Archive for Ian Banks

Books I cannot finish…

Posted in Books with tags , , , on January 15, 2011 by xi'an

Over the past two months, I have been trying to read through both Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Ian Banks’ Transition, but could not make myself read any further any of those two books! Not completing a book happens to me so rarely as, once I realise a book is terrible, I keep reading it with a vengeance! I had already read The Algebraist by Banks and enjoyed it very much, despite its complex plot, but Transition is simply uninteresting [at least up to page 100!] and it deservedly got mixed reviews… I am even more surprised at Gaiman’s American Gods falling from my lap as this is a Hugo and Nebula winning novel. It has been repeatedly praised as a major novel at the edge of fantasy, but I found the core idea of bringing old Norse gods into America rather predictable and unimaginative. The first half (that I read) of American Gods reminded me of an essay a friend gave me 15 years ago about the influence of Norse myths on modern fantasy (and U.S. serial killers),  although I cannot remember the title nor the name of the author… But I could not find any interest in the story or in the characters, no matter how well the book was written. (Incidentally, one character is called Wednesday, which links to the great The Man who was Thursday by Chesterton. A book I definitely finished reading!) As it happens, American Gods is about to make the top two in the list of the Best SFF Novels of the Decade, as just after Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and before (!) Patrick Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind….

Inventaire d’hiver à la Prévert

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures with tags , , , , , on December 28, 2010 by xi'an

Back from our ski trip, a nonsensical summary à la Prévert:

twice nine hour drive and a dead car battery,
one hour for putting chains on and five minutes to take them off,
seven saucissons for 20 euros and 30 euros for a kilo of Beaufort,three days of big white-out and one sunny afternoon,
-13 on the first day, +13 two days later,
five runs on the super-G slope every early morning,
a two-hour off-piste course and my first attempt at skating since 1988,
ten seconds stuck in the fog wrongly thinking I was still moving,
and a fraction of a second to face the opposite,

one broken snowboard and dozens of falls,
an entire Pasaalina and a few pages of Banks,
great packed snow and equally great powdery snow,
lots of laughs and bitter cold on the ski-lift,…