Saturday, July 03, 2010

Episode 649: Putting On The Habits

Have started reading Ian McDonald's River Of Gods, and it's pretty damn good. (It'd better be, given how it's a rather thick book.) I'm not entirely sure about how I feel regarding the futuristic Indian setting, which occasionally feels like cultural tokenism, in the sense that you could have swapped the country in question for say, China, and it would simply require applying a different set of clichés. Yet at the same time, the choice of country strikes me as somewhat redressing the tendency for a lot of science fiction to unfold in settings that are, explicitly or implicitly, Western. (I might be mistaken in this regard, so do feel free to correct me.) Have finished the first, and comparatively short, section of the novel, and so far, the disparate cast of characters doesn't seem to me to be entirely necessary. Incidentally, for those of you wondering what it's like to be back home, it actually doesn't feel particularly different. If I wanted to go all clichéd about it, I'd say this is called being a 'global citizen', but it's really less about that than the fact that our habits are powerful things, and living here or there really just boils down to slipping into a different set of habits and patterns. That's how it works for me anyway. Wouldn't presume to generalise to the experience of all the other Singaporeans studying overseas, some of whom seem to really, really miss this place whenever they're away from it.

No comments: