Friday, 28 January 2005

Recently reading:

Conditionally Human by Walter M Miller (of Canticle for Leibowitz fame).

A collection of deeply disturbing short stories. For example, the title story - in an overcrowded future, population control means that 'neutroids' fulfil childless people's desire for offspring. It's making my elbows twitch a bit, to be honest. It's just as bleak as A Canticle for Leibowitz - but more immediate. And it has shades of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep in the the neutroids. Miller suffered from depression and eventually took his own life - if this was his vision of the future I can see where he was coming from. Do not choose as light reading if you're feeling a bit flat, although it is absorbing and has some really interesting ideas.

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers.

More Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. [sigh]. I do realise it's both slightly unhealthy and also, un-pc, to fancy a fictional character who is both a tip-top detective (don't you know) and a member of the aristocracy. But I can't help it. Also, I keep picturing myself as Harriet Vane, which involves not only wearing a tweed two-piece, but also, brogues, on a semi-regular basis. A journey through a bygone age, that probably never really existed anyway.

I am also trying to plough my way through Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver.

I am finding it really, really hard going. I normally love his involved plots, thousands of characters and enormous overinformative chunks of text that are not, strictly speaking, germaine to moving the story along. But this, I just can't stomach. I am seriously considering giving up on it - and I haven't done that on a book since Stephen Donaldson's 'Gap' series (which IMHO should be burnt in the public square, along with the author, as an offence against both literature and humanity). I am determined to get through it, but it's going to take lots of short bites.

We are off for a weekend in London tomorrow, to see the Peter Brook show at the Barbican. According to B, Peter Brook is a major deity and I am in for a culturally stimulating experience. However I am fighting an almost overwhelming desire to pike out and spend the weekend under the duvet eating chocolate and watching 'This Happy Breed' repetitively with an enormous box of tissues. Mental note to self - must work harder at having life.

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