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Going away

I'm going to be in Boston from Wednesday through to the following Wednesday. This means blog updates will be scarce.

I'll be at Boskone 45 (a large, regional, science fiction convention) where I'll be on various panels and doing the usual readings, signings, and etcetera. I'll also be giving a reading to the MIT SF Society, and doing touristy stuff in my spare time (seeing friends, doing a tour of the Harpoon brewery — I hope — wandering around the market near Faneuil Hall). I'm also looking forward to some genuine winter weather — aside from a single wimpish cold snap Edinburgh almost hasn't had a winter this year. (On the other hand, I've been to Boston in February enough times to have a good idea what to expect, and will endeavour not to die of hypothermia).



Speaking of Boston, I've been meaning to ask - is there a particular reason why the Boston Museum of Science turns up in your books? I mean, it's a nice day out and all but I don't recall it knocking my socks off.



Wagamama's opened a branch in Faneuil Hall, FWIW.


Luke: it's only turned up once, IIRC. Put it down to coincidence. (Also, the image of an oran-outang swinging from a Mercury capsule ...)

Jess: thanks, that could be handy.


Ah, yet another reason I will hate missing this Boskone. I was looking froward to awkwardly approaching you and telling you how much Accelerando hurt my brain and then expanded it so that I had to read only Stross for a few months straight. Have fun there! MAybe next year I'll see you there.

FWIW, not too bad of a winter. Lot of snow (I'm in Maine, father north but friends are down there and I keep track of the weather).

Why on FSM's green earth would you WANT to go to Faneuil Hall? It's tourist hell! The area near the castle in Edinburgh with the Wichery restaurant is far more appealing than FH (I worked in and around it for years, so perhaps it's my familiarity breeding my contempt) Go to Chinatown, perhaps, far more exotic with better food. And I met my wife on a Harpoon Brewery tour so good luck there!


Chang, one person's tourist hell is another person's vacation destination. (Trust me: I live in a tourist trap.) Chinatown is, of course, on the destination list. And I certainly expect to meet my wife on a Harpoon Brewery tour -- she's the one who's insisting we go there!


Dude. Gimme a contact number.

In fact, if there's a next time, gimme advance notice. You once wrote an essay that I passed around here; it got interest, and it wouldn't be hard to set up a talk. No clue if MBAs would show, but why not?


Noel: ping me with your email address (via the feedback link at the top of this page, which I have just fixed so that it works again) and I'll get in touch.


"...will endeavour not to die of hypothermia)."

Posted by Charlie Stross

Charlie, you're married now, and have responsibilities. You can't selfishly think of yourself first. Think of how much more your work would be worth to Feorag! She could sell the movies rights for millions - and you wouldn't even have to suffer through knowing what they did to your books. She could also get with some authors and put together fragments of your work: 'By (big letters) Charlie Stross (little letters) and Ghostwriter Sam, who wrote almost all of it'.


It's a bit chilly today (-10 C), but this is Boston. It might be in the mid-teens Celsius next week. (We went from -15 C to 18 C (6 to 64 F) within six days earlier this year.)

BTW, and ObFanboyQuestion: I'm in the middle of The Clan Corporate, and I'm still wondering where Miriam's house is. You mention it's off Grafton Street. The closest Grafton Streets to Cambridge are in Arlington or down by U Mass Boston. Can you enlighten me as to which one it is, if it's either one of those? (I have friends who live on Grafton St. in Arlington. :-))

Have a good trip!


Grafton Street is the name of a bar on the corner of Bay Street and Massachusetts Avenue, not far from my home, so maybe she's, like, my neighbor.


Have fun at the con. I know we don't see eye to eye on some things, but you're still a kick-ass writer.


P.S.- (I just finished "Glasshouse". It was EXCELLENT!)


Enjoy the Winter Storm that is coming in. It's mild by this winters standards... but hey, it's still got a Winter Storm Warning from our esteemed Weather Service. I live in Southern, Maine and I would assume Boston will get some weather out of this - but that isn't a guarantee.


If you are in the neighborhood, the MIT museum is worth a look, especially Arthur Ganson's work.

