Daily archives: August 9, 2006

Heavensent 9.6

The remaining Pigs were running late, the water in the washes had hampered them more than anticipated. Still, half their charges had been planted and now they were heading for the relative safety of the middle of the lake.

They didn’t look back, or they would have seen several of their target ships getting ready to sail. One of the fast corvettes, designated to assist the patrol boats, had cast off when the charge beneath its keel exploded. It leapt into the air, splitting in two when it hit the water.

Up and down one section of the dock, explosions rocked and shattered ships. Secondary charges ignited fuel from a ruptured tanker. A number of unmined ships were trapped behind sinking and burning hulks, but some managed to escape. Running from the incoming rockets, they too headed for the middle of the lake.

Heavensent 9.7
Heavensent 9.5
Heavensent 1.1

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Manchester unbound

I can’t believe every blogger in Manchester has stepped away from their keyboard. I know I haven’t.

However, the Manchester bloggers aggregator hasn’t updated since Sunday.I haven’t bookmarked the sites or feeds of more than two or three of the other blogs on the list, so I’m missing keeping up with them all.

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Back in the CS of A

That’s the Confederate States of America, y’all.

I read this piece (via Kalyr.com) yesterday with a sense of guilty recognition. In it, Charles Stross laments the state of American sci-fi, horror and fantasy. He is particularly damning of the current US sci-fi trend toward alternate history “tiredly re-hashing the US Civil War, the Second World War, the War of the Triple Alliance, and the Russian Revolution”.

Shortly before reading this rant I finished Harry Turtledove‘s Settling Accounts: Return Engagement, the 210th instalment in his alternate history of the States from the Civil War onwards. It’s strangely compelling in the way it drives the story gradually forward through often mundane seeming scenes and it’s not very challenging- but I don’t feel like reading something challenging at the moment. In many ways it reminds me of another guilty pleasure- the technothriller, though without quite so much fetishisation of technology.

There is a certain lack of imagination. This is just a re-telling of the Second World War on the American rather than European continent, with the Southern states as the Nazis. They’re building prison/ extermination camps, only for Blacks rather than Jews, and are lead by a charismatic but obviously insane veteran. They even have Stukas and their own National Socialist Freedom Party. Hawaii is still the Sandwich Islands, tanks are referred to as barrels and loads of historical details are slotted in and repurposed.

Despite all the failings, I got to the end of the book and wanted to find out what happens to all the characters next. So it’s off to the library later for part two- Drive to the East.

Update Got it. I picked up Stross’ Accelerando as well, just to see what he’s made of.

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Scotland's space port

The president of Virgin Galactic is to assess RAF Lossiemouth as a potential British base for Spaceship Two’s flights into space.

Mr Whitehorn previously told BBC Scotland that it was planned to have a main base in New Mexico and three other bases in other parts of the world.

“As far as the UK is concerned the only area that we have found that has all the right conditions is the north of Scotland,” he said.

“It has relatively little overflying by aircraft, there are not people on the ground who could get injured and RAF Lossiemouth is an ideal location.”

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There’s no longer a simple digital divide, between those with technology and those wothout. Now people can be fitted into one of eight e-groups and twenty three e-types.

“We’re not implying that there is a ladder with some people on the bottom and some people at the top and everyone is trying to climb the ladder,” said Professor Longley.

“What comes out of this is that different people get different things out of technologies like the internet.”

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Sir Ming's lightbulb moment

It seems like something of a step back after the Lib Dems were the most vocally and radically green of the mainstream parties in the lead up to the last election. Sir Menzies Campbell has urged us all to get energy saving lightbulbs, even though he has none himself.

This does seem like a step backward, jumping back on the bandwagon after Tony Blair made the same call, on the same show, two days earlier.

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