Archives for category: books


THE REVErSION GAME, I read this a couple of weeks ago before THE NIGHT SESSIONS. Ths is the book that made me want to read THE NIGHT SESSIONS and is a subtler book in its overarching plot. Part of me does wish it was longer, not in actual plot but in the guts of what happens.


THE NIGHT SESSIONS A near-future police procedural in which the characters and their conversations easily overtake the plot as the main attractions.


THE SPY WHO CAME INTO THE COLD perhaps the most famous, and rightly so, spy novel ever written,  featuring le Carre at the top of his game, and is easily as good as I remember it from a decade ago.

I keep trying to pick up books that, to me, count as more than filling time. I don’t get much free time, and there are way too many books I want to read. So, I always try to sort the wheat from the chaff, which is usually okay. However, the same trend sets in every time I am busily immersed in thinking and writing. I end up reading simple straight forward, and in the end not much interest, fiction.  It’s usually okay because there are many many books that fit this profile and are perfectly brilliant. Yet the last few days have seen me turning the pages of David Devereux’s Hunter’s Moon, and I don’t know why I continue to do so. I think it’s to do with not finishing books. I do my best to give books the benefit of the doubt by finishing them. Also, this means I get to know what happened, even if it’s dire, and I have a complete experience. I also have great respect for anyone who has work published, it’s still an achievement worth acknowledging.

The problem with Hunter’s Moon is that it is not entertaining for me, and the talk of magic and magicians etc are only talk. We here and see very little actual magic in any in depth way. We get more indepth descriptions of brain-washing and an actual example of a character going through the processes described. Both of which are key to our understanding of what is happening and the behaviour of one of the characters. Yet, in the end it relegates the magic, and makes it feel tacked on. This ends up being a novel that can function perfectly well without magic being an actual ‘real’ thing in the book. Yes it’s about cultists and the S&M sex scene, the two things modern pop-cultural magic is connected to. But it fees flat and ineffectual.

The problem is that the characters also feel ineffectual. I don’t mean they don’t do anything, I mean they do not move me, or make me feel anything for them. I don’t even feel they are real, and it feels like they couldn’t possibly be living in the same casual domain as us, which renders the attempt at making this happen in the ‘real’ world, farcical.

It is frustrating that I could go on and on. I could continue to expose the problems I have with the book, which I am am not going to do. I don’t like the book, but I am sure others do, and this post isn’t meant as a review. Instead, this post is meant to remind me, by pouring out the words, and making them public, why I need to control and think about my reading more, and work out what it is that I want from my reading and why.

répétition 2

I find it difficult to read books more than once. I find I want new books, new ideas. The books I love most I am unable to read again due to the memories conjured by the original reading.

Am in the process of reading Hal Duncan’s bombastic ramblings about his recent travels to see his play performed in Chicago.

Reading these posts reminds me that if you have any interest in fantasy, sci-fi, classical mythology (from __ to Ancient Grece and Rome, gay, ‘literary’, or even the state-of-the-art of Scottish, fiction, you HAVE to read VELLUM and INK. They are a two part mind-bending epic or amzingness. I found VELLUM by, as it turns out lucky, randomness, and bought it on the strength of the cover design and inside cover gobbit*


Yet, i still find myself returning to Heraclitus translated into Scots, which is perhaps my favourite piece by Duncan. Observe:

It wid be wise tae listen
No ti me but tae ma Word’s division,
Showing each accordin tae its kind,
Things us they ur. Maist pay no mind
Tae who they find things us they ur;
They make nae sense u thur sensations,
Simply follyin their ain beliefs.
It isnae right tae act and speak like men asleep.
E’en the posset – curdled milk wi beer or
Wine an spice – ull separate unstirred.
It wid be wise tae listen,
No ti me but tae ma Word. “

Go read the Rest

*Usually called the blurb

Dupre’s book ‘Darwin’s Legacy’ is a short (around 124 pages, large type) book dealing with evolution, and what it means today. Dupre even notes in the beginning that he is looking at evolution from a phlosopher who studies biology. While largely a general overview of prevlent themes within evlutionary theory, the trademark opinionated, measured analytical postions of Dupre shine through. Dupre is at home explaining why social biology, and evolutionary pyschology are incorrect. He also seems genuinely positive about the meaning of evolution to people today, largely in the form of systematic treatments of race, sex and gender (the fact that they are not completely biologically meaningful). The passages are a culmination of the book and they work well.

This book isn’t a general, attemtpt at objective, history of evolution, and what it means. This book is a position text for what Dupre thinks evolution should/could be.

The Nightly News by Jonathan Hickman