If you have a chance to visit the Fab Lab again, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on it.
(I met the folk from Fab Lab @ South End Technology Center
at Austin Maker Fair. Fun and worth visiting, I imagine. They're keeping busy, even if they never update their webpage.)


Really? I could've sworn it was more than that. I'm pretty sure Miriam uses the MoS for a meetup early on in the Clan Corporate books (which, to be fair, ain't especially unusual for a Boston-based tech journalist).

Possibly reading that in close conjunction to Accelerando has led me to confabulate, but I was fairly sure there was a third example in your oevre somewhere.




I'm currently contracting for the MIT Design Lab... I want in on that reading!!!


On the off chance that Boston doesn't suit your fancy, may I suggest a lovely jaunt to nearby Cambridge? There might even be a bookstore, or something...

I hope you have a fine time.


Luke -- I'd forgotten the Merchant Princes usage. But there's no other: just Accelerando.



I will be arriving at Logan around 4pm tomorrow, assuming all goes well. Plan is to check into the con hotel, then go in search of beer, food, bright lights, and company to poke us with pointy things if we (self plus spouse) show signs of falling asleep before 10:30pm. We therefore plan to hit the Boston Beer Works on Canal Street, from 7pm onwards. (It's located between North and Haymarket stations, at 112 Canal Street: more info here.)


Boston eh?

Beware of Irish-American people who think you're Irish, and insisting on slipping you a few quid for 'the lads'.


O'Kane@19: it may surprise you (it sure suprised the heck out of me) but the Troubles seem to be over. As a Brit whose parents moved to Eire in the 60s, sent me to an Irish school where I was duffed up for being a Brit, then to an English Public (private) School where I was duffed up for being a Paddy, it also comes as a welcome relief.

I think the pictures of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness sitting down at Stormont enjoying the craic together may even have made it to Boston, if only in the Weekly World News' "Weirder than Bat-Boy" section...


Harry, the fund-raising will continue for centuries...


Just in time for Saint Valentine's Day, and speaking of pictures of politics making strange bedfellows (i.e. Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness), you've got to appreciate the Furry photo and straight-faced text of:

Unique Mating Photos Of Wild Gorillas Face To Face

ScienceDaily (Feb. 13, 2008) — Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have released the first known photographs of gorillas performing face-to-face copulation in the wild. This is the first time that western gorillas have been observed and photographed mating in such a manner....

[Science pr0n? Life ain't easy for a pimp meets life ain't easy for a chimp? Ping Pong balls meet King Kong's balls? Paparazzi? No, I say pop the cork on that pink champagne and let's just call it Romance au Naturel]


Harry@ 20: My post was, like, you know, a joke?


Mr. O'Kane @ 20: Have you heard the joke about the 9/11 attack? This'll kill you...

There were thousands of people killed by the IRA during their thirty year reign of terror in Ireland. Most of their victims were Irish people who didn't show respect to the gunmen and their supporters, or failed to pay protection money "for the Cause". That doesn't count the ones crippled for life in punishment beatings and shootings, or blinded by broken glass from street bombs or...

There was a time when IRA murderers were feted in New York as Grand Marshals in Saint Patrick's Day parades through Manhattan, with cops and firemen marching proudly beside vicious terrorists, glad to show their Irish roots and support the Cause. Doesn't happen any more, for some reason.

Funny? I think not. Poor taste? Certainly.


Charlie (if i can call you that),

As a fan of yours, and a beer enthusiast, im jealous of your trip to Harpoon, should you make it there. There's a guy there named Seth, friend and fellow Seth, who will hopefully get to meet you and make it a fun visit. Enjoy the great beer. It makes me more a fan that you are a fan of good beer, enough to visit a US microbrewery (i probably should have known you were a beer drinker, but I've been away from the blog for a bit).


My dear Mr. Sneddon.

I am all too well aware of the facts you cite. Amongst other things, I used to live with a person who had had the misfortune to witness the Remembrance day bomb attack in Enniskillen in 1987.

My joke was in no way whatsoever intended as an attack on all those who suffered as a result of republican, loyalist and state violence in Northern Ireland.

If my joke was on anyone, it was on the poor ignoramuses (ignoramii?) who, from the far side of the Atlantic, made the gross error of hailing the PIRA as some sort of legitimate national liberation movement.

