Derik Badman's Journal

2020-10-14 07:20

I finished up my reread of The Book of the New Sun last night. I think I enjoyed volume four a lot more this time, probably because on my first time I was reading much more for plot and to find out what happens next while this time I could slow down and read more for the subtler revelations that Wolfe works in at the end. That seems to be his modus operandi, many of his books, certainly The Wizard Knight and The Book of the Long Sun, also pack a lot into the end. They were a lot easier to understand on a reread.

I'm going to take a break before I read the sequel, as I have a few other things I'm excited to get to such as John M Ford's The Dragon Waiting, which I read a great article about a few months back and it just came out in a new edition, as well as the latest Ursula Le Guin Library of America volume of another fantasy series of hers that I have not read. I also bought Artemisia Gentileschi and Feminism in Early Modern Europe that I read a good review of at Hyperallergic. Similarly just this week they have review of the Gentileschi show up at the Tate in London. Worth checking out that article even if just to browse the images.

I've been listening to a lot of Crass lately, as they've been re-rereleasing their "Crassical Collection" of remastered/expanded albums on Bandcamp, who just put an overview of the band's career. I still remember listening to The Feeding of the 5000 on vinyl at my friends' houses and just being floored by the staccato assault that is "Do They Owe Us a Living." My Crass records (and my Phil Ochs records, what a combo) were the last ones I got rid of when I gave up my record collection. It's weird how a lot of what they and other later punk bands were singing about has become almost mainstream now. Shuffling music yesterday a Broadways song from the 90s came on that is about police brutality and the role of police in society. Sonic Youth's "Youth Against Fascism" seems even more appropriate now than the 90s when it came out. I guess a lot of that music I listened to is partly why so much that goes on lately doesn't feel surprising to me.

I think I finally gave up on Kingdom of Amalur as it's gotten a little too repetitive. I finished the main storyline and was playing one of the DLC (that is oddly like one of the Assassin's Creed: Odyssey DLCs), but it's just so many quests that are alike: go to a place, fight some monsters, get an object, return back. The classic fetch quest over and over, and I'm not sure if at any point anything made any difference to the game's plot or world. It was entertaining for a while, certainly as I clearly played it too much, but there are other things I can focus on. I have a lot of books piled up I want to get to, so I'll try to take a break from video games until mid-November when the new Assassin's Creed Viking game comes out and the Cyberpunk game (unfortunately in the same week so I will have to decide which to play first and which to hold on to).

Started watching Raised by Wolves on HBO, a science fiction show that is unusual and even in the first episode quite unexpected and really unclear where it's going which I quite appreciate. I don't have any immediate sense of what is going to happen or even what the main setup of the show is as it all feels very temporary. Most tv shows have a central premise that is easy to grasp, but this show is unfolding more like a movie or miniseries (maybe it is?) than an episodic narrative. So far though it is visually stark, well designed, well acted, and does a good job of world building without excessive dumps of information. I also like that the main conflict that pre-dates the show's timeline was between atheists and monotheists. You don't see many mainstream sci-fi that address religion at all (as always, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine being a great exception).