Things I am reading:
The Washington Frickin' Post, or stories from the first couple of pages of each section, anyway. Their app arrived installed on my Kindle Fire 7 and it makes for interesting reading, as their utter horror at Mr. Trump, glee over every stumble from Gov. Johnson and not-quite-concealed disdain for Secretary Clinton makes it clear that they, too (and by their own dim and twisted lights) are trying to put the best face they can on an election with less-appealing main contenders than a back-alley bumfight.* Good luck with that.
Crap about clowns: someone needs to start running a clowns-in-the-news aggregator, because it is becoming a regular item and not in a good way. Seriously, WTF, over? Juggalos run amoker? Fans (ew, squick) of John Wayne Gacy? Idiots? A "news flap," largely self-sustaining, fueled by hoax and rumor? --Logic favors the last two on the list. We were better off with Bigfoot and flying saucers. Remember when clowns were merely creepily cheerful and amused children? No? Me, neither.
Bloody Acquisitions, Drew Hayes: the third book in a series about Fred, the Vampire Accountant. A bit dry, perhaps, but Fred's a decent guy whose concentration on business -- even the undead have to keep financial records and file taxes -- blinds him from seeing just what an inadvertently brave and stand-up fellow he is. Luckily his friends, a mixed bag of parahumans, do notice. Scary hijinks ensue. These are fun books, best read in order, and if you were wondering what the less-apocalyptic side of Larry Corriea's MHI universe might look like, this is it. Well-written pulp, interesting characters, engrossing plots and, hey, accountancy. What more do you want?
Lionel Shriver, The Mandibles: A Family 2029 - 2047. Speaking of the Apocalypse, or an apocalypse, near-future calamity novels faded away as the Cold War and The Bomb came to feel routine. Shriver's brought the sub-genere back on a wave of bad debt rather than radiation, and it may be more frightening than Fail-Safe, Alas, Babylon or On The Beach. This future is mostly-linear extrapolation and the prediction perhaps errs on the gentle side -- but it's no walk in the park. I'm about a third of the way in. Turk Turon sent me the book with a note, "I read it thinking you'd be fascinated." So far, he's right: fascinated like a rabbit mesmerized by a snake, knowing the strike is inevitable and hoping it won't hurt too much. Every time I fill up an old-fashioned paper bag at the grocer's for over $50, I think thoughts of the sort Shriver puts on paper elegantly and well. I don't know how it ends, so don't spoil it. But it can't end well and we'd be wise to heed that.
* Look, if you are finding yourself favoring one of the Big Two candidates, I'm happy for you; just try to bear in mind that, rightly or wrongly, they are two of the least-liked people to ever run for President, and I'm including Richard Nixon in that tally. The people who don't like them -- and there are a lot who don't -- really don't like them and we're all going to have to live with that. Invest in an effigy factory and you can't go wrong. Make sure they'll burn nicely!
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
11 months ago