Cops and Rob-bers

Beyond-the-Rift-related items seem to have popped up here and there last week while I was overseas. Interviews went live at the inaugural episode of the rebooted Seattle Geekly, and at Freelance and Fiction. Reviews of BtR popped up at SF Signal and Publisher’s Weekly (both positive, although I don’t think the PW gave me a star— which is a little odd, because they even gave a starred review to Behemoth: Seppuku, which everyone else hated.)

Amongst all this renewed interest, I’m pleased to see people finally starting to notice the exploration of religious faith that threads through so much of my stuff. It’s good that this word is starting to spread, since Echopraxia pretty much clobbers the reader over the head with ruminations on the same theme. At least now you can’t say you weren’t warned.

Fond  memories from the past few days:

Taken in haste, as the elbow approaching on the right ducked out of frame. Its owner feared that my eagle photographer's eye was being used in the service of evil.

Taken in haste, as the elbow approaching on the right ducked out of frame. Its owner feared that my eagle photographer’s eye was being used in the service of evil.

  • The  phalanx of police summoned by British Airways late Sunday night,  just before they announced to people who’d been waiting for two days that their perennially-“delayed”  flight had now been cancelled outright on account of the plane  spewing hydraulic fluid all over the ground crew and sending twelve of them to hospital.
  • The  cop who accosted me for taking a blurry picture of one small part of said phalanx, and who— when asked why it was forbidden to take pictures in the departure lounge— actually said, “Haven’t you heard of 9-11?” I told him that I heard about it a lot— in fact, I heard about 9-11 every time someone wanted to curtail another one of our civil rights.  You would all have been so proud. (To do the guy justice, he de-escalated on his own initiative— went from you have to delete that photo to Okay, delete it after you send it to your wife to well, just don’t take any more photos like  that, okay? He actually seemed like a pretty nice guy.)
  • Footage of Rob Ford plastered across every flatscreen in Heathrow International Airport
  • People met and stuff done in Munich (and no, I’m not telling you what I was doing there, because these things always end badly and I don’t want to jinx it).

But my favorite item of the past week has to be the Echopraxia blurb— the first Echopraxia blurb, in fact— that dropped into my phone at Pearson International at 3a.m., as I staggered amongst the spent bodies of fellow would-be travelers who’d dropped from sheer frustrated exhaustion—

“Makes Blood Meridian look like an episode of Bonanza”

—Which will end up not getting used because too many of you haven’t read Blood Meridian, and not enough of you are old enough to remember what “Bonanza” was.

No problem, though. I got a much longer and even more effusive blurb from the  same  source just a few hours ago. Which means that, regardless of how the rest of the week went down, it started and ended on a couple of real high notes.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Sunday November 24 2013at 10:11 am , filed under Beyond the Rift, Dumbspeech, On the Road, writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

19 Responses to “Cops and Rob-bers”

  1. Lol. Yeah, proud, though at the same time recalling something about “stay in the car.”

    Glad you’re back without being covered in fuel, etc.

  2. Kind of depressing that a lot of people haven’t read Blood Meridian. That book is a modern American classic. Right up there with Gatsby and Moby Dick

  3. Yeah, I never knew how beautiful— maybe “poetic” is a better word — unrelenting brutality could be, until I read that book.

  4. Regarding bullet 2: I am boggled and impressed. Alyx observes this is further proof that you are a cat.

  5. I have not read Blood Meridian, Gatsby, or Moby Dick and, to be honest, neither looks very compelling. But name a Russian classic — I have read it. Probably. 🙂

    All I’m saying is that it should not be depressing that much of the world is not familiar with the American classics.

  6. No fucking way you fucking have to use that blurb omg omg omg. I’ve read Blood Meridian. If I got a blurb like that on something I did I would be squeeing the fuck out.

