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[personal profile] white_hart
I thought that a walk would probably be the ideal thing to do today to reboot my brain back into normal mode after Eastercon. We went to Wytham Woods to see if the bluebells were out yet, and did a walk I've been wanting to do for a while, through the woods to Swinford Toll Bridge and then along the Thames Path to Godstow before heading back across the fields to go back into the woods at the south-eastern gate and heading back to the car park.

Images from walk on 220419

I'd thought that it would be a really nice circuit, and I wasn't disappointed. The bluebells were indeed out, and the woods looked lovely, and that turns out to be a lovely peaceful stretch of the Thames Path (as long as you can ignore the increasing noise from the A34, obviously). It was pretty much dead on seven miles, with a reasonable amount of elevation (walking has made me realise that while Oxford itself is on the floor of the river valley, it's actually ringed with quite hilly hills, and Wytham Hill is 165m which, while obviously nothing by the standards of the Lake District or the Highlands, isn't actually too shabby), on a lovely sunny day.

Eastercon

Apr. 22nd, 2019 07:12 pm
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[personal profile] white_hart
Setting off for Eastercon on Friday I felt roughly equal parts terrified and excited, but I had a fantastic time and ended up feeling rather sorry that Easter being so late meant that this week is week 0 of term so I couldn't stay until today and take Tuesday off to recover (though by the time I left yesterday afternoon I was feeling tired enough that I was probably ready to come home).

I went to lots of interesting panels, and really liked how much of the content was focused on books, rather than the more media-centred content at Nine Worlds. Particular favourites included the art of reviewing, #ownvoices, maps and landscapes in fantasy, decolonising SFF and the Moomins; I only went to one panel that I really wasn't impressed with, on romance in SFF, which suffered from poor moderation and an unwillingness to explore the topic more widely, but I wasn't too sorry to leave it early given that romance in literature is something I have a fairly hit-and-miss relationship with anyway (and I had an excellent conversation about romance in SFF with the people I was sitting with before the panel started).

It was also really good to spend time socialising: with people I already knew but don't see in person nearly often enough; with people I hadn't met before; and, best of all, with people I have known online for a very long time but had never managed to meet in person before (in once case, someone who is almost my oldest internet acquaintance who I was absolutely thrilled to finally meet). The membership skews much older than Nine Worlds, so rather than feeling like one of the oldies I was firmly in the middle, age-wise, and in a lot of ways I felt much more like I belonged than I have done at Nine Worlds. I think there's a strong probability that I will be going again next year. If I do, I think I would probably stay in the con hotel; I'd picked the Ibis over the road this time on the grounds that it was close enough to get to easily but might give me a bit of space if I needed it, but I didn't really take advantage of the space and it did strike me that if I'd been in the con hotel I could have nipped upstairs to make tea between panels rather than paying £3 for a teabag and some hot water in the hotel bar...
oursin: Cod with aghast expression (kepler codfish)
[personal profile] oursin

Goodness knows of the bonkersness of the people who get grassed-up on Ask A Manager there are, I fear, depths still unsounded, because every time one thinks it can't get any worse, lo and behold, something else comes along, and well, WOT??!!

My boss wants us to go on an all-day rafting trip. There is a new director with (okay, these would always be red flags for me) 'outgoing personality', 'emphasis on team-building events. And during a corporate conference there will be 'an all-day rafting trip as a break-out event'.

(Am I being perhaps too bleak in my thought that this is like the famed Hancock episode 'The Bowmans': 'Oh look, they do all have fallen down the old abandoned mineshaft'?)

The person who has posed the question to AAM has already raised the issue of being a weak swimmer and not comfortable around deep water: the director's response was what does not kill us makes us stronger 'she’d rather see me focus on how to meet a challenge rather than how to get out of it'.

Do we think that 'With your shield or on it' is really a suitable management strategy for the current era? Or indeed, playing chicken to test people's commitment and dedication?

