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Upcoming Attractions!

As you know by now, my next novel, Dead Lies Dreaming comes out next week—on Tuesday the 27th in the US and Thursday 29th in the UK, because I've got different publishers in different territories).

Signed copies can be ordered from Transreal Fiction in Edinburgh via the Hive online mail order service.

(You can also order it via Big River co and all good bookshops, but they don't stock signed copies: Link to Amazon US: Link to Amazon UK. Ebooks are available too, and I gather the audiobook—again, there's a different version in the US, from Audible, and the UK, from Hachette Digital—should be released at the same time.)

COVID-19 has put a brake on any plans I might have had to promote the book in public, but I'm doing a number of webcast events over the next few weeks. Here are the highlights:

Outpost 2020 is a virtual SF convention taking place from Friday 23rd (tomorrow!) to Sunday 25th. I'm on a discussion panel on Saturday 24th at 4pm (UK time), on the subject of "Reborn from the Apocalypse": Both history and current events teach that a Biblical-proportioned apocalypse is not necessarily confined to the realms of fiction. How can we reinvent ourselves, and more importantly, will we?. (Panelists: Charlie Stross, Gabriel Partida, David D. Perlmutter. Moderator: Mike Fatum.)

Orbit Live! As part of a series of Crowdcast events, at 8pm GMT on Thursday 27th RJ Barker is going to host myself and Luke Arnold in conversation about our new books: sign up for the crowdcast here.

Reddit AmA: No book launch is complete these days without an Ask me Anything on Reddit, which in my case is booked for Tuesday 3rd, starting at 5pm, UK time (9am on the US west coast, give or take an hour—the clocks change this weekend in the UK but I'm not sure when the US catches up).

The Nürnberg Digital Festival is a community driven Festival with about 20.000 attendees in Nuremberg, to discuss the future, change and everything that comes with it. Obviously this year it's an extra-digital (i.e. online-only) festival, which has the silver lining of enabling the organizers to invite guests to connect from a long way away. Which is why I'm doing an interview/keynote on Monday November 9th at 5pm (UK time). You can find out more about the Festival here (as well as buying tickets for any or all days' events). It's titled "Are we in dystopian times?" which seems to be an ongoing theme of most of the events I'm being invited to these days, and probably gives you some idea of what my answer is likely to be ...

Anyway, that's all for now: I'll add to this post if new events show up.

206 Comments

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1:

Already ordered from "Transreal" - as I suspect quite a few other people already have done ....

2:

Oops ... I forgot
Is it REALLY a good idea to have that Reddit session on US election day?

3:

How can I get my hands on a copy before next Tuesday?

Asking for a friend.

4:

Hopefully a lot of folks will welcome the distraction!

5:

Daylight Savings Time ends at 2:00 AM on Sunday, November 1 in the US, and at 2:00 AM on Sunday, October 25 in the UK.

7:

Hopefully a lot of folks will welcome the distraction!


You mean, from prepping our bulletproof vests and protest signs for the following day(s)? Oh yeah, probably a distraction would be good. Speaking of which, anyone know whether laminating kevlar tape in between layers of cardboard sign makes the thing more durable against slow missiles?

8:

Y'know, I have heard it said that if someone flashes a laser pointer across someone's face, the recipient won't be able to aim a rifle.

9:

I'll see if I can make one. That is, now that I spent the weekend before last at the Virtual ROFCON, and last weekend at the Virtual Capclave, and my next con will be the Virtual Philcon in Nov, I may have some experience in virtual con attendance....

10:

I've also heard it said that flashing people with lasers is a felony. The point is to be both nonviolent and slightly harder to maim.

11:

Last book managed to arrive about a week before the official release date at MyLocalBookshop (tm). Read it the same day.
Order from Local Bookshop.
No guarantees - in fact I wouldn't expect them to be one time due to CASE NIGHTMARE MALADY

12:

whitroth @ 8: Y'know, I have heard it said that if someone flashes a laser pointer across someone's face, the recipient won't be able to aim a rifle.

Not something I'd personally be willing to field test.

13:

Would it be appropriate to mention people may also order it from Powell's? Which has it on this page right here for your convenience.

Obviously this source is most suited to people in North America, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.

14:

Protect your eyes. Serious impact-resistant eye protection.
There are other guides, and guides more focused on ... direct physical things, but it is worth poking through EFF's guides. (Note: police have been actively monitoring cell phones at US protests in some jurisdictions. COMSEC needs effort.)

https://ssd.eff.org/en
in particular
https://ssd.eff.org/en/module/attending-protest

Best device to carry ATM seems to be a burner, or an iPhone new enough to still get updates, with biometric ID methods turned off and unlocked with a passcode/passphrase rather longer than the 6 digit default and care taken to know about what is backed up to the iCloud. Recording everything and streaming it realtime to a cloud account is also a thing, and helpful.

15:

I've always considered buying a burner phone questionable. For one, they'll ask you for ID when you buy it. Then, if the cops find a call that they trace, they can find who bought it.

16:

I've always considered buying a burner phone questionable. For one, they'll ask you for ID when you buy it.

Is this the way of things in the UK? In the US it's possible to go into a supermarket, get a cheap phone off a rack, pay for it in cash, and walk out with a functional phone. It's rarely cost effective and you've got a crappy phone, but if you need anonymity or broke your good phone it will keep you connected.

17:

I'm in the US. I've never tried buying a burner - thought you had to buy them in places like Best Buy.

Can't ever remember seeing one in a stupormarket.

18:

Euro people who want to buy the eBook version, but don't want to give money to Amazon, you can buy it on Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/dead-lies-dreaming

(Hope it's ok to post this)

19:

You can buy phones (unlocked, no sim) freely in the UK -- load up a throwaway Amazon.co.uk with a junk email account and a bunch of gift cards, or buy one in a supermarket or off eBay or via a kickstarter/indiegogo campaign. No messing with Verizon's non-standard weird networking standards: any GSM/LTE/UMTS phone should just work. (Don't know about 5G yet, it's too new.)

You can also buy pay-as-you-go SIMs more or less anonymously, without providing any information: order one off Amazon or walk into any of the phone network shops, then load it up with top-up codes bought from any bank ATM. You don't need to provide personal identifying information to the phone co to activate the phone (although they try to get you to sign up), and the banks don't know/don't share customer info that way.

It's unlikely that this will defeat the Five Eyes if you attract serious government attention (think NSA/GCHQ/MI5 level stuff), but they're overstretched dealing with real serious targets, and the police are under-equipped/under-funded -- they can't do that kind of de-anonymization/stingray/tracking stuff without a major criminal investigation budget. If they do target activists it'd be as part of a top down national-scale campaign at the behest of an asshole like Dominic Cummings or Priti Patel, and it'll grind slowly and have to sift through tens of thousands of contacts to get anywhere.

20:

Charlie,
Speaking of GCHQ, this book was just published on the 20th.

Behind the Enigma : The Authorised History of GCHQ, Britain's Secret Cyber-Intelligence Agency, by John Ferris.

https://www.bookdepository.com/Behind-Enigma-John-Ferris/9781526605474?ref=grid-view&qid=1603466099925&sr=1-2

Available in hardback and soft cover. 848 pages. I do not see an eBook edition.

Enjoy!

Frank.

21:

One hopes that it is better than the equivalent one for MI5, which was sanitised to a level even I found surprising. As always, it's not what they say that is interesting, but what they don't say.

22:

At least until they pass the Covert Human Intelligence Sources bill. What media blithering there has been has been about murder and torture, but it is more likely that it would be used to stitch up people they disapproved of ("for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder; or in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom."), possibly by planting 'evidence'. Extinction Rebellion? CND? Greenpeace?

23:

Or maybe BoJo and Smogg?

24:

The Nürnberg session looks interesting!

As for dystopia societies... It's rather worrying to think that we are living in 'The good old days', as a future generation might choose to recall it; and I suspect that the worst of times, in whatever time may come, will always have a nostalgia fan club.

25:

Target is a good source too. There may be phones in pharmacies, but the only supermarkets that have them in southern California are the oriental superstores like HMart, Zion, or Ranch99.

So far as a burner for the post-election protest goes, my basic thing is that I don't want to lose my normal phone. The San Diego police have this interesting (un)official policy of not booking phones in as evidence, so that they don't give them back when they drop charges. It's puerile but destructive.

I'm not particularly worried about getting clubbed by the cops on November 4. I'm a bit more worried about running into some of the deep red types coming out of KKKlantee to disrupt any protests (hence having a reinforced protest sign to snag rocks and bottles), getting my pocket picked, or (less chance) getting arrested in some stupid mixup. I don't think the local cops, even the republicans on the force, are going to arrest people shouting for every vote to be counted, unless vandalism or a riot happens.

That's what I'm thinking about a burner phone for. I'm more worried about losing the cat pictures on my normal phone than about getting signed in at the rally. People, including the cops, already know that I'm an activist and what my issues are.

26:

whitroth @ 17: I'm in the US. I've never tried buying a burner - thought you had to buy them in places like Best Buy.

Can't ever remember seeing one in a stupormarket.

"Supermarkets" doesn't just mean food stores. Big box stores are supermarkets that don't always sell food.

I know they used to sell pre-paid cell phones at Target. Probably best not to go in asking for a "burner" phone, but lots of people who couldn't afford a cell phone contract buy pre-paid cell phones. It used to be you bought a phone with so many "minutes" talk time, but I guess now it's so many "gigabytes".

As I remember, activating them was often a pain, not from the information you had to provide, but from the limited coverage of some networks. And the store I worked in was practically the basement of the shopping center where it was located so making calls from inside the store was problematic to begin with.

Of course, the store I used to work at now has a "supermarket" section that sells food.

28:

One question: do your minute expire after x months on a burner?

29:

One question: do your minute expire after x months on a burner?

Maybe; the various pay-as-you-go plans probably vary in details.

The scheme I'm familiar with lets you buy X minutes and Y days - say 60 minutes and 90 days, for example. The phone would work for three months, provided you didn't talk for more than an hour during that time. When you run low on either minutes or days it's time to buy another top-up card.

I've done this and accumulated quite a lot of minutes because while I needed to have that phone I didn't spend much time talking on it.

30:

One question: do your minute expire after x months on a burner?
Well, technically a burner is a phone that you literally discard after one or a few uses. Some people foolishly throw them in a drawer after use. (Like Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen?)

Not sure how long term (US) plans work. Example: Tracfones, available at many retailers in the US; you can get a very low end but functional flip phone for like 20 dollars, then it's like 20 dollars for 3 months service, and I've seen a 1 year service card. You can buy all this with cash, or with a prepaid credit card bought with cash, or whatever.

The hardest part for hard core (attempted) anonymity, which only the paranoid really worry about, is making the purchases anonymously at a retailer. There are guides for this that should be followed to the letter from a printout used as a checklist. Surveillance videos are kept who knows how long, probably forever these days in some retailers with current tech. (Power-on/activation anonymously from a non-usual location using the tor stack. Etc.)

