Fire and Blood:坦格利安家族史

在冰火第六季的电视剧进度超过小说之后,感觉马丁大叔就进入了心安理得的拖延状态,还乐得在电视编剧上掺和掺和。后来我觉得他们干脆就决定等电视剧出完了再慢慢出书不迟,可以延长热度多卖点周边。于是年初在书店突然看到一本马丁写的 Fire and Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History) 的时候我还满惊讶的。断断续续看了几个月终于看完了。

这本书如标题所言是讲Game of Thrones之前三百年,坦格利安家族的历史。从第一代征服者Aegon平定维斯特洛大陆七国,铸造铁王座开始,到疯王Aerys II和他的王储Rhaegar被杀,当时已知的坦格利安家血脉断绝为止。计划有两卷,现在出版的是第一卷,刚讲到Aegon III。

此书是以史书的口吻写的,读起来不时会让我觉得是在读一本冰火主题的三国。尤其是看到一长串人名和头衔的时候,那种习惯性的跳读跟小时候读三国水浒的感觉很像。所以这书的很多段落读起来远没有冰火小说那么有趣,甚至有点枯燥。

吸引我读下去最大的动力是那些关于龙的剧情。看冰火的人应该都知道这种感觉:这个世界上是有龙的,龙是很强大的存在,然而冰火小说里面和龙相关的剧情少之又少,或者说永远也无法满足读者的胃口。看冰火的时候总会想:坦格利安家以前的龙呢?为什么就剩三个蛋了?这本Fire and Blood很好的解释了这个问题。开头的时候Aegon是骑龙来征服Westoeros的,之后坦格利安家一度有十几条有战斗力的龙。在书中称为Dance of Dragons的章节里,龙家分裂成两个阵营争夺王位,于是大部分龙都殒命于这段斗争中。基本上第一卷这本书最好看的部分就是这段了。龙与龙之间的对决,龙对普通战争的巨大影响都写得很多。

此书另外一个看点就是黄暴程度跟小说相比只上不下。不过因为是史书口吻所以并没有什么描写,只是叙事性的记录。书中很多“史料”都出自一个宫廷小丑Mushroom之口。一些事件写了出自学士和Mushroom的多个版本,让读者“自行分辨”,还是满搞笑的。

总的来说我觉得这书好处和坏处都十分明显,对冰火粉且能啃下去这书前几章的人推荐。

Read “JavaScript : The Good Parts”

A nice and short book. The author, Douglas Crockford, is a man who really understand why and how JavaScript was designed and evolved. So the book feels like an interesting tale told by a grandpa.

JavaScript is a language, also a system. Like every complex system, it has bad parts. The basic idea of this book is: we can turn JavaScript to a better language by “avoid using its bad parts”. This probably also applies to most systems. Actually smart people do this naturally, as long as they realize which part is good and which is bad. When bad features of a system are realized by more people (just realized, probably not understood, since bad parts are usually difficult to understand), more ppl will get around them or even invent replacement features. In this way bad features died out gradually. That’s why we can see different features in a system covering the same thing.

Another important point in this book is to keep codes human-readable. It’s easy to write machine-understandable codes, but costs much more efforts to make it easy to understand and transfer among humans. Lots of “bad parts” listed by this book are simply because they “mess codes up” more than the benefits they were designed for. An additional point is the most dangerous features are those who bring in hard-to-find bugs, not those notorious features that everyone will pay attention to.

This book is pretty short, but as the author says, it worths reading time to time.