09 October 2013

It's been a while, but I think I'm back.

Ok, so I haven't been motivated enough to write anything on my SF and random musings blog in the last.,  um, yeah,  two years.  Lazy of me, I know.
Anyway,  I think it's time to get back into it.  I really enjoyed writing about books before,  and I am in the mood again.  Plus,  I really should be reading more than I have been lately,  and I haven't been writing at all.

So here it is folks. I'm back.  I hope you get something out of it,  but it really isn't for you,  it's for me, hence no comments.  You can tweet me if you really must.  I will eventual install a twitter client and might actually read your tweet. 

Thank you,  and goodnight.

17 November 2011

A Murder Mystery Idea

How do you solve this serial killer mystery?

The killer uses a different hand gun every time they kill. There method is essentially to approach someone walking alone, at night, and shoot them in the head. The killer then leaves on foot, travelling up to 2 kilometres to a vehicle and drives home. On the way he disposes of the weapon in a deep body of water. For example, the killer may toss the weapon out of the car window as he crosses The Causeway or The Narrows.

The killer works entirely alone. He doesn't take souveniers and doesn't take photographs of his victims. He doesn't stay near the victim and has the sense to avoid the crimescene after the fact.

The only notable aspect of these crimes is that the killer likes to be close to the victim when he shoots them. Yet there is no DNA evidence on the victim, nor is there any CCTV footage. The killer clearly scouts and chooses places where no surveilance is in place. For example, the underpass of Mitchell Freeway at Glendalough Train Station, before reaching either of the car yards in either direction.

Note also, however, that the killer never takes a victim in the same location twice. The first murder takes place as mentioned at the Glendalough underpass, but the second is on a footpath by a main road in Rockingham. The third is on a sidestreet in Kenwick. The fourth, on Plain St in East Perth, not far from the WACA and the WA Police Service headquarters. And so on.

With no weapon, no witnesses, no actual pattern outside the method of killing, how do you start to try to identify such a murderer?

27 June 2011

Locus Awards 2011 - Winners and Nominees

Best Science Fiction Novel
- Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis (Spectra)
- Surface Detail, Iain M. Banks (Orbit UK; Orbit US)
- Cryoburn, Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
- Zero History, William Gibson (Putnam; Viking UK)
- The Dervish House, Ian McDonald (Pyr; Gollancz)
Best Fantasy Novel
- Kraken, China MiƩville (Macmillan UK; Del Rey)
- Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay (Penguin Canada; Roc)
- Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor (DAW)
- The Fuller Memorandum, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)
- The Sorcerer's House, Gene Wolfe (Tor)

Best First Novel
- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit UK; Orbit US)

- The Loving Dead, Amelia Beamer (Night Shade)
- Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
- The Quantum Thief, Hannu Rajaniemi (Gollancz; Tor)
- How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu (Pantheon)
Best Young Adult Book
- Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown)

- Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
- Enchanted Glass, Diana Wynne Jones (HarperCollins UK; Greenwillow)
- I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett (Gollancz; HarperCollins)
- Behemoth, Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK)
Best Novella- The Lifecycle of Software Objects, Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
- Bone and Jewel Creatures, Elizabeth Bear (Subterranean)
- "The Mystery Knight"', George R.R. Martin (Warriors)
- "Troika", Alastair Reynolds (Godlike Machines)
- "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window'", Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Summer '10)
Best Novelette
- "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains", Neil Gaiman (Stories)

- "The Fool Jobs", Joe Abercrombie (Swords & Dark Magic)
- "The Mad Scientist's Daughter", Theodora Goss (Strange Horizons 1/18-1/25/10)
- "Plus or Minus", James Patrick Kelly (Asimov's 12/10)
- "Marya and the Pirate", Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov's 1/10)
Best Short Story- "The Thing About Cassandra", Neil Gaiman (Songs of Love and Death)
- "Booth's Ghost", Karen Joy Fowler (What I Didn't See and Other Stories)
- "Names for Water", Kij Johnson (Asimov's 10-11/10)
- "Thirteen Ways of Looking at Space/Time", Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld 8/10)
- "The Things", Peter Watts (Clarkesworld 1/10)
Best Magazine- Asimov's
- Analog
- F&SF
- Subterranean
- Tor.com
Best Book Publisher
- Tor
- Baen
- Night Shade Books
- Orbit
- Subterranean Press
Best Anthology- Warriors, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Tor)
- Zombies vs. Unicorns, Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier, eds. (McElderry)
- The Beastly Bride, Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, eds. (Viking)
- The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martin's)
- Swords & Dark Magic, Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders, eds. (HarperCollins)
Best Collection
- Fritz Leiber: Selected Stories, Fritz Leiber (Night Shade)

