RSS Feed

Tag Archives: soviet

The Crimson Pimpernel

Crimson Rosella

There we go, as promised in various places, if you don’t like the words, at least there is a bird to look at.

Your mate really has no business blogging when there are so many other calls on his time, such as hiding from creditors and looking at birds, but he cannot let you down.

Looking around the Joe Chippish traps, a message has got through from Glossolalia, though it is hard to understand.  I suspect evil Trevor has been up to something.  In honour of Valentine’s Day, the Joe Chip laboratories have conducted an in depth analysis of love (scientific name: LERV), to see what its all about, Alfie.  You may be surprised at our results.  Or you may not.

Continuing with the romantic theme, you may be intrigued by the strange attraction your mate has to the Australian billionaire, Gina Rinehart, and the question he asks: does she have ninjas?

In the poetic realms, we consider the effect of the cryptid creature, the numb-bat, and those who seek its bite to remove all feeling, and why light is a bad thing.  (Who is this “we”, Joe?  I don’t know, you tell me, Joe.)

This week’s shout out goes to Osteoarch, who is a freelance osteoarchaeologist, and how cool is that?  Most interesting job description I’ve come across in a while, and she gets to wear a white coat in her pictures, which I don’t.  Check out her site.

Just finished “Embassytown” by China Mieville, the bestselling communist fantasist.  He continues with an obsession about religion.  In earlier books such as “Perdido Street Station” he wrote of demons, though they were throughgoing materialists, existing on the physical plane.  In “Kraken” he was a bit more direct, depicting a London populated by members of thousands of obscure and generally warring sects.  He has a respectful Marxist approach to religion – he does not believe a word of it, but acknowledges it as a real and continuing part of human existence.  While a complete sceptic, he does not take the dismissive approach of a Dawkins or Hitchens, no doubt in part stemming from his Marxism, in that religion cannot be reasoned away until the material conditions of humanity change and the contradictions inherent in the capitalist system are resolved and the state withers away and so on – he has his own apocalyptic agenda whether he realises it or not.  I don’t know that too many religious believers would see themselves reflected in “Kraken”, though perhaps their detractors would.  yes, they can be evil, intolerant, scheming, whatever, but they can also be loyal, devoted, selfless and self sacrificing – in other words, human.  However, religion is reduced to subscribing to an arbitrary series of postulates (unlike, say, Marxism).

Here, the theological concerns are definitely non-theistic.  In “Embassytown”, humanity is confronted with a pre-lapsarian world, with creatures who cannot lie.  This is no “Case of Conscience” James Blish world – they are not innocents – they scheme, they kill, they profit.  However, for purely Darwinian reasons, they cannot lie.  Humanity then introduces the serpent into their world.

It is all very interesting, however for all the discussion in reviews of the cleverness in its discussion of language and so on, it still felt arbitrary.  This thing happens because these creatures happen to do this when this other thing happens.  Hardly a criticism, I know, isn’t that a description of life, however I don’t know that it is justified to raise the discussion of the book as high as it has gone in some circles.  It is one of the slimmest of his books (his books are getting a lot shorter than when he started, whether that is a good thing depends upon how much you were enjoying them), but frankly I thought it could have been a lot thinner.

There are many excellent science fiction touches.  I enjoyed the Turing machine, however it left me feeling a bit stupid – its role just drops off, and I  was left thinking that I must have missed something obvious about it and its inability to adapt.  Perhaps there was a comment in there about Turing machines being a test of whether humans are conscious independent sentient beings that I missed in reading it on my daily commute.  The stuff about interstellar travel on the immer and floaking are fairly lovely for those who enjoy sf.  Philip K Dick when interviewed  said that the pleasures of reading AE van Vogt for him included that they hinted at things unseen.  There are plenty of hints in this book – interdimensional lighthouses built in the immer – leading to the irony of the narrator, existing in a world so exotic to us, being led by the human instinct to leave her humdrum existence behind and strike off into even further beyond.  Whatever we reach, there is always something further.  However, while I enjoyed these aspects, to me they were a little bit of a cheat.  When I was elbowing my way into the novel, trying to settle in and get comfortable, there was a scene of a ship returning from the immer that was insufficiently quarantined.  Suddenly, something breaks out, and reality begins to be converted into the stuff of the creature.  A monster from the true beyond, something strange, a great weird moment.  I thought this was a hint of the crisis to come, of the crux of the novel.  No, it was mostly a throw away scene.  *Sigh*

An intriguing premise, some lovely dollops of weird, but in terms of playing with words and their manifestation, I preferred the playfulness of Steven Hall’s “The Raw Shark Texts”.  Perhaps I am shallow.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Your mate loves youse all!

Mooning about

who would have thought

Rainbow lorikeet with moon

Your mate is nothing if not judgmental, quick to use national stereotypes to avoid thinking.  For example, Germany = militarism; USA = conspiracy theories; North Korea = fun times; Russia = a desperate fight to return to democracy; Australia = interesting animals.  And the most interesting of all animals are the cryptids, the subjects of cryptozoology.  Australia has plenty of them – phantom panthers, bunyips, yowies, and most intriguing of them all, the womb-bats.  I hope to provide photographs soon.  In the meantime, you can click on a link and learn all about them here.  Society has had to develop to accommodate these cute animals, and your mate has provided some advice regarding etiquette here.  It is very important not to confuse them with the savage, woman biting wombat, so for your own safety and edification, you must read this now.

Speaking about things strange and fortean, your mate had a very interesting discussion here about UFOs with partialsceptic.  Partial sceptic suggested most ufos can be explained by the weather.  Your mate challenged him on that, forcefully putting the point that it is unlikely weather could build advanced craft to fly around space in.

Meanwhile, in preparation for the coming world revolution, your mate has provided a list of topics you are not allowed to think about here.  It is very important that you read this, otherwise how will you know whether your thoughts are appropriate and you need to report for re-education?

Your mate hopes you have a very good week.

It can’t be cliched if its not a gum tree …

waiting for snakes

kookaburra sits in the frangipani doesn't have the same ring

hctrees is a poet.  Your mate is not.  That however has not prevent him posting poems on such classical topics as colonic irrigation, eyes falling out, and the colour blue, here.  You have been warned.

After a quiet period, more has been revealed about Trevor’s domination of Glossolalia, where your mate is unable to maintain relationships with anything human.  These fictions are a distraction from the fiction your mate is supposed to be writing.  Ron Dionne is refusing to be distracted and will be publishing soon.

Continuing on with colonic irrigation (and why wouldn’t we?), your mate has established that it does not taste like chicken here.  Check out his salad, a lot of work went into it.

Is it possible that the Russian spring will mean that for the first time in 22 years, free elections will be held and democratic freedoms returned to the Soviet I mean Russian people.  In-depth analysis here.

Good reads: “Thought Crimes” by Tim Richards; “Mirage Men” by Mark Pilkington; “Best New Horror Vol 22” ed Stephen Jones; “On Evil” by Terry Eagleton.

Why capitalism has not been overthrown yet

My apologies, the 6th Proletarian Anarcho-lotto-syndicate has not been able to overthrow capitalism this week as we were unsuccessful in winning the lottery that was to fund the revolution.  No doubt comrade edgaredgarberger has a very good explanation, derived from his years of Marxist analysis of … well, everything.