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On Vox: Recent Reading

Last week or so, I finished up The Thirteenth Tale which was very engaging, apart from its sort of bad Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-like epilogue.  It was, by and large, a rumination on authorship, storytelling, and the British gothic romance in particular.  (And because of that, the tacky epilogue has a deserved place, even if I didn't entirely enjoy it.)

In it, a woman gets the chance to interview "The Charles Dickens of Our Century"-- a reclusive author in the last weeks of her life who suddenly wants her true story to be known.  And while sleuthing up clues about this woman's true identity makes up most of the movement in the plot, it is the comments she makes, and her biographer's observations which I think really make the book interesting.

After that, I cracked open The Iron Dragon's Daughter mostly because I like to waver between respectable books and pulpy ones.  A friend of mine gave this to me because of its similarity to a game world I've created.  Of course, that means that I held it up to all kinds of scrutiny that I usually don't bring to this kind of endeavor, and I'm just about to give up on the book.  The world is still somewhat interesting, but is a lot more like an anime (a thirteen year old girl with an immensely powerful mech) than I can really stomach.  The world is more of a modern Arcadia than my own, more steampunk Arcadia.

I sort of want to read more, to experience the setting, but at the same time, there's only so much of thirteen year old peer drama that I can stomach.  This is why I am the code troll and my darling Bootsie is the educator.

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On Vox: While I'm at it...

Every now and then, I miss the Polls feature back at LJ.

Please vote on the following:

W. B. Mook should sign up for MySpace as his fictional promotion company: 1000 Mooks.  (y or n)

W. B. Mook should suck it up and join Facebook because anything that improves his lackluster ability to keep in touch with people ought to be encouraged. (y or n)

W. B. Mook should sign up for another web toy or service which I have provided the name of here:__________

Originally posted on

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On Vox: "Terrified sequential monologues"

Back at the old alma mater (link omitted, since I've name dropped the damn place enough lately), one of my favorite professors once said to our class, "This is not a discussion, these are just terrified sequential monologues."

I always think of that in relationship to blogging.  There's this illusion of interaction, but I've looked at the list of people who count me as a neighbor and I have trouble placing a great many of them.  I'm obviously not interacting with a good many of you.  (Some of you, I added first, so that's my fault and I know it.)

Do we still interact on these here internets?  Or are we all just taking pictures of ourselves in our bathroom mirrors?

If so, where do I go to get in on some of this interaction?

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On Vox: Separated at Birth? Taylor Doose / Johnston Green

It's sort of funny when you think about it, since they basically are the same character.  In Gilmore Girls, a somewhat idyllic and female-centric world, the town patriarch is a comic, obsolete figure.  In Jericho he's totally on the level.  Large and in charge.  This contributes largely to why I'm still waffling about actually bothering to seek out more Jericho.  If the strike pressed on, maybe I would break down.  At the moment, I think I can tough it out and watch shows I genuinely like.

Originally posted on

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On Vox: Something to tide you over

In case you need something to help you cope with reality (or reality television) for the next few weeks before the writers and producers come to terms, I suggest Mad Men.

I honestly can't think of a show that's given me more to mull over than this one, other than a few choice episodes of Battlestar GalacticaMad Men is the story of advertising executive Don Draper.  It's 1960.  We know what's going to happen in the next ten years, but they don't.  They drink, smoke, and sexually harass each other, but each character has some forward-looking qualities.  In spite of being flawed, they are all drifting, in pieces, towards our world view. 

To tell the truth, part of the draw of this show is from watching too many "emo" shows, where the flawed characters look anguished, whine, drink, and act like adolescents.  (*cough* *cough* BSG Season 3 *cough*)  No one in Mad Men is happy, and it comes out in little clues and offhanded remarks, but it's a nice change of pace from the standard melodrama.

To tell you the truth, you could watch it just for the clever deconstruction of the advertising process.  You could watch it to be taken back to a more innocent time when gender roles were clear cut.  You could watch it for the Machiavellian office power struggles. 

I think I watch it for that credit sequence.

Originally posted on

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On Vox: BoingBoing reading tips, new and impossibly old

River of Gods
Ian McDonald
Last week (remember when I was freakin' tired?) I finished off this book, which I'd originally seen on BoingBoing back in 2004.  The only thing worse than the fact that web sites are starting to be so well established that I could have been reading them four years ago is that I actually was reading them four years ago.  I suspect this is like when the first Rock 'n' Roll song was used in a commercial.  Except that web compaies have never really been anti-establishment, of course.

But I digress.

Anyway, the novel didn't disappoint from its catchphrase description of bollywood cyberpunk.  It had plenty of neat catch-details like a third gender and massively distributed AI soap opera.  The one thing that stuck in my craw was that the two white folks were the only ones who, at the end, really grokked what had just happened-- something which made all the attempts to integrate Hindi into the story seem more like orientalizing than multicultural.

The real injustice though was the publisher's OCR system.  As near as I can figure, they scanned in a version of the book into some new formatting, and didn't really check it over.  Opening quotes were missing all over the place, and in one extremely bad instance, the name "Inder" was replaced with the word "hider".  As Albert would say, "Welcome to amateur hour."

While I'm namedropping BoingBoing book recommendations, though, I may as well make a footnote about this graphic novel they posted today.  I try to keep a lookout for anything that might convince Bootsie of the redeeming value of comic books, and/or things that might resonate with her students.  So consider this my bookmark.  (I really should get on GoodReads, eh?)

Originally posted on