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The Ginger Man, by J. P. Donleavy

Second paragraph of third chapter:
A wet salty wind. And tomorrow Marion comes back. And the two of us sit here wagging our American legs. Marion, stay away a little longer, please. Don’t want the pincers on me just yet. Greasy dishes or baby’s dirty bottom, I just want to watch them sailing. We need a nurse for baby to wheel her around some public park where I can’t hear the squeals. Or maybe the two of you will get killed in a train wreck and your father foot the bill for burial. Well-bred people never fight over the price of death. And it’s not cheap these days. Just look a bit glassy eyed for a month and take off for Paris. Some nice quiet hotel in Rue de Seine and float fresh fruit in a basin of cool water. Your long winter body lying naked on the slate and what would I be thinking if I touched your dead breast. Must get a half crown out of O’Keefe before he goes. I wonder what makes him so tight with money.
I bought this after Donleavy died, as I'm always interested in books set in Dublin from the external perspective. The time is roughly 1948, the place more or less Trinity College and the Dublin of student accommodation; Sebastian Dangerfield, Donleavy's protagonist, runs between women and beds, drinking ruinously, stealing to survive as he has already spent his inheritance. He's a thoroughly unpleasant character and I didn't much enjoy reading about him. I appreciated the literary salutes to other writers, particularly Joyce of course, but after a while they got rather laboured and the humour of the book is painful and dated. Not really recommended, but if you want, you can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2017. Next on that list is Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

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Feersum Endjinn, by Iain M Banks

Second paragraph of third chapter:
The other ground vehicles were all-drive holster-buggies, armoured scree-cars, one- or two-gun landromonds and the huge multi-turreted tanks known as bassinals. The struggling convoy accounted for a good sixth of the King’s military transport, and represented either a brilliant flanking manoeuvre to supply the beleaguered garrison of troops guarding the workings in the fifth-floor south-western solar, or a desperate and probably forlorn gamble to win a war that was not only unwinnable but anyway pointless; Sessine had still to decide which.
For such a celebrated writer, Banks won rather few awards - this and Excession both won the BSFA, two years apart, and that was it. I had read this ages ago soon after it came out, and to be honest didn't remember much about it. The notable character is Bascule, who narrates his chapters semi-phonetically:
     O yes, I sed, which woznt stricktly tru, in fact which woz pretti strikly untru, trufe btold, but I cude always do them while we woz travelin.
      Wots in that thare box yoor holdin? he asks.
      Itz a ant, I sez, waven thi box @ his face.
Bascule's is only one of four different plot strands following different key characters through the landscape of a post-singularity society where most people live in a vast structure called Serehfa, and also interact with a virtual space called the Crypt. What appear to be not just different stories but different worlds eventually fit together and add up to more than the sum of their parts. But I wasn't quite convinced by it all, and there's a reason that this is not generally listed in the top ten of Banks's works. You can get it here.

Feersum Endjinn won the BSFA Award for 1994. The other shortlisted novels were Engineman, by Eric Brown, which I have not read; and Necroville, by Ian McDonald, North Wind, by Gwyneth Jones and Permutation City, by Greg Egan, all of which I have read. I don't retain clear memories of any to be honest, but I think I enjoyed Permutation City more than the others. The Clarke Award was won by Pat Cadigan's Fools, and the Tiptree by Nancy Springer's Larque on the Wing, with Moving Mars winning the Nebula for Best Novel and Mirror Dance the Hugo.

The following year, the Tiptree Award was jointly won by Waking the Moon by Elizabeth Hand and The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Theodore Roszak, the Clarke Award by Paul J. McAuley's Fairyland, all of which I have written up here in recent years. That leaves the BSFA winner, Stephen Baxter's The Time Ships, which I haven't previously written up here, though I did read it soon after it came out.

