Sunday, 28 June 2009

Wikipedia: Written In Crayon

Wikipedians complain about edits being 'jokes' or 'graffiti'.

That's the myth, as it is in publishing.

On the one hand, they say a novel is 'written in crayon'.

On the other hand, with a well-crafted novel that they can't sell, what is the excuse there? Simple, they just don't say it in public.

This is the same with Wikipedia: Perfectly reasonable edits that are flamed down with arbitrary rules, with the public excuse, again: 'Written in crayon'.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Telephone Etiquette in Movies

I always wonder why in films (and some TV), when people are done on the phone, they just hang up. No 'bye!' and no 'talk to you soon'.

The only explanation is that this saves precious seconds of airtime. The other explanation is that Americans are too rude to say farewell.

Either way, Columbo gets it right by saying Thankyou at the end of a call. What a true gentleman!

[Postscript, mystery solved] It appears that when you hang up an American phone, there is an audible 'click' on the other person's line. This was funnily enough, in a Columbo episode too.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Science Fiction Cliche #1: Hangover remedies of the future

I flipped through a book in the bookcase of a rented Spanish apartment, and found some incredibly silly paragraph where the guy uses nanotechnology "To cure a hangover".

If we count Star Trek TNG's "synthehol", that's yet another appearance.

Simply put, any book that thinks a high-tech hangover cure makes any sense to the world at large other than a futuristic nation of alcoholics, is a bad book. A science fiction writer should know better.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Book review: The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman

Basically, 150 pages of Erdos, a middle 60 pages of maths with little mention of Erdos, and about 30 pages more of Erdos.

Also, Erdos just wasn't romantically involved with a woman, this doesn't mean he didn't love other people. So the title is tenuous.

Verdict: The Erdos stuff is top-notch, but I recommend skipping the God Made the Integers chapter.

Book review: Jack Vance's Lurulu (published 2004)

I can sum this book up in a phrase: Some space merchants go on an extended pub-crawl across the Galaxy.

His 'writing' is simply to imagine every possible thing that could occur in a pub, over 230 pages of deep-space pub visiting.

One pub has a pretty serving maid, another has dancing, prancing inn-dwellers, there are strange cocktails to be found, decrepit rooms, arguments over the bill, etc.

The ending, however, is shocking and very good.

Let's not forget the Mouse-Riders, where the 2 boss-women tell Moncrief they want their money, again and again, yet Moncrief says at one point "I wasn't aware I owed you any money".

If you read Ports of Call, read this. If you haven't, read Ports of Call then this, and be aware of that shock ending.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Best Insult c.1998

It never entered into common usage unlike the hacker word 'lamer'.

So hear it for: Fat Headed Bastiche!

You heard it here first!