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Psychophant last won the day on January 29

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About Psychophant

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  • Birthday 10/01/1966

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  1. Wolfe is usually quite frustrating, so I understand fully. He toned down a bit in what I believe is his most "friendly" book, Soldier in the Mist, where it is just weird and hard to follow, not to mention casual with rape and death, as the ancient times themselves.. Started with the Fifth Head of Cerberus, but I am not sure I want to tackle Peace next, so I may skip the chronological order. I do not think I have read the three boks of Latro in one go...
  2. I believe I have all of Ms. LeGuin's books, except for a few short stories. She wrote about people, rather than tech, so her works have aged much better than her contemporaries. I still prefer her short stories to her longer works, and I still use for spiritual guidance her Californian take on the Book of Tao. Finsihed this week Hannu Rajaniemi's Invisible planets collection. Good new perspective. As I have already said, probably it will not be like that, but his fiction feels like our future, rather than the wish fulfillment (humans as we know in space, and fuckable aliens) of many authors. I feel like a hint of what is coming as posthumans. With a twist of Finnish lore that makes it even more strange. I am slowly pushing through Ann Leckie's Provenance, and although she still makes alien humans, it does not click the way the Ancillary series does. So I am changing my to read pile because, as I will be rereading most of Gene Wolfe's works. In his case I think I have everything, as I tend to do with writers I like. In his case that is quite a pile, even bigger than Iain Banks'. Probably will skip his latest books, because I read them recently and they are interesting but not so good, The sorcerer's House, Home Fires, The Land Across and the The Borrowed Man. All of them felt gimmicky, like short stories bloated up to novel size, so I would avoid them for a fisrt contact. The two main things to remember with Wolfe is that he loves unreliable narrators and that you never get the full story, so you need to be quite tolerant of frustration and to be able to build your own story.
  3. Also, like half the world I am watching the slow motion ending of Game of Thrones. This evening (local time ) we will see the fourth episode, so please wait till tomorrow for spoilers. The battle irked terribly my armchair wargamer instincts, as the living did all the things they should not have, but then I realised that they did not even think they would survive, except through the single option of killing the night king, so everything relied on giving Danny a shot to him with Drogon, tempting with suicide charges and suicide stands to make it feel it has won. When that did not work (and I still do not know why if dragonglass and dragonsteel work, why dragonfire, which was used to create both, does not...). I blame the relatively low named characters death rate to the fact that the story now is out of Martin's control and into the executives, and they already have a list of who will be alive at the end based on viewers preferences rather than plot needs. Made a binge this week-end of Fargo T3. Weaker than T1 and T2, maybe because the only character I rooted for was Nikki Swango (and while he was on screen, Mr. Wrench). It is still great television, just not wonderful.
  4. I am a big fan of Cowboy Bebop. At the beginning of this century a Spanish chain aired the episodes in random order with repetitions, so I saw some of them several times and I was missing others. It is one of the few DVDs I actually watch often. The anime movie is more of the same, mainly focused on Faye and Spike, but with (of course) an amazing soundtrack and the epic old plane parade. But for me the real jewell is the music. Now that I think about it, maybe it is a deliberate ploy, as ten years earlier they did the same with the first seasons of Northern Exposure, and I also ended up hooked. Finished Hanna T1, which is well cast and different enough from the movie to work. Slowly progressing through American Gods T2, though I hate it several times per episode. Enjoying a lot the second season of Killing Eve. The characters are great, and it fills my Bron/Broen fan heart with joy to see Kim Bodnia again. The first one is great, but now we know everybody and can focus on loving and hating Vilanelle. Otherwise we are watching a lot of French police procedure series, as they are different and much closer to us than the US.
  5. Actually in the 2003 Megane the only thing I could do was check levels and refill different reservoirs. It is also true that I only needed to change oil every 30000 km, and never needed to refill anything but the washing mix for the wipers. It was the first car I knew of that needed a pit (or a lift) to change the headlamps, but that number was growing fast. It was a bit weird, keeping by law a set of lamps that I could not replace... Not one major mechanical problem in fifteen years.
  6. This is how most of us do, not forgetting that before you get many driving hours and you get most actions to muscle memory, it is sure you will at least hit several immobile inanimate objects, and if you are unlucky some moving ones. My parents let me use my mother's Opel Corsa (really small car, that we had got second hand) after she crashed against some poor French tourists, destroyed their luggage and their holidays, and decided she would never drive again. I crashed in ice against a bridge protection and semi totaled it four years and twenty thousand kilometers later. It was quite dented at that point. As I was living in France at that point, I got a third hand Renault Supercinq, which was a big improvement but still quite cheap to find replacements. Five years and 60.000 km later I gave it up (the government was subsidizing people getting rid of old gas cars, as you could no longer get their gas in stations) for a new Renault Megane II. You notice when in the old car replacing a mirror was 25 euros and in the new it was 200 euros. We kept it fifteen years, but it had some big repair expenses and maintenance coming, and it started to have some quirks, so we got a new hybrid Toyota CH-R, and we are quite happy with it. I have also dented it, but now I can also afford full risk insurance.
  7. We were going to watch Game of Thrones after dinner. Instead we spent 90 minutes just watching the fire. There is something that calls to our primitive selves.
  8. The problem is that it has reached a point where there is no good solution. No matter the result a sizable number of people will feel robbed of their agency (that word, again), which is a key point in the move away from democracy. From a selfish point of view, six more months where we do not need to fill customs paperwork for all the products we send to UK. Six months without UK-REACH, and a few months without daily updates from the freight companies and the European Chemicals Agency. The first hurdle, EU elections in UK. That will be as funny as a slow mo traffic accident, seeing what is coming and unable to change the course in any way.
  9. I see I have not updated in a while. I finished Infomocracy. Not bad, though I did not feel it was that groundbreaking. Still many good ideas , so even though I did not really believe in the characters I will get the following book at some point. Then an old guilty pleasure, a Vlad Taltos book from Steven Brust I had not read, Hawk. This avoids the excessive exposition and magical metaphysics (though there is some of that) and just gets into improbable capers and lots of pointy items. I liked it, but I have read all the others, so there is quite an investment in them. Then as a gift to myself I got the complete Incal, Möbius/Jodorowsky. I had read the first two, but never the whole surrealist set, with notes. You can see its influence almost everywhere in the last 30-40 years (it took 8 years to complete). I also got the 3rd volume of deluxe The Sandman, so I reread the first two. Four to go, but they are expensive. so I use them as gift wishlist. Also read a couple of Pathfinfer RPG novels. Ideal plane fodder, but utterly forgettable, even if you are into the game.
  10. I have driven rentals in Italy, and it fits perfectly with driving conditions there. Doing 300 km in a highway was not the best, as it is too light and wavers a bit. Although the Large and Xlarge versions take away the main charm of the car, they are better suited for long distance trips, or having more than two pieces of luggage. The Italians I know are quite happy with it, but they drive less than 10.000 km a year, mostly urban.
  11. Psychophant


