More Books

John Varley’s Mammoth is a disappointment. It starts out with slightly annoying “baby talk” ‘tween-chapter text about mammoths — their eating, migratory, herding and mating habits — but unfortunately the chapters themselves don’t rise much above this, either in writing quality, plot or character development. This might be an okay work for juveniles, but not much else, and you won’t remember it fondly after you’ve finished it, even if you read it when you’re eleven years old. It’s cute, but not very original, and Varley can do lots better.

With River of Gods Ian McDonald returns to the US book market after a ten-year hiatus imposed by his [idiotic] publishers. Set against a backdrop of India’s 100th anniversary (in 2047), the book is full of cultural references (that I am not in a position to judge, but they feel right), a good mix of hard science fiction and the usual great McDonald characterization. Recommended.

Greg Bear’s Dead Lines had me terrified around page . . . no, I’m not going to say, but I’m not that far into it. It’s about ghosts, kind of. Promising. [I either love Bear’s books or hate them. Loved Anvil of Stars. Didn’t finish Darwin’s Children. Well, Slant and Darwin’s Radio were so-so].

The film Primer was made for $7000, and it won some awards at Sundance. It is the best Science Fiction film made since Alien or maybe 2001, and I am not kidding. Summary: Some guys doing the “Silicon Valley Garage start-up thing” invent time-travel and get into a heap of increasingly convoluted trouble. Many good reviews, the best I’ve seen is here. A complete spoiler is here and a neat graphic timeline is here.

Minor notes

Bees suck. So do blackberry brambles. Mix the two, and…

The last game I had actual dreams about was Diablo II (before that, the original Quake). World of Warcraft is kicking my subconcious butt; I’m attempting to level up and complete quests in my sleep. It’s annoying. At least the music is good, and not (yet) stuck in my head.

Update: I’m on the Azjol-Nerub server. All of my characters start with “Kab,” and I’m playing mostly Horde at the moment.

Can’t wait for: Accelerando (Stross, July 1), Anansi Boys (Gaiman, September), Red Lightning (Varley, early next year). No idea when the next Vernor Vinge book is coming out, but it’s been wayyyy too long, as usual (sigh).

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