AAM has pointed out that enquirer is very likely not the only person for whom there may be access/H&S issues.

Reading: Women Invent the Future

Apr. 22nd, 2019 05:18 pm
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[personal profile] white_hart
Women Invent the Future is an anthology of SF by women writers produced by the responsible technology think-tank doteveryone and made available for free, either as an ebook or as a print copy in return for postage. I can't remember exactly when I downloaded my copy, but I decided to give it a go this weekend as it was the first unread book on my Kindle and I thought it might be easier to read short stories than to try to concentrate on the plot of a novel while I was at Eastercon.

There are six stories and one poem in the anthology, as well as an introduction from space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock on women, science and science fiction. Madeline Ashby's 'A Cure for Jet Lag' is set at a party in a near-future Los Angeles and looks at business relationships in the world of tech start-ups; Anne Charnock's 'The Adoption' is about parenthood and the possibilities of reproductive technology; Becky Chambers' 'Chrysalis' is about a mother letting her daughter follow her dreams of space exploration; Liz Williams' 'In the God-Fields' is a sweeping post-human interstellar epic; and Walidah Imarisha's poem 'Androids Dream of Electric Freedom' is a re-imagining of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in verse. My favourite stories were Molly Flatt's 'A Darker Wave', an examination of the possibilities of neurotechnology which is also a reworking of Macbeth, and Cassandra Khaw's 'There are Wolves in These Woods', a lyrical fairy-tale about women using technology to identify and avoid predatory men.

(no subject)

Apr. 22nd, 2019 09:17 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] mme_hardy and [personal profile] polyamorous!

Lost in Interpretation

Apr. 22nd, 2019 02:50 pm
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[personal profile] steepholm
No doubt you have been feeling thoroughly abandoned as far as my Japan blog is concerned, and not without reason. My busyness has continued without let over the last week, and the present opportunity – as I travel north into deepest Touhoku on a shinkansen bound for Aomori – is the first I’ve had in about a week, when I’ve been both a) awake and b) alone (except for all the other passengers, but we try to give each other space) for a few hours together. In short, I’m an introvert who’s been living the life an extrovert, and my admiration for the latter has only increased. How do they keep it up?

Still, when I think that I came here four years ago for the first time knowing nobody at all, I'm certainly not going to complain.

As luck would have it, there are some experiences I can skip over quickly, either because they’re things I’ve written about before or because they don’t make for a spectator sport. One such is my second visit to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka last Monday. Two years ago, I went alone. This time, having ordered the tickets on the internet months in advance at 1am (effectively the only way to do it) I was with Mihoko, Satomi, and Mihoko’s honorary nephew, Mark, born in Tokyo to an Anglo-American couple, and – having lived in the States for a while – trying his luck at working in Japan. I think I would be thoroughly confused if fate played such a game of blind man’s buff with me, but he seemed anything but deracinated. We had a good time, and although Tokyo was still going through its seasonal 三寒四温 (three [days] cold, four hot) we were lucky enough to hit on a spring day that fully justified my flowery new espadrilles.

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This was followed by dinner at Miho’s, where her husband Hiroshi – having cooked rather delicious tendon (that’s tempura on rice, not, er, tendon) – made me go pink with pleasure by commenting on the improvement in my Japanese. He’s not the kind of man to pay such a compliment lightly. (That said, my Japanese too is 三寒四温: sometimes I think I’m really “getting” it, at others I can hardly resent the well-meaning “There-are-chopsticks-inside” that I just received from person who sold me an eki-bento. A lot depends on how tired I am.)

I don’t think I’ve mentioned here that I’ve been collaborating on/contributing to a book on Lucy M. Boston’s Green Knowe series. It’s Miho’s project, really: she was the one who introduced me, not to the books but to the house and its chatelaine, as avid readers of this blog will know. Anyway, she asked me to check some of the Japanese contributors’ English while I was here, which is largely what has been taking so much of my time. On Tuesday, that time was spent very pleasantly at the house of her colleague (and old schoolfriend) Keiko, who is a designer specialising in soundscapes, and whose beautiful house in Suginami reflects her designer’s eye.