- Mirror Kingdoms, Peter S. Beagle (Subterranean)
- What I Didn't See and Other Stories, Karen Joy Fowler (Small Beer)
- The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson, Kim Stanley Robinson (Night Shade)
- The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny: Volume Five: Nine Black Doves, Roger Zelazny (NESFA)
Best Editor
- Ellen Datlow

- Gardner Dozois
- Gordon Van Gelder
- David G. Hartwell
- Jonathan Strahan
Best Artist- Shaun Tan
- Bob Eggleton
- Donato Giancola
- John Picacio
- Michael Whelan
Best Non-Fiction Book
- Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1: 1907-1948: Learning Curve, William H. Patterson, Jr., (Tor)

- 80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin, Karen Joy Fowler & Debbie Notkin, eds. (Aqueduct)
- Conversations with Octavia Butler, Conseula Francis (University Press of Mississippi)
- CM Kornbluth: The Life and Works of a Science Fiction Visionary, Mark Rich (McFarland)
- Bearings: Reviews 1997-2001, Gary K. Wolfe (Beccon)
Best Art Book
- Spectrum 17, Cathy & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood)

- Bob Eggleton, Dragon's Domain (Impact)
- Donato Giancola, Middle-Earth: Visions of a Modern Myth (Underwood)
- Shaun Tan, The Bird King and Other Sketches (Windy Hollow)
- Charles Vess & Neil Gaiman, Instructions (Harper)

16 June 2011

New Books!

I received Hartwell and Kramer Years Best SF 16 in the post two days ago. Very good. I've barely had a chance to look at it yet, since I was a: in the middle of Dexter In The Dark by Jeff Lindsay and b: I was either out or doing something else all day, so I haven't had the opportunity to look. It'll be great though, I'm sure.

It is (was?) the last book I purchased from Amazon.com. As you may have heard, I'm a bookdepository.co.uk nerd now. Awesome, cheap, free postage.

I put in a new order today, actually. The books are:
  • Jeff Lindsay - Dexter is Delicious
  • Lou Anders - Fast Forward Vol. 1
  • Jim Butcher - Summer Knight
  • Irvine Welsh - The Acid House (I've regretted selling this book to Elizabeths since I did it.)
  • Irvine Welsh - Reheated Cabbage
  • David Hartwell and Katheryn Kramer - Years Best SF 13
  • Nick Gevers - Is Anybody Out There?
Total price including postage (which is free, so, erm...) $71.47. They have a summer reading promo on, so if YOU would like a 10% discount voucher, email me and I will send you one. I've already used mine, but if you get one from me and buy something with it, I get another. Which would be nice, I think.

And they have almost everything.

11 June 2011

On the subject of Iain M. Banks, Space Opera, and the Future of Money.

I've been reading a lot of Iain M Banks novels lately. By which I mean that I read all of the Iain M Banks novels published so far over the last four or so weeks. I love them. I've read Consider Phlebas, Player of Games and The Use of Weapons twice each, and listened to the audiobook of each of them as well, while driving into Bunbury. The more recent versions of the audiobook are better than the older ones, in my opinion.  Peter Kenny is a fantastic narrator, who has the good sense to not do the stupid atonal robot voice for spacecraft and drones.

I've also read the short story collection State of The Art a couple of times. It has a bunch of really fun short shorts, and a massively exciting novella to finish up. I've only read the other books once each so far, but I've restarted on Surface Detail, the 2010 released Culture novel that is the favourite so far.

I've read these books almost exclusively since discovering them. Why? Because the books are basically about a universe in which my political views won. It's my dream universe, where noone goes without, where noone has the right to prevent any action by any individual if it doesn't cause harm to others, where illness is nonexistant, where cross cultural cooperation is the NORMAL STATE OF THINGS!

Oh my, it's enticing. It's the novelisation of the problems involved with being the society that in my view would be as close to perfect as it is to come. Because problems will always arise, and morality is fraught with conundrums and contradictions.

