Monday, December 3, 2007

Fear and Loathing

I'm currently plumbing the depths of an entertaining but somewhat intellectually heavyweight volume on mathematical probability. You'll have to excuse me while I take a break to unload some of the accumulating reading material here at Bang!.

First of all, let's ponder this headline from the Sunday Times, an article that as far as I know hasn't even so much as earned a blink here on our side of the pond: "US says it has right to kidnap British citizens." You hear that, you cockney bastards? Better stay on the right side of Uncle Sam's naughty or nice list or we're sending Jack Bauer in with the full weight and authority of the well-defined and morally unambiguous (snicker) U.S. legal system to kidnap your grungy-toothed ass and drag it back to the land of milk and numerous prisons, bounty-hunter style, dog. He's bringing a lamp. Hide your nipples now.

Christ. Some days I wish someone from England would come kidnap me. "An American writer was subdued and brought back to London by a crack strike team from the Special Air Service. Once he stopped his whiny prattling, he was promptly served tea and crumpets and settled in nicely as an offbeat but tax-contributing member of British society." You hear that, Gordon? Come and get me. I could be a panelist on the News Quiz and get paid in pounds worth like, seven dollars apiece . That would be terrible punishment. Teach me a right lesson, that would.

I'm not the only cynic, it seems. Back in frigid Edinburgh, our man Ian Rankin is causing a minor stir. It seems he told a German newspaper - say it isn't so! - that governments use fear to manipulate their own people: "The fear of terrorism helps to keep the population under control," he said. "That is very useful for politicians, but no one actually needs that. First of all we had the Soviet Union, and we were all scared that they were going to attack us all with atomic bombs. When the Berlin Wall fell, everything looked OK for about five minutes. And all of a sudden we now have other wars there, such as climate change, terrorism. All these fears are being used to keep us in our places."

God, I'm depressed now. On with the news.

The devoted editors at the Rocky Mountain News are doing the best books for your bibliophile relatives thing, too. Because they're kind enough to employ me from time to time, Richard Lange is on that list. Give a copy of Dead Boys to Aunt Gertie, for chrissakes. She could use a little more graphic content in her life.

Also at the Times is a short but elegant profile of Mr. Donald E. Westlake, who is also sometimes the snarling crime novelist Richard Stark. “Parker came back to say: ‘I'm older than you but I'm still smarter than you. I'm better than you, faster than you and I'm still prettier than you.'”

At the Telegraph, Jake Kerridge drills down a nice list of the best crime novels to buy for your loved ones for Christmas. You know, for the ones you love that find themselves enflamed by tales of murder, autopsies, alcoholic Scottish misanthropes or, say, great bloody theoretical sharks.

Sarah has been murderously prolific lately. Check out her toast to alcoholic misanthropes at the Los Angeles Times and her newest thoughts on a subject close to my heart, murder in exotic places, in "Have Gun, Will Travel."

Good news from the virtual trenches: Plots With Guns is coming back to life in the new year.

I'm trying desperately to find a way to get rid of books before I wind up buried under them, wild dogs gnawing at my cheekbones, so I need to make a trip into the city. Somewhere out there is Kate's Mystery Bookshop, who is having a special Edgar Award visited upon it. This place bears investigation.

And finally, has gotten a copy of the cover art for the new James Bond book. No one has taken any notice of the oddly phrased credit, "Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming." I wonder why that is. Oh, that's right. Nipples ahoy! You people are so easily amused.

There you go. That should keep you busy for a few minutes. Bookslut column in a few days. Bunch of hot chicks in it, swear to God. You savages.

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