Monthly Archives: August 2014

August Books

Non-fiction 3 (YTD 38) F in Exams, by Richard Benson F in Retakes, by Richard Benson The Making of Doctor Who, by Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke Fiction (non-sf) 8 (YTD 30) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain … Continue reading

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August Books 12) Starry Messenger: The best of Galileo, ed. Charles Ryan

A 1979 collection which I picked up at Boskone thirty years later. Galileo lasted only another year after this was published. These are generally good pieces, and I was a bit surprised that only one story published in Galileo ever … Continue reading

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August Books 11) The Crooked World, by Steve Lyons

A hilarious yet dark mixup of the Eighth Doctor, Fitz and Anji with the Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the 1970s (and a dash of Roger Rabbit). The Scooby-Doo sections are particularly good at getting under the skin of what is really … Continue reading

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Doctor Who / Northern Ireland

So, am I right that Michael Smiley as Colonel Blue is only the third character ever in Doctor Who with an Ulster accent? The other two that I can think of are Harry Towb as McDermott in Terror of the … Continue reading

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August Books 10) Zorba the Greek, by Nikos Kazantzakis

Famously the basis for a film which won three Oscars (and which I haven’t seen), it’s a novel published in 1946 but mostly set in the early 1930s, about an intellectual young chap who gets put in charge of a … Continue reading

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August Books 9) A Winter Book, by Tove Jansson

Lovely collection of Jansson’s short fiction, arranged loosely by age of the protagonist who in most cases clearly reflects Jansson herself. There’s a vivid picture of her war with a squirrel on her island; there are poignant letters sent to … Continue reading

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August Books 8) Bad Therapy, by Matthew Jones

I very much enjoyed Beyond the Sun, Jones’ contribution to the Bernice Summerfield range, and I enjoyed this book too: the Seventh Doctor and Chris, still grieving the loss of Roz, land in 1950s Soho, and are involved in a … Continue reading

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August Books 7) The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Like, I guess, a lot of people I was intrigued by the announcement four years ago that Pratchett and Baxter, two authors whose styles are not exactly next adjacent to each other, were to collaborate on a series of books … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 29-08-2014

Five reasons Belgium has the worst traffic in Europe The first is crucial. The rest also important!(tags: belgium ) Putin Ends the Interregnum The West MUST re-evaluate everything it thought it knew about Russia.(tags: russia )

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The Arthur C. Clarke Award and me

I am very happy to be able to say that I will be one of the judges of the Arthur C. Clarke Award next year, nominated by the British Science Fiction Association. The award is given for the best science … Continue reading

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August Books 6) A Guide to Tolkien, by David Day

I’m sorry to say that this simply recycles text from Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopedia without even the benefit of the illustrations. As before, separate entries for (eg) Amon Amarth, Mount Doom and Orodruin despite all being the same thing, with … Continue reading

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August Books 5) Brontomek!, by Michael Coney

Won the BSFA award for Best Novel for 1976; I confess I knew nothing else about either book or author before picking it up, and it probably qualifies as one of the most forgotten winners. It's an interestingly British novel; … Continue reading

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Wednesday reading

Current A Sentimental Education, by Gustave Flaubert ο1 The Life of John Buncle, Esq: Containing Various Observations and Reflections, Made in Several Parts of the World, and Many Extraordinary Relations, v. 2 by Thomas Amory Last books finished Starry Messenger: … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 27-08-2014

Tenth Circle Added To Rapidly Growing Hell (tags: funny ) Hacking Bosnia’s elections Thanks to redfiona99!(tags: elections bosnia ) Switzerland, Country of Joyce Long but worth reading.(tags: switzerland ) Because it’s not New York City An (African-)American in Paris.(tags: uspolitics … Continue reading

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Predicting the Hugos, etc

Paul Cornell, God bless him, was introducing me to passers-by at Worldcon as the guy who predicts the Hugo winners. I retaliated by accusing him of writing fiction, of course. I don't actually claim to do any more than analyse … Continue reading

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August Books 4) Tomb of Valdemar, by Simon Messingham

A good 4th Doctor and Romana I romp, set during the Key to Time, with a plot line that would appreciate, involving a fairly Cthulhu-like creature and some neat plot structure. Didn’t blow me away but very enjoyable.

