it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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We're so sorry, Uncle Albert--

I had a lovely, if truncated, Eastercon. Rather wish I were still there, in fact, but I have to leave in a couple of hours for Heathrow, and I had to make it back to England yesterday so I could make it to my flight home on time. Le sigh. My life for the last three weeks has been a George Carlin routine. The one about the stuff. *g*

My hosts here have been incredibly charming, and any number of people (most recently pigeonhed, who delivered me from Glasgow to the Prestwick airport in nearly-legal time) have been incredibly gracious about helping out with travels and research. It's all good.

About all of Scotland I got to see was hills in the distance, and about all of Glasgow I got to see was the River Clyde, which I am rather half in love with. (I'm a fan of a good river.) It's a changeable river, the Clyde. With many moods.

At the con, I embarrassed myself horrible participating in the quiz show (would you believe that the rules I know for charades are sort of nothing like the real rules?) but had a grand time nonetheless. I was one one panel on the margins of genre, or possibly the margins of respectability, which mostly turned into a very knowledgeable discussion of foreign-language writers writing SFF in their native tongues, or in English; and on another one regarding the tension between accessibility and literary merit in SFF. I also met a bunch of wonderful people, fans and writers and artists and combinations of the above.

All in all, a very good 36 hours. Filet of con, as it were. And I was brain-eaten by fluffcthulhu, as well. Now I have an excuse.

I do still have a cold. Alas. Which I will be beating into submissions with Beacham's Powders Capsules so I can fly without rupturing something.

Back in the states tonight! I sort of miss My Own Bed. Like you do.

Yesterday, I read Book #42, Patricia Cornwell's Predator. Because the airport had it, okay, and I wasn't going to read Dan Brown.

You would think this series would have hit bottom by now, but they actually keep getting worse. There's not even a pretense at a mystery narrative any more; rather, there's a soap opera (written in sort of very erratic third person present tense (bad present tense, the kind with extra helping verbs) that occasionally comes unmoored--or unglued--and drifts off into objective or omniscient) with occasional Thomas-Harris style serial killer POV segments, except, you know, not as convincing as the similar bits in Red Dragon. It's all written in short sentences of mostly short words, which is helpful when one is drugged up on cold meds for flying, and curiously, the most convincing POV is that of an elderly, confused woman with Alzheimers.

Cornwell's books have always suffered from what truepenny calls a lack of generosity of spirit. The narrative is more interested in judging than illuminating, and all of the characters grow more and more unlikable and caricaturish as time goes by. (They were never, you know, deep. But when you start actively rooting for the sociopaths, you know something's gone off the deep end.) Also, I have never personally known a group of women who are as all-consumingly concerned with their appearances as the female characters in these novels. An occasional woman? Yes. As a class... not so much. 

Also, the plot structure on this one is so transparent I had more or less figured out what was going on by the end of the first hundred pages.

Now, I've skipped the last several of these, so I missed how the usual cast of characters all somehow wound up in Florida running their own autocratic little agency that apparently has no legal authority, but walks all over the local police department anyway. Conveniently, of course, all of the good guys are competent and all of the (incidental) inconveniences are incompetent, manipulative, or both. The actual villains, on the other hand, are both entirely lucky, and hypercompetent.

I remember, back in the day, reading Cruel and Unusual, and mostly liking it. But this has become a universe where the narrative view of the world is so jaundiced and rotten and judgmental that it makes me feel a bit grubby to visit it.
Tags: 52 book challenge, uk 2006

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