Meaning this review of Bone Song from the perspicacious John Markley, who among other things writes insightful critiques of SF books. One of the places they appear is his own blog, which has the wonderful title of Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic.

Meanwhile, this small dark picture is of the Oberbaumbrücke at night. It's a famous Berlin bridge between the old East and West, and if you look with a magnifying glass you'll see me doing my private re-enactment of a Cold War spy swap.

By the way, I don't want to confess that Al Reynolds' is bigger than mine, but honestly, did you see the news about his publishing deal? He's a cool dude and his books are great, so good on him.



Available here. I've only just taken a look at some of these 18-minute lectures, on my pal Vince's recommendation. So here's what I think.

Imagine you were sitting in H.G. Wells' study, having a philosophical chat about the future. You might imagine a time when electric devices would broadcast moving images and live sound to receiving devices in every home. And how emancipated would the citizens of the world be, as they could tune in to lectures and lessons taught by the finest minds of the age!

...Or watch EastEnders/Who Wants To Be A Millionaire/Big Brother/Friends/{insert soap opera | game show of choice}

Or if you add some calculating power, you could connect devices so that on demand people could download pictures of other people who've forgotten to put their clothes on... Or, they could watch lectures by the people who write the non-fiction books that you're most interested in. Like here.

(This is my opinion based on watching three lectures and recognizing quite a few names among the other guest lecturers. There's a whole load of people I've never heard of, so the good ones might be a minority or the majority. But hey, I'm willing to find out.)

Steady as you go, Pilots.



...Wake by Rob Sawyer, and it's got the most rigorous working-out of a science idea you'll ever come across in fiction. I don't even want to say what the theme of the book is, although you might well know already.

Also, the main character, Caitlin, is blind. One of my academic friends mentioned that one of the things he liked about Paradox, and my other Nulapeiron books, is that the main character is physically disabled. (Also, the early Pilots are blind in the realspace universe.) But there's no attempt really to explore the issues.

I do very little teaching these days, but the last two corporate training events I did (one was business analysis, the other software design) each included a non-sighted delegate. I was hugely impressed with both guys; and with the way they use software to navigate through GUI-heavy environments via speech synthesis and keyboard response.

And Rob's got that nailed exactly here. Another nice one, my friend.

Oh, and... there's an approach to science that I used in my only humorous story, Entangled Eyes are Smiling, but it's throw-away, because I never found a profound use for it. Rob has, and it's one of the essential steps to making his idea work as science in addition to storytelling.

I'm so trying to avoid spoilers here. This has to be least specific review ever, but the book is nice. Very nice.

Fly straight, Pilots



...Or to be precise, I just have submitted ABSORPTION to my wonderful editor at Gollancz, Simon Spanton.


Do you mind if I just lie down on the floor for a bit, and enjoy my stunned coma?

Fly straight, Pilots.