320 days of plague: holding on

Again, first things first: the Belgian numbers are slightly better than ten days ago, and a little better again than twenty or thirty days ago. Considering that the famously infectious British strain has thoroughly overtaken the country, it could be a lot worse (as it is in the UK).

There seems to have been an extraordinary flap on Friday evening about an EU proposal, quickly withdrawn, to limit provision of vaccines to Northern Ireland. To be honest, I have not formed an opinion about this yet, as I have been taking the weekend off, a bit ground down by aches and pains (annoying rather than serious) – what impresses me in passing is how strongly people feel that their rapid hot take is important, despite having little more information than I do. It's clear that the EU screwed up, and that some in the UK are being gleeful at one EU mis-step after five and a half years of British blundering, but I tend to think it will have been forgotten by the middle of next month, if not next week.

Nominations for the Hugo awards were safely launched on Tuesday. I cannot claim a lot of credit for this – the previous team had left things in good shape, needing only a few more tweaks after we took over. Of course, much remains uncertain about this year's Worldcon, but you can be pretty sure that there will be Hugo Awards.

I was reflecting that it's exactly two years since F and I went to Bosnia and Croatia, reliving old memories for me and creating new ones for us both. Those days will come again.

I do miss travel. I have not even been to Brussels since mid-December.

Still, there are always new things to do. I took B today to a park I had not visited before, De Beemden in Landen. She was disappointed that there was not enough sunlight to make hand shadows on the ground, but otherwise seemed to enjoy the change of scene.

Stay well, everyone.

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January books

Non-fiction 4
Out of Africa, by Karen Blixen
Endgames: Political Cartoons and Other Stuff, 2015-2020, by Martyn Turner
Watling Street, by John Higgs
T.K. Whitaker, by Anne Chambers

Non-genre 2
The Home and the World, by Rabindranath Tagore
Gallimaufry, by Colin Baker (mostly non-sfnal)
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SF 10
A Day in the Life, by Hank Stine
The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern
Into the Ashes, by Lee Murray
Midnight Blue-Light Special, by Seanan McGuire
The Lowest Heaven, eds Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin
The Food of the Gods: And How It Came to Earth, by H. G. Wells
Greybeard, by Brian Aldiss
The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
Gormenghast, by Mervyn Peake
Elatsoe, by Darcie Little Badger
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Doctor Who 1, 2 including comics
At Childhood’s End, by Sophie Aldred

Comics 2

Kaamelott: Het Raadsel Van de Kluis, by Astier/Dupre
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5500 pages
8/19 by women (Blixen, Chambers, Murray, Mcguire, Perry, Little Badger, Aldred, houser)
3/19 by PoC (Tagore, Murray, Little Badger)
2/19 rereads (The Princess Bride, Gormenghast)

Sugar and Other Stories, by A. S. Byatt
Koko Takes a Holiday, by Kieran Shea
The Kappa Child, by Hiromi Goto
The Last Manchu: The Autobiography of Henry Pu Yi, Last Emperor of China

Coming soon (perhaps)
The Autumn Land and Other Stories, by Clifford D. Simak
A Buzz in the Meadow, by Dave Goulson
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor – Old Friends, by Jody Houser
Pūrākau: Māori Myths Retold by Māori Writers, edited by Witi Ihimaera and Whiti Hereaka
Three Daves, by Nicki Elson (2010)
Goodbye To All That, by Robert Graves
Science Fiction: The Great Years, eds. Carol and Frederik Pohl
Mostly Void, Partially Stars, by Joseph Fink
Sandkings, by George R.R. Martin
Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd, by Nick Mason
City of Blades, by Robert Jackson Bennett
Foucaults Pendulum, by Umberto Eco
Le dernier Atlas, tome 1, by Fabien Vehlmann
The Consuming Fire, by John Scalzi
In the Days of the Comet, by H. G. Wells
Romeinse sporen: het relaas van de Romeinen in de Benelux met 309 vindplaatsen om te bezoeken, by Herman Clerinx
Kaleidoscope: diverse YA science fiction and fantasy stories, ed. Tansy Rayner Roberts
Bold As Love, by Gwyneth Jones
The Complete Short Stories Of Guy de Maupassant

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My tweets

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Whoniversaries 31 January

i) births and deaths

31 January 1918: birth of John Crockett, who directed "The Wall of Lies", the fourth episode of the story we now call Marco Polo (First Doctor, 1964), and the whole of the story we now call The Aztecs (also First Doctor, 1964)

31 January 2003: death of William Marlowe, who played prisoner Harry Mailer in The Mind of Evil (Third Doctor, 1971) and Nerva crewman Lester in Revenge of the Cybermen (Fourth Doctor, 1976).

i) broadcast anniversaries

31 January 1970: broadcast of first episode of Doctor Who and the Silurians

31 January 1976: broadcast of first episode of The Seeds of Doom. A mysterious pod is found in Antarctica; it opens, infecting a nearby scientist. The Doctor and Sarah come to investigate.

31 January 1981: broadcast of first episode of The Keeper of Traken. First appearance of Sarah Sutton as Nyssa, and of Anthony Ainley though not yet as the Master. The dying Keeper invites the Doctor to come to Traken, where social balance is threatened by the evil calcified Melkur.

ii) date specified in canon

31 January 2007: the SS Elysium arrives in Panama after its encounter with Cybermen, as told in David Banks' 1993 novel Iceberg.

That brings January to an end, much the heaviest month in this project with 107 Old Who anniversaries, five Torchwood, various New Who and other things including the pilot of the Sarah Jane Adventures to take into account. (I realise I missed a couple of the Australian K9 episodes so have slotted them in now and will make sure to do so going forward.) February and March are also fairly intense; April and May (when many Old Who seasons had finished, and the numbers are not quite balanced out by the start of New Who) less so, and June will be a welcome relief.