Book Report: Ecology of Fear

Angelenos worry about disaster a lot. At least that's the premise of Ecology of Fear. Los Angleles is prone to disaster, both in real life, in the movies, in books,... Maybe it's true. And yet. He cited many books showing how Los Angeles gets destroyed in popular culture plenty. He cited many books that I hadn't read. And he cited Dinner at Deviant's Palace, which I had read. Yes, this (pretty good) book takes place in a post-apocalypse L.A. But... the whole world of that story is post-apocalypse. The story just happens to take place in L.A. Oh, and I disagreed with his take on Bladerunner, too.

There was plenty of stuff in this book that wasn't about science fiction. He talks about earthquakes, fires, racial unrest. I just am familiar with the science fiction, I guess. And that makes me wonder how much he knows about the other stuff he writes about.

He's at his best when he writes about Angelenos' attitude towards risk. Shoddy buildings fall down in earthquakes, though everyone knows that there will be earthquakes. But people freak out when mountain lions attack, though those attacks are pretty darned rare.

And he convinced me that there are occasional tornados in Los Angeles.

Not his best book. I wish someone had warned me to skim parts that didn't seem relevant. Still, there were some good parts.

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Book Report: Anansi Boys

I watched the no-more-secrets application videos that have been posted so far. I found the toy sharks very funny, funnier than I would have expected from the verbal description "well, there are toy sharks". I was impressed by the fire engine. But that's not why we're here today. We're here today because I'm still trying to clear out a backlog of book reports. Like this one for Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys.

Every so often, you're traveling in some city and you realize that the books you've brought won't last. They looked so substantial, but then you opened them up on the airplane and you notice that the margins are large, as is the typeface. And then you realize you'll need more books before this travel is done. If you're lucky, the bookstore you pop into will have a book as amusing as Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. It's good. And it's ubiquitous. So you won't really feel bad about leaving it behind in a hotel room--you can always pick up another copy elsewhere.

Oh the book--it's a sequel to American Gods, another book in which gods don't so much walk the earth as creep around in the world's back alleys. The gods plot and our hero must unravel their plottings, twist those plottings around to his own ends, then untangle the results. Unlike American Gods, there appear to be many forces at work in this novel that don't rely on belief. There is a crazy bird lady, but I haven't noticed anyone worshipping a crazy bird lady recently, nor telling stories about one. Then again, maybe I'm not moving in the right social circles.

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