Friday, 31 January 2014

This Racist Dolphin Spoke About The Comfort Women. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!

Join me as I go all out on a click-bait friendly round-up of the week in shitty Japanese media relations. Please join me. Please. I can’t do this on my own. Really. Probably best if you took away my shoelaces and any sharp objects as well. You don’t even have to hold my hand. Just be here and promise to call the emergency services if necessary.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Inter Ice Age 4

January 2014

What the giddy fuck is going on with that cover? Answers on a postcard to the usual address please, as even after reading the whole book I’m still none the wiser.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Consider Phlebas

(January 2014)

And so the Culture re-read begins. It’s got to have been at least a decade since I read the earlier ones and in going through this I was pleasantly surprised at how much of it I’d forgotten. Obviously certain key facts about the ending remain, which made it a slightly difference experience from the first time, but the actual details were happily and surprisingly fresh.

Friday, 24 January 2014

The Matcha Variations


I like green tea: the thick, opaque stuff you drink in the ceremonies. But then I’ve been drinking my coffee black since I was a teenager and the more cocoa solids in my chocolate the better. I’ve got a taste for bitter things and matcha just floats my boat. What I don’t like, however, is green tea flavoured things.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014


(January 2014)

Well, this is all very dramatic and… Exciting! The narrator is conflicted! Torn! Shaken to his moral… And emotional… Core! We know this because… He uses many ellipses… And exclamation marks! On every page… And paragraph! Constantly! It quickly becomes very tiring! Reading every! Sentence! With a mental rising… Intonation!

Monday, 20 January 2014

How do you like those apples?

And prunes and walnuts and stuff. Almost, but not quite perfect; one of these days I'll remember I need to cover the top earlier. Seriously, every fucking time in this oven, every fucking time.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Very Short Introductions

David Seed, 2011
Christopher Goto-Jones, 2009
(January 2014)

Told you these would be addictive. I originally thought I’d group these two together because they’re both subjects I like to flatter myself that I know a decent amount about, and a refresher is always useful (though truthfully I thought there might be a good deal I could disagree with and so feel all superior to the authors). But, with a certain amount of serendipity, that’s not what happened at all. There’s a lot more common ground here than just my personal connection to the subjects.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The Diving Pool

(January 2014)

First off, here’s the obligatory plug for my thoughts on Revenge, the other of Ogawa’s books I’ve written about here, and I’m delighted to report that The Diving Pool is every bit as unpleasant.

Friday, 10 January 2014

How Does He Smell?


I know, I’m getting as sick of the (geo)political claptrap as the rest of you but really, this one is too good to ignore. The Japanese and Chinese ambassadors to the UK have been using The Daily Telegraph to perform what I can only assume to be a hideously ill-conceived piece of postmodern performance art, wherein they act out a warped parody of Spartacus by accusing one another of being Lord Voldemort. Yes, that one. From the Harry Potter books. I swear I’m not making this up.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Boys from Brazil

(January 2014)

So after the almost not quite where is this going what is she trying to say with this I don’t quite get the point faffery in The Best of All Possible Worlds, it’s something of a relief to read a book with some plain, simple, honest-to-goodness eugenics at its core. ‘Cos if you’re going to treat people as breeding stock you may as well do it with Nazis, eh?

Monday, 6 January 2014

Usurper of the Sun

(January 2014)

I think I’m going to have to make my peace with Japanese SF, or at least the kind of Japanese SF that’s most easily available in translation. It does so very often exhibit almost perfectly the archetypal strengths and weaknesses ascribed to the genre: strong conceptual explorations, interesting ideas, minimal characterization, woeful prose.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

It Came From the North

(December 2013)

After the success of Jagganath last year, it seemed like a good idea to revisit Cheeky Frawg’s latest Nordic short story collection. North is an anthology of Finnish speculative fiction, and it’s a bit more of a mixed bag to be honest.