Friday, August 17, 2012

The Monthlies

That's what I should change the name of this blog to, I suppose, as that's about as often as I update it these days. Last time was exactly one month ago today... assuming I finish this post tonight, that is. (I didn't. It's now the following day) What can I say? Phoenix took it out of me. It drained me. It's weird to leave a physical place and realize that you're also leaving a dark emotional place as well. One you only kinda-sorta realized you were in. Phoenix was/is an abomination, one I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (okay, I would actually wish it on them) and I can't tell you how glad I was to see it in the rear-view mirror as we left it behind on monday.

This is what was happening the evening before we left... The haboobs were cute the first few times. By the end (after just having washed the car) I was pretty over them.
Monday. SOOOoooo long ago. Three days ago. Three days of driving ago, to be exact. Quite the haul, even for someone used to a lot of travel. The first day was pretty easy... I think it was just the joy of being out of that shit-hole. The second day was long, but okay. The third day was... hmn... let's say "painful." Skinny little asses like mine suffer after sitting on poorly-cushioned car seats for that long. I was longing for some booty. Thankfully, after those three days, we find ourselves in Dayton, Ohio. This weird, magical place where water falls from the sky, and breezes that don't feel like you're inside of a convection oven blow. It's even actually kind of cool outside right now. Amazing. (except all the clothes we have with us are designed for triple-digit-weather, but oh well. We can deal.)

We saw a whole lot of country in those three days. Some of it really beautiful... specifically New Mexico... unfortunately I was driving during that portion, and didn't get any photos. When I was in the passenger seat, which was rarely as I prefer to drive, I did snag photos out the window at 75mph...

                                                                         El Dorado

                                                                Liberal, Kansas

                                                                   Hooker, Oklahoma

All righty... reviews! Other than sit there and think about how sore my ass was and take pictures out of windows, I did some reading.

Railsea, by China Mieville, to be exact. I'd been reading it for more than a month, but, despite liking it, just couldn't get into it. I blame Phoenix. I would read a bit here, a bit there, but that was it. My concentration wasn't present. The car solved that. Now, I do have to admit to being somewhat biased when it comes to China Mieville. See, he's my Other Boyfriend. He just hasn't acknowledged it yet. See, if you're not familiar with him, he's insanely handsome, crazily smart, lectures at feminist conventions, is a fan of socialism, and, did I mention... he's sexy as fuck?

But this is where my Mea Culpa comes in... his last few books I just haven't been able to get into. The City and The City, while it had an interesting premise (two cities that co-exist literally within each other, but whose respective residents aren't allowed to interact with each other... think Israel/Palestine) just felt like socio-political lecturing to me. I didn't make it past the first chapter. Kraken also had some interesting concepts (Competing manufactured apocalypses, anyone? Giant squid gods?) and held my interest a bit more. I still set it aside 400 pages in. Someday I'll finish it off, I suspect, just not right away.

But I'm not speaking of those books, am I? I'm speaking of Railsea. A return to what I originally found intriguing about his works... excellent world-building, a layer (or more) of philosophy, and some action thrown into the mix for good measure.

The story follows Sham ap Soorap, a young man who works and lives upon a train captained by a woman hunting her philosophy. (that's not a mis-speak on my part, that really is what she's hunting, literally) Over the course of the tale, we see him discover there are other things out there, mysteries of the Railsea to be solved, and is own philosophies to be hunted. If you've never dove into a Mieville book, this is an excellent one to start with. Not too heady, not too weird, not too dark.