Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Found Alphabet - D

Much as with the week I was searching for A I kept on finding Ds everywhere. I need to get into the habit of carrying my camera everywhere again, as I wasn't always able to catch them. I did go D-hunting today (It's a long weekend so the Monday totally counts) and caught some at a party on Sunday. The one I chose I especially liked - and it's got the D for dog thing going which is a bonus. Playground equipment was also amazing for D finding. I found a whole lot more than I'm showing here. It was... a succesful week.

B was particularly elusive in its week - I didn't have any extras to show. But I did find an unexpected one today, this showed up where a piece of playground equipment had been ripped up.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Found Alphabet - C


C showed up in one of the wood carvings in the hallway here. I did have an offer to get this letter YMCA style but I did not need it this time around...

Not a lot to say this week I'm afraid! I've been listening to Nightwish quite a bit and finally got around to seeing Thor and Iron Man - the latter was by far the superior of the two. I've got a Jostein Gaarder book I haven't read before which I'm looking forward to. I also have to re-read The Solitaire Mystery as it's a significant book to me, and one I want to do justice when I review it.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Found Alphabet - B

B was a substantially more challenging letter to find - I was a bit worried I might not find a good one as it took me until Friday to locate this one. Whereas I had four good As (and a few less than amazing ones) I only found the two Bs. On each occasion I only had my phone's camera to do the work.

This is a close-up of the DVD racks in the library I work in. They're often full, and the plastic ends have mostly got lost over time - but when I put this one back in place after finding it on the floor I found myself staring right in the face of a good B for the alphabet...

The other might have been decent, but unfortunately I didn't have a proper camera with me and the phone camera doesn't cope well with low light, so this was too blurry. Time to start looking for C!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Review: The City's Son - Tom Pollock

Hidden under the surface of everyday London is a city of monsters and miracles, where wild train spirits stampede over the tracks and glass-skinned dancers with glowing veins light the streets. When a devastating betrayal drives her from her home, graffiti artist Beth Bradley stumbles into the secret city, where she finds Filius Viae, London's ragged crown prince, just when he needs someone most. An ancient enemy has returned to the darkness under St Paul's Cathedral, bent on reigniting a centuries-old war, and Beth and Fil find themselves in a desperate race through a bizarre urban wonderland, searching for a way to save the city they both love. The City's Son is the first book of The Skyscraper Throne trilogy: a story about family, friends and monsters, and how you can't always tell which is which. - blurb

The City's Son really only has one major fault. The second book in the series has not got a set release date yet. It's going to make me wait. The City's Son is inventive, gritty and visceral. China Mieville and Neil Gaiman are clear influences but Pollock remains highly original. The London we are introduced to is dirty, brutal and teeming with bizarre life in unexpected places. The multitude of creatures are unlike anything I've met in other urban fantasies. They are not clearly defined as good and evil - even the protagonists are a decided shade of grey, flawed and very real people.

The beginning of the book establishes the scene well, but initially didn't grab me. The characters were strong but the story wandered through a series of depressing developments. I kept reading out of curiosity and before I knew it a whole new world opened up before my eyes and I was thoroughly hooked. With spectacular worldbuilding London gains greater and greater complexity with time, and the possibilities for the rest of the series are huge. I won't spoil it for you - but the end of the book brings huge revelations that change everything. One in particular was quite thrilling - I had to sit back for a moment to let it sink in.

This book is relatively demanding of the reader - not because the concepts explored are demanding or that enormous leaps in logic are required, but because everything is completely different - China Mieville's Perdido Street Station does something similar, but to a greater degree. I do not find this a problem as I love a book that demands my undivided attention, however it's not particularly a book to read when you're already half asleep.

Once again I've found a fantastic new urban fantasy - hard to believe this is Tom Pollock's first book - that leaves me wanting so much more. This is an author to watch.

As a bonus, I want to give Scott Westerfeld's The Last Days a brief mention. A sequel to Peeps but one that never quite lived up to the standard of the first book. It almost lost me completely early on but after a while things improved and I found enough here to keep me interested for the duration of the book The characters from Peeps make cameo appearances but the book is mostly focused on a new group of characters. The new characters are strong and well written but things I loved about Peeps just didn't work here. Not a bad book - but living in the shadow of the original.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Found Alphabet - A

Late last year I decided that I would do a found alphabet - the plan was to post once every weekend starting in the first week of 2013 and to continue until Z is achieved. I was inspired by urban and natural alphabets I've seen made by photographers and artists. They are often quite strictly themed but I am being a little more relaxed - focusing on any part of my environment.

To that end, here is my first effort. I was amazed by how many As I found in my search. I found several in the branches of trees, some were there naturally, others were the product of perspective. I also found a few in unexpected places in the house. Once I started looking I saw letters all over the place. If I can get the lighting right I'll have a fairly awesome J in a few months!

The one I decided was clearest and best was this one - the last one I found out on a walk. This is in the playground at Bailey Reserve/Goodale Reserve (where the boundary lies I don't know).

I've come up with some rules for myself for this challenge... they are as follows.
  • The alphabet will be completed in order
  • Upper case is preferred
  • Natural and man-made letters are acceptable
  • Indoor and outdoor are acceptable
  • Size of the letter does not matter
  • Temporary and permanent objects are both fine
  • Messing around with perspective, angles and direction are all fine
  • The objects may not be deliberately placed or interfered with for the photograph
  • They may not be deliberate representations of the letters - no signage or use of the Marion Community Centre wall allowed 
Just because, here are some of the other decent contenders for this week's letter.