Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thirteen, Behemoth, Strange Country

Review backlog again.

"Thirteen" (or "Black Man" outside the US), is another Richard Morgan techno-noir thriller, with all the kick-ups, shagfests and beatings you expect from his previous work. Takeshi Kovacs Carl Marsalis is a chiseled killing machine, a hit with the ladies, and a genetic experiment. Complicated plot involving lots of violence, shagging, more violence ensues. Keeps ensuing. Never seems to stop. Eventually does, pointlessly. If you've read "Altered Carbon", stop there. The rest of his books are pretty much the same. His prose style hasn't improved much, there are still viewpoint changes mid-paragraph which dump you out of the action and make you re-read to work out who's thinking what about whom and whose leg just got splintered by someone's obscure martial art technique. At 600 pages, this book could have done with a hell of a lot of trimming and a lot less plot.

"Behemoth", the last of Peter Watts' Rifters trilogy, is a decent conclusion to the series. If you've read the other two, you're going to read this one, no point in a review. Nasty people save a world full of nasty people from a nasty person. Weirdness ensues.

"Strange Country" is a collection of Mark Dapin's articles about the less well-known aspects of Australian culture. The bogans, the camel jockeys, the tent boxers. An interesting, occasionally quite funny, read. It took me a little while to get into his style, but the effort paid off.

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