Stranger In An Even Stranger Land - blog by Gurdur

 




A blog of random jottings on events, science, renfairs, travel, reading, music, humanism, religion, atheism, and even the odd spot of gardening.

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The #HugoAwards 2015: examining the nominations

Posted 21-Apr-2015 at 08:29 PM (20:29) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

I am a book-lover, I love science-fiction and fantasy, but I've never really interested myself till now for the awards scenes. However, as everyone knows, at the moment the Hugo Awards are the center of a sea of rages. Let's do the single-most important issue first: let's go through the Hugo Award Nominations for 2015, and see what's up with them. What follows is what I know at the moment myself, and my own opinions on what I've read:

Category: Best Novel (1827 nominating ballots,...
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And now that book will never be written. My personal tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett

Posted 12-Mar-2015 at 08:58 PM (20:58) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

I first met Terry Pratchett around twenty years ago, at a SF/fantasy convention in the Netherlands. I had not read any of his books, and I had thought they must be silly because of the book-cover design. This was not the only huge mistake I was to make. A year later, and a neurology research colleague at Duesseldorf university recommended his books to me. Eventually I actually read one, and I was blown away, hooked for evermore. Once I actually read his books, the book-cover design made perfect...
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Authors, please don't do this on social-media. For your own sakes.

Posted 15-Jan-2015 at 10:28 PM (22:28) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 15-Jan-2015 at 11:13 PM (23:13) by Gurdur

Book authors, I get it's a long, lonely, grueling effort to sell one's books, even using the social-media of today. However, please do not do what is shown below. To explain the two screen-capture images: these are both screen-grabs of tweets immediately following each other on my Twitter timeline (TL) from three different Twitter accounts. In other words, they all posted the same tweet at the same time. It makes all three authors on Twitter look like sock-puppets of each other, and it also can...
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The gamification of human society and control: Modelling markets, protest, regulation, cooperation, planning and freedom

Posted 11-Dec-2014 at 03:06 PM (15:06) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 11-Dec-2014 at 05:28 PM (17:28) by Gurdur

Gamification of human society has gone on a lot longer than you might think. There is the ancient game of chess, which came to to the West via Persia (checkmate, IIRC, comes from shah-mak, meaning death of the Shah). Chess, which has Chinese (象棋, Xingq) and Japanese (将棋, shōgi) forms as well, models both human society and ritualized warfare. Much more ancient is the game of Go ( 囲碁, igo). The game of course models conflict, though not with as much...
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

A love-song to London: review of "Dodger", a historical novel by Sir Terry Pratchett

Posted 21-Sep-2012 at 07:56 PM (19:56) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 21-Sep-2012 at 08:56 PM (20:56) by Gurdur

Terry Pratchett has a very new novel out, "Dodger"; he describes it as a historical fantasy. Here is the USA edition, and here is the British edition (photos of which are below this post). The novel is very much a love-letter to London, and especially to the London of the later 19th century. When Sir Terry Pratchett talked about it at the recent DiscWorld convention in Birmingham, he said he had considered writing it as a DiscWorld story, but decided not to go that way, at a remove, but instead...
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Can a striped animal have a spotted tail? Videos of joint lecture by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart

Posted 05-Sep-2012 at 05:38 PM (17:38) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 05-Sep-2012 at 06:25 PM (18:25) by Gurdur (Few typos corrected.)

A spotted animal can have a striped tail, but a striped animal cannot have a spotted tail. This was one of the great explorations of nature and mathematics in a joint lecture by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen at the recent DiscWorld convention in Birmingham, UK. Ian Stewart is a world-famous British research mathematician and author; Jack Cohen is a world-famous British reproductive biologist and author. Both have collaborated with Sir Terry Pratchett to co-author three books on science and philosophy,...
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Science-fiction author John Christopher has died

Posted 09-Feb-2012 at 09:19 AM (09:19) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 09-Feb-2012 at 12:18 PM (12:18) by Gurdur

SF author John Christopher has died, on last Friday, 03 February 2012, at the age of 89. He was an enormously productive author, writing under a range of pseudonyms - his actual real name is Christopher Samuel Youd, but he wrote under Samuel Youd, John Christopher, Stanley Winchester, Hilary Ford, William Godfrey, William Vine, Peter Graaf, Peter Nichols, and Anthony Rye. His best-known books are probably The White Mountains trilogy, owing to that having been filmed by the BBC in an incomplete series....
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Rating: 5 votes, 5.00 average.

Yes, I really AM reading your book, dammit! :And: Support Write4Red, the Red Cross and book authors!

Posted 31-Mar-2011 at 06:32 PM (18:32) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 31-Mar-2011 at 08:17 PM (20:17) by Gurdur

Last Saturday or Sunday I had a tweet from Jesse Bering, who annnounced a competition for readers of his book to pose with it, and entirely separately, I had a short tweet exchange with Jenny Rohn, who seemed to express surprise I was reading both of her books more or less at the same time. The thing is, while normally I would read one novel at a time, at this time I can't. When you really enter the world of a novel, and follow the course of the people in it, their actions and feelings, it is immensely...
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