April 23rd, 2007

bear by san

a review roundup, a Nota bene, and a review:*

Book report #34, Sexual Homicide: Patterns & Motives, by Robert K. Ressler et al:

Results of extensive jailhouse interviews by the FBI with 36 murderers, including anonymous case studies and a discussion of patterns of behavior in same. Fascinating reading (for me, anyway), and another one of those books that's really useful to the working writer.

Not a lot of new information for me, here (this was originally published over twenty years ago), but this is presented in a no-nonsense and well-organized fashion, without a lot of faffing about.

And now, some reviews:

"Tideline," in the current Asimov's, gets some attention. You can read the first bit of the story here.

Happy Pixel-stained technopeasant wretch day.

And here is what other people thought of it:



Reviews of Jim Baen's universe #5, including my short "War Stories:"


Reviews of Carnival:


Reviews of Blood & Iron:


Reviews of Blood & Iron *and* Carnival:


Reviews of Fast Forward 1, including my story "The Something-Dreaming Game."


Reviews of New Amsterdam:


Reviews of Scardown:


The N.B.:

Dear Internets:

Yes, I saw what Truesdale said. You can all stop sending me links now, because I don't care.


* "Not necessarily in that order."

david bowie realism _ truepenny

a banjo sounds good to me

Book report #35: V.S. Ramachandran, A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness

Less in-depth than Phantoms in the Brain (the first chapter pretty much dispenses with the information in that book, admittedly in precis), but considerably broader in scope, and more concerned with Ramachandran's cheerful speculation on the neurological foundation of art, language, consciousness, and the sense of self. He also gets into the synesthetic foundation of metaphor (and of artistic and mathematical genius), the neurological basis of caricature and hyper-reality (and why Parvathi [and Jessica Rabbit] is sexy)**, and talks a little bit about dichotomy and concreteness. (Things my brain is bad at, so it's interesting to see them discussed in ways I can understand.)

An accessible, entertaining, erudite book, full of aha! and you have got to be kidding! Ramachandran freely admits that he's speculating. He suggests experiments to anyone who wishes to undertake them (one gets the sense he rather has his own hands full), and he throws out ideas with the rapidity of brain on full auto.

Smart guy.

Good book.

My neck still hurts (too much eighties with the Scalzis and earthgoat and marykaykare, et al: I may be too old to pogo without hurting my knee, but I can still headbang well enough to tear my jeans doing it) but I have had a bath, and now I am going to go work on my neglected math and guitar and maybe eat something.

It's good to be home.

The presumptuous cat rejoins me after lunch.

*I've been saying for years that art is not about realism. It's about pushing past realism to something I've been calling hyper-realism, or distillation (a common term for the pieces of which this thing is made up is "telling detail"). Ramachandran calls it peak shift, and now I have a neurologist I can quote to back up my ideas.

Go team distillation.
muppetology cooking Bork! Bork! Bork!

haven't you noticed we're a protagonist short in this idyllic well-produced scene?

How to make pita chips at home:

1) Buy some pita bread (whole wheat or white is fine) at the Algerian deli on the corner. Put it in the fridge, along with the hummus you also bought.
2) Over the course of a week or so, eat three of the four loaves and most of the hummus.
3) Go away on a business trip.
4) Come home, sleep, wake up, putter around, and decide you want some lunch.
5) Rummage in the fridge and find the hummus and the last pita bread.
6) Notice that the pita bread is stale.
7) Put it in the oven at 115 degrees to warm up so it will be less stale-ish.
8) Forget it for two hours.
9) Walk into the kitchen to get tea and notice the oven is on.
10) Removed the kiln-dried pita bread.
11) Break into pieces.
12) Enjoy warm with hummus.
13) Have a raw red sweet pepper for dessert.
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