Friday, May 30, 2014

I oshied this thaven book...

Oh crap, I'm like a book behind. Book #14 is The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon.

This was an interesting book with an interesting premise, but also one not without it's problems.

The overall arc of this book deals with the breakdown of communication. The 'death' of reading and language and the over reliance we have as a society on things like cellphones and online communication. Language is a fluid thing, but there still has to be meanings we all agree on, and when meanings are changed and disregarded at a frightening pace, and for monetary exchange, then language is no longer meaningful and communication breaks down.

Graedon achieves this through something called a 'word flu', a virus a shady company infects the world with as they try to corner the market on language. And those with the flu start substituting nonsense words for every day words and those characters become harder and harder to understand. She peppers the characters' thoughts and conversations with nonsense, making it hard to understand, but it lends a nice bit of weight to what's going on, as we experience what everyone else is experiencing.

The problem though is that I didn't find the main character, Ana Johnson, to be terribly interesting, even though she, through her missing father, lexicographer Doug Johnson, is fairly central to what's going on. She seems quite helpless and scatterbrained and just... dull.

It's hard to recommend this book, as I said, there were parts that I liked, but the language is trying too hard to be clever in some ways, and I can perhaps understand this, to show how things will degenerate, but when I can hear the writer behind the dialogue, I get frustrated. There were a couple of times when I had to check who was speaking, as I found the 'voices' of the characters didn't alter that much.

So basically, interesting premise, not so interesting characters.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Lucky number 13 is The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore.

We once again visit with Pocket, the protaganist of Fool, who has gone to Venice on behalf of his Queen, Cordelia, and has of course, gotten himself in trouble. He ends up falling into a situation that combines the Bard's Othello and the Merchant of Venice, and somehow, this works surprisingly well.

There's the usual mad, bawdiness of Pocket (who could definitely become annoying, but it's testimony to Moore's craft that he never does), lots of violence and plotting, and of course, there's always a bloody ghost.

Only Christopher Moore could take a tragedy and a psuedo comedy and make a definite comedy complete with happy ending. And a dragon. Cause Shakespeare could actually use more dragons.