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August Books 3) Vernon God Little, by DBC Pierre

I know this won the Booker Prize, but it didn’t really work for me; I don’t find capital punishment or spree shootings terribly funny, and I’ve been close enough to media frenzies in real life to know what they look … Continue reading

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Affirmational and Transformational Doctor Who Fan Videos

This was a brilliant Worldcon talk (one of only two single-speaker events I was able to attend, the speaker at the other one being me). It was the keynote speech for the academic track of programming, and basically involved Karen … Continue reading

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August Books 2) With The Light… vol 7, by Keiko Tobe

As she reached the (premature) end of her efforts, Tobe started use the ongoing manga series of a boy with autism to look at other issues in Japanese society. Hikaru’s mother must still deal with him hitting puberty; the entire … Continue reading

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August Books 1) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain

Must have been decades since I read this; I had forgotten how episodic it is, but it adds up to a sympathetic portrayal of a community from the point of view of a teenager whose active imagination sometimes spills over … Continue reading

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Media coverage of Worldcons: Loncon 3, 2014 and Seacon ’79, 1979

This fascinating 25-minute documentary about the 1979 Worldcon, Seacon '79 in Brighton, was flagged up to me by Alastair Reynolds on Twitter (he being one of the dozens of people who I had hoped to see in person last week … Continue reading

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July Books 21) The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch

I’m coming late to this one, which was the source of one of the original slapfests and which also made it to joint 15th on the Locus poll of Best Fantasy of the 21st century. Big fantasy novels are often … Continue reading

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July Books 20) 334, by Thomas M. Disch

I’m far behind with bookblogging (though hoping to catch up now) and it’s several weeks since I read this. I must say that it wasn’t a brilliant choice of holiday novel; the disjointed narrative failed to engage me, and I … Continue reading

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Deep Breath

We went to the cinema in Leuven to watch it this evening (thanks to the powerful lobbying of Belgian Whovians United, who welcomed us to the event partly in English though mainly in Dutch) and so got the full big … Continue reading

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The three coolest things that happened to me at Worldcon

As some of you know, I was Director of Promotions for Loncon 3, the recently concluded World Science Fiction Convention. If I have the energy, I will write up longer thoughts about the entire event, but just here and now … Continue reading

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Wednesday reading

Current Battle for Bittora, by Anuja Chauhan Engines of War, by George Mann The Life of John Buncle, Esq: Containing Various Observations and Reflections, Made in Several Parts of the World, and Many Extraordinary Relations, v. 2 by Thomas Amory … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 20-08-2014

12 Things We Learnt at LonCon3 Tor Books (tags: loncon3 ) Con Report: LonCon 3 (Worldcon 2014) – Over The Effing Rainbow (tags: loncon3 )

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Hugo Awards 2014: A bit more detail

Details here. Headlines: Sarah Webb crushes all opposition for Best Fan Artist. Closest result among winners is 16-vote margin putting Apex Magazine ahead of Strange Horizons for Best Semiprozine. Other close results: John Picacio and John Harris tie for 3rd … Continue reading

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1939 Retro Hugo results in detail

Summary of results here, PDF of full results here. BEST NOVEL (1196 ballots) 1) The Sword in the Stone had a convincing lead on the first count, 473 to 273 for Out Of The Silent Planet and 267 for Galactic Patrol, … Continue reading

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Wednesday reading

Current The Life of John Buncle, Esq: Containing Various Observations and Reflections, Made in Several Parts of the World, and Many Extraordinary Relations, v. 2 by Thomas Amory ν1 A Winter Book, by Tove Jansson Zorba the Greek, by Nikos … Continue reading

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