April 4th, 2009

breaking bad

Short story discussions

There's an interesting set of posts on Torque Control discussing various BSFA nominated short stories, and there are links to the stories online too. Recommended to those who like SF - none of these stories are a disappointment or a waste of time.

Exhalation by Ted Chiang.

Little Lost Robot by Paul McAuley.

Crystal Nights by Greg Egan (I haven't read this story yet)

The biggest split in opinion seems to be about the short story by the female writer M Rickert: Evidence of Love in The Case of Abandonment, direct link to the story here.

The story is about a young girl in a future US, not far in the future, where women who have had abortions are executed in public. Clearly at some level the story is a critique of the extremism - that is, the story speaks only to readers who find those executions wrong. It starts with a quote from a 'Pro-life' campaigner, Randall Terry, saying 'When I, or people like me, are running the country, you'd better flee, because we will find you, we will try you, and we'll execute you.' I don't think that's the entire point of the story though - if it was it would be of limited interest, because it is an easy case to make against a crappy person that hardly anyone likes.

My feeling is the story is more about how nasty things become normalised, and perfectly nice people don't even notice, just accept the values of the culture they live in. Perhaps some of our values will be seen as just as grotesque in the future.
breaking bad

Taggart-related humour

I still watch Taggart whenever it's on. And about half the time it's just awful - they have such terrible scripts sometimes. It's not what it was - I loved the original Taggart, I still loved it when Jardine was in charge. Sometimes I really like it still, and sometimes I'm thinking 'why am I still loyal to this garbage'.

I saw an interesting news story today. Protesting parents have occupied two schools in north-west Glasgow, which the council is proposing to combine into one. Yes... 'There's been a Merger, in Merryhill'.

Sigh - I've waited twenty years for that headline.

There are two comedies I watch on telly these days. Both BBC, neither very well known. Early Doors is set entirely in a pub called The Bunch of Grapes' - I like very formally limited comedies, where all the weight is on the performances. It's very low key.

At the other end of the scale is NewTown starring Mark Gatiss. It's as you would expect peculiar and gruesome. Two very strange architects, similar to Gilbert and George, may have killed the head of Scottish Heritage by pushing him off a georgian steeple. Daniela Nardini is in it - cor.