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Since I got my new glasses, I've been reading things a bit faster! Um, yes. Oops. Embassytown was great. Although I don't understand people saying it's about language. It's not. It's about culture and lying, and the actual linguistic component of it is very handwavy... After that I got on to Whispers Under Ground, the third in the series of Peter Grant novels by that Ben Aaronovitch. Which I enjoyed, although it could have done with being more subplotty.

After this I have been reading The Also People, also by Mr. Aaronovitch, a Virgin New Adventures novel. This is basically a mashup of Doctor Who and Iain M. Banks's The Culture (represented here as the "people", who live on a Dyson sphere, run by a Mindgiant AI called "Hubgod". the humans are people, and the amusingly named ships are AIs and considered to be also people, and the entire society regretfully had a war with Idiranssome religious insectoids, which resulted in orbitalsrings being destroyed). I've only just started this really, but it's already provided an interesting look at childrearing in the Culturepeople, that I can't really remember Banks having done. Also, it has provided what might be my favourite line ever at the moment:

"Of course I'm not sentient", said the table. "I'm a table. I have two functions, one is to hold material objects at a convenient height by virtue of my rigid structure and the other is to take your order. What would be the point in a sentient table?"

Bernice considered this. She had to admit it was a good point.
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I have a copy of the Titan printing of "Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Neil Gaiman (2nd revised edition, 4th impression).

Unusually for a book in English, it starts with 32 pages worth of a random German piece of prose, before then saying "DON'T PANIC" on the title page. I always assumed this was a joke. I mean, you would, wouldn't you?

Except that today I presented it to Mr Gaiman to be signed, and he remarked that it was an extremely unusual edition of it, was unaware of any printing joke, and has annotated it a "unique copy".

So I wonder, what has happened here? That it's the first 32 pages points to a binding error. That it's pages 33-64 of a German novel, more so. I present the text of the first page here, along with Google Translate's version of it.

cut for length )

Any ideas what this is? Google finds nothing. How could I find out?

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.
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I had a wonderful party on Saturday. Thanks to everyone for coming! I seem to have a rather embarrassing alcohol surplus, which I will have to have another party, perhaps sometime in the new year, to drink.

Off work this week (yet again I forgot to take off any time in the summer and am having to use it all up in the last two months of the year), so today I went to Ikea and purchased two more bookcases and a sofabed, which should be being delivered tomorrow. I need to do remaining unpacking but am available for social things.

Reading Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds.
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Saw How To Lose Friends And Alienate People last night with [ profile] doseybat. I liked it, despite it being a bit too cringeworthy at times.

Seem to have stopped reading comics and have got back into reading books. Nation, The Dispossessed, Matter, Flowers for Agernon, Recursion, The Star Fraction and The Left Hand of Darkness in last couple of months. Now started World War Z.
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Eoin Colfer to write 6th Hitchhiker's novel!

Eep! Unsure this should happen at all. Can we trust this man?

A few days ago there was a Douglas Adams quote meme floating around. I posted one of my favourites many moons ago - the wrong lizards might get in.
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I have been reading His Dark Materials, having decided I really ought to read it before the movie comes out. On book 3 now. I am informed by the internets that movie 1 has had references to Christianity and religion toned down somewhat.

Ok, I can kind of see how you'd do that. Religion is present everywhere in Northern Lights, but acts mainly as a motive rather than a plot element. Magisterium as generic authoritarian state-like institution with no well-explored motives
spoilers ) (but doesn't that leave people wondering what the hell is going on?)

Incidentally, I am impressed they didn't age Lyra too much by casting an older actress. It's important to the story that she be around 12. Ageing her to 15, which would have been very tempting, would have resulted in the plot being a nonsense, or severe changes to it.

But they plan maybe to make sequels if this does well. Which leads to an obvious question... How on earth can you do the same thing with the next two books, which have religious elements far deeply entwined into the core plot. If the Church is complaining now, then how loud would it complain for those?
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so, it's that time of year again. a new discworld book arrived and i have read it in one sitting.

new discworld novel, some spoilers )
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I am all moved. Lots of things in boxes need unpacking, mainly onto shelves that will come down next weekend. Internet should be turned on tomorrow (was hoping for today but is looks unlikely now). New morning routine and commute was good, arrived at work the earliest I've made it, I think.

Deciding to read something from my to-read pile last weekend, I picked up "Hey Nostradamus" by Douglas Coupland, utterly unaware of its topicality. Curious book.
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It's odd, to finally read a completed version of a story that I'm already very familiar with. Is this what editors feel like? I am quite impressed with the cohesiveness of the final product: although I am sure that if I was looking for the joins I could spot them : the most obvious style shift is from annalistic at the start gradually to a near full-on narrative towards the end; which is I judge a deliberate change of mode as events come faster. I wonder how long it is. My guess would be 40,000 words?

It namedrops a lot of people and places that it doesn't properly introduce; but then so does The Lord of the Rings, to no harm and to great effect. I'd be interested to see what people who haven't read the Silmarillion (or tried and failed) make of it.

As to the story itself?

spoilers for the Silmarillion, The Children of Hurin )

In summary: grim, mythic, probably non-mass-market. I hear they are talking about making a film of it. It seems unlikely Christopher Tolkien is going to sell the film rights; his successors in management of the estate would be another matter. At least this is not quite as absurd as seeing talk of a film adaption of the Silmarillion.

how to make a bunch of films out of the Silmarillion - are you listening Peter Jackson?, spoilers )

Finally, let us end on a quote. "[Tolkien]'s written work is characterized by disputes over the ownership of jewelry, and the hand injuries that occur as a result." - uncyclopedia

the narn!

