19 December 2013

Titan revisited

I wasn't prepared for the opportunity to do some reading. I hadn't been to the library or a bookstore.

Then I saw a very old copy (printedin 1967 when the ISBN was just an "SBN") of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s The Sirens of Titan.

I was enthralled with the book 40-some years ago. It was full of ideas and jokes that were brand new to me. This time when I read it, it seemed a lot less like fiction or satire.

The mega-story is a huge shaggy dog tale. The main characters, like most of us, have no idea of their roles in the human saga. The NSA is real, and the Traflamadorians are fiction, but it's difficult to determine which is more destructive. Just like it's difficult not to laugh out loud when the CEOs of Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo!, and LinkedIn plead with the president in Washington, D.C. to rein in the government invasion of people's privacy.
A Sirens of Titan tattoo

After re-reading it, I still like The Sirens of Titan. But I'm an old man now, like the main character, and I'm less amused by human or machine foibles.

Bring on the children. They're cute and wonderful. They'll grow out of that, but I want to spend time with them now. And eventually give them their own copies of The Sirens of Titan.

Meanwhile, "Greetings."

05 December 2013

Singaporean detective

Looking for a new series of mysteries?

Danny Yee, an Australian whose recommendations have been good in the past, has this:

Inspector Singh Investigates by Shamini Flint

  • A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder
  • A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul
  • The Singapore School of Villainy
  • A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree
  • A Curious Indian Cadaver
  • A Calamitous Chinese Killing

  • Inspector Singh is a Sikh working for the Singapore police, whose investigations so far have taken place in Malaysia, Bali (Indonesia), Singapore, Cambodia, India and China. The series is tied together by Singh's character and the foreign settings, in which he usually ends up working unofficially, with some help from elements of the local police... 
    "What makes these novels a success, however, are their individual stories. These are entertaining and well-paced, with a bit of suspense and some surprises, and they have a good cast of characters — in almost all of them families and family connections play key roles. And Flint may not have literary pretensions, but she writes straightforward and effective prose... "