Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.
See also: http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart
My name: Brian Martin
Items I couldn't work into my review.
"...Bond was hiding a grin at the memory of having read somewhere that hatred of tobacco was a common psychopathic symptom, from which Hitler among others had been a notable sufferer."
Psychopathic sounds about right. Especially these days. Several months ago I applied online for an administrative job at a major hospital. I had to go through screen after screen of questions, upload my resume and cover letter, only to submit my application and face the final question: Are you a tobacco user? If so, the screen said, we won't hire you. You can die here, but you can't work here.
Given how prejudice breeds lack of concern, I must wonder seriously if smokers could possibly receive equal care in such a facility.
In the running for worst book cover -- ever:
Shouldn't this have been the cover for John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novel One Fearful Yellow Eye?
The Media and Sex
I suppose this one contains a spoiler. Read at your own risk.
In my review of Stephen King's 11/22/63 I pointed out a stupid scene in which the hero slathers over the naked body of his girlfriend -- while she may be dying. As I mentioned at that time, this sort of foolishness is not uncommon. I've encountered it in books, movies, and TV shows. But never has it been so outlandishly over-the-top as in Colonel Sun.
The problem is that writers are pushing the idea that sex transcends everything else. No matter what the situation, the thought of or the possibility of having sex instantly wipes the mind clean, an idea so primitive it isn't even rape, it's instinct. They, the writers, might spend hours telling us how human their characters are, only to dash it all to smithereens with something like this.
In Amis' book, Bond is tortured by the one-man yellow peril that is Colonel Sun. Excruciating doesn't begin to tell the tale of Bond's pain. When he is near death, Sun decides that Bond must feel another pain, that of the loss of his greatest pleasure in life, the joy of sex. So he orders a beautiful young woman to dance naked for him, to "caress him very lasciviously." As if Bond, in his condition, could possibly respond.
I don't think scenes such as these are mere fantasy, the disconnect from reality is too great. I think they are madness.