I haven't blogged about tech in a while: maybe that's overdue for a correction. As you probably know I used to be a tech/IT freelance journalist, and the occasional residual spasm prompts me to go back to it. This blog isn't Ars Technica but on the other hand there's no editor yelling at me to file copy regularly or stick to a fixed format or optimize for clickbait, so here's my logorrhoeic take on fourteen gizmos I played with in 2015 and what I made of them—Without continual click-throughs, ads, or slow-to-load images because I'm a textual kind of guy. Ahem: continued below the cut.
Charlie Stross: December 2015 Archives
So last week I vented a little bit about shibboleths common to the written science fiction genre. This week, it's fantasy's turn in the barrel!
Fantasy is a much broader church than SF; if we're drawing Venn diagrams, you can probably characterise it as a really big circle overlapping at one side with the much smaller circle that is SF. (Items which explicitly blend magic with SF tropes occupy the overlap.) And the fantasy circle is pock-marked with smaller domains.
I'd like you to give a welcome to our latest author blogger, Genevieve Cogman, whose second novel, The Masked City, came out in the UK at the beginning of December (if you're American, you have to wait until next year to experience the joy of her work for the first time with her debut novel, The Invisible Library when it comes out next April).
There's generally a lot of best-of lists circulating at this time of year, especially in the fantasy genre. I'm a bit disappointed that "The Masked City" came out too late to feature on any of them, because I rate it as one of the two best British fantasies of the year (along with Zen Cho's "Sorcerer to the Crown"). It's a sequel to The Invisible Library, and it's slyly witty observations and dry humour mesh beautifully with a fast-paced caper plot, an abducted damsel in distress (except the damsel in question is both male and a dragon), and the sort of metatextual games you'd expect of a series about a librarian who works for an extradimensional library and whose job it is to collect (or steal) works of fiction that only exist in parallel universes. Seriously, if you like fantasy (but not boring, cliched fantasy) you are going to want to jump on these books, either right now if you're in the EU, or next April when the first of them comes out in North America.
Genevieve got started on Tolkien and Sherlock Holmes at an early age has never looked back. On a more prosaic note, she has an MSc in Statistics with Medical Applications, and has used this in an assortment of jobs: clinical coder, data analyst and classifications specialist. She has previously worked as a freelance role-playing game writer. Her hobbies include patchwork, beading, knitting and gaming, and she lives in the north of England. And this week she has something to say on my blog ...
Let's ignore, for the moment, the point that fiction is an exploration of human interior spaces, and that sometimes a spaceship or a princess is a metaphor; science fiction and fantasy are genres famous for their departure from the plane of mundanity, and usually a spaceship is just a form of transport between inhabited worlds ...
Let me tell you what makes me yell when I kick the tires on an SF/F novel these days.
Various commenters have been badgering me to run a discussion of the Paris massacres and subsequent international response on this blog. I've been reluctant to go there because we invariably get far more smoke than light in the heat of the moment, and because it's not a terribly productive use of my time.
(Update: as of 2-Dec, the war faction won in the British Parliament and the bombers are already flying missions. How this plays out remains to be seen.)