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February 16, 2012

Comments

CMcM

“Do I take risks in order to gobble up the fruit symbol in the middle of the screen? I do not, and neither should you. Like the fat and harmless saucer in Missile Command (q.v.), the fruit symbol is there simply to tempt you into hubristic sorties."

Hubristic sorties? Our hero? No, surely not.....

ajay

Good grief, I remember reading that when I was a kid. It was in my local library. I'd completely forgotten who it was by, but it put me off arcade games for years (they were clearly the province of weirdos).

ajay

The parallel here is obviously with Salman Rushdie's justly forgotten first novel, Grimus, a dreadful piece of sub-Wolfe tosh which I came across in a second-hand bookshop in Inverness.

bert

Except that at the time of publication Amis was already the author of the Rachel Papers and Dead Babies, among others. Pre-Grimus Rushdie had produced the magic realism of 'naughty but nice' and not much else. You have to conclude that this was the image Amis wanted for himself at the time. He's since decided that it makes him look like a prat, but really it's not much different from the essays about the finer points of snooker that he produced later on.

"I am known, in the snooker world, as Earthquake Amis. A flair player, one who relies on natural ability, his only academy the pool halls and borstal rec-rooms of a misspent youth: inconsistent, foul-tempered, over-ambitious, graceless alike in victory and defeat, and capable of missing anything."

jamie

I always thought his proletarian sport stuff was pretty good. It's a shame he abandoned it for Great Events.

Alex

Yes, it gives the impression that there was a rather good science-fiction writer in there that got crushed under a million tonnes of bullshit.

jamie

Light comedy as well. Could have been the modern Wodehouse.

ajay

"it gives the impression that there was a rather good science-fiction writer in there that got crushed under a million tonnes of bullshit."

Like father, like son?

Alex

Yup. The intersections between the Amises, sci-fi, and J.G. Ballard's career are surprisingly interesting. In Kingsley's late 50s SF phase, he promoted Ballard in the Times Literary Supplement and considered him a friend.

Then he began to tory out, fell out with the New Wave writers because they had girl-cooties and not enough rock-ribbed rocket men, and eventually alienated Ballard (whose autobiog is quite painful on this point).

Scroll forward 20 years and younger Amis is re-promoting Ballard to the ser-fic crowd and writing about video games. Until he tories out, goes all owl of wossname, and turns into a reactionary arsehole.

Ballardian to dullardian in a decade, in both cases.

redpesto

"dullardian" - I like, though I would never apply it to JG Ballard

ajay

"both cases" meaning Kingsley and Martin, not Kingsley and JG.

But, yes, "Ballardian to dullardian" is pretty good. I wish I'd said that.

(You will, ajay, you will.)

bert

his proletarian sport stuff was pretty good ... Light comedy as well

The darts bits in London Fields were both. I'd put that book very much at the good end of the good/shit downward path. Lots of people think different, though, I know.
On snooker, "one's induction into the verdant six-bagged oblong" belongs more towards the shit end of the spectrum.

hellblazer

The chess bit in The Information struck me as futtocks - the stuff about the former player who couldn't stand winning and couldn't stand losing.

inconsistent, foul-tempered, over-ambitious, graceless alike in victory and defeat, and capable of missing anything

Yep, that sounds about right.

Strategist

God The Information was such utter crap.
And I agree with Bert that lots of people would disagree that London Fields was at the good end of the good/shit downward path - I'm one of them.
Narrow that phalanx though, that's the kind of stuff that made some of us ever like Amis in the first place.

CMcM

Hey - LRB blog catches up with B&T. You're ahead of the intellectual trend jamie, don't be bashful ....

Also: the original LRB review from 1991

skidmarx

I'm not sure about the take on Ian Livingstone in that LRB review,
"Only a devotee could like Dicing with Dragons", seems like "I don't like or understand this subject, so..." I think I read DwD and liked it,(and found it explanatory to a wider audience) but then [ONE OF US,ONE OF US].

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