Blog posts tagged "mike davis"

Book Pairings

March 21st, 2007

Some books are just better read together (or serially if you don’t do the book rotation thing.) Ecology of Fear and Decoding Gender in Science Fiction is a favorite of mine, two totally different projects that happen to feature the same authors.

Picked up another Mike Davis at the Anarchist Bookfair this weekend, the Late Victorian Holocaust (for $3!!!), and while its still early, I’m finding it to be an interesting foil to Omnivore’s Dilemma, focusing as they do on the beginning and the nadir of the global industrial food system.

Wondering if its something in particular about Mike Davis?

Do you have favorite pairings?

Monster at Our Door, Disasters Sown in Their Footsteps

November 22nd, 2005

I’m currently reading Mike Davis’ “The Monster At Our Door: Global Threat of Avian Flu”, and finding it very interesting.

In particular I’ve been unexpectedly struck by how much like raving, leftist loonies dedicated moderates sound when they start writing comprehensively about current events. First Jared Diamond with Collapse, and now Mike Davis. (also, unfortunately, I think this book will firmly cement Davis, one of my favorite authors, into the “Prophet of Doom” ghetto)

Turns out that the key factors pushing the evolution and possible pandemic rise of an avain flu super killer (best case says 50 million dead, worst case as many as 1 in 6) are crony capitalism, and big multi-nationals (global agribusiness). Meanwhile preparedness has been dramatically damaged by the incompetence, and duplicity of the current administration, its phony war on terror, its headline grabbing disaster, the Dept. of Homeland Security, and its deeply incestuous relationship with “Big Pharma”. (in fairness, it was also damaged by the previous administration, and the previous one, clearly traceable, like many modern ills, to the days of the Great Gipper)

I haven’t decided if its alarming or comforting to find our old friends, these familiar horsemen of modern apocalypse lurking behind yet another potential global disaster.

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SF Shaped the Web?

June 8th, 2005

Matt Webb has a fascinating observation that the dot com boom was shaped fundamentally by the physical reality of SF

Visiting San Francisco for the first time in 2001, it all snapped into place. Here was a city cross-hatched by freeways that each felt just a little too dangerous to walk under. Coupled with a lack of decent public transportation, it meant there were loads of communities slightly too small to support really big stores or specialist shops. I was seeing, in short, a city in which home delivery made a ton of sense: pet supplies, groceries, late night snacks…

I don’t know if its true, but its a neat idea. Someone get Mike Davis on the case!

It is also kind of funny because I think of San Francisco as small, approachable city, that is relatively easy to get around, or to get from one side to the other. (Bay to Breakers anyone?) At least compared to other American cities.

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Reading

November 18th, 2002

The Ecology of Fear (almost done)

A light, fast, fascinating book about Los Angeles and its plights. Part natural history, part political analysis, it is, in some ways, a worthy successor to Cadillac Desert, more sweeping in topic and survey, while mono-focused on Southern California. I’m going to read the rest of Mike Davis’ books. more

Daemonomania (just started)

John Crowley is an amazingly lyrical writer, beautiful stuff, and he cast a dark mood all his own. I remember being enscrolled by Little, Big, and then never finishing it. Perhaps this odd, elegant book will be the same. As I drifted off last night, reading on last page, the evocative images felt more akin to DeLillo, or Thomas Mann, then the genre typical (and defining) urban fantasy of de Lint.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (just finished)

Moving like fish beneath the water, quickly darting away when you lean over to get a look at them, there are serious themes at work in this book. And I cheerfully ignored them. Chabon is a great writer whose prime purpose in Amazing is to a tell a story; a story with vivid, lovable characters playing out against a back drop of comic book history; a urban grit storytelling infused with the enthusiastic bubble of the pulps. We are, in fact, given tacit permission to lean back, and enjoy this story about escape in all its varied forms, which made me me feel much more comfortable about scarfing it down like so much candy.

When, in the home stretch, the book turns grim, and then is dusted with a faintly sprinkling of the surrealist touches of magical realism, I wondered if I had misread Chabon’s complicity. Perhaps I was supposed to wonder about the parallels of Clay and the golem, or the 2 great escapes from Prague, or reckon with the ever present issues of father and manhood. But I didn’t, and you don’t have to either.