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About williamjm

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    Council Member
  • Birthday 04/29/1981

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    Cambridge, UK

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  1. Being at Worldcon in Dublin means I haven't managed to see any of the match, it sounds like I missed a good game. It does however have the compensation that I can discuss it with Stubby in person after a decade of discussing it with him in this thread.
  2. I've passed on the message.
  3. There's a plan on Facebook for a BwB dinner tonight at Grainger's Hanlon Corner, leaving the convention centre by cab at 5:30. If anybody wants to come along I can pass it on.
  4. It's good to hear from you, and that things are going so well. It's a pity you can't make either of the Conventions, but hopefully we'll see you again at some future event.
  5. williamjm

    Third Quarter 2019 Reading

    It is a great collection. I'll probably pick up Exhalation, his new short story collection, sometime soon.
  6. williamjm

    Third Quarter 2019 Reading

    I finished one of Adrian Tchaikovsky's latest novels Cage of Souls (I saw one of the latest because it's only been out four months but I think he's published two more books since then). The setting is significantly different to any of his previous books, it's a 'dying Earth' setting where even the Sun seems to be dying and what remains of humanity has forgotten most of its history. The story is split into two parts, the main portion tells of the narrator's efforts to survive exile on the prison colony known as 'The Island', that storyline being periodically interrupted as Stefan fills in the backstory about his life on what is probably the last city on Earth and how he ended up being exiled. There's a general tone of melancholy to the story, even the parts not set in a brutal prison, although there are still occasional moments of hope. It's a vividly described setting, particularly the inhospitable jungle surrounding the Island which is full of life, little of which is friendly, the Underworld beneath the city of Shadrapur is another fascinating part of the setting. While it's not a short book it's still impressive how many ideas Tchaikovsky manages to throw into the story, some of the subplots could have been the basis for novels in their own right. There are also a lot of interesting mysteries in the story, some of them crucial to the plot, many of which Stefan never finds out the answer to. I don't know if every reader is necessarily going to appreciate the lack of answers but I think it does work well - the book is more about figuring out how to survive than figuring out how the world works. If I had a small criticism to make, it it that while Stefan does get some good character development throughout the story I think he's maybe not the most compelling of protagonists and he himself comments that he's often only peripherally involved. This is somewhat counteracted by it having plenty of memorable supporting characters and the Marshal and Gaki are very effective antagonists. I thought this was a good book, although I might rank it slightly below some of Tchaikovsky's other books (such as Dogs of War of Children of Time), it is perhaps a bit slow paced to begin with although it does get more compelling as it goes along and it does have a strong ending. Next up I think I'll read Lois McMaster Bujold's latest Penric and Desdemona novella, The Orphans of Raspay.
  7. williamjm

    Board games!

    While I do like the game, I think you're right about its weakness being that there are limited opportunities for player interaction. Some of the expansions do allow combat between ships, although I think it's probably not going to happen frequently in the game.
  8. George is doing an event there in between the Cons: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/castle-ward/features/return-to-winterfell
  9. The England squad for the second Test has been announced. Moeen has been dropped, and is replaced by Leach, which isn't too big a surprise. Archer is also in to replace Anderson. They have stuck with their batting lineup for now, although I'd think Joe Denly probably won't get many more opportunities unless he delivers a decent innings soon.
  10. South Africa's bad year continues with Hashim Amla following Steyn into retirement. It's also not much of a surprise but they are both going to be difficult players to replace.
  11. I might be interested in doing some sightseeing as well (although I think I might give the steps of Cirith Ungol a miss). I'll be in Dublin from Wednesday evening and then head up to Belfast on the Tuesday.
  12. williamjm

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    Unless he loses a vote of no confidence he would need 2/3 of Parliament to back any snap general election.
  13. I do feel a bit sorry for the 2nd XI batsmen who are going to be facing Jofra Archer trying to prove he deserves a place in the Ashes squad. ETA - apparently he took 6 wickets and scored a century, as fitness tests go that seems fairly productive.
  14. That was a real moment of madness. To be fair to the other batsmen they were generally trying to take a more sensible approach, they just weren't very successful at it.
  15. I don't think England have any prospect of winning now, so the question is whether they can manage to draw the game. There may be some rain tomorrow, which would help. It might depend a lot on how Nathan Lyon bowls, he could be the key player since the pitch isn't offering much to the seamers.