So instead I made my brain go and bake cookies and make some apple crumble, then went to bed and finished Silver on the Tree. Even though I've read these books many times, I've never read them in sequence before - not that it makes a lot of difference as long as you read the last two last.
Why yes, yes I was. But, true to its title, it has proved so far to be a parade of stone age people visiting painted caves, with painfully detailed and dry descriptions of the painted caves, interspersed with painfully detailed and dry descriptions of the land between the painted caves, interspersed with the occasional requirement for Ayla to heal something or pick some plant or invent something in demonstration of why she's being shown all the painted caves.
I am more than half way through the book and so far, nothing has really happened. There is no crisis, no nod to the wider story arc, no character development. Just endless visiting of painted caves that are supposedly sacred because someone has painted in them - but you can only read "The cave echoed hollowly and Zelandoni's voice took on a new tone, and as Ayla looked up she saw a mammoth rendered in brown" so many times before it loses its Magjyckial Resonance and you start going "Oh FFS just get on with it!"
I am disappoint. I will read it to the end because I still have hope that somehow the half-neanderthal son she left behind in the first book and the cro-magnon daughter from this book will feature in a decent and spiritually-significant closure to the main conflict of the series. But I had to take a break from the painted cave tour to read some decently-rendered fantasy or I was going to start painting fucking mammoths on the bedroom walls in frustration, and I'll be pretty fucking pissed if I've read the 3000 pages of the last three books for nothing but an in-depth knowledge of how to make a flint hand-axe and an aversion to ever looking at a painted cave for real.
On the upside, Ayla and Jondalar are finding being new parents keeps them fairly busy, and have only had
Also, WTF is with every single person she meets reflecting about her accent? We get it. She's not from there. Can we drop it now?
And after that, I'll finish Revelation Space, which was actually pretty good but was suffering somewhat from making the tedium and sameness of intergalactic spaceflight feel too real. But hey, descriptions of ten light years' worth of frozen sleep in 2567 might seem quite exciting after an infinity of painted caves in 14,000 BC, eh?
Anyway, yesterday's lecture was an intro to the topic and didn't introduce any new information to me. I kind of expected that, but it seems that this is going to be a course that's active in discussion online and the lecturer is a mine of links and references to interesting stuff. Like for example, advertising with distressing imagery doesn't work to prevent people using drugs. Of course, this has been known about smokers for a while, but hey - we can't let evidence get in the way of our drug war, can we?.
Apparently we can. Switzerland's people voted for policy to provide free prescription heroin to addicts in 2009 based on observed harm reduction in trials over 15 years. While it's a bit soon for research on the effectiveness of this approach as policy rather than trial to be available, other countries are adopting it. Can I just say about bloody time?
Finally, I know of at least one person who would still be alive if Naloxone were widely available. Mind you, if abstinence-and-testing based probation weren't the norm she'd probably still be alive too. But that's another story.
Warning: I may rant about drugs a bit over the next little while.