socialthing beta invites

Socialthing logo

Socialthing logo

I just received my invitation to the socialthing private beta, and I’ve got two invites to give out! Add a comment to this post with your email address if you want one – first come, first served.

socialthing has been compared to FriendFeed because they seem similar, but it’s actually sort of the opposite. FriendFeed brings all of your actions on various services together into one feed which you can then share with other people. socialthing on the other hand brings all of your friends’ actions on various services together into one feed for you to see.

I’ve only played with it for a few minutes but it seems to work pretty well. They do need to add more services though – currently there are only six, though that’s perfectly understandable at this early stage.

Wonder how they plan to make money from it.

 

Wicked

WickedImage by astrocoz via FlickrI was really looking forward to reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire. It can be fun to look at stories you know from a different angle – for example Scrooged is an amazing perspective on A Christmas Carol. Wicked also had very good press – they even made it into a musical.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

If you think about it, the Wicked Witch of the West isn’t actually in the original story very much. She’s a typical one-dimensional bad guy that attacks the heroes and then gets vanquished. There isn’t really that much interaction between Dorothy and the Witch. Dorothy isn’t even in 99% of Wicked – the story is just concerned with getting the Witch from being a sympathetic character to the point where she takes the actions we see in the original.

For most of the book you are getting to know characters and events that really never matter, because (having seen or read the original story) you know how it’s going to end. It makes no difference what she did as a child. You go into the story knowing the climax, so Maguire doesn’t seem to even try to build up to it – things just happen.

A lot of questions are never answered. There are a lot of Why’s outstanding and you never really find out what happened to half of the characters. A lot of plot points are introduced and nothing ever happens with them. I know there’s a sequel, so maybe things get finished up in that, but a novel should stand on its own.

The book was also quite difficult to read. The language was quite dense. It had me reaching for the dictionary on occasion, but I usually appreciate that in a book. Somehow it was just annoying here. Having read the preview chapters of the Maguire’s other books included at the end of this one, he always seems to write like this. I will not be buying his other books.

I think that was the problem – it was hard work and there was very little reward at the end.