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Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

The Delirium Brief
Charles Stross
Progress: 106/368 pages
Ack-Ack Macaque
Gareth L. Powell
Progress: 249/792 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 pages
Isaac Newton
James Gleick
Progress: 32/289 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: 468/700 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 242/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages
Transition - Iain Banks Banks has a number of themes that appear repeatedly across his now quite large output of fiction and they ALL get stuffed into this one. That makes for quite a rich book but some of it is just so unsubtle that it's irritating - take Adrian, the 100% cliche drug/financial dealer whose role is very minor as compared to the space he's given. Adrian is given that much space so that Banks can have another go at Capitalism, without any subtlety involved and giving a girl in a bar a walk-on part as Banks' mouthpiece for what is wrong with modern business; Public Limited Companies, apparently. All of this was done much better in The Business.

We have another take on Interventionism, as if the Culture novels hadn't discussed it to death by the end of Excession (the fourth one).

Solipsism rears it head again, intertwined with, "What is Reality?" Look in Against a Dark Background and The Bridge for earlier occurences.

Religion/terrorism/Islamophobia/the state of Britain these days, over-reliance on swearing, too much sex, yep, all the trademarks are here.

What has been absent lately but makes a very welcome return here, is an imaginative, well told, coherent, compelling story, although it does open really badly, with Banks being far too clever for his own good. He needs some new philosophical/political ideas to examine in his books, though.