Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Heading west

I'm going to be on travel until August 6. There may be posts (Sorry I can't finish the Hugo stuff, hopefully you enjoyed what I did post) but not that many of them.

I will also be completely incommunicado and off grid for the week starting July 22.

Yes, there will be pictures.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Doctor Who teaser...

...and what does it tell us? On the face of it, not much.

The teaser is fifty seconds and features the three new companions, Yasmin (Who I keep mis-spelling), Ryan and Graham sitting in some kind of cafe eating lunch. Everything shakes, and the empty pizza box is suddenly full. There's obviously some kind of timey wimey stuff going on. Or the Doctor moving at super speed.

Then we see Jodie outside, smiling. I'm starting to think that smile is going to be part of her trademark.

So, what does it tell us that we didn't already know? The catchphrase "The Universe is Calling" may be a reference to the Doctor meeting new Companions...or the title of the first episode. Or both. My money is on both.

It's already been mentioned that all three companions are from Sheffield. Them being together in the same diner is a wild coincidence...or the universe doing stuff (there's often the faintest sense that Time in the Whoverse is sentient).

I don't think the Doctor has super speed. The effect might be intended to represent time travel? Chibnall uses quite different visuals from Moffatt.

The end when the logo comes in shows a lot of red...my guess is we'll see a lot of red in the opening credits, too.

Friday, July 13, 2018


I've actually talked to a couple of the scientists involved with the IceCube observatory. It's called that because it's buried in the Antarctic ice...which nicely blocks everything but what they're looking for.


And boy have they found them. Not only that, but they've actually worked out where they come from. Seems neutrinos carry fingerprints of where they were "born" with them. This is going to lead, hopefully, to understanding of cosmic rays and where they come from, and may help us learn more about the structure of the universe.

Worth a few scientists getting cold.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hugo Thoughts: Editor - Long Form

I'm not going to go through these. The problem with editor - long form is that when a novel editor is doing her job, you don't notice. To a normal fan, who edited a book is completely invisible. Because of this, this award tends to be based off of industry reputation, so I don't feel a need to list them.

My pick: Navah Wolfe.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Hugo Thoughts - Best Short Story

This was the toughest choice so far, but I often find short story that way. In fact, I changed my rankings more than once between finishing reading them and writing this.

Carnival Nine by Caroline M. Yoachim - a delightful story about disability and the weight of caring for a disabled child. The worldbuilding is nonsensical in the true sense. It's not supposed to make sense. A love of carnivals also shines through.

Clearly Lettered In A Mostly Steady Hand by Fran Wilde - this one was also very much about disability, but I found it a little too strange and "literary" for my taste. Still very well written.

Fandom For Robots by Vina Jie-Min Prasad. This is the only story with an obvious flaw: It has no ending. Interesting characterization, though.

The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata. The folly of hope. That's pretty much all I can say about this story without spoilers.

Sun, Moon, and Dust by Ursula Vernon. Turns several fantasy tropes on their head. I liked it.

Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience by Rebecca Roanhorse. I said not too long ago that I wanted more Native voices in science fiction (and the packet contained an entire book of them, that I'll read at some point). All I can say about this story is that it will make you uncomfortable, unless you're very very much not white. Everything else...just dang.

My choice: Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience
My prediction: Honestly not sure, I'm going to go with The Martian Obelisk, but it SHOULD be Welcome...

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hugo Thoughts: Best Related Work

I have a particular standard I apply to "Best Related Work" - it has to be in some way useful to the fans. Keep that in mind. Most of this year's offerings were awfully specific, with three of the six being biographies or tributes and a fourth being a writer's blog.

Crash Override by Zoe Quinn - I appreciate this work, and I've been doing some work to help people deal with trolls myself. It's a good thing that she's telling her side of the story. Is it useful? Yes. Does it belong in the Hugos? No more than the other side. Don't get me wrong, I think she was wrong. But I feel that the book is too political to belong. (And the excerpt ended before any useful tools were provided).

Ian M. Banks (Modern Masters of Science Fiction) by Paul Kincaid - Haven't read it, no excerpt provided, no vote.

A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life Of Harlan Ellison by Nat Segaloff - I wonder if this one will be helped by Ellison's recent death. It definitely gave me more of an insight into the man, but it was more "interesting' than "useful".

Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Hondal. Confession time: I've never read anything by Butler. This book made me want to fix that. Well done. It was still more a tribute than anything else.

No Time To Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin. This one will likely get a boost. It's a collection from Le Guin's blog. (I hope somebody's looking after the cat). I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Sleeping With Monsters by Liz Bourke. A collection of reviews, quite useful, but perhaps not as interesting as the others.

Which left me kind of torn about my standards.

In the end I have to break the rules:

My pick: No Time To Spare
My prediction: No Time To Spare

Monday, July 9, 2018

My Favorite Superhero

Those who know me might be surprised by the answer. You might think, given my huge fondness for the CW TV show, that it's the Flash. Anyone who knows me well knows of my affection for certain WildStorm characters, most notably Jack Hawksmoor, Jenny Sparks, Apollo, and Midnighter.

But no. If I have to pick one favorite, it's...Spider-Man.

Peter Parker, that is (I am thrilled Miles Morales exists, and I know how much he is appreciated, but I'm too much of a dinosaur to jump ship).

Growing up in the UK, American comics were hard to find. There was no comic store to go to. My introduction to superheroes was Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, which probably has something to do with it. Of course, I loved Firestar, I "had" to because she was the girl. But there was something about the scrappy little guy (in the cartoon, he was changed into a mutant, to make him the same as Firestar and Iceman).

I loved the character so much I even gained some enjoyment from the awful, and mercifully mostly-forgotten Amazing Spider-Man films. Those are the ones in which Spider-Man never talks. But it was Spider-Man, so...

So, why is this relevant? Because Steve Ditko - co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, amongst others, died this weekend at the age of 90. Ditko was the one who did all of the details, building on Stan Lee's original idea. The iconic costume? All Ditko.

So, thanks bud. I owe you one.