Rachel S. Heslin
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I finally finished Perdido Street Station last night. (Have you noticed that most announcements of finishing that particular book include the word "finally"?) Shawn's down the hill at a conference my dad is presenting on Basic Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. When we went to another one of these type of conferences together, I really enjoyed watching Shawn. Most of the people attending were licensed therapists who'd been practicing for well over 10 years, and I'd grown up on the concepts. Shawn just has a gift. Between his analytical intelligence and genuine compassion, he has an almost uncanny sense of empathy, and he picks up on things incredibly quickly.

But I digress. The point was that I'm by myself this weekend, so I finished reading PSS. I especially liked the portrayal of alien psyches and philosophy and think the world might be a better place if we adopted the concept of Abstracting another as a criminal act.

The descriptive text was incredibly dense, which although impressing me with the author's creativity, kind of clogged the flow of the narrative. Like when I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I tended to skip over the technical exposition, although I did notice that Isaac's crisis engine appeared to be missing a Nice, Hot Cup Of Tea.

I found interesting his occasional use of standard film techniques, eg. panning on an incidental character to lead to a more primary character/incident. And it's not often that I come across an author who uses words that I don't know. After the third or fourth usage of "etiolated," I finally broke out my Webster's Unabridged ("drained of color or vigor"). (As a side note, the dignity of that particular reference tome was slightly tarnished in my mind when the heading of the first page I opened was "barf bag.")

For my own edification, how does China Mieville pronounce his last name? I had assumed from the accent that it was "meeAYvee", but I may be allowing my fondness for iambic pentameter to override reality.

In a related note, some friends were discussing the SF Book Club's 50 Most Significant SF&F Books of the Last 50 Years and the conversation turned to the Worst Book You've Ever Read. I wanted to share a couple of choice comments (titles concealed to protect the obnoxious and/or boring):

"At the time, as I hurled the [...] books into the wastepaper basket in disgust, I lamented that I did not have the time to burn them in some purification ritual for myself for having read them. But I am at peace knowing that the poor, innocent paper stock which was once bruised by this literary abomination is now serving a higher purpose in a landfill."
-- M. Reed

"The actual experience of reading it was kind of like biting into what you think is a piece of chocolate, but instead you get hit in the back of the head by a board with nails through it and then fed to angry sea lions. "

"I'd rather shave my head with a cheese grater than read another one of those crapfests."
-- I. Fagan

To expand the reviews to include movies:

"The whole thing ends with lots of blood, gore, computer graphics and a woman showing off her very large breasts. One might think, "What's not to love?" but I didn't get a charge out of it. "
-- M. Tice

And, for those who want their reviews as short as possible:

Four Word Film Review
Favorite: Titanic = Everything including the kitchen sinks.
(As a tangential tidbit, last I checked, the 4th Least Looked At Film is "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.")

So, what's the worst book/movie you've been subjected to?

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