Monthly Archives: June 2009

Books acquired in June

Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale by Russell T. Davies Oracle by Ian Watson The Sycorax (Doctor Who Files 4) by Stephen Cole The Slitheen (Doctor Who Files 3) by Jacqueline Rayner Rose (Doctor Who Files 2) by Jacqueline Rayner The … Continue reading

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June Books

Non-fiction: 9 (YTD 45) Shakespeare: 1 (YTD 19) Fiction (non-sf): 6 (YTD 28) SF (non-Who): 5 (YTD 41) Who 2: (YTD 16) Comics: 10 (YTD 16) 6 (YTD 34/165) by women (Woolf, Atwood, Rayner, Foglio, Carl, Rowling) 2 or 3 … Continue reading

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June Books 33) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I enjoyed this more than I remember doing first time round. I still think it has some pretty serious flaws. I find Harry’s adolescent surliness for much of the book simply boring, and his reconciliation with Dumbledore at the end … Continue reading

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Cold tea

Inspired by this thread between and , I just tried cold-brewing some tea – filled the cup with cold water, put in a teabag, left it for twenty-five minutes, drank it. Hmmm. Probably should have left it in the fridge … Continue reading

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Linkspam for 30-6-2009

Somaliland appeals to international community for urgent emergency livelihood assistance | SomalilandPress (tags: somaliland) Slaves To The Story? If you are making a documentary about slavery in the Polisario camps, and inconveniently discover that there isn’t any, then just make … Continue reading

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Linkspam for 29-6-2009

gayMarriageChart-large.png (1500×1542) The same-sex marriage debate (tags: sex)

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June Books 32) The Vorkosigan Companion, edited by Lilian Stewart Carl and John Helfers

It will be fairly obvious that I spent most of the weekend sitting in the garden reading in the wonderful weather we have been having; my back is still not completely right so I have been taking it easy. I … Continue reading

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June Books 31) The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood

A truly intriguing novel, folding together a sordid upper-class Canadian family history with pulp science fiction writing in the 1930s; layers of truth and fiction in the narrative which drew me in gradually and inexorably. Fascinating.

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June Books 30) Girl Genius 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones, by Phil and Kaja Foglio

Agatha Heterodyne is struggling with the legacy of her family castle, which has a mind of its own (or several minds, as it turns out); meanwhile Gilgamesh Wulfenbach is trying to break into the castle and rescue her, against the … Continue reading

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June Books 29) About Time: The Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who, 1970-1974, 2nd edition, by Tat Wood

I read the first edition of this two years ago, since when it has been sitting on the shelf with the other volumes of this superb series of handbooks to Doctor Who, looking a bit thin in comparison with its … Continue reading

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June Books 28) The Summer Tree, by Guy Gavriel Kay

I love Kay’s later works, Tigana, The Lions of Al-Rassan, Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors, so I was prepared to be forgiving of this earlier work. It is a competent enough portal fantasy, with five young Canadians wrenched … Continue reading

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June Books 27) The Inner Shrine [by Basil King]

This was the best selling book in the USA in 1909, a century ago. I downloaded it from Project Gutenberg after reading John Scalzi’s piece about the bestsellers of yesteryear, and how they are forgotten. (Does anyone want to join … Continue reading

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June Books 26) Y: The Last Man: Whys and Wherefores, by Brian K. Vaughan

Stephen King describes this on the front cover as the "best graphic novel I've ever read", which of course is not a helpful data point unless you know how many graphic novels King actually has read. Is Neum the prettiest … Continue reading

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June Books 25) The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle, by Jim Butcher

This is a graphic novel based on a series of books by Jim Butcher which had a TV show as well; but it was all new to me, and I only got it because it is on the Hugo shortlist. … Continue reading

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Linkspam for 27-6-2009

doctorwho: The 44 deaths of Doctor Who Why it will never be the same again (tags: doctorwho) Farrah's Brainy Side – Page 1 – The Daily Beast The unexpected connection between Farrah Fawcett and Ayn Rand (tags: philosophy)