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The TARDIS Handbook, by Steve Tribe

Second paragraph of third chapter:
I'm not always enthused by the various Who spinoff publications, BBC or otherwise, but this one is a real winner (and I should say that in general I've been more than satisfied with Steve Tribe's work). Here we have the TARDIS examined from all angles, its non-fictional inspiration in the drafts of C.E. "Bunny" Webber, the designs of Peter Brachacki and his successors, and the various ways it has been used in the show, from both in-universe and external perspectives. It was published in 2010, just nicely in time for The Doctor's Wife the following year. It's fully but not obsessively detailed and gorgeously illustrated. I'm sorry I missed it on first publication (actually got it at a remaindered books fair in March). Here's a nice video review by someone else. You can get it here.

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Second frame of third entry ("Something is Missing", by Juliana Penkova):
Every two years since 2013, the Brussels office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation has run a competition for EU-themed comics. This year's award ceremony was held at the end of last month, and as usual was a nice collection of stories by five artists, one German, one Argentine/German, one Bulgarian/German, one Polish and one from Northern Ireland, David Shaw (now resident in Dublin). I'm glad to say that David Shaw's story, a short narrative about a gay couple driving north across the Irish border and reflecting on the impact of the EU, won the award on the night.
I assume that the whole book will be made available soon (ISBN is 978-3-95937-012-7), or at least the Friedrich Naumann Foundation will probably give you a copy if you ask them nicely.

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Tuesday reading

Current
Nebula Awards Showcase 2011, ed. Kevin J. Anderson
Bland Ambition, by Steve Tally
The Slender-fingered Cats of Bubastis, by Xanna Eve Chown
Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente

Last books finished
Feersum Endjinn, by Iain M Banks
The Ginger Man, by J. P. Donleavy
The Invasion, by Peadar O Guilin
Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers
The Big Finish Companion, vol. 2, by Kenny Smith
Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire

Next books
Sovereign by R.M. Meluch
Will Supervillains Be On The Final?, by Naomi Novik, art by Yishan Li

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The Good Doctor, by Juno Dawson

Second paragraph of third chapter:
‘Oh I think it just might be.’ The Doctor paused for a moment. She hopped from foot to foot. Ryan knew this dance too. It was the do we run away from this or towards it dance. And he knew exactly which she’d choose. ‘Come on, let’s take a little look. There’s only two things I don’t believe in, and one’s coincidence.’
Apparently the first published of the three recent Thirteenth Doctor books, by Juno Dawson (possibly the first out trans writer to contribute to the official Whoniverse; she also did a couple of Torchwood audios for Big Finish in 2017). It's really rather good - the story starts at the end of an adventure, following which the Doctor and friends return to the same planet centuries later, to discover that their first visit has become the founding myth of the dominant oppressive religious cult, with Graham remembered as the Doctor, the Doctor herself largely forgotten, and their own past used to justify slavery. It is very well done and packs a lot of action and thought into 227 pages. Recommended. You can get it here.

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Around The World in 80 Days won the Oscar for Best Motion Picture of 1956, and picked up another four, Best Cinematography, Color (Lionel Lindon), Best Film Editing (Gene Ruggiero and Paul Weatherwax), Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (Victor Young) and Best Writing, Best Screenplay, Adapted (John Farrow, S. J. Perelman, and James Poe). It was also nominated in Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color; Best Costume Design, Color; and Best Director. Interestingly, none of the actors was nominated despite the all-star cast. The other contenders for Best Motion Picture that year were The King and I (which I have of course seen) and Friendly Persuasion, Giant, and The Ten Commandments (which I haven't).


IMDB users rank Around The World in 80 Days 14th or 10th of the films of 1956. Ranked ahead of it in both cases are: The Ten Commandments; The Killing; The Searchers; The King and I; The Man Who Knew Too Much; Forbidden Planet; Invasion of the Body Snatchers; and Giant. Of those, apart from The King and I, I have also seen Forbidden Planet. The only other 1956 film I think I have seen is Moby Dick. It's a pretty good year; I liked all of them. Here's a contemporary trailer.


