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* Every time I get into the car of late, the song playing on the radio is the Infidels' "Love like Semtex". Yes, they have a myspace page.

* I am trying to read Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas. It was never my plan to read the book, but I got suckered by the new covers on his sci-fi novels. Mostly, it was the little text down the bottom that said 'a culture novel' that really got me. Plus, I liked The Wasp Factory.

* Australia lost out against Brazil, but I wasn't one of the three thousand people in Circular Quay watching it at two am in the morning in the middle of winter. I heard a report of ten thousand in Melbourne. Personally, I had a heater.

* I'm not doing well with Consider Phlebas. I just skim read fifty pages where the character crash lands on a beach with a tribe of cannibals. I'm pretty sure there's no need to spend fifty pages with cannibals, and while I would, usually, have no problem with this, it just added to my feeling that the book had no real point. I like the Culture, but to be quite honest, I'm finding the rest of the book to be... well, uninspiring, I guess. There's nothing special about the writing. Nothing special about the ideas--and when Banks does have a good one, it never feels used right. Plus, I'm two hundred pages into a book, and none of the characters are dealing with the motivating plot of the book yet.

* Do you ever find yourself considering writing a story so you can submit it and sell it just to get a copy of the book, because you'd like a free copy?

* Australia played well and Brazil did not, pretty much sums up the match, I think. I reckon Australia can take Croatia, because the latter looked fairly lackluster against Japan, but really, after seeing Argentina play Friday night, you have to wonder when Brazil are going to hit form, and if it'll be in time.

* One day I'll figure out something to do with a myspace page. However, I reckon eventually, I'll have to get to designing a webpage and something shiny and lovely. I don't know what will happen to this blog then. I'll either drop it into the page, or just start a new one. Just wait and see, I guess.

* Yeah, I don't know what's with the World Cup interest, either. I once got addicted to the Bold and the Beautiful, though, and last year I tried Lost, so it's not like these TV things aren't happening. 2006 must be the Year I Watched Sport on TV, however.

Comments

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crookfactory
Jun. 19th, 2006 05:31 am (UTC)
Consider Phlebas is the only novel I read by Iain M Banks. If memory serves, it ends up being about a space dude going to one place and getting involved in a mini-adventure. Repeat a couple of times and you have a novel. Though I have been told the Culture "series" truly kicks in the second book, The Player of Games.

And as for the world cup, it was meant to happen sooner or later ;)
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 05:47 am (UTC)
yeah, that's pretty much what the book is so far. i think i'm just going to ditch out. i have geoff ryman's AIR to read, but i keep ending up reading other sf novels. i have no idea why.
drjon
Jun. 19th, 2006 05:41 am (UTC)
I don't understand. Are you saying that the song "Love like semtex" by the Infidels has been playing every time you turn on the radio, or is it just the chorus words "Love like semtex", from (presumably) a different song, or cover version by someone else, which is playing?
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 05:46 am (UTC)
yes, that was a bit confusing. i fixed it.
mme_publisher
Jun. 19th, 2006 05:48 am (UTC)
Huh...wonder if it's because you've been watching sports.
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 05:56 am (UTC)
nah, it's cause whenever i get in the car, all i hear is the chorus to remember it. i didn't even know who the band was till i googled the spelling of semtex :)
mme_publisher
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:05 am (UTC)
Heh...it's a catchy little number though.
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:16 am (UTC)
the chorus certainly is. dunno if i'd buy it, though.
ataxi
Jun. 19th, 2006 05:48 am (UTC)
If you're unfamiliar with Culture novels, I recommend Excession. It's my favourite and a lot of other people's as well. Much better than Consider Phlebas.

Banks also wrote a great survival SF short story in the Culture setting about a man and his artificially intelligent spacesuit who crash together on a barren planet.
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 05:57 am (UTC)
i think i might just toss it in, really. i've got a lot of other books i'd rather read. i have a copy of THE CROW ROAD, which i've been meaning to read for years. or maybe i'll just pick up the pace on reading it. it hasn't been a bad book, just not a good one.
ataxi
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:11 am (UTC)
*nod* The Crow Road is worth a look. It's a strange one because I guess it would technically be "literary fiction" but writing-wise it feels more like a genre novel that just happens not to be thriller, romance, crime or sf. That is it's a very straightforward, unpretentious non-genre story from what I recall.
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:15 am (UTC)
have you read THE WASP FACTORY? that was essentially a horror novel. but maybe the truth of it is that i just don't dig sci-fi (as in spaceships sci fi) as other people do. but i have heard nice things about THE CROW ROAD, and i love that opening.
ataxi
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, I have The Wasp Factory. It's rather different to all his other work that I've read (both sf/non-sf). Although I enjoyed it on some level, IMO it is a bit of an attention-getting cheap shot and has a weak ending.