We met behind Tokyo Joshidai, my old stamping ground from 2017, whence we walked past a tiny farm owned by yet another of their high-school chums. Keiko bought some vegetables, paying using the honesty box – which was pretty impressive for what is, after all, relatively central Tokyo. This system is not at all uncommon in Japan, but in the UK I’ve seen it only in the countryside.

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Then we went through a park with a lake with an island, said to be the habitation of a kami, though if it’s a shrine it’s an unofficial one. The reason for the holiness (or its main manifestation, if you prefer to look at it that way round) is a spring, which kept the village watered in former times. As we passed, a family walked past the other way, and I heard a young boy say (slightly petulantly) “神様が見えない”, which might mean “I can’t see the god” or “The god is invisible,” but given the note of complaint I suspect the former.

We will pass over the editing work, but check out the lovely interiors!

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Wednesday morning I met with Philip Seaton, co-organiser of last year’s Contents Tourism symposium, in Musashi-Sakai, a bit further west than Mitaka. It was good to see him again, and talk about possible future collaborations. He told me quite a bit about life in Japan for a foreign academic, as well, and for the father of child with autism – which is not all plain sailing, you may be sure. (I was reminded of this a little later in the week, when my friend Yoshiko told me about one of her PhD students who has complained about having to sit in a class with a wheelchair user. Admittedly she thought the student was out of line, but I can’t imagine any PhD student in the UK even voicing such a complaint.) On the plus side, his son’s autism partly takes the form of an obsession with the layouts of department stores, and thanks to this he was able to tell me that in Japan – and perhaps everywhere? – there are never any toilets on the ground floor. A deterrent, I suppose, to casual urination. This is a useful life hack.

I went on to have lunch with my friend Yuki, after which we wandered the shrines and cat-focused shopping streets of one of Tokyo’s more traditional districts, Yanaka. I was particularly happy to find a little shrine where sakura and wisteria (aka fuji) were in bloom together, like a little Spring miracle.

Sakura and Fuji bloom togetherDSC02510

As I returned, I was met by Junko, my landlady, who was suffering a heavy cold and was a bit flustered because a new guest (she thought from Indonesia) had no Japanese, and would I help interpret? I told her I’d be happy to try. In fact, the “Indonesian” turned out to be an English potter living in the Gower peninsula, who’d come to Japan on a kind of pottery pilgrimage. I managed to sort out the communication problem, which was rather empowering – my first interpreting gig! The price I exacted was to make Junko (plus dog) pose for a photograph, poor suffering woman…

DSC02515

In experimental vein, I tried out the local Indian restaurant for dinner, choosing the “beer set” – which combined lamb and spinach (I’d been a-hankering for lamb, which is not generally on the Japanese menu outside of Hokkaido, where the famous “Genghis Khan” is a dish I long to try) with a nan bread. The curry itself was fine, though nothing special, but the nan was amazing. Huge, and light, and crisp, and fluffy, all at once – a like a kind of Garden of Adonis that gathers every season unto itself. []

On Thursday I had lunch with Hirohisa Igarashi, a professor at Toyou University, again about possible collaborations. He’s a very charming man, and took me to a charming Italian place. Although we started off in Japanese, I found my capacity slowly ebbing away like an iPhone’s battery, and bit by bit we switched to English (in which he is, in any case, far more proficient). He gave me a little tour of the university, too, including the viewing gallery on its top floor, where a Chinese violinist was playing traditional music to set off the Sky Tree and the rest of the Tokyo skyline. Could I revive within me her symphony and song… but I didn’t have the record button on.