31:

The problem I had with a pay as you go phone is that after a year of non-use, they dumped the account, even though I was paying the basic monthly rate. Since I'd gotten it as an emergency phone for an elderly relative who wasn't tech savvy, that rather annoyed me.

I'd also clarify that there's a difference between a burner phone, which is designed to make you anonymous by wasting the phone, an emergency phone, and a sacrificial phone where you don't lose much if a cop takes it away from you. The only reason to burn a phone after a rally is if you assume that law enforcement or someone else will come after you. A sacrificial phone is what you'd do when, say, traveling to China.

32:

Handy tip for sacrificial phones: when upgrading, don't trade your old phone in -- keep it. It's slower and less shiny than the new one, but it still works. For going somewhere where it's at risk (the proverbial trip to Russia or China), put your SIM into the old phone and delete anything you don't need from it (e.g. password and 2FA apps, primary email account, etc).

I'm not aware of exploits that allow a modified SIM to propagate malware back into a phone so the SIM is probably safe, but if you're really paranoid, use a burner SIM for the trip. (Disadvantage: new phone number for your contacts.) Or get your telco to give you a replacement SIM: "this one stopped working when I moved it to a new phone."

33:

The problem I had with a pay as you go phone is that after a year of non-use, they dumped the account, even though I was paying the basic monthly rate.

"Basic monthly rate" -- what travesty of a phone is this?

PAYG phones over here simply work for a period of time/calls/data when you add a top-up code and activate it. Time or billable quota runs out, it stops working except for outgoing 999 (emergency) calls and incoming calls/texts and data to the cellco web page where you can buy or apply a new top-up.

What you're describing isn't a PAYG phone, it's a monthly contract with a minimum but variable monthly charge.

34:

I don't have any problem changing phones. People's phone no's? No problem. Excuse me while I reach into my bag and pull out my blue folder, unzip it, and open my *ahem* phone book. (People who's numbers/addresses that change not infrequently written in pencil....)

35:

The big pharmacy chains will have some kind of phones, and maybe the office supply stores. Along with Target, W*lM*rt sells them - and there are little phone stores all over.
Maybe an old used phone, for phone purposes - not photos - with no contact list.

36:

whitroth @ 28: One question: do your minute expire after x months on a burner?

I don't know for sure, but I think your "minutes" lasted until you used them up. I think it's the same way now with data. Buy a phone with 2GB data & it lasts until you reach the limit ... or until you purchase more minutes/data

Every thing I know about pre-paid cell phones comes from people coming to the service desk at the store where I worked complaining because they couldn't get the phones to activate. And I think that was primarily from trying to activate them while they were still in the store, which I mentioned was in the "basement" of the shopping center where the store was located (below the surrounding ground level on 3 sides). You couldn't get a decent signal in there.

37:

Scott Sanford @ 29:

One question: do your minute expire after x months on a burner?

Maybe; the various pay-as-you-go plans probably vary in details.

The scheme I'm familiar with lets you buy X minutes and Y days - say 60 minutes and 90 days, for example. The phone would work for three months, provided you didn't talk for more than an hour during that time. When you run low on either minutes or days it's time to buy another top-up card.

I've done this and accumulated quite a lot of minutes because while I needed to have that phone I didn't spend much time talking on it.

Here in the U.S. all cell phones should be able to call 911 in an emergency whether you have minutes or a service plan or not. It's essentially a liability issue. The carriers don't want to get sued over someone not being able to call 911 just because their service was suspended for non-payment or because they ran out of minutes or data.

I found this out when I was working for the burglar alarm company. One of the systems I serviced had a cellular back-up phone installed that failed when thieves cut the land lines & broke into the store. The store was threatening to sue the alarm company and threatening to sue me because I was the person who installed the system.

When I tested the system, everything worked except the call wouldn't go through to central station using the cell phone. I tried everything I could think of and nothing worked ... until in frustration I dialed 911 and the call went through.

Turned out the store had the cell phone service billed to their home office. The home office said the store wasn't authorized to have a cell phone, so they wouldn't pay the bill. The carrier cut off their service and no one noticed during the monthly tests because they didn't climb up above the drop ceiling to unplug the alarm system from the phone line & test the cellular backup.

38:

Rogers here in Canada has a 30 day time limit, reset every time you put a few dollars (minimum $10) into the pay-as-you-go mobile phone account. They also charge $0.50 per minute for talk. If you don't add more money after it expires, it stops working, though if you add more money within the following week, it restores the expired amount. You can also spend $100 and get a year long expiry. The hidden timeout is that they release the phone number after 6 months (used to be a year). So if we top up our emergency phone twice a year, it's still good, and we can unexpire it on the fly just when we need it. In other words, $20 a year for an emergency phone.

39:

Since we're still talking phones, of interest.
Mass Extraction: The Widespread Power of U.S. Law Enforcement to Search Mobile Phones (October, 2020)
(It seems to suggest that new model iPhones with long (10+ digits or characters) unlock passcodes are most resistant; there is a lot of scary/interesting (not-well-described) technical detail.) Since there are no guarantees that criminal organizations cannot purchase or borrow these law enforcement MDFTs, this means that the phones that many of us use an an exo-memory and co-processor are at risk, in the US, of deep computer-aided search by both government and (other:-) criminals.

This report documents the widespread adoption of MDFTs by law enforcement in the United States. Based on 110 public records requests to state and local law enforcement agencies across the country, our research documents more than 2,000 agencies that have purchased these tools, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. We found that state and local law enforcement agencies have performed hundreds of thousands of cellphone extractions since 2015, often without a warrant. To our knowledge, this is the first time that such records have been widely disclosed.

40:

Why the rest of the world should have a chance to vote for the US President:

Johnson will wait for US election result before no-deal Brexit decision

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/oct/24/johnson-will-wait-for-us-election-result-before-no-deal-brexit-decision

41:

whitroth
I'm going to repeat my reply to Charlie in the Lundry Files thread:

BoZo is all-too-clearly lost in a maze of his own contradictions & lies.
The penny has finally dropped as to what an utter fucking disaster crashing out will be.
But he's beholden to the utra-rich semi-fascists behind that move.
At the same time, many traditional ex-Conservatives are now alarmed & the real business leades in the UK are equally alarmed at a "no-deal" - & they all too clearly remeber "Oven-Ready" & "Easiest Deal EAVAH"
He's now got to betray somebody ....

And ... Mr Barnier is staying in London & talks are "intensifying", whilst BoZo is still trying to face both ways - he might almost be J Corbyn, given the mutually incompatible poeitions he's trying to hold.

I suspect that if, as expected the D's make a clean sweep between 4th &afterwards of November, the pressure will be on BoZo to cut an EU deal.
One can hope so.

42:

I missed that, but it totally makes sense.

If Biden wins, Johnson is in really bad trouble: Biden is solidly pro-Irish and will shit all over Brexit plans that involve tearing up the Good Friday Agreement. So Boris, a pathological pantser, will cross his fingers and cave to the EU ... then we get to see if his lunatical back bench stab him in the back before January 1st.

If Trump wins, Boris gets his no-deal Brexit and the rest of us get to see how much food we can still afford to buy by February.

43:

The real risk is that Boris will cut a Brexit deal and immediately be booted out by the Tory party. At which point if we're lucky we get Gove; if not, we end up with PM Raab, or maybe PM Patel (shudder) and a no-deal Brexit anyway.

Because Brexit is a disaster capitalism project and the disaster capitalists are going to get their run on Sterling and their market crash, followed by the fire sale on assets, while the rest of us starve and/or riot.

44:

Charlie @ 42 & 43
Yes to both.
Assuming Biden wins & especially if the D's take the Senate, then BoZo has to betray the extreme Brexshiteers
Even if the ulra-nutters then decide to split the tory party (again) BoZo's shit-sandwich "deal" will pass the house because everyone else will vote for it, as the least-worst option.
OTOH, your worst-case scenario may be unlikely, but it is all too possible ...
But ... that will mean mass rioting on the streets & even Patel & co cannot guarantee that Plod will back them up, not if people are starving .....

IF OTOH (again), you are talking about deadlines, then not 1st January, but the 19th/20th of that month is the deadline, to see how much really permanent damage DJT & his wreckers can do in the intervening period.
And the signs are not good, incidentally.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure if we want to re-open the USA's problems, but I suspect we cannot avoid looking at it - & - reverting to the UK, even tory MP's are screaming blue murder at BoZo because of his petty personal spite-fight with wanker Khan over London & its' transport.
Fortuantely, the over-65's "pass" is funded by the local Authorities, not TfL directly. But, if BoZO & Schapps do push Tfl over the cliff, to spite Khan, London will grind to a halt in 24 hours.
No Tubes, No Buses & No "Overgound" ... nurses & hospital stff won't be able to get to work, in the middle of a pandemic.
And even tories are blaming BoZo for this one.
Oh dear, how sad.

45:

Rumours are that Bozo is saying that he can't support his, er, numerous dependents on only 150,000 a year; I think that means he is sick of being in a position where people are continually asking him to make decisions, expecting him to stick by them, and blaming him when they are a disaster. I expect him to go by next summer, regardless.

I don't give the slimy Gove much chance, because MPs who knife people in the back the way he did are distrusted for ever afterwards by their colleagues. Sunak is being touted as the 'moderate' candidate (faute de mieux), and my money is on Raab losing out, and Patel beating Sunak when two names go to the membership.

I really, but REALLY, hope I am wrong :-(

46:

EC
BoZo has always got away with it. before, because of supreme bullshitting & being able ( Fuck knows how ) get promoted out of trouble, in spite of his record of betrayal & lies.
Now, there's nowhere else to go ... except disgrace or even jail.
Which remarkable resembles the course Trump is following ...
btw ... did anyone else notice the piece ( Linked in th "Mother Jones" article ) that DJT might be on the recieving end of an Unexplained Wealth Order, in Scotland ... how sad.

47:

DJT might be on the recieving end of an Unexplained Wealth Order, in Scotland

Which wasn't enough to prevent him being given permission to build another golf course, apparently endangering a natural area.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/17/new-trump-golf-course-provokes-fury-in-scotland

48:

IF OTOH (again), you are talking about deadlines, then not 1st January, but the 19th/20th of that month is the deadline, to see how much really permanent damage DJT & his wreckers can do in the intervening period.

I don't know how much attention this is getting in the UK, but there's a new executive order to reorganize a lot of civil service jobs and create an entirely new category for 'people the president can fire for no reason any time he feels like it.' (You can read articles in the Wall Street Journal and Independent, if you like.) The obvious thing for career bureaucrats to do is to smile and nod every time an order is given and then do nothing much until far too late. I'm not in a position to know what's actually happening - but then neither is The Donald.

