Und ich wünsche Ihnen ein fantastisches neues Jahr! It is New Years Eve, which is known as Silvester here in Germany (as in Switzerland and, I guess, Austria). The lack of an apostrophe in the previous sentence reflects the fact that I am using a German keyboard to write this... I am here in Berlin, looking forward to the biggest street party ever, tonight. Yvonne and I checked out the site last night; the whole of Straße des 17. Juni, from the Große Stern in the middle of the Tiergarten, all the way up to the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor), was filled with vendors of hot drinks (including Glühwein) and cold drinks and curry sausages and woolly hats and strobe-light jewellery and a ferris wheel (which Yvonne went on, but I didn't... ha, she just found the apostrophe for me) and there are sound stages at both ends of the boulevard, for the live bands. Right up at the gate was the ice bar, formed entirely of ice and decorated with ice sculptures of bears (Berlin's symbol). Marvellous. Ausgezeichnet.

My German was pretty rusty, but I used the amazing Michel Thomas courses to get me up to speed before coming here. Even if you believe you have no talent for languages, check this guy out at . His courses will have you fired up with excitement and conversing in another language in hours. I know how to teach stuff -- software engineering, martial arts, other stuff -- but this guy is fantastic.

I hope that 2005 will be a wonderful year for you. May your dreams come true. Fly straight, Pilots.



I hope you're having a good time. A seasonal chill-out is good for the soul. Me, I'm enjoying my Christmas present of a yellow-painted steel sphere with a handle attached. It's superb: my very first kettlebell, which we picked up a week ago from and thanks to Peter for the friendly greeting and impromptu tutorial. I've swung that little monster every day after my combat conditioning (that's from and it's high intensity fun. Yvonne bought it for me. Ta lots.

If you're a UK resident and you're close to a good bookshop, you may not have to wait till the New Year for a RESOLUTION. That's the title of my new book, officially published on January 6th, but already making sneak appearances on some shelves. I hope you like it.

Or, if you'd like to grab hold of some shorter Meaney fiction (I mean shorter fiction, not shorter Meaney... I stand almost as high as Harlan Ellison's elbow, I'll have you know) then scoot over to the fabulous new online magazine, Aeon, situated at and check it out. By a weird cosmic coincidence, three of the authors in issue one were performing martial arts forms (kata) in the book dealers' hall in Boston during Worldcon. Lori Ann White, mistress of the Chinese fighting arts, demonstrated a shaolin five animals form, while I showed one of the three shotokan kata which are alleged to have originated in the shaolin temple. Then Walter Jon Williams, who is a most courteous gentleman, demonstrated a kempo form, and I immediately took out a subscription to Asimov's. (Walter had been manning the Asimov's table, along with Connie Willis.) I've been a huge admirer of Walter's work for a long time. I'm honoured to have a story of mine appear alongside one of his.

If you wonder why I keep making references to the Labyrinth, then the answer's in RESOLUTION. It's a magical place. Keep focused, Pilots, and may your wishes come true in the coming year. Per ardua ad astra.



That'll be the dative or ablative case of a gerund, unless I'm mistaken. Doesn't matter. This narrative accelerates so far beyond current norms that old Latin and the world we know right now are equally left in the dust. I'm talking about Accelerando, a splendiferous novel by Charles Stross: an intellectual firework display that just keeps getting faster and furiouser...

It begins in this 21st Century, with a not-exactly-entrepeneur called Manfred Macx living a lifestyle that's rocketing beyond the current norms... but here's the thing: Manfred's on the foothill of an exponential slope. I read the first chapter with my mouth hanging open – good job I waited for the cold weather, so there were no flies about – when I wasn't laughing. Oh, yeah... It's a hugely *funny* book. Imagine that you're in the headstand position, watching a downhill skier: there's a blood-rush to the brain and a sense of someone on a hurtling trajectory upwards. That'll be the entire human race you're watching evolve.

It's a singular novel, about the forthcoming singularity. Oh, and that cat...

Please read Accelerando. If you're the kind of person that knows why applets and sandboxes go together like bagels and soft cheese, then you absolutely GOTTA read it. Regardless, it's mind-expanding and fun. Marvellous. Loved it. Thanks, Charlie.