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Travel interlude

I'm travelling next week. To be precise, I'm flying out to Boston on Monday at zero dark o'clock, and getting home a week on Wednesday. Blogging may be somewhat sporadic during the intervening time.

While I'm there, I'll be signing books at Pandemonium Books and Games on Tuesday 10th at 6pm. I'm also on a number of program items at Boskone 46 (13th to 15th at the Westin Waterfront).

Finally: Locus magazine have their 2008 recommended reading list out, and Saturn's Children is on it! (They're also taking votes for the 2009 Locusreader's poll and reader awards.)



You poor man! I know how much travel vexes you. You have my sympathy.


Travel isn't vexatious in and of itself; jet lag is vexatious, and airport security theatre is triply so.


My brother, with his wife and child by his side, argued with a troll at the main airport in Philadelphia, where I'd joined them from California with our other brother, to fly to Boston, and thence to our book editor/publisher father's funeral in Rhode Island.

The troll was taunting my brother that we'd missed our flight, because Security, promising during search that threatened our lateness, had promised to phone ahead to the gate and have them hold things for 2 minutes until we got there, and of course no such call happened and the gate said the plane had been locked 30 seconds ago.

New Security, presuming my brother guilty until proven innocent, in the face of his child and wife weeping, banned my brother from the airline for the day.

My brother missed the funeral, where I gave the eulogy for my Dad's 5 children and 5 grandchildren, in deep Lovecraft territory; and my brother arrived by another plane on another airline in time for the Wake.

I wonder if his name was still in their database from 2 or 3 decades earlier, when a luggage handler had dropped my brother's Bass on the way to a concert, my brother wanted to formally complain, and the airline banned him. Danged rhythm & blues performers, can't trust them in a system for normal people.

And, as Mr. Stross suggests, its only gotten worse since then.



Bon voyage Charlie. Enjoy the booksignings and Boskone.


Well, I just happen to be passing by Boston Monday to Wednesday... bring enough ink for your pen, I guess I'm taking all my Strossian collection with me...


Charlie leaves the country and the government announces it is to introduce a database to track British residents. Co-incidence?

I guess now is the time to make the most of it before they introduce travel permits :(

Have a good and not too tiring trip.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but by flying from London to Boston, didn't Mr. Stross travel between two cities each of which were, at one time, the largest English-speaking city in the world?

Is Boston still at or near first place in the USA for book purchases per capita (I think that Seattle was sometimes in this spot)?

In any case, I hope that the good people of Beantown, and a great Con, cheer him up from his Security Theatre annoyances, and that he bestows the benefits of his positive Con experiences upon us, via this blog.


He's flying via AMS, not LHR, though I suppose Amsterdam is a large English-speaking city these days.


I'm not exactly sure, but i do believe that comment #9 is spam. I know what it says (something about an investment fond and how good it's been running) and i, for one, can't see the connection to our hosts' travelling plans...


The E @10: Send some cash to Nigeria and they'll translate it for the rest of us.



(I was on a long-haul flight. It's hard to manage my blog when I'm halfway across the Atlantic. Normal service is now resumed.)


10.000 Euro turned into 92441 Euro within 30 years.

[starts in medias res] Even higher losses with fonds based on europe (minus 44.9%) says the (BVI) in frankfurt. However, open real estate funds were solid, with a 4.7% rise etc. pp.

Whoever it is, he wants to sell real estate and pension fonds real bad, especially those denominated in US$ (which, according to him, rose last year by 6.3% because of the exchange rates ... what he doesn't tell you, is that the $ will probably drop rather soon and he's going to make quite a bit of money out of whatever he put into the fine print of the contract he's sure to offer you.)

So maybe that post has some serendipitous or at least humorous meaning that may not be entirely out of place here.

Delete this post along with #9 if you feel like it, Charlie.


Re #6: "database to track British residents"

Mr. Stross continues to do all of us a favor by bringing in his sophisticated analysis of WHY such a database is a guaranteed disaster.

Here's a dual pair of problems, already discussed in slightly different form on earlier threads.

(1) Ontological False Positive: "I'm sorry, Mr. Jesus Mohammed Chang. Your name is on our 'do not fly' list, although we agree that there are many other Mohammeds and many other Changs in the database, we ask you to come with us for an intrusive strip search with added exploratory penetration. Trust us, you will not want to sit in a plane seat for several hours afterwards."

(2) Ontological False negative: "I'm sorry sir, there's no such person as you in our database at all. Legally speaking, you are presumed not to exist until you prove otherwise."

Now, I keep having the experience of my existence being denied outright, on Digg, initially on the basis that pocketa-pocketa nobody but a Peggy Sue can have done half the things that I allege.

I've observed how this misunderstanding spreads through the intertubes, so that a purportedly Rationalist/Bayesian blog insisted, in writing which they would not take down, that not only do I not exist, but that I was specifically invented as a pseudoperson by Professor Philip V. Fellman (easily located through his official web site at Southern New Hampshire University) and internet pioneer John Sokol, arguably the first person to commercially send video through the net. Attempts by these gentlemen to prove that I do exist have been fruitless. Of course they'd say so, if they invented me.

Likewise, some bloggers have assumed that I might exist, and some of what I say that I did (rather easily verified by typing my full name into Google Scholar, for example). But if so, I must be such an irremediably geek that I was probably still a virgin.

My family objected online, including my Physics Professor wife, and our son, currently halfway through Law School (Intellectual Property). But of course they would. Virgin Birth works both ways.

It is, as Mr. Stross points out, so easy to lubricate by the Urquhart-Dobbs-Davies Tactic, the spread of defamatory and borderline defamatory statements from third parties:

"You may very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment."

Of the gigafolks on the internet, how many are "real" people?" What does that even mean? I've never, for instance, met Greg Egan face-to-face, and he's certainly a reigning expert on non-standard identities (cf. Permutation City; Diapora). Yet I lean towards believing that he exists, because of his published collaborations with Professor John Baez.

John Baez, by the way, had a lovely thread on the n-Catgory Cafe asking readers to rate the probability of actual existence of various historical, quasi-historical, and likely Fantastic personages.

If one accepts such Networks of Trust, then one might ask science fiction authors in the space program, such as Dr. Geoffrey Landis, if I exist and have done what I say I've done in the Space Program. But, on the other hand, we helped fake that whole Moon Landing thing.

There are jobs for which having a fuzzy existence might be a considerable asset.

In times of Global Depression, that's not so bad.

But it is very sad that the Edinburgh-born Hogfather associate Ian Richardson ceased to exist two years ago today. "Nothing lasts forever. Even the longest, the most glittering reign must come to an end someday."


Charlie is safely in the USA. How often he will be checking on this blog, I don't know.

I'm not going to get into any arguments while he's distracted.


I was just wondering, do you have some kind of special deal with Pandemonium Books? Because there are other bookstores in Boston :)


@15: are any of them local SF specialists, as opposed to, say, branches of Borders or B&N?


There's Newbury Comics and the MIT Bookstore but I see your point. Then again, for the purposes of self-promotion, what's wrong with Borders and B&N?


@17: Borders and B&N are a bit harder to arrange, likely to shift a lot less stock, and I prefer to spend what spare work time I have supporting local indie shops rather than faceless chain stores. OK?


Fair enough. I was just curious because you came to Pandemonium books in 2007 too (I was the guy who'd never read any Heinlein, still haven't). Your explanation is more than satisfactory.



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on February 6, 2009 11:19 PM.

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