49:

my money is on Raab losing out, and Patel beating Sunak when two names go to the membership.
UK people really need to preemptively work on damaging P. Patel politically, IMO as an American.
If you were keeping a UK Rogues' Gallery, who would be on it? (I do this for American Rogues, with image search browser tabs. The US list needs constant updating. :-)


50:

Nahhhh, the US list doesn't need constant updating. It's simple: are they GOP, or supporting them? Then they're crooks, frauds, and traitors.

51:

People fall out of Trump's favor; he is fickle and chaotic and (therefore) easily manipulated: E.g. J. Kelly, S. Bannon, J. Bolton
People leave for other reasons, e.g M. Caputo (medical)
They are then replaced, recently often in "acting" capacity to bypass the required Senate conformation process. S. Miller has for example been making a project of infiltrating the DHS with like-minded individuals.
https://www.brookings.edu/research/tracking-turnover-in-the-trump-administration/
and see Scott Sanford's links in #48


52:

Unfortunately, she seems to be squeaky-clean as far as the "Bring back the rack" sections of the Tory MPs, membership and country is concerned. And, as those demographics regard public money as being purely theirs for the looting, her other foibles are ignorable.

I really did not expect to see May becoming a rebel in support of responsible government, which shows how far the window has shifted even in the last year. My prediction is on the basis that I can see no reason for the drift to reverse in the next 6 months or so.

53:

Mylocalbookshop (tm)
Had DLD for me on late Friday . Picked up today. Local bookshops. Keep them. They are awesome.

54:

Don't think PP could get there -she might be an Asian woman ( ticks in boxes Labour haven't done ), BUT the the thing that will stop her is she is repulsive at the electoral level.Every new report is negative. OK Home secretary, but still some humanity would make her better .

Can't see it . Gove, for 6 months then hell the who knows. Total basket case. Sorry rest of UK. Us in some parts tried.

55:

Just received my Amazom dowload of Dead Lies Dreaming. Woke me, its 1am here, but i've got a day full of Zoom meetings, so it will be first thing in the morning to start reading!

56:

Uri Gagarin & EC
Agree.
Two things: ... I blame Labour for having a total incompetent who STILL hasn't learnt anything since 1973 supposedly "in charge" ... thus handing the whole thing, on a plate to the tories.
And, yes, May rebelling ought to be a warning sign for the ultras & closet fascists, but ... they believe they are on a roll ...
It's a world-wide trend ... hopefully brought up short on Wednesday week.
But, with the examles of Erdogan & Putin & Trump & even BoZo the clown & Orban & the Polish women-haters ...
One can see why the reactionaries, authoritarians & fascists belive they are the wave of the future.
Whereas, to quote L M Bujold, they are "Merely sewage flowing downhill"

57:

My expectation of PM Patel is derived by simply asking myself, "what's the worst they could do?" -- then assuming they'll do it. Because the Tories have long since thrown off any remaining vestiges of David Cameron's attempt at detoxifying their brand and they've doubled down on the nasty party politics -- sadism as an expression of contempt for the lower classes (and not consensual sadism in the BDSM/de Sade sense).

Who else ...?

Forget Hancock: health is a poisoned chalice this year. Raab is a horrible smirking chimp so might go the distance but I'm not convinced he's competent at anything much. Gove, despite everything, is at least a vaguely effective minister when he's not haring off after his personal hobby horses. Rishi Sunak might be credible but he's too close to the reality-based community (Treasury tends to put a dampener on the craziest excesses of the "sunlit uplands" crowd). The rest of the cabinet are forgettable. Whoever comes out on top of the dogpile will probably be unexpected by everyone, utterly repulsive, there to take the fall for 2021's failings -- they almost certainly won't be PM when the next election rolls round in May 2024 -- and will ride into 10 Downing Street on the shoulders of baying brexit backbench lunatics.

Really, Nigel Farage would be absolutely perfect except he's not a Tory party member.

58:

A condemnation of DJT ( From the "Atlantic" )
We understated our case. Donald Trump is the worst president this country has seen since Andrew Johnson, or perhaps James Buchanan, or perhaps ever. Trump has brought our country low; he has divided our people; he has pitted race against race; he has corrupted our democracy; he has shown contempt for American ideals; he has made cruelty a sacrament; he has provided comfort to propagators of hate; he has abandoned America’s allies; he has aligned himself with dictators; he has encouraged terrorism and mob violence; he has undermined the agencies and departments of government; he has despoiled the environment; he has opposed free speech; he has lied frenetically and evangelized for conspiracism; he has stolen children from their parents; he has made himself an advocate of a hostile foreign power; and he has failed to protect America from a ravaging virus.

Wow!

Charlie
You are sssuming that the supposed government carries on.
I don't think it could, under the circumstances you describe, I think it would shatter.
Though what would happen then is ... difficult.

59:

Interesting opinion in the Indie After Biden wins, BoZo will cave & claim victory, or words to that effect - after a lot of hot air, of course.

60:

He'll cave and claim victory, sure.

The question, though, can he make it stick with his own back benches?

There was significant entryism by Britain First activists after 2016 -- a party to the right of UKIP, possibly to the right of the BNP (from whose ashes they congealed). The current government's back bench MPs are thus fanatical hard-right idiots of an ilk not seen in Parliament in the past century -- paleoreactionaries with no understanding of history or economics, mixed with disaster capitalists and grifters (like Shapps).

If we had a constitutional system even as botched and badly designed as the US one we'd have at least a modicum of protection from their craziness, just as the Republicans haven't quite managed to steal the machinery of government in the USA despite making a concerted effort to do so. But the Westminster system is wonderfully flexible ... and, as Lord Hailsham put it in the 1970s, it's an elective dictatorship. The dictator is the Prime Minister, who rules at the pleasure of their own party in parliament. Which means the 1922 Committee, in the case of the Tories. Which in practice means he (or she) is perpetually vulnerable to being back-stabbed by those grifters and lunatics.

61:

Charlie
"Britain First" are really nasty pieces of work - pracitally nazi. IIRC the Security Services are watching them as an actual threat, yes?
There are also remaining tories ( never mind those explelled by BoZo, like Ken Clarke ) who don't like the way things are going, including Ms May (!) as noted by EC ...
WHich means a vicious faction-fight, rather than a take-over - I think.

Hint: He doesn't need to make it stick with his own back benches, because Labour & the SNP will back almost any deal, rather than "No Deal"

62:

I am not entirely sure. Despite being a buffoon, he is no idiot, and knows that he has got himself into a cleft stick. He may decide it is better to shaft the country, keep the extremists behind him, and take his chances with the commons. I am also seriously unimpressed with the political nous of the Independent's establishment and rightwards commentators, as well as their prejudices (to use the polite word); O'Grady isn't anything like as bad as Rentoul or Phillips, but I rarely bother with his pieces.

Your #57 and #60 exactly why I said what I did in #45, and why Patel will have a shoe-in if it goes to the membership. As I said a while back, since the 2016 intake, a good third of them are bigots and fascists.

63:

They are very "when not if" about Trump being kicked out imminently, which seems a bit of a dangerous attitude to me given the propensity of such points of political decision to produce horrendous results over the last few years.

As for Bozo waiting to see how the US election turns out, surely this is not news? I've been more or less taking it as read that that's what he's doing for months.

64:

Who are those who call themselves Republicans 'serving' in D.C. these days, who never say nay to rumptubtup, though in private they say they think he's dreadful?

Why, they are Republicans even more disgusting and depraved, cowardly and corrupt, than you even thought. They know it. They admit it. But they really don't care. The benies are are sooooooooooo good and that's what they're in politics for after all, to get as much money and power balliwick as possible -- Status! So journos like the one who wrote this piece keep calling them all their lives to 'speak off the record'. They have no ideology even. It is just about #1. They can't even not admit it.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/10/anonymous-republican-donald-trump.html

[ "The Tortured Self-Justification of a Trump Enabler
How an anonymous Republican squares his love of power with his contempt for the president." ]

65:

Would you like some crappy news? Because I got crappy news.

Excerpt:
As an immunologist within the Lowance Center for Human Immunology at Emory University, I have been investigating the immune response responsible for producing antibodies in COVID-19. Under the direction of Dr. Ignacio Sanz, our group has previously investigated immune responses contributing to autoantibody production in autoimmune disorders like lupus, and more recently in severe cases in COVID-19.

However, while we were able to characterize the response in COVID-19 patients as autoimmunelike, we could not confirm the production of autoantibodies hidden within their antiviral responses.

Now we can.

In a newly released study awaiting peer-review, we describe the alarming finding that in the sickest patients with COVID-19, autoantibody production is common – a finding with large potential impact on both acute patient care and infection recovery.
--- end excerpt ---

https://www.sciencealert.com/covid-19-triggers-an-immune-overaction-in-patients-with-severe-illness

66:

Interesting take on how transfer of power works under the US constitution. I had no idea.

TL;DW

It's not like Westminster where the Queen dissolves parliament and we vote in a new one. The President doesn't stop being President before the vote.

Neither vote, electoral nor college, actually creates the transfer of power. By tradition, and only tradition, the losing candidate's concession speech triggers a bunch of rubber stamps that ends with an inauguration. Without that speech the votes don't count and it comes down to a majority vote from the states' representative delegation, where every state gets one vote. While there are more people in dem states, there are more republican states.

All DT had to do is refuse to admit defeat in the face of a clear defeat (one of the few things he's good at) and sit tight. I don't think he can be forcibly removed, because he's *still President*.

https://youtu.be/WZWRhLW7Y8w

67:

Not sure I believe that Trump can simply sit there. Here's Article 2, section 2, first two sentences, of the US Constitution:

"The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:"

...and then we get into the thorny thicket of the electoral college.

An idiot like me would read that as, once Trump's lost the election, his term of office is over 4 years and one second after he was sworn in, regardless of whether he leaves the Oval Office. His only hope is to not lose the election, and that's what all the shenanigans are about, either helping him win, or making it so unclear that he can claim he didn't lose.

Here's where I expose my petty and vengeful side: I kind of hope IQ.45 loses unequivocally and is stupid enough to remain in the White House. All they have to do then is to lock the doors on anything sensitive, give Biden the Football and whatever else he needs to run the country, all the White House employees leave, including security, they cut the power (in winter) and we see what happens next. Given that El Cheeto is a physical coward, I don't think he'll stay. I also suspect that, wherever he goes, there's going to be a long, cometary trail of process servers and similar agents waiting to do their work as soon as he's no longer president.

68:

Yep, but this isn't about the current 4 years, but the next 4.

What I took from the video was that the people vote. The states then get to choose electors and that can be in line with the vote from the people of the state, but doesn't have to be. The electors go and vote and then the house counts that vote and appoints a president, but like the states who don't have to do what the popular vote said, the house can appoint whoever they want. They vote on it, one vote per state. But because there was only one candidate still in the running they always vote for the winner (this is the house ratifying the winner).

It really sounds like the whole process hangs on the concession. The house can't appoint someone who's not running, and by conceding, the losing candidate is no longer running. The winner is the house's only choice. (and the electoral college's only choice) Hence everything after the election is just a rubber stamp with no choices. If the loser refuses to withdraw from the race, they're still a candidate and the house can appoint them for a term starting that January.