    Penguin UK is still cover-less, and with a launch date of January 23 2020. Random House, as already mentioned, has September 3. Six months seems a bit tight, but possible. If the dates hold I am unsure whether to take an US hardcover. I dislike the paper quality of most of those I have (mainly Gene Wolfe and Neal Stephenson).
  12. Back home, though feeling a bit under the weather. There must have been something dodgy either in the fast food shawarma, eaten in the traffic jam to the airport, or in Alitalia's business class lasagna. It is not as clear cut as it may seem... Got six free hours yesterday morning, so we got one hour at the Pyramids and five hours in traffic. Still breathkaking, like few human made objects are.
  13. In Cairo, settled in a big hotel+casino (only foreigners allowed) when not dodging traffic in an armoured SUV with an armed driver as escort, visiting companies that in most cases were set up by Lebanese or Syrian exiles, discussing Saudi Iranian politics over coffee, and how Dubai is going to implode in any moment now, considering that our host set up a Dubai subsidiary five years ago when he expected Egypt to implode, any moment now... And some details you will not see in the Western news, such as a potential war over a dam in Ethiopia, halving the Nile flow... Or the horror show that used to be Lybia. If a visit falls through on Thursday I might be able to see the pyramids and Tutankhamon's room, before flying to Rome. There may be photos, if I am lucky.
  14. This reminds me of the old board, the fashion for Myers-Briggs tests that gave us a clear majority of introverted, and over half the results were INTJ or INTP, which represent less than 5% of the general population.
  15. According to him (we had a discussion in the old board, now lost): And (a potentially useful note here), in rereading my books (or at this point reading them) in one massive draught, read them in this order if you want them to make the most (or any) sense: RANDOM ACTS OF SENSELESS VIOLENCE, HEATHERN, AMBIENT, TERRAPLANE, ELVISSEY, and GOING, GOING, GONE. My Russian novel, LET's PUT THE FUTURE BEHIND US, can be read whenever you want to read it independent of anything else.
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