I hope it’s double glazed   Leave a comment

Running down irony, back in a sec.

Saturday the 28th. Weekend! I like those. One reason is that I could laze in bed for a while reading Whiteout (still by Ken Follett). I have somewhat mixed feelings about the book; on the one hand, I’m enjoying it (at the time of writing I’m almost halfway through, and look forward to having… an excuse to sit down and read another chapter), but on the other it does throw quite a lot of stereotypes at you.

The main character, Toni Gallo, is a cool ex-cop, who had had to quit because an argument with her boss about intstitutionalised racism got leaked to the press. She now works as security for a research lab, which works on deadly viruses and testing on animals. She’s conscientious, firm, and sticks to the rules, but still longs for love after her police ex-boyfriend abandoned her when she resigned, and now she fancies her older, widowered scientist boss. She’s also not a lesbian! Seriously, there’s a brief scene where she doesn’t get chatted up by a woman, and it doesn’t seem to have any other purpose beyond making that (and the equally irrelevant non-homosexuality of a corpse) explicit. Why bother? To refute “hardass lesbian” stereotypes? She’s got an ex-boyfriend and fancies her male boss, we’re not that thick.

The hetero- or a-sexual corpse was a loner who worked in the lab, but fell in with animal rights activists, and for one of the bunnies, and “rescued” it.

Her boss is a strong and intelligent, but good-natured and caring (especially about his family), genius scientist.

There’s also her boss’s computer-whiz son, whom she caught stealing from her father’s company and got fired. Now he’s up to his kneck in debt from gambling, resents that his father won’t (can’t) pay his creditors (again), and so is going to pull off a bigger theft from the company as revenge.

His accomplices include a London gangster, presumably – as the book’s set in Scotland – only there so Vinnie Jones could have a part in any movie adaptation. It’s also implied that bio-terrorists are the ones who want to get their mits on the goodies from the lab! Although I’m guessing that, I don’t know who the crime’s customers are yet. It could just be industrial espionage (it’ll be terrorists though, or they wouldn’t have had the terrorist squad on the ‘phone after the first incident, would they?).

There’s even a kid who crashes his grandfather’s Ferrari to impress a girl.

But while the book uses more clichés than an old-school printer’s workshop, it all flows along nicely, you want to know what’s going to happen next, it keeps throwing even more events at you, and everything seems to wind up just slightly over the top, so it’s hard not to be carried along. It’s definitely enjoyable.

So that was good! I don’t spend nearly enough mornings in bed reading.

The rest of the day wasn’t so bad, either. I had to go shopping, but otherwise I played Skyrim. It’s still a lot of fun! The last time I’d tried to play it I hadn’t managed to get back into it, so was a bit wary about not being able to overcome the hump and remember how it worked, but this time it was straight in like an inappropriate similie. So much so that I still can’t decide whether I like Skyrim or Deus Ex the most. Maybe I should just give Game of 2011 to SpaceChem to avoid the argument?

Anyhow, as I was wandering around Skyrim I came across a fight between a giant and some Orcs, so I waded in to help out. Alas, in the confusion, either my fireballs missed their mark (yes, a giant), or the game glitched, or I just got confused about which red blob on the compass was which creature in the mêlée, and wound up killing one of the Orcs. This is a crime with a thousand-gold bounty*, unfortunately. Happily my companion, Lydia, had my back, and tracked down and killed the witness to my misdeed. With nobody left alive to testify against me, my bounty was wiped. The unusual thing, though: the witness was a goat.

I like games that let weird or unexpected things happen, and Skyrim certainly delights in that regard, but I’m not sure that was intended.

 
* Or about a fifth of the price of a house, value-of-life enumerators!

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Posted 5 February 2012 by Colthor in Diary

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