On “Year in Review” panels and me….

Panels. If you have ever attended a science fiction or fantasy convention you’ll be familiar with them. In an ideal world a panel is a discussion that lasts for 45 minutes to an hour during which a group of informed people circle around a topic of interest nominated by the convention programming committee.

Some panels, of course, are less than ideal. Some run too long; some suffer from lack of organisation or chemistry. Sometimes panellists don’t always gel or interact in an ideal manner. And there are other issues. Who should or should not be on a panel? What are good topics? Should panels have moderators? How long should a panel be? Should the list of panellists be gender-balanced? All of these are interesting and worthy of discussion, but they’re not what I’m interested in here.

Continue reading On “Year in Review” panels and me….

Northern Lights

Northern Lights: Choral Works by Ola Gjeilo
Northern Lights: Choral Works by Ola Gjeilo

I have been listening to a little new music of late, much of it highlighted to me by the ever curious and interesting James Bradley. In addition to getting me reading fascinating books about the Third Golden Age of Television, he pointed out this recording of Ola Gjiello’s choral works to me a few weeks ago. Floating, ethereal and gorgeous, it’s been the perfect start to more than a few stressful days, and has made focussing on work a lot easier. I’m almost sorry I bought this one on iTiunes, as I may need the SACD. Beautiful, and recommended.

Tuesday morning

I was struck down by a virus in the second half of last week. I’m still not over it, but in the interests of perpetuating myths about the evolution of manflu, I just wanted to let you all know that I feel pretty lousy but have come to work anyway. This is mostly because I have a paper that I’m overdue on and have to finish, and there was no way I was going to get it done at home. Yesterday both daughters were home sick too and, while they behaved well, it was pretty much your standard cavalcade of not-fun.

So, what has been happening? Well, for a start this site seems to be the target of malicious or mischievous attention. It’s been brought down three times in the past month or two, and I get constant “File Change Warnings” from WordPress. This ate up time that I don’t really have, guttingIf and reinstalling WordPress, hardening security etc. Frustratingly, I’m not sure it’s helped. If this continues I may need to just flush WordPress altogether and move to another problem, which I think will cause issues with the podcast. We shall see, though. In further “I don’t really have time for this” news, both the Wii and the girl’s computer had operating problems. sigh. Oh, and the replacement iPad 2.0 died, so I spent a chunk of Friday evening restoring content to iPad 2.3, wihch is far fiddlier than it ought to be.

There were some good things, though. On Saturday morning I recorded the next episode of the Coode Street Podcast with Gary and special guests Ellen Klages and Andy Duncan. We had a fun conversation, and beforehand Gary, Ellen and I spent a bit of time discussing London holiday plans. The podcast will go live this coming weekend. I then went with the family to the local mall. This was a mistake, as I was mostly miserable and sick. Sunday I did very little, and the same for Monday. I spent too much time watching TV, including the latest Ashes Test,  a rewatch of The West Wing (always great!), the first episode of Primeval (Connie Willis loves this, but…), and the latest ep of The Newsroom (it’s not The West Wing, but it’s ok).

I am reading, though not as much as I should. I’ve started Sofia Samatar’s quite lovely A Stranger in Olondria, which I’m reading as prep for a possible podcast, as well as Brett Martin’s Difficult Men, a terrific book about recent TV recommended to me by James Bradley, a pile of magazines and Kate Bernheimer’s new anthology. Oh, and I’m trying out some new sound gear for the office, daydreaming about redecorating, drafting some cover text for Reach for Infinity, and a few other things. Busy times. Sometimes I think I need an intern.

Plans for this week? Well, find a hotel for London, catch-up on Asimov’s and Analog (both are on my too read pile), work on the structure for Best of the Year 8, chase up stories for Subterranean 2, and send out reminders to the Fearsome Magic contributors. Somewhere in there I also need to decide on a bunch of other details, but that’s enough for this update. Onwards into the week!

 

Erratic service

I seem to think about writing here more than I actually do. Apologies for that. I’m dealing with some kind of weird problems with this site that relate to attacks from somewhere in China. I have no idea why. However, it’s probably a good reason to point anyone listening to the podcast to access it/download it from the Podbean site. I’ve been cross-posting it here, but I’m going to try only posting it there, and then posting a link here. I’m eager not to lose anyone so please let me know if you have troubles and I’ll do what I can to get things fixed.

In other news, I lucked out and saw You Am I a few weeks, watched my cricket team lose badly, bought some cds, maybe bought some hi-fi gear, and have read a bit. Bought a Greg Egan story for Reach for Infinity, and made some changes to a few other projects.

Oh, I’ve also sent out the first contracts for stories to be reprinted in The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Vol 8, which is exciting. I’m toying with changing the balance of the book a little, to make it more dynamic.  I’m considering essentially preparing two separate full book tables of contents – one for SF and one for fantasy – and when I have two strong stand-alones, then blending them together. Not sure if that’ll work, or if it’s what I want, but I was taken with the strength and simplicity of the ToCs for Best SF 2003 and Best Fantasy 2003 when I looked at them a little while ago. It would remove some interstitial stuff, though, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Episode 153: On Sharknado, politics, and international SF

It was another typical day in the office for the Coode Street team. Having taken the time and made the effort to ascend to the Gershwin Room (there are a LOT of stairs), having avoided the temptations of the Tiki Lounge, having decided not to simply spend their time gossiping, Gary and Jonathan instead turn their attention to pressing issues like Sharknado and modern SF, whether British SF is more political than its US counterparts, and the growning prominence of non-Anglo SF with a minor sidestep into what it is to be an insider in the SF field. Naked attempts to persuade readers to buy new books are truncated by the sudden termination of the podcast due to Jonathan’s PC crashing. Fortunately they were close to done. Still, they hope you enjoy the podcast and remain, now as ever, the mullahs of Coode St.