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  1. Yesterday
  2. heavyboots

    What are YOU reading?

    A little light Thanksgiving humor from Scalzi: https://whatever.scalzi.com/2018/11/19/a-thanksgiving-week-gift-for-you-automated-customer-service/
  3. xen0phile

    Random

    if you can't stand the thought of your kids dying, don't have kids
  4. editengine

    What are YOU reading?

    Oh, I think it is interesting to see them do that for themselves IRL, I'm not sure Stross would need to strain much to make that work.
  5. editengine

    What are YOU reading?

    Antarctic scientist stabs colleague that kept telling him the ending of the books he was reading. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/antarctic-scientist-stabs-colleague-who-13503266 Justified.
  6. Last week
  7. editengine

    Gibsonian

    Not so much Gibsonian (although that as well) but Hitchcockian.
  8. heavyboots

    What are YOU reading?

    The Labyrinth Index by Charles Stross — Yet another in the Laundry series, this one is getting pretty far out into an alternate reality. Basically, elder powers are now running both the US and the UK, and the elder power in charge of the UK doesn't like what the ones in the US are doing (cough summoning Cthulu cough). So various and sundry Laundry characters are dispatched to the US to find the President (who has been forcibly removed from the population's memory) in hopes of cracking things open and returning the US to a more normal state. Hmmmm, I feel like Stross has basically lost all hope for the political direction of both our countries and is sorta allegorically representing it in his fictional universe as elder powers rather than just hateful people and technology run amok and tipping the scales towards the nastier side of human nature through microtargeted fear and hate speech. But at any rate, if you're into the Laundry books, this is middling to better than middling for the series. I enjoy the main character quite a lot, so that tips the scales to a strong positive review from me. Plus, it was interesting to see Trump and May's governments basically represented as evil incarnate, lol.
  9. heavyboots

    Gibsonian

    Saw this on Reddit. Apparently Rome has massive, insane flocks of starlings. This is from Feb 22nd, 2018. The sky was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel…
  10. remotevoices

    What are YOU reading?

    couple of folk i spoke to had said they'd struggled with it, didn't engage initially, which is why i was so conscious as i was going in what was going on and how well it was being done. and i knew banks was an influence on the work, but it was fascinating to see which boxes were ticked.
  11. xen0phile

    Random

    part of the reason I decided not to become a scientist:
  12. xen0phile

    Random

  13. editengine

    What are YOU reading?

    Yall make me feel really lazy I am finally starting A Wizard of Earthsea and so far I am loving it. I feel as if Ursula K. Le Guin's estate should have sued Bethesda games though, since Skyrim seems to have mined a lot of basic ideas from here.
  14. gil

    What are YOU reading?

    I found Embers of War very good. Particularly in retrospect. I doubt if anyone will ever achieve the soaring imagination of Iain Banks. I recently read the whole Culture canon from end to end. Incomparable.
  15. remotevoices

    What are YOU reading?

