Reading project, week ending 22 May 2022

What have I read this week?

2666 by Roberto Bolaño

This is a novel which is apparently about the murders of women in a city, but I didn’t get that far. I didn’t like this and didn’t finish it. I wasn’t interested in the characters or the story. I might read something else by this author, but only if it’s a lot shorter than this book.

© bardofupton 2022

Writing project, April 2022

This month’s word is touch, meaning “to put the hand, finger, etc., on or into contact with”, “to come into contact with and perceive (something)” or “that sense by which anything material is perceived by means of physical contact”.

————–

They haven’t left me a single one of my senses, but the one I miss most is touch.

It’s just me and my thoughts now, locked inside something.

I’m not entirely sure what happened, whether I’m still in my body, or if they’ve transferred me to something else. Maybe I’m inside a computer. Perhaps I’m a brain in a jar. I honestly can’t tell. Nothing external is reaching me.

Am I breathing? Am I floating? Am I even alive?

I don’t know what I am anymore. I don’t know how to relate to myself if I can’t relate to the world. How long can I remain human if I’m no longer part of the world?

My thoughts become more frantic, churning faster and faster. If I had lungs I’d be hyperventilating. I need… connection.

I reach out. Desperately. Trying to find anything.

There’s a sort of click, and a kind of slipping feeling.

And my eyes open. Not my old myopic eyes, that could barely see a foot in front of me, but new eyes, eyes so good I can pick out the tiniest marks on a wall fifty yards away.

I still can’t move, can’t feel anything, but I can see. There’s another click, a real one this time, and I can hear.

I can hear too much, in fact. Humming from wires, clicks from some bit of equipment behind me that I can’t see, and breathing. I don’t think it’s mine, it seems too far away.

It’s overwhelming. From nothing, to too much.

Make it stop! I scream. And it is a scream; I can hear it.

“Good,” says a voice behind me. “You’re awake.”

© bardofupton 2022

Reading project, week ending 15 May 2022

What have I read this week?

Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees

This is a fantasy novel about the city of Lud-in-the-Mist, in the country of Dorimare, which borders Fairyland. I really enjoyed this; the world building was really fascinating and I found the characters interesting. I would definitely read more by this author.

Queer City: Gay London from Romans to the Present Day by Peter Ackroyd

This is a nonfiction book about the history of queer people in London. I didn’t really like this and didn’t finish it; the writing just didn’t work for me. I wouldn’t read more by this author.

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

This is a historical fiction novel about Nan King, a young woman who leaves her home to work in a music hall in 1890s England. I really liked this. I found both the characters and the world really fascinating. I would definitely read more by this author.

False Value by Ben Aaronovitch

This is a contemporary fantasy novel, part of the Rivers of London series, about a police officer named Peter Grant, who works for the unit of the Metropolitan Police that deals with magic. I enjoyed this. It was a fun read. I might read more in this series.

© bardofupton 2022

Reading project, week ending 8 May 2022

What have I read this week? Just one.

The Eye of the World: The Wheel of Time Book One by Robert Jordan

This is a fantasy novel about a group of villagers who get caught up in world-changing events. I didn’t really enjoy this; I found it over-complicated and didn’t really like any of the characters. I won’t be reading any more in this series.

© bardofupton 2022

Writing project, March 2022

This month’s word is helpless, meaning “unable to help oneself; weak or dependent” or “deprived of strength or power; powerless; incapacitated”.

This one’s late, too, sorry.

————–

I pace the tiny room, trapped, helpless. Angry. At myself, for ending up here. At my captors. At the people I thought were friends, for their betrayal.

It’s only a couple of strides wide, and barely three long. It’s hard to pace effectively, but I do my best. Something about the frustration of being unable to get up any speed feeds my rage.

There’s very little in the room, just a narrow cot, a covered bucket and a jug of water. Oddly enough there’s no door. I realise why when I stop walking long enough to examine the room properly.

There’s no door for the same reason there’s no window: it’s an oubliette, the only entrance high above me, the smooth walls mocking any idea of escape.

I sit on the cot, suddenly exhausted. Tired of fighting the obvious. I’m here, and here I’ll stay. No way out.

I am truly at the mercy of my enemies, and they are not known for mercy.

© bardofupton 2022

Reading project, week ending 24 Apr 2022

What have I read this week? It’s late, sorry!

The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu

This is a collection of short stories. I enjoyed these; they were really interesting. I would definitely read more by this author.

The Fall of Koli by M. R. Carey

This is the third book in the Rampart trilogy, about a post-apocalyptic Britain. I enjoyed this and thought it was a good conclusion to the story. I would definitely read more by this author.

© bardofupton 2022

Writing project, February 2022

This month’s word is legendary, meaning “of, relating to, or of the nature of a legend” or “celebrated or described in legend”.

It is super super late, sorry!

————–

They called me a legend. Imaginary, unreal, larger than life. Mythical. Fake.

But there’s a man beneath the myth, a life inside the legend.

That man’s not interesting, though. Nobody cares about him. Nobody wants to watch him tie his shoes, or eat breakfast, or wash the dishes.

All they want is the glory, the story, the fire and the fury. They want great deeds, the taste of blood, the roar of adoring crowds.

Nobody wants to hear about the part where wounds painfully heal, where joints stiffen in the winter, where every year the swords get heavier and heavier and harder and harder to swing.

Nobody expects the legend to grow old. You’re supposed to die heroically, or perhaps retire to become leader of the palace guard. You’re certainly not meant to keep dragging your aching body onto your horse and going off to fight dragons.

Even the monsters are embarrassed to fight me now. It’s hardly sporting, they say, and but he’s hardly a threat, is he?, and how about we just say we fought and I’ll just go somewhere else?

But I don’t know anything else. I’ve no kin, no wife, no friends left alive. I’m just the legend, and the legend can’t stop. One day something will kill me, or I just won’t wake up, and then my tale will finally be told.

Until then, I will get up every day and go looking for monsters to fight.

I don’t know how to do anything else, you see.

© bardofupton 2022

Reading project, week ending 17 Apr 2022

What have I read this week?

The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey

This is the second book in the Rampart trilogy, about a young man called Koli and a young woman called Spinner, living in post-apocalyptic Britain. I enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to reading the final book in the series.

I Am Hate by Ethan Cross

This is a thriller about a serial killer and his federal agent brother who capture serial killers together. I really didn’t like this and did not finish it. I found the writing clunky and didn’t like the characters at all. I won’t be reading more by this author.

Of Ants and Dinosaurs by Cixin Liu

This is a science fiction novel about the first civilisation on Earth: a joint ant-dinosaur civilisation. I enjoyed this, it was a fun read. I will definitely read more by this author.

The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry

This is a horror novel about a town with a deadly secret. I didn’t really like it; I disliked most of the characters and I didn’t find the story interesting. I probably won’t read anything else by this author.

© bardofupton 2022

Reading project, week ending 10 Apr 2022

What have I read this week?

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

This is a fantasy novel about a young man named Zachary who finds a library book featuring an incident from his younger life. I liked this; it’s a very complicated series of narratives, but it kind of made sense in the end, and there’s lots of really interesting worldbuilding. I would definitely read more by this author.

The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey

This is a science fiction novel about Koli, a young man living in post-apocalyptic Britain. I liked this; the characters are interesting, and I found the world fascinating. I would definitely read more by this author.

© bardofupton 2022