Archive | June, 2013

Dry Humour

Although she did not drink martinis, she graciously prepared a double for me every evening before dinner. I introduced her to Tanqueray gin and Noilly Pratt vermouth, the ingredients for a perfect martini. Sensitive husband that I was, I courteously congratulated her every day on a fine martini, cautiously suggesting that it might be a touch drier. Day after day, I congratulated her, suggesting that it might be a touch drier still. One day I sipped the martini and bathed her in kisses: “Betsey, you’re wonderful, it’s perfect.” She did not take well to my gushing. Betsey almost never raised her voice, but raise it she did: “I knew it! I knew it! Of course I’m wonderful! Of course it’s perfect! You’re drinking straight gin.”
(Eugene D. Genovese, about his wife Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, in Miss Betsey: A Memoir of Marriage)

(No, I haven’t read the whole book. If I want to read a radical socialist turned right-wing opportunist, I can always read Marx.)

Dark Side Crossing

There are some recurring themes in Kim Stanley Robinson’s fiction: ecology, anticapitalist politics, mountain-climbing, and in particular time – the ephemerality of the present, the irrecoverability of the past, the contingency (or otherwise) of the future, the unreliability of memory.

But there are also some very specific recurring images that seem to have captured the author’s imagination (and certainly capture the reader’s); and one of these is the mobile city of Terminator on Mercury, forever moving across the night side of the planet, a few minutes ahead of the terrible sunrise.

It shows up in two of his earliest works, the novel The Memory of Whiteness and short story “Mercurial” (both from 1985); then in the later novel Blue Mars (1996); and most recently in 2312 (2012) – even though these stories all take place in (sorta) different timelines. But each description has its own style and contributes something different to the story it’s in.

The most recent description is happily online: enjoy.

Guys and Dolls

Highly recommended: Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference by Cordelia Fine, a feminist neuroscientist who punctures innatist myths about gender difference. Buy copies for your friends who think “Science!” has shown that men and women are genetically programmed for differences in blah blah blah.

The title is a nod to Anne Fausto-Sterling’s earlier Myths Of Gender: Biological Theories About Women And Men, which I also highly recommend – but Fine’s book is not only more up-to-date, but also more accessible and reader-friendly; so it makes a better introduction for the feminist-resistant.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes