Monthly Archives: December 2020

My 2020 books

I read 266 books in 2020, the seventh highest of the seventeen years that I have been keeping track, so a nudge above the average. (Full numbers: 234 in 2019, 262 in 2018, 238 in 2017, 212 in 2016, 290 … Continue reading

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Thursday and December reading

Current Gormenghast, by Mervyn Peake At Childhood's End, by Sophie Aldred Last books finished The Anything Box, by Zenna Henderson House of Music, by Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason Ormeshadow, by Priya Sharma Explaining Humans, by Camilla Pang Palimpsest, by Charles Stross Piranesi, … Continue reading

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My tweets

Wed, 12:56: Important. https://t.co/oWCwKeAbmi Wed, 15:00: Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism, by Marina Warner Explores Joan as woman, hero, warrior, prophet; goes on to her later influence on literature, French politics, church authority, and concepts of sexuality. … Continue reading

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Whoniversaries 31 December

i) births and deaths None. There's quite enough for today as it is. ii) broadcast anniversary 31 December 1965: broadcast of third episode of The Highlanders. Polly overpowers Ffrench; the Doctor overpowers Perkins; but Ben is thrown into the cold … Continue reading

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House of Music: raising the Kanneh-Masons, by Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason

Second paragraph of third chapter: I didn't know how to speak in these tutorials where students talked about Evelyn Waugh and travelling abroad to places that I had never been. I tried to flatten the Welsh accent that would keep … Continue reading

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My tweets

Tue, 12:33: RT @jmlw1: @nwbrux Yes. ‘sovereignty’. Is the opposition’s best plan to abstain, do you think? Or vote against? Voting ‘for’ seems to be… Tue, 12:56: James Tiptree Jr. and Joanna Russ: Sci-Fi Pen Pals https://t.co/p5uvDLVdPK Actually sounds like … Continue reading

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Whoniversaries 30 December: two weddings, Enemy of the World #2, Three Doctors #1, Power of Kroll #2

i) births, marriage 30 December 1970: birth of Saul Metzstein, director of several Eleventh Doctor stories. 30 December 2011: wedding of David Tennant and Georgia Moffett. 30 December 1996: birth of Vivian Oparah who played Tanya Adeola in Class. ii) … Continue reading

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July 2009 books

This is the latest post in a series I started last year, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging which will fall in 2023. Every six-ish days I've been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family … Continue reading

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The Anything Box, by Zenna Henderson

Second paragraph of third story ("Something Bright"): If you had a quarter – first find your quarter – and five hungry kids, you could supper them on two cans of soup and a loaf of day-old bread, or two quarts … Continue reading

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My tweets

Mon, 12:56: It’s not all bad news. https://t.co/3Uilsjnfeg Mon, 15:00: American Gods by Neil Gaiman My thoughts from 2003: I think this is a very good book but not a great book. Many of the best bits were done previously … Continue reading

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Whoniversaries 29 December: Bernard Cribbins, Time Warrior #3, Horns of Nimon #2, Girl in Fireplace

i) births and deaths 29 December 1928: birth of Bernard Cribbins, who played Tom Campbell in Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150 AD (1966) and Wilfred Mott in various Tenth Doctor episodes from Voyage of the Damned (2007) to The End … Continue reading

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The unseen episode of Secret Army, and Kessler

I've been a bit lazy about finishing off the Secret Army project, partly because I'm a little sorry to see the end of it. (In case you missed them: Series One, Series Two and Series Three.) Before discussing the spinoff … Continue reading

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Macrolife, by George Zebrowski

Second paragraph of third chapter: But much of the Old City had endured, as had London and Paris, Tokyo, Rome, and major areas of Moscow and Peking—subterranean haunts tucked away in the world's memory like dear, unwanted relations. I picked … Continue reading

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My tweets

Sun, 12:56: RT @AntonSpisak: The Brexit deal marks a new beginning of a complex relationship in which Britain and the EU will have to learn to live tog… Sun, 13:23: RT @DavidHenigUK: Now in article length, my thoughts on winners … Continue reading

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Whoniversaries 28 December

i) births and deaths 28 December 1916: birth of Noel Johnson who played King Thous in The Underwater Menace (Second Doctor, 1967) and Sir Charles Grover in Invasion of the Dinosaurs (Third Doctor, 1974). Also 28 December 1916: birth of … Continue reading

