January 17th, 2010


Gibbon's Vindication

  • "It is not without some mixture of mortification and regret, that I now look back on the number of hours which I have consumed, and the number of pages which I have filled, in vindicating my literary and moral character from the charge of wilful Misrepresentations, gross Errors, and servile Plagiarisms... I am impatient to dismiss, and to dismiss FOR EVER, this odious controversy, with the success of which I cannot surely be elated; and I have only to request, that, as soon as my Readers are convinced of my innocence, they would forget my Vindication."

January Books 9) The Wheel of Engaged Buddhism, by Kenneth Kraft

I was not quite sure what to make of this book. It outlines ten paths of action, all of which might be found in a good self-help book (they include "Embracing Family", "Working With Others" and "Participating in Politics"), referred to a specific mandala in the shape of the eponymous wheel. But for me the book fell between the two stools of explanation and instruction. The reader is assumed to be already familiar with the history and culture of Buddhism; while mandalas in general are rather briefly explained, the background of this Wheel is not. So I didn't learn much from it, except to discover that Engaged Buddhism exists (but even there I found Wikipedia more informative).

January Books 10) Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible, by Marc Platt

I have decided to work through the Virgin New Doctor Who Adventures, and since I had already read the four Timewyrm novels, that meant starting with this, the first of the Cat's Cradle trilogy.

It's actually rather fascinating, just after watching The End of Time, to experience a completely different reinterpretation of the Time Lords and Gallifrey, the combination of Cartmel Masterplan and Marc Platt's imagination which culminates in Lungbarrow (which is itself mentioned here as a concept for the first time). Like a lot of Platt's writing it is eerie and confusing, early Gallifreyans and peculiar deserted cities, but with some fascinating insights and ideas, and some decent character development for Ace who has to carry most of the plot with the Doctor being in cold storage for much of the book. I do wish I'd been picking these up when they first came out in 1992.