    as usual, i've fallen behind in posting here. so, as usual, apologies for what will likely end up being a bigger post than intended. To revisit my previous post, particularly in light of having seen Maria Dahavana Headley on her Mere Wife tour. It has kind of been bugging me that I think I played it down more than I intended. Reading it after Malka Older, who is so entirely my cup of tea, probably detracted because my enthusiasm wasn't as high for Mere Wife as State Tectonics. But Mere Wife is really good, and was a real delight to see her read from it and talk about the book. Enclave - Anne Charnock - picked this up after Neil Williamson flagged a few Newcon bargains. It is set in an uncertain near future, follow a young boy who was an economic/climate refugee, but ended up recruited(/enslaved) by a family in The Enclave, a kind of housing scheme. I really liked the world building and the characterisation, but was really frustrated by the fact it felt like a 1st chapter, like total set up, for something bigger. Instead it is a short novella with a lot of build up. Wylding Hall - Elizabeth Hand - I heard Hand being interviewed on the Coode St podcast about this novella, and it had been one I'd been meaning to read. In novella terms it was priced higher than most other comparable works, but in the end I decided to just splash out, which for all my "I bought this cheap" I do do. A band on the drift between folk and rock, between obscurity and mega stardom, go into a remote country mansion to get away from the publicity and scandal surrounding them, to focus on the music, man. There they work together, smoke, fuck, compose some incredible and transcendent music. The story is told in the form of an autobiography, interviews with the main players carried out decades after the fact, so they are given the full weight of hindsight, of being a story about people that were super young and filled with such potential from the point of view of their older wiser selves, who survived what their was to survive. I already knew the "twist" of the story (not sure it counts as a twist), so on one hand I spent half the read waiting for it to happen. So to a degree it felt slow, but as it builds one gets a feel for the subtlety: the slow weird build as the characters talk about rooms they only ever found once, the disturbing things they found in there, the obscure warnings and looks of suspicion from the locals, culminating in the punchline. I really enjoyed this. Cottingley - Alison Littlewood. Another of the Newcon novellas that were on special offer. Written as a series of collected letters, an old man has his own encounters with the Cottingley fairies around the same time as the famous photos. Building through a sense of wonder, and an attempt to engage with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to provide him with more evidence of the existence of fairies, to a growing horror and tragedy. Around the middle I did find that it dragged, partly down to that letter format thing, but on the whole I enjoyed. I bought most of the Newcon items that were on special, but I'm pacing myself through those. But I did use it as an excuse to re-read Neil Williamson's Memoirist, which I still feel is one of the finest pieces of contemporary/near future science fiction, though of course all the tech and music stuff are key triggers for me anyway. I'll Go On - Hwang Jungeun - the 2nd novel by this Korean writer to be translated to English by the Sheffield based Tilted Axis, who specialise in translated fiction (Korean, Thai, Indian and Uzbek so far). I really enjoyed her first novel, so picked this up as soon as it came out and read it quick. It is perhaps a degree less weird than One Hundred Shadows, but there are odd elements and dream influenced elements, which are part of Korean culture while feeling kinda magic realist to us (in same way as the like of some Haruki Murakami). Apparently this novel was originally serialised in Korea, so it is told in three parts, each from the POV of one of the main characters. Two sisters find their lives shattered when their father dies and his family essentially steals all the money from them, their despondent mother moves them into the cheapest and nastiest basement flat which is barely partitioned from the next door family. Fortunately, while their mother neglects them, the woman and her son in the other half of the flat take them under their wing. Now grown up, the three children are adults and still entangled in each other's daily lives. The main narrative is triggered over speculation as to whether the younger sister is pregnant, the confirmation, and the struggle not to repeat the mistakes that lead to their own situations. Which sounds mundane for this audience, but it was a delight, lots of stuff about food, about dreams and instinct, and I guess not a lot happened, but I just enjoyed. Embers of War - Gareth L Powell - Was a little tentative about this, I don't really want to read war novels at the best of times, and these are not the best of times. But Gareth has a certain buzz, and I know a lot of people who have encountered him at cons/on social media, and I know a few them have read(are reading) this one. Set post war, but still informed by the violence of the war (which leads to some gorier scenes I am less keen on). Appalled by the final massacre of the war, a medic and a soldier from one side and an intelligent combat ship from the other side quit, and join the House of Reclamation - a universeish wide Thunderbirds/Interplanatary Rescue service. The story follows this team as they rush to the rescue of a downed cruise liner. Switching between the views of the captain, the mechanic, the ship and then also to one of the passengers from the crashed ship and an intelligence agent who has been sent on a mysterious mission to the crashed ship. A lot of it feels like an Iain M Banks template, the building blocks are very much an unwritten Culture novel. Put aside the best of Iain's work it perhaps doesn't hold up, but that isn't necessarily fair, certainly Iain had his patchier, more over written Culture novels (which may be heresy to some, but it is my opinion). I found this solid, well paced, well written, thoroughly professional and enjoyable, and if many of us could crack a template and execute it as admirably I think we'd be pretty happy with that. Again reading graphic novels, this time more SF/weird than superhero (which are fun cartoons compared to more thinky pieces): Punks Not Dead, Death or Glory, Isola, Paper Girls 4, Gideon Falls, Infidel, Royal Boiler and Girl Town. Also picked up Tillie Walden's SF slab On A Sunbeam, which I'm going to have to dedicate some time to fully appreciating.
  16. xen0phile

    The Work Thread

    oh, from AMZN
  17. xen0phile

    The Work Thread

    wat
  18. GreenRobot

    deaths

    William Goldman - who wrote, among other things, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Princess Bride - has died at age 87.
  19. editengine

    The Work Thread

    Yeah, it would cost more to set up a more formal structure to manage temp labor I guess. This reminds me, I need to order pants from you
  20. xen0phile

    The Work Thread

    Amazon Logistics warehouse. There are two managers on my shift, and a set of "ambassadors". Not "supervisors": their title is "ambassador", I guess. Um. I don't have a supervisor. It's a sort of... uhh... swarm style emergent-organization method of management? Except it's more like not-very-controlled chaos when the individual actors are, let's be honest, underclass people just trying to make ends meet. "let's hire scores of new people for the warehouse and not bother with any formal intermediary supervisors between them about the managers" --Amazon Logistics Flat-hierarchy workspaces are mostly BS because most people are at work for extrinsic purposes (i.e. they need money, not because they enjoy work).
  21. heavyboots

    Show us your...

    ^ D'aaaawwww! 😻 Waffle update: His owner appears to have gotten his collar back (and I have his infoz in my phone now just in case) and I got a decent shot of him last week (which you may already have seen on Twitter, but whatever).
  22. GreenRobot

    Show us your...

    some recent not-blurry photos of some of our furballs. Lightning on the table, Stone under the stool, and Kaha on the bed
  23. GreenRobot

    Random

  24. xen0phile

    Random

    real fucked up when I consider the idea tthat I'm actually one of the less stupid, lazy, and fucked-up members of humanity: if I'm actually doing well for a human, WTF chance does the median human have?
  25. GreenRobot

    what are YOU lookin' at?

    I thoroughly enjoyed the first season of CAOS - it was exactly the level of scary I can watch alone and still get a good night's sleep afterwards, and I really like the direction they've gone in with the characters. Unlike the show Riverdale which I tried watching when it first hit Netflix (not least because hey, Skeet Ulrich is in it!) but I found basically every character so irritating that I spoilered myself (for the first season at least) and stopped watching. Looking back on childhood, I remember flipping through Archie comics to find the Sabrina bits so I guess that has continued!!
  26. db

    what are YOU lookin' at?

    People used to smoke, a lot. In the 1950s I don't think it had become a class marker the way it would, so having all sorts of people smoking is pretty normal. My Gram used to smoke like a chimney (all my grandparents did, in fact). It was a thing one did (although ladies did not smoke outside, walking down the street, she told me). Although come to think of it my USian grandparents did not smoke, and they were a bit snooty...my (step)dad's aunt did though. It may have been more prevalent in the UK/Canada than the US? I don't know. She used to relish sitting down with a cup of tea and a cigarette. My other Grandma was a cup of coffee and a cigarette, lol. They're all dead now, although nothing to do with lung cancer, surprisingly enough.
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