That's how it sounded to me watching the lawyer explain it.

69:

It's worth reading up on Gene Sharp ASAP if you want to see what's already in motion to take down an illegitimate president in 2021. The groundwork's already being laid for a massive general strike if Trump illegitimately clings to power. He might have customs and border patrol and the militias on his side, but I doubt he'll have any of the regular military or the national guards. Or, for that matter, much of the business community or the religious community.

There's a playbook for taking down a tyrant, and it's already circulating widely. I get inundated with emails about it, and I'm not even very active yet.

70:

Broken link broke sign-in. (I was already signed in.)

71:

Gene Sharp is specifically mentioned in the video at 13:40

72:

Ah fixed. People tempted by a Second Amendment Solution (it's a 330 million people country) will need to be strongly and actively discouraged, and made to believe that non-violence will work.
(For non-Americans, we can buy scoped hunting rifles and even sniper rifles legally.)


73:

I am actually surprised that all republican senators survived long enough to vote their handmaid onto the Supreme Court.

PS: My "Is USA a banan-republic?" Bingo-plate is now full.

74:

EC
Your fears are justified.
However, for other reasosns, I've been reminded of the Poplar Rates revolt of (?) 1921 (?) & the Battle of Cable St 1936 ...
I don't think Patel would get away with it.

Gasdive.
Irrelevant - I think. THe "Current" US Pres ceases to be Pres on 20th January & a new one has to be sworn in.
To quote Heteromeles: his term of office is over 4 years and one second after he was sworn in

P H-K
Biden & co now have a serious problem.
WHat to do about the brainwashed religious fascist bigot now appointed to the US Supreme?
Declare her appointment invalid?
Impeach her & the one who lied during appointment proceedings?
Appoint 4 new Justices?
Some combination of the above?

Poland has the same problem, of course.

75:

Update for EC
Regarding the "Indie"
Read this regarding the religious fascists now in the US Supreme ....
SOmething will have to be done to break that grip.

76:

Yeah, but the issue isn't that he can stay as pres and have a single 8 year term, it's that by refusing to concede it opens the possibility that he can be sworn in again in January no matter what the result of the vote is. He just needs enough votes in the house, which he has, and have some of the republican states send two opposing delegations to the electoral college (which has happened in the past) combined with the cooperation of the President of the Senate, (Mike Pence).

Pence just has to open the college votes, then decide that the voting isn't valid and send it to the house for resolution (which has also happened before). The house appoints Trump and he's sworn in again. The popular and electoral votes don't matter. Once it goes to the house its as though the votes never happened.

77:

The fundamental problem is that USAs population has been brain-washed against humanitarianism, compassion and democracy for two and a half generations now, by a propaganda-machine so efficient that it makes USSR, China and North Korea envious.

Doing "something" is a tricky prospect when two out of every five disfavour democracy for "those people", or even in general.

It doesn't get easier, when most of the population is firmly convinced, rightly so, that the state, as such, can do nothing right.

It becomes even more tricky, when the political organization you have to do it with, is headed by a fossilized trifecta of privilege personified.

Even the largest imaginable landslide for "The Sensible Party", will still not hand enough power to the so-called "progressives" to enact meaningful change though established rules and procedures.

Talking about a landslide tacitly presupposes that votes will be counted and given meaning.

Good Luck with that.

Biden may become president on my birthday, but it will not significantly change USAs decent into facism if he does: He cannot change the stripes of the tiger.

78:

It's only a generation and a half in the UK, but it also occurred in previous eras. Even if miracle occurred, and we had a new election in the near future, the same is true for us - not that I am convinced that Starmer would even attempt to stop our descent into fascism, though he might not hasten it the way that Blair did. Though, as OGH says, Scotland has a chance if it breaks away from the UK (Northern Ireland is 'complicated', as usual).

To Greg Tingey (#74): those actions occurred when there was still a working class, and it was mostly socialist (as was Labour). None of that is true today.

79:

Well I have my copy now. Very entertaining so far.

My god, who would have thought that the Lovecraftian Singularity would suck so much for the people caught in it?

80:

gasdive
That scenario is a guarantee for either civil war, or a complete breakdown of governance, which comes to the same thing ....

P H-K
USAs population has been brain-washed against humanitarianism, compassion and democracy for two and a half generations now
Yes - the Boss always asks ... "Why do the Americans hate each other so much?" - usually referring to theor total lack of a proper helath care system, but it applies generally.
tacitly presupposes that votes will be counted and given meaning. Scary, isn't it?

EC
Oh do GROW UP
Most people want decent Social Democracy, they don't want fascism, nor do they want "socialism" - as both mean (differnt forms of) theft & oppression.

P.S. "Two & a half generations" = what? 50 years @ 20 years per generation?
So since 1970, only just after LBJ moved things forward for brown people, really as long as that ....??

81:

P.S. "Two & a half generations" = what?

Traditionally a generation has been accounted as the median age of the mother at first birth. In USA that number is just shy of 30, so: 2020 - 2.5 * 30 = 1945

82:

P H-K
Well, int hat case it's nonsesne, as the US was moving in a "liberal" dorection 1945 - 75 or evne later.
In spite of the misadvebtures of Ronnie Ray-Gun, it was only with the first Bush that things seriously started to go downhill, but it has accelerated, frighteningly, since then.

OTOH
IF DJT simply refuses to budge & attempts/is "sworn in" as POTUS ... none of the states that voted Dem will recognise him & the US Army/Marines won't want to get involved ... then what?
I don't think it would fly, though the attempt would cause awful trouble, quite a few dead & lastin bitterness.

83:

In the UK, it's traditionally 25 years, but people have pointed out that first births are a lot later now than they were a century or two back. In normal usage, however, it's a vague term.

84:


For those who think the adumbrations for the future course of the SCOTUS have not been made sufficiently obvious, there's this:

https://dailycaller.com/2020/10/26/clarence-thomas-amy-coney-barrett-supreme-court-swear-in/

(The Daily Caller is very right-wing.)

85:

"Well, int hat case it's nonsesne [...]"

I'm not talking about Republicans here, I'm talking about the US population at large.

The legendization of USA, that USA by definition and/or God Given Privilege not only the best country in the world, but the the best that possibly can be, starts with USA being the supreme victor of WWII.

Ever since, every child in USA has been indoctrinated from all sides, school, parents, newspapers, television that they live in "Gods Own Country" etc.

Therefore even suggesting that other countries might have it better, or God Forbid, political solutions from other countries could possibly apply to USAs problems is treated as a heresy.

That works pretty well until the start of the 1970'ies, where a sequence of reality-checks reveal the actual impotence: Vietnam and OPEC being the main events.

That starts the back-lash, where not even something as trivial as introducing metric measurements *like the rest of the world* fails because the indoctrinated populace finds it "unamerican".

*That* is the fertile soil Reagan and his ilk has tiled ever since.

86:

That may be true now, but for most of the 20th century, a generation was counted as 20 years.

87:

Yes, indeed. And what amazes me is that something similar has also succeeded in the UK.

Something we could have added to the delusions the sheeple have been brainwashed into (in both the UK and USA) is what capitalism/monetarism and socialism actually are, the former is True Freedom, and any form of the latter is evil. In the UK, the sheeple somehow manage to square that with favouring the NHS and BBC, though our rulers are more consistent.

88:

F DJT simply refuses to budge & attempts/is "sworn in" as POTUS ... none of the states that voted Dem will recognise him & the US Army/Marines won't want to get involved ... then what?
I don't think it would fly, though the attempt would cause awful trouble, quite a few dead & lastin bitterness.

I'll try a fourth time: go read Gene Sharp's work. It's a free source.

"Oh, I've heard of him...." So the frack what? Sharp's nickname was "The Machiavelli of nonviolence." What I'm trying to drum through the heads of you and several others here is that having heard of Machiavelli is irrelevant. You need to read The Prince. Or in this case, Sharp and his students.

And yes, it is happening, I'm not the Seagull and I'm not trying to bullshit you.

What I wish is that the citizens of the Great Empire the Sun Never Set On would get a clue and do the same damned thing about your own worthless parliament, instead of wailing and bellyaching about how your "elected dictator" can't be stopped from ruining the country. Get over it and do something about him. Gandhi kicked your ass with older versions of the Sharp's tactics, and you refuse to learn them, but revere the SBS for taking out a group of potential pirates.

89:

Unfortunately, as with the USA, the problem is that the UK sheeple are determined to hang on to their delusions and broken political system. From 50 years ago until about 5 years ago, I was regarded as a swivel-eyed lunatic for saying that it wasn't the fault of particular politicians or parties, but the system as a whole, and things WERE going to degenerate the way they have unless we changed tack. Nowadays, an increasing number of people are beginning to realise that, but it's still a small minority, and there is no acceptance that we need a revolution, let alone agreement on its form.

Before you can apply such tactics, you need to have at least a strategic direction; and, before you have that, you need the acceptance that major and radical change (i.e. a revolution) is needed. We haven't even got to that stage and nor, I believe, has the USA :-(

90:

THIS! You guys should have been in the streets a couple years ago, and having started never stopped until the Brexit bullshit was done.

91:

So just finished RACING through DlD
Was a bit worried for about first 1/3 but then it took off with various characters motives/methods/powers/aims slowing coming into view Liked the tiebacks to earlier books (Hi Dr Schiller!) and a banging cliffhanger?? end.

92:

DJT is obviously going all-out on a wrecking spree.
He's just said that "It would be very nice if all the votes were counted on the 3rd ( Which is impossible ) & clearly going to try to cut short any long counts.
Presumably followed by appeals to his pre-packed Supreme Ct ...
Followed ( I assume ) by trashing the machinery of government even more than he has already indicated.
It's going to be MESSY.

Heteromeles
I looked at that G Sharp site ... it was so badly indexed at the top level, I couldn't even work out where to bloody START.
OK clever-clogs - you have an election in 6 days time.
Here, can hang on until Dec 2024 - how do we oust him, non-violently & get a General Election? ( Which would undoubtedly - now - return Starmer as PM )

EC
Disagree - but politely.
However, we do have one problem in common with the USA.
BoZo is not interested in followiung "the rules" if he can get away with smashing them ..
But I do note that, even with the current crop of tory MP's some are getting very unhappy with the way things are going.

[ Oh & remember that I voted both Remain & Social Democrat - OK? ]

93:

THIS IS NOT A SPOILER:

Yes, the tieback to Schiller is delibate.

And Eve is going to finally be in a position to do something about him when she learns that the New Management offed him (via Mhari) a couple of years ago.

What does she do next? Yes, that's a question for a future book ...

94:

US election
From the NYT - open in incognito window, OK?
How the counting is likely to go, state by state - complicated.

95:

That animated first page reminds me of a period where I wrote device drivers for pen plotters. It looked a lot cooler in 1981 than it does now.

