Tag Archives: Iain M Banks

Why you should listen to Cornell’s State of the Art

I’m a terrible person. I got in touch with the nice people at the BBC and they were good enough to send me an advance CD of Paul Cornell’s radio play adaptation of Iain M Banks’ “State of the Art”, oooh, weeks ago. It’s due to be broadcast any mnute now, and I’ve still not reviewed it; luckily Farah Mendlesohn does a great job over at Strange Horizons.

I have listened to it, though, and although it’s a little late I recommend that you listen to it too. It’s a great story (and, I think, the only IMB short piece set in the Culture universe, not to mention showing it intersecting with our own ‘real’ world), but it’s also a good conversion thanks to Cornell’s deft hand and the BBC voice actor types. The plummy luvvy tones of the ship Mind are just perfect, and Cornell has kept the important parts while making it an accessible story to the non-genre listener. If you miss the actual broadcast, never fear – the BBC iPlayer is your friend.

I should have said more and sooner, but life’s a bit mental at the moment – I’m posting this from my girlfriend’s front room, running Firefox from a USB stick because I can’t install stuff on her work laptop, you see. And it’s not all holiday skiving, you know – I’m up north to meet some clients and colleagues*.

While I’m here, I’ll just point out that I’ve cropped up in anther SF Signal Mind Meld; this time I unveil myself as the unadventurous reader you always suspected I was by being almost completely unable/unwilling to make any reading recommendations from outside the genre fiction field…

[ * – In the interests of complete honesty, I suppose it should be confessed that one such meeting does happen to be scheduled to take place in a very reputable curry restaurant on Saturday night… ]

I get around

No, not in that way[1]. And I hope you now have the Beach Boys tune stuck in your head for the next 24 hours. Ha hah! – my middle name is Spite[2].

What I mean is that, despite being resolutely silent here, I’ve been cropping up elsewhere.

I know, I know – it’s all too much, isn’t it?

Talking about things being a bit all-too-much, it looks like an old friend colleague fellow blogger has resurfaced from the past. At the moment he seems to be retreading a familiar path to the one I met him on; as such, I shall be observing from a safe distance. Twice shy and all that, y’know.

Other me news (because it’s all about me, after all) – my holiday is totally freakin’ booked!

Your “cool [stuff/people/places] to [see/drink/eat/kill/dance with] in Berlin” tips will be much appreciated.

Oh, look – bedtime! Nighty-night, blogosphere.


[ 1 – Pure as driven snow, me. Driven down a London gutter in front of a snowplow, that is.]

[ 2 – Yeah, I know it’s not – but once the deed poll paperwork clears… ]

[ 3 – Looks like a certain Shaun C Green made the cut, too, and a few people who I think I recognised but couldn’t be sure of. ]

The facts of the Matter, and the ripping of books

I don’t like to think of myself as the boastful gloating type. But today, I shall wilfully be exactly that.

Because I have an ARC of the new Iain M. Banks ‘Culture’ novel, Matter.

SouthseaAutumnSunset 058

Nothing else matters, indeed.

[I was pipped to the post with my boast by the good Mr Bloomer of Big Dumb Object … but I retain top rank among jammy bastards, because I have the privilege of doing an interview with Banks for an Interzone feature. I believe the appropriate phrase is "get in"!]

Peer-to-peer book sharing

There’s an awful lot of people who’d very much like to be able to read that book rightf*ckingnow. That hunger for fresh material has driven the P2P distribution systems, at least as far as the music industry is concerned, but as yet there’s no easy way to ‘rip’ a book.

Or is there?

Well, obviously there is, or I wouldn’t have laid that obvious bait. Observe! The Atiz BookSnap:

Atiz BookSnap book ripper

Atiz are calling it the first consumer book-ripper, but that’s a bit of a stretch at over US$1500. But it is the Model-T of things to come; a device that will (with some assistance from you, at least in this instance) convert a book into a digitally scanned PDF file.

I have my own set of opinions about this, which regular readers will doubtless be able to predict quite effectively. But I’d be fascinated to hear the opinions of library staff, publishing staff, bibliophiles and writers about what this will mean to them (and everyone else) in the long term.

First one to mention DRM is a rotten apple. 😉

[tags]Iain M Banks, Matter, Culture, novel, ARC, books, ripping, p2p[/tags]