And at this point, I should apologise to our esteemed host Mr. Stross, who I am sure does not appreciate this unfortunate note of politics being introduced into this light-hearted thread.



New York?

Irish terrorists?

You mean you're not coming to Lincolnshire?


Charlie, they've implemented something from Halting State.


I went and saw you speak in the "Don't Stand So Close To Me" panel. (I love your accent, btw. I could listen to it all day long.) I loved your assessment about the US, Russia, and China; re: futures we didn't expect in the 70s. It was punchy and brisk.


Your email recepient thinks I'm a spammer - why that should be so, I don't know, but I'm going to break netiquette and post the letter here (hope you don't mind too much)

It's re: Halting atate & transport ....

Dear Mr. S. � just finished �Halting State� � and got a moment of real surprise at one point �..

I was reading it in the kitchen, whilst radio3 was playing. I�d got to the point where the clear-up after the warehouse raid is in progress, and the characters are talking about terrorists (muslims) who are in rejection of the modern world. Meanwhile the radio was going on about the newly-available various ways of obtaining high-quality music over the net � up to and better than vinyl quality � much better than the overcompressed stuff some CD�s have, for instance.

Are the muslim terrorists, and come to that, the fundie Christians actually fighting against the singularity?

I think the picture you painted in �Accelerando� is in a way, much too optimistic.

Passing through the big S is going to be a sort of rebirth � and I�m reminded of what R.A.H. said in �The Moon is a Harsh Mistress�: You are witnessing the birth of a new nation (the Moon), but all births are accompanied by some blood and pain.

And it might abort, and the blood-and-pain is going to be extensive.

I�m old enough to have done actual FORTRAN IV programming on 80-character punch-cards, and I have difficulty keeping up at times (I don�t do programming any more � a pity, as I would be better-paid) and a LOT of people are going to try to resist.

It will be as futile as resisting a Vogon constructor fleet, or trying to stop railways in the 19th Century.

What is worse, I have a horrible suspicion that we are going to get the big S at the SAME TIME as WWIII, given that, at present, gross military force seems to be the only thing that the warriors of �god� recognise. We can always hope that more subtle means, and overwhelming techie superiority will win the day, without too many millions being killed, but I am not sanguine over the prospect.

Second theme � minor corrections.
Do you ever travel by train?

If you are going to Glasgow from Dunedin, via Falkirk, you end up in Queen Street station, not Central - and your description of the arched roof, and sandstone walls IS Queen Street �

As in �Atrocity Archive� you DON�T go to MK via Luton � you do go via Watford and Hemel H �..

Oh, and forget maglev monorails � they are a waste of time and money.


Greg. Tingey.


Greg, the next time you post here, please take the SmartQuotes out first. Yes, Charlie travels by train -- he frequently relates his adventures.


Greg: the Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street service is somewhat less frequent than Edinburgh to Glasgow Central, but I assure you, it exists. (I've gotten it by mistake.)


Also, Glasgow Central has plenty of sandstone and arches. Queen St is a fine example of a British city slightly damaged by war and ruined by reconstruction:-)


Waverley to Queen Street - every 1/4 hour.
Other services - to Central via Shotts, slow & hourly?
to Central via Carstairs faster, but the long way round, & (I think) every 2 hours ....
via Bathgate will be electric, but isn't open yet, and will be all-stations, or close to that.

Although I live in London the only Scots' track (currently open) that I have not traversed is: Lanark branch, Crainlarich - Connel Ferry, and Craigendoren Jcn - Malliag - so there!


George, I live in Edinburgh and I catch the train to Glasgow regularly. You're right about the timing, but wrong about the impossibility of ending up in Central. Period. (Because I've done it, and not just the once.)


I din't say it was impossible - read #34 above.
At present there are three different Waverley-Glasgow services.
The one to Q St is the most frequent and the fastest.
The other two go to Central.
When the line via Bathgate is re-opened, it will run through to Queen Street Low Level, and on .....

However, to return to more practical matters ...
Charlie, I repeat NO TO MONORAILS or even MagLev - impractical, incredibly costly, and not worth it.
Conventional high-speed will go up to 300kph, and can run into "Normal" railway termini/stations at the journey ends.



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on February 11, 2008 2:14 PM.

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