J's been working at home the last few days - car issues again, catalytic converter this time. We've now spent approximately half the market value of the car (when we got it) in the last 3 months. Hopefully we've replaced all the bits that need replacing and will have a few month run of lower costs now. We probably need a Plan for when we feel we've spent enough on this car & should just replace it.
I've also finished a couple of books: "Night of Power" by Spider Robinson showed its age, I thought, not helped by a tagline on the cover about "this frighteningly prophetic novel". Which was a little odd as while the novel was originally published in 1985 this (revised) edition was 2005. The story is of a black uprising in a future US, told from the perspective of an inter-racial couple & their daughter who've just moved back to New York from Canada for a 3 month job and get caught up in the middle of it. It seemed to me to have Black characters and White characters, not people as characters - which doesn't fit my experience of people, which is that regardless of skin colour people are first & foremost people not a collection of characteristics pre-determined by their skin colour. When I said it showed its age I'm making the assumption that it didn't ring true as an extrapolation of today's society because I was a young child in the early 80s so I don't really know what the society of that today was. It's also possible that it's because I'm naive and stuck in my ivory tower world where people try not to have or to act on irrational prejudices about skin colour etc. The cover taglines also lauded Robinson as the "new Robert Heinlein" - I guess that's the preachy political internal monologues they're talking about ;) While the story as a story was well told, and I did (kinda) like some of the characters, I don't think I'd recommend it.
The other book was "The Life of the World to Come" by Kage Baker which is apparently part of a series, but read well as a standalone book too. I know I've read one other book by Baker ("The Anvil of the World") a year or so ago, and was neither impressed nor not, but I'm sure recently I read something in someone's journal about the Company books being good. So when I saw this was one of that series I picked it up (from the library). It's partly the story of Alec Checkerfield in the 24th Century told from his point of view, and to tell you what the rest is about would spoil it. Time-travel is a large part of the plot, paradoxes don't happen (as such) because history can't be changed - if you went there then, then you've always been there then. As the story is told the plot ties into a tight web with things happening in the past because someone found out something about the event in the future so decided to do something about it that actually led to the past occurrence occurring. I'm definitely going to be looking for other ones in the library, maybe even buy some (but we really don't have enough bookshelf space to buy everything I like ;) ).
And in other news the book I ordered for clubbook for March arrived this morning, from Germany. Which is noteworthy as that's neither the country that Amazon thought it would ship from, nor the country that the actual seller (bought via Amazon marketplace) said it would come from. Still, it arrived.