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Bill Reynolds Soc17
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 09:11 pm:   

Hi Liz

Are you still checking in here every once in a while?

I've been in Northern China since early December with my wife. Watching the horrors of the tsunami unfold I could not help but think of Ucalegon from AT. Also your interview where you talk about the Texas city that was washed away twice and all those tourists and people living now so close to the ocean as humanity presses outwards.

I was also reading, and would like to recommend, the second book after ML that made me cry this year: Ian MacDonald's River of Gods. Although it did not take place in Tamil Nadu the great feel for India that it showed also seemed tied into the events of last week.

The end of the Kali-yuga. I am, of course, brought back to Michael Moorcock and The Final Programme:
"Ah, Mr. Cornelius...."
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liz hand
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 11:14 am:   

Hi Bill,

Glad you're safe & well -- why in Northern China? I'll definitely seek out that Ian MacDonald book. I read a couple of his early novels & thought they were great. I just haven't kept up with him, so will find that one ASAP.

I kept having nightmares about the tsunami all week. I've written so much about apocalyptic disasters, it was like watching a horrible dream come true. The extent of the damage is just incomprehensible to me -- I don't watch TV, so my only news comes from online news & the newspapers. In this instance I was glad not to have seen anything. It made me think of Indianola (the town in Texas) as well, and Ucalegon, and THE LAST WAVE, which coincidentally I'm writing about at the moment.

The human capacity for ignoring danger signals from the earth is just staggering. I was interested to see that at least one essayist, in the NY Times I think, mentioned the Gaia hypothesis in a post-tsunami piece. Here in coastal Maine, the weather pattern has changed dramatically over the last decade; the great North Atlantic fishery has been decimated by overfishing. At what point do people say, "Oh, okay we get it"?

Happy New Year, anyway. Hope your travels are invigorating and you return safely. Is this truely the end of the Kali-yuga? Or is that just wishful thinking?
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Bill Reynolds/Socrates17
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 07:12 pm:   

Howdy

We're working. This isn't as desolate as it might have sounded since we are in an Executive suite in the Crowne Plaza in Qingdao, an old city built by the Germans in the 19th century. This is the home of Tsing-dao (sic) beer which would be more impressive if I wasn't a devoted ale, rather than lager, geek.

The wide, wide boulevards all through this city, like nothing I've ever seen in China before, have led to a unique driving style which I find delightful and which terrifies my wife. I particularly enjoy the proto-demolition derby process of turning left. Most of the "lanes" (a concept not really grasped here) on a boulevard will turn left against many "lanes" of oncoming traffic. EVERYONE uses their left turn signals. NO ONE pays any attention to these signals as a phalanx of left-turning cars creaps lane by lane across the oncoming traffic, none of whom yield unless they can't swerve right to cut off the turning cars and their only alternative is a crash. Passing on the left (the right is equally appropriate but often less tactically useful) may take place in the wrong "lanes" against much oncoming traffic. Horns are rarely used as these balletic games of chicken are de rigueur.

Yeah, I hadn't thought of The Last Wave - one of my fav. films. Very appropos. That and Walkabout, both with David Gulpilil, bracket the Aussie experience for me. That and, I must confess, Mad Max. On one trip I went deep into the "Up and Out" (Cordwainer Smith) rented a car and went blasting across the Outback to try to get that out of my system.

Indianola. Thanks for reminding me. I treasured that interview but didn't remember it was on the Winterlong site. (Whadda maroon.) I vaguely remembered Locus which was wrong. Humanity not only ignores danger signals, it sees danger where there is none. The American fear of crime boggles the mind. The media builds a climate of fear. Its a cliche' but true that people spend when they are afraid. I do. But that fear is never directed at anything appropriate.
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Bill Reynolds/Socrates17
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 03:01 am:   

Further:

The MacDonald is only out in the UK.

Wishful Thinking, I'm afraid - at least for now.

First person I thought of to post Tsunami reaction was you since, as you say, you have written so extensively about catastrophe.

But then, the world is, in ways, a wonderful place. How can I write this with the human agony unfolding on my hotel TV? Somehow I can. Sorry if that offends. I just finished another book after the MacDonald. It was Appleseed. It was wonderful. And the last name I expected to read on the last line of the acknowledgements was that of Elizabeth Hand.

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