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Here's the list of works. Mine is Not Human, arguably the first The Black Monday Murders fanfic).
I might need to extend my "don't read Facebook, don't read Twitter" emotional self-care program to "don't leave TV news as background while I work, even on mute."

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Happy thoughts

Yesterday I read in Smil's Harvesting the Biosphere that, depending on how you define it, the largest part of biomass is in forests, and the largest part of forest biomass is in the form of dead structural tissue in trees.

So, quantitatively, most of the biosphere is a necropolis, living tissue a thin wrapper around, and underpinned by, the much larger and older mass of the dead. Our forests are Cities of the Dead. Is it any wonder they so often feel haunted?

(And what are our selves, by the way, but a thin layer of those few live thoughts we're thinking right now, wrapped around an infinitely deeper and older graveyard of dead thoughts we once thought? Dead, but oh so far from powerless, and seldom dead forever. Is it any wonder we so often feel haunted? We are squatters in the cemetery of everybody we once were.)

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Comics (Warren Ellis Edition)

Injection #12: Injection is, essentially, Planetary, except that everything secret in the word is terrifying and the protagonists screwed up and are responsible for about half of it.

The Wild Storm #3: Mostly the original WildStorm universe, but tightened down into a much more consistent history, and in a relatively more realistic-looking setting.

Books! (Words and Money Edition)

Heyday (Ben Wilson, 2017/#25): Cf. this post.

Cunning Plans (Warren Ellis, 2017/#26): A short collection of his talks. Nothing new if you follow his writing, but he has an interesting sense of humor; I wonder how that comes across on the stage.

Elektrograd (Warren Ellis, 2017/#27): Not sure it counts as a book - a Kindle single, maybe? A bit formulaic, anyway, environment aside (and in our atemporal technopastiche shared fictional meta-universe, I guess the environment is non-formulaic in a by now formulaic way).

The Taste of Conquest (Michael Krondl, 2017/#28): An informal look at the history of the European spice trade, with chronological sections focused on Venice, Lisbon, and Amsterdam. It's more general interest book than history, so a certain degree of fudging shouldn't matter, but the way it describes the Fourth Crusades makes me somewhat skeptical of the rest of the historical material. Not uninteresting, in any case.

The Limits of Empire (Benjamin Isaac, 2017/#29): Looking in quite a bit of detail to the epigraphic and archaeological evidence, this books postulates that the Romans didn't really think in geographical terms, or of a Grand Strategy, and that in practical terms they had no concept of or interest in defensive boundaries: limes never referred to defensive works as we understand them, and troops were usually deployed to protect commercial routes and so on (in other terms, with an eye on dealing with rebellions and maintaining Roman authority, not defending or policing provinces in the way a modern state would be expected to). It's a convincing argument, I think. Perhaps a way to summarize it would be that the Romans conquered peoples, not territories, that they did it out of the momentary interests or whims of emperors or generals, not any coordinated strategy, and that they didn't think they needed an excuse, or that this conquest gave them much or any obligations towards the conquered.

Common Reader, Second Series (Virginia Woolf, 2017/#30): A very interesting set of biographical and critical reviews. Never hagiographical, but neither unkind, and both the thoughts and the prose used to express them makes obvious her own impressive talents. She has Borges' gift of making you enjoy reading her opinions on books and authors you've never read nor will want to.

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Yes.


Yet who reads to bring about an end, however desirable? Are there not some pursuits that we practise because they are good in themselves, and some pleasures that are final? And is not this among them? I have sometimes dreamt, at least, that when the Day of Judgment dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards–their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble–the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when he sees us coming with our books under our arms, "Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading."


Virginia Woolf, the last paragraph of How Should One Read a Book?

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The Fate of the Furious

To complain that this movie lacks logic, believable character arcs, recognizable physics, dialogue even remotely related to what a human being not under the effect of psychoactive compounds would say, or an engaging plot would, I've been telling myself all day, a category error.

It doesn't even try to be recognizably different from the last few movies. Every FF movie is actually closer to the one before than that one was to the one before to it, a sequence that will eventually converge to a platonic, ideal Fast and Furious movie that will be shown for a few months every year, nobody recognizing or caring that it's the same one down to the last absolutely unnecessary car stunt.

It is what it is, like a Bond movie is what it is. I'm sure movie producers are currently trying to figure out both when Vin Diesel will get tired of the sound of the money trucks backing down his driveway, and how long it'll be tasteful to wait before they reboot the series.

Anyway. I went, I watched, I had the vague pseudofun I expected to have.

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Today, in Things That Please Me:

There's a decades-old tradition in Norway of reading crime/detective novels during Easter. It even has the awesome name of påskekrim.

Granted, it's mostly a commercial gimmick. But most near-contemporary traditions are.

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Deleting my journal won't remove information from backups and so on; on the other hand, no information is secure, you just try to make it more expensive to acquire than it'd be worth. Other than that, at worst I could get my account closed on account of sexual and political deviance. It's people living in the Russian sphere of influence who have a very clear and present need to run the heck away from LJ ASAP.

But it does feel a bit uncomfortable.

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Let it not be said that they skirted away from how god-damn awfully skeevy Slade is in this one, because they so very much didn't. Heck, they added one or two extra-skeevy moments not in the original comics, just for good measure, and not even ones that advance the plot in any way.

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