What Kind of Liberal Are You?


Quiz: What Kind of Liberal Are You?

My Liberal Identity

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

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Talking about books

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I was down in Invercargill during the month for my brother’s 50th birthday celebrations, Boston T.. I stayed with Southern Dave and took the opportunity to browse through his extensive library for things I should read. Over five days I had time to read four of his books.

  • I shall wear midnight, the most recent Terry Pratchett. I had heard that this was darker than his earlier books. Before reading it I had put it down to the fact that the onset of Alzheimer’s disease had given him intimations of mortality. On reading it I found it to be deliciously dark and enjoyable. He also re-introduced one of his earliest characters whose fate I had always wondered about and identified several paragraphs before being revealed in the text.
  • The Fuller Memorandum by Charlie Stross. The latest in the Laundry series. That man is evil!
  • The Last Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko. I’ve gone off the Russian Night Watch series. There seems to be little choice between the libertarian Dark and the paternalistic snobbery of the Light. Gack! I’m not sure if this book had anything to add.
  • Peter and Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham. Willingham takes characters from his successful Fables title in Vertigo and writes a book. It’s a reminder to me that characters from visual media: graphic novels and television, do not easily cross over into written media. They come across as two-dimensional in books to me.
  • Since returning to Dunedin I have bought a copy of Kraken by China Miéville. It’s not so much Gosh Wow as his New Crobuzon novels but it has several moments of the fantastic descriptions that have become his trademark. Because it’s set in London it feels closer to his earlier novel UnLunDun in its story telling. Two of his villains feel like a hat tip to the archetype that Neil Gaiman used in Neverwhere as Croup and Van Der Meer (I think that was their names). I would be happy to get Goss and Subby out of my head. They are creepy and terrifying! One moment in the denoument had me cheering because Metadata Is Important! Only a cataloguer can appreciate that moment.

    Also it was nice to see a character who’s a member of a squid cult who is motivated by its distinct ethos and theology. It makes a nice difference to fleshing out a character.

    And finally FreakAngels volume two by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield arrived in at Pop Fiction this week. I have asked to get the next volume for me. Both Kraken and FreakAngels are welcome additions to my book shelves.

Waiting for the moment, for the moment to arise


I think it is official now that I’m avoiding the Majellan Urban Tribe at the moment. I caused a scene at the last session I was at, which was over a month ago. Too hot, too tired, too frustrated. I wanted out in air where I could breathe. In the weeks that have followed I have found it easier to find other things to do, finding other peoples, reclaiming the time. The changed man is looking for me, perhaps in time I will answer him . . . but not now.

Today I went to the library. It took me nearly two months to finish the books I got out last time. Robin Fleming’s history of Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire to the Norman Conquest was my favorite, and the last that I finished. She combined archeaelogical research with historical records with some interesting observations. It was fascinating to read how production centres in Britain collapsed as Roman civilisation retreated. There was a period of 200 years when nails weren’t made in the West European Isles. As we enter a post-petroleum age what industries are going to collapse? What will be out of our grasp?

In comparison the history of Al-Andalus was disappointing because it was a document based history and acknowledged that there are gaps in the record.

I have got overly ambitious now and found five books to get out:

  • Old Malacca
  • Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East by Bernard Lewis
  • A Web of Air by Philip Reeve
  • Stamping Butterflies by Jon Courteney Grimwood
  • Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  • I’m reading a history of Christianity in Malaysia so I want to read more about the country’s history. It turns out that it’s a small collection in my local library, no general histories and mostly to do with the Emergency. The book by Bernard Lewis looked interesting. Philip Reeve is a young adult writer whose works I greatly admire. Grimwood’s book is the next of his that I could find in the library and I will puzzle my way through it after his Arabesk trilogy: Pashazade, Effendi and Felaheen; and Lindqvist jumped out at me and I felt I should read it to find out what not one but vampire movies (Swedish and American) are on about.

    At the harbour mouth the Lookout Head Light House; down the harbour, on the south shore the fortified island; then the port town Roundhouse Bay; beyond it Sea Bird Egg Island where the quarantined land; the harbour narrows under the Harbour Bridge joining the city of Lamborough to the dachas on the south shore of the wide bay beyond; after the bridge the ferries dock at the Dogs Ferry Station which opens into the city. The train goes under the Hythe Hills to join the city to the port.