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Monday, August 24th, 2015 08:14 am
I am much cheered by the results of the Hugo awards. Very much cheered.
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Friday, July 31st, 2015 10:07 am
I voted on the Hugos on Wednesday, in plenty of time for the deadline.

Fingers crossed for the people I voted for. I think I'll be in Wales when the results come out.
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Sunday, June 14th, 2015 08:26 pm
Yes, we have finally reached the stage of reviewing the novels. The five nominations are:

Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
The Dark Between the Stars, Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
Skin Game, Jim Butcher (Orbit UK/Roc Books)
The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Tor Books)

I tried to read all of them, with varying levels of success which I will describe below in more detail.

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK) )


The Dark Between the Stars, Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books) )

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books) )

Skin Game, Jim Butcher (Orbit UK/Roc Books) )


The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Tor Books) )
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Thursday, June 11th, 2015 05:30 pm
Very sad to see that Christopher Lee has died. He was 93, which is a good age, but I had somehow imagined he must be immortal.

RIP, a very sad loss.



In other news

I am almost ready to write up my reviews of the Hugo novel nominations. It's been a hard slog...
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Sunday, May 31st, 2015 03:46 pm
I am somewhat behindhand on my reviews of the Hugo nominations. This is largely because I started the novels and the first one I picked up is “The Three Body Problem” by Cixin Liu. Other people on File 770 have raved over it, but I’m finding it very hard going. I will try to finish it, but I’m only prepared to give it another couple of days before I give up and move on. It’s not the translation – the translator did a bang up job – I’m just struggling to dig up much interest.

It’s also because I had to prepare to run my occasional Call of Cthuhlu campaign for my two friends, which always takes up time. We had a good game, though. Well worth it. We’re still looking for a third player, in case anyone’s interested.

The final two "related" works…and there are no spoilers in these items, for once.

“Why Science is Never Settled”, Tedd Roberts )

Wisdom from My Internet, Michael Z. Williamson )
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Sunday, May 24th, 2015 12:44 am
On Thursday, I had a bit of a hiccup. I decided that, after a year of using it, I didn’t like the way that Windows 8’s standard email program dealt with emails. So I resolved to sort it out and get Outlook 2013 up and working and make it my default program for email. I thought it would be easy. A ten minute job.

How wrong could I be?

As it turned out, very very wrong. It took me only a few minutes to make it work with my outlook.com email address. Very simple. Done in three clicks. For some reason the icloud.com email address I have but never use was already linked to it. Don’t know how that happened, I’d certainly done nothing to make it do that.

The sticking point was my standard gmail.com address, the one I use for 90% of the time.

Gmail’s instructions make it sound simple. “Put these settings into the email program and watch it work.” So I put the settings into the email program and it did not work. I varied them according to the instructions for over four hours and it still did not work. I had a cup of tea and tried again. No dice. Rebooted. No dice. Cuddled the cat in a marked manner. No dice.

Finally I tried settings I was sure I’d tried at least twice before with no results…and it worked. Eh? What was with that?

My old friend [insanejournal.com profile] yonmei once said that she’d been working with computers since 1991 and still sometimes the only explanation for why the thing has done what it’s just done is, “It’s possessed.” I concur.

Hugos reviews, continued. Note: rampaging spoilers herein. Please do not click on the links if you can’t cope with spoilers.

I’m currently working my way through the “Best Related Work” list. I should say up front that I haven’t finished two of these, and doubt if I will finish them – if I’m even meant to finish them which I’m not completely sure I am.


Letters from Gardner, Lou Antonelli )


The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF )


Finally for this tranche we have:

Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth )
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Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 06:12 pm
I only managed to read two short stories today because I had to go out into the excitement that is the east end of London where I live and get some money out of the ATM. I also took the opportunity to eat brunch and wander round the local supermarket – boy do I have an exciting life!

I also finally got around to ringing the Ear Nose and Throat people at the local hospital for an appointment, but was told they hadn’t released any yet and all the ones they had were full. So the post-nasal drip drips on. (I told you about the exciting life.)

Again, spoilers. Please do not read if spoilers bother you. Of course, if you wouldn’t have read these stories anyway, have at it.


Turncoat by Steve Rzasa )


The Parliament of Beasts and Birds, John C. Wright )


Having now read all the short stories, I’m really hoping that the slate entries on the rest of the list are better than their short story nominations. So far, the only one which seemed to me to be of a good standard was the one I reviewed yesterday by Kary English, “Totaled.”
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Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 04:29 pm
The Hugo Awards packet came out yesterday (yippee! I’ve been waiting for this) and I think what I’m going to do is to post probably short reviews of the stories as I read them, mostly as records for my own voting purposes so that I’ll remember what I read and what I thought of it when I read it. I plan to give them marks out of ten, but reserve the right to alter these as I read more.

I’m also going to start cross posting to my WordPress thingy at mpmrommel.co.uk as I don’t currently make use of that and I really should. I shall just have to hope that if I overstep the allowances the hosts get in touch and let me know.

I have to say, also, that anything that isn’t in the packet and isn’t available on the web probably won’t get read. It’s not that I don’t want to read those stories, but that I’ve spent this month’s allowance on books, and can’t afford to spend more.

Note: rampaging spoilers herein. Please do not click on the links if you can’t cope with spoilers.

On a Spiritual Plane by Lou Antonelli )

A Single Samurai by Steven Diamond )

Totaled by Kary English )

So that’s the first three.
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Sunday, May 10th, 2015 01:37 pm
I've found the best outline of the Hugos debacle, here: http://www.philipsandifer.com/2015/04/guided-by-beauty-of-their-weapons.html

It's very long, but worth reading for those who are puzzled by the whole thing.
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