I will start this by saying I have very little knowledge of quantum mechanics/physics. Then again, that’s hardly the point of this – I’m no professor. If I were more intelligent in that way, then I’d love to be. It’s just one of those things in life that isn’t going to happen, no matter what. So, if any of you happen to be a physicist, I’m sorry for butchering your religion.
Anyway, I’m getting carried away…
I just finished reading Blake Crouch’s new book ‘Dark Matter.’ I was surprised because it was one of the best books I’ve read in quite a while; and that’s saying something, because whilst there are many books that I like, there are a depressingly small amount that I love. Dark Matter scored itself a place on that pile that’s hardly a pile.
I can’t really describe the plot, how it unfolds, what happens, because that would ruin the surprise for any of you wanting to read it, to unfold the mystery that lingers on every page. But I do want to talk about some of the things it explores, if for no other reason, simply because they greatly interest me.
What is Reality?
I’ve always spent a lot of time wondering what is real, more so as I have gotten older. Maybe it is something that has been sped
Two Hands, Two Tools, Two Killers
It was cold. I couldn’t feel my legs beneath the mud, beneath the sludge, beneath the weight of the world bearing down on them.
In my right hand I held my rifle – I could just feel the inscription I’d made into the wood, ‘PeaceMaker,’ it said. The irony, the cold-hearted humour of it, it wasn’t something I cared about anymore, I felt nothing for it. It was just there, in the same way many things were. My other hand, wrapped in gauze, pushed in Isaac’s gut in an attempt to stop blood that flowed from a bullet-wound in waves. Whilst peering over the ridge of our foxhole, I attempted to stuff more gauze into his jacket, into the wound itself. But, even then, I knew it was useless, that it only served to satisfy a dying part of myself – for he was already dead.
Pulling my hand away in a mass of sticky blood, I grabbed the remainder of his ammunition, his two grenades, and stuffed them into any remaining pockets of my own. He needed them no longer. It was the last thing he could do for me.
As I wrapped the bloodied hand around the wood of my rifle, a deep sadness arose. Not the kind that you instantly feel, nor feel in any true sense at all, but one that you just notice in all its pain, acknowledge its harrowing existence. I wanted to feel more, but after a year of this, I was asking a little too much of myself. I had been hulled of feeling, on some days even of compassion.
I laid the back of my hand on the freezing mud, and steadied the rifle. Slowly I scanned the misty forest; or maybe it was smoke, I wasn’t sure anymore. Behind a towering sycamore, a hundred-feet-or-so away, something shifted, trembling like a spectre in my half-vision, twinkling like a tracer round darting through the night. I put my eye to the sight, lining up the tree, and the glinting. My finger slid from the wood, and onto the cold metal of the trigger. This, it was what I lived for, this was my sole purpose of existence; a soldier, a killing machine, a pawn for the elite. Everything else I once was had melted away, leaving the husk of something unrecognisable behind. The worst part… it no longer scared me.
I saw a flash of green and grey. I pulled the trigger. The stock threw my shoulder back. It deafened me. The shot echoed around the forest and the surrounding valley, amidst many others. Then, I heard a scream – a gurgling of sorts. It was a sound I had listened to many times before, the sound of a man dying, not quickly but slowly. It was something I had knowingly inflicted many times. Both when my own life was in imminent danger, and when it was not. Neither was easier to begin with. But the killing of men, of people, had turned into something of a reflex, and nothing more. There were no tears. No sympathy. Nothing. I was the perfect soldier.
I looked to my left, where Isaac’s body was slowly turning cold. I had known him only a few days, I suppose that helped. Nonetheless, the view had become part of my daily scenery. One soaked in mud and blood. One that was cacophonous, insane. The trouble was, after a while, insanity become normality. Beyond, it is the normality that takes on a different meaning, one that is not so easy to get used to.
Once again, I leaned my head down and sighted my rifle, scanning the woods for any movement – anything I could put a bullet through. I felt the cold, and the wind, and the chill of snow in the air. Yet, I felt nothing in the killing of men.
