Robert Jordan died yesterday. I'd had him filed under "really must get around to reading" for ages, never quite got around to it. But enough people I know were fans to figure there's something there worth it.

So I guess the questions are: Are the Wheel of Time books good, should I try to read them, how far from completion were they, and will someone else be hired to finish things off?
Some random stuff. Point one.
Hawking hath kids book? Written by him and his daughter? How cool is that?

Point two. Hopefully, if del.icio.us and LJ talk to each other, tonight at some point will be a linkspam post, because I'm regularly working at different PCs, my old way of storing links and posting them when I had time isn't working, so instead I'll just tag em on delicious and in theory they auto post here--it works for others, we shall see. There's a dedicated feed, [livejournal.com profile] matgb_links_fd if you want them direct, and the crosspost is now three hours late...

Point four.

Happy Birthday [livejournal.com profile] foxfirefey!

Point five. Question--how many times d'you think it's necessary to tell people where you live while making a point?
Many many times it seems... )
I think that last is the best one though...

G'night all. Oh, tomorrow evening (Weds--tonight really), going to be in town, probably in the Wetherspoons next to Victoria at some point around 9.30ish if anyone wants to meet for a drink.

John Rawls: A Theory of Justice
You're A Theory of Justice!
by John Rawls

In the beginning, you lived in a town. The town had many problems! Rather than moving, you decided to come up with the idea for the best town ever. Going all the way back to the original position, you created the idea for the best town ever! Lo and behold, the best town ever looked almost identical to the town you lived in. You decided to stay in the town. Now you resent people mistaking your refined thought experiments for "the wall of stupidity" in high school debate rounds.

Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

And yes, the code output for the quiz is so awful it's really awful, so I cleaned it a lot. Still, beats Ulysses. Nice that it's a book I a) own and b) like.
Bugger, had meant to give this a better plug than the brief aside I actually appear to have managed, ah well. [livejournal.com profile] chrisdolley has organised what should turn out to be Europe’s largest signing event in Europe’s largest book shop tomorrow (Thursday) evening, 5.30pm till 7.30pm at Waterstones Piccadilly. It'll include Chris himself, [livejournal.com profile] steph_swainston (who's looking forward to it), Jon Courteney Grimwood (gotta love how Waterstones have spelt his name wrong on the website, right?), Robert Holdstock, Steven Savile, Andrew Dennis, Eric Brown, John Lambshead and David Devereux. No, I've not heard of the others before either, but who cares, there aren't many authors I have tags for, two at once in the same place? Yeah baby. [1]

Steph's in full on publicity mode for the new book at the moment (read it last week, very good, not sure I liked the ending but overall a nice end to that specific sequence), and there's a decent interview with her at UKSFBN, which I found from this post from [livejournal.com profile] talvalin in which he highlights an apparent inconsistency in her dislike of 'magic' as a plot device. Not 100% sure I agree with him, but there is a point. Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] ninebelow has a linked poll on the impact of New Weird as a genre and the impact fandom has on the industry, comments are worth a read.

[1] [livejournal.com profile] tyrell (and any others reading this planning to attend) - Let me know if you fancy going to a pub before or after the event, if I'm going to drag myself into town might as well do something while there, right? Contact details for those on my friends list.
Genius. The Sorted Books Project:
A Day at the Beach

There are so many more on that page and in the whole project. I will now stop clicking to read more, so very cool.
[livejournal.com profile] tyrell gives us an interesting quote:
When asked about the quality of television today he made a comment that "Nothing on TV has ever been as good as (the new) Battlestar Galactica."!
Who said that, you ask? Joss Whedon. The guy who made Buffy, Angel, Firefly. The one that Uncle Rusty is trying to copy, rather than learn from and build upon.

Joss Whedon thinks BSG is better than anything he's ever done for TV. And I agree with him. Re watched a fnumber of episodes over the weekend with [livejournal.com profile] snapesbabe, and it was great to remember how good some of them really are.