I thought this was generally very good fun. In case you didn't know, it's the story of a chap called Phileas Fogg in 1872, who bets his London clubmates that he can travel around the world in eighty days. He brings with him his recently hired manservant, Passepartout, and also acquires en route an Indian princess who he saves from suttee and a detective who suspects him of bank robbery. The journey gives the excuse for lots of brief portrayals of exotic settings, both in the original 1872 book and spectacularly in the 1956 film. It's not a deep film, but it's very entertaining. I'm a bit of a fan of David Niven anyway, having greatly enjoyed his two autobiographies which I read as a teenager. I've also loved the book since I was a child.
As usual I'll start with the bits of the film I didn't like so much.

Whitewashing: as usual, I'm afraid. The lead female role is the Indian princess Aouda, played by the thoroughly Caucasian Shirley MacLaine (aged 22, in her third film). Though, of course, even in the original book we are told on first seeing her that Aouda is "as fair as a European".

The film can hardly avoid Asian characters in the Indian, Chinese and Japanese segments - though of the credited actors, Robert Cabal, of European and Polynesian heritage, plays the unnamed Indian elephant driver; Philip Ahn, a Korean, plays a passer-by in Hong Kong). But there isn't a single sub-Saharan African or African-American visible anywhere. (It is implied that Achmed Abdullah, whose  is North African; he is played by the Mexican Gilbert Roland.) It's striking that in the scenes set in San Francisco, there is not a single non-white face to be seen - not in the election parade that starts this section of the film, not in Clancy's saloon. The book, on the other hand, singles out Chinatown as one of the sights of San Francisco, and mentions that the hotel waiters were "negroes of darkest hue" - which is not brilliant, but in the film they are not there at all.


Stereotypes: Of course this is a film which relies on stereotypes for the humour of its (Oscar-winning) script, as indeed did the book. The French of the 1870s and the Americans of the 1950s are alike in finding English reserve and snobbery alien and mockable (and an excuse to look at someone else's failings). I found it striking just how closely the film stuck to the book in this regard (with a couple of big additions, which I will get to, and the deletion of the scene with the Mormon preacher, which would have been less funny for 1950s Americans than for 1870s French readers). Oddly enough the weak point here is David Niven, who was a naturally warm and slightly vulnerable actor, and could not really carry off the impervious, on-the-spectrum Phileas Fogg.


The film does lampshade this, of course. In the closing seconds, Aouda appears at the Reform Club.
Fogg: My dear, I must ask you to leave these precincts at once. No woman has ever set foot in the club.
Aouda: Why not?
Fogg: Because that could spell the end of the British Empire.
(various crashes as Passepartout arrives through the window.)
The Governor of the Bank of England [Robert Morley]: This is the end.
(closing titles.)

Music: It's inoffensive (though Oscar-winning) stuff, the catchy theme tune being a minor hit with the instrumental version from the film on the A side and Bing Crosby crooning it on the B side. Rule Britannia is of course the theme for the British sections, but I was very amused that the French sections raid Gershwin's An American in Paris - no doubt from the film that had won the Best Picture Oscar only five years before.

Cast: There are 1302 named actors here. The number of cameos is breathtaking. You may have already spotted Marlene Dietrich running the San Francisco saloon. Here's Noel Coward (who wrote the 1932-33 Best Picture) and John Gielgud as the head of an employment agency and Phileas Fogg's recently sacked manservant.

Here's Frank Sinatra playing the piano in Marlene Dietrich's bar.

Here's Buster Keaton as the train conductor in the Wild West.

I am not enough of a film buff to really appreciate them all, but it's a remarkable array.

I think it's also unfair that none of the cast were nominated in any of the acting categories. Cantinflas in particular shines as Passepartout (and was apparently given top billing, ahead of Niven, in Spanish-speaking countries where he was better known).

I do I'm afraid have my issues with Robert Newton, who is a bit too chunky for the cadaverous Inspector Fix (and of course died of alcoholism several months before the film was actually released).

