Books read September

Onwards and upwards. Still a way below average month as I’ve not felt much of an urge to read, but at least I managed to finish four books this time:

The Gospel of Loki — Joanne M. Harris
A rewriting of Norse myth from the point of view of the title character. A freebie from Nine Worlds, rather enjoyable.

Two Serpents Rise — Max Gladstone
Californian style water politics imported into fantasyland.

S-F Women A-Z: A Reader’s Guide — Sandra Ulbrich Almazan
A free ebook bundling of blogposts showcasing female SF&F authors. Sometimes I think I should do something similar with a collection of my own blogposts, but this is a good reminder of why that’s most likely a bad idea.

Root of Unity — SL Huang
The third novel in the Russell’s Attic series in which Cas Russell falls apart, in more ways than one.

Poke in a pig

David Cameron with pig

This really is the most hilarious news: David Cameron allegedly fucked a pig’s snout during a ruggers initiation. Cue a veritable barrage of pig jokes and puns on Twitter. But as Rob Fahey explains, it’s more than just silly fun: such hazing rituals are a means for the ruling classes to control themselves:

The ritualised, sexually grotesque nature of Cameron’s initiation sets it apart somewhat, of course; but what’s also different about this kind of ritual in elite circles is the calculation behind it, the power and control it affords, and the self-perpetuating network of influence it creates. Consider this scenario; at elite institutions, those earmarked – by wealth, by title, by connections – for future leadership roles are forced, as impressionable young people, to carry out humiliating acts in order to gain acceptance by an in-group. That same in-group will, over the course of their lives, help advance their career massively in ways both overt and covert; membership of that group essentially secures their success in life. The cost of entry, paid by all members of the group, is participation in humiliating acts; acts which will forever wed them to the group, because should they later act in a way contrary to the group’s interests or desires, their “indiscretions” can be brought back to destroy their careers or personal lives.