November 11th, 2007


My walk on Friday morning

View Larger Map

Hope this will display - also trying to get the routes to show as well.

I was staying in the Saray Hotel (marked with the green hostel icon on the right), and walked through the streets of the Turkish section of the old town to just outside the walls, there I turned left and approached the UN buffer zone (between the two little inspector icons). The next few hundred metres, both before and after the Greek Cypriot checkpoint, are a combination of international community buildings and houses still devastated from 1974; the hostel icon between the checkpoints marks the Ledra Palace Hotel, where I was last year. The transition to suburban sprawl is pretty sudden and by the time I reached the car hire place I could have been in any Mediterranean country.

Totqal distance: almost exactly a mile. Shame that one of the wheels on my pull-along case went wonky at a very early stage...

November Books 4) The Prestige

4) The Prestige, by Christopher Priest

Haven't read a lot of Christopher Priest - I know three of his earlier books, being a bit underwhelmed by Fugue for a Darkening Island and A Dream of Wessex , but totally blown away by Inverted World. And The Separation was one of the first books I blogged here, back when I was still getting into it. But with the coming con I thought I should renew my acquaintance with his work.

I wondered at first if The Prestige actually had any sfnal content at all, or if it was going to qualify as genre only in the same way as The Syſtem of the World. But by the end of the story it's pretty clear that this is science fiction, though in a particularly creepy and eerie way; the story of two rival stage magicians at the turn of the nineteenth/twentieth centuries, combined with the technology of Nikola Tesla, and all kinds of questions about family secrets and unreliable narrators. I really enjoyed it.

November Books 5) The Steep Approach to Garbadale

5) The Steep Approach to Garbadale, by Iain Banks

This was great fun: memories of teenage lust, complex families with long-hidden secrets, games and business connections, and an excuse for the occasional political rant. It reminded me a lot of three of my favourite other Banks books, in particular The Crow Road and The Player of Games, with a certain amount of Whit thrown in as well. I think it's a fair bet that if you liked those ones you will like this as well.