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?
Seriously, 5 days after Bart and I wrote about it, her people have issued a statement saying 'Dragon Tattoo' Rumor Is 'Absolutely False'. This is because The Sun and Metro.co.uk ran it as a story yesterday

Tabloids, not only do they get the stories completely wrong, they get the stories wrong 5 days later than a pair of bloggers...
So, Emma "Hermione" Watson has had a rather drastic haircut. So far, so "girl gets haircut", and while she does look rather pretty with it, who cares? Quoth [livejournal.com profile] bart_calender:
Emma Watson's hair
Emma Watson's hair
1. In London they are currently trying to cast the role of Lizbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

2. Emma Watson suddenly releases this picture of her "new look" to the media.

3. All of the stories about it somehow work in that she's finished shooting the last Harry Potter movie and is now out of her exclusive contract.

Now, I've not, yet, read any of Larsson's books, but that picture does look ramarkably similar, n'est ce pas? While I was writing this, it appears MTV think along the same lines, although not quite sure she's ready to do an Aliens franchise reboot, what do we think?

ETA: 5 days later, Emma Watson officially denies interest in Dragon Tattoo role.
How cool is this vid?:

It's part of the campaign for a bid to hold the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention in London in August 2014, which, y'know, would also be cool.
The Worldcon is the premier international science fiction event, and awards the prestigious Hugo Awards for achievement in the field of science fiction. 2014 will be the 75th anniversary of the first Worldcon, in New York in 1939, since when the event has been held every year apart from a break during the Second World War. It was last hosted by London in 1965, nearly fifty years ago.
Y'know the Hugo awards given out each year? To get a Hugo, you need to be shortlisted by attendees from the most recent and next WorldCon, then win the ballot of the attendees of just that WorldCon. So if you go to a WorldCon, you get to vote on who wins, etc.

Plus, also, a lot of major authors have a habit of turning up. Which is also nice. I'd love to go to a WorldCon (last UK one was before I'd heard of it), and this'd be great. They have an LJ Comm ([livejournal.com profile] londonin2014), a Twitter feed and a Facebook page, so you can go find more info &c. But, y'know, regardles, watch the vid, it's really well done, even if it is a bit over reliant on Doctor Who stuff.

On the subject of cool videos, and completely unrelated, have this pixel invasion added bonus:
Cut to save your sanity and because of that silly double-embed bug they've not fixed yet )Both from [livejournal.com profile] andrewducker
A nice little mix of stuff in this lot, though the politics averse amongst you should be warned that with elections next week there's a fair bit on that, though not much of it is serious. Posted to both LJ and DW with comments open for technical reasons that I can't be arsed to fix, LJ version: Europe, books, maps and snails—MOAR linkspam
A nice little mix of stuff in this lot, though the politics averse amongst you should be warned that with elections next week there's a fair bit on that, though not much of it is serious. Also posted to DW with comments open, linkspams don't crosspost easily due to limitations at Delicious.
So, having been regularly getting books out from the local library[1], I was tempted to try the "classic" Heinlein that I'd never read. It's recommended in the Guardian's 1000 books list, the only one of his works, and as I've enjoyed[2] many of his other books, even those dated, I finally got around to taking it out and trying to read it.

It's the revised 'preferred' version, so it's long for a Heinlein and, apart from the obvious not aged very well problem, it seems to suffer in some way. I'm not, actually, enjoying it. I'm about 1/3rd of the way in for those interested. So I thought I'd ask you guys what you think of him and the book.
[Poll #1340941]
[1] The only books by [livejournal.com profile] autopope that I haven't yet read are currently waiting for me to go pick them up. If you're not sure, let Crooked Timber explain Why you should read Charles Stross as part of their Stross book event which I linked to earlier in the week but perhaps didn't push enough. I've not had time to read all of it yet, but what I have read is cool. Especially the Nobel Laureate geeking about the parallel worlds fantasy books...

[2] I read Citizen of the Galaxy and I think a couple others as a teen, and enjoyed what I can remember, I mean to reread at some point. I've read Starship Troopers both as a teen and an adult, and find it a great fun entertaining book with some dodgy politics; I'm one of those rare beasts that prefers the film because of the politics, even if Verhoeven did mess that up quite a bit. Farnham's Freehold is, however, a bit of pulpy trash best consigned to the dustbin of outdated books.
Yesterday, I did finish reading [livejournal.com profile] autopope's Jennifer Morgue. It's a damn fine James Bond pastiche with casinos, yachts, a submersible car and Great Old Ones—I commend it to the housereadership.

