The days get shorter and the air gets colder as another year nears its end…
That’s the Guildhall Square here in Velcro City, pictured from just outside the library where I work at around 5pm on November 1st. Although my camera hasn’t captured it well, the contrast of the lit office buildings and the colours of the sky as the sun started to set were rather pleasing to the eye…
I’ll be honest; I was going to get a photo of something more interesting, but I’ve had a stinking cold since Wednesday (yes, I know, another one), and hence haven’t been leaving the flat unnecessarily, let alone wandering around in search of photo opportunities. So, sorry. Hell, no-one pays any attention to FPB anyway, so I’m worrying without reason. Selah.
So, not the most exciting week ever; three days of work while feeling progressively more rotten, and then I caved in and took yesterday off – knowing how foul-tempered I was on Wednesday, I expect my colleagues are quite grateful for that. Today was my scheduled day off, and most of it has been spent reading … although I did get the weekly shopping done, and also squeezed in a rather successful trip to the local second-hand bookshop:
Not bad for a fiver; I’m especially chuffed with the unread le Guin (Changing Planes) and the collected poetic works of Ginsberg (up to 1980) in good condition, but the early Ian McDonald (Necroville) is quite a score too (despite the fact that it appears to be ex-library stock from a branch in which I haven’t worked recently – otherwise I’d have got there first). Of course, one might justifiably argue that someone with as many unread books and as little spare time as myself is a fool to buy more. What can I say, I’m an addict. Gotta get that fix somehow, brother …
On the subject of books, I finished the Sterling anthology, so there’ll be a review of that soon. I’ve also had a poke through Apex Digest, which is a beautifully produced magazine and no mistake – the only downside is that there appears to be only two stories in it with an sf bent to them; the rest (including a piece of poetry that flies in the face of everything I’ve ever been taught about writing poems with substance rather than style*) seems to fit somewhere in the horror/dark fantasy bracket , which isn’t really my scene. Needless to say, completing the whole mag has become a low priority agenda item as a consequence of this, but I’ll get it polished off eventually. I’m sure the stories are well written, even if not my scene, and it’ll do me good to read outside the genre for a change.
But in the meantime, I’ve started reading Karl Schroeder’s Lady of Mazes. And let me say now, a quarter of the way through, it’s an astonishing novel of incredible scope. I’ll not be giving too much of the game away by saying that it takes the idea of the metaverse (of which I’ve become so enamoured recently), throws it millennia into the future, twists and stretches it like silly putty and leaves the reader stunned by the sheer density of implications and consequences – or this reader, at least. It’s almost certainly the sort of science fiction that has recently been castigated as being impenetrable to someone unfamiliar with the genre, but that bothers me not at all. I like getting my skull stretched, and this book does an excellent job of it. If you like your sf hard and far-future, this one’s for you, too.
What else? Errm … oh yeah, my wi-fi router should arrive Monday, which will be interesting because I’ll be at work, and will have to arrange redelivery or collection or something. It was supposed to come today but eBuyer screwed up on the despatch. Meh … oh, and some plant news; one of the Christmas cacti is showing the first hints of flower buds, so we may well have some seasonal colour about the place by the time The Holiday That Must Not Be Mentioned arrives.
Well, having lightened your lives by sharing the utter trivialities of my own, I shall bid you farewell for the evening. Tonight’s Friday Curry is going to contain extra chillis in an attempt to burn out this damned cold … it’s the only way I’ll be able to taste it, anyhow!
Have a good weekend, people.
[* Yes, I realise the irony of this statement coming from someone who’s pleased to have scored a copy of Ginsberg’s collected works, but I read Ginsberg for his brutal honesty, and for the eyewitness chronicling of an era that is always underexplained by academic works. The poem in Apex is, IMHO, utterly self-indulgent wibble … almost as bad as mine, in fact, but in my defense I at least don’t write stuff that could pass for lyrics from someone’s first goth band at college. Not any more, at any rate! 😉 ]