Spectacle: The whole thing looks fantastic. The two early inserted sequences, not in the original book, are the balloon out of Paris and the bullfight. The balloon is utterly gratuitous to the plot, but allows the film to be in Paris and to have some amazingly well contructed shots. It's a gorgeous sequence. (Of course, real balloonists would have needed to be more warmly dressed.)

Bullfighting is of course a terrible thing, but the point was that Cantinflas had actually been a bullfighter and was able to pull it off.

I've mentioned the establishment shot of San Francisco already. Everywhere is convincingly portrayed, the American bits best obviously. Passepartout is rescued from the Indians off-screen in the book but on-screen in the film:

And I had totally forgotten about the wind-propelled railcar in the book, which again looks great on screen.

This was very enjoyable. I'm putting it a quarter of the way down my list, just below All About Eve and above From Here To Eternity. You can get it here.


Next up is Bridge on the River Kwai, which is also based on a novel originally written in French but is a lot less funny.

This is of course not the only adaptation of Verne's novel for the screen, though it is probably the best. You may remember the 2004 version with Jackie Chan getting top billing as Passepartout and Steve Coogan in second place as Fogg, also featuring Jim Broadbent as a villainous Lord Kelvin and Arnold Schwarzenegger as an Oriental prince. It varies just a little further from the book than the 1956 version did. Here's a trailer:


Those of you who go back as far as I do may recall an Australian animated series in which Fogg is proving himself worthy of the love of Belinda, and Fix is an agent of his potential father-in-law. This opening sequence may jog your memory.


Back to the original novel, then. Second paragraph of third chapter:
Phileas Fogg se rendit aussitôt à la salle à manger, dont les neuf fenêtres s’ouvraient sur un beau jardin aux arbres déjà dorés par l’automne. Là, il prit place à la table habituelle où son couvert l’attendait. Son déjeuner se composait d’un hors-d’œuvre, d’un poisson bouilli relevé d’une « reading sauce » de premier choix, d’un roastbeef écarlate agrémenté de condiments « mushroom », d’un gâteau farci de tiges de rhubarbe et de groseilles vertes, d’un morceau de chester, — le tout arrosé de quelques tasses de cet excellent thé, spécialement recueilli pour l’office du Reform-Club. He repaired at once to the dining-room, the nine windows of which open upon a tasteful garden, where the trees were already gilded with an autumn colouring; and took his place at the habitual table, the cover of which had already been laid for him. His breakfast consisted of a side-dish, a broiled fish with Reading sauce, a scarlet slice of roast beef garnished with mushrooms, a rhubarb and gooseberry tart, and a morsel of Cheshire cheese, the whole being washed down with several cups of tea, for which the Reform is famous.
It's striking that both "Reading sauce" and "mushrooms" are in English in the original French text. I can understand there not being a French equivalent for the former, but what's wrong with "champignons"?

I last re-read the book in 2004, fifteen years ago, and wrote this:
After watching the dismal Steve Coogan/Jackie Chan film on the plane a couple of weeks ago, I realised I had the novel on my PDA and decided to re-read it. And, well, it's good. There's a little bit of the nerdishness recently satirised here, in that every means of transport is described in total detail. There are one and a half total implausibilities in the plot. But basically, this is a story of its time, full of the new wonders available in 1872 - the Suez Canal had been open for only three years, so had the rail link across the United States,and of course the whole point of the book is that the railway across India opened only that year. And this is an India only fifteen years on from the 1857 Mutiny - as far as we are from the fall of Communism; a Japan that has just experienced the Meiji restoration; a United States recovering from the Civil War, and doing its best to deal with the Mormons. And of course this is written by an author whose own native France has been devastated by a catastrophic military defeat the previous year, and is a determined attempt to look outwards and forwards.

