Saturday, June 09, 2007


We're staying in town again this weekend. Patrick slept in, as did I. I finally rose and dressed and went out for coffee when my caffeine headache became irritating. The coffee shop I go to is by the Farmers' Market, so I took a quick tour. It's mostly flats of herbs and flowers right now, but there is also asparagus, radishes, lettuce, scallions, hothouse tomatoes, cheese and eggs.

I'm not sure what season we are in. Late spring? Early summer? The roses and peonies are blooming; vegetation is vivid green; and people are working on their gardens. Traditionally in Minnesota, you do not put sets in the ground until Memorial Day, for fear of a late frost. I'm not sure that rule still holds, though people act as if it does.

I am currently reading Liz Williams' third Inspector Chen mystery. The series is set in Singapore Three, a trade city on the China coast, in the near future in a world where the traditional Chinese heaven and hell exist. Inspector Chen's partner is a vice cop from hell -- literally. In the current novel, they are escorting a lovely maiden from heaven to hell for a visit, I'm not sure why. The vice cop from hell is a handsome, golden eyed demon; and Inspector Chen is a decent, hard working cop, who gets odd assignments because he is married to a demon, whom he rescued from her family in hell.

A terrific series.

For some reason, the Inspector Chen books are connected to The Matrix and V for Vendetta in my mind. Maybe simply because I've just seen the movies and am reading the book.

How might they be alike?

They are all subversive of our sense of reality and our sense of moral norms -- how things are done, how things ought to be. The Matrix says our consensual reality is a lie. V for Vendetta gives us a reality where law and order are fascistic; and the hero is a terrorist, who wears the mask of the most famous terrorist in English history. Like The Matrix, the Inspector Chen books subvert our sense of reality. Like V, they subvert our sense of right and wrong.


Blogger Tallgeese said...

I'd also recommend Liz Williams' "Nine Layers of Sky" which is set in the Central Asian republics of the former USSR. There is an interesting "Soviet" parallel reality which lives off the dreams of people living in the depressing reality of the post-socialist states, as well as mythic heroic figures from the Russian past.

9:32 AM  

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