Oh, the weird coincidences

Over on the Washington Monthly site, Hilzoy, in talking about some crazy conspiracy theorist stuff about Obama over at The National Review made a reference to When Prophecy Fails.

So, when you consider that the the name of this blog comes from a Blue Oyster Cult song, it should be no surprise (to those who know their catalog as well as I, at least) that I immediately assumed that he was making a reference to their song Extra Terrestrial Intelligence.

Of course, it turns out that he was making reference to the book that, one might guess from its description on Wikipedia probably inspired the song.

100 Bullets

Brian Azarello and Eduardo Risso have created something pretty amazing–a distnictly noir-influenced comic that I like despite the rampant, generally brutal and often graphic violence.

I picked up the first collection about a year ago, and read all the collections to that point over the course of about a month–picking up the next collection or two each week. The twelfth (and, I suspect, given the significance of 13 in the story, penultimate) collection just came out last week, so over the last couple of days I re-read the whole story–I thought about waiting until the last collection was going to be out, when I realized it was going to be another year. I sure wasn’t gonna wait that long.

In my experience, the best serial fiction rewards re-reading because it’s only upon re-reading that you see the careful set-ups that make you realize that the creator(s) knew what they were doing from the very beginning–they telegraph things that are going to happen down the line well in advance, and the second time around (and any subsequent ones) you get to see this a lot better.

100 Bullets definitely has that quality.

Also, Risso seems to have all the best qualities of Frank Miller’s Ronin-era line-work, with a much more expressive palette of facial expressions, and a great feel for when to just leave some lines out, something Miller seems to have forgotten how to do.
And, finally, I just want to know what happens. I’m not sure there’s any better compliment.

Anathem

The cover to Neal Stephenson's Anathem

I’m sure I’ll get around to reading it eventually. But I got about 100 pages into it and just kind of lost the thread. I’ve read, I think, three books in the interim, so it’s not like I’ve not been reading.

I have read comments from some people that I respect saying that it’s a great book, but what inspired me to mention my problems with it was recognizing a pertinent reference to it in the newest xkcd.