and the stirred Stakhanovite silt
of the bed of this generation. of pitiless benevolence.

Ratchet, reason; ratchet, ruck;
Progress slow through dry valleys, slow as

Fate; despicably kind. vegan cynic,
now shame meagre wealth,

Now balk at cost of consistency
now strike, wages of sin;

Now maximise like fatcat
now route cold virtue road;

Now niggle, now coin
now manumit the tenderloin;

Now not sit still
to tunes ignored.