Derik Badman's Journal

2023-02-18 14:32

Can't remember what I was reading before it (nor if I finished any of it) but this morning I finished R.F. Kuang's Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution a interesting alternate history fantasy. It takes place mostly in 19th century Oxford in a world where silver has magical properties when words are engraved on it. The magic works on the idea of translation and the difference lost when one word is translated into another language. It's never clear why silver nor (if I recall correctly) how anyone discovered such a thing, but the concept is quite interesting and leads to a lot of linguistic themes and discussions. The protagonist is a Chinese boy who is taken to England and raised by his British father. It is strongly implied that he basically bred himself with a Chinese woman so as to get a child who grew up thinking in a Chinese language, because the silver magic works best if one can think in the language. That leads to a host of colonialist themes as the boy grows up and goes to Oxford to learn this silver magic.

Finished up watching all of NYPD Blue which was less interestingly written once Milch left the show. I couldn't watch it without seeing all the critiques of policing come into play. Sometimes the show would briefly actually do some critiquing but it is always in the context of outerliers, "bad cops", and the like. The detectives are always lying to people to get confessions, convincing them not to get lawyers, and the like, none of which the show doesn't show as a good. They almost always solve the crimes the same day, and they never drag confessions from people who are innocent.

Oh yes I read (some of it rereading) Book 1 of Monstress, a fantasy comic that I started reading in single digital issues years ago but for some reason stopped following serially. Thinking of writing about it for TCJ after I read Book 2.