Celestial Weasel (celestialweasel) wrote,
Celestial Weasel

What did you do in the Change War, Daddy?

Hmm. I seem to have been randomly rereading things mostly...

The 2nd newly read book of the year was 'The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin'. If not for the local (Oxford) colour I would have probably given up on this. It was irksome in the same way I find the G K Chesterton is more often than not irksome (the honourably exception with GKC of course being The Napoleon Of Notting Hill) i.e. vastly overly pleased with itself and smugly whimsical.

The Changes by Peter Dickinson. Just found a clip of the TV version on the BBC website, Good God the actress playing Nicky (?) sounded posh, had forgotten that. Probably most actors on the BBC in 70s were did I but remember it. I suspect that, as often happened with TV things at that age I saw an episode or two then got the books. Certainly filming The Devil's Children in about five episodes then doing the other two books in another five episodes with Nicky standing in for Otto in Heartsease and then using Nicky and Jonathon from Heartsease in The Weathermonger (only without the weathermongering I assume) seems (and seemed IIRC) slightly odd.
What, of course, didn't strike me at the time, just as fish don't get struck by water, is the cosiness of the cosy British catastrophe. About half the British population stay and yet manage without technology. Maybe this was more believable in the mid 70s.
Also, the only thing I remember the actress who played Nicky in otherwise was as a schoolgirl who had underage sex with bikers in an episode of Crown Court. Funny the things that you remember. The posh accent would probably have worked in that role - can't remember who was being tried for what. Maybe her mother for libelling the doctor who prescribed her the pill? Remember when the pill was the solution to everything? Ah, the 70s.

Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel. I enjoyed this both times I have read it.

A book of Fritz Leiber short stories. Oddly there are some of these I remember very clearly, some I almost wonder if I have read before though I guess I must have. Spot the polyamorous aliens.
I wonder why A Deskful Of Girls has a one sentence reference to spiders to turn it into a Change War story?

Generation X. I have a copy of the strange format paperback. Amusingly, the first bit of the text to the side of the main text is 'use jets whilst you still can'.

Read bits of...
Whittaker, David, (Ed.) Think Before you Think: Social Complexity and Knowledge of Knowing; (Selected writings of Stafford Beer with life chronology.
Probably the most attractive book on cybernetics ever published. A fine book, but suffers from being too heavy weight for bedtime reading and too nice a volume to be read in the bath.

Aramis Or The Love Of Technology, Bruno LaTour.
Probably the most French book on technology. The subject of the book is a failed Personal Rapid Transit system in Paris. Have read chunks of this on a couple of train trips. The essential problem with the book is that a book explaining why something that a priori seems a bat-shit idea failed fails to grip (suspect the same thing would be true in my unwritten book about Prolog / Expert Systems i.e. explaining why something failed when on the whole the average reader would have expected it to fail).

The Art Of Prolog, E Shapiro
Can't remember why I bought this in particular. Skimmed bits of this. This starts with a more mathematical treatment of Logic Programming, which I think is aimed more at people who have studied mathematical logic in the last 20 or so years. The 'programming' bit fails weasel's law in that if you look about 2/3 of the way through the book the examples seem rather trivial. Also, and I realise that this is a superficial and trivial way of looking at weighty issues (or something), but one would be more impressed if thebookatleastsomewhereexplainedhowtoputspacesinatoms (I know how you can do it but the book remains strangely silent on the subject).

A book about implementing programming languages. This gave me one good idea, then I gave it to the Oxfam shop as I find things like ANTLR rather revolting.

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