Friday, December 24


More Words, Deeper Hole

If you have ever spent any time in the science fiction groups on Usenet, you'd recognise the name of James Nicoll. Witty and erudite, and the unfortunate victim of more bizarre accidents than the collected populations of five of the smaller European states*, he has been a regular contributor to rec.arts.sf.written for as long as I can remember:

Results 1 - 10 of about 57,600 for james nicoll. in rec.arts.sf.written.* (1.01 seconds)

Anyway, he now has a blog. Okay, it's at Livejournal, but we all have to start somewhere.

An Open Letter to my cat Hillary

I appreciate that there can be no pause in the ongoing war between you and your bitterest enemy, you tail. I applaud your diligence and am amazed at the RPMs you reach chasing it. I would offer one lone bit of advice: seek a venue for tail chasing other than the slippery edge of a water-filled bath tub.

James has a number of cats, and many of them seem to have acquired his affinity towards implausible misadventure:

Blotchy has a history of run-in with doors. In fact, I once had to cut up a door to get his paw from under it. In most ways, he is a bright cat but he just seems to have bad luck with doors.

This time, he had somehow managed to pull the bathroom door closed as he walked out, pinning himself between the door and the wall. He could have easily escaped by going backward but he does not understand that. Instead he must have kept trying to push forward, getting increasingly upset and angry that the door was grabbing him. The growls alarmed the other cats, who tried to calm him down by attacking him (I assume this makes sense if your brain is the size of a walnut), thus all the noise.

Apart from his cats, James has one of the best jobs in the world: He is paid (paid!) to read science fiction novels before they come out.

Lois McMaster Bujold's The Hallowed Hunt (non-spoiler)

So I finally read this. It's sitting in the work related TBR pile for ages, because I keep what I think will be the best manuscripts for last, to help me get through the latest "Recent Plot Chunk of On-Going Fantasy Story #62" and "Loud Explosion Clumsy Info Dump Space Adventure #23", which I wouldn't have to read if you people would just stop buying them.

Bias: I am not a fantasy fan. It's not like I hate it but it just doesn't punch the right buttons for me. It's like coffee, which I like, vs tea, which I am indifferent to.

Omission: I have not read the second book in this series.

Good News: It doesn't matter. Each book set in this universe is a complete book and each comes with enough information of the world that you do not need to have read the other books.

Lois McMaster Bujold is one of my favourite authors, and The Curse of Chalion is perhaps her finest work. James is reading the manuscript (MS) for the third book set in that world, something we mortals will not have the opportunity to do for months!

It's not all good, though:

A Short But Unkind Review

So for my sins, I was assigned Mission to Minerva by James P. Hogan. This is the fifth book in the Giants series, of which I have read the first three and this one. Nothing I have heard about Entoverse (the one I missed) makes me want to hunt it down but when I was a teen, I was very fond of _Inherit the Stars_.

Bias calibration: I am on record as thinking Hogan succumbed to the Brain Eater years ago. I base this on the crank theories he promotes on his website (and in his books, but there's really no way to tell just from a book if the author is using the idea because they think it makes for a good story or because they really truly think Jupiter horks out Venus sized loogies from time to time). Recently I discovered Hogan is a defender of David Irving and a promoter of the Institute for Historical Review as a news site, and swore off reading Hogan. A discussion with my boss in which various valid points were made convinced me to read this one for them, although I am sure they would accepted a no from me.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present James Nicoll. Please keep a safe distance, and be sure to extinguish any open flames.

* "What's the difference between a radiant space heater and an oven, when you get right down to it? Aside from the fact that I don't stick my leg in an oven."

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:16 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 Heh. Been a long time since I read that group. But I remember the man. Blog duly bookmarked.

Posted by: Kathy K at Sunday, December 26 2004 01:46 PM (xSrFL)

2 Hey, very tangentially related, but didn't you have a fantasy story you started publishing here and never updated? Just sayin' is all.

Posted by: Mike at Monday, December 27 2004 08:34 PM (eUZox)

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