Graham

Graham

  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Much better to periodically massacre a bunch of characters and trash secondary plot threads to keep things from getting too complicated. I thought doing that in "Rhesus Chart" was your "Spooks" moment - the point where the audience realises the...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Police, sorry, but I want someone trained with authority to deal with the violent drunk, or the guys attacking the woman. There are, and have been, many societies without a police force. Police are a thing of our time in...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Alas, I am finding this about a lot of SF I loved in my younger days. From Asimov to Zelazney, the character all seem a bit - well - "mid-20th-century". At least they mostly tried though. Of course their cultural...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Where it leaves PKD is as someone writing about the 1960s, not about a hypothetical future. The quality of the art is indisputable, of course, but the content is pure 1960s. Putting rocket fins on a Cadillac didn't turn it...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    It's Clarke's Third Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." To start with, world-walking is simply treated as magic. It happens, some people can do, deal with it. By the end of the original set of books, technology...
  • Commented on I get book covers
    The UK cover of "Nightmare Stacks" also had a tentacular theme which didn't represent plot points. In general the cover backgrounds seem to be generically "occult/creepy". Add a UK skyline silhouette, a couple of generic people-with-gun silhouettes, and Bob's your...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    "jungfrau" if you want to describe a woman who has not had sex, of any age (or someone who is a Virgo) Which caused me some consternation as a teenager when my German-exchange-trip girlfriend told me "Ich bin Jungfrau". She...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    Slavery had been profitable for a long time before that. Initially sugar was the major product from slave plantations, and anti-slavery Europeans refused to use sugar as a result. Tobacco, coffee and cacao plantations also used slaves....
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    Agreed. There's no technical problem building a road across the Darien Gap - it's yours, cash on delivery, as soon as you can find anyone to stump up the cash. Even in New Britain as originally encountered by Miriam, there...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    Not just technology. I've already touched on money. Also manpower though - in our world, this mostly worked because of all the ex-slaves looking for work. The Navy apparently wasn't such an issue here. The Commonwealth had decisively lost the...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    I may be wrong, but I don't remember OGH putting a canal in Panama. The Panama Canal needed massive investment from the USA, which was only possible because the USA was ridiculously wealthy (partly due to lots of untapped natural...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    "Empire Games" and "Dark State" have Rita. The original outline in http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/09/books-i-will-not-write-3-big-f.html has Sue as the same character. Enquiring British minds of an appropriate age might now be wondering if we'll get Bob too...?...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    @Martin I did jury service too, a while back. There were no downright idiots in there, but there were some interesting biases based on inexperience. The case involved a scuffle outside a pub. One guy was winning, but slipped and...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    To quote the classic Dan and Dan "Daily Mail" song (check it out on Youtube if you've not seen it): "Bring back capital punishment for paedophiles. Photo feature on schoolgirl skirt styles." Sam Fox says the photographer who made her...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    Geoff, you don't need the Rohingya to show what happens with fake news. European views on Jews from medieval times onwards have basically set the standard for it. Blood libel, "they killed Jesus", conspiracies, and of course through to the...
  • Commented on We get reviews (contd.)
    If "middle books are always weak," it sounds like you've just pulled an "Empire Strikes Back" out of the hat then?...
  • Commented on Book day!
    @deflated Bob is now casually using/wrestling the EoS isn't the reading I took from it. OGH has been clear for some time about Bob being "unreliable", and there are some clear slips in his "unreliability" where he gives an insight...
  • Commented on Attention Conservation Notice
    @Pigeon I personally got rather frustrated by Miriam, because she made the same mistakes over and over. Faced with a society very different to her own, she didn't stop to analyse before acting. In particular, in a society where she...
  • Commented on PSA: The Delirium Brief
    @43 Greg, this was most famously publicised by Michael Moore, who got it from Craig Unger. Moore occasionally plays a bit fast and loose, but I'm prepared to assume Vanity Fair does fact-checking. Links https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_9/11_controversies and http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2003/10/saving-the-saudis-200310...
  • Commented on A Surfeit of Emeralds: Healthcare in the Middle Ages
    Geoff, you do have to be very careful about herbals being "known to be effective". We can pick out some nice examples like willow-bark and quinine, because we know what the active ingredients are and where they come from. But...
  • Commented on Busy busy busy
    @224 paws4thot: Spoiler alert, perhaps... Of course the twist is that Bob is *actually* the "Bond girl" archetype and Mo is the "Bond" archetype. But until the endgame, Bob and Billington and everyone on that yacht *do* think that Bob...
  • Commented on Busy busy busy
    JamesPadraicR @182: True, but even the pre-Fuller-Memorandum Bob was pretty competent. He hung around with the SAS and his contribution was valued, which says quite a lot. Also he had to be good enough to be taken seriously as the...
  • Commented on Busy busy busy
    Maybe I'm being fooled by Mo being an unreliable narrator, but this shouldn't be a "dawning realisation" for her, should it? The whole of Mahogany Row seemed to know that what's holding Bob back from fully using his powers was...
  • Commented on Just plain icky
    One thing I'm surprised people haven't picked up on. The original premise is that parasite load is a Bad Thing. The problem is, this isn't necessarily true. A major line of research into IBS and a variety of other autoimmune...
  • Commented on The Nightmare Stacks: US Launch
    Gordycole, I may be misremembering, but I'm not sure the enemy magi were exactly PHANGs. They had some of the same characteristics (e.g. the counting trap), but I thought they derived their power from different sources. Alex and the rest...
  • Commented on The Nightmare Stacks: US Launch
    For those interested in more Alex and Cassie, I did notice the line early on: "Cassie, if you ever read this, I'm very, very sorry". And Alex is clearly writing this in past tense. Currently he doesn't have much to...
  • Commented on The Invisible Library and its perilous Christmas obsessions
    "Ogham would work, if what was written down was stories. Stelae would work, again if it was stories." OK, so you've progressed from "books" (let's suppose the Librarian gives an "Ook" of approval to the team with a monolith on...
  • Commented on The Invisible Library and its perilous Christmas obsessions
    I'm curious... (and maybe I need to do some book-buying :) So book good, Kindle book bad. OK, got that. But then audio book...? Or more problematically, what happens to music - is it sheet music good, MP3/FLAC/CD/vinyl/wax-cylinder bad? Or...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    @gasdive Not disingenuous, just looking for evidence. When your range is "16 to 106" or "4.6 to 130", that says quite a lot about the uncertainty of the numbers. You get spectacularly bad modelling of low-exposure cases when your data...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    @gasdive PS: I'd completely support you on a similar statement involving asbestos, black lung, smoking, dioxins, groundwater contamination, and a bunch of other stuff. Just not on the VW diesel thing. Yeah, they faked the numbers and got caught, but...
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