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Job opening

A friend of mine is looking to hire someone with the following qualifications (as he gave them to me): Excellent English, preferably a native speaker Very good French Editorial skills Experience of publishing on-line Experience of / education in EU … Continue reading

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Linkspam for 26-6-2009

Iran: null hypothesis, and consequences | afoe | A Fistful of Euros | European Opinion More Muir (tags: iran)

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Linkspam for 25-6-2009

Un-Amerikan Activities – Vision On Illustration of how we see colours (tags: coolstuff) FW: Thought for the day on Flickr – Photo Sharing! Warning: contains a rude word (tags: jokes) Dracula: 24 June The classic Bram Stoker novel, posted as … Continue reading

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June Books 24) Gods of Ireland vol II: The Enchanted Isles, by Casey Flynn

Sequel to the same author’s Most Ancient Song, which didn’t much impress me, and neither did this. I gave up after 100 pages of inconsequential sailing across a fantasy archipelago.

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June Books 23) Survival in Auschwitz, by Primo Levi

A tough but necessary read. Levi was one of the lucky ones: not killed immediately on arrival at Auschwitz; he was then too ill to be evacuated with most of the remaining prisoners when the camp was abandoned, but healthy … Continue reading

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Top travel tips

If you are waiting in the departure lounge in Skopje airport, it is definitely worth paying €10 to sit in comfy chairs in the business lounge where there are free snacks, drinks and wifi.

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June Books 22) Byzantium! by Keith Topping

There are some aspects of this book that are so awful that I almost wanted to claw my eyes out. It is set in the city of Byzantium (the future Constantinople / Istanbul) in the first century AD. The city’s … Continue reading

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June Books 21) How To Make Good Decisions And Be Right All The Time, by Iain King

A quirk of my self-imposed reading schedule means I got to this shortly after Russell’s The Problems of Philosophy, to which it is somewhat related. I know the author from our shared careers as political activists and operators, but this … Continue reading

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June Books 20) Sunset at Blandings, by P.G. Wodehouse

This was Wodehouse’s last book, unfinished when he died aged 93 in 1975, here published just as he left it, with extensive notes by Richard Usborne. It is a Blandings Castle story, with the usual clutch of romances: one of … Continue reading

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Linkspam for 23-6-2009

Omnivoracious: Leave an Idea, Take an Idea: Five Things Someone Else Should Totally Do (Guest Blogger China Mieville) Thanks to Angie for pointing this out to me (tags: sf) dwfanvids: A Little More Sonic-348 uses of the sonic screwdriver video … Continue reading

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June Books 19) Fables vol 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers

Back to the narrative sequence of this excellent series, after my dipping forward to read the most recent, Hugo-nominated volume. Here we have Fabletown under direct and vicious attack from Pinocchio’s brothers, with sinister infiltration by the woman who calls … Continue reading

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The Book Game

How it all worked out: Round One: An Older Kind of Magic, by Patricia Wrightson Book Lines Votes Round Two: Great Home Decorating Ideas, by Mike Lawrence and Jan Eaton Book Lines Votes Round Three: The Afterblight Chronicles: Kill or … Continue reading

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Who’s written the most Doctor Who books?

Counting Telos and Quick Reads novellas, but not short story collections, Torchwood novels or SJA novelisations (gotta draw the line somewhere, that still leaves 460-odd books!), and giving each author a full credit for co-authored works: Terrance Dicks leads the … Continue reading

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June Books 18) This Immortal, by Roger Zelazny

Zelazny’s first novel, and one of his great ones, set on a devastated future planet earth with a Greek immortal lapsed terrorist as the protagonist. He was almost at the peak of his powers: in his late he hit levels … Continue reading

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June Books 17) The Devil’s Highway, by Luís Alberto Urrea

This is a gruelling, horrible account of how a group of Mexicans crossing the border into Arizona in 2001 were killed. In the first place, they were killed by the high temperatures of the desert, and by their lack of … Continue reading

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