But the thing that appeals to me most is the abolition of money. The first novel in the Culture series has a line that basically says that money is a symptom of poverty, or in other words that money is only necessary because of scarcity. I want to live in the post scarcity world, because that is when true human potential has a shot at being reached. Until then, the greedy will rule us all, and we will forever loose against greed if there are more people than resources.

The future of money is that there is no money. And oh how I long for a Space Opera future.

The End.

Now That I Have A Laptop...

Does that mean I'm writing a novel? HAHA. I kid.

Seriously though, I didn't realise how much use I would get out of this damn thing until I had it. Breakfast has become a whole new world of time wastage, since instead of reading my news feeds on the iPad, I can now type really quickly on my laptop while reading the news. So I find myself getting into forum arguments at breakfast. So much fun. Although you know what they say about arguing on the internet...

I haven't stopped reading tonnes of books, by the way. I just stopped writing about it for a while, because I was doing most of the writing at the library. These days, I get my books from BookDepository.co.uk instead. But now that I have a LAPTOP.

Did I mention that I bought myself a laptop? It's an Asus something or other with a 14" screen, which is quite small but suprisingly adequate. It also has a beautify keyboard for touch typing. I barely have to proof read or spell check anymore thanks to this god damn magnificent hunk of plastic crap.

The Future? It's awesome.

31 May 2011

Regarding Live Export of Animals - A Letter To The Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

I beg you, as an Australian and as a human of decency (and as a socialist!), to end this barbaric practice of Live Exporting animals from this country. Not only do we have no control over the treatment of the live stock once they have left our shores, but it is also costing jobs that should remain in Australia. We are capable of performing all necessary rituals that may be required to meet the superstitious rules of potential purchasers of exported meat, and the additional work would be welcome in the current economic climate.

However, should a ban on live exports result in clients going elsewhere, I believe this to be a price worth paying in order to end our nations involvement in such barbarity.


I'm sure other have quoted the survival rates of the live export voyages. Add to this the deliberate cruelty seen in the recent Four Corners segment and it is clear that a ban on this vile trade in suffering must end, and it can only end if WE as a civilised nation end it.

I ask you again, please, act to end live animal exports from Australia.

Thank you for your time,
Sincerely
Nate Stokes

15 May 2011

In Which I Blog About Being at Work, but Wishing I Were On A Spaceship.

So. Here I am, once again. A Sunday afternoon spent making change, pumping fuel for people too lazy to do it themselves and saying "If you could enter your PIN number and OK please."

Yeah, I say pin number. What're you gonna do about it?

Ok , I started this 5 hours ago and have been flat out since.

THE END

Sent from my iPod which would be awesome if everywhere has WIFI but instead there just NOTHING which is annoying and XARCH UP WITH THE 21st CENTURY AUSTRALIA!!!

05 May 2011

Again, Das Phone ist Ficken

Yep, it says I've got email but won't let me open it, internet but no twitter, sms or phone service. I hate phones.

UPDATE: 5/5/2011 @ 11PM: It all seems to be working again, but that hasn't stopped me from wishing I had bought a different phone. Oh well, since I dropped this one twice today, I'm sure I'll need a new one soon enough.

03 May 2011

Schoopid Modular Tellingbone

I just tried to use this flocking phone for its primary purpose, only to discover that i have no service at all. That is, except, for internet access. I'd be impressed if it weren't exactly not what i need right now.

It's rather ironic, in the Canadian pop singer who uncannily resembles Dave Grohl kind of way.

01 May 2011

Mobile posting is mobile.

Waiting, as fucking usual. So I thought I might send off a quick post, before realising that I don't have anything to say right now. None the less...

I'm listening to Iain M Banks Player of Games audiobook, which is quite fun. I'm in the car doing this right now, in fact, and people are looking at me funny as they walk past me! HaHa, it's like a hyper version of 'whachoo readen for?'

Here's a photo!

Oh, I don't seem to be able to stick images incline with this email client. I was hoping that I might be able to. Oh well.

Gotta go, I'm up next!

The end?

----------
Sent from my phone
yeah, the phone I didn't want
It's Mario's fault
0406 475 610

29 April 2011

Why I Haven't Updated Since February

Hi there! No, I didn't die, I've just been really busy. I've started a new job and left my old one, but still doing the same thing. Which is good, really, since I like my job. The new job is just closer to home.