By random chance, It was revealed today that my good friend [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat, despite being a smart, educated Brit in her mid twenties, has never seen a Bond movie. Now, while I am tempted to complement her parents for managing to raise her and not once have ITV on on a bank holiday, I am completely and utterly amazed that she has managed to never see a Bond movie. Given that I am always aware of the potential problems caused by the small numbers fallacy, I thought I'd find out if she's actually less unusual than I think. Poll time:
[Poll #1296178]
See, I read the books mostly when I was a kid (I distinctly recall reading a fair few while on the caravan holiday in France, which dates it to 1986 just before I turned 12 and started grammar school). I can remember both enjoying reading them and being surprised at how different they were to the films—Bond got married in one, and was getting over her assassination in the next, there was distinct character development and Moneypenny was a bit part.

They were, without doubt, a product of their time, which is why the new films are even further away from them, even if elements (Bond's character) do seem closer than the earlier films. At times I consider going back to reread them, then decide life is too short and I've got far too many other books to read (like the rest of [livejournal.com profile] autopope's books for a start). Anyone else read enough of them as an adult to have an opinion one way or t'other?

Jennie posted a slightly different poll rating the movies awhileback for those of you that are poll obsessed or merely didn't see it.
So, today, we did go to the Library. It was shut for renovations most of the summer so I couldn't register, but it's now reopened. It is a typical small English town library, gifted to the town by the effective founder, and has an attached art gallery. It's gorgeous.

I registered (painless process all on computer), but forgot to ask how many books I'd be allowed. Given that when I grew up in Devon it was 4, Exeter uni was I think 6, and Merton in Wimbledon was similar, while browsing I chose a pile, then put several back on the shelves.

When checking out, I did ask the question. 20.

You can take out 20 books at once

Plus it's a gorgeous building, in a nice park setting, and it's less'n ten minutes walk. I need to remember to return my books on time and not get banned from this library. Plus, as SB discovered, they seem to have a complete set of Asterix books. Shrub's likely a little young for them. Probably. Anyway...
[Poll #1286302]
I did see it on the shelf, and made her take it out to read. Pretty sure I leant [livejournal.com profile] susannah_banana my copy, else I'd have put it top of her pile already.

Shrub's already read the two books she took out. Which means given it's half term I might have to take her back for more. What a shame. I'll have to force myself.
Meme time:
-Choose a book genre
-Choose five books from that genre
-Tell me why I should read them.
Nice'n simple. I pick history:
  1. An Utterly Impartial History of Britain (or 2000 years of Upper Class Idiots in charge)--John O'Farrell

  2. Everyone should know at least the basics of the history of these islands )
  3. The Glorious Revolution (1688--Britain's Fight for Liberty)--Edward Vallance

  4. Pop quiz: When was Britain last successfully invaded?
    Well, have a guess. The late 17thC is )a crucial phase in British history, and this is an excellent primer into it.
  5. Battle Cry of Freedom (The American Civil War) James M. McPherson

  6. knowing how America came to be the way it is is essential for everyone ).
  7. The long 19th century--Eric Hobsbawm

  8. The modern world was created by the 19th Century, economically, socially and politically. Understanding it is probably a good thing. )
  9. John Stuart Mill (Victorian Firebrand)--Richard Reeves

  10. If you already think you're a liberal, you ought to have read this book. If you don't think you're a liberal, you should read this anyway )

OK, that was longer than I expected it to be. [livejournal.com profile] ginasketch's meme got me geeking about both books and history. Which has got me writing properly again. I'll try to keep it up. Guess I'd better cut the bulk of the text then...
So I thought I'd post a poll on this auspicious date. Oh, and ask opinions on the new Indy film as I've sen mixed reviews from people that normally have similar opinions.
[Poll #1193737]
Also, am watching Sunshine on DVD. It's shit, unfortunately, I'd heard that people that liked Event Horizon liked it and others didn't, as I liked that film, I thought I'd give it a go. Ah well.