Apr. 16th, 2007 04:31 pm
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Today I did something I have curiously not done before. I bought a Tolkien book on the day of its release. Yes, The Children of Húrin is finally out, only 80 years after he started writing it.

I posted about this before. 'tis a fantastic thing, to have the complete Narn finally: patched together from notes which have been part-published in various forms over the years. The other Great Tales were in even less of a complete state; so it's likely this is it, no Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin or Beren and Luthien for us.

I've not read the actual body of the text yet, so I will report back on how that is. It's certainly far more accessible than The Silmarillion.

random geeky tolkien notes: Gil-Galad is not listed in the genealogies, thus neatly side-stepping the problem of whether he was the son of Fingon or Orodreth. and Angband is still not marked on the map.
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weekend was cool. [ profile] squirmelia's party on saturday, followed by an adjournment to feeling gloomy. note to self in future, though: either get drunk beforehand or like carling.

then, board games on sunday. i co-won War on Terror as the Terrorists, with [ profile] timeplease and [ profile] fluffymormegil, and then mostly sat the games out for the rest of the evening, reading and doing the cryptic crossword from thelondonpaper. i like this crossword because it makes me feel clever : possibly the paper's sole redeeming feature. (the Metro's is Nemi, I have yet to see a point to The London Lite).

i am reading The Mountains of Madness by Lovecraft. it is nice, but it doesn't scare me! :( i mean, ok, perhaps this has a little to do with the plushie cthulhu which is downstairs and the gradual desensitation of people to horror fiction in the last 80 years, but still. the anthology is a little weighty to read all at once, so i'm lining up The Demolished Man as next read after this novella.

random reviews of things )

but now i am tired and i should go to bed for i have to be up early tomorrow for a trip to hertfordshire.
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[ profile] _lostinthecity has decided to move out at the end of February to be closer to work. thus myself and [ profile] notajeep are looking for a new person to live with us. near seven sisters tube, is big room, 490 pcm. could also reshuffle so i take that one and new person gets smaller room (which is 415). anyone interested/know anyone who is interested? spread the word!

Dead & Buried on Friday; which was OK, but didn't dance much. This may be related to the fact my left knee has been hurting when I place weight on it for a number of days. Ouch.

Over halfway through Illuminatus!. I can see the fnords! Has anyone published annotations to this, I wonder?
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well, today was an exciting day to travel home by rail. st pancras somehow remained possibly one of the only northern london terminals to actually remain in operation : but it puts my turning up and finding a fire alert at st pancras and barely catching train drama on Tuesday into insignificance. i am vaguely impressed my train arrived in london 1h20m ahead of the initial estimate : if only they could do that on other days, it would take no time at all!

my blood pressure is 122/78, apparently. i am not sure what that means.

I seem to be reading Illuminatus!. Hopefully, having done this, I shall be able to do a better job of co-writing
Robert Anton Wilson's UnNews obituary
the next time he dies.
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I first read the Silmarillion many years ago. It's a hard book. It starts very biblical and as you proceed it gets prosier, but never actually reaches the stage of actual narrative. It is a tragic work, telling the story of the fall and destruction of the Elves : also tragically unfinished. His son patched it up (the end parts especially were in a very outdated shape), and published it.

One of the stories in the Silmarillion is the Tale of the Children of Hurin, or the Tale of Turin. A personal tragedy, set against a bleak background. it derives many elements from the Kullervo tale. The chapter in the Silmarillion dealing with it was brief, but poignant. Fragments of a longer actual proper narrative version appeared in Unfinished Tales and other works.

I always though it would make a great story split out on its own. But since Christopher Tolkien had apparently sworn off writing new stuff to cover the gaps, this seemed another tragedy: glimpses of a work that could never exist (Tolkien himself covered this theme in Lead by Niggle). Now we learn he has been secretly working on this for quite a while. I am looking forward, albiet trediply, to reading the complete lay of the Children of Hurin. I hope he did it proud.
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i have been reading Neverwhere on the tube. it seems somehow appropriate. but what i really want to do is read the bits set in abandoned tube stations at those abandoned tube stations :)
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i just got home from work :( not been sleeping too well recently, either. oh well. early night tonight. i sorted my books out: i have an entire shelf of books as my TO READ pile. since my last update i finished the Vor Game, read Cetaganda and then also Brothers in Arms/Mirror Dance. will probably read other books before i continue with that series.
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not updated for while.

[ profile] notajeep came round this evening to sign contract and will be moving in on the 15th. been rather lonely since i moved to london so this should prove good.

read The Forever War, The Warrior's Apprentice since last update. nearly finished The Vor Game. the next two supreme power trades turned up as well which i must get round to reading.

pondering going to Dead and Buried tomorrow, a tradgoth night that i failed to go to last month due to cider, (if i know anyone else going). saturday afternoon i am going to a party. sunday is free.
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finished Jem. liked, although it seems far too conviently symmetrical setup it kind of lost that towards the end and ended up nicely chaotic. coda interesting in itself. i'm not sure whether i'm reading books faster than getting new ones to read at the moment. must crack on.
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started reading Jem by Frederick Pohl.

[ profile] notajeep and [ profile] eldritchreality are here. "i am going to move in" says [ profile] notajeep.

i no longer have a flat in leicester : the keys were handed back in on friday. eek.


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Abigail Brady

May 2017

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