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moving into the fall semester

Still feeling a little out of it after this weekend's experiment in sleep deprivation & deficit repair, so I didn't really get anything done - except getting Intuit to get their sticky fingers out of my checking account, which they were about to hit up for $78 worth of fees for a service agreement and online storage, neither of which I'm interested in. I might still go out tonight to get some half & half, because frankly, coffee tastes like shit without it.

I'm continuing to plow through a low-carb diet thread on the Something Awful forums. It's full of interesting stuff as well as the inevitable trolling and stupidity. I'm not learning anything new, but it's still interesting.

Matthew Currier Burden is better known to the blogosphere as the founder of blackfive.net, one of the pioneering military blogs that got set up in the wake of 9-11. I picked up The Blog of War: off the remainder table at Borders thinking it would be something like 365 Days, but it's more of a coherent whole than Glasser's book was. While it is an anthology of blog posts from the Second Gulf War, Burden does a good job knitting the individual stories together and following up to let you know the rest of the story. Well worth reading.

Megatokyo: Volume 6 is finally out, and I have to say that over the last couple of years, the strip production was erratic enough that I was wondering if this was actually going to press. I'm glad it did; re-reading it in graphic novel form clears up a lot of "wtf?" moments I had while trying to follow the strip online. I still wonder how (or if) Thompson is ever going to be able to tie up all the loose plot threads in this American-made shoujo manga, but I guess we'll see.

Holy fuck, THIS BOOK. The Fuller Memorandum is the latest and easily the greatest of Charles Stross "Laundry" novels - so far. As God is my witness, Stross has become the master of the head-fake, the sly distraction, the quarterback sneak and half a dozen other narrative tricks that leave you wondering what the hell is going on JUST LIKE THE PROTAGONIST. As to what is going on in The Fuller Memorandum, well, Stross ties together all manner of strange events in history (and some that have happened only in the parallel universe of the Laundry*) to produce something that has the extremely bizarre feel of a Cold War spy novel cross-bred with one of Lovecraft's darker works with some odd comedic stylings that just add to the macabre fun. To describe any of the plot would only ruin it for you. Seriously. If you liked The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue, you're going to love this.

Also by Stross, Saturn's Children, which is set in an alternative future to Accelerando where humans have died out and left the Solar System to their robot heirs, who have made a right mess of it by re-instituting slavery, a hideous class system, and doing their best to prevent anyone from recreating their makers. The protagonist of Saturn's Children is Freya Nakamichi-17, a sexbot with the rather obvious problem that there aren't any humans left for her to do, which leaves her with a definite lack of paying work. One day she gets a job offer to courier a package from Mercury to Mars, and winds up in the middle of a cat and mouse game where she's the mouse and several very large and very hungry cats are after her. Good thriller with enough plot twists and strangeness to keep the pot boiling merrily along.

*or maybe you'd just like to think that

I have started parish-shopping again and this past Sunday made a drive practically to Columbia (Maryland, not South Carolina) to attend Mass at Holy Trinity Particular Ukrainian Church. I'll have to post pix after next week, since the church is rather unique, even for an Eastern Rite joint, but for now it feels right to me and I have the feeling that once I've been showing up for a few weeks people will start missing me if I'm not there, since it's a pretty small parish. Also, studying the liturgy will give me something besides accounting to keep my study habits fresh for next semester.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 10th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
As much as I disagree with his politics, I think he is one of the big dogs of modern sci fi.
Aug. 10th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Stross
No question. With the sole exception of Accelerando, I have not been disappointed in any of his novels. All very much worth the money.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )