Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Philip K Dick - Radio Free Albemuth - book review

On the surface, Philip K Dick's "Radio Free Albemuth" is about as close to perfect sci-fi as you can get, where a man communes with a being/beings from a parallel world invading our planet.

But I had the same feeling of HORROR with this as I had with THE COSMIC PUPPETS in that Dick has signature moments of horror, the rats and the nature beast that Princess Mononoke stole.

Radio Free Albemuth is set in a world where other PKD novels have been set - a world of American domination of its people, American repression of its ideals, an American that is no longer part of the Constitution, a horror America. Not necessarily Communist but certainly threatening to one's civil liberties, threatening to one's belief systems and chosen life style.

What does Alex Jones call it, "Land of the slave, home of the coward."

Radio Free Albemuth echoes the threat of corporate surveillance and mind control in books like FLOW MY TEARS THE POLICEMAN SAID. Wait a minute, there was also the False War novel THE PENULTIMATE TRUTH. Was Dick more a political activist than a sci-fi/horror writer?

This HORROR BOOK sprouts from the same material as 1984 and Brave New World in that it paints the world as we normal folk don't tend to see it, the CORPORATE UNDERWORLD. It re-examines material Dick wrote about in his VALIS books (books which I don't rate as the writer tried to strangle the reader with 'religion').

This book fared much better than that because it started out as Phil Dick writing about his best mate who suffers from VALIS visitations. A real writer writing about himself in the third person. The book is a lovely eye-opener and would have scored 5/5 if it had retained the distance from the subject. But Dick couldn't have that. He had to go and stuff the Valis theory down the reader's throat.

SPOILER: Person-specific beamed messages from a Soviet spy satellite do not a good narrative resolution bring.

This book is ruthless and brutal and fun (yeah, fun). Read and enjoy.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Olympics 2008 - day 15 - Taekwando controversy

Poor, poor 25 year old Sarah Stevenson in the womens' 67kg challenge, denied a winning 2-point head shot in the dying seconds of her match against Chinese Chen Zhong - favouritism? Maybe just a spur of the moment rash decision.
Update: Seems they've reversed the decision and Stevenson's been awarded the Bronze medal after a justified appeal. Nice.

Speaking of rash decisions ... well, inordinate rule adhesion on the part of ... Poor, poor match referee kick in the head for counting out (injured) Cuban nut-job Angel Valodia Matos in his bronze-medal bout with Kazakhstan's Arman Chilmanov in the men's 80kg division.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Beijing Olympic Games - Jamaican Usain Bolt sets new men's 100-meter record

9.69 seconds - and he was just pissing about.


update: 200 meters - New World Record 19.3 seconds - and boy did he work for it. Yes! He SO could have pulled a 9.3 for the 100m if he'd have put the same effort into that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Noam Chomsky 2008

...well, November 2007, actually. Here's the man comedian Bill Hicks raved about all those years ago and who this writer has been avoiding listening to for as long.

And for good reason.

Noam Chomsky is not a political activist, as I'd thought, he's a professor of linguistics at M.I.T. He's a part-timer, an amateur in the field of political investigation. As he puts it, in his spare time he looks into things the government wishes he wouldn't. He's not a tinfoil hat wearer. He's just finding stuff out. Noam Chomsky's heinous task, it seems, is to report How The World Really Works.

And he's given birth to the most alien thing this writer's ever encountered. Here's Noam Chomsky at his understated best - a truly daunting vision of the manipulated present, and our hopeless future.

Again, like the Rob Newman 'History of Oil', this shouldn't be marginalised or belittled, it should be on THE MAINSTREAM NEWS because it sounds like we THE PEOPLE are being royally fucked in the shit hole by the ruling elite. I wonder if, when we blindly elect these candidates into Office, we actually realise what we're giving them permission, time after time after time, to do to us with our hard-earned money. For after all if it wasn't for our money there'd be no backing.

We THE PEOPLE fund these high finance and covert/corporate operations. Money for their terrible war games and genocidal double-dealing doesn't grow on trees, it's our money, the honourable and honest tax payer. I mean, everyone should know where their tax dollar/yen/euro is going ... I'm sure a more educated populace would be able TOGETHER to make a better world of it than 'those who are currently holding all the cards'.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ghost Recon - life imitating art?

we all know what happened over the weekend in Georgia. But it seems this has already been posited by the espionage writer Tom Clansey in his GHOST RECON series. Check out the location and date of where the first episode of the series starts - Georgia, August 2008!

And here's a report from July 15 2008 on MSNBC stating that, VAZIANI, Georgia - One thousand U.S. troops began a military training exercise in Georgia on Tuesday against a backdrop of growing friction between Georgia and neighboring Russia. Officials said the exercise, called "Immediate Response 2008," had been planned for months and was not linked to a stand-off between Moscow and Tbilisi over two Russian-backed separatists regions of Georgia. The United States is an ally of Georgia and has irritated Russia by backing Tbilisi's bid to join the NATO military alliance.

I've seen what's proposed in the rest of the Ghost Recon series, so let's hope Tom Clansey got it wrong, eh?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Sigma Protocol by Robert Ludlum

Robert Ludlum died in 2001. Wasn't this what happened with Philip K Dick, too? A career of book writing only to die with the launch of a movie version? In Dick's case it was Blade Runner. In Ludlum's case, wasn't it the Bourne movies? Of course I'd have to do more research but as everyone knows, I'm not a big fan of straight genre fiction, especially books that are so greedy for my time.

Five hundred pages!

I loved all three Bourne movies and I thought it about time I actually go to the library and get out one of Ludlum's 22 bestselling novels. I chose, quite at random, The Sigma Protocol. And straight away I had a problem with the pompous(?) writing style. No, pompous isn't the right word: affected(?). Not stilted(?). Ludlum was writing prose that wasn't very contemporary. He was writing as if with a pen that dated his prose back a few decades. It wasn't a lot, but it was enough to stand out.

I got over the prose style and really started to enjoy the book. I'm having a bit of a fanboy experience with the radio Dj Alex Jones at the moment and when The Sigma Protocol started banging on about New World Order, Nazis and Bohemian Grove my interest was piqued beyond the limit. I would finish this novel. I knew it.

Well, though there's a woman who works for US Intelligence it's not really a spy novel, though there's a wealthy banker it's not a legal/money laundering novel, though there's a background of international intrigue it's not simply about world domination as those who're following Alex Jones' regular governmental revelations would expect. It's a simple murder mystery that uses the main themes as a backdrop, nothing else.

But with a catch. Motive. There is none. Until...

And it's like the world we know is shrouded by the world we can never be allowed to know. The Sigma Protocol is a page-turning dream of a read - his books are so good because he just wrote 'crumbling rope-bridge fiction' and REALLY enjoyed what he was doing. There's a cracking twist at the end of a book that twists and turns with thrashing-viper fury. To say this is a great read full of believable characters, great story and amazing attention to detail would be a fair assessment. So much better than Dan Brown's cliche-riddled garbage. Get it now.

'Great f***ing movie' it would make, too.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Dr Edgar Mitchell on Kerrang Radio - aliens are real

this one's a corker not merely in light of my recent moon landings blog, not merely in light of my recent casualties of war 'project disclosure' blog, not merely because this revelation that 'oh, yes, aliens are real' comes from Apollo 14 astronaut Dr Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon...

...it's the additional (and bewildered) bonus of the Kerrang Radio DJ Nick Margerrison well-connected colleague "Alex" actually getting Nick a follow-up phone-call with NASA Public Affairs about Ed Mitchell's U.F.O. revelation. Comedy gold.