96:

Well, I guess with the new Supreme Court Democrats can say 'good bye' to the mail-in votes. Wasn't there a decision just a couple of days ago that saved postal voting in one state by the tiniest thread (4 vs 4, so the hung court didn't overturn the decision of the earlier court)? Now it's going to be at least 5 vs 4, even if one of the Conservative judges clings to a last shred of simple human decency. To expect two of them to do so would be too much, I fear.

Anyway, as this is the blog of a science fiction writer with a penchant for near-future dystopias, let me suggest how in a dystopian fiction the Democrats could solve this problem. What if the conservative judges meet for a nice victory dinner and somehow a food-poisoning happens? That could free a lot of seats all at once. The new President could look forward to making a lot of new appointments, and in the meantime there'd be a solid liberal majority in the court, so not even stalling the appointments would do the fictional conservative Senate majority leader any good…

97:

MSB
Which is why, I suspect ... that wherever possible, people are standing in lines for ridiculously long times to vote early, but in-person.
The whole spectacle shows that the USA is desperately primitive & not, actually a democracy ...

98:

Charlie Stross @ 60: If we had a constitutional system even as botched and badly designed as the US one we'd have at least a modicum of protection from their craziness, just as the Republicans haven't quite managed to steal the machinery of government in the USA despite making a concerted effort to do so.

We'll find out a week from Wednesday. It looks like the Supreme Court is all in on stopping the vote count at 12 am if Trumpolini has a lead at that time.

99:

“Appoint 4 new Justices?”
Why think small? Once you’re passing a bill to change the size of the Supreme Court it’s just as easy to add 20.

100:

I have some hope that the USSC will show a backbone and defend their democracy. I know Roberts occasionally shows some spine at least.

I have zero doubt that the Republicans will try any and everything they can to hold onto power. The mask is off, they are now the party of power or die, the party of (as Graydon puts it) we always win no matter what.

If they lose they will likely lose big because they have shown their hand. There is no more pretending they have any respect for democratic norms, or anything else. That means it will be up to Biden and the Dems to crack down hard on illegal activity, in every way they can and from every angle.

The simpletons who fall in lockstep behind any moron with a uniform will just as easily turn on the Republicans if there is an endless string of them being perp walked into court for their many grifts.

Sadly I'm not sure Biden is the man to clean house, nor that the Democratic Party is capable of such business.

101:

Sadly I'm not sure Biden is the man to clean house, nor that the Democratic Party is capable of such business.

This is my exact worry.

102:

But former prosecutor Kamala Harris would be perfect.

103:

But former prosecutor Kamala Harris would be perfect.

Bingo. I'd add that El Cheeto and Renfield will almost certainly give themselves blanket pardons from everything they've done wrong at the federal level. Biden will have to overturn that (he's already said he's not pardoning El Cheeto). Meanwhile, New York, California, and a number of other states are going to go after everyone they can for state-level issues. These are not covered under federal pardons. But yes, I'm quite sure there are already teams of lawyers getting their briefs together to do as much of a shock and awe as they can on January 20.

Meanwhile, Biden's job will be to get the Obama team back together-ish and to start dealing with the pandemic and rebuilding the economy, which I'm pretty sure El Cheeto is going to try to loot on the way out.

In the shorter term, the proven tactic for removing tyrants are nationwide general strikes. These are being organized by multiple organizations as I speak (I'm already signed up with one). Unless Trump gives up to go play golf in Dubai or something, I expect the US to be a real mess over the Christmas season. I suspect the strikes will work, too, but it's not going to be pleasant for most people.

And, incidentally, a number of the people I'm organizing with are middle aged or older, as well as some college kids. This isn't just the blacks and the kids on this one. A lot of people are getting ready to go.

And that's where the UK anti-Brexit majority has done a face plant into the open manhole: y'all have had years to get organized, shut down London, and get parliament to do their actual job. Instead...yeah. Well done.

104:

If a general strike happens, it will be 72 point type on the front pages of the NYT and the WaPo. It's never happened, so far as I know. And even if it partly works, and shuts down a *lot*... heh, heh, heh. If it shuts down the DC Metro, and the buses, DC will stop, cold. The Beltway will be an unrecoverable parking lot.

And that's assuming that Net connections don't go down.

105:

Just finished DLD too (in US). Fun. Will wait for others.

(Charlie: When were the last rewrites of DLD, out of curiosity?)


106:
"Basic monthly rate" -- what travesty of a phone is this?

An American phone. (Or possibly a Canadian or Japanese one.) Our prices for communications services are horrifically expensive. There are cheaper MVNO providers if you dial down the minutes and megabytes (not gigabytes), but a British ₤15/mo prepaid plan costs $50/mo or more in the US.

We get the same high prices for wired service as well. A standard €30/mo fiber Internet connection in France goes for double or more here if it's available at all. Most people's only choice is the local cable monopoly, which charges more like $100/mo for a connection with at best 40 Mb/s upload and probably closer to 10... and a data cap which they'll charge you $50/mo more to avoid.

107:

₤ should of course be £, because I still have the computer prescription in a box and need to start using those eyeglasses.

Also, no DLD in the local bookshop, so they're ordering it. I picked up a copy of Ninth House to provide eldritch horror for the next few days until it arrives.

108:

"But former prosecutor Kamala Harris would be perfect."

If Biden is serious about reforms, then after the inarguration and the swearing in ceremonies are over, he'll turn to Kamala and say "Your got the rudder, I'll deal with the foreign dignitaries funerals."

109:

JBS
Is Trumpolini aiming to cut off counting at midnight on the 4th? Or the 3rd?
The latter, I would have though was impossible.
WOuldn't put it pas the arsehole to try for the 4th, though.

At which point the USA is an open dictatorship.

Heteromeles
We'll see how succesful strikes are in Belarus & Poland, shall we?
The Cotholic/fascist takeover in Poland is especially painful - they didn't escape the clutches of one murderous "church" simply to fall prey to another, surely?

110:

"Is Trumpolini aiming to cut off counting at midnight on the 4th? Or the 3rd?"

He cant.

The entire voting fiasco is firmly a states matter and he has no say.

111:
What if the conservative judges meet for a nice victory dinner and somehow a food-poisoning happens?

I realize that the scenario you are describing is fictional. And things would be better (IMO) if the SCOTUS actually reflected the will of the people, rather than the will of the oligarchs.

However, when we get into the territory of "for things to be better, the following people must be [significant pause] removed"[1] your country's democracy and liberty are quickly disappearing in the rear-view mirror.

[1] The first sketch appearing in this clip from That Mitchell and Webb Look is apropos. It may or may not provide some light refreshment.

112:

P H-K
I suggest you read what JBS said @ 98:
It looks like the Supreme Court is all in on stopping the vote count at 12 am if Trumpolini has a lead at that time.
States or no states, though counting will be in progress at midnight 3rd/4th - they COULD try for midnight 4th/5th, though.
Or not?

113:

Can we have a DLD discussion thread?

I stumbled over something during Imp's meeting with Eve (Kindle says it's at 29%): "Then he worked out the exact sequence of actions... and his mouth dried up."

I've read over the sequence repeatedly and am not seeing the concealed blade. Am I just being too impatient? It will become obvious later?

114:

"I suggest you read what JBS said"

I suggest both of you read what SCOTUS said, instead of relying on third or fourth order interpretations of it.

115:

If Trump and has allies on the SC try to ride roughshod all over the constitution in that fashion, then even the pretence of law in the USA will have broken down. See Article II Section 1. Note that I am referring to post hoc decisions to overturn the voting method chosen by each state's legislature, not whether it overturns any extensions or variations added by the states' executives.

116:

In particular (I assume you've read it; this is for Greg and others), a main worry is about a long footnote (in this linked document) written by newish US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. (UK blog so I won't offer my real opinion of his character. Also, I am very much not a lawyer ("IANAL"), FWIW.)
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE, ETAL. v. WISCONSIN STATE LEGISLATURE, ETAL. [October 26, 2020]
Here's the relevant part of Kavanaugh's footnote:
The dissent here questions why the federal courts would have a role in that kind of case. Post, at 11, n. 6 (opinion of KAGAN,J.). The answer to that question, as the unanimous Court stated in Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Bd., and as Chief Justice Rehnquist persuasively explained in Bush v. Gore, is that the text of the Constitution requires federal courts to ensure that state courts do not rewrite state election laws.

Basically, it's an old (2000) argument that the US Supreme Court has the duty to interpret State legislation on election matters, that was signed on by still-Justice Thomas. This, if embraced by the majority of the USSC, would be a large jurisdictional power grab by the Supreme Court. Since the power of the USSC isn't well specified in the US Constitution and is more a norm rooted in a power grab in the early 19th century, Marbury v Madison, a constitutional crisis about this is feared (among other possible crises). Consequences could e.g. include the other two branches of government just ignoring the high court on certain matters (that would be drastic), etc.

117:

Copy edits to DLD happened in December/January; page proofs in March/April. The MS itself was finished in July 2019 and I holed up for a day with my editor (Teresa Nielsen Hayden) to go over the edits in mid-September 2019. So, about a year for production.

"In His House" started as a NaNoWriMo project in November 2019, then got put on the shelf in December (because: copy edits to DLD, and a last rewrite of "Invisible Sun"). The first draft was finished in June: it's awaiting a final polish/rewrite then edits and might come out in late 2022.

118:

My copy of Dead Lies Dreaming popped into my Kindle yesterday and I finished it the same day . I really enjoyed it and look forward to seeing more with Imp and his found and actual families .

When I pre ordered it was thinking it was to be a Laundry novel but am more than happy with a Laundry adjacent novel "Pantry " ? :)

Poor Santa


Must go back to Hamleys when normality returns . Last time I was nearby was for Zombie Walk and one of the puppet demonstrators joined in dancing along to Michael Jackson 's Thriller

Also fun to see a heist novel , which I guess is one of those genres which evolving technology has made more difficult to plot unless you do something retro like the Dortmunder novels

On a related note I rewatched Hustle recently and the lack of mobile phones is very noticeable and I wonder if all those cons would still work in 21st century , I imagine some wouldn't but variations or new ones will have sprung up .


In one of those random coincidences this was the second book i looked at this week to feature Kensington Palace Gardens . The other one was about the London Cage . A POW camp / interrogation centre with some very interesting allegations about conduct of those running it . Which took over at least 3 properties on Kensington Palace Gardens

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Cage

119:

I've read over the sequence repeatedly and am not seeing the concealed blade. Am I just being too impatient? It will become obvious later?

Make the connections: a coffee mug has about a third the volume of a human cranium, boiling the water requires about as much energy as heating a human brain by 20-30 degrees celsius, moving/removing the coffee grounds implies high precision telikinesis.

Eve just made the point that she has the ability to kill silently with her mind: she also made the point that Rupert's too dismissive of her to have noticed this. And yes, this becomes relevant later (but not applied to Imp: he's family).

121:

First: "that the US Supreme Court has the duty to interpret State legislation on election matters," is not the same as "is that the text of the Constitution requires federal courts to ensure that state courts do not rewrite state election laws."

