Monthly Archives: March 2006

Currently Reading…

Repose In The Palace of Repose, by Holly Phillips

This book is an extraordinary set of short stories. Holly Phillips proves that there is such a thing as literary speculative fiction — or should I say, that genre doesn’t matter when the writer is so talented.

Each story recounts a slice of a woman’s life, and although some of them are victims on the surface, they are each presented with choices and the power to enact them. The title story is imaginative and clever and embarks us on a voyage of discovery and fascination that lasts throughout the book. Each story is distinctly different from the other and show a breadth of imagination that is the mark of a true storyteller.

Holly Phillips is a writer of immense talent and, hopefully, great writing future.

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Nose Hair: a real no-no

Men, a hairy chest is attractive, but nose hair ain’t. Ditto dirty nails (especially if it’s engine grease), and ear wax, whatever color it is, doesn’t turn our crank. That’s what’s indicated in an informal survey about the 10 worst grooming offences a man can succumb to. Read it and clean up.

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Caffeine could kill you

Scientists have discovered the coffee gene:

“…a new Canadian study is suggesting that how caffeine affects the body could depend on your genes.

Scientists at the University of Toronto have uncovered for the first time that there are two groups of people — those whose bodies process caffeine rapidly, and those who detoxify it slowly.

If you’re in the wrong group, drinking caffeine-laden liquids could lead to a heart attack. The interesting part of this study is that it gets the medical community to reassess their blanket statements (such as drinking coffee or red wine can be good for your health).

Imagine that. If everything depends on your genetic makeup, in the future your uniqueness may require a tailor-made lifestyle, from diet to exercise, based on an analysis of your genome. You might look with envy at someone guzzling coffee while you’re drinking soy milk. Break down, have a coffee, and your health policy is null and void. Vee haf vays to know…

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Currently Reading…

Kingdom Divided Kingdom, by Rupert Thompson

One Kingdom, the previous United Kingdom, now divided into four separate –gated, fortified– republics along the humors established by Plato: choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine, and melancholic. Families are separated, and reassigned, along those humors. Thomas is wrenched from his family when he is eight and reassigned to the sanguine quarter. He grows up, muffled in an unrealized grief until one day he is given a glimpse of the memories he has forgotten. That glimpse will impel him to leave his successful life behind and journey through the land, a fugitive, to search the depths of his own psyche.

Divided Kingdom is a troubling novel, not only because it forces us, as we follow Thomas, to search our own personalities, but because it reduces the person to basics and that is uncomfortable. The story is predictable; there are four quarters, after all, and we surmise that Thomas will journey to all four, and we suspect that, before he “finds” himself, he has to be reduced to nothing, a white page, a “tabula rasa.” It is exactly what happens, but the journey itself is fascinating, if cheerless.

There is a sense of deep unfairness, of wanting to revolt, to refuse the premise of this book that we are, fundamentally, the sum, or a distillation, of four types. There should be more. Because this is a deeply disturbing book, because it forces you to rethink, not only who you are, but how you should interact with others, it is worth the read. Absolutely.

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New Review for Metered Space

An excellent –if I may say so myself– new review of Metered Space at Eternal Night by Steve Mazey (read the entire review here):

“The action is punchy with no spare flesh to the prose, and exactly as a first person narrative should be.[…] And this first person style is absolutely perfect to the noir genre. It’s reminiscent of the Philip Marlowe style stories and wonderfully refreshing.”

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