Charlie's Diary

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Wed, 21 Dec 2005

Not much to say ...

I've been quiet recently because I don't have much to say. (You want me to comment on politics? Hah. Iraq continues to go to hell in a handbasket, the Dead Pool on Tony Blair's career remains open, and oil is going to stay expensive for the forseeable future. Meanwhile, the Party has generously agreed to increase our chocolate ration from 25 grams per month to 22 grams ...)

I've mostly been puttering around, failing to effectively get to grips with book #4 in "Merchant Princes" (which, if I pull my finger out, might reach the 33% point by Christmas Day -- when I'd originally intended to have finished the first draft), ripping the hitherto-unripped half of my CD collection into iTunes (Chainsaw Kittens? Glands of External Secretion? Various Cyberdog compilations? Hello? Anybody listening?), and visiting family members.

On the professional side: "Singularity Sky" is, I believe, now available in French translation, and "The Hidden Family" is due to follow "The Family Trade" over there. "Accelerando" is getting a German translation, while "Singularity Sky" and "Iron Sunrise" have sold to Japan. The trade paperback of "The Atrocity Archives" is now available from Ace, and very handsome it looks, too.

I can now safely admit to having sold another five novels -- I'm due to deliver three more volumes of "Merchant Princes" to Tor, at a rate of one per year, and two SF novels to Ace (again, one per year: they're going to be a near-future SF thriller, and a sequel to "Iron Sunrise"). In addition, there may be a short story collection appearing some time in 2008. Those of you who read my words printed on the corpses of brutally murdered trees will be pleased to know that I expect to continue contributing to deforestation and global warming for at least the next couple of years.

Finally, I want you to know that I hate Christmas.

I'm not entirely sure why I hate Christmas -- it's been a feature of my life for as long as I can remember -- but there's something about the mixture of sanctimonious blather about goodwill to all hominids, frenzied bulemic consumption, smug togetherness, and misplaced bonhomie that gets on my nerves like fingernails scraping down an old slate blackboard. (And I really hate the music that goes with Christmas, from Victorian carrols on up to the crass commercialism of more recent chart-toppers.)

To the extent that people use Christmas as a time to give donations to childrens' charities, do the peace on earth and goodwill to all shuffle, and try to be nice ... I've got to ask, why confine it to this particular time of year? If you believe such sentiments are apposite, then there's another 364 days that can benefit from them. And if not, then isn't it all a bit hypocritical? (I'm really scratching my head over this one: thing is, Christmas isn't part of my cultural baggage -- as far as I know, none of my ancestors have ever been Christian -- so I'm fumbling in the dark here.)

But what I really hate most is the crassly exploitative commercialization of the holiday season. It's not enough to hole up at home and over-eat while watching crap suitable-for-the-entire-family movies on TV, but we're supposedly required to buy expensive greeting cards and mail them to near-total strangers (thus, lining the pockets of the Post Office and the likes of Hallmark), buy lots of glittery decorations and contribute to deforestation (which I'm already a past master at), and somehow spend maybe 20% of our annual surplus income in the space of about three weeks. Excuse me, Mr Retailer? If you want to stick your hand in my wallet, would you mind maybe trying to deliver some value for money, rather than the insanely tacky gift-wrapped rubbish that's inflicted on us every autumn?

Anyway. It has been my habit over the past few years to spend the back end of December quietly working on a book. And I'm not going to veer from that pattern this month. Just don't expect much in the way of blogging while I'm getting on with it.

Merry Grinchmas!

[Discuss Grinchmas]

posted at: 17:26 | path: /misc | permanent link to this entry


Is SF About to Go Blind? -- Popular Science article by Greg Mone
Unwirer -- an experiment in weblog mediated collaborative fiction
Inside the MIT Media Lab -- what it's like to spend a a day wandering around the Media Lab
"Nothing like this will be built again" -- inside a nuclear reactor complex

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The Hidden Family
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Some webby stuff I'm reading:

Engadget ]
Gizmodo ]
The Memory Hole ]
Boing!Boing! ]
Futurismic ]
Walter Jon Williams ]
Making Light (TNH) ]
Crooked Timber ]
Junius (Chris Bertram) ]
Baghdad Burning (Riverbend) ]
Bruce Sterling ]
Ian McDonald ]
Amygdala (Gary Farber) ]
Cyborg Democracy ]
Body and Soul (Jeanne d'Arc)  ]
Atrios ]
The Sideshow (Avedon Carol) ]
This Modern World (Tom Tomorrow) ]
Jesus's General ]
Mick Farren ]
Early days of a Better Nation (Ken MacLeod) ]
Respectful of Otters (Rivka) ]
Tangent Online ]
Grouse Today ]
Hacktivismo ]
Terra Nova ]
Whatever (John Scalzi) ]
Justine Larbalestier ]
Yankee Fog ]
The Law west of Ealing Broadway ]
Cough the Lot ]
The Yorkshire Ranter ]
Newshog ]
Kung Fu Monkey ]
S1ngularity ]
Pagan Prattle ]
Gwyneth Jones ]
Calpundit ]
Lenin's Tomb ]
Progressive Gold ]
Kathryn Cramer ]
Halfway down the Danube ]
Fistful of Euros ]
Orcinus ]
Shrillblog ]
Steve Gilliard ]
Frankenstein Journal (Chris Lawson) ]
The Panda's Thumb ]
Martin Wisse ]
Kuro5hin ]
Advogato ]
Talking Points Memo ]
The Register ]
Cryptome ]
Juan Cole: Informed comment ]
Global Guerillas (John Robb) ]
Shadow of the Hegemon (Demosthenes) ]
Simon Bisson's Journal ]
Max Sawicky's weblog ]
Guy Kewney's mobile campaign ]
Hitherby Dragons ]
Counterspin Central ]
MetaFilter ]
NTKnow ]
Encyclopaedia Astronautica ]
Fafblog ]
BBC News (Scotland) ]
Pravda ]
Meerkat open wire service ]
Warren Ellis ]
Brad DeLong ]
Hullabaloo (Digby) ]
Jeff Vail ]
The Whiskey Bar (Billmon) ]
Groupthink Central (Yuval Rubinstein) ]
Unmedia (Aziz Poonawalla) ]
Rebecca's Pocket (Rebecca Blood) ]

Older stuff:

June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
(I screwed the pooch in respect of the blosxom entry datestamps on March 28th, 2002, so everything before then shows up as being from the same time)

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