Random coincidences can be cool. I recently reread Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama for the first time since I was a kid, and read Niven's Ringworld for the first time ever. Today, I started to read Eric Brown's Helix. Then I twigged the common theme.

I don't normally go for BDO/megastructure themed stories, but have really enjoyed the first two; both are flawed and dated in some social attitudes, although Rama was surprisingly progressive in some areas. But apart from Orbitsville, which I reread a decade ago and decided not to do so again (always a risk when you re-encounter something you loved as a kid, Thundercats and Star Cops suffered really badly with this), I'm not aware of any other books/series specifically about BDOs, and while TVtropes mentions the Culture novels, they're not about the BDOs, they merely contain lots of them (and I think I've now read them all anyway).

So, given a) I'm a lazy git and b) it's a nice subject to talk about, what else should I be ordering from the library in order to read?
Woo Hoo!:
BBC radio is to launch a major cross-station drama season based around the science fiction genre, which will see BBC 7 broadcast its biggest original series commission to date.

The season will be spread over two weeks in February and March and will see BBC Radio 4, Radio 3 and BBC 7 play host to a number of science fiction-themed plays, featuring both original works and adaptations, including Arthur C Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama and Iain M Banks’ The State of the Art.
I loved Rama when I was a kid, but haven't read it since, so that'll be cool. State of the Art definitely makes sense as a Culture adaptation, and the rest of the stuff they talk about sounds very cool indeed. 5 months to wait though :-(

ETA: Paul Cornell is writing the SOTA adaptation, and gave details in an interview on IO9 awhileback:
The other great fun thing is the radio play, an adaptation of Iain Banks' "The State of the Art" for BBC Radio 4, which should go out early next year. We've recorded it, with Sir Antony Sher as the Ship (he's exactly what you expect one of Banks' ships to sound like), Patterson Joseph (who's probably best known for Neverwhere) as Linter, and Nina Sosanya as Sma, and the BBC production job is terrific. I can write 'we feel the presence of the Ship floating beside the car' and they can actually do that! Iain's approved the script. I really want to do some more SF for this lot. Good people.
Woo Hoo! That's the The Marquis De Carabas and the sexy one from Teachers. OK, it's just a radio play, but even so...
Undoubtedly my favourite author as a teen, and still someone I like to remember now (and who I'll doubtless bring up the reread list now), AP reports that Arthur C. Clarke passed away earlier today. He already had his own tag on here and deservedly so, not only did he predict satellite communications, mobile phones and similar, but he also proved that magic does exist and wrote some of the most iconic moments in SF film history ever. If you haven't watched 2001, do so, I suspect you'll get a chance very very soon. If I get to live to 90 and acheive half what he managed, I'll be fairly happy with my lot.

RIP Sir Arthur.

ETA: More linkage. ) Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.

Thus Spake Zarathustra
MTV Movies Blog » Freeman and Fincher ‘Rendezvous’ For Sci-Fi Space Thriller:
“I play the captain of the spaceship Endeavor that is charged with rendezvousing with this thing from outer space to find out what it is [and] what its intentions are,” [Morgan] Freeman said of his role in “Rendezvous with Rama,” the celebrated story from the mind of science-fiction legend Arthur C. Clarke.
And indeed it gets better:
with “Fight Club” director David Fincher at the helm
Lemme here a Woo. And, indeed, a Hoo.

Morgan Freeman, David Fincher, and one of Arthur C Clarke's best works?

I'm doomed, aren't I, it's going to be awful. *crosses everything and hopes it isn't*

Meh, down with grotty cold. Concentration shot to hell, so I've been playing Diablo II, having given up on Warcraft II (yes, 2) due to the bloody awful AI. Anyway...

Norwegian judge declares stripping is art:
Striptease, the tantalising dance pioneered by Salome in the Old Testament, is an art form that ranks with opera and ballet, according to a Norwegian court. As a result, strip clubs will be freed from paying the country’s hefty 25 per cent VAT.
A fair amount of the UK media has been writing scare stories about the "war on Christmas" again. The Guardian has investigated:
All of which might be reasonable, were it not for a few awkward facts. Luton does not have a festival called Luminos. It does not use any alternative name for Christmas. When it did, once, five years ago, hold something called Luminos one weekend in late November, the event didn't even replace the council's own Christmas celebrations, let alone forbid anyone else from doing anything. Similarly, Christmas is not called Winterval in Birmingham. The Royal Edinburgh Hospital for Sick Children never banned a Christmas CD for mentioning Jesus. And Chester council's "un-Christian" Christmas card says - as cards have done for decades - "Season's Greetings".
Yup, all bollocks, just as we'd expect. Good news! The more people learn about ID cards, the less they like them; I'm not the only one planning to refuse the damn things:
Hundreds of thousands of people will refuse to sign up to the UK Government's planned identity register, according to just-published research. Around eight per cent of those surveyed said they would refuse to sign up to the database even if they are fined.

The survey was carried out by polling firm YouGov on behalf of the Daily Telegraph newspaper and in a sample of 1,979 people found that a significant proportion were prepared to defy the government over the database.
8% of those surveyed. And that didn't include me, haven't done a YouGov poll for a bit now, can't be arsed. It would be nice if they sent you a message when the results came out, but there y'go. Longest pending retirement in history? Arthur C Clarke still alive, but not writing (again):
Arthur C. Clarke is no longer writing, and has asked dynamic young author Frederik Pohl (born two years after ACC) to finish his new novel. `Talked to Pohl recently, and he was doing it,' confirms Charles N. Brown. It is rumoured that this came as a surprise to Greg Benford, who had rather expected to be called on for the task.
I've got rather attached to the stuff he's done with Baxter recently, but still, proclaiming too old to write then getting a friend two years your junior to do it? I dunno. When building a site, what browsers should you support? All of them, naturally:
In the first 10 years of professional web development, back in the early ‘90s, browser support was binary: Do you — or don’t you — support a given browser? When the answer was “No”, user access to the site was often actively prevented. In the years following IE5’s release in 1998, professional web designers and developers have become accustomed to asking at the outset of any new undertaking, “Do I have to support Netscape 4.x browsers for this project?”

By contrast, in modern web development we must support all browsers. Choosing to exclude a segment of users is inappropriate, and, with a “Graded Browser Support” strategy, unnecessary.
The chart on the next page is rather good as well, lists all the A-listers you should test with. M$ finally let me install IE7 last night, tried it. No thanks, not for me. On the subject of designing, how about a list of all fonts that come as a default install on all common platforms?:
Here you can find the list with the standard set of fonts common to all versions of Windows and their Mac substitutes, referred sometimes as "browser safe fonts". This is the reference I use when making web pages and I expect you will find it useful too.
Not a bad one that. Assuming, of course, you want to use something that isn't Verdana.

Meh, I'm off to down some more Beechams. Might be a poll or something daft later.
[livejournal.com profile] tiredstars reminded me elsewhere I have an apology to make. [livejournal.com profile] faeriecween?
Magic does exist. )
There was a broadcast on the BBC today, and it reminded me how much I've always liked the old buffer. As I was misquoting him in conversation yesterday without realising it, a tribute post and a link to the Listen Again seems like a good plan.
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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October 2015


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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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