Java has had a birthday, having turned 12. Weird.

I also had a birthday, turning 375. Getting old sucks. I did, however, get some awesome gifts, including a new Radeon 5770, books by Alastair Reynolds and a copy of Masked for my very own, new shoes, which stink already, very orange laces, and a Hendrix tshirt. Yay for me. Oh, and I got crysis, finally, and I'm about half way through.

Why yes, I have been reading. An incomplete list is as follows:

In no particular order:
<->Old Mans War by John Scalzi, which was a brilliant, funny, cynical take on Starship Troopers
<->Consider Phlebas by Iain M Banks, a wonderful space opera that I wish was true.
<->The Player of Games by Iain M Banks, more wonderful space opera.
<->Godlike Machines edited by Johnathan Strahan, a collection of 'big dumb object' stories from the likes of Cory Doctorow and Robert Reed
<->Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds, one of my birthday present books.
<->The Takeshi Kovacs books by Richard Morgan, which read like Andy McNab in space, with a socialist antihero twist.
<->Use of Weapons by Iain M Banks, another brilliant 'Culture' novel that was briefly my benchmark for brilliance.
<->The Green Leopard Plague and Other Stories by Walter Jon Williams. Cool.
-Newtons Wake by Ken McLeod, a guy who just doesn't write enough!
<->the forever War by Joe Haldeman, an old favorite of mine
-Conspiracies by F. Paul Wilson, from the Repairman Jack series.
-The 4500 page Void Trilogy by Peter F Hamiilton, a masterwork of sheer brilliance.
-Seeker by Jack McDevitt, a book I've been meaning to track down and read since I read an excerpt in a nebula awards annual. Now I have. Fucking great fun.
-Excess ion by Iain M Baks, a very nice Culture story about outside influence and space ships.
-Look To Windward by Iain M Banks, which I struggled to get into until the 2nd chapter, when it took off and blew my mind.
-Inversions by Iain M banks, which blew my mind some more.
-Matter by Iain M Banks, which reset the standard for sheer brilliance in prose.
Surface Detail by Iain M Baks which reset the standard again. I finished this one today, and kinda wish it was still going or that I hadn't read it yet, because it's his most recent book and there is nothing new to go on too. Fortunately he has about 20 more books published, although not as part of his Culture series.

I am currently reading Feersum Enjinn, which 3 chapters in has been so good I want to sit and read the while damn thing, but then if I do, I'll have to find something else to read and it won't be this book!!! I also have a fairly big pile of too be read books:

-Battle Stations edited by David Drake,
-The algebraist by Iain M Banks
-Against A Dark Background by Iain M Banks, which I started but on realizing it wasn't a culture novel, set it aside temporarily.
-The Crow Road by Iain Banks, a mainstream book as denoted by the lack of an M in the authors name...
-Transition by Iain Banks
-Metaplanetary by Tony Danoel, which I have been hunting for for ashes.
-The Confederation Trilogy by Peter F Hamilton, which is incredibly intimidating based on it's 5000+ page count.

I've also got a couple of Stephen King books that I've been meaning to take a peek at, being Blockade Billy and Full Dark, No Stars, but since the Dome, I've been very hesitant. I hated that book, it was a completely traumatic experience for me. Also coming up are the annual purche of The Years Best Science Fiction edited by Gardner Dozois and Years Best SF edited by David Hartwell and Kathryn Kramer due in June and May respectively ( which I must remember to put some money on the good old MasterCard Debit to pay for, since they're coming from Amazon via preorder...) and trust is just the boos that I urgently WANT to read.

There are also bunch of paperbacks that I picked up of Fred pink, bob heinlein, Poul Anderson, Lester Del Ray and Algis Bundrys that I would love to read through again some time, but I jdont see it happening.

Ok, I'm going to post this now. I know, it's full of errors, and tomorrow I will clean it up some, but since the kid is on the computer playing Minecraft, I am typing this on the iPad screen, which means that the text I am currently typing is covered over with the software keyboard. I really shield buy a Bluetooth thin gamy for it, but they are pretty expensive, kooks 4 whole books worth of money haha. And since my books mall come from the library, it's doubly too expensive, or something.

Anyway, my point is that I just can't be fucked trying to edit and proof this post on an iPad, cause it'd be hard, time consuming and frankly not very accurate anyway.