The half implausibility I mentioned above is this. The whole basis of the story is that as a result of the trans-Indian railway being completed, our hero, Phileas Fogg, makes a bet that he can go around the world in eighty days. Well, when he gets to India, it turns out the railway hasn't been completed; and he has to complete the rest of the journey by elephant, rescuing the beautiful Aouda on the way. Now come on; the whole basis of the bet was that the railway was there, and surely the gap between Kholby and Allahabad is sufficient cause to call the bet off?

The complete and total implausibility is the punchline of the entire book, where we are asked to believe that in the course of 26 days travel between the International Date Line and London, none of our leading characters had actually checked the date and realised that they were a day ahead of themselves. So they saw no newspapers and experienced no weekends in America or between Cork and Dublin or Liverpool and London; and the schedule of steamers in New York and railways in Ireland and England was utterly insensitive to the day of the week? Come off it! Of course the plot simply doesn't work unless you are prepared to overlook this gaping hole in it, and most people do.

And how come all the bells in London strike at ten to nine anyway? Philip José Farmer had an explanation of this in The Other Log of Phileas Fogg, an otherwise completely forgettable effort. Apart from the points noted above, this is really fun and everyone should read it.
Re-reading it now I was even more struck by the cutting-edge aspects of the text. "Bungalows" are exotic buildings found only in India. The (American) Indian raid on the railway train is a cliche of the Western genre which had only recently come into existence (the dime novels Malaeska and Seth Jones both first appeared in mass circulation in 1860). I guess balloons out of Paris were still a painfully recent memory, or Verne would probably have put one in. It's a short book with lots of fun spectacle. You can get it here.


1920s: Wings (1927-28) | The Broadway Melody (1928-29)
1930s: All Quiet on the Western Front (1929-30) | Cimarron (1930-31) | Grand Hotel (1931-32) | Cavalcade (1932-33) | It Happened One Night (1934) | Mutiny on the Bounty (1935, and books) | The Great Ziegfeld (1936) | The Life of Emile Zola (1937) | You Can't Take It with You (1938) | Gone with the Wind (1939, and book)
1940s: Rebecca (1940) | How Green Was My Valley (1941) | Mrs. Miniver (1942) | Casablanca (1943) | Going My Way (1944) | The Lost Weekend (1945) | The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) | Gentleman's Agreement (1947) | Hamlet (1948) | All the King's Men (1949)
1950s: All About Eve (1950) | An American in Paris (1951) | The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) | From Here to Eternity (1953) | On The Waterfront (1954, and book) | Marty (1955) | Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)
21st century: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

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Second paragraph of third chapter:
The two of them preceded Querida and Barnabas up the straight drive (for, despite working until after midnight, Derk had not found room to make the drive wander as he wanted) and to the enormous terrace, where they politely bowed the two wizards up the steps. It was perhaps unfortunate that the moving around of the garden had resulted in the clump of man-eating orchids arriving at a bed just beside these steps. They made a dart at Querida as she passed, all several dozen yellow blooms at once. Querida turned and looked at them. The orchids drew back hastily.
This came to me strongly recommended as a superior example of the great Diana Wynne Jones' work. It didn't completely grab me, but I still quite liked it. The setting is a fantasy world which has been taken over by a commercial tour company from a world like ours; inhabitants are expected to dress up and engage in mock fantasy activities for the benefit of the tourists, and the unfortunate Derk is appointed Dark Lord of Derkholm in an effort to lead his world's response to the problem, which at the same time dealing with some complicated teenage family dynamics where not all of the teenagers are human.

DWJ was always particularly deft and sympathetic at portraying family relations (perhaps The Ogre Downstairs is her high point) and that's certainly the strength of this book, where quite a lot is shown rather than told. My difficulty was with the fantasy setting, where on the one hand we are invited to dislike the tourists from "our" world who don't take it seriously (or take it too seriously), and yet the characters veer a little too closely to early Pratchett in their own appreciation of their setting. In Farah Mendlesohn's terminology, it veers between several different rhetorics - liminal, immersive and portal (and possibly a kind of reverse intrusive) - without really settling on any of them. It's also rather longer than the story really deserves. As mentioned above, I still quite liked it. You can get it here.

