I’m running pretty short of Berlin photos that I’ve not shared already (cue sighs of relief all round), but having done little or no photography in the last few weeks I am obliged to rummage in the crates once again. So, how’s about some Moorish retro architecture in the form of Berlin’s Neue Synagoge?
It will probably come as no surprise that it’s not the original, but a close reproduction of the 19th Century building which was battered during the war and subsequently razed to the ground. If you walk along Oranienburgerstrasse after dark, you’ll notice a quiet policeman on the street in front, in a little roped-off region.
If only my native country were so careful to dissuade people from remaking the mistakes of the past.
Writing about music
The Dreaded Press chunters along quite smoothly now thanks to my volunteer reviewers. As mentioned before, things are winding down for the season – only one album came in the post this week, where I would normally receive four or five – so I’ve got a chance to consolidate some headway over the holidays and think about new strategies for the site.
And maybe finally do that redesign which I’ve been meaning to do since I installed the current hackabout of a theme over a year ago…
Album of the week
I’m going to cheat by picking two albums, but as they’re from the same band and have just been reissued simultaneously, I figure that’s fair enough. The albums in question are Heaven’s End and Fade Out by proto-shoegaze noiseniks Loop; if you like raucous fuzz and saturated soundscapes, grab yourself a missing link from the history of the style.
Writing about books
Despite last week’s triumphant completion of the epic Steampunk review, I managed to crank out a review of Lou Anders‘ Fast Forward 2 anthology for Futurismic. It was quite an easy review to write in some respects, because there was something positive to say about almost every story. Apparently I’m the only person who ‘read’ Picacio’s cover art correctly… though I suspect a number of other people did, but simply decided not to mention it in their review.
There’s still a hefty backlog of books that I read months ago but still haven’t reviewed, and new titles in the queue, some with deadlines. Plus I’ve almost finished Nick Harkaways‘ The Gone-Away World, which I think will have to be written about simply by dint of being such a unique and interesting book (not to mention one I wish I’d gotten round to sooner). Thank goodness for upcoming holidays, eh?
The basic engine and visual framework of The Pretty Big Project have been installed, and the client likes it very much. But they want me to do something with one of the subsections that I’m not entirely sure how to go about achieving… I think I have a solution, but it’s not going to be particularly elegant from the back-end. That’s Saturday’s job – some “suck it and see” code testing.
Other freelance stuff is business as usual; lovely.
A new month means a new story at Futurismic – in this case the return of Jason Stoddard, putting his fiction where his mouth is and following his own Positive SF manifesto in “Willpower“. I really enjoyed it, and the comments so far (both on the page itself and at io9) seem to concur. I’d be interested in hearing any further opinions from VCTB regulars. Because you have all read it, right? 😉
Books and magazines seen
A quiet week again – seems like the publishing industry is slowing down for the season, too. Then again, there could be a lot more reasons; my sympathies go out to anyone working in publishing at the moment, because I’ve experienced what it’s like to work in an industry where the axe is hovering over everyone. Here’s hoping things perk up sooner rather than later – for everyone, not just the publishers.
So, this week’s only input is a long-awaited BSFA care package. Lots of good stuff in Vector this time, and a bumper reviews section (including my review of David Levy‘s Love and Sex with Robots). Some of the articles (not to mention the Elastic Press sampler) have already provoked some vigorous debate over at the BSFA forums; if you’re a member, be sure to drop in and share your thoughts.
I suppose it’s high time I gave some thought to what I’ll be doing over the Allegedly Festive Period, but I doubt it’ll be anything special. My mother’s visiting the south coast this year, so I’ll not be trekking to Yorkshire in the mobile purgatory of the National Express network again… *shudder*
Still, there’s time remaining for planning. In the meantime, the weekend has arrived, so I’d better make myself some food and get cracking with the free fiction round-up at Futurismic, hadn’t I? Have a great weekend yourselves, as best you’re able. Auf weidersehn!
[ 1 – There are many good reasons to do this; great bars and restaurants, for example, in addition to many architectural marvels like the above. You might initially be as confused as I was by the preponderance of young ladies whose fashion sense seems to be grounded in the props department of a studio that made eighties hair-metal videos. It wasn’t until one of them engaged me in conversation that I realised she wasn’t waiting for a friend at all. Not a *specific* friend, anyway. ]
[ 2 – Based on prior experience, that’s about six hours of the day accounted for… ]
[ 3 – That said, I’m pretty alarmed by this slew of interest rate drops and tax breaks that are being announced over here in the UK. Are the Government postponing the inevitable, or simply spreading it out thinner over a longer period? Or are they making like Jack Bauer with a pair of wirecutters inside a device they don’t fully understand? Guess we’ll find out eventually, but I would feel a lot more secure had we buried our facile national nostalgia for the days of empire and joined the bloody Euro when we had the chance. ]
[ 4 – He said, with a confidence that might prove not to be borne out by events. ]