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On the paucity of procrastination

You might be wondering why there was a sudden flurry of activity, only to be followed by a looming silence. In a nutshell: I was busy, then I finished a book. Now I'm getting busy again, with a trip to Philadelphia for Philcon '06 later in the week. And when I get back I'm going to be straight into (a) re-working chunks of one novel, (b) plotting out another, and (c) moving house.

I'll try to blog whenever possible, but don't expect too many gigantic essays like the last posting for a while ...



Since you will be a mere 400 miles or so away, feel free to pop round for a curry.


(c) moving house.

ISTR discussion about massive bookshelves firmly attached to the current abode...


Just moved myself. Never again. Ever.

Enjoy Philcon, hope it's fun et profitable.


I remember the last time I moved, three or so years ago. It took *days* to transfer all the books, and then we had to build extra bookshelves.

Never again, say I. (So I burned them all, um, I mean I don't plan on moving soon.)


Enjoy Philcon, Charlie, and good luck on packing, moving, and unpacking.

I've had this house for almost 19 years; I also hate moving. Yes, books are the hardest for writers and serious readers.

In one of my moves from East Coast to West Coast, or vice versa, I snailmailed myself 92 boxes of books. Only 90 arrived. But 2 of those had many books NOT mine, and were missing others.

Hypothesis: several boxes of books, not all mine, burst open in a truck or post office loading dock. Workers shoveled the books on the floor into the torn boxes more or less at random, then taped them shut.

Somehere a pharmacy student (guessing by the alien books among mine) was probably saying: "who the hell is this Heinlein guy? And is he on the final exams?"

Post-modernism at the post office. Reminds me now, in retrospect, of Borges "The Library of Babel."


Yup, yup, moving books is a big pain. So much so that I took a serious look at my book-hoaring habit a few years ago. I now hold myself down to four Billy big-boys worth of books, and that seems to be plenty. There is some risk that I will want to reread a book that I have owned, but discarded, but that has only happened twice, that I can remember.


For years, the in-town university moves anaesthetized me to the mass of my books. I sold half the summer I left, and moving away, left two thirds of the other half in a friend's attic, retrieved the following year in two long distance car journeys. Much of the two thirds remains stored in a vacant apartment above my father's professional offices. Since, I've married, acquired two times that 2 thirds in addition, plus extensive professional files, materials, and records, and we're bursting at the seams. I do not know how I will move the current collection by myself - thirty-five, forty twenty pound boxes?

Of course, that will be a toddle, a cakewalk compared to the July days spent moving my friend's bookboxes from storage to his subroof tenement apartment. Seven trips times eighteen boxes per trip, and then up five stories.


HHmm, makes my moving story look quite small. A mere 3,000 books from my parents house and my grannys attic to my 1st story flat. I fitted the trips in with moving other stuff about and doing the DIY at the flat; even so I think it involved about a dozen loads. Then there was packing them into boxes (Those tray like cardboard boxes that fruit comes in are quite handy, being a good size to carry and they stack well.) and then putting the boks up on shelves. I suspect it took 12 or 15 hours all told. Not to mention assembling the bookcases.

If you can, get a professional removal company in, my aunt and uncle used oen to move house recently after roughly 30 years in the previous house, and as far as I know everything went smoothly.


Moving from the Dales to Vienna, I left all my books behind but two, to be forwarded in lumps - a rucksackful with my partner's first visit, also a 50kg FedEx Boxful. But, of course, books *stowed away* in my travelling gear, and I couldn't resist buying them (my copy of the Interpretation of Dreams in German, for example) moving back was no, planning another move, and the books have multiplied. A quick estimate is 440. What kind of a flat was the one you put 3,000 books in?


My flat? Well, its a bog standard mid 1970's concrete, breeze block and harling ground and first floor block of flats, kind of flat. Concrete floors, which is good, helps the weight of the bookcases. I have 3 large billys, 2 medium sized, and 4 other bookcases, in the lounge and both bedrooms.
Yes, I am a pack rat. I would have been a librarian, but other things were more interesting.
They are 2 deep on the shelves, so you dont realise how many books there are until you look a bit. The problem is that I am running out of room.
I have no idea how many books Charlie has, I think he might have more.


According to his essay "Books vs Cigarettes" of 1945, George Orwell had then some 442 books in his flat near the Euston Road.


Enjoy Philadelphia (my home town). If you have a couple of spare hours and want to see some unusual stuff, I recommend the Mutter museum (


I am facing a move over the Thanksgiving weekend, and will spend this weekend finishing up the packing. (Except for the Ohio State game, and a small allotment for sleep.) I've already packed fifteen assorted liquor boxes, and that's gotten about half of my main floor books packed. (Cheap vodka comes in cheap boxes. Whiskey boxes seem to be the sturdiest.) Then, I have all the books in the basement which would be another half, and probably three more boxes worth of books randomly hidden elsewhere in the house. Call it somewhere close to fifty cases of books.

