Deus in Machina

Shocking isn’t it? I say I’ll start updating again, and then complete silence for weeks. I’ll claim the psychological shock of returning to work combined with the first day of said work coinciding with the hottest day in 18 years – 44.4º C to be exact (about 112 in the old money), which is the kind of temperature that requires the better part of a week to get over no matter how mild the subsequent days may be by comparison.

In any case, I survived both the resumption of the daily grind and mother nature’s seeming determination to kill me and it’s probably time I made some kind of update. So here I am.

Books. I have now finished some of the books I got at Christmas, in addition to The Martian which I devoured in under 12 hours. The latest Peter Grant novel for instance, Foxglove Summer. It’s quite a different beast to the previous installments as it sees PC Grant leave the familiar environs of London for the open countryside. Not to fear however, things out there are just as strange as in the big smoke – maybe stranger. Unless I’m mistaken it’s the longest novel in the series so far, but it doesn’t seem long – it flows along as enjoyably as any of the other books.

If I had one complaint it would be that it ends rather abruptly with something of a deus ex machina (or perhaps more accurately deus in machina). I have to wonder if Ben simply couldn’t stop writing and his editors had to cut him off. In any case it’s well worth a read and a worthy addition to the series.

The second book is Graham McNeill’s Gods of Mars, the conclusion of his Adeptus Mechanicus trilogy. While quite good, I feel that it’s not quite up to the standard of the previous two entries (Priests of Mars and Lords of Mars). Graham had a lot of balls in the air at the end of Lords, and it seems as if he wasn’t quite sure to do with them all in the concluding volume. As a result the various plot lines kind of smash together in an uneven fashion to bring them all back under control. That said, the characterizations are still great, the dialogue enjoyable, and a variety of Xenos we hardly ever get to see pop their heads up for a brief moment in the sun, which is always fun.

One thing I must take Graham to task for however is the sneaky references he keeps slipping in. Honestly, it’s like he has some kind of strange disease. I can accept for instance that the Imperium might well rescue and refit some burnt-out battlecruisers found drifting near the shoulder of Orion. And it is in fact logical that a cadre of weaponised hunting hounds (which are lean and athirst) might be named Tindalosi. But an ancient Adeptus Mechanicus scrying device named a Mars Volta? Seriously Graham, seek help before it’s too late! ;D

In addition to reading books, I went to see The Imitation Game with Rebecca and Dom. It was really, really good. Historically inaccurate on a number of points, but a really excellent movie. I was particularly impressed with the way they included explanations of cryptological concepts like cribs and cillies into the plot without having to load the viewers down with exposition. Although not 100% accurate it’s a fitting tribute to one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, and if you’re at all interested in Turing and Enigma then you should go and see it immediately.

OK, that wall of text should make up some for my lengthy absence. Now go and make your own damn entertainment! ;D

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