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Planetfall, by Emma Newman

Second paragraph of third chapter: We're silent as we trudge through the grasses, Sung-Soo exhausted and malnourished, Mack and I trapped in our own little spirals of guilt and dread. He's taking us on a route that makes it far … Continue reading

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Wild Life, Ash: A Secret History, Perdido Street Station

Having decided that I'll review the winners of the Tiptree, BSFA and Clarke Awards of a give year together, the turn of the century provided me with a massive reading project. I think I started Wild Life on 17 October, … Continue reading

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My tweets

Sat, 12:13: RT @SamuelMarcLowe: My hot take is that while, yes, the EU-UK trade deal has been negotiated in record time, it could quite easily have bee… Sat, 12:15: RT @alexvtunzelmann: I took a day off yesterday but today I … Continue reading

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Whoniversaries 27 December: Christopher Benjamin, Paul Joyce

i) births and deaths 27 December 1934: birth of Christopher Benjamin, who played Sir Keith Gold in Inferno (Third Doctor, 1970), Henry Gordon Jago in The Talons of Weng-Chiang (Fourth Doctor, 1977) and the Big Finish Jago and Litefoot stories, … Continue reading

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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Going out of sequence for my next Hugo-winning film write-up; this was on TV the other day and I caught most of it, and then went back to watch the beginning on Netflix. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade won … Continue reading

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My tweets

Fri, 15:00: The Uncyclopedia, by Gideon Haigh A perfectly chosen 2004 Christmas gift from my sister. One reviewer states that it is the perfect gift for “the big brother who thinks he knows everything”. Hmmmmmmmmmm. #nwbooks https://t.co/CtLmtYGnN3 https://t.co/SFGkqiq7lX https://t.co/khUiTQ6w4F Fri, … Continue reading

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Whoniversary 26 December: the departure of Susan

Only one today. broadcast anniversary 26 December 1964: broadcast of “Flashpoint”, the sixth episode of the story we now call The Dalek Invasion of Earth

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Christmas walk

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My tweets

Thu, 12:56: RT @carryonkeith: Congratulations to Danny Boyle for choreographing such an amazing opening ceremony for the Brexit Festival. Inspirational… Thu, 13:03: RT @bbcdoctorwho: A very happy birthday to John Levene, who played Sergeant Benton, one of UNIT’s finest! https://t.co/2CwtaUKE7N … Continue reading

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Whoniversaries 25 December

i) births and deaths 25 December 1916: birth of Edward Burnham, who played Professor Watkins in The Invasion (1968) and Professor Kettlewell in Robot (1974-75) 25 December 1984: birth of Georgia Tennant, daughter of Peter "Fifth Doctor" Davison and married … Continue reading

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Thursday reading

My last ordinary weekly roundup of the year – next week’s will be rolled into month-end and year-end reports. Current Gormenghast, by Mervyn Peake The Anything Box, by Zenna Henderson The Prisoner of Brenda, by [Colin] Bateman Last books finished … Continue reading

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My tweets

Wed, 12:56: Who Did J.K. Rowling Become? https://t.co/CRpUJIUS9E Good question, with a good, long answer. Wed, 13:20: RT @WritersFrock: @nwbrux Excellent essay. The Mary Kenny of the modern era. She’s also a terrible writer, as anyone who had to read … Continue reading

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Whoniversaries 24 December

i) births and deaths 24 December 1925: birth of Innes Lloyd, producer of Doctor Who from The Celestial Toymaker (First Doctor, 1966) to The Enemy of the World (Second Doctor, 1967-68), who overhauled the show by getting rid of all … Continue reading

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A Belgian Christmas Eve, by Alfred Noyes

Given that it is Christmas Eve, and I am in Belgium, the title of this short play caught my eye. (A few years ago I read the same author's The Last Man aka No Other Man.) I really should not … Continue reading

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Utopia for Realists, and How We Can Get There, by Rutger Bregman

Second paragraph of third chapter: The widespread interest was hardly surprising. After all, it wasn't just some shifty mafia-run gambling den opening its doors that day. Harrah's Cherokee was and still is a massive luxury casino owned and operated by … Continue reading

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