Monthly Archives: November 2011

Who was that woman?

I am in the middle of Elisabeth Sladen’s autobiography, where she repeats the well-known fact that another actor had been contracted to play the replacement for Jo Grant and gives a couple of reasons (my choice of phrase may amuse … Continue reading

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Third Doctor celebration

Trying a different layout suuggested by

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Gibbon Chapter LXVIII: The Fall of Constantinople

Constantinople falls to the Turks. A brilliantly written chapter. See also my notes on the cannon, transporting your navy over land, Voltaire, Samuel Johnson and astronomy, and the astrological timing of the final assault.

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Return to Kosovo, and November Books 24-25

I went back to Kosovo last weekend, for the first time in over a year (and first extended visit for much longer). This was for an excellent conference jointly organised by the European Council on Foreign Relations and its local … Continue reading

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Europe: Political swings and roundabouts

My eye was caught by a tweet from SF author David Brin, linking to a map of political shifts in European governments generated by the Guardian during the summer. Brin's comment was that it showed a "Solid shift to the … Continue reading

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November Books 23) Dreams of Empire, by Justin Richards

This is more like it – epic Richards rather than formula Richards, with the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria turning up in the middle of an intricate conspiracy involving imperial politics which are reminiscent of the rise of Julius Caesar, … Continue reading

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Second Doctor appreciation

1) TV As with the First Doctor, I am choosing the longest single story as my favourite from this era. It's not everyone's favourite – my poll from a couple of years back opted for The Mind Robber, and the … Continue reading

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Liveblogging the day, part 2

1515 – Job candidate comes over for informal chat re vacancy in our New York office. She makes decent impression. NY are on holiday but inform me from home email over breakfast that other candidates are as good if not … Continue reading

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Separated at birth?

Skender Hyseni(former foreign minister of Kosovo) Mario Monti(new prime minister of Italy) Actually in real life there would be no danger of confusion – Hyseni is much shorter than Monti.

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Liveblogging the day, part 1

Others doing this too and it seems like fun. 0830 – wake up. Unusual weekday lie-in as I have medical appointment first thing. Fried egg on toast for breakfast (as opposed to usual poached egg). Write half of today’s LJ … Continue reading

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Gloomy statistic

At the start of this year, all six writers who had won a single Hugo for one work and a single Nebula for another were alive. Now we have lost both Joanna Russ and Anne McCaffrey. All good health to … Continue reading

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First Doctor celebration

It being the 48th birthday of Doctor Who today, I thought I would start a brief series of posts about my favourite stories in various media for each of the Doctors, which hopefully will encourage fellow fans to explore a … Continue reading

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The Witch From The Well

Sorry to say that I thought this was a rare misfire from the Big Finish main sequence of stories. I love the chemistry between Paul McGann’s Doctor and Julie Cox’s Mary Shelley, but this story keeps them apart in return … Continue reading

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November Books 22) Heart of the Sea, by Nora Roberts

I got hold of this some time before I got the first in the trilogy of mildly supernatural Irish romances. In this one, the happily predestined couple fall in love at first sight (on page 24) and spend the book … Continue reading

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November Books 20-21) Heart of Stone, by Trevor Baxendale; Death Riders, by Justin Richards

Another of the double Doctor Who books published earlier this year, two 200-page novels bolted together. Baxendale’s Heart of Stone is set in an English farmhouse where things start turning to moon rock, and the Doctor has to put things … Continue reading

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November Books 19) Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton

Of course, I saw the film when it first came out, and found myself continually comparing the book to it. But in fact the book holds up well – a lot of the shocking visual moments from the film are … Continue reading

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Sa’di on Farting

From the Gulistan, II.31 A man, being tormented by a contrary wind in his belly and not having the power to retain it, unwittingly allowed it to escape. He said: ‘Friends, I had no option in what I did, the … Continue reading

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The Blake’s 7 prequel audios

My commuting listening last week was the set of eight audios produced in 2008-09 telling the story of the various characters of the original Blake’s 7 before the start of the story as we know it. I strongly recommend the … Continue reading

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November Books 18) The Death of Ivan Ilyich, by Leo Tolstoy

A brilliant short book about a junior judge in the Russian countryside who discovers he has cancer and dies. Lots of well observed psychology, packaged very effectively. I have sometimes felt that Tolstoy rambles but not here.

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November Books 17) Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier

What seemed like a long long book (though in fact only 450 pages) set in the devastated Confederacy of late 1864, with parallel narrative tracks following a wounded soldier returning from Virginia to his home of Cold Mountain in North … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 19-11-2011

@CarneRoss on the Leaderless Revolution | The Browser How to change the world.(tags: ) Short guide to lazy EU journalism Brilliant!(tags: eu ) Belfast in 1836 Fascinating account of the city in the early 19th century.(tags: northernireland ) rozk: Not … Continue reading

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Unexpected encounter with an sf fan

[Locked entry] I got frustrated waiting for the lift to bring me down to the opening session of the conference, and decided to walk downstairs. On the floor below me I found, waiting for the lift with two bodyguards, the … Continue reading

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November Books 16) The Cambridge Historical Encyclopedia of Great Britain and Ireland

I got this off Bookmooch several years ago, and have now got around to reading it. I was really a bit disappointed. It was published in 1985, and rather shows its age. While there is a lot of useful detail, … Continue reading

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November Books 15) The Treason of Isengard, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Next in line of the series of books exploring the process by which Tolkien created TLotR. The most interesting point for me was that Frodo and Sam’s path to Mordor, and even back to the Shire, emerged in Tolkien’s thinking … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 15-11-2011

Why can I no longer import posts from my website to my Page’s notes? – Facebook Help Centre – because Facebook is suicidal.(tags: internet ) Penser la Yougoslavie 20 ans apr├Ęs Series of events coming up locally.(tags: belgium balkans ) … Continue reading

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Zucotti Park under attack

Police moving in on Occupy Wall Street, live.

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November Books 14) Doctor Who: The Prison In Space, by Dick Sharples (ed. Richard Bignell)

This is a beautifully produced edition of one of the most notorious lost Doctor Who stories, a Second Doctor adventure scheduled for Season 6, which had reached the point of casting and costume design before the production team pulled the … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 13-11-2011

Top court overrules German rules for European elections 5% threshold struck down. From @LWvdLaan.(tags: elections germany eu ) How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the OWS Protests Great piece.(tags: economy usa ) Documentary focus on unique deviant burial … Continue reading

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Gibbon Chapter LXVII: The Beginning of the End

In this chapter, the carefully negotiated union of the eastern and western churches does not last, but the pressure on Constantinople is relieved for a few years by the Hungarians, to the north, and Scanderbeg and the Albanians, to the … Continue reading

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November Books 13) Moll Flanders, by Daniel Defoe

I’ve had a run of excellent reading over the last week or so, and thoroughly enjoyed Moll Flanders, or to be more precise The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, etc. Who was Born in Newgate, and during … Continue reading

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