sunday special: a couple of extemporaneous book reviews

Hey folks,

This week I read Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation, a weird and exciting mix of Lovecraft and Camus. A novel of exploration, tension, and transformation, it comes in at a tense 200~ pages. So gripping was the story that I finished it in a day. Our protagonist, known only as “the biologist,” is opaque and unknowable — perfectly befitting the warped world of Area X. I highly recommend the book — the recent film adaptation, not so much.

Beyond that, I also read CP Boyko’s Novelists, a collection of short stories united in its exploration of various (fictional) novelists and their peculiarities. The book is funny, biting, and sharply written — in particular I found many of his similes exceptionally apt. The book is short, also — around 200 pages — and seems to get better and better as it goes. The final story, about a ludicrous literary prize selection committee, recalls 12 Angry Men, and reveals that many of the stories in this volume take place in the same persistent universe. Great book, would recommend.

first he turned the screws

First he turned the screws in the robot’s back panel, then he raced into the kitchen to get a pot of coffee brewing. He watered a basil plant before rolling up a cigarette but leaving it unsmoked. He refreshed the podcast feed on his phone lit a candle before pouring his cuppa and leaving it beside the pot. He turned another screw then drew up a sketch of a landscape, then rushed out to the mall to buy paints.

every weekday

Every weekday, construction workers scurry over the skeletal building, like silent film stars viewed in the modern era. Bangs and crashes and great KAPOWs echo across the paved landscape, til the exhausting roar of a city bus, thick with human figures, obscures them.
When Saturday rolls around, only tarps flapping in the breeze move. The busses’ roars obscures that, too.

flight attendant attire

Flight attendant attire, scuffed and broken shoes. Sprightly walk between offices, muffled carpet sighs. No phone works – another dead dial tone, bzzz. An email instead, un courriel. Sent, received; no reply. Another coffee, extra sugar. Another email, still nothing; no phone either. Bitten nails in the setting sun, automatic lights shut off, absent motion. Flailing arms at the sensors, but darkness remains.