Monday, February 20, 2017

A quick note on the Hugo nominations

As it's featured heavily on the blog these past few years: yes, I'm nominating for the 2017 Hugo Award shortlist (deadline mid-March) as a paid-up voter from last year. 

I'll be interested in seeing the final shortlist and may well sign on again as a voter so that I can experience some of the year's best work in fantasy and SF for myself.

And fingers crossed, it looks as if the last couple of years of controversy and gamesmanship has subsided amid exhaustion, reforms to the Hugo voting system and real world distractions.

Here's hoping... 


- The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch
- The Nightmare Stacks, Charles Stross
- All The Birds In The Sky, Charlie Jane Anders
- The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge

Dramatic Presentation Long (i.e. Best Film, more or less):

- 10 Cloverfield Lane
- The Girl With All The Gifts
- Ghostbusters
- Arrival
- A Monster Calls

Fanzine (or online equivalent):

- File 770
- Pornokitsch
- Eruditorium Press

Fan Writer:

- Camestros Felapton
- Phil Sandifer


- Rivers Of London series, Ben Aaronovitch

New Writer:

- Natasha Pulley, The Watchmaker Of Filigree Street

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Paul, the Liverpool South Parkway station cat

On my way home from a work event I met a friendly cat claiming a railway station as his territory and accepting the greetings, head scritches and acclaim of passengers as his rightful due.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Michael Fabricant is right

From last week's Lichfield Mercury: our local MP Michael Fabricant on Trump:

"Whatever we might think of President Donald Trump, the United States is a democracy and our strongest ally both economically and militarily,"

"And with our leaving the European Union, our global friendships are even more important."

His analysis is right up to a point, but it also raises more questions than it answers.

The unfolding logic of Brexit points the UK towards deepening our other political and trading relationships. All other things being equal, this means moving closer towards our American friends, partly from long-standing custom and habit (as Fabricant suggests) but also because leaving the EU seemingly leaves us little choice in the matter.

Under normal circumstances, say a Bush or an Obama administration, this would have probably implied a minor variation on business as usual, but not a massive change. Depending on your politics, you might or might not have liked what that shift meant, but it wouldn't have radically affected circumstances here in the UK

I'm no mind-reader, but I think this is the image of America my MP is invoking here.

The thing is, though, that circumstances are decidely not normal in the US right now. On immigration, on trade, on law, on climate and more, the Trump administration is already venturing beyond existing American political norms into unknown territory.

As you can probably tell, I'm couching my commentary here in neutral terms as I'm not looking to make a partisan point. You can add your own here if you wish or re-read your commentator of choice. :)

In any case, wherever we stand on the political spectrum or on Brexit we should be wise to ask ourselves what an increased dependency on the US at this time - to be drawn closer into the orbit of the Trump administration - might mean for the UK before we commit ourselves further by default.

Because we do have a choice about the kind of future we want - there is no deterministic iron law of Brexit that says it has to be this way. 

And if I've drawn one conclusion from the last nine months or so of (to paraphrase my old colleague John Kell) 'history moving quickly' it's that creative solutions are needed right now rather than resorting to the autopilot.

Dracula: Mullet Of The Damned


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thoughts from Oatcake Country

A four-tweet Lichfield manifesto.