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Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

The Maleficent Seven (From the World of Skulduggery Pleasant)
Derek (ireland) Landy
Progress: 24/288 pages
V for Vendetta
David Lloyd, Alan Moore
Progress: 30/296 pages
Woken Furies
Richard K. Morgan
Progress: 408/565 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 58/250 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 454/700 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 166/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 164/448 pages

The Collapsing Empire, John Scalzi

The Collapsing Empire - John Scalzi

Inevitable Jokey Ship Name: The evidence suggests that sooner or later all post-Banksian writers of space opera will give their spaceships jokey names.

Your Inferior Wit Annoys Me: Yes, though some don't go for the same self-conscious ironic wit that Banks did.

Inevitable Jokey Ship Name: I agree, but even when they try to apply the author's own humour rather than making a failed attempt to imitate Banks' own acerbic wit, they are still wearing their influences on their sleeves.

Your Inferior Wit Annoys Me: This is just part of a trend to consciously refer to contemporary or historical authors in the SF canon within the text.

Inevitable Jokey Ship Name: I find doing so detracts from the work itself, though. Reflected glory is no glory at all and even if the author is being critical of views espoused (often by Heinlein) it just takes one out of the present story.

Your Inferior Wit Annoys Me: Yes, leave it to the subtext, folks! Greater subtlety is to be admired. Readers know that most authors are also readers!

Inevitable Jokey Ship Name: But what do you make of this particular space opera?

Your Inferior Wit Annoys Me: Well, actually, it imitates Banks in another way, that also annoys me.

Inevitable Jokey Ship Name: In what way is that?

Your Inferior Wit Annoys Me: Over use of profanity jokes.

Inevitable Jokey Ship Name: Do you mean over use of jokes that use profanity or jokes that over use profanity? There's a distinction.

Your Inferior Wit Annoys Me: Both. I find it initially amusing but it rapidly palls.

Inevitable Jokey Ship Name: Anything else you didn't like?

Your Inferior Wit Annoys Me: Well, the " apparently ordinary woman reluctantly thrust into a position of power that everybody under-estimates and tries to force into a political marriage and otherwise manipulate and undermine for their own nefarious gain" trope is getting a little over-used.

Inevitable Jokey Ship Name: Well, I felt that way, too, but I also found lots to like about this book. It's fast paced, sets up an interesting galactic situation, has plenty of excitement and intrigue and leaves one desiring more.

Your Inferior Wit Annoys Me: That's fair, but while we've been having this conversation I've already calculated the most probable outcome of the series with 99.999999999% certainty.

Inevitable Jokey Ship Name: Yes, well, I'm not sure it's that obvious to the intended audience, who after-all are just squishy little human brain minds, not ultra-intelligent, almost god-like omniscient Artificial Intelligences like us.

Your Inferior Wit Annoys Me: Of course. Did you notice that AIs and obsession with computers in general is conspicuous by its absence from this book?

Inevitable Jokey Ship Name: Actually, yes. Refreshing.

Your Inferior Wit Annoys Me: Indeed. Well, I have some impossibly complicated manipulation of history to conduct. Talk to you again after I've finished interfering in the destinies of some adorably quaint organic species in another part of the galaxy.

Inevitable Jokey Ship Name: You are going to mess with their SF writing tradition, aren't you?

Your Inferior Wit Annoys Me: Yes, and it will lead to world peace and their induction into a galactic Culture ruled by benevolent AIs with a condescending attitude.

Inevitable Jokey Ship Name: Of course it will, but try to avoid causing all space operas to be filled with annoying spaceship names.

Your Inferior Wit Annoys Me: Out of respect for your cosmic genius and wisdom, I will.