Tag Archives: machine

Friday Photo Blogging: Enigma Machine

I’m gradually getting introduced to all the curators where I work, and having them show me the stuff they’re in charge of. Which means that today I got to see a four-rotor Enigma Machine, complete with the original rotors (and not replacements):

Enigma Machine

Sorry for the crap cameraphone picture; only thing I had to hand. Enigma Machines aren’t as rare as originally thought, by the way; once the story became better known in recent years, a lot of them appeared out of the woodwork. Apparently Mick Jagger owns one – go figure.

This one’s in pretty good condition – largely because it was assigned to the Norwegian Police, so it didn’t see much heavy action. Still fully functional, if wired up to the right sort of power supply. It’s high time I re-read Cryptonomicon, y’know.


Bonus eye candy for the week: what do you do when you’ve just changed jobs and moved to a far lower salary, meaning that you need to keep an eye on your spending habits? Why, you start buying paintings by local artists, of course …

Cyberfish painting

That’s by a chap who I randomly discovered on Flickr, where he goes under the moniker ‘mydogsighs‘. I’d been watching his photostream for a while when that painting turned up, and I just had to have it – it’s so very very me, darling, you know? He’s involved with a lot of interesting emergent art communities on Flickr, too – I sense the beginnings of an interesting article there.


Well, this week I have mostly been being ill. Either the virus I got at Eastercon has lasted far longer than I thought it would, or I picked up supplementary bug from work which came in on the tail end of it. Basically I’ve been feeling completely wrung out and exhausted, despite getting about ten or eleven hours sleep a night (nearly twice my usual amount), eating properly (including vitamins) and abstaining from alcohol. And I still feel rubbish now, to be honest – I’m hoping I can shake it off over the weekend.

However, time waits for no man, not even an ill one, and I’ve been keeping busy with words, both reading and writing. To be quite honest, blogging and reading is all that has kept me sane – I don’t deal well with being ill, not in a “give me sympathy for my man-flu” way, but in a “completely frustrated by feeling unable to accomplish anything” way. Nothing winds me up more than circumstances that no one can do anything to change – the irony of which is that I’m a hayfever sufferer. You really don’t want to meet me when the oil seed rape is in full bloom, I assure you.

But hey, work has been coming in. And I mean actual paid jobs that people want me to do for them. The newly-digitised Hub Magazine has emailed and asked me to review Marianne de Pierres’ Dark Space for them – and who’d have thought they read VCTB? Flattered, so I was. Plus, a photographer guy I used to work with on gig reviews a few years back is setting up an agency, and needs some wordy mug to sort out the non-pictorial website content for them. Result! At this rate, I’ll be able to financially support myself freelancing by the time I turn 40 … 🙂


Let’s see, incoming materials for the week. Magazines:

Books, both via SF Site:

And now a new section of FPB that will hopefully become more frequent: outgoing materials, or “stuff by me that has just been or is about to be published somewhere”; the next SF Site update will have my review of the reissue of Vernor Vinge’s first full novel The Witling, and my first few reviews for music site Subba-Cultcha.com should be up by Monday coming. I’ll link ’em when they’re available, for them what’s interested.


So there’s your Friday window into the life of a man who really needs to get out more – I hope you’ve enjoyed peering in. I shall now go forth and engage in a slightly hotter and more chilli-laden iteration of The Friday Curry than usual, in the hopes that a hefty Scoville rating and lots of garlic and cumin will burn the last of this accursed malaise from my body once and for all. Wish me luck! In the meantime, have a good weekend yourselves.

Book Review: Chris Beckett – The Holy Machine

The Holy Machine

The Holy Machine by Chris Beckett, UK PBK, Wildside Press; ISBN 1592242103

(This review may be considered to contain spoilers.)

The city of Illyria is the last bastion of scientific reason on Earth. After the world was swept up in “the Reaction”, a global religious uprising against science and all its works, the rationalists and techno-corporations that survived retreated to an enclave in the Balkans, and there built Illyria as their ivory tower and final bastion. George Simling works as a translator. He is a second generation Illyrian, born to Ruth, a woman who narrowly escaped the religionist pogroms in the US and has been psychologically scarred by her experiences. She spends most of her time in Senspace, which is a panoply of full-immersion virtual realities. Continue reading Book Review: Chris Beckett – The Holy Machine