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About williamjm

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  • Birthday 04/29/1981

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  1. In Scotland the Liberal Democrats didn't seem to lose out when they were in a coalition with Labour for 8 years in the Scottish Parliament, it was only after the UK coalition with the Tories that their Scottish vote collapsed. It's difficult to know whether that would mean they would have survived a UK coalition with Labour rather than the Tories without taking damage.
  2. Hugo time! Hugo time! Roundup for 2017 Awards

    I've heard in the past that there was a rule that short story nominations for the BSFA awards needed a minimum of three nominees and without that rule there would have been nominees with just two votes. I'd imagine the artwork could have a similar issue where there's a relatively small number of people nominating but a huge range of artwork that could be nominated so a small number of people could influence it.
  3. February Reading 2017

    I agree The Gospel of Loki was a bit underwhelming. Some of Loki's commentary was amusing, but overall I felt he wasn't witty enough to really carry the story.
  4. I watched John Wick : Chapter 2, which I thought was a very entertaining action movie. I think the plot was probably more interesting in the first film, although they're not exactly plot-driven films. It did have some great scenes, I particularly liked the chase through the hall-of-mirrors near the end. I also rewatched Takeshi Kitano's Zatoichi which I last saw when it was released at the cinema. I liked its quirky take on the Samurai movie (not that I've seen many samurai films, but I don't think they tend to finish with Bollywood dance numbers), although I wasn't a big fan of its fight choreography.
  5. February Reading 2017

    I finished Ian Esslemont's Dancer's Lament. I think I probably enjoyed it more than any Malazan book I've read in the past few years. I'm often a bit wary of prequels but I think this one worked well because it focused on a portion of Malazan history that was very important but little discussed in the main series, we hear a lot of the Malazan Empire at its height and its decline but there's a lot of mystery about how it came into being in the first place. I also don't remember there really being much detail before about what Dancer and Kellanved had done before that so it's interesting to see a lot from Dancer's perspective, although I think it's a wise choice to keep his partner in crime's motives more enigmatic. The central plot about the siege of Li Heng was also interesting and more focused than some of Esslemont's books have been in the past. I'm just about to start reading that as well, looking forward to it. I did look at that in the bookshop yesterday but I think I might leave it a while before getting it. I read a random passage which felt almost identical to the equivalent tale (Thor and Loki facing Utgart-Loki) in Joanne Harris' The Gospel of Loki which I read a couple of months ago, I think reading more Norse mythology now might feel a bit repetitive.
  6. The Return of JV Jones

    Good to hear there may be some progress on this. I think I started reading this series about 2001-ish, which probably makes it the second-longest wait I'm currently having for a series to finish (although still several years shorter than the wait for ASOIAF to be completed).
  7. BBC News were talking about Gorden Kaye's funeral earlier, which reminded me that back when I was in primary school I did think Allo Allo was very funny, I'm not sure how well it would stand up today if I watched it again, I think even at the time I noticed that every episode was basically the same catchphrases arranged in a slightly different order. I do wonder a bit if any nation on Earth other than the British would ever have made a sitcom whose premise was based on the Nazi occupation of France. I did watch a lot more sitcoms back then that I do now. I do wonder a bit how many would still stand up, although there are some from that era like Blackadder or Red Dwarf that I think still work.
  8. First Fantasy Book or Series

    Around about that age I really liked Narnia, Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain and Alan Garner's The Weirdstone of Bringsamen. Prydain was probably my favourite series at the time, although if someone finds Azkaban too scary they might not get on well with the Cauldron Born. I suspect I'd have enjoyed The Hobbit at that age as well but didn't read it until I was about 10-11.
  9. Neil Gaiman working on NEVERWHERE II (finally!)

    As well as being in the Rogues anthology Helena, it's also available as a stand-alone book. I read things in the wrong order and read How The Marquis Got His Coat Back in the anthology before reading Neverwhere (which I mainly read because I liked the short story). I thought it worked well even for someone not familiar with the world. I did think after reading Neverwhere that the world did feel like it had potential for more stories, so I'm looking forward to the sequel. I suppose since there's a finite number of Underground stations to provide puns for locations and character names it couldn't go on indefinitely but he could probably get a few more books worth of material it before running out. Since Neverwhere was all about the overlooked people at the margins of the society incorporating a refugee storyline seems like it could work well.
  10. Just watched the first episode of Legion. I thought it was an impressive pilot, definitely very different to any superhero show I've seen before. I thought it was really well directed, despite all the surreal weirdness going on I wouldn't really say it was hard to follow, although I'm still debating what actually happened in it. I thought Dan Stevens brought some real intensity to the lead role.
  11. Watched Ocean's Thirteen for the first time since whenever it was originally released. It was reasonably entertaining but felt like a pale imitation of the first film. One thing I did notice was how Al Pacino's villain now seems strangely familiar - a sexist, duplicitous real estate developer with a focus on casinos and hotels with a big ego and a thin skin, a fondness for putting his name on all his properties and a reputation for screwing over everyone he goes into partnership with. I can't think who that's reminding me of...
  12. Cricket 30: World Twenty20 and beyond

    That would have had the advantage of irritating Australians, although I'm not sure I'd want Broad to have the power of deciding when to use DRS reviews.
  13. I watched Moneyball. I was a bit curious whether it would work for someone who knows little about baseball other than a vague idea of the rules. I thought it was a well-made film with decent acting and good dialogue but overall I found the plot to be interesting rather than compelling. While I was curious to see how well their plan would work out, I didn't really care much about whether the characters (and therefore the team) won or not, other than maybe Jonah Hill's character most of the other characters didn't seem particularly likeable. It might be impressive that they managed to outperform their opponents on a tiny budget by using clever statistical analysis, but it didn't feel very dramatic. I thought it was worth watching, but I doubt I'd watch it again.
  14. Rugby IV - Striking Hookers Are Back In Fashion

    I think if Scotland had won that they would have been lucky, they did do a good job of taking opportunities for points when they came up (aside from Russell's comical conversion) but the French were on top for most of the game. I agree it did look like a French try on the slow-motion replay.
  15. February Reading 2017

    In the second book the structure changes, so we get to see POVs from Senlin's four companions as well as Senlin himself (and occasional brief glimpses of other POVs). I think it made sense for the start of the first book to be from Senlin's perspective but I think expanding the story does make sense. I read the Spoils of War short story collection a few months ago. I probably wouldn't say it was an essential read, but the stories were consistently entertaining and brought some new perspectives on bits of the world we didn't see much in the main series. I think he has a second short story collection in the world out this spring. Since the first collection only took things up to about the start of the first novel there's probably scope for several more collections and given his formidable writing space I could easily imagine one coming out annually.