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Wednesday, 08 July 2009


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Karl Steel

Ulysses -- a breathtaking thriller in which our heroes, several middleaged Irishmen, are stalked by a mysterious man in a McIntosh, who may or may not share a name with his coat.

Adam Roberts

Tonight at the Comedy Club: Macbeth's porter in three hours of stunning comedy monologue.

The Modesto Kid

Second time I read GR, I quit towards the end of part II when I realized there weren't going to be any more beach-terrorizing octopusses. (First time I read it, I quit towards the end of part I, grossed out by Col. Pudding's prediliction.)


But you have finished it, right TMK? Isn't your nom de blog a play on "the Kenosha Kid," or have I been wrong all this time?

Adam and Karl, I tried to do a bunch of them, turn it into a parlor game, but my head was mush this morning. Others are more than welcome to play along, though.


Lord of the Rings: The adventures of Tom Bombadil!

Catch-22: Who promoted Major Major?

Anyway, I run into a version of this all the time with the shorter historical documents that I assign. There's almost always an introductory header and some "focus questions" which invariably get incorporated into students' essays. I dropped a book of sources once because the introductory material was so badly done and I got tired of correcting the same misconceptions over and over, and of students writing essays that weren't actually on the questions I'd assigned.


I never read the back cover.

The above is, of course, a lie, but seriously, I try to avoid them. More often than not, I suceed.

The Modesto Kid

Yeah I finished it, it took 7 years and four times of starting to read it -- more effort than I've put into reading any other book that I've finished, though if I ever end up making it through Ulysses, that will take the title. My handle turned into a play on Kenosha Kid although it was originally suggested by John Emerson in a context unrelated to GR.

Karl Steel

Others are more than welcome to play along, though.
Imagine what could be done with Tristram Shandy. Wow. No point in going on.


I've had the same problem with front covers of fantasy novels, which are often done by artists hired by the company to paint something that has nothing to do with the plot. For example, I recently read a quite enjoyable fantasy detective novel (junk, but entertaining) called the Sword-Edged Blonde.

One problem. Here's the cover:

The scene of the scruffy rogue dude fighting back to back with the giant red-headed dude in a burning building? Never happens. Spent the whole novel waiting for it.


Forgive the necropost, but I just dug up my copy of Excession - published by Orbit in the UK in 1997 - and the back cover blurb is much better:

Two and a half millennia ago, the artifact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year-old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black-body sphere, and it did nothing. Then it disappeared. Now it is back.

In stark contrast to the blurb on SEK's copy, that is, in fact, what the book is about.

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