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No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft
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I figure that the quote in the title by H.G. Wells in a broad way covers the art of criticism as well as that of editing. And thus, we embark on a number of critiques.


Cold Kill
by David Lawrence
Detective Sergeant Stella Mooney is carefully competent during the investigation she is running into a series of murders that are both linked and unrelated. In her personal life, however, she displays a human messiness that makes her far more realistic than many other too-perfect fictional detectives. The London in which she lives and works is far from the tourist areas and filled with dirt, grit and general nastiness. She's enmeshed in a relationship with a journalist and is none too sure that it is advisable professionally or personally. The first book in this series - The Dead Sit Round in a Ring - was equally enjoyable and the second - Nothing Like the Night - is on my "must read" list.

Glasshouse by Charles Stross
It gets increasingly difficult to find interesting, well-written science fiction in which to indulge on occasion. A few years ago, after repeatedly seeing his name on "best of" lists and referenced in other readers' blogs, I picked up a copy of one of Charles Stross's novels, Singularity Sky I believe. I couldn't get through the first few pages and consigned it (and him) to the reject pile. In contrast, this story did manage to not only hold my attention (despite language that is deeply technical and impenetrable at times) but to make me think intently about how our society would appear to an outsider who has lived without the physical rules and social constraints we've developed. His descriptions of "quisling dictatorships" sound frighteningly like the road our current leaders would take us down.


A History of Violence

What the hell happened with this movie? It's almost as if one person directed the first 30 minutes and another was hired to wrap it up and told "Just get it finished. Don't worry about loose ends, stray plot points, or an excessive number of dead bodies. Oh yeah, we already paid for a ton of fake blood and gore so make sure you get good use out of that." There was such promise here in the mystery of why a small town diner owner would be able to dispatch two vicious thugs so precisely and dispassionately, but it was squandered. Ed Harris is both wasted on a silly role and killed off way too soon, Viggo Mortensen affects a ridiculous Philadelphia accent and Maria Bello has to dress up as a cheerleader to have sex with her husband. A weak, disconnected effort from David Cronenberg.

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