Second: The problem with elections is that the winner usually gets to approve the election result. Therefore *whatever* the rules are, they should be followed to the letter, and not "interpreted" in a fever-rush days before the election, no matter how well-intentioned.

Third: The fundamental problem is not that SCOTUS has or hasn't an opinion, but that USA's elections are so dysfunctional that courts get involved in the first place.

122:

Yes. And, however you interpret its powers, none of that is about by when the results must be counted, but by when they must be cast (as in the constitution). Overriding state laws on the procedure in flat contradiction to the constitution, would be more than merely a row.

There is, of course, precedent for presidents ignoring the supreme court - though nothing like as many as for UK prime ministers doing the equivalent.

123:

Moderation note

No more US politics (be it election stuff or the supreme court) on this thread, please.

124:

Now I'm in a real bind:
1. I have a Nook.
2. Nook steals the books - if I buy from B&N, it stores them in a place I cannot find, when I plug into my computer via USB.
3. I'm not going to buy an ebook I can't back up on my computer....
4. Yes, I run Linux, so a) ADE doesn't work on the current version (several years ago, it did, but Adobe *HATES* Linux), and b) I can't get ADE to run under wine...

125:

I run old versions of ADE and the Kindle app under Wine, but they work only on Debian 8 (jessie); my current version is Debian 10 (buster), so I have to boot into jessie to decode. Internet Explorer works under buster, but ADE and Kindle can't find the network. Enquiries have found no useful information, and I have so far failed to get anything helpful out of Wine's tracing.

126:

Google Play Store sells epub format ebooks, and if the publisher sets them to DRM Free (as Tor.com Publishing do) they're available for download as DRM free epub files which you can sideload onto your Nook.

127:

Can I d/l to my linux box, given I don't have a mobile, just a cell phone?

128:

Administrative note

See comment 123.

I am now unpublishing comments about the US presidential election, US constitution, and US Supreme Court.

This is a thread for discussion of upcoming events relating to the launch of DEAD LIES DREAMING. We are nowhere near comment 300 yet!

129:

So: Read it. And it occurs to me this particular book would translate pretty well to the small screen. - none of the super powers are super vfx heavy, colorful but manageable cast and while the universe has a lot of background, the opening scenes would establish "Magic + dystopia" pretty smoothly.

130:

Charlie Stross @ 123: Moderation note

No more US politics (be it election stuff or the supreme court) on this thread, please.

I hope the replies I made before I got this far won't offend.

131:

Rumor has it that said "pirates" were refused entry to both Dutch and French ports of refuge before the SBS got involved. Such rumors even suggest they had no intention of seizing said vessel as they passed two countries' worth of ports without incident. Given on the same say some innocent children died crossing the channel and France is going through, let us say, one of its more 'Algerian' phases, we'll let you work out who was playing politics and who needed a Military Operation (success guaranteed).

SBS needed a bit of practice, Ms Patel needed some cover, Macron doesn't need more 'foreign' based drama and the Dutch are spitting acid over Soy Sauce.

Work it out.

@123

This is a thread for discussion of upcoming events relating to the launch of DEAD LIES DREAMING. We are nowhere near comment 300 yet!

Congrats. If anything, you've proven that you don't need to be ex .mil spartan type to have mental fortitude and courage in a world of shit.

Something you might be interested in (you don't do Film / TV): Both "The Boys" (comic book adaption) and "Lovecraft Country" (original? But good) have been hits this season.

Market is right for something... something good from the UK to get made (and we're not talking about the dire depths of depressive dissonance that the resurrected corpse of Spitting Image has provided).

No, really. Americans need a bit of ... nostalgia that's not soaked in their own politics these days. Might be worth a punt.

~

Oh.

And Seagull is a pain in the behind. But she's frequently correct, just temporally challenged.

132:

Mein Host
Yes of course we must keep this channel care but we do need to probably create a channel starting next Sunday for the US election

133:

Speaking as an American, Charlie's under precisely no obligation to allow us to Yank Off on his blog. If he wants to, that's his affair, not ours. We're on his private property.

That said, I think the next two months in the US will be highly informative about what could potentially be done in the UK to deal with the Brexiteers. Especially if it works. That's worth paying attention to for sheer self-preservation.

Also, it's worth remembering that the UK got it's crown jewel swiped by a certain M. Gandhi using reprehensible, nonviolent tactics, and got BloJo'ed apparently by the application of right-wing nonviolent tactics that were 50 years more advanced than Gandhi's system. Silly people would say this is more than coincidence and ask why the UK is doing so little to copy their enemies' tactics, let alone use the famed British pluck and inventiveness to innovate on them. Hardened realists would say that two incidents of this sort so far apart is scarcely even a trend.

But heck, let's talk about magic dystopias, and why street protestors and corporate goons aren't printing banners with creepy fractals on them in the Laundryverse. In our world, those would have gone viral within two months.


134:

Fractal posters? I like it - either UK or US white wingers won't get it, and their minds will circle down the hole.

Unless we do those ... what were they called, you had to think a certain way for all the dots to make a 3D picture?

Um. Er. What would one of those do in the Laundrverse?

135:

Look.

Go find Mr Senior Lawyer UK private grey haired man with like a Minor Aristocratic title who has uncovered £12 billion / £300+ mil spent on PPE that could only be used in 36 years when the shelf life is 3 years. He's famous. (And Twitter search is not working for it... hints of what's to come, noticed that BDS / Left stuff got purged ooooh, a day ago now? Of course you didn't.)

Go search: Great Reset (both the actual version, and the Conspiracy versions). No idea, Seagull actually pointed you to the seed PDF (and frankly: don't trust her, she probably was part of making it).

When do you, as a government, order 36 years of normalized supply that runs out in three years if you're using it at normal rates.... you're planning for something a little more bloody. You know, WW1 stuff.

~

FFS. Just search "Great Reset". I mean, hate to do it to Host, but "Dead Lies Dreaming" is about to become outdated in about... 9 days, if you're lucky.


136:

Americans need a bit of ... nostalgia that's not soaked in their own politics these days. Might be worth a punt.
True. Reading DLD was a respite, and I'm still thinking about the characters, and about the superpowers of those who have them.
(Also I'm still thinking about your nym; read up a brief bit on extinction bursts.)

137:

Finished DLD, liked it, would read more of this. The tie back to TAC was very welcome for framing time and continuity. Did you say vol 2 is already working its way through publishing cycle?

138:

Unless we do those ... what were they called, you had to think a certain way for all the dots to make a 3D picture? Um. Er. What would one of those do in the Laundrverse?

Probably cause a sudden craze for monocles or fashionable eye patches so that you don't look at them with binocular vision and get your soul infected.

I'm just saddened (but not surprised) that there's not a sudden pandemic of gorgonism. That was one of the naturally occurring problems before CNG.

139:

It might be autostereogram.

140:

the UK got it's crown jewel swiped by a certain M. Gandhi using reprehensible, nonviolent tactics

True, but it appears that non-violent protests are succeeding half as often as they did a generation ago.

https://www.journalofdemocracy.org/articles/the-future-of-nonviolent-resistance-2/
https://sojo.net/magazine/april-2020/why-today-s-protests-are-easier-start-and-less-successful

Of course, the success rate for violent protests fell even more.

And rather more disturbingly, don't forget Harry Turtledove's alternate history take on Gandhi's tactics after the Nazi's took India, in "The Last Article".

141:

"Make the connections: a coffee mug has about a third the volume of a human cranium..."

It is, of course, an easier connection to make if you are already acquainted with a nuclear pigeon who is equally accustomed to emitting a beam of fast neutrons either to reheat someone's cold mug of tea, or to explosively flash-boil the body fluids of a hawk; the principle is just the same. I somehow doubt Charlie has had the pleasure, but bits like that are one of the reasons I particularly appreciate his writing.

142:

Just downloaded my copy now.

Can I just say that the opening line is one of Charlie’s best!

143:

Yes, if you have a Google account and give it some money (either via a credit card or by buying a Google gift card -- e.g. from Paypal).

144:

Not quite yet, but a first draft of "In His House" is waiting for the green light and my agent is on the case.

The next publication will be Escape From Puroland, a novella (about Bob!), coming July 31st 2021. "In His House" is unlikely to be published before 2022. And I'm busy planning "Bones and Nightmares", book 3 in the trilogy.

145:

Administrative note

There will be a chew-toy thread for the impending November 3rd apocalypse in an hour or so. Then I'm going to move on.

146:

When do you, as a government, order 36 years of normalized supply that runs out in three years if you're using it at normal rates.... you're planning for something a little more bloody. You know, WW1 stuff.

Alternatively: you're corrupt grifters looking for an excuse to line your crony's pockets in a manner you can disclaim as "civil service incompetence" when it comes to light.

No need for a grand genocidal conspiracy when a bit of grift will explain things. And the current parliament is packed with grifters, from the PM down.

147:

You can discuss American politics here: Countdown to Crazy.

(If you're wondering why I'm harshing on the usual free-floating discussion right now, The Atlantic explains how The World Is Trapped in America’s Culture War and it's really irritating to us.)

148:

I know it's not exactly a common occurrence, but next time if you can arrange for your book not to be released right before an election, that might be a good idea - Trump/Biden are sucking all the air from the room. (You may already have noticed this, but I thought I should point it out just in case you haven't.)

149:

Charlie
NOTE to readers ...
Open any "Atlantic" artcle in an incognito window, to avoid using up a meage "allowance" !

And @ 146
Not only greedy ( grifters" ) but stupid with it.
I am awaiting the collapse of TfL because of the amazingly stupid & petty palyground fight beteen areshole Khan & cheating BoZo

150:

I'm getting slow in my old age. Once upon a time, I used to give fits to DMs running AD&D campaigns using "weak," "low-level" spells in ways they didn't expect.

151:

What's wrong with DLD: too much drug use.

152:

I know it's not exactly a common occurrence, but next time if you can arrange for your book not to be released right before an election, that might be a good idea - Trump/Biden are sucking all the air from the room. (You may already have noticed this, but I thought I should point it out just in case you haven't.)

I was thinking precisely the same thing. I mean, yeah, good luck with scheduling and all, but seriously? That book aimed at the fall of 2022 better either be topical or analgesic.

And (see next thread) solarpunk is looking like a better option, plus or minus geoengineering. Even the Koch Bros (or their liches) are paying lip service to it.

154:

Would that be like the rogue planet of the bodiless minds, in Skylark of Space? Or was that in Skylark Two?

155:

There was an expedition in my world, working on an apocalypse, where the folks who couldn't fly, and didn't have a magical item or a flying carpet, were brought along by magic users *on* the flying carpets casting Tensor's floating disk behind the carpet....

156:

I've had great luck casting "Locate Object" from horseback or while flying.

157:

"That's no moon"...

Regarding messing with DMs... I was in a D&D game at a con where the characters were premade, and I ended up playing the party magic-user. I was able to beseige a castle single-handedly with two spells and one magic-item (and the assistance of a distracting army).