Back home from Yorkshire, knackered, had a great weekend, spending time with [livejournal.com profile] snapesbabe is of course going to be good, meeting [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks was cool, trying many many beers at the beer festival was interesting, and I even found a few I actually liked as well, although disappointingly, the cider named Strawberry Fields was far too sweet. Finished reading Macleod's Newton's Wake on the bus up, and am now about half way through [livejournal.com profile] steph_swainston's The Modern World, loved the former, any Charles Stross fans not already reading Ken should do so, and the latter is proving to be interesting up unitl this point.

Have backread my "people I actually have met" filter, but not really commenting much, far too knackered and incoherent, so I shall simply turn in, work tomorrow.
Don't you just hate it when that happens? This moring, on the bus, I finally finished reading Blish's Cities in Flight (Baxter's right, don't read book one, it's pointless - book 4's a bit poo as well), so I started reading Ken Macleod's Newton's Wake. I'm on about page 70 by the time I got home this evening.

What is greeting me when I get through the door? My Amazon delivery. Now, given I'm under instructions to read The Modern World as soon as possible, but I'm really enjoying Newton's Wake and it's due back at the library, what should I do?

[Poll #989719]

The former because I'm winding [livejournal.com profile] faeriecween up. The latter because I'm curious. I'm half tempted to read them all and then review them side by side, but we all know that's never going to happen, so I might just write reviews up as I go.
So, [livejournal.com profile] steph_swainston's new book is out today. And I'm tying to save money. Given that there are three books out this month I really want, well, patience is a virtue, I'd decided to switch to paperbacks only way before I ran out of money. Then she posted a link to a really good interview and a follow uppost about modern fantasy / New Weird writing. Got me all excited it did (plus, [livejournal.com profile] faeriecween had texted me to say she'd bought her copy and I was all jealous, I'm supposed to be the one that gets the books first). And Steph had also posted a link to the Amazon page. So I went to look. Y'see that bit that says "nearly half price", and the bit that says "free delivery for orders over X". Yeah, I thought I'd see if I could find something. So a little bit further down the page? A "Perfect Partner". At the top of the post, I mention there are three books I'm excited about them coming out? Swainston, Reynolds and, well, Miéville's Un Lun Dun. The Reynolds will wait, but those two came to £16.77.

They're, um, in the post now. Oops. So much for waiting for the paperbacks.

On the subject of Miéville's Un Lun Dun, podcast of him doing a reading from it, so very cool. Many thanks to Iain of [livejournal.com profile] tsitsoss_rss (formerly [livejournal.com profile] daweaver of this parish) for mailing me that link.

Um, yeah. Life = very busy. Job = fun, well, dull, but great atmosphere and company. Location = Westminster, I'm still loving it. Mat = busy little bee. Need to sort out my friends list and viewing filters soon, but in the meantime, time to turn in, another long day tomorrow.
First up, [livejournal.com profile] scalzi is off on a book tour of the US west coast, and has popped in to Google, so they recorded his hour long talk and posted it to YouTube. Scalzi on eBooks, blogging, journalling, comment moderation and how to tape bacon to a cat. Once you get past that accent, very cool. It turns out, via the next item on my feed, that authors talking to Google employees is a regular thing, here, for example, is Neil Gaiman being typically cool. He talks a fair bit about Neverwhere, the adaptation process and what it's like to be Neil Gaiman, not bad. Yes, I have watched both today, yes, that is two hours spent listening to authors talk, and no, don't want that time back. FWIW, Scalzi's Old Man's War is currently vying with [livejournal.com profile] scott_lynch's Lies of Locke Lamorra in my 'best book read thus far in 2007' mental slot.

Next up, and of no direct interest to me but probably of interest to a fair number of my friends list, [livejournal.com profile] one_track_girl reviews her 5 favourite sex toys. I really like that society has got tot he point where we can, just about, talk about such things openly without dying of embarrassment.

On the subject of sex toys, via [livejournal.com profile] qi_news we get the news that:
prehistoric man engaged in a wide range of sexual practices, including group sex, transvestism, bondage and even the use of sex toys, and was used as a way of building up cultural ties between primitive societies.
More on that story of perfectly natural debauchery at The Times. All this monogamous lovey-dovey crap, it's not natural I tell you, it's against nature damnit!