This was the top unread sf book on my shelves (excluding previous award winners and current Hugo finalists). Next on that list is Grimm Tales, by Philip Pullman.

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A Sunless Sea, by Anne Perry

Second paragraph of third chapter:
A group of men passed him, trudging along the road towards the docks. A vegetable cart passed the other way, piled with carrots and greens of one sort or another, and a few ripe apples.
Honestly not sure why I picked this up. It turns out to be 18th in s series of 24 (so far) novels about a Victorian detective, William Monk, who here gets sucked into an 1864 London murder, linked to the government's involvement in the opium trade. I bounced off a number of points. The nicer characters have much too sympathetic political views for their time (for comparison, there is an awful chapter in the otherwise not too bad The Next Generation, by John Francis Maguire MP, published in 1871, about the Chinese and opium). The middle-class women of the book seemed to me rather more politically emancipated than could really have been expected in 1864. The actual murder plot was a bit improbable, and the motivation of the suspect who is first arrested for the crime seemed incomprehensible to me. On the other hand, there is a good and sensitive appreciation of London's geography. And on doing a bit more digging, I discovered that the author knows at first hand what it's like to be a woman on trial for murder. However, I don't think I will look out for more of her work based on A Sunless Sea. If you want, you can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2015. Next on that list is The Ghosts of Heaven, by Marcus Sedgwick.

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Second paragraph of third chapter:
Hordenza started. She’d been engrossed in the icefield analysis and hadn’t realised the signal from Versimmon was getting through. ‘Ah – Minister Hordenza here,’ she said. ‘Over?’
This is a novel in the Bernice Summerfield continuity, set during the Road Trip audio sequence (not that you'd really notice). It's a short book set on a world with no native animals, entirely ruled by trees; Bernice and three other women from the human colonising power have to make sense of it all. Another reviewer compared it favourably with Ann Leckie; I wouldn't go that far, but I thought the setting and language were a lot more original and imaginative than I'm used to from this series, and although the action was a bit confusing to begin with, it resolves reasonably quickly and anyway does not go on too long. Unusually, I think it would be a satisfactory read for someone who was not familiar with Benny's wider story. You can get it here.

Next in this sequence is The Slender-fingered Cats of Bubastis, by Xanna Eve Chown.

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Tuesday reading

Current
Feersum Endjinn, by Iain M Banks
The Ginger Man, by J. P. Donleavy
The Big Finish Companion, vol. 2, by Kenny Smith

Last books finished
The TARDIS Handbook, by Steve Tribe
The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal
Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne
Infomocracy, by Malka Older

Next books
Bland Ambition, by Steve Tally
Nebula Awards Showcase 2011, ed. Kevin J. Anderson

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Second paragraph of third chapter (on the migration crisis):
The demand for action had a different character from that which accompanied previous crises. The Ukraine crisis of 2014–15 was a matter of war and peace; the Union itself had hardly any resources or powers to bring the conflict under control, so active intervention by the member states jointly was an obvious necessity. Moreover, application of the magnetic forces provided by the Brussels diplomatic toolkit, the showpiece being the association agreement with Kiev, had worked out badly. No one at that point, therefore, disputed the primacy of events-politics. In the fields of asylum and migration, by contrast, the Union had quite a few competences and regulations. The situation became unmanageable because the regulatory framework collapsed under divergent strategic interests and because of the disruptive impact of the situation on public opinion. For a long time Brussels was blind to the gap between what was administratively possible and what, in this exceptional situation, was politically required. Engagement by the highest political authority needed for events-politics was even actively hindered by some institutions, reinforcing the impression of a loss of control, of powerlessness.
This book came out only last month in English translation (originally published two years ago in Dutch as De nieuwe politiek van Europa, but clearly updated as it includes many references to events of late 2017 and 2018). I vaguely know the author, and tidying up the house at the weekend found an invitation to a dinner we both attended several years ago. He was the speechwriter for the first full-time President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, but apart from that is political scientist, a philosopher and a perceptive analyst of what is really going on - constructively critical of the stories that the EU tells itself. I drew very much on the book in preparing my own recent talk on Brexit. In March, the Irish Times published a nice précis of his views, especially as applied to Brexit.

