Christmas is over for another year, and life can now return to what passes for normal. Once again, I was in Denmark for the festivities, but this year it was wet and windy rather than the usual deep snow. There was a lot of eating involved, and a lot of walking. The day after Boxing Day, we went to see David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at the cinema (English with Danish subtitles, fortunately). Though I've not read the book, I have seen the Swedish version of the film. To be honest, I'm not sure which of the two versions is the better.
The flight back from Denmark was... interesting. On the approach to Manchester Airport, the plane was thrown around by turbulence and we almost touched down... before the captain decided to abort and up we went for another go around. Fortunately, the second attempt was much smoother and we landed in one piece. I first flew in 1968 and I've flown at least once a year since, and that was the first time I've ever been in an aircraft that took more than one attempt to land. Having said that, I've never been a big fan of air travel - and less so these days than I used to be. All that "security theatre" is just unnecessary palaver - how many terrorists has it actually caught? We certainly know it failed to catch two bombers... And while airlines seem to want us to believe that air travel has become easier and more convenient, the reverse is actually true. Also, budget airlines appear to hold their customers in complete contempt. They ask you to queue at the boarding-gate for an hour but don't provide anywhere to sit. Aircraft are not buses - and given all the hoops passengers are forced to jump through before boarding at present, they never will be. The entire industry needs over-hauling.
Santa brought me some books and some DVDs: William Tenn's Of Men and Monsters
and Tariq Ali's Shadows Of The Pomegranate Tree
, the first book of the Islam Quintet; and Twin Peaks: Definitive Gold Box Edition
, Fringe Season 3
and Caprica Season 1 Volume 2
. I read the two books before returning to the UK. Of Men and Monsters
was better than I expected, though I'm in two minds whether it belongs in the SF Masterwork series. Shadows Of The Pomegranate Tree
is set in Moorish Spain in 1500 CE, and chronicles the Spanish Catholics' campaign to wipe out Islam and its practitioners on the peninsula. It's strong stuff, though Ali's frequently inelegant prose didn't do the book any favours. I'll probably read the rest of the Quintet at some point, but I'm not going to dash out and buy them immediately.
(Rest of post on It Doesn't Have To Be Right...