Last up, for now, a few from [livejournal.com profile] languagelog, firstly, a campaign to stop asterisking swear words online. Potty-mouthed me is, sort of, 100% behind this story, except that I know from experience modding the Temple and blogging in a few places that completely uncensored swearing causes issues for some people browsing from work or in certain oversees countries. [livejournal.com profile] timworstall once had a regular reader and commenter unable to get to his site because Tim had titled a post 'Fuck' and that meant the url was blocked by the Saudi censors. Hmm, what do people think? It's mostly USians that have these issues I think, but are there any Brits that have overly restrictive language-based filters at work?

Then they have another in the snowcone series on silly linguistic myths, this time on the number of words in Arabic for camel. While it's possibly true that there are that many words that recognisably mean camel, saying so in such a manner is about as daft as asserting that English has way ofer well over 100 words for dog. It's true, but it adds little to the debate. Besides, an area very much reliant on camels for basic agricultural use has a breeders show and this is global news? Um, someone better tell the Devon County Show. Just another article in their ongoing series about daft things like "Eskimoes have 400 words for snow". While it might be often said, it is of course completely untrue (although some of the ones on that list are a little interesting, I'd love to know what they do with ertla).

ETA: Oops, nearly forgot. ZX Spectrum far more important than the PS3 will ever be. Help me, I agree with an MSN article! (via [livejournal.com profile] raksaksa)
Righty ho, first day in the new job tomorrow, and I'm not even remotely sleepy, but I need to be, so clearing the clipboard now and turning in. Remember that it's International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, and post something; I said I'd do an SEO/Usability study on a site, but no one volunteered me one, so I'll try to get a "how to" on the basics of customising your LJ, because I'm about half way through [livejournal.com profile] londonbloodbowl at the moment. That's if I get time after work tomorrow, given I'm planning on taking part in a world record attempt in Trafalgar Square. But the point of that link was to point to the fact that Charlie Stross has released Missile Gap for free download, which given my liking of everything I've read by [livejournal.com profile] autopope so far (I even like his politics) is a Good Thing.

Awhileback, I mentioned [livejournal.com profile] el_staplador is on a pilgrimage through Spain and suggested you go read her journal, which she's mostly updating via internet cafe. Only, um, I spelt her user name wrong (oops), so to make up for that, here's the story so far - pre-departure planning one, two, three and four. Actual reports from Spain: SORPRESA!, In brief, This could be the weirdest place in which I have ever updated LJ..., ¡Castrojeriz!, ¡Carrión de los Condes!, Thank goodness for wonderful refugios..., It's a long way to Santiago,It's a long, Goodbye, goodbye, I wish you all a last goodbye... and Yes, but you don't go!. If yuo wondering if the links are worth following, have an exerpt:
Note about refugios: yes, they're vaguely like youth hostels, but they are reserved exclusively for pilgrims ... it costs anything from €3 to €8 for the bed, plus about €3 for breakfast if they happen to do it there, although some seem to rely entirely on donations... They can range from the really basic and horrible - the one at Hornillos de Camino, for example, was filthy, cramped and disorganised ... and the shower was so cold that I wished I'd had some lustful thoughts to make it worth it.


Lastly, for those wondering? Yes, my girlfriend is crazy, personally I think it's one of her more endearing features...
Well, this is nice timing. My reading for the journey to Yorkshire and back was [livejournal.com profile] steph_swainston's[2] The Year of Our War, I've mentioned it more than a few times before, I've just now switched on to the follow up, No Present Like Time, partially because the third book, The Modern World, is due out later this month, and I've just had them returned to me after [livejournal.com profile] faeriecween returned them; a long loan to herself, [livejournal.com profile] jantshira[1] and others. Today, first entry on my friends page is the announcement that she's signed up to write two more books set in the same background. If'n you haven't read her stuff yet, there are previews of the first chapter of each on her site. My first reread yesterday, was struck by some of the little details I'd missed before; rope-drawn trams powered by waterwheels, Jant's normally wearing jeans and a t-shirt, etc. Seriously, a fantasy novel about fighting Insects in which the main character is a drug addict immortal and the only living man who can fly. Very very good.