Several years ago, a senior (and British) EU official quipped to me that the EU's triumph is to convert difficult political issues into boring technical details. Van Middelaar dismantles this EU self-perception in forensic detail, first of all outlining several crucial recent cases where the politics was everything, and technical details held crucial political importance - the EU crisis, the Ukraine crisis, the refugee crisis, and the EU's response to Trump and Brexit - and then delving deeper into the EU's system of governance, showing that technocracy is not enough to satisfy the public's requirements for accountability.

I found particularly useful his point that the EU system was not built to include internal constructive opposition. It was deliberately and politically constructed as a massive peace project, removing the incentives for future conflict in Europe through economic co-operation. The EU works by consensus, expertise, technocracy, and grand coalitions. Even though almost all decisions by member states in the Council of Ministers are theoretically taken by qualified majority, in fact there are very few votes; there is a strong incentive to find a consensus. The same is true in the European Parliament, where unlike in a national parliament there is no group of members representing a potential alternate government.

This is both a strength and a weakness. Van Middelaar looks at the failures of the European federalist model (Commission as sole executive, Parliament as sole legislature) and analyses where opposition actually does happen in the current system: among governments, from the European Parliament, from national parliaments, from groups of opposition parties and from maverick forces. The EU has not yet accommodated all of these voices in its own political order, and it will take a certain change of mind-set in its leadership for that to happen. Van Middelaar doesn't say so directly, but it's more likely than not that the EU will adapt to the reality it has created; that's what has always happened before.

It's a book which will be of more interest to those who support the EU project than to those who oppose it (and of very little interest to those who don't much care one way or the other). Strongly recommended. You can get it here.

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Second paragraph of third section (as usual in these books, it's about The Edge of Destruction):
Observations: This unusual two-parter, featuring only the four regular cast members and the Tardis interior, was written to offset overspends on the previous stories, to introduce a 'sideways' narrative (instead of 'past' or 'future'), and to complete the series' probationary run of 13 episodes.
I picked this up in 2010 and did not get around to reading it until now. I didn't miss much. It's a Lofficier-style recounting of every Who story to date (so through the end of the first Matt Smith season), with a pretty bare-bones approach. The work of key designers is credited in the episode descriptions rather than in the rubric. TV and webcast spinoffs are listed at the end, in not much detail. This was behind the curve in 2010. If you want, you can get it here.

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  • Thu, 12:07: RT @alexstubb: Never take things for granted. The EU exists for 3 reasons: 1. Peace. 2. Security. 3. Prosperity. Let’s keep working at it,…
  • Thu, 12:56: RT @DmitryOpines: Thinking you can have a "clean-break Brexit" is like believing you can divorce a spouse of 30 years with whom you share a…
  • Thu, 13:04: RT @fatbadger442: Ffs. I know we're supposed to expect to have a universities minister who hasn't got much of a clue about how academia wor…
  • Thu, 15:38: RT @AdamsonPaul: I do get the sentiment about the need for the EU to speak with one voice ‘on the world stage’ but there is a certain irony…
  • Thu, 16:05: But will they listen? https://t.co/W74qYdzSaB
  • Thu, 17:04: I get a couple of lines in a Foreign Policy article on Europe's far right parties - or rather, countries where ther… https://t.co/ob1jFu0Uu0
  • Thu, 18:17: Arthur C. Clarke Award - Goodreads/LibraryThing stata https://t.co/bXH06G88nC
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Goodreads LibraryThing
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Rosewater, by Tade Thompson 22604 3.82 226 3.8
Frankenstein in Baghdad, by Ahmed Saadawi 13710 3.52 249 3.55
Semiosis, by Sue Burke 13517 3.95 179 3.86
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