  7. Perhaps they would be willing to blurb like, “Makes ‘A History of Violence’ look like an episode of ‘Bonanza'”?

  8. I haven’t read BM or watched Bonanza but I get the gist of it… And it’s a catchy blurb. Could do worse.

  9. They’re always “pretty nice guys”.

  10. Is Echopraxia more depressing than the Song of Stone?

    Like most people, I found it tremendously hard going on the first try…so bleak and so relentlessly horrible I thought I was being tricked into committing suicide. Still I went back for a re-read more than once. Now I feel it is close to perfectly realised, Banks has no mercy on his reader: we get no respite, little narrative arc to speak of and come out the other end shattered.

  11. Sheila,

    A History of Violence seemed a pretty tame film to me. I’ve read a non-fiction memoir by a mild mannered, sensitive, law-abiding musician and family man who is certain to have killed, in cold blood, way more people than the fictional protagonist of ‘A History of Violence’.

  12. “Makes Blood Meridian look like an episode of Bonanza”

    What could one expect in a society where people are superfluous, predatory psychopaths are in charge, there’s aliens lurking out there and people have grown soft and meek due to a century of peace?

    It seems eminently rational, from the amoral psychopath in charge viewpoint to ‘clean’ the slate and remove the resource gobbling and lolcat spamming hordes.

    Still, a predatory subspecies of man would probably like to keep game reserves, so maybe not everyone would end up dead and over time, the resulting ‘natural selection’ would actually breed hardier, smarter humans – thus more interesting prey?

  13. I am a little vexed (channeling Joaquin P in ‘Gladiator’ here). The-Horrible-Company-That-Doesn’t-Pay-Tax, Exploits-Its-Staff And Erodes-The-Market tells me there is a delay with ‘Beyond The Rift’ and I won’t get it until at least after Crimbo, possibly not until January.

    Like, wtf, homie?

  14. Y.,

    That book is not a violent western which can be compared to Bonanza.

  15. How about “Makes No Country for Old Men look like an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger?” Keeps the McCarthy reference only more familiar and points out that Huckabee’s election gimmick ain’t all that at the same time.

    “Valerie picks Chuck Norris out of her stool.”

    PS: think the marketing types mean do EXACTLY what everyone else does…but separate yourself from the crowd. They don’t actually know how to do this and leave it to the “creative types”, ie, you.

  16. “Makes Blood Meridian look like an episode of Bonanza”

    I blurted out a hard laugh and swore all over again to pre-order this book as soon as I can. 😀

  17. I have read ‘Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West’, and I watched Bonanza as a kid. So there. 😉 per the Blood Meridan reference: I’d expect nothing less from you, Peter- Can’t wait to read it— I’m teaching the Post Planetary seminar again in the spring 2014
    [] — any chance we will be able to read it in class? CHEERS

  18. Sheila,
    I know it’s not, but neither is A History of Violence a western.

    The point is plenty of people have killed others for various reasons and perhaps enjoyed it – and then moved on.

    You think the Japanese who participated in the Rape of Nanjing were all coerced? There was probably an intense social pressure in the army to behave like everyone else…so they behaved worse than animals.

    Though we’re a self-domesticated species, many people still hunt- even though they don’t have to and no doubt a single-or perhaps a double digit % of the male population would find violence enjoyable if they gave it a try.

    And in any case, it’s only the outer-most parts of the human brain that provide strong impulses against killing. People with damage to the frontal lobes and consequent impulse control are much more likely to be violent – so one can argue violent impulses are in everybody – but generally, socialized people in a modern society have too good an impulse control to act out. Which is a good thing.

  19. Y.,

    My mistake. I remembered the movie as having elements common to westerns and considered it like a modern western, or a grandchild of westerns. Kind of like Cormac McArthur’s borderland trilogy isn’t exactly a western since it has a more modern sensivility than Zane Grey novels.

    I wasn’t replying to the bit where you explain how regular people do sociopathic things. I was more trying to find an equiv parallel to that blurb that would have an anology that more people would recognize. It’s a recent movie with more name recognition (though int he long run, a comparison to BM would be better unless that movie turns out to be a classic)