ETA: It's stripped out the link to John's Wedding speech from the anniversary bit, silly LJ.
Hah, Guru [livejournal.com profile] rhodri's new book is available for pre-order at Amazon:
FWD This Link: A Rough Guide to Staying Amused Online When You Should Be Working

It's only £6 (and if you reserve it on pre-order then bookstores will stock more which helps him, right, no obligation to actually cough up later), although given most of my posts at the moment are already linkblogging...
Still not shaken my block on writing Actual Real Contenttm, so in an attempt to write something that isn't linkspam, I'll do this. [info]that bastard Duncan tagged me for it anyway, so might as well.
1. The rules of the game get posted on the beginning.
2. Each player answers the rules about himself [or indeed herself].
3. At the end of the post, the player tags five people and posts their names as a link then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they’ve been tagged and asking them to read his [or her] blog. [because if you're not checking your incoming links you're crap and off topic comments are rude].
So, to business:
What I was doing ten years ago )
Five things on my To-Do list today )
Things I would do if I were a billionaire )
Three of my bad habits )
Five places I’ve lived )
Five jobs I’ve had )
Five books I’ve recently read )

Five people or communities I’m going to tag:

OK, I normally leave these things open but I'll make a change. [info]Jennie, [info]Alex, [info]Debi, [info]Justin and you. Yes, you.
Went to Leeds today, Jennie's off for a hen night in York this evening so split the journey up. Plan had been to have lunch in the excellent Scarbrough Hotel opposite the station, but it was packed full of Leeds fans and all the seating was taken by a hen party, so we went on into town and ended up lucking out with seating at Whitelocks. Considering that it's the oldest pub in Leeds, it's damn impressive. Went there before[2] but not actually had a meal. Um, yeah. Menu made it look a bit pricy. Really, it's not. It's really not. I ordered veggie bangers and mash with a side of onion rings. Plate full. And really really good. Jennie had roast chicken. She got a roast chicken. Seriously. It even looked good to me, and I don't eat meat. If you're in Leeds and looking for good food or good beer, either is worth a try, and Whitelocks is just cool anyway.

We wandered a bit after that, I wanted to get hold of a book. Smiths didn't have it, but they did have a nice pile of DVDs on offer and, well, we couldn't resist, so more classic Who[1] and a few other things, including a boxed set of wooden board games[3]. Waterstone's didn't have it either, but they did have an import of Android's Dream so that's ok. We decided that out of Borders and Waterstone's, Waterstone's wins, could've spent all day there, easily. Instead we just spent money we don't really have. Ah well, books are never bad.

So, given she's off galivanting in York and I'm not in the mood to go back out, it's me, the dogs, a wide screen TV and a glass (or three) of whisky. After a nice long bath that is. What should I watch first then?

[Poll #1162622]
[1] And some 5th Doctor stuff, does that count as "classic"?
[2] our first proper 'date' as it happens
[3] Does anyone actually play backgammon properly? Never actually tried it.
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
Tim Harford simply rocks. One of my three choices for best book I read last year was his Undercover Economist. He's currently on a major tour plugging his follow-up, The Logic Of Life. Which includes appearing on The Colbert Report:
It's logical to vote with your gut, Pepsi and Coke are like straight sex and oral )
I keep meaning to write it up, I've been promising a few people a post on markets and why they're important for ages, just haven't actually done it. You'd be better of reading his book anyway. If you want a more sane but long reason, he's on Authors@Google as well:
Look, it's 55 minutes long, I'm about 15 minutes in, you expect me to summarise it? Rationality of crime and economics of communities )
Logic of Life is heading rapidly up my wants list, paperback is out in a week or so, yay!
Weird, I haven't posted for the best part of a week, and even then it's been link/discuss. Um, yeah, alive. Can't claim busy (although I can proclaim exhaustion I think).

Have loads of stuff I kinda-sorta want to post about, including a few damn fine books I've read or am reading (Vallance's The Glorious Revolution being top of the list, a book about events in 1688 still has many many modern echoes that nearly inspired a post or three). But, well, actual inclination to do so lacking. A bit of a meh mood really—when I'm in Yorkshire, I'm either working or wanting to spend time with SB, when I'm down here I'm recovering.

OTOH, very busy week this week—just got back in from the London leadership hustings for the Lib Dems, and, um, yeah—two damn fine candidates that I'd be happy to see as leaders, both very very good. Consensus in the pub from those who've been members longer than me is that both were better than any of the three from last year. Given that one of them was a candidate last year, well, competition + experience = bonus in this case.

Tomorrow I go, hopefully, to see/hear Iain M. Banks get interviewed at Imperial, although timing on that one is difficult, it starts at 6pm and I technically finish work at 6p. Ah well, finish early I guess.

Then Thursday I have tickets for the [livejournal.com profile] now_show. Friday, probably, going out somewhere, then Saturday back oop north. Memo to self: book tickets for journey. Am reading entries, just not commenting much, spending a lot of time haging out on various Lib Dem places trying to see if anyone can persuade me &c. Also, my attept to port my twitterings to Facebook has worked fine, but they're not showing up here, which is annoying.
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


Stuff and nonsense

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

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