Sunday, May 22, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I read this novel because it is a prequel to the equally brilliant Oryx and Crake - which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The Year of the Flood shows how civilisation collapsed and humanity died out before the story of one of the few survivors begins in Oryx and Crake.
The world is dominated by giant corporations. These corporations are heavily into genetic engineering. There are many genetically engineered animals created in place of the many extinct animals like pandas and platypus. Humans are genetically engineered mainly for aesthetic reasons.
The novel begins after the waterless flood occurs and then takes us back a decade or so earlier to show how the flood happened. The story concentrates on a girl and woman whose end up at an environmental cult called the Gardeners. The Gardeners are vegans who recycle everything. They survive on food grown on a huge rooftop garden and anything they can scavenge.
Ren's mother deserted her father and took her to live with a Gardener. Her story is told from her early teens. Toby's story begins just as she reaches adulthood. She works in a burger joint that sells secret burgers. They are called secret burgers because you never know what their ingredients might include. Toby is rescued from a rapist manager by the Gardeners.
Adam one leads the Gardeners. His sermons connecting the bible and the environment litter the novel. He knows the end is coming. He is trying to teach his fellow gardeners how to survive it.
I found the innocent but quickly learning voice of Ren very believable. Atwood writes he portion of the story in first person. She changes to third person for Toby's tired but stoic voice.
I was continually stopping to marvel at the insights to the world and people in the novel. How humanity has little hope of surviving because of the hoplessness that pervades us doing anything about the huge environmental and social problems that we face. We lack hope of changing so we do nothing to change.
I also found myself laughing a lot. Srcastic and ironic humour flows through the book.
Everyone should read this novel. It shows were our lack of hope could lead.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Divine Article on Universal Remotes
I have a new article up on Divine about universal remote controls. The article was inspired by the inability of my mother to control a set-top box. The buttons on its remote control were too small for her arthritic fingers to control. She has the same problem with the remote for a Sony DVD recorder. I am hoping that someone who reads the article will suggest a universal remote control that is suitable for her.
Divine Cataract Surgery
If you have cataracts that are interfering with your life, but are too worried about getting them removed, you should have a read of my next article for Divine about cataract surgery. It details my first had experience. Cataracts run in my family. Both grandmothers had problems with them. My mother has had them removed, as have uncles and aunties on both sides of the family.
The movie Source Code is nowhere near as good as Inception, but it is better than most of the crap alien invasion and comic book garbage being served up as science fiction lately. Source Code is directed by Ducan Jones, who also directed the Hugo award winning Moon. It’s more of a thriller than action movie. Like Moon, it relies more on story than special effects.
Source Code is set on a train in the near future in
Family visited. Garage boy next door seems to have become garage boys with the accompanying increase in noise. It seems they want a war. I returned fire at their parents this morning. When not thinking up scenarios for future battles, Divine magazine took up my writing time: writing an article and arguing over edits for the other.
I could do with a week long drinking session. Numbing the brain would help me forget the misinformation surrounding me. I even got sucked in by the fake pictures of a shot-in-the-head Osama Bin Laden on the telly.
I remember a few years ago hearing about research into television news which showed that it frequently left people less informed than before they viewed it. Last week’s collections of sound and vision bites on the news from ABC, Nine and Seven definitely confirmed this.