Other cool thing: China Mieville. Yes yes, I know, everyone else knew this already. But I am still going to broadcast it as if it's news. Nyah.
Last night I finished making my presentation for Nerdnite. Last week I finished my most recent course. I don't have anything brain-eating coming up for at least 5 days. This means FICTION!
I don't get to read a lot of fiction these days because mostly I'm reading about about gnarly social issues or how to work applications I've never seen before. I had a brief foray into the world of Chinese fiction while in Hong Kong, and haven't read any fiction since then. Till now. Just before Christmas, Will-who-used-to-be-known-as-rikan-feral,
.. and as I write this, the courier drops off two books I ordered from Mighty Ape last week. They are huge. I am sorted for reading material for the rest of the year.
So anyway, Perdido Street Station. I'm not going to do spoilers here, mostly because I've only read the first 20 pages or so - they are densely typeset and I can't believe how little I've read for the amount of time I've spent reading. I suspect I'm going to appreciate this factor by the end, because I'm getting drawn into this story on multiple levels.
The author seems to be doing his best to paint a picture of a flawed world filled with flawed characters, bordering on the kind of flawed that makes you curl your nose up. The story opens on a description of a city through the eyes of someone who is nauseated by it, then zooms in to a character who is described as 'a dirigible', who is sitting in bed picking a parasitic grub out of his arse crack and eating it.
At which point I'm going "Um.. is this book going to turn me into a misanthrope? Even if half the people in the story are not actually human people? Because ew!"
And then suddenly this stiflingly unsavoury world the author's dropped me in folds in on itself as he describes the interaction between arse-crack guy and his red, insect-headed lover and somehow brings their deep affection to life in a way that makes me go "Awww.." And suddenly I like these people, and care about what happens to them. And so the book moves on as he creates layers of texture to his world and his people and I find myself wanting to step into this world and go exploring.
So yeah, 20 pages in I think I get what the big deal is with China Mieville. Of course, given that he's surprised me several times already, he may very well turn around and do something else completely in the next chapter. I suspect he'd be an interesting guy to talk with. Also, he's kind of hot in a Christopher Eccleston crossed with Henry Rollins kind of way!
Oh yeah, there'll probably be themes and metaphors and shit too (in this author's case probably literally about the shit), but I haven't read enough to periscope my view of the storyworld out that far yet.
Did I mention he's hot?
La la la..
Meanwhile, over in Frogblog, the Green Party just suggested a levy on earners over $48,000 of 0.5-2% extra in your tax, to help alleviate the cost of repairing Christchurch's infrastructure. I have no doubt there are people who would jump up and down about such a thing, but as an earner in one of the brackets they cover in their tables, I am totally fine with paying more tax to make sure the money to pay for rebuilding doesn't instead come from cost-cutting* in government.
Of course I do fear that under our current government we'd pay more tax and they'd keep 'cost-cutting'.
* 'cost cutting' is government speak, generally, for 'crapping on the poor and marginalised'.
I'll be at Fidels tonight, seeing how fast I can metabolise caffeine.