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10 February 2006 @ 10:55 am
 
Well, I finished that game of Civ ... given Realms Beyond are death on spoilers for now I'll just say that I'm so very, very not ready for Monarch level. Ahem. I still might play the GotM on Contender though, coz your score gets adjusted downwards if you get the bonuses at the start (obviously), and I'm not convinced they'll help enough to offset my general lack of ability ;)

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.
 
 
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: The Futureheads "The Futureheads"
 
 
 
magidmagid on February 10th, 2006 12:41 pm (UTC)
Racially-divided future societies: Have you read Naughts and Crosses? Sad but well-written.

And I read the first couple of the Company books, which I thought ok, but there was a bit too much "I'm not telling you yet, buy later books" for my taste. Maybe now that there are more out, I should reread (from the library :-).
Margaretpling on February 10th, 2006 01:17 pm (UTC)
I've not heard of Naughts and Crosses, I'll keep an eye out for it though.

This book didn't read like that, so I suspect it's one of the later explanations aluded to - there's quite a lot of stuff that ties together the founding of Dr. Zeus in some fashion.
magidmagid on February 10th, 2006 03:21 pm (UTC)
It was in the YA section at whichever London bookstore I got it in (Dillon's, maybe?).
Sienamystic: dodo emporiumsienamystic on February 10th, 2006 01:43 pm (UTC)
It's possible you read about the Company books on my journal - I'm a big fan of them. The one you read is indeed very late in the series. My all-time favorite is still the first one, In the Garden of Iden, but I admit freely that it punches all of my personal buttons and that many other people, while enjoying it well enough, feel that the second book in the series, Sky Coyote, is stronger. But I'm a pretty biased reviewer - I heartily enjoy all the books as well as the short stories.
Margaretpling on February 10th, 2006 02:07 pm (UTC)
It probably was you - I knew it was someone I'd added reasonably recently, but there're several recentish people who talk about books so I wasn't sure which it was.

It worked really well as a standalone book for one late in the series, then - I guess I'd've got more out of the details of it if I'd read the others, though. The library appears to have In the Garden of Iden so I think I'll reserve that ... filed under 'Historical Fiction' though ... I hate it when they split series across classifications, pick one & stick to it, damnit ;) Any idea where At the Edge of the West fits into the series?
Sienamysticsienamystic on February 10th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC)
No idea about At the edge of the West - it doesn't appear on Kage Baker's website as a seperate title, unless I'm looking right past it. It might be one of her short stories, many of which are collected in Black Projects, White Knights, but not nearly all of them. Her short stories tend to be little snapshots of Company employees and their activities, but some of them are small pieces of the larger puzzle while others of them were eventually turned into much of the Alec portions of the later novels.
Margaretpling on February 10th, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC)
Ahha! That site did have the answer - it's the UK title for Mendoza in Hollywood. Goodness knows why they felt we needed a different title.