Passwall + fireball + magic carpet = toasted defenders.

158:

*Points to UK politics over the last 24 hrs*

Now. We're remarkably proud of various elements 'in the know' pulling together and roasting the fuck out of these absolute fucking dinosaurs pulling this shit. All across the range, baby. Was supposed to be a "killing blow", but we do CIA blow-back, it's our specialty.

Magic Grandpas always have to retire, you have to look at the larger picture.

Spiteful, childish, ghoulish, wanton (that's not always bad) absolute muppets, the ones attempting to pull this off. And they "succeeded".


Cost them, oooh, roughly $20 mil. Oh. And. A bit more, but *no spoilers*.


And they get nothing.


Y'all still got Soul, they don't. Call it... a front-running setup gift where the kids are funnier and nimbler than the fucking dinosaurs running that shit and instead of snapping the bonds to the other side, instead a thousand flowers blossom.

Big Badda Boom.

I mean: this was always the outcome, they just don't know what they did yet.


p.s.

This stuff you just saw? "The UK is a civilized Nation State". Nooooo. You acting like a tin-pot realm, utter ruins.

Dow -3.25% as well. Oh, and RIP D.G. top bloke.

Since various nice people have been pulling weight all day, here's one for the Wolves:

Do a grep about that Indian charity / WJF cockroach bloke and look up that GS 'sociology' professor if you want a dark trip into where the BJP and 'charities' funding goes... well. Children are cheap on the subcontinent, it's amazing Western Men would directly spend money to visit and help them out.

That's if you want to play hard-ball.


In a sane world, any Australian entering the Philippines or South Asia would be instantly killed, that's all we're saying.

~

But you don't live in a sane world. Host's books are light entertainment, remember?

159:

Note: that was satire, born out of Host explaining to USasians what "Nonce" meant.[1]

MF has gone full blown reactionary btw; full up, meep-meep, reactionary.

~

Anyhow: if that shocked you, M. Bay (famous for Transformers, any USA MIL film where you need to blow up shit and do 1000000 jump cuts a minute) has released a film:

It's called Covid-23.

Yes folks: mark it off on your card. During any pandemic / crisis (zombies etc), a Hollywood hack is going to release film directly based on it but only a bit worse. I mean, if you were really talentless and crass, you'd look up "Canary" in your thesaurus and name it...

"Songbird"

https://variety.com/2020/film/news/michael-bay-kj-apa-songbird-sells-foreign-theatrical-rights-1234819220/


That's for Host: No, you cannot beat reality, since the schlock sellers are... going to monetize it. During the pandemic.


We had it on our card for /r/latestagecapitalism, not sure your readers did.


[1] But also actually a bone to *actual* wolves. The [redacted] kind. Not sure BJP security details are that skilled these days, might not want to travel too much with Covid19 around. 100% checked out though, whole lotta FUN.

160:

[ Comment deleted and commenter banned because RED CARD: implied call for doxxing and clear threat of violence. Yes, I know the Seagull can be highly irritating at times, but this reaction goes beyond excessive and well into threatening. ]

161:

grs 1961
Sorry, but "The Seagull" is quite mad & this is her (?) sanatorium outlet.
She needs help, very badly ... it's simpler, if at all possible, to skip over.
There is a problem, though.
Every so often - about 0.5% of the time, there is a nugget of actual information in there.

162:

Right, and now I think of "find object" cast on a fireball == "cruise missile".

163:

Dear Charlie,

A big thank you for your latest book -- very enjoyable.

I'm not sure _why_ I enjoyed it so much (and I certainly couldn't/shouldn't comment when there is a potential spoiler in the offing).

164:

I'm not going to allow spoilers here yet, but maybe I'll post a new chat thread on November 3rd so you can avoid thinking about the Doom that came to D.C. for a bit.

165:

When did decorating for Halloween become a thing?

I mean it's always been a pumpkin carved into a Jack-o-Lantern with a candle inside, but when did it morph into the "Christmas Lights" scene from National Lampoon's Halloween Vacation?

166:

Heteromeles @ 133: Also, it's worth remembering that the UK got it's crown jewel swiped by a certain M. Gandhi using reprehensible, nonviolent tactics, ...

Kind of a shame that spirit of non-violence didn't survive in India/Pakistan any longer than did Gandhi himself.

167:

Got it from the library, read it last night, will get for personal collection when finances permit.

It was a relief to escape to a universe that actually made sense.

168:
Passwall + fireball + magic carpet = toasted defenders.

With a 13th level magic user, ring of flying + cloak of blending + potion of haste and a fully charged Staff of Magic Missle is basically like a stealth helicopter gunship.

169:

"a front-running setup gift where the kids are funnier and nimbler than the fucking dinosaurs running that shit and instead of snapping the bonds to the other side, instead a thousand flowers blossom"
Lots of observers, carefully observing the self-flushing of entire networks of game. (In one parsing/mapping of that, where I've been having a little fun for the last ~year.)

Covid-23
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has been keeping people who care about each other from being physically proximate. NY State brought it under sort-of control (waiting for a vaccine) without a full lockdown, FWIW, but informal F2F interactions are/were way down.

Anyway, just saying hi. Will go to other thread.

170:

With a 13th level magic user, ring of flying + cloak of blending + potion of haste and a fully charged Staff of Magic Missle is basically like a stealth helicopter gunship.

In the fantasy-cyberpunk roleplaying game Shadowrun, some states use invisible, flying, bullet-barriered mage troops casting fireballs. Tir Tairngire (an... elf-run state in what was mostly Oregon) had a lot of success with them against California. It isn't easy to pull off as magic-users are not that common in that universe, but quite effective.

171:

Spoiler thread would be awesome.

The Queensland state election was today, the upside is we're almost certainly getting +1 Greens member taking the total to 2 (out of 93). Labor almost certainly retains government, fortunately. A big swing to the government amounts to an electoral vindication of its strong public-health approach to the pandemic. The local tories have fought this, campaigning on "open the borders", "drop the restrictions" along with an inevitably racist "law and order" youth curfew try-on. Oh and an out-of-the-blue multi-million dollar direct marketing campaign by a mining billionaire promulgating obvious and transparent lies about Labor, and I suppose that stuff is a thing now.

This is the end of Vote-tober for the antipodes, the US election next week is just a sort of "bonus". Not looking too closely at the awfulness on the day is indicated, and something unrelated would be champion, cheers.

I really liked DLD, I'm looking forward to it developing as an arc. I'm also intrigued by the implication there can be multiple arcs in Laundryverse. There were how many in Discworld, 5 counting the YA thread? I guess 6 if you count Rincewind as his own arc, separate to UU. TBH I was slightly worried DLD would start a YA-flavoured arc... as it happens, it's just Y-er, in contrast to the X-ers we've been following up to now (well mostly).

172:

I'm going to leave a spoiler thread until the book has been out for at least 7 days. Okay?

There are already story arcs in the Laundryverse.

There's Bob/Mo, which has at least one novella (comes out next July 31st!) and one novel to go.

There are other first-person protags: there might well be another book about Alex, I'm not sure yet. One possibility is the Senior Auditor's story.

DLD is a clearly distinct story, though, insofar as the Laundry might as well not exist until 80% of the way into book two (if that element of the first draft survives).

173:

If you ever wanted to do a John Le Carre, the Senior Auditor's book would be the place to do it. (I just reread Honourable Schoolboy and it's such a lovely story about cascading failures.)

I think you're several books past worrying that someone will claim you're imitating Declare by Powers, (which frankly didn't have the depth of a good Le Carre novel and failed on a couple of important levels.)

174:

More on the Senior Auditor (and Auditors in general) would be interesting. I thought I understood what they were until the Rhesus Chart, when there was clearly more to them than had met my eye, and that was confirmed in the Delirium Brief. Yes, that is an aspect where I would expect a borderline Aspergers person (Bob) to miss and misinterpret important details - I would!

175:

What I meant to say was: a spoiler thread on or after 3 November would be awesome. I often forget how easily this sort of commentary comes across as complaining, which is the furtherest from my intent.

I'm quite intrigued by the possibility of reading Dr Armstrong's story, I imagine his skin isn't a great place to inhabit in the course of events during and after TDB: interesting and exciting in all the wrong ways. But it's your world, I'm sure people will enjoy whatever you do write. Do you think you'll still be happy writing in this universe years into the future (assuming that we all will have years into the future, no small assumption), even with the old Laundry arc tapering off and the new story becoming the main one? I guess you might have reason to start another, though you might want a different universe by then...

There's also that shift in gears from strict first person narrative to viewpoint character third person, which seems to be the thing people are most comfortable with, writing or reading. The way that Heart of Darkness is mostly Marlow telling his story, but the multiple layers make workarounds - similarly the dodge about the work diary enables a bit of general viewpoint character writing given the conceit that the diarist is the author. Anyhow it makes perfect sense not sticking with limited first person now, opens it up. I used to sort of think of viewpoint character writing as an artefact of movies and tv, since it most closely resembles the flow of information in those. But that's not a fair call, even if it's less common in English around the start of the 20th century, it wasn't new by any means. And that's probably enough of this stream-of-consciousness rambling.

176:

Nope, was thinking more in terms of "Darkness at Noon" by Alfred Koestler.

177:

> One possibility is the Senior Auditor's story

Now THAT's something I'd love to read.

(Not that I don't love reading everything else, of course. But the SA is some serious s**t.)

178:

That would work too, of course.

179:

Of course, there's the old sarcasm that the job of the auditor is to come in after the battle's over and bayonet the wounded...

180:

The auditor/forensic-phrenologist comes in and measures the skulls of the fallen, confidently announcing who is a deceased hero unjustly cut down and who is a traitor who met his just reward (possibly dice are involved).

181:
I'm not going to allow spoilers here yet, but maybe I'll post a new chat thread on November 3rd so you can avoid thinking about the Doom that came to D.C. for a bit.

Thinking a bit deeper, I think I can explain why I liked this book so much.

My previous/current favourite is/was "The Fuller Memorandum", and what I liked was the pacing and focus on stand-alone story telling. Obviously you have in mind a big picture story arc, but as a reader this big picture stuff is a bit of background since none of us can second guess how you will wrap the series up.

If I can offer another example: the early X-files made quite a good job of multiple apparently unlinked weird stories. But to me it jumped the shark when the conspiracy stuff stated to dominate.

Obviously your other readers may feel vey differently about this.

182:

My copy has just arrived ....

183:

When will the paperback come out?

184:

Generally they come out about a year after the hardback.

185:

Not any more!

Tor.com Publishing (my US publisher) is an ebooks-first publisher. I get hardcover and ebook editions, and the ebook price will drop in about a year, but there will never be a mass market paperback and might not be a trade paperback, either. The mass market is dying on its feet in the USA (it's a sales channel similar to magazines: unsold copies are pulped after 90 days, so the wastage is horrendous).