[1] Lucinda created her LJ just over a year ago, her username is that of the main character/narrator, Jant Shira. That she did this after reading the books, which she got after Christy had had them from me, shows how long the loan was, n'est ce pas?

[2]ETA: [livejournal.com profile] tyrell's description: (who, judging from her writing, is incredibly sexy yet scary as fuck), which is something I concur with.
[livejournal.com profile] makinglight has this years list of nominees, and there are some interesting choices (remember, nominations are a ballot of members).Some of the nominees, some observatios, Battlestar Galactica & Doctor Who are in, etc... )

Oh yeah, Jim Baen for best editor, naturally. While a lot of his books were pulp, they were great pulp, and his approach to e-books and the Baen free library were spot on, hope the industry catches up soon.  I have no Hugo vote, and there's no way I can get to WordCon in Tokyo, but always interesting to follow.
[livejournal.com profile] steph_swainston is giving away three of her proof copies for The Modern World:
Bound proofs for The Modern World are now doing the rounds.

I have three to give away - one every week until the end of February. If you send me your email address via the contact form I will enter you for the draw.

The draws will take place on: Monday 12th, Monday 19th and Monday 26th. The entrants will be renewed each week, so if you don’t win, send me your email again for another chance.
I've mentioned her a few times as one of my more favoured recently discovered authors, she's one of the few that have had me go to the bookshop to buy book two just after finishing book one, and [livejournal.com profile] jantshira is more of a fan than I am. No idea where either of my copies of her books are; I suspect [livejournal.com profile] faeriecween and/or family members...

NB, this'd be part three of a sequence, but parts 1 & 2 are well worth the read.
Things that make Mat happy part mcmxvii. Via just about everyone (including an email), HBO, the US TV channel that made The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, Oz, Carnivàle, The Larry Sanders Show, Deadwood, Band of Brothers, Rome... (and snipping out shows I didn't like/haven't seen still leaves an impressive list there) have announced that they will be making [livejournal.com profile] grrm's A Song of Ice and Fire into a very long TV show. It gets better:
The author will co-exec produce the series
and each book will be an entire season, so while they'll need to cut out some detail, they won't need to cut out all the detail. In a different article on the same story I also found:
This comes on the heels of HBO announcing they would do a series based on Preacher
Lemme hear you say an amen. Game of Thrones and Preacher? Yowsers.

And, in US news, Senator Barack Obama:
I'll be filing papers today to create a presidential exploratory committee. For the next several weeks, I am going to talk with people from around the country, listening and learning more about the challenges we face as a nation, the opportunities that lie before us, and the role that a presidential campaign might play in bringing our country together.
I first heard about this guy when Evan linked to a video of his address to the DNC at the time Kerry/Edwards won the nomination, and I was actually impressed. It's not often these days that public speaking and speeches impress me, but this guy did. I've only heard good things since. I'm thinking he won't win the nomination, but will make a great VP candidate behind either Edwards or Clinton.

Right, I'm off into town for the protest I mentioned, see you all on the flip side...
Part xvii, comment notifications that make me smile. Where? here:
This suggestion has been submitted to a team of staff members for implementation consideration.
From [livejournal.com profile] coffeechica on my comment editing suggestion.

Red Dwarf series iii. Backwards & Bodyswap, two of my more favoured episodes, with Bodyswap having one of the best sample quotes to hit the charts ever (Carter USM sampled Rimmer's fat bastard speech).

Buffy VTS special Faith DVD. Because, y'know, Faith. Buffy still a whiny preaching moraliser, but Faith = cool.

Books. Specifically, have now also finished Bester's The Stars My Destination, which I'd never read before. Gaiman's right (the Gollancz classics edition has an intro from him), it's prot-cyberpunk and then some, complete with magic mcguffin. Definately deserves the description one of the great SF novels, and although it's got some elements that are incredibly dated (I just don't see jaunting leading to the repressive society with women effectively locked away as described), overall as a future dystopia novel it's not bad.

That puts me on 5 books read so far this year. Considering last year I could find about 20 total, maybe I'm back to my old ways?