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Then I went on to Nakano Broadway to buy more Kin-iro Mosaic. As you can see, they are all about welcoming in the new era there:

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I am collecting, as I encounter them, ways in which the change of era is being acknowledged. I’m interested in whether it’s just seen as a commercial opportunity, as with the T-shirts an entry or two back, or indeed in this poster, which advertises its PREMIUM SALE on the grounds that it’s the last of the Heisei era. (Next month, the same sale will no doubt be advertised as the first of the Reiwa.)

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These are of course just the very visible ripples on a deep sea of culture, but not without value or curiosity.

After that, it was dinner at Miho’s with Mikako and Nobu (my interpreter at the National Diet Library two years ago, whose English I am also checking), and so to bed.

On Friday I was giving a lecture at Taisho University for Yoshiko, as I have done, now, twice before. The drill was much the same, so I won’t describe it in detail, but I gave them a potted version of my Cotswolds research, after which I had a nice chat with the students, and then an even nicer dinner (as is by now traditional) with Yoshiko and Hiroko, eating, drinking, and making scholarly. I first met them at a conference in Ohio three years ago, and have been knocking back sushi and sake ever since – albeit with long periods of abstinence, when the trifling matter of an intervening Eurasian continent adjourns our fun. I’m sure we’ll find a way to get back on track at IRSCL in Sweden this summer, though, albeit with surströmming (possibly) and vodka substituting for our accustomed fare.

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And thus closed my time in Tokyo. On Saturday I boarded the shinkansen for Kobe, where I had a different set of adventures, but perhaps that’s enough – or more than enough – for now.

Apollo 11

Apr. 21st, 2019 07:52 pm
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] redbird
I saw the movie Apollo 11 this afternoon, at the Somerville Theatre, and enjoyed it. This film is very much what it says on the tin, a documentary of the Apollo 11 flight put together entirely from archival footage, and works well.

I recommend seeing this on a large screen (in a movie theatre, or maybe on a large flat-screen television, rather than something like an iPad).

I had meant to go sooner, but I've been dealing with a lingering cough; there were a few days when I wasn't exactly sick, but was still coughing enough that it seemed unkind to go to the movies. By this afternoon, I sat for more than an hour and a half without coughing at all, aided only by a single medicated cough drop.

Culinary

Apr. 21st, 2019 08:19 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

No bread made during the week.

Friday night supper: a rather nice, though I say it myself, sardegnera with salami.

Saturday breakfast rolls: basic buttermilk, 3:1 strong white/buckwheat flour.

Today's lunch: cinnamon aubergines, which turned out v nicely (I thought they might have got a bit burnt, but not), okra and purple sprouting broccoli simmered in coconut milk with ginger puree, minced green coriander (cilantro) and fish sauce (a little bland - perhaps needed more coriander &/or fish sauce), and sweet potato crinkly oven fries.

Bread tomorrow, I think.

(no subject)

Apr. 21st, 2019 12:27 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] ankaret and [personal profile] lexin!

The City in the Middle of the Night

Apr. 20th, 2019 11:46 am
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[personal profile] voidampersand
The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders, is a dense, serious science fiction novel, set on a tidally-locked world. Read more... )

Female buddy movies

Apr. 20th, 2019 03:19 pm
batwrangler: Just for me. (Default)
[personal profile] batwrangler
Can I have a female buddy movie that isn't about being as crass as male buddy movies?

I'm not interested in drugs, smoking, casual sex, or engaging in crime sprees and other irresponsible behaviors. I mean, yay! for the women who are getting what they want now that these films are happening, but I'd like something different.

Anyone got any recs?
oursin: image of hedgehogs having sex (bonking hedgehogs)
[personal profile] oursin

Bedroom confidential: what sex therapists hear from the couch.

We confess ourself unimpressed at the entirely false dichotomy set up that in Ye Olden Dayez what sex therapists saw was physical problems, and now what they see are 'bio-psycho-social' difficulties.

