Sunday 22 February 2009

Camp Concentration by Thomas M Disch

Louis Sacchetti, overweight poet and draft dodger bears a passing resemblance to Burgess' Enderby, and the first half of the novel has some of the verbal virtuosity and subversive books of Burgess' books. The set-up has elements of a dark satire on the extent to which governments will go to further their own interests, especially in times of war, real or aggravated. The narrative fragments a few too many times for comfort, although that actually makes this a more true-to-life novel in journal form than most, and the science fictional elements as well as the dillemas they pose seem to recede in favour of an examination of a one-dimensionally evil persona and a fortunate ending that greatly reduced the impact of the book's horrors. Good in parts; extremely good at moments, but ultimately not as unflinching or integral as '334'

Monday 9 February 2009


I went strolling today. Down Kamaraj Road towards Commercial Street via a maze of lanes. I took a few photos.
So, lately.

I've been slowly working my way through HG Wells' 'The Outline Of History'. Although the last revised edition from 1971, there are things in the opening chapters, on life before humanity, human evolution and prehistoric life that have been superseded by later research (for instance, he probably relied more on Frazier for his theories on sacrifice and early religion than a later writer would have). Still, much of it is still very sound. It was the first major history to be based on an evolutionary, psychoanalytical and rational view of our story on this planet, and there is indeed grandeur in this view of life.

I recently finished watching all 4 seasons of Blackadder. I think it may be the best comedy series ever. There's an undercurrent of snotty-nosed social and historical commentary, or just plain snarkiness, which is a good substitute, running through it all, great running jokes and at all points a superb ensemble cast to carry out the comedic hi-jinks. A cunning plan, indeed.

Now nursing my sweet tooth for British comedy with the first season of Jeeves & Wooster and stray episodes of Mind Your Language, which relies considerably on national stereotypes for its humour but pleases with its essentially good-natured style and the large, somewhat demented cast.