Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Weekly Word #7

Well this will be a short Weekly Word readers, really only two things have happened this week worth great notice, along with a few interesting things on the web.

In international news, the American government has shut down after failing to reach an agreement on the details of expanding Medicare and all 'non-essential' government services have been shut down. This of course has spawned various debates on whose fault the shutdown is, when an agreement will be reached, whether Obama is a weak president for allowing this to happen, and of course, a loss of faith in the system by some.

Of course this also isn't the only time in recent memory the government has been shut down. In fact back in the 90s the Clinton administration suffered the same problem over near the exact same issue. The only good thing about that is that it was after the limit to raise the debt ceiling had been passed.

Now though, just like back in 2011, the US faces yet another game of brinkmanship over the raising of the debt ceiling in which the very real threat of the US defaulting on its loans rears its ugly head. Now if he really has to Obama can use his executive powers to force the raising of the ceiling, but if he somehow fails to do that then the resulting catastrophe would make the recession of 2008 look tame in comparison.

In other sad news Tom Clancy has passed away at the age of 66 this week. He was the father of the modern techno-thriller as we know it and he was really a brilliant man in many of his insights into military technology. In fact he once got in hot water for merely guessing what a US submarine would operate like (inadvertently guessing top-secret knowledge at the time!).

His books have made a number of best-selling movies, from The Hunt for Red October, to Sum of All Fears, and one of my personal favorite books for its sheer beautiful insight and techno-thrilling genius, Red Storm Rising, which alongside Red Army by Ralph Peters is one of the most amazing insights into the potential ground war between the Warsaw Pact and NATO and makes for an amazing read.

I simply hope we can find writers of his caliber to fill the void of the techno-thriller genre in the future.

In other news from around the web Korsgaard has done a wonderful review of the new film, Gravity which people really ought to check out. He really sells the film in this review, and he has decided for me the next film I am going to see!

In other-other news I have begun reading Steven Attewell's simply phenomenal Song of Ice and Fire political/story analysis blog,  Race for the Iron Throne. It's an amazing blog which seeks to do a chapter by chapter analysis of the entire series examining the political and cultural ideas that George R.R. Martin introduces to his world. He really digs into the series and helps show off some of the considerable world building Martin has done in creating Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms, comparing our history and Westeros and looking at the medieval world in which the characters reside.

It also appeals to me as a lover of the alternate history genre as it highlights the 'What if?' questions that A Song of Ice and Fire offers in abundance that really brings the world alive. In nearly every chapter we find details of how if even certain little events had changed they would have effected the outcome and trajectory of the story immensely! It's the little things like that which make the world so believable as well as spark literally hundreds of fan fictions putting forward different POD's for how the whole series could have gone differently!

Currently he's a little over halfway through A Game of Thrones so this project is going to be ongoing for many years if he does as detailed an analysis of every book as he does this one. Don't be too rough on him though, even if he did one chapter a week it would still take over a year for him to get through the first book!

I encourage readers who like that series, or even just history in general, to read his blog and support the project, it's truly a gargantuan undertaking!

Well that's all for this week readers! Stay tuned for my upcoming review!

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