His more recent non-sf material that I've read (The Business, Dead Air) seems to lean towards a fairly conventional industrial espionage / society thriller style whereas the middle works like Whit, The Crow Road and A Song of Stone are quirky family histories. Whatever else he's a good writer but you can feel him riding his reputation from time to time.
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:33 am (UTC)
yeah, i do agree that THE WASP FACTORY had a certain attention getting cheapness to it. but he's managed to put in the work after it, so that sorta counteracts that i find.

anyhow, thanks for the recommends. i'll keep them in mind.
ataxi
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:41 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, there's no doubt he's paid his dues, and publishing a book like The Wasp Factory as your debut is a clever career move that most writers would dream about. Scandal + acclaim == publicity == sales.

I like Banks' writing a lot, more than you by the sound of things. There are a couple of books to avoid. Inversions is absolute rubbish.
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:46 am (UTC)
it's not that i don't like banks writing,r eally. CONSIDER PHELBAS is the second novel of his i've read (i only own the three, including THE CROW ROAD). it's just so far he hasn't connected with me. maybe he won't. it happens.
ataxi
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:50 am (UTC)
Interesting (and not to flog this conversation to death). I don't think Banks is really a "connects with you" writer. IME he writes protagonists who I envy or find amusing rather than to which I actually relate. Likewise with the dramatic situations that arise.
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:55 am (UTC)
fair enough.

i'm not worried about flogging the conversation to death. the only real problem for me is that, really, i don't have the knowledge to really take part in it. so ijust have to nod to this :)
kazzibee
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:08 am (UTC)
It seems the only tv show I can actually pay attention to for the full show time is Neighbours, but even then I am getting up, ferreting around.

HOWEVER, if somebody gives me a tv show on DVD to watch, I seem to be able to settle down and watch it.

I don't know what that's all supposed to be about, but I really do wish I had a better TV attention span. It would probably solve a lot of problems for me.

benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:16 am (UTC)
i'm much the same with tv and tv shows on dvd. i think it's the commercials, and the way theys top playing it for a couple of weeks, or repeat it in the middle. i just lose the flow.
speshal_k
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:34 am (UTC)
I didn't like 'Consider Phlebas' either. I think it's the worst Iain M. Banks novel I've read. I did like 'Player of Games' though, as someone else has suggested.
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:40 am (UTC)
no one ever warns me about these things.
speshal_k
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:58 am (UTC)
You never said!!
speshal_k
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:59 am (UTC)
You should prboably check each and every time you think of starting a new book :-)
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:20 am (UTC)
what i need is a reader taster. someone who, if a book is particularly bad or boring, will die right in front of me.
abigail_n
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:37 am (UTC)
I had a very similar reaction to Consider Phlebas (wrote about it here) - particularly Horza's slow, Perils of Pauline, journey to Schar's world. I did enjoy Banks' Algebraist, however, and the folks who commented on my review of CP have got me interested in reading more of his SF.
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:44 am (UTC)
cool, thanks for the link. i'll avoid hitting it for a bit, since i'm not sure what i'm going to do with the book--if i should just keep going or if i should just toss it in and go to the ryman book, or just to something different altogether.
abigail_n
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:00 am (UTC)
Well, Ryman's Air is awesome beyond the telling of it so whatever you decide about Consider Phlebas, I would make that my next read.
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:17 am (UTC)
i'm a big admirer of ryman. i have AIR and THE KING'S LAST STAND, both unread, but which i should. i don't think bansk book is going to survive this moral delimma...
speshal_k
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:13 am (UTC)
Do you ever find yourself considering writing a story so you can submit it and sell it just to get a copy of the book, because you'd like a free copy?

I have never ever found myself in this situation :-)
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:19 am (UTC)
yes, i think i may be the only one with this motivation.
speshal_k
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
Of course, I've never even considered writing a story... :-)
chrisbarnes
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:23 am (UTC)
Consider Phlebas was the first Culture novel I read, so enjoyed it as a rambling introduction to that universe. I agree with some of the other commenters in that I enjoyed The Player of Games, Excession and particularly Look To Windward much more.
benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:25 am (UTC)
i dunno, man, i think one book is enough to guage if i want to go back. i think if i read any more banks, it'll be the non-sf stuff.
ex_benpayne119
Jun. 19th, 2006 08:07 am (UTC)
Consider Phlebas bored me shitless. I think his sf is good when it deals with characters, but crap when it gets all action-y. Player of Games is good.

I prefer his non-sf work, though. Walking on Glass is cool, The Crow Road is good too...

benpeek
Jun. 19th, 2006 12:27 pm (UTC)
you know, if people were telling me consider phlebas was cool, i might have kept going. but no one is really saying that.
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