I also bought a copy of John Rawls' Political Liberalism. I've read (and studied) A theory of Justice, but not the follow up work. Given I've read the great 17th, 18th and 19th Great Liberal Thinkers, I really ought to finish of Rawls, right? And then I'll add back a little Nozick just to make sure I'm not going nuts...
OK then. [livejournal.com profile] _drop_zone_ was cool last night, was good to see many Reading friends again, and indeed meet people I'd heard about or talked to but not actually met before. I have no idea how much I drank, what I will say is that, for a bourbon, Maker's Mark is actually quite drinkable, [livejournal.com profile] faeriecween was right about that.

Consequently, I'm horribly hung over and not in the mood to think much, even now. Still lfat hunting )

Books: Susanna Clarke, John Scalzi, both good ) Suffice to say, for those that have read it, I want a BrainPal.

Anyway, Mike is snoring the other side of the room, I'm going to curl up in a corner and possibly watch some DVDs; I both got my Firefly back (yay!) and borrowed some new ones from Christy. Was good to meet people last night, and thanks to all for the chats, drinks, etc. In the meantime, I offer for your entertainment pleasure, conclusive proff that [livejournal.com profile] blogthings quiz results are completely and utterly suspect and normally far from reality.

Oh, also? To whichever anonymous person bought me the extra userpics bolt on as a gift? Thanks! I'm scared a little, but thanks anyway.
Oh dear. Laurell K. Hamilton has, it appears, had her own Anne Rice moment. Getting something straight:
They aren't comfortable books. They are books that push my character and me to the edge and beyond of our comfort zones.
OK, got that, bad things happen.
The characters aren't real to you. They are real to me, and to a lot of other people. I, and a lot of readers, would feel an emotional loss if some of these guys died.
Right. So, about this Comfort Zone thing? Further pisstaking and opinion (with updates!) )She makes one point that I agree with though.
If that's not want you want, then stop reading.
I did. (via John, Nick and James)

Never mind. There's a comic adaptation now. Ah, oh dear. It's worse (via)
Well, I'm back online properly, and a quick glance at friends page and feeds. A lot to catch up on. If I've missed anything of personal import let me know as I'll be scanning not reading for the most part.

Spent most of the week either at my parents, Rob's or in bed with a book or a DVD. Didn't buy any electric cards last weekend, so couldn't use much that required power until Anne upstairs came back, me silly fule. Got some book tokens from my sister (she's learning), some Dr Who DVDs from my parents, and chocolate plus some cash from both grandmothers. Went and bought myself Dr Who series II and Torchwood Pt I boxing day, natch. Also bought myself the [livejournal.com profile] grrm paperback, which I'm halfway through, rather good so far. [livejournal.com profile] autopope's second novel is, I think, better than his first, and definitely the sort of SF I want to be reading, made me think and entertained. This is good.

Torchwood? Will do a proper review style thing when I'm caught up, but initial reaction? OMG yes. More please. Flawed, at times the plotting is daft, and a bit too twee in a few ways, but overall impressive, and better than 90% of other stuff out there. Also, Gwen has a rather nice arse, shame they took her out of the uniform. And Tosh is cute as well. Sorry, I'll, um, go back to reading my feeds and friends list...
Originally posted using [livejournal.com profile] sms_to_lj...

So, read the new book (Stross, Iron Sunrise) watch Dr. Who DVDs or post to LJ? How about climb into bed and use the phone to do all 3?
So, what do you do when you've written a novel and have access to the Guardian's high traffic weblog? Post a plug, or two, or three? Nah, that's underkill, right? How about thirty-three plugs?:
Last Sunday I went into a bookshop, a link in one of the big retail chains. Entering a bookshop can be a risky business for an author with a new novel out (plug 4) unless his or her ego is in good shape. They contain so many books that unless your new novel (plug 5) is displayed in the front window or else one of those stacked on a table near the front it's hard to imagine their customers even discovering that your book exists (plug 6), let alone purchasing a copy unless they'd arrived intent on doing so.
D'you reckon he wants you to buy his book? The actual article isn't that bad, but I'm just reposting because, well, gotta admire the cheek...
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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