Monday, July 07, 2003

Reading Matters

Just in from the local library this week are A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair by Daniel Jonah Goldman, 199 Days: The Battle for Stalingrad and Stalin by Edvard Radzinsky. That's the same Stalin I took back last week, narrowly avoiding an overdue fine. I'm going to put Lyndall Ryan on hold while I get through the last ninety pages or so.

Perversely, I've persisted with the undead prose of Necroscope: Defilers long enough to reach the half-way mark. It's grisly stuff, especially for lovers of good writing:

Now the vampires took up the body, Castellano at the head, and Garzia at the feet, and without pause fed it headfirst into the hearest niche. As it went the crumbling bones of some elder Argucci, entombed two hundred years before, fell into dust and gave it passage. And the silent screams seemed louder yet, but Castellano and Garzia didn't hear them.

Then, as the nightmare pair dusted themselves down and left the burial chmber, Garzia looked back in satisfaction. Several dozen pairs of feet - none of them Arguccis, but all with their flesh in various stages of decay or completely sloughed away - protruded from their niches like Georgi Grusev's ... except his were firm as yet, however cold, and their toes pointed upwards.

It's the sort of book that gets you thinking about the possible benefits of pre-frontal lobotomy: get rid of a couple of creativity inhibiting "higher centres" and I could probably write like that. And make a bucket of money into the bargain. Of course it's unlikely that any "responsible" medical practitioner would be prepared to perform brain surgery purely on the off-chance that it might turn you into a best selling horror writer, which just goes to show you how few personal liberties we really have. A truly free society would recognise that my brain is pretty much mine to do what I like with and as long as the doctor is adequately remunerated, no one has the right to interfere in what is basically a commercial transaction. Bloody nanny state.

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