Monday, September 30, 2013

Three Baseball Predictions

Now that the regular season has wrapped, we can start turning our interest not towards next year, as we have in years past, but towards the POST-SEASON!  I, for one, am quite excited, as every win feels like upside after last year, and every game builds the hope.  Unfortunately, we have to wait until Friday to see the Sox play their first post-season game.  In the meantime, I'll make 3 predictions about roster changes involving the Sox and/or Yankees for next year:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury will sign with the Yankees.  
2. Robinson Cano will not sign with the Yankees or the Red Sox.
3. Curtis Granderson will sign with the Red Sox.

I don't think the Sox will cough up the money Boras is going to ask for (for Ellsbury) and I think the Yankees will.  Granderson will likely sign a short term, highly-paying contract with the Sox to fill the CF role as the Yankees shift their focus to Ellsbury.  I think Cano wants out of New York and that the Sox won't want to offer him a contract long enough for his liking.  Some other team will add this massive weapon to their roster and possibly make him the highest paid baseball player of all time.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Book Review: China Miéville's "Railsea"

Imagine… a world… where oceans…. don’t exist. In their place are deserts covered with massive amounts of train tracks twisting every which way – a maze of tracks spanning the majority of the globe. Welcome to Railsea, a fantastic yarn by everyone’s favorite New Weird author China Miéville.

At its core, Railsea depicts the quest of Abacat Naphi, the captain of the “mole train” Medes, who is in obsessive pursuit of an ivory-colored “moldywarpe” (think monstrously large mole).  But it’s also a coming-of-age story of Sham ap Soorap, who starts off as an inept doctor’s assistant but through a combination of luck and self-growth finds himself at the center of a race to the edges of the Railsea in pursuit of mythical lands – and treasure! It’s a compelling story that blatantly lifts ideas from other books – the captain’s quest is from Moby Dick, the abandoned alien tech (called alt-salvage) that litters the landscape is from the Strugatsky BrothersRoadside Picnic, etc.) – so creatively that the story never feels derivative or uninspired. In fact, with only one or two exceptions I didn't know what was going to happen next, a rare quality that makes all of his books extremely compelling.

I’m told that it’s a YA novel, a relatively meaningless distinction but does explain the (pre?) teen narrator and lack of serious swearing and sex. Regardless, all of the things I love about Miéville re here: unfettered imagination, linguistic wordplay, ample demonstration of his fierce intellect, unapologetic left-wing politics, and (of course) gigantic monsters. Relax and pour yourself a nice drink because this one’s a fun ride.

Related Posts: Book Review: "Roadside Picnic" by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky