Posts Tagged ‘Book’
Recently finished Backroom Boys and was a bit disappointed in it to be honest since its been portrayed as the best book on technology in recent years. Admittedly, for the most part, it’s an easy read and there is quite a lot of interest in it – especially the story of the rise of mobile phones – but instead of looking at the hard-core techy bits it mostly dances around the peripheries of its stories looking at the sociological and economic aspects. This is probably why it’s been so highly rated by none-technologists… it’s technology-lite.
When I was a kid I had a poster of Concord on my wall and I always thought it’s one of the sadder aspects of the new century that such an engineering wonder is no longer flying. Spufford’s book has a chapter on Concord… but instead of looking at why is was so ground-breaking in the first place, or the reasons it was stopped from flying so quickly, Spufford concentrates on some economic jiggery-pokery that allowed it to keep going in the 80s. Interesting in itself but I can’t help feeling it’s not the real story.
I first read Complicity in a day. The narrative locks you in from the opening words – in the second person, ‘you do this, you do that’, making you complicit in the action – and does not let you go all the way through the intense plot until the final downbeat paragraphs.
Cameron Colley is a hack journalist who tries to emulate his hero Hunter S Thompsom, if not in writing success then at least in narcotics consumption. He’s just cocked up his big chance at writing the big story. But now he has a hope of redemption. An anonymous ‘Deep Throat’ has been contacting him giving him clues to an apparently unconnected series of gruesome murders that point the way to the fact that the victims were all part of a conspiracy to create a shady arms deal. However as the investigation continues Cameron ends up having to confront issues arising from his own family history.
Banks underscores the action with a long scream of anger against the right wing establishments that allow such arms deals to go ahead, even to be encouraged. Although there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since it was written, these issues are still relevant, if not more so when considering examples like the references to the first Gulf War. Read the rest of this entry »
Oh dear. A Christmas present I’ve just got around to reading, Overtaken by Alexei Sayle turned out to be a bit of a disappointment.
Kelvin, a property developer enjoys a good life with his five friends all in their early thirties. They go on holiday together, go to all the right clubs, plays, comedy shows, restaurants and other entertainments in and around Lancashire. But Kelvin’s self-satisfied life is smashed apart when his friends are all killed in a car crash. The driver of the truck that mowed them down shows no remorse so Kelvin plans to teach him some feelings. Read the rest of this entry »
Somehow I recently became obsessed with the character Harley Quinn. For those that don’t know, she’s the Joker’s girlfriend. You know, the Joker from Batman. Didn’t know he had a girlfriend? Well he does now.
Visually distinctive in her red and black motley or jester suit with white face-paint and panda eye make-up, Harley Quinn was created for Batman: The Animated Series. Something that passed me by at the time, I have been able to catch up with via the magic of YouTube. Though she was at first only in the animated series she eventually moved over into the Batman comic proper.
Now I’ve never been a huge Batman fan but always found the mentalist villains to be of interest, especially in the comic, where they can be a lot darker than the ever could in the films, campy tv show or even the cartoon series. (Though the cartoon series definitely has charms of its own as is much better then either the films or earlier tv show).
Having an interest in the Joker naturally leads onto his girlfriend and what a character she is. A wise-cracking fool she wants to be a femme fatal but always falls short, usually over a banana skin. Locked into a love-hate relationship with the Joker that has very sinister undercurrents you can’t help feeling sorry for her. She comes over as forties heroine, gutsy but klutsy and with a self-deprecating awareness about herself – which reminded me of Katherine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby. Some of the cartoon episodes are really excellent especially the origin story ‘Mad Love’ (Harley was originally Joker’s shrink) and the innuendo-filled ‘Harley and Ivy’ where she teams up with the vampish Posion Ivy. Read the rest of this entry »