To quote Charlie Stross:

Incidentally, if you were wondering why authors blog ...

Being a novelist is an intensely socially isolating job. In fact, if you haven't done it, you might have difficulty comprehending just how weird the lifestyle is compared to any other occupation. We lock ourselves in an office for several hours a day, every day, and we don't interact with other people while we're working. In almost any other job, you deal with co-workers or members of the public and chat around the coffee station: but not if you're a novelist.

And here's the thing. That novelist in solitary confinement is socializing with other people inside his/her own head. You know, a novel is about bringing other people to life, but the other day I fled from a potentially interesting conversation in Caffe Nero because I was in the middle of writing.

Must be something paradoxical in there....

Writers always look for the little detail, the one authentic thing that you wouldn't automatically expect, and which therefore brings a scene to life.

So here's a clip of a Krav Maga instructor showing a gun disarm. Does this kind of thing work? Yes, because action is quicker than reaction (and the point is that the attacker is threatening, not actually pulling the trigger).

Do these guys here know what they're doing? Well, there's a little detail in here that's totally authentic, and they don't make explicit mention of it. Do you want to try watching it, and guess what it is?

So this is it. In most training (and you can check out other YouTube clips) someone takes a gun away from his partner then hands it back, and they have another go. Sounds sensible, except that the way you train is the way you react. It would be amusing if it wasn't tragic... because American police officers have been known to disarm people threatening them, then hand the weapon straight back, because under stress the frontal lobes shut down and action is performed by the amygdala. Intense emotion, automatic reaction.

This guy, in the clip, disarms his attacker, gets to a 'distance of safety'. And only then, he places the weapon back on the ground for the next go. That's the key detail! Even better would be do some kind of specific action that totally 'breaks the spell' to signal to the unconscious that the action sequence has ended (the place of safety has been reached). He might well be doing that already in a way that's not overt in the clip.

I take it you've seen the news. A Welsh robot can act as a scientist, discovering new stuff, designing and running its own experiments. And in the US, there's a couple of guys whose algorithm appears to be able to deduce laws of nature from experimental observations. Like, discovering the conservation of energy and other laws in a matter of minutes.

As always, presuppositions abound in code design, so some of the knowledge may have been implied in the software. But they'll have thought of that. I think this is cool stuff.

So I should be mentioning some of the lovely reviews of Black Blood, the US edition of the book also known as Dark Blood... From the Romantic Times Book Reviews (!) we have: Prepare to visit a nightmarish landscape in this highly entertaining sequel to Bone Song. It's a mix of horror, science fiction and crime story in a refreshingly unique plot. The chilling gothic cityscape is peopled with fascinating characters, both human and supernatural. The story is action-intense and filled with corruption and intrigue. Good luck putting this one down at bedtime.

Ta very much! Meanwhile, nationwide across the UK last night, Channel 4 broadcast one of its musical programmes, JD Set Presents, entirely on a group called Kids In Glass Houses. So that'll be my nephew Phil on drums!

They're doing really well, played the O2 Arena recently... Good on you!