Aphrodite knows, I wish somebody would set to and research the history of sex therapy in the UK, because it is a Different Story from that in the USA, and I know where the bodies are buried where a whole lot of extremely pertinent archival material may be found. But my distinct sense is that they were working on a fairly holistic (though I doubt that back in the 1950s they would have used that word) model, what with calling on the insights of the Balint Method and so on. It was by no means mechanistic. See also this blog post re a friend of mine's research on a particular woman doctor's work in marital counselling in private practice in the 1950s.

So there's that about The Past.

And as far as physical problems go, these seem fairly prominent in contemporary consultations, what with the prevalence of ED and 'increase in women with vaginismus'.

And in the realm of plus ca change, or maybe things are even going backwards

For all the talk of lifting stigmas, therapists say uniformly that, for many people – even the majority – sex remains a taboo. Moyle points out that society is still predominantly heteronormative and kinks are not openly discussed. “We’re in this really weird paradox where everybody looks like they are having sex and is talking about sex, but the realistic, normal conversations are not happening.”

Even at the individual level, Lovett says conversations today are no more frank or open than they were in the mid-1980s. Buchanan finds there are more barriers than there were 15 years ago. “A bit of me is still surprised by people’s ignorance around their own bodies and their partner’s,” says Knowles. More pragmatic, robust sexual education is sorely needed.

(no subject)

Apr. 20th, 2019 11:31 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] forthwritten!

When is an Adjective a Label?

Apr. 20th, 2019 10:18 am
steepholm: (Default)
[personal profile] steepholm
A few years ago, John Boyne had a hit book, later a film, in which he told the story of an oppressed group from the point of view of a member of the group doing the oppressing, and made the latter's suffering the centre of the story.

This device clearly worked so well for him that he has apparently done it again, in a different arena. His latest novel (which I won't name here, because even the title is pretty horribly transphobic) has caused quite a flurry on Twitter, I gather. I suppose I'll have to read it at some point, because I'm meant to be giving a lecture on this kind of fiction later in the summer, but it can certainly wait until I get back to England.

What I want to mull about in this post isn't his novel, which sounds terrible, so much as an article he recently published to promote it, in which he joins the ranks of those disavowing the word "cis." The reason he gives is a familiar one, and one that has some superficial plausibility: one shouldn't foist labels onto people who don't wish to accept them. He doesn't "identify as" a cis man, but simply as a man.

The obvious riposte is a tu quoque: how would Boyne (who is gay) feel if straight men refused to be described as such, despite being attracted exclusively to the opposite sex? If they said, "How dare you call me a straight man - I'm just a man!"? At best, it would seem a rather strange thing to say. More likely, he would hear it as a way of dividing the world into gay people and "normal" people.

Or, let's take a different kind of case. How would Boyne feel if someone described him as six feet tall? (Let's assume for the sake of argument that that is his height.) Would he say, "I'm not a six-foot man, I'm just a man! How dare you foist that label onto me when I don't identify with it?"

I very much doubt he would protest in those terms. But why not? What is the difference between that and calling him cis?

It's an obvious point, and trans people and allies have been painstakingly making it for years, but otherwise-sensible people have been curiously resistant to it. Somehow, it seems that certain things (being six feet tall, being Irish) are harmless adjectives, the use of which, assuming they are true, would cause no one to feel infringed upon, even where - as in the case of nationality - they might have a real connection to one's sense of personal identity. Other things, no less accurate, are regarded as "labels", the application of which is "foisting". For an adjective to be applied felicitously, it just has to be consistent with fact; a label, by contrast, also has to be something one "identifies with."

Trans people tend to use the word "cis" as an adjective, but many cis people hear it as a label - as a political act, not a neutral description. The reason, I suspect, is that this is also the way they hear the word "trans." Just as any trans person who opens their mouth is automatically called a "trans activist," so to mention that one is trans is to be parsed as making a kind of political point. That, I think, is why disavowal of "cis" is basically transphobic.

Still, all that said, the distinction between "adjective" and "label" is not a sharp one, any more than that between constantive and performative language generally. If I had time, and were not on a train to Kobe, I would spend a couple of hours maundering that, but for now I will refer you to my friend Mr Derrida.

