Monday, July 27, 2009


Krakatoa: Simon Winchester -This is another of the histories where you can get lost in the back story and the side stories. Basically, here's what you need to know: in 1883, the volcanic island of Krakatoa near Jakarta exploded. It killed twenty-thousand people, affected the weather all over the world and quite possibly set in motion some of the political problems we have in that part of the world. Krakatoa is an example of what happens when green house gases and dust are released in large amounts into the atmosphere and has at least colored some of the green movement's policies and ideas.

It was a big event and Winchester goes into achingly deep detail about the region, what was going on around the area when it happened and even why things happened the way they did. It's an informative read, but the thoroughness can get irritating at points.

The Good Humor Man: Andrew Fox -I'm trying to work in more novels again and this one is plain weird, involving a Dystopian future where government-endorsed and brutal Good Humor Men burn candy bars and sugary snacks while revoking the health insurance cards of those who covet such things. The nation is on weird anorexic kick and the world is about to end, thanks to a engineered gene accidentally released into the wild that raises every one's basal metabolic rate. Even the deer are getting thin. There's a huge plot about a liposuctioned Elvis fat, Muslim secret agents from the Caliphate and outsourced FBI agents.

It all sounds like it could be a very funny book... like something by Bill Fitzhugh or even Chuck Palahniuk...only, it's not. It's more of a Philip K. Dick approach with shades of Corey Doctorow -- a little light satire mixed with an attempt to see the future based on magazine headlines. It's not a bad sort of psychedelic thriller. I'd have just like it more if there was more humor in The Good Humor Man.

1 comment:

Jay said...

If you haven't read The Devil In The White City you should check it out. Good, easy read.