tenpastmidnight blog

Making hay while the sun shines

Well, I've had some work from my old company, and have some more next week, which is good. It was the South Downs Ecademy Club meeting this week and met a couple of people new to the SDEC and it turned out they both use Macs as well. I'm not quite sure how that came up, probably partly because one also uses satellite broadband and we were talking about that, and how his connection bombs out at certain points that seem to be due to the expansion/contraction of the atmosphere and the refraction of the signal his dish sends out.

One of the chaps was a Personal Coach who has recently moved to Brighton and is still in the initial burst of enthusiasm for the town, which is nice to see. I'm a bit dubious about the whole 'Coach' thing, but he seemed to have his head screwed on tight and if he's helping people I certainly aren't going to complain. Apparently the area of Coaches has a lot of cowboys in it spoiling the reputation of the professionals. Being in the web world, I can appreciate how that can happen.

As a break from job hunting, evening meetings, trying to write my own documents and various other work-related things I've been reading the latest Lois McMaster Bujold book, Diplomatic Immunity (Amazon UK give-Paul-money link) which is her usual very good quality work. The Vorkosigan series of books is 'space opera', but has better writing than most of the rest of science fiction, whereas space opera is usually a term for a lot of lousy stuff. Bujold has a fantastic touch with language, dark humour and characterisation. Shards of Honour is the first in the series and although you don't have to read them in order, it certainly helps. Highly recommended.

I've just started Fallen Dragon by Peter F Hamilton. He's an English SF writer who has a lot of talent, but I'm finding the more he writes the less I'm enjoying it. His first three novels (Mindstar Rising, A Quantum Murder and The Nano Flower) were cyberpunkish, relatively short by todays standards, and tightly written. He moved on to the Nights Dawn Trilogy, all around 1,000 pages, which had some great ideas but were hugely over-long and could have done with a good editing. And now Fallen Dragon, which I'm around 60 pages in to and is suffering a bit from very long descriptions of surroundings just when the story is getting going. It reminds me very much of reading Frankenstein when I was doing A-level English - 'Gothic horror' meant 'lots of descriptions of the surroundings' to me while I was reading that. I understand that it's a style that some people like, but it really doesn't fit with the action sequences he does well. Still, hopefully the style will settle down a bit, but at 800 pages, I'm worried that this is another book that could have done with a firmer editor. I got it from the excellent second hand book section of Wax Factor (Trafalgar Road, Brighton) which is better known for it's second hand music, or 'previously played' as I'm sure someone calls it.
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