Reading: The Honey Month

Apr. 19th, 2019 10:51 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
I first heard of Amal El-Mohtar when her short story 'Seasons of Glass and Iron' was nominated for the Hugo Awards a couple of years ago (and eventually won). That was the first year I paid attention to the Hugo short fiction nominations (and how I discovered Uncanny magazine, too); I read all of the nominated stories that were freely available online, and El-Mohtar's was by far my favourite, so I went looking to see what else she'd written. The answer turned out to be mostly short stories in anthologies, but there was one single-authored book available on Amazon: The Honey Month.

The Honey Month is a collection of very short stories and poems, themed around a gift of a month's supply of samples of different honeys. Each piece begins with notes on that day's honey - colour, smell, taste - followed by a story or poem inspired by it. El-Mohtar's writing is beautiful: lyrical, sensuous, atmospheric, and several of the pieces in this collection play with familiar fairytale narratives in the way I loved so much in 'Seasons of Glass and Iron'. It's a short book, but utterly delightful and deeply absorbing.
oursin: Illustration from the Kipling story: mongoose on desk with inkwell and papers (mongoose)
[personal profile] oursin

I know there's probably entirely justified concern about what information Facebook is gleaning about people who use it - and even if my use of it is pretty minimal it would still be problematic to give it up when there are people in my life who do use it as their primary means of contact.

But I have been lately been given to wonder exactly how granular and detailed is the information that is gleaned, and, okay, I daresay my adblocker is blocking ads so I'm not seeing these anyway, and I've gone into the ads settings and turned off just about everything that might be deployed to advertise things to me -

Which hasn't stopped, once or twice over the past weeks, sponsored advertising posts popping up in my timeline WOT, but after I have spent some time clicking to hide these, the hint appears to be taken...

But, anyway, in the wholly Point Thahr: Misst stakes, when I go into Settings/Ads/Preferences/'Advertisers', and find a whole swathe who come from 'contact list added to Facebook', they are 99.9999 recurring US-based, most of them realtors, with a tiny sprinkling of health-related organisations. And I go through, and I delete them, or at least remove them from view, and wonder Y O Y? how pointless is that? given that my location is one of the few bits of public-facing information available?

Or is this a subtle misleading? and in fact I am being bombarded with subliminal wombattery, because their algorithms have noted that what I post is mostly wombats? and I am being lulled into a false sense of security?

Reading: Women and Power

Apr. 19th, 2019 09:34 am
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
Mary Beard's Women and Power is a compilation of the slightly updated texts of two lectures, originally given in 2014 and 2017, tracing the classical antecedents of our current political discourse and structures of power and the exclusion of women from both, together with an afterword addressing issues which arose between the second lecture and the publication of, in my case, the paperback edition (most notably #MeToo). The first lecture, 'The Public Voice of Women', looks at the Greek tradition of public oratory and how that still colours our perception of public discourse, causing women's voices to be marginalised and ignored; the second, 'Women in Power', looks at portrayals of powerful women in ancient Greece (Clytemnestra, the Amazons, Medusa) and how these are still used to attack women who seek power.

It's a very short book - only just over 100 pages, with a lot of those given up to illustrations which were presumably included on the slides accompanying Beard's original talks - but it's well-written and doesn't pull its punches, and while I already had at least a passing familiarity with most of the classical examples Beard cites the connections to contemporary Western culture were interesting and thought-provoking.

Reading: Planetfall

Apr. 18th, 2019 07:47 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
Emma Newman's Planetfall is set in a human colony on a distant planet. Over twenty years after its founding, the colony is contented and comfortable, supported by advanced technology (including 3D printers which are capable of producing anything the colony needs), but that changes when a stranger arrives, claiming to the the only survivor of a group of colonists whose pods crashed at original planetfall.

