January 12th, 2010

breaking bad


I have decided to keep a book log this year (like in 2008) because it is interesting to look back on it. The first started-and-finished book of the year is Voices by Ursula Le Guin. This is the sequel to Gifts, and prequel to Powers. It's a young adult fantasy trilogy set in a demi-industrialised coastal realm ('The Western Shore'). Gifts was set in the impoverished northern highlands, where supernatural goings-on are relatively common, and Voices is set in a civilised coastal city, where they are very rare. Some of the same characters appear.

I'm not sure how writing this story overlapped with Lavinia, but I thought the Coastal city owed a lot to Ancient Rome. A kind of idealised more democratic Rome, which 17 years previously was invaded by a patriarchal montheistic desert tribe, who ban books and burn the library. I thought this was a bit soft-centred. I think she gives herself rather a gentle challenge.

The most interesting aspect is the oracular spirit of the library, which is a little bit scary and dangerous, but overall this is a fairly slight book I thought. I enjoyed it, but I speak as a committed fan.

If only you could see what I've seen with your eyes

Philip K Dick died before the film Blade Runner was released, but he did get to see a trailer on a TV film show. Here is the letter he wrote to someone (Jeff Walker?) at the production company:
The impact of BLADE RUNNER is simply going to be overwhelming, both on the public and on creative people -- and, I believe, on science fiction as a field.... My life and creative work are justified and completed by BLADE RUNNER. Thank you..and it is going to be one hell of a commercial success. It will prove invincible.

It's touching that he realised this. I'm almost glad he didn't see the film bomb on its initial release.