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World Fantasy, Toronto, 2012 [Feb. 1st, 2012|05:02 pm]
In the light of this new Canadian regulation:

Under Sec 5.2(1)(c) of the ID screening regs of Aeronautics Act

“An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents.”

[This means that anyone who is a post-op or non-op trans* person can be turned away from getting on flights in Canada. This is blatant discrimination towards the trans*community.]

will World Fantasy still be held in Toronto this year?
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Porn, porn! [Jan. 28th, 2012|05:04 pm]
Porn -- but only for those who love book-shelves... (Wow--there are some amazing photographs here!)
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Dumas [Jan. 25th, 2012|10:03 am]
I had not realised -- or I had forgotten, which is common enough these days -- that Alexandre Dumas had a Haitian slave as his grandmother. Thank you, Wikipedia! Which comments as follows:

"Despite Alexandre Dumas' success and aristocratic background, his being of mixed race affected him all his life. In 1843 he wrote a short novel, Georges, that addressed some of the issues of race and the effects of colonialism. He once remarked to a man who insulted him about his mixed-race background:
"My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey. You see, Sir, my family starts where yours ends."

Why am I reading Dumas? Well, his autobiography talks about being taught about the first Frankish kings when he was at primary school. At least, I think it does; but I have yet to find it in volume 1 of his multi-volume Mémoires...
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Deletion [Jan. 23rd, 2012|01:30 pm]
So, I am about to be deleted (or, maybe, writing those seven words have prevented that future from happening). LiveJournal people tell me I don't use the site enough (commenting on Friends' LJ accounts clearly doesn't count) and so I shall (have been) removed in two weeks' time.

I think my problem is that I can never convince myself that anyone, even my closest LJ friends, can be interested in what I have to say.

So perhaps they might be interested in what other people say? The other person today is Eugen Weber, one of the most readable of French historians. I am reading his "My France: Politics, Culture, Myth" (Harvard UP 1991), basically because I wanted to see what he has to say about the 19th-century notion that the French were descended from Gauls (that's a fascinating chapter). But there was an interesting chapter in it called "Who sang the Marseillaise?" The song was composed in Lorraine in April 1792. In June of that year someone sang it at a recruiting banquet in Marseilles. And thus "the new national hymn (as it became in 1795) was linked to a city whose people did not speak French nor, in the case of many of them, feel themselves to be French". "In 1893 [that's Eighteen Ninety-Three], according to official figures, about a quarter of the 37,000-odd communes in France spoke no French" (pp.94-95). The point of the article, and it is made very well, is that ultimately it was in part through songs, including patriotic songs like the Marseillaise, that the French in the end learned to speak French.
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Bujold's Brothers in Arms [Jun. 3rd, 2011|09:15 am]
I am taking notes on a British edition of Bujold's Brothers in arms, and I suspect that it is the same pagination as the US first edition (Baen paperback). Could someone with the American paperback confirm this, by telling me, for instance, the first words at the top of page 202?

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SF in the Real World, 1 [Jan. 16th, 2011|01:24 pm]
This was the opening to David Mitchell's column at www.guardian.co.uk this morning:

"From each according to his ability to each according to his need," quips the man in the Number 10 press office to the keen young recruit. "You're far too clever to waste on checking George Osborne's adding up or drafting the next clarification of William Hague's sexuality. We're going to set you to work on the hardest challenge facing the government at this time of crisis: restoring Nick Clegg's reputation."

"Take it as a compliment," advises an old hand as the downcast newbie makes his way towards the Lib Dem leader's office. "It's like the Kobayashi Maru – it's an impossible task but the most gifted have to try."

"I'm not actually a big fan of Star Trek," replies the greenhorn.

"Ah, but you got the reference, you NERD!"

And I had to look up the Kobayashi Maru on wikipedia. I may be a nerd, but I am ashamed to say I do not have the Star Trek world sufficiently embedded in my brain... Probably I am just not nerdy enough.
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Hugo-winners remembered [Jan. 6th, 2011|05:09 pm]
Sam Jordison has taken it into his head to blog about Asimov's The Gods Themselves in The Guardian (he liked it, mostly). Next up: Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama.
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I write like WHO?! [Jul. 13th, 2010|10:03 am]
I put in a chunk of my last book (Europe's Barbarians), and...

I write like H. P. Lovecraft. Proof: http://iwl.me/s/147eabd8

Oh dear.

I must stop describing Attila as eldritch.
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The future of the novel? [Jun. 28th, 2010|08:35 am]
Iain Banks (without the M) is publishing his new novel soon, and it comes with a special bar-code. Input the bar-code into your iPhone and you will download an app which, as Iain explains, will be like the extras on a DVD: potted biographies of the characters, an author commentary, and so on.

I suppose it is not very different from publishing a website to go along with your novel: just a lot more frustrating for those without iPhones...
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Octavia E. Butler [May. 4th, 2010|07:34 pm]
fjm and I are trying to finish off editing a piece. Can anyone give a VERY quick rundown of the contents of one or both of these two pieces: Butler's essay "The Monophobic Response" in Sheree Thomas, ed. Dark Matter (page refs?) and Butler's essay "Positive Obsession" in her own collection Bloodchild (page refs? edition?)?

Our copies of both books are currently in storage (but hopefully for not much longer!)

Thanks very much!
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