And so, the days went by, one after the next. Soon I lost count, both of the days, and of the men I brought to earth within those days. Time, it had no end, nor any beginning. Everything was immeasurable, uncountable. That world, it turned me into something not entirely human. Something that couldn’t be given a name.
These are the books I have read in 2016. They’re in no particular order. I do suppose this is entirely inane topic, and very borning to read, though, I guess it serves a tiny purpose, being that I want to read more in 2017, much more!
My goal for 2016 was 40 books – I only managed 23. So, in the year coming, I want to make it my mission to hit 40! Maybe even more. Here they are:
- The Long Earth – Terry Pratchett/Stephen Baxter
- The Long War- Terry Pratchett/Stephen Baxter
- The Long Mars – Terry Pratchett/Stephen Baxter
- The Long Utopia – Terry Pratchett/Stephen Baxter
- Across the Universe – Beth Revis
- A Million Suns – Beth Revis
- Shades of Earth – Beth Revis
- Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone – JK Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – JK Rowling
- Wind/Pinball – Haruki Murakami
- The Elephant Vanishes – Haruki Murakami
- These Broken Stars – Amie Kaufman/Meagan Spooner
- All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
- The Handmaiden’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
- Foundation – Isaac Asimov
- The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
- Farenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
- Mosquitoland – David Arnold
- The Alchemist – Paulo Cohelo
- Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer
- Truths, Half Truths and Little White Lies – Nick Frost
- The Ocean at the End of The Lane – Neil Gaiman
- The Windup Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi
If you’ve read any, by all means comment and tell me what you think of them. And I always like a good recommendation too!
A week or two ago, I heard that Mortal Engines is being adapted to film by Peter Jackson’s prodigy Christian Rivers. I’ve heard things like this in the past ever since Jackson bought the film rights, numerous times over the last few years, and ultimately it had always come to nothing.
Though, this time it appears to actually be happening!
Yay! My inner child is partying so hard, well, I suppose my adult self is too.
The Mortal Engines quartet (Philip Reeve) is my all time favourite set of books – nothing comes close. Alright, sure… Murakami’s books aren’t far away, though, they’re still not there. This, it is a deep down love, cultivated in the mind of my ten-year old self when I discovered any world could exist in words. And the one entombed within Mortal Engines was exactly the place I’d been looking for. Exactly the kind of place that allowed me to see beyond my bed, my house and its walls.
I must have read the books through at least four times.
I don’t know why I was so captivated by these books when most others have had little to no impact on me. Even all those I read at that age exist within blurry memory, or not at all. Mortal Engines is something different. Maybe it was the characters, dear Tom and Hester, and later Wren. Maybe it was the world, Batmunkh Gompa and the traction cities, or maybe it was the enigmatic airship, the Jenny Haniver. All of it coming together in one irresistible package, as if it had specifically been crafted for my mind alone.
Ah, you probably have no clue what I’m talking about, do you? xx
Anyway, if you hadn’t guessed it by now, you should really read these books. Seriously, do it, or I’ll be mad!
Maybe I will write something more on this at some point. It’s near to my heart, and to my own writing. It deserves something with greater coherency, greater dedication.
I sit and I read;
And I read and I sit.
A motion, by one,
To the next, and the next.
True, it’s not nearly enough.
But look, change,
It is first to be recognised.
And then acted upon.
One, and then two.
Understanding, in what to do.
Clinging to my exhausted narrative.
Doing, and undoing.
Creating, and destroying.
A clock; a circle.
Going around and around.
I wrote for a pretty decent amount of time yesterday – better than any other period in the last month or so. And in doing so I managed to get three or four pages of not-so-awulf words down. I was happy, ecstatic even…
And then today, my computer crashed – everything is gone… Nothing saved. And not even my half-decent computer knowledge could revive anthything from the depths of my hard drive.
Such is the world, I think.
Such is life.
I know, they are only words. Specific words conveying a certain idea, a certain story. Yes, they can be wrote again. Maybe not in the same order, but with the same meaning. Maybe not with the same coherence, but with the same sense of purpose. I know, I know… It is finding the motivation to write it all again, that is the hard part.
I will though… I will.
We do anything for love, right?