My article on China Miéville’s 2012 film collaboration with Karen Mirza and Brad Butler has been published by Alluvium Journal. You can read it here. And here is a translated version of the Egyptian Activists’ Action Plan, or “How to Protest Intelligently” (featured in the film and mentioned in my article).
This time I got a unicorn book to review: In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle. Surprisingly (?) this lovely novella is not a secondary-world fantasy, which may imply that the unicorns in the plot are metaphors (or that you or I could come across one too, who knows). In any case it was the nicest read, and it was the first book in ages – and definitely the first book I read for a review – that actually managed to make me cry. You can read my review here.
If you need a book that’s an enjoyable read, that acknowledges and references a lot of international SF, mythology and folklore, and that is first and foremost about culture as change, about diversity, coexistence, acceptance and mutual enrichment, give this one a try.
“Central Station, that vast space port which rises over the twin cityscapes of Arab Jaffa, Jewish Tel Aviv” (p. 6): this is the main setting in Lavie Tidhar’s eponymous novel—or, rather, his interconnected collection of episodic short stories—and it’s big enough to have its own miniature weather system. Built by immigrant workers from all nations, it is described as “a miniature mall-nation, to which neither Tel Aviv nor Jaffa could lay complete claim” (p. 42), working as a sort of buffer zone as well as a cultural melting pot that offers everything from snack food to religion and/or body modification… (read more)
It took me a while to decide whether I liked this book or not. Find out why I think it’s totally worth reading (including some meta-observations about the genre of Weird Fiction and also SFF in general) in my review for Strange Horizons.
When I read this post on Oh She Glows, I knew I had to give this a try. And it’s true: making your own coconut butter in a Vitamix is super easy. It only took the S 30 about 8 minutes, and while the result isn’t exactly making me squee, I guess this too can be modified with various flavours, and I think it’s another great feature of a high speed blender I wouldn’t have thought of by myself. Besides, I haven’t used coconut butter in baking yet, and I love baking with coconut milk, so I’ll have to give this a try soon.
All in all, the little S 30 seems to be a keeper so far. I’ll experiment some more with hummus and pasta sauces and salad dressings and smoothies, and if I come across something surprising and marvellous, I’ll let you know. And if the S 30 doesn’t suddenly and unexpectedly act up, it can stay (and will probably be named after something from a Jack Vance novel, since it comes from the future and makes nice food).
Of course I had to try it! Unfortunately, I can’t freeze bananas right now, since the unpredictable Fridge from Hell might find random ways of destroying them if I tried. But I can get frozen berries from the supermarket. So I threw a packet of frozen strawberries in the S 30 and turned them into sorbet. Just like that!
The motor got a little hot (I could smell it – but nothing alarming), but it didn’t switch itself off or do anything weird, and then I had strawberry sorbet.
It’s nice, and/but having tried it, I can easily see how you could modify it by adding yogurt, coconut milk etc. to make it into even better ice cream. And the Vitamix might prefer that too.
Ha! I made two big ice cubes! Not slush, not containers frozen into a big block of ice that fills what doesn’t even resemble a regular freezer compartment in the silly Fridge from Hell. And yes, I used American pill boxes, which a kind internet person once sent me because I mentioned I like how they look. (Probably just a case of TV-and-cinema-induced exoticism.) Anyway. The S 30 eats ice cubes for breakfast.
Also spinach leaves, pre-soaked chia seeds and a whole cardamom pod (which may be a little too much cardamom for one big smoothie, but I’m not complaining). Blended with a banana and soymilk, plus some cinnamon.