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frogs, death, and communist bat-people

I turned the corner for home tonight and heard the chorus frogs going at it in the wetland.
And currently the wetland is very wet indeed:  possibly it has rained (or snowed) at least a little every day for the past two weeks.  I managed to plant my Fedco tree order (one sweet birch, one South Dakota plum, and one Virginia sweetspire), but it snowed that night and rained buckets the next day.

In other news, poignant words from Iain Banks.

And speaking of Iain Banks, I finished "Learning the World" by Ken Macleod.  The more I write (or try to write), the more critically I view books when I read them.  Not because I think I can do better, because because I want to do better:  I want to figure out what I can learn and use.  "Learning the World" was interesting because I liked the ending better than the rest of the book.  More often than not, it seems like a book's ending is a hasty attempt to stop talking about a world the author does not want to leave.  The ending rarely lives up to the promise of the story.

In this case, the ending appealed to me, reached back and made sense of much of the rest of the story, and kind of made me want to re-read the book now that I knew what he was getting at.  The ending could be seen as a bit too preachy or idealistic, but it's something I can study to learn more about endings.

Unfortunately, the beginning and the middle were stripped bare, almost an outline.  Housemate, who reads far more than me and who reads about the publishing world besides, immediately posited that the book had been edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, then flipped open the book to confirm his assumption.  Yet another complication in the life cycle of a published novel.
Friending welcome, but lurking is fine too.

Constructive criticism is also welcome - whatever it is, trust me, I've heard worse.

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