Sorry, I've been away, school holidays and all that. Normal service will resume shortly...
In the meantime, might I recommend 3eanuts? This blog takes four panel Peanuts cartoons and removes final panel, revealing the pain and absurd cruelty of the world of Chalie Brown that is often hidden by the joke in the last frame. I remember the craze for Garfield remixes a few years back, and I think these are even better than strips where they blanked out the cat's thinks ballons.
Moxy Land was one of my favourite books last year, and this new one from Lauren Beukes shares a lot of the characteristics that I liked about that book. I suppose it's Beukes's journalistic instincts at work: she homes in on the characters, the people with a story to tell. It's all in the detail: Moxy Land was a fairly standard cyberpunk dystopia, but due to the way she embedded the characters in the richly evoked South African background they had the feeling of real lives lived in a real world.
Zinzi December in Zoo City is similarly entwined deeply in her world. A former journalist who's reached rock-bottom after kicking a career destroying drug habit, she lives in a Johannesburg squat. She's slowly getting her life back together, partly thanks to her lover Benoit, a gentle former child soldier who has arrived in South Africa after following the trail of refugees south, after his life was destroyed in the Rwanda civil war.
However, her growing peace of mind is shattered when Benoit discovers that the wife and family he thought were dead, killed in the civil war in Rwanda, are alive and well. Both Zinzi and Benoit are living in states of suspended animation. They're kind of paralysed while they deal with different types of guilt and violent pasts. When he hears from his family, it kind of kicks them both back into life and suddenly all sorts of questions about their lives and futures that they had been ignoring are thrown into sharp relief.
This is the heart of the this novel, I think. It's where Zinzi's story really seems to begin, and it's the note on which the novel ends, but it's wrapped up in a whole lot of genre elements that do not, I think, bring much to the party.