Thanks for readin! I hope yu are well. I hope you are reading lots of great books. Be it mystery, mills and boomed or magazines, any amount of reading is one billion times more useful than any equivalent amount of time spent watching television, so please, for your own sake, and for the future of our species, won't somebody think of the paperbacks??

Love
The Hairy Fucken Hairball known as NATE!!!!! Woooohtttah!

20 February 2011

The Commonwealth Saga: Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained - Peter F Hamilton

  • Author: Peter F. Hamilton
  • Title: Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained
  • ISBN: Pandora's Star (2004) 0-330-49331-0
  • ISBN: Judas Unchained (2005) 0-330-49353-1
Hi everybody.

I don't think I need to remind anyone out there in readerland that I am a huge fan of space opera. In both senses. I've worked my way through some of the work off each of the current big names in the field, and I have stated on numerous occasions that Al Reynolds and Paul McAuley are brilliant megaminds who need to be chained to a typewriter and force worked, because it is the only way we can guarantee maximum literary output before they die.

For some reason, though, I have never read a Peter Hamilton. I've read a few short stories in the various Years Best series that I like (Gardner Dozois for bulk, David Hartwell and Kathryn Kramer for taste, Johnathan Strahan for the Australian perspective...) and I have always enjoyed his stories. There was this one about a fleet ship which was on an eternal mission outward, dumping equipment to build CST gateways (more on this in uno momento) that they personally will never benefit from or use due to time dilation effect, relativity and other physics based phenomena. It was very cool. I wouldn't mind being one of the crew, that's for sure. Noble sacrifice plus spaceship to eternity equals well chuffed me.

I think the main reason for never having read a Hamilton novel is the size. I don't know if you have ever seen one, but they are hefty. Pandoras Star comes in a over 900 pages, and Judas Unchained is over 1000! JU Had to be split into two volumes for publication in the USA. For perspective, the large Years Best Science Fiction volumes with 22 or so stories are usually 700 or so. And they are some of the biggest books I own. So while I have no problem with reading the volume of text involved, I struggle with making that big a time commitment to a single story.

The thing is, I generally prefer to read short fiction (novellas and such.) There are a few reasons for this, but largely it is because the waffle is mostly nonexistant in short fiction. The editing is tighter, the plot advances as a rapid pace and there is no opportunity for boredom to ruin the story. When editors like Gardner Dozois, Ellen Datlow, Fred Pohl and others from the magazine trade get a hold of waffley fiction, they shake like hell until all the clingy shit is gone, then return it for two more rewrites, and the result is always great, usually brilliant, and occasionally fucking earth shattering.

There are quite a few writers who I enjoy immensely at (modern) novel length, for example Alastair Reynolds, Paul McAuley, CJ Cherryh and Kage Baker. And I really like the 250 pagers that used to be the average length of a novel, before this modern super tome thing happened, although many (but not all, notably Fred Pohl, Cyril Kornbluth, M. John Harrison, the Cyberpunks etc) of them have dated pretty badly.

I finally grabbed a copy of Pandora's Star and got started. I had no real idea what the plot was, just that it was roughly New Space Opera-ish. It turned out to be one of the better choices I have made in my life. Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained essentially make up one big, 2 volume, 1900 odd page novel. And every single word of both volumes is justified, necessary and fricken brilliant.

There may be some kind of spoiler type activity after the jumplink. While I try very hard to not give away any actual plot developments or twists, I will be discussing some of the characters, and I will give quite a bit of detail on the prologue, which sets the tone of this novel set beautifully. It won't actually spoil the book for you, but if you don't want to read it, don't click on the link.

07 February 2011

The Future Is almost Arrived.

Oh My Fracking Dog! I want a NoteSlate so much I think I might pop.

This is with out doubt the actual futurest thing I have ever seen. I need one.

June 2011 apparently. Fingers ex'd they'll be available for delivery to AU, And teh Ostraylyun Dolla will still be worth actual money on the foriegn market....

I feel sick with giddy thrillednessness.

31 January 2011

Commentation is under Activation

With a small hint of alliteration.....

Yeah, I've put comments on. This is because I got a question for you all.

Can anybody recommend short stories or novels for a highly advanced 12yo reader in the SF genre for the purpose of teaching literature?

I can, but I might have missed some.