My top ten for this month.
- To be shorn of one's autonomy, influence and place in the world is a terrible thing. But there are always some things we can control, however small.
- to see the colour of a man's mettle, you can hold his feet to the flame, but be careful that you're not the monster.
- a weird dreamscape that maps the impossible geometric possibilities of a house that might seemingly belong to its owner, but has designs of inverting that relationship.
- just because we cannot see it, it doesn't mean it cannot exist. The artists always get there before the scientists, even if the light of inspiration comes from the darkest of places.
- Layers of meaning and intrigue abound. Who is writing the dispatch, and who is presenting the updated version with commentaries? A case of lies, damned lies and footnotes!
- sometimes our obsessions grow to claustrophobic proportions, to the horrifying extent that we might just be crushed into the corners of the abyss by the very thing – or person – we're pursuing. Sleep well.
- what can I say? A man after my own heart. And why can I only imagine Adam West-era Batman in SB's stories? Such lovely nonsense!
- the blood and thunder of a proud people mounting a last-ditch defence of their lands is palpably felt in this brief but epic encounter.
- Blood runs through this story as it does through history and when the lust takes men, as Nietzsche said, "there will not be enough water to wash it away." But wash it away, and you wash away the blood of the new. As men, screaming, spill their blood in forsaken fields, so do women, screaming in well-tended bedrooms, and the cycle of life and hope begins anew.
- weapons, scientific advances and training can be very effective at repelling the unknown. But life finds a way, as a certain chaos theorist once said.
Picking three from that lot for votes was tough, so I read the stories once again, and then made a ham sandwich, with mayo and English mustard. Then I watched that snooker documentary on BBC iPlayer (it's really good, highly recommended). Then I read the stories again, and was just about to make a decision, when my children sleepwalked (sleptwalked??) down the stairs and confronted me in the front room, where with their eyes closed and in their pyjamas they sang to me in three-part diminished harmony, "You must give your votes to Victoria Silverwolf, Sule, and The Judge. Ooh, la la la, oh yeah..."
So I did.