Category Archives: sf

plague novels: a scent of new-mown hay

While Andromeda Strain is the most bloodless science fiction – the microorganism is a solid hexagonal crystal, no messy fluids here – A Scent of New Mown Hay (John Blackburn, 1959) is a work of horror. Every other chapter ends with people people running screaming, or … Continue reading

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plague novels: the andromeda strain

In Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain, published in 1969, a microorganism of apparently extraterrestrial origin manifests as a cloud that saturates the air like nerve gas and seems to kill on contact. The best part of the book, the only … Continue reading

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the concord of discord

My lifetime official science fiction convention attendance is probably fewer than 20 events, including three Worldcons, a couple of Readercons, several Finncons and one Eastercon, as well as free single-day cons and day memberships elsewhere. Now I’ve attended two online … Continue reading

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#moonliving

It was Glark who first said ‘70s sci fi is all about hexagons. Duncan Jones’ film Moon is all about octagons. Almost every space, structure, aperture has chamfered corners that quote Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and match the Omni magazine fonts of the … Continue reading

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Worldcon 75

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Eastercon: science and Brexit

Takeaways from Brexit and Science panel chaired by Nicholas Whyte, from memory and therefore fuzzy and consolidated. There were obvious concerns about EU projects, loss of personal freedom or movement, brain drain, possibility of closer relationship with US just as … Continue reading

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Eastercon: twilight of the booksellers

Brian from Porcupine Books is making this his last con. He’s turning 65 and has had it with the schlepping. After Worldcon he was thinking of selling up, but now he’s planning to carry on online.“I imagine the driving back … Continue reading

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Eastercon: AI panel

“The biggest intelligence booster is more communication between humans and the Internet does that very well.” “We have created a species of intelligence that could wipe us out one day and it’s called the corporation – it hasn’t so far … Continue reading

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Eastercon: Geoff Ryman workshop on literary analysis

The text was “What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky,” Leslie Nneka Arimah, which I did not have, but the talk was crystal clear anyway. Geoff took this as an example of African writing generally and ponted … Continue reading

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Eastercon: a post work future

(a tough call against SF Engineering and Infrastructure) This panel started with a bit of the usual blue sky. Jobs have been changing since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, nobody cries for the blacksmiths. (Anymore. As I post this, they … Continue reading

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Eastercon: military panel

At this con I have seen a dozen people who are confusable with people I know back in Boston. That always happens. There is also a guy I would swear was Terry Pratchett if Terry Pratchett weren’t dead. Maybe he … Continue reading

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alternative view

Cory Doctorow, speaking at Assembly, gives another view of the last few years of British news, ca minute 47: We have rampant visible corruption in our governments. The United Kingdom where I live, for example, it was just revealed that … Continue reading

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