The novel is narrated by Ren, an engineer and the person responsible for maintaining the 3D printers, with frequent flashbacks both to the events surrounding planetfall and her life before that, on a dystopian Earth controlled by corporate government and troubled by conflict over declining water resources. It's clear from the start that Ren and the colony's leader, Mack - a charismatic figure who was an advertising executive before joining the colony project - share a secret relating to the "accidental" loss of the colonists at planetfall; Newman's careful plotting allows the reader to uncover the truth gradually through the course of the novel, each revelation building on the last without ever giving away enough information to spoil the surprise of the next.

As much as the plot, though, Planetfall is an exploration of Ren's character, and this was what I really loved. I'm always happy to find SF with middle-aged women as protagonists (Ren is actually seventy, but in the context of a society where life expectancy could be double what it currently is I think that counts as middle-aged); Planetfall's protagonist is also bisexual, a woman of colour, and suffers from an anxiety disorder that is portrayed in an absolutely realistic and relatable way (I understand that Newman was drawing at least in part on personal experience). I was really happy to see mental illness portrayed so well in an SF setting; it really does make a difference to be able to see an aspect of myself that's normally absent from fiction reflected in a character.

Planetfall was the first of Newman's books I've read, but I don't think it will be the last.
oursin: The Delphic Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel (Delphic sibyl)
[personal profile] oursin

Apparently there was some hoohah lately about people's degrees not matching up with their A-level results?? and people doing better than their A-level grades might have suggested so it was grade inflation? (whether there was evidence of the converse, and people with smashing A-level results and mediocre degrees, deponent knoweth not).

And I feel this fits in a bit with my post earlier this week in that it is weighted to one moment of shining early promise...

Years ago, I read somewhere about somebody who had, after a perhaps not very starry start, become an internationally renowned expert in, I think, educational theory, had published widely in the relevant peer-reviewed journals and with top publishers, won awards etc: and applying for some post, somebody on the panel looked at the c.v. and said, 'huh, they only got a 2.2 from [might have been a polytechnic? anyway, non-elite institution]'.

Okay, with the numbers of sly hoaxers there are in the world, perhaps it is a necessary check on people being who they say they are to have them put down educational information from decades ago, though I very much doubt this sort of thing gets checked ('Did XY attend your school and did they take and pass Geography O-level in year in question?') But there comes a point when the exact grades at least should no longer matter?

I also think of those young persons of promise who perhaps did something - a first book or whatever - that was considered a major achievement and the precursor to very great things indeed and basically either never got the second album together at all, or it was not quite all that.

Or, they got some cushy post and sat back. Or didn't even get the first book out in spite of being considered sure to do great things.

While others do not really hit their stride until much later - this is not, I think, the same as those women artists who have to wait until they are 90 and all their male competitors and critics have died off to be recognised, I'm thinking more of people who get it together, not entirely unlike oneself, in the middle way of life. And possibly not having given any particular signs of remarkable shiny promise.

I think there are lots of different trajectories possible, and I'm not sure that whooshing upwards like a rocket from the get-go is a terribly encouraging model to have in front of one.

Three things make a post!

Apr. 17th, 2019 08:15 pm
emceeaich: The Queen Mother Has a Plan. Be glad you do not figure in it. (hwa yong)
[personal profile] emceeaich

I've seen "Cheese Tea," the salty dairy topping, at more boba tea places, and even shops that specialize in it like Happylemon, and now I've learned what goes in the 'cheese' (it's milk and cream cheese whipped together). At 85°C Bakery, you can get iced coffee with the topping.

If you want to understand where a country is heading pick a 2nd or 3rd tier city and revisit it over many years. - User researcher Jan Chipchase

I got a PyPortal from AdaFruit and have been playing around with it. It's a micro-controller with an attached display. It runs a subset of python and defines a function for grabbing a chunk of data and putting it on the display. Great for dashboards, or Oblique Strategies.

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Maureen Kincaid Speller

April 2019

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