There will definitely be a UK paperback from Orbit, who are much more traditional in their approach than Tor.com: but it's due on June 3rd next year, because the old 12 month cadence has broken down, and like all UK paperbacks it's a trade edition (albeit in small paperback size).

186:

Charlie Stross @ 185: Not any more!

Tor.com Publishing (my US publisher) is an ebooks-first publisher. I get hardcover and ebook editions, and the ebook price will drop in about a year, but there will never be a mass market paperback and might not be a trade paperback, either. The mass market is dying on its feet in the USA (it's a sales channel similar to magazines: unsold copies are pulped after 90 days, so the wastage is horrendous).

There will definitely be a UK paperback from Orbit, who are much more traditional in their approach than Tor.com: but it's due on June 3rd next year, because the old 12 month cadence has broken down, and like all UK paperbacks it's a trade edition (albeit in small paperback size).

I know one of my Laundry Files books is a UK paperback because there wasn't going to be a US paperback, so if the only way I can get it in paperback is to order it from somewhere in the UK, I'm fine with that.

I prefer the paperbacks because I have all the others in paperback & I like to keep series together & mixed hardcover & paperbacks takes up more shelf space (because I have to space the shelves vertically to allow for the taller books).

... and they're a bit easier for me to read while lying in bed. My primary book time is bedtime.

I can usually get your new books from my public library so I can read them without having to wait until I can purchase the paperback, but I don't think our library has "Dead Lies Dreaming" on order yet.

I might try an eBook & try to read it using my laptop. I'm not buying a kindle or a nook or an iPad. Any suggestions which free eBook reader for PC might work best?

187:

Well, that hit the spot. Pantomime with teeth.

188:

This is vaguely relevant, given previous posts. I have just scanned Tipler's The Physics of Immortality - it's round the bend, up the other side, and round at least two bends after that. I don't know Jewish theology, but it also manages to be way beyond heretical in a Christian context, even in the most liberal interpretation. It really should have been nominated for a fantasy award. I take my hat off to his imagination! Penrose can't hold a candle to him.

189:

EC
It really should have been nominated for a fantasy award.
Well, maybe it should be at some major con or other, if only for the fun of a wind-up?

190:

I prefer the paperbacks because I have all the others in paperback & I like to keep series together & mixed hardcover & paperbacks takes up more shelf space (because I have to space the shelves vertically to allow for the taller books).

... and they're a bit easier for me to read while lying in bed. My primary book time is bedtime.

All of this, except replace 'read while lying in bed' with 'fit into jacket pocket.' (The same goes for tablets. A 10" tablet? I don't think so!) The trade paperback size doesn't gain a whole lot relative to full hardcover.

On the other hand I don't have hours of reading time on busses these days so a hardback is reasonable.

191:

I still read both paperbacks and hardcovers, also in bed. Paperbacks are usually smaller and lighter, but for example I have Penrose's The Road To Reality as a paperback, and it's not small. Mostly I buy books as e-books nowadays, but some of them are not that easily available or I get the physical book for legacy reasons. It's nicer to have a book series in the same format, for me. (Of course means too many shelves...)

I like a 10" tablet, but I don't carry one with me all the time. I have a phone to carry in the pocket mostly all the time, but even a largeish phone is too small to read books with comfortably, so I have a tablet. I also use it for many computer things at home, especially reading and watching videos. It's more comfortable for me than reading books or comics from a monitor on a desk (I don't have a laptop, only a desktop), and I can even write short pieces on it. Usually I have some kind of bag with me so I could take the tablet with me mostly wherever I go, so it's not that much of a problem either, though usually the phone is enough for on the road things.

For computer games we have too many consoles and my PC. I had games on my previous tablet, but haven't found the need to install them on my current one (or on the phone).

192:

Since I try to avoid unnecessary trips into town currently (living in a suburb), my daughter (living in town) bought DLD from the bookstore I support. We were going to meet up later in the day as she is learning to drive.

Three hours of driving around the suburbs, we're tired and we decide to call it quits. One hour later she calls me on the phone: 'Dad, I forgot to give you the book...'

Arrrrgh

193:

I might try an eBook & try to read it using my laptop. I'm not buying a kindle or a nook or an iPad. Any suggestions which free eBook reader for PC might work best?

The free Kindle reader for PC works fine. It's basically a software Kindle, the same as one may use for Amazon stuff on an iPad or phone. Seamless with Kindle store once signed in. The multiple device support extends to copies of the software "device", so if you have the app on both desktop and laptop, you'd get automagic "open to the last page I was reading" (with confirmation dialog) as you move from one to the other.

194:

I have to say I am having a hard time getting through a novel on bleak dystopias this very moment. The lack of familiar faces also contributes to the feeling one is falling face-first into the abyss.

It still seems sharply written and faithfully consistent to the prior world-building. I will probably have to return to it in (hopefully) less fraught times.

195:

Scott Sanford @ 190:

I prefer the paperbacks because I have all the others in paperback & I like to keep series together & mixed hardcover & paperbacks takes up more shelf space (because I have to space the shelves vertically to allow for the taller books).
... and they're a bit easier for me to read while lying in bed. My primary book time is bedtime.

All of this, except replace 'read while lying in bed' with 'fit into jacket pocket.' (The same goes for tablets. A 10" tablet? I don't think so!) The trade paperback size doesn't gain a whole lot relative to full hardcover.

On the other hand I don't have hours of reading time on busses these days so a hardback is reasonable.

For me it kind of started with "takes up less space in my rucksack". Tablets came along later adding the worry about cracking the screen & "you don't have to recharge the battery in a paperback book".

On the civilian side "fits in a pocket" worked with my being on the road (traveling service tech). I ate a lot of meals by myself in restaurants & books were always reliable companions. And when I was consuming a book a day, used SciFi paperbacks were cheap.

I never could read while riding in a vehicle. It's one of the few things that would give me motion sickness. Airplanes were not as bad, but there was usually too much other interesting stuff going on for me to concentrate on reading.

196:

My usual approach these days for getting rid of DRM on ebooks is to by them from Kobo / Ratuken, then use Kobo book downloader to strip the DRM and get a nice epub that can then be moved to your ereader of choice and should work on most. Works fine on Linux. My current ebook reader is an ancient Icarus, which is a rebadged Chinese brand, the name of which escapes me. Icarus went bust, so I suspect the next one will be home made. There are various large e-ink screens for rapberry pi's around now, so I fancy mounting one in a faux book with leather binding and perhaps a title like "More Very Hard Sums" embossed in gold on the cover to discourage the curious.
Currently two thirds of the way through Dead Lies Dreaming and am trying to slow my reading speed to make the feel good escapism last.

197:

Depends a bit what other titles are on your shelf, but I'd be thinking "oh ar, what's all this then?" :)

198:

"One Million Random Numbers".

Though that might still snare the Pigeon :)

199:

I still buy the occasion *back, but I've been strongly considering going eBook for the future. For various reasons (mainly, e-ink technology drives me nuts) I've been looking at the Amazon ecosystem. Probably a Fire, but it's very difficult to decide which size to get without test-driving them both.

The good news is, if I _do_ go eBook, I'll have to buy OGH's books again. ;)

200:

I've pretty well switched to ebooks — almost entirely for fiction, and mostly for history and biography. Photography and some science I still prefer paper, because my iPad mini is pretty small photos and diagrams look better when larger.

202:

I suggest a fifteen-year-old Readers's Digest volume.

203:

I'm not sure I am, thinking about it; the title including "deviates" would probably attract too much interest.

But yes, that was the volume I was thinking of.

204:

The web page I linked to says that the New York Public Library originally filed it under "psychology", presumably because it had the word "deviates" in the title.

205:

Just finished Dead Lies Dreaming. Posted this review on Amazon.

Not a Laundry Files novel.

Although there is a stamp on the cover of this book labeling it "A Laundry Files Novel", this is not actually accurate. On his blog, Charles Stross has said that Dead Lies Dreaming is not a continuation of The Laundry Files, but the first book in a new series, which might be called Tales of the New Management. On the other hand, the cover stamp is not totally inaccurate. The story takes place in the world of The Laundry Files. Specifically, it takes place in the England in which the Black Pharoah has become Prime Minister of England.

You can easily read Dead Lies Dreaming without having read The Laundry Files. The characters are entirely new. (In fact, to a fan of The Laundry Files, it is a little disappointing not to see any familiar faces.) Also, most of the careful world-building of The Laundry Files has been made unnecessary.

Every fantasy novel has a theory of magic. Magic can't do everything -- there is a price, and a source of power, and limitations. In some cases, such as the Harry Potter series, this theory is so incoherent and and lacking in logic as to be almost nonexistent. (Don't get me wrong -- I love the Potter books.) This theory is incomplete and vague. If it were not, then magic would not be magic -- it would be technology. The Laundry Files are the exception -- the Theory of magic in The Laundry Files is explicit and detailed. "Magic is a branch of Applied Mathematics". Mathematics is more than universal -- it spans universes. The universe we see is a shadow cast by the absolute mathematical truths of Platonic reality. Those capable of apprehending these truths can perceive and understand other universes. Computations, in brains or in computers, can speak and travel across universes. In The Laundry Files, magic is a technology.

Bob Howard, the hero of the first Laundry Files novels, is a man who could explain to you the difference between a Riemann and a Lebesque integral. His comfort with math is not irrelevant to his heroic competencies. (He is also funny, resourceful, bold, loyal, and indeed he checks most of the boxes of the Scout Law, with the conspicuous exception of "reverent".) And he is superb with information technology. Thus he becomes a powerful sorcerer. To a mathematician and programmer, the Laundry Files feel familiar and comfortable.

None of that really matters in Dead Lies Dreaming. As in most fantasy novrels, Magic is done by intutive magicians and superheroes who do magic without an explicit understanding of theory. Although the sentence "Magic was a branch of applied mathematics" does appear in the book, it is far less central to the story than in The Laundry Files. It is still important, but in a way that you need not be explicitly aware of.

Miss Elizabeth Bennet's favoriet color was yellow. This fact appears nowhere in Pride and Prejudice. We know it because Jane Austen told her friends. Austen knew her characters deeply -- they were real to her and had deep stories that don't appear in P&P. However, we can feel her affection for them and their reality. In the same way, the existence of a theory of magic that underpins the world of The Laundry Files gives Dead Lies Dreaming a felt depth and authenticity.

All that said, it's a wonderful engaging story, with more than a touch of Lovecraftian horror. (I cannot personally attest to that, having never read HP Lovecraft myself.) Peter Pan and Wendy and Neverland and the Lost Boys appear, and even a terrifying Tinkerbell, along with James Bond.

206:

I suppose it's wrong that the only person I cared about was the Gammon, right? I had an intellectual sympathy with some of the "better guys," but he was the only one that popped for me as a real flesh and blood human. Perils of the Cthonic Twilight I guess.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on October 22, 2020 3:38 PM.

The Laundry Files: an updated chronology was the previous entry in this blog.

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