Monday 17 June 2013

Daniel in bouldering initiative shocker


Sometime last week, D said "would it be OK if I went bouldering this weekend?" [Bouldering, if you don't know, is climbing, but low enough down that you don't need a rope. As distinct from soloing, which is when you're high enough to need a rope, but don't have one.] The plan was that one of his friends family would drive some of them up to the Peaks - somewhere near Stanage - for the Sunday. And a friend of his called Jamie would come and stay over on Saturday night. Had this been Miranda it would have been planned and communicated endlessly in detail; as it was D it was planned by grunts and assumed to work. Which it did: Jamie stayed over, a perfectly pleasant young lad, and they played computer games before retiring at a sensible hour, since they needed to get up unseasoanbly early:7:40 (for the weekend; D gets up then during the week anyway).

And all went well. I didn't worry much about the possibility of D falling and hurting himself, because there was no point in worrying, and it didn't happen.

I record this as probably the first time that D has gone out of himself in this way. He's gone on scout camps and stuff, but those are always organised by adults; AFAIK this was organised by them. Hopefully, they'll do more. He's just swapped (or tried to) his "enrichment activity" next year from Politics+Economics to PES (Perse Exploration Society), mostly because his friends are doing same, but also because he genuinely likes camping.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010

[Originally Having now re-skimmed in xfer in 2019, I've managed to add one - Temeraire - and it's meh.]

I ran across this list (via Use of Weapons, via an Iain Banks obit). So I thought I'd check. I've read 25, and disagree with the inclusion of 8.


* R - read (and if so, whether I agree it merits the list),
* N - not read.

Of the one's I've said "yes" to, almost all fit into the "an entirely new concept". Ender's game was for the video arcade generation, for example.

N The Handmaid’s Tale (1985)
R Ender’s Game (1985) - yes. An entirely new concept
N Radio Free Albemuth (1985)
R Always Coming Home (1985) - no. Not without merit, but compared to Earthsea, its nothing.
N This Is the Way the World Ends (1985) 
R Galápagos (1985) - no. Just a toy parable
N The Falling Woman (1986)            
N The Shore of Women (1986)            
N A Door Into Ocean (1986)            
N Soldiers of Paradise (1987)             
N Life During Wartime (1987) - but the Talking Heads song is astounding
R The Sea and Summer (1987) - yes. Elegaic
N Cyteen (1988)            
N Neverness (1988)            
N The Steerswoman (1989)            
R Grass (1989) - yes.
R Use of Weapons (1990) - yes. Classic Culture
R Queen of Angels (1990) - yes. The excitement and ultimate disappointment of a probe to another star
N Barrayar (1991)            
N Synners (1991)            
N Sarah Canary (1991)            
R White Queen (1991) - yes. Superb
R Eternal Light (1991) - yes. Mysterious mind-expanding space opera
R Stations of the Tide (1991) - yes. Pretty damn weird. Vacuum Flowers should also be on the list
N Timelike Infinity (1992)             
N Dead Girls (1992)             
N Jumper (1992)            
N China Mountain Zhang (1992)            
R Red Mars (1992) - no. Overblown. Icehenge is KSR's classic
R A Fire Upon the Deep (1992) - yes.
R Aristoi (1992) - yes.
N Doomsday Book (1992)            
N Parable of the Sower (1993)            
N Ammonite (1993)            
N Chimera (1993)            
R Nightside the Long Sun (1993) - no. Book of the New Sun is Wolfe's classic, as any Fule Kno
N Brittle Innings (1994)            
N Permutation City (1994)            
N Blood (1994)             
N Mother of Storms (1995)            
R Sailing Bright Eternity (1995) - no, drivel. In the Ocean of Night is the classic (and I'll allow you Across the Sea of Suns) but its downhill from there
N Galatea 2.2 (1995)            
R The Diamond Age (1995) - yes
N The Transmigration of Souls (1996)            
N The Fortunate Fall (1996)            
N The Sparrow/Children of God (1996/1998)            
N Holy Fire (1996)           
R Night Lamp (1996) - yes. Its Jack Vance, not at his best, but even his worst is better than most people's best
N In the Garden of Iden (1997)            
R Forever Peace (1997) - no. Read and marvel at The Forever War, and stop there
N Glimmering (1997)            
N As She Climbed Across the Table (1997)   
R The Cassini Division (1998) - yes
N Bloom (1998)            
R Vast (1998) - no. An attempt at weird / mysterious, but it doesn't work          
N The Golden Globe (1998)           
N Headlong (1999)            
N Cave of Stars (1999)            
N Genesis (2000)            
N Super-Cannes (2000)            
N Under the Skin (2000)            
N Perdido Street Station (2000)            
N Distance Haze (2000)            
R Revelation Space trilogy (2000) -yes
R Salt (2000) - no. I *think* I've read this one. All his books are sort-of the same, and nearly-good-enough. Consider Snow instead         
N Ventus (2001)            
N The Cassandra Complex (2001)            
N Light (2002)            
R Altered Carbon (2002) - yes
N The Separation (2002)            
N The Golden Age (2002)            
N The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003)            
N Natural History (2003)            
N The Labyrinth Key / Spears of God             
N River of Gods (2004)            
N The Plot Against America (2004)             
N Never Let Me Go (2005)            
N The House of Storms (2005)            
N Counting Heads (2005)            
N Air (Or, Have Not Have) (2005)            
N Accelerando (2005)            
N Spin (2005)            
N My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time (2006)            
N The Road (2006)            
N Temeraire / His Majesty’s Dragon (2006)      [2019 update: now read, and no: read Uprooted, or Spinning Silver]     
N Blindsight (2006)            
N HARM (2007)            
N The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (2007)            
N The Secret City (2007)            
N In War Times (2007)            
N Postsingular (2007)            
N Shadow of the Scorpion (2008)            
R The Hunger Games trilogy (2008-2010) - maybe. I read book 1, and liked it, but declined the chance to read book 2           
N Little Brother (2008)            
N The Alchemy of Stone (2008)            
R The Windup Girl (2009) - yes
N Steal Across the Sky(2009)            
N Boneshaker (2009)            
N Zoo City (2010)            
N Zero History (2010)            
N The Quantum Thief (2010)            

I'm not doing a good job reading the recent stuff, am I?