Monthly Archives: November 2008

November Books 31 and 32) Two books about Elizabeth I

31) Elizabeth I, by David Starkey 32) The Life of Elizabeth I, by Alison Weir This was a fortuitously good paired reading of biographies: Starkey concentrates on Elizabeth’s life from her conception and birth in 1533 to her accession to … Continue reading

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Inspired by somebody else

Is Stephanie Meyer’s book Twilight worth reading? Is the film worth seeing?

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More primary source material leading to a biography

Another one of my ancestor’s letters to William Cecil, later Lord Burghley, this time describing his visit to the captive Mary Queen of Scots – one of the few relatively neutral accounts of her lifestyle. I can’t get a precise … Continue reading

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November Books 30) Henry IV Part 2

30) The Second Part of King Henry the Fourth, by William Shakespeare I seem to have lost a bit of pace with my Shakespeare project – this is only my third one this month, and I’m not rushing to tick … Continue reading

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Four Big Finish releases

Other Lives is one of those rare stories where the only sfnal elements are the Doctor and companions, and the Tardis. On a visit to the Great Exhibition (as promised originally by the Fifth Doctor at the start of Time … Continue reading

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Four More Blake’s 7 Episodes

Breakdown – The one about Gan’s limiter breaking down (hence the title). The first half is a bit silly, with David Jackson doing manic grunting and throwing the rest of them around while yet another dangerous sector of space must … Continue reading

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Online maps

I saw someone advocating OpenStreetMaps as a source of online mapping information, and thought I would try the various online mapping services with some of the more obscure places of interest to me. Wikipedia is a great starting point: you … Continue reading

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Belgium in Doctor Who; Doctor Who’s Belgian roots

I’m a little early, since it isn’t quite the 23rd of November yet by Belgian time, but I thought some of you would be amused by this little collection of pictures and video clips that I have put together: The … Continue reading

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November Books 27-29) The Negotiator Trilogy

27) Heart of Stone, by C.E. Murphy 28) House of Cards, by C.E. Murphy 29) Hands of Flame, by C.E. Murphy These three books take ‘s urban fantasies to new territory: specifically New York rather than Seattle, and with her … Continue reading

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Those cotton-picking maps

The excellent Strange Maps produced a fascinating overlay of Obama votes in this month’s presidential election compared with cotton production in 1860. Not surprisingly there is a huge correlation: cotton in 1860 => slaves => black population now => Obama … Continue reading

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Play the voting game!

Spoilt ballots are always one of the more fun parts of an election campaign for the participants. Here are some from the current nail-biter between Al Franken and Norm Coleman for the Senate seat in Minnesota.

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November Books 26) Theatre of War

26) Theatre of War, by Justin Richards A fairly standard New Adventure, introducing the sinister character of Irving Braxiatel, renegade Time Lord and cultural collector, with lots of fun archaeology for Benny and combat for Ace. The actual plot is … Continue reading

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November Books 25) Science Fiction Hall of Fame

25) Science Fiction Hall of Fame: The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of All Time, edited by Robert Silverberg This is one of those classic collections, assembling the top sf stories published before 1965 as voted for by the membership of … Continue reading

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November Books 23) 30 Hot Days, 24) Glafkos Clerides: the Path of a Country

I’m on my way home from Cyprus, and while I was there picked up and read two books which give considerable and vivid detail on two aspects of the island’s recent history. 23) 30 Hot Days, by Mehmet Ali Birand … Continue reading

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Salute to Cem Özdemir

I’m delighted to hear that Cem Özdemir is the new co-leader of the German Greens. I’ve known him since shortly after he was elected to the European Parliament in 2004, mainly (but not exclusively) on the Cyprus issue where he … Continue reading

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Weekend in Cambridge

Anne and I went back to Cambridge this weekend, for the first time since our year group’s reunion in 2000. We arrived very late on Friday (having got snarled up with Brussels traffic, and thus had a long wait for … Continue reading

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November Books 22) Year’s Best SF 13

22) Year’s Best SF 13, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer As always, a generally good selection, with a lot of the stories revolving around virtual identities and gaming. I had read two of the 25 before, as … Continue reading

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November Books 21) Alias vol 4: The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones

21) The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones I’d been looking for this for ages, having very much enjoyed the first three books in the series. Jessica Jones, superhero against her will, confronts her internal demons, both the guilty secret of … Continue reading

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November Books 20) Henry IV Part 1

20) The First Part of King Henry the Fourth, by William Shakespeare It always puzzled me a bit that my English friends seemed to have a better knowledge of Shakespeare’s history plays than I did, and only now has the … Continue reading

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November Books 19) Who Goes There

19) Who Goes There (Travels through Strangest Britain, in Search of the Doctor), by Nick Griffiths This is a brilliant book, and I think could be enjoyed even by non-Who fans provided they have at least a mild interest in … Continue reading

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Four Big Finish audios

Three more as I work through the BF back catalogue, and also the latest of their offerings. Live-34 is an excellent experiment in format. The story is told as four half-hour episodes of live radio on Colony 34. The oppressive … Continue reading

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November Books 11-18) The Captain Underpants series

11) The Adventures of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey 12) Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets, by Dav Pilkey 13) Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent … Continue reading

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Helping V

For and against.

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Cousins

F holding little cousin S very carefully: U and F inspecting their little cousin, her mother warding off U from doing it too enthusiastically:

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V speaks

Captain (Rtd) Valentine Esegrabo Melvin Strasser interviewed here, by Awoko. The interview took place at a local pub. Awoko: How do you receive the news that you are dead?Strasser: I was shocked, as this place is filled with machines which … Continue reading

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Naming of Parts

NAMING OF PARTS, by Henry Reed To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday, We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning, We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day, To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica Glistens like coral … Continue reading

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November Books 10) Emma

10) Emma, by Jane Austen I had read Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion previously, and frankly liked them more. Emma Woodhouse is a manipulative snob, and while the author clearly disapproves of her manipulations and occasional rudeness, she entirely endorses … Continue reading

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2008 Films 6) Richard III (1995); and The Kingmaker

I was very strongly recommended to watch Ian McKellen’s Richard III after I had read the script and listened to the Arkangel version. Well, , and , you were right. It is an extraordinary tour de force, set in a … Continue reading

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Small political party disintegrates, no casualties reported

In a week full of exciting electoral news from the USA, Scotland, the Maldives and New Zealand, you could be forgiven for missing the fact that one of the parties in the current Irish government coalition has formally disbanded itself. … Continue reading

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Companion Chronicles again

Big Finish’s series of Companion Chronicles, two-hander audio plays featuring companions of the first four Doctors, get better and better. Here we have Susan, Victoria, Jo and Leela brought back to life by Carole Ann Ford, Deborah Watling, Katy Manning … Continue reading

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