May. 1st, 2015

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Jean le Flambeur, gentleman thief, is sprung from prison by the beautiful Mieli, who persuades him to undertake one last job. Author Hannu Rajaniemi works hard to obscure the familiar outline of this hoariest of heist plots, by layering on the worldbling with a trowel:

The hidden Sobornost tech beneath the Oortian sapphire coral wakes up. The spidership reconfigures itself. The scattered modules pull themselves together along their tethers and fuse together into a tight, hard cone. The q-dot winglets transform from a perfectly reflective material into a diamond-hard firewall. Just in time, before the Archon’s nanomissiles hit.

I do like the experience of being confronted by a complex fictional world and having to make sense of it. ( But I also like to feel that there is in fact some sense to be made, and in this novel I frequently failed to make it. )

Osama

May. 1st, 2015 11:23 pm
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Joe sits in the office of his detective agency in Vientiane, drinking and smoking, watching the rain come down, and reading trashy fiction:

The book was a worn paperback with a garish, colourful cover. It showed a multi-story building in the final stages of collapse, a dusty African street, and people running away from the blast. The book was called Assignment: Africa and, in an only slightly smaller subtitle, announced it as the third title in the series Osama Bin-Laden: Vigilante. The unlikely named of the author was Mike Longshott.

A woman comes into in Joe’s office with a job for him:

At last, she said, ‘I want you find him,’ and her fingers caressed the book; he couldn’t put a name to the look she had in her eyes then; he thought she looked lost, and sad, and a little vulnerable.

‘Find who?’

‘Mike Longshott,’ she said.

( What follows is a pastiche of the hard-boiled detective genre... )

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December 2015

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