Thursday, February 16, 2006

Literary Fun Time

I spend at least an hour travelling to and from class every day. And since 95% of my fellow shuttle riders shut themselves out from the real world by listening to their ipods and staring blankly out the window the whole time, I read. I read at home anyway, but I do most of my reading on the bus. The last four books I've read have all been by Richard K. Morgan, who for some reason only publishes in trade paperback(at $14.95 a pop). So for all you keeping score at home, that's more than sixty bucks in the last few months on books. Yet I would glady plunk down another cool fifteen right now, if only I hadn't already bought and read all four books he's written.

I started with "Market Forces". I first heard about this book in Entertainment Weekly about a year ago, and the blurb they wrote really did it for me. It's a good thing too, because the cover has to be the ugliest piece of shit I've ever seen. All pink and yellow, and just... ughhh. And the back cover makes it seem trite and contrived. The book takes place fifty years in the future, and the big players on the world stage are financial houses which choose sides in small conflicts and revolutions based on the predicted dollar payoff(Hence Market and Forces. Clever, right?). There's one scene where two characters discuss regime change in a south American Country as a worst case scenario.

In this dystopic future, the gap between rich and poor has spread to an imense size, and gasoline is so expensive that only the wealthy executives can afford it. The dozen or so big corporations which deal in Conflict Investment compete for lucritive contracts by sending their executives out to battle on the now largely abandoned freeways in souped up armored death cars. The main character drives a custom Saab while the company he works for drive BMWs as the standard. I've had a lot of fun in the past few months trying to design these armored battlewagons. The internet has been of little help, since modern cars are armored to withstand bullets and bombs, not impact at high speeds. I've downloaded a bunch of pictures of NASCAR and F1 chassis's for inspitation, since those are desined to withstand impact. They also have no doors and only one occupant, so it's been slow going.

I went for a quick jog yesterday, and I feel like shit today. My legs and lower back are sore like I can't remember. I never felt this bad after a lacrosse game in high school, and I'm pretty sure an eighteen year old version of me could kick the 21 year old version's ass.

What a great segue into talking about Richard Morgan's other books. Stay tuned...


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