A bit of a light month, between my pseudo-novel writing and basketball season beginning. I’ll probably match my November total by Monday.
Badasses: The Legend of Snake, Foo, Dr. Death, and John Madden’s Oakland Raiders – Peter Richmond. This is a terrific look back at the legendary Oakland Raiders teams of the 1970s. It explores their entire history up until 1980 or so, with a focus on the pains of three-straight AFC championship losses before the Raiders finally got over the hump and won Super Bowl XI. This wasn’t an ordinary team, though. They were one of the classic sports teams of the 70s, back when franchises took on personalities.
The Raiders were tough and mean and gritty and blue collar and dirty. They took pride in bending the rules. They pummeled people, using legal and illegal means. They lived life to the fullest off the field. They had epic training camps that prepared both their bodies and their livers for the regular season. Al Davis, John Madden, Kenny Stabler, Fred Biletnikoff, Jack Tatum, Cliff Branch, Dave Casper, Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Ray Guy, John Matuszak, Ted Hendricks. All characters, all defining players for their era. All reminders of a time when sports was less corporate, more insular, and the people involved didn’t act worrying about what the media reaction would be. Good times.
Accelerando – Charles Stross. Sometimes I wish I kept better track of where I get book recommendations from. Somewhere along the line I put this into my To Read pile, or virtual pile. When I got around to reading it, I couldn’t remember who had recommended it or why. I knew this was in the tradition of cyberpunk, but I wasn’t prepared for this sprawling, dense, lengthy tale that spans centuries and light years. For well over a third I had no idea what was going on. For the rest of the book I had only the vaguest of clues. It ended up having a lot of humor and some interesting concepts, but I’m not sure if I’m smart enough to handle some of the science Stross drops on the reader. This might be the last cyberpunk book I read for awhile.