It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.
Bob has lost his voice. Or, more accurately, Stross has lost Bob's distinctive voice, which is disappointing as it's a big factor in the fun of these books.
Newton didn't just sit down one day and write "F = ma." Already as an undergrad, he was thinking about motion and gravity, groping towards concepts and definitions that would lead to the most important equation in the history of physics.
The Tale of Melibee
Despite the valient defense in the Introduction, I found this pretty naff - it's a moral debate about revenge, justice and mercy that's predictable in general and boring in execution. Lobbing Biblical and Classical quotes at one-another just isn't that exciting to a modern audience.
Wild Oats, O'Keefe
Veering more in the direction of farce and piling the coindicences higher than the other entries in this volume, Wild Oats nevertheless delivers the laughs, no doubt gaining much in performance.
This collection gives a nice overview of 18th Century comedy and preserves some of the more obscure but still worthwhile examples - but She Stoops to Conquer stands head and shoulders above the rest, deserving of its fame.
An amusing prose Foreword to the collection, "Is," in which Cummings uses many of the idiosyncratic punctuation techniques found in his poems.
Also, he wrote a lot more "erotic" poems than I realised before.
I remember teen-me liking this a lot more than middle-age me does. I couldn't appreciate the art style at all this time round and - in agreement with David Lloyd's Introduction - thought the early chapters were not so good - if you can call nearly the whole first half "the early chapters." It got interesting when Evey got "imprisoned." The psychology of Evey and V's relationship then became fascinating and was really what pulled me through the remainder. I couldn't care less about anybody else.
The politics seem naive - it's all very well to say you have to destroy the despotic and fascist rulers and their power structures in order to create something better but examine history to see what happens after you succeed in that: take the Paris Commune as an example. There's no guarantee that the replacement will be any different or any better. Prevention is better than cure in these matters.
I also didn't seem to notice back then how V seems able to magically do anything he wants without ever receiving any explanation as to how, beyond his access to Fate -which in turn is never explained or justified.
The depression/anxiety induced hiatus was so long that I had to go back to the beginning of the Tale of Melibee and start over...
So here's a great idea: Take an archive of old photos of Bath then try to replicate them as accurately as possible to illustrate the changes and similarities between then and now. But "now" has become "then" too since we are talking about a project undertaken in '86-87. This actually adds to the charm as it is now a historical record twice over; we need an update - even a big project that takes images from every decade to show the slow evolution of the city.
The research about each image and what has changed in the intervening time is excellent and interesting - this is a fab little book.