lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Got back late Saturday from our jaunt to Washington, D.C., which was mainly a pilgrimage to the International Spy Museum.

Which is awesome.

tl;dr: if you can possibly go, do )
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Soho Press has a blog, as I have just learned from Gary Corby's blog. And top of the blog-list today is this surprisingly excellent piece on The Dead Scene and what to do about it. I have had that scene, and I've tried those tricks and sometimes they've worked, so naturally I think the writer is an insightful fellow.

Posted here mostly so I can remember to go back and read more later. That article is number 26 in a series, and I don't need to fall down that rabbit hole right now; I've got a con to get ready for.

Also, they do spy fiction. Must have a proper read-through later.
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
If you were going to introduce someone to The Man From U.N.C.L.E., or maybe remind someone who hasn't seen it in ages how much fun old-school spies can be, what one episode would you pick?
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
As always, to each their own, IMO, YMMV, etc., etc. More notes for my own reference than reviews proper; if you find something of use here, help yourself; if you think I'm completely wrong, well, that's why there are lots of different kinds of books in the world.

I've had half of this write-up sitting around forever; I rather fell off the modern-thriller wagon for a while, and forgot to post what I'd already done. So first, the catch-up:

Spoilers for: Blown, Die Twice, House Justice )

That was the old; on with the new:

Spoilers for: Private Wars, Siro, Code Name Verity )
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
(In an effort to clear out some stuff-in-progress, I'm posting some book-review drafts that have been languishing on the hard drive. It's as though it's the end of the year or something.)

Again, ObDisclaimer: These are strictly my opinions, YMMV, etc., etc. More notes for my own future reference than proper reviews; read at your own risk.

Spoilers for: The Quiet American, Ride A Pale Horse, The Quiller Memorandum, Think Big, Think Dirty, Dark Duet )

Overall, not an impressive crop, although I must remember Adam Hall next time I'm at the library. Anyone got any recommendations? I like my spies unapologetic and my tradecraft old-school, in attitude if not necessarily in technology.

I may take a little break from fiction for a while, anyway; I've got a massive stack of espionage-related non-fiction awaiting my attention. And there's fiction of my own I should be writing. Or maybe I'll just re-watch =Burn Notice=.
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
"If there are people in the world for whom espionage was ever the only possible calling, Bachmann was such a person."


"We do detail, not grand vision."

from A Most Wanted Man, 2008

This is why, despite the fact that I sometimes get tired of needing a scorecard to keep all the players straight, I read Le Carre. This is what proper espionage fiction is all about. His spies are spies, not unwillingly dragooned innocents, not angst-laden conscientious semi-objectors. They don't bemoan their involvement in the business; they are the business, and would no more choose otherwise than they would choose to stop breathing. And his plots are about small things, an asset turned here, a document copied there, a dozen little pieces that add up to a certain portion of knowledge or influence, another move in the ever-ongoing game. Vitally important things to the people involved with them, perhaps, but there are no world-domination plots here, no kidnapped heads of state or end-of-America-as-we-know-it. Small stories, that in their smallness contain more reality than the biggest Hollywood marquee.

This, when I say I want an espionage novel, is what I want to read.
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
We finally got around to watching CHAOS last week.

By partway through the second episode, I could tell that this was going to be one of those shows that I fall madly in love with and nobody else on the planet properly appreciates. Read more... )

I don't think we managed to tape all the episodes they aired, and I'm pretty sure they didn't air all they filmed. It's pretty obvious the network had given up on this one before it even started; they bounced it around on the schedule, I think they ran some of it out of order, and then they dumped the last couple of eps as weekend filler. I can only hope it comes out on DVD anyway. Oh, man, do I hope it comes out on DVD! And soon!

We also caught the first episode of Suburgatory. Read more... )

Riiiiight. Well, at least we won't have to put up with ABC's appalling sitcom commercials any more.
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
Saw Red the other day.

OMG that was fun! Read more... )
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
(Crossposted on LJ)

I've been on an espionage-novel kick recently. ObDisclaimer: These are strictly my opinions, your mileage may vary, etc. The following are my notes for my own reference, not proper book reviews, but if others find them useful, well and good.

Spoilers for: The Once and Future Spy, Agent In Place, The Ninth Directive, The Miernik Dossier, A Spy By Nature, The Snare of the Hunter, & The Matarese Circle )

I think I've figured out why 60s and Cold-War-era spy novels work so much better for me than modern ones. It's not that I miss the simplicity of the Cold War; the Russians never were the only bogeymen in the world, as Neil Burnside affirmed. It's the attitude toward the espionage business itself. In the older novels, there's a much more positive attitude toward the spy game. Not that there aren't drawbacks to the job, not that the characters themselves don't recognize the corrosive effects of what they do for a living, but generally they accept the necessity and, given a choice, wouldn't give up the game. Modern spy novels, by contrast, tend to have characters who are appalled by the trade, who don't want to be in it, and who ultimately reject it; the authors are so focused on the tawdriness and the self-perpetuating futility of espionage at its worst as to suck all the fun out of the genre. Which is a legitimate perspective and all, but the reason I'm reading spy novels in the first place is that I find the trade appealing. I like my spy fiction with a considerable amount of grit and realism, yes, but I'd rather read about characters who accept what they do, or at least feel some affinity for it, rather than characters who spend entire novels wanting nothing to do with what they're doing. After all, if they don't want to be there, why should I be there with them?




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