My wife tells me to use the library, but I find it unreasonable that they insist on getting the books back.


I had about 1500 books when I moved, in over 25 boxes -- mainly paperbacks. I've since gotten rid of most of them though, donating them to charities. About half went to the city book bank and the rest went to a homeless shelter. I hope they like SciFi/Fan. :)

Now most of what I have are books I either really, really like or newer hardcovers.


The stackable plastic boxes with plastic lids that you can pile on top of each other and have convenient lips
for carrying are a good choice for book storage and movement. You want the ones small enough that you won't fill them past reasonable weight. As a book packrat, I would also recommend professional movers both for packing, moving and to get stuff into the right room up N-flights of stairs. Once you've done it that way once you won't go back to do-it-yourself.


Say hello to Philadelphia for me, I was born and raised there, though I haven't been back in more than 30 years (everyone else moved too). If you get a chance, go see the Benjamin Franklin Institute, it is, or used to be at least, one of the best science museums in the world. If you go, be sure to poke around in the corners, there was a lot of interesting stuff that didn't get much of attention from the public. My favorite was on the 3rd floor near the doors to the observatory, on the roof. Stuck back in a dark corner was a cube of glass about 3 feet or so on a side, containing a 3D model of the local galactic group: the Milky Way, the Magellanic Clouds, the Andromeda galaxy, and a bunch of globalar clusters like Fornax and Sculptor. Really a god's eye view.

Oh, by the way, my copy of The Jennifer Morgue came in the mail from Gryphon a few minutes ago. Don't expect comments from me as I inhale it.


According to his essay "Books vs Cigarettes" of 1945, George Orwell had then some 442 books in his flat near the Euston Road.


Just moved - about 35 boxes of books. I use professional archival storage boxes - hideously expensive to buy, but I got mine as surplus from the job.


Got mine Friday, but thanks to moving chaos, have only read half of it.


And I should add that the half I have read is very nice, thank you.


Mine arrived yesterday afternoon, in time for me to read the 1st few chapters before bed. This led to some rather odd dreams on the order of Bob Howard's - I can confirm it's not easy to keep your dreams safe from intrusions by an entangled [REDACTED] [REDACTED]



I've been amusing myself thinking up alternate song-title based chapter names - 'Ca Plane Pour Moi' works nicely for me in place of 'You're in the Jet-set now'.


P.S. - Charlie, did you and Golden Griffin plan the timing of this book release in conjunction with the Casino Royale release? Because if you didn't, you should have.

Bond and Fleming are on the public mind, a lot of people are talking about how Casino Royale is truer to the original spirit of the novels, and somebody should find a way for you to mine this for every ounce of publicity.


Clifton: the timing of the book had absolutely nothing to do with the new Bond Movie. It's just pure coincidence. I didn't even know one was in production.


Hey Charlie, I received my copy of The Jennifer Morgue on Tuesday and devoured it in one sitting. Fantastic book...I have no idea how you manage to horrify me and make me laugh at the same time, but I love it. And the whole Ramona storyline was so well done...bittersweet, really, and haunting.

And I have to say that adding Pimpf at the end was a great idea. For me, it's always a little depressing to finish a good book, because then, well, it's over. But having Pimpf right there to start reading right away took care of that. Great job, can't wait for the next one.


I actually finished reading The Jennifer Morgue several days ago, but haven't had the time to post a comment because a pointy-haired manager (the company comptroller, if you must know) threw a spanner right through my current project while I was reading it. This resulted in me and my immediate boss spending several days in his office writing and debugging code for a production release next week that was supposed to be a prototype. Hmm, maybe I do work for the Laundry?

Anyhow, I enjoyed the book immensely, and the goodies after the novel just as much. I was a little worried that The Atrocity Archives didn't leave much room for anything new in Bob Howard's world; I was very pleased to find I was wrong. Someone (attribution, anyone?) once said that the highest form of storytelling occurs when the reader is completely surprised by the way in which the threads of the story are brought together, and yet immediately recognizes its inevitability based on what has gone before. Bob's marriage proposal fits that definition nicely.

Incidentally, Charlie, if you can somehow resurrect more of the interview with Blofeld, I would love to read it. Taxman Mr. Heath a commie, indeed!


Bruce: Watch This Space. (I have plans for at least two more Laundry novels, and several short stories. However, book #3, "The Fuller Memorandum", is unlikely to get written before 2008 or published before 2009, due to existing scheduled work. Thereafter I'm hoping to bang 'em out every 24 months or so.)


Having just finished the Jennifer Morgue, I would like to claim an Easter Egg...Bob's so appropriate initials of 'BOFH' are a homage to The Register's Bastard-Operator-from-Hell.

Keep them coming and we'll keep on buying them...

-- Andrew


cool blog!



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on November 14, 2006 9:14 PM.

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