Tag: wasting time


Final Copy Of The Book…

Is at the post office because I wasn’t in during the day.

Reasons to break in and rescue it:

1) Getting my copy of the book now
2) Sleeping well
3) Feeling smug

Reasons not to break in:

1) Prison

3:1 in favour. I do not like waiting for things.


Dying Earth Photography

I stole this shamlessly from Cheryl Morgan’s blog.

Artificial Owl is so many types of awesome, a blog with photographs of the bizarre and once-decadent decaying man-made structures littering the Earth. What Artificial Owl also does is provide a concise summary – where possible – of function and history.

What I love about these kinds of constructs is how they once had a specific purpose, and now abandoned, they take on a totally different kind of aesthetic value which is totally separate to what the designers had in mind.

Could an architect plan for such decay in his or her drawings? It’s rather like planning what to wear at your own funeral.


The Onion: Concerts Held To Wish World’s Poor Good Luck

Ah, the Onion. Where would we be without it?

The $200-a-ticket event raised more than $80 million, which will be put toward thousands of good-luck cards and balloons for developing countries and a fund for future charity performances. “I hope you will all join me in extending a hand of friendship to the have-nots, shaking their hand once, and walking away,” Al Gore said in a special message via satellite.


Updates, Age, etc.

Random posting. Tomorrow I hit 28 years old, which means I will have escaped the 27 Club, but I still have a few hours to go, of course. Going up north, hopefully loose myself here to contemplate time, and visit the very nice antique bookshop nearby.

I’m in the middle of tightening up the first draft of the second book, and would be making good progress if it wasn’t for Twitter. I’m also re-reading Jack Vance’s Tales of the Dying Earth, which is so much more surreal than I remembered.

And it’s nice to see M John Harrison causing a ripple or two across the interwebs.



I know, I’ve done it. I’ve got myself a Twitter page. MarkCN, if you are at all interested.


Pride and Predator

For me, I could never get past the death-by-semicolon nature of her writing. For others, it might be the fact that she conveniently forgot the social problems of the times (you know, the Napoloenic wars and stuff). Or, I’m sure, the fact that she means the tedious sight of a thoroughly middle-class costume drama on the BBC. However, I believe we have come to a consensus on how to rectify the problems of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Just add seven-foot killer aliens:

It might prove something of a boon to those who reach for the remote control when yet another costume drama comes on television: Elton John’s Rocket Pictures is developing a new spin on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, this time featuring a nefarious seven-foot extraterrestrial with hideous mandibles and a penchant for human blood. Yes, it’s Pride and Predator.

Will Clark, best known for his award-winning gothic comedy short The Amazing Trousers, will direct the film, which is being produced by Rocket partners Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish.

“It felt like a fresh and funny way to blow apart the done-to-death Jane Austen genre by literally dropping this alien into the middle of a costume drama, where he stalks and slashes to horrific effect,” Furnish told Variety.


Book Scraper

Quite possibly a waste of time, but at least one with some spurious literary credentials, so you don’t feel as though you’ve really been a slacker, because it’s words, innit.

Welcome to Book Scraper, a tool The Times has created to let you explore some of the world’s most famous books.

We have created a database of 126 classic publications by 53 authors. They contain 12,817,682 words in total, and have a combined vocabulary of 105,836 words.

Book Scraper lets you explore them in different ways.

You can search by author and learn, for instance, that Shakespeare’s written vocabulary was in the order of 24,000 words.

You can search by publication, and discover that the longest word in Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is pectinibranchidae, which is 17 characters long. (It’s a type of mollusc.)

Or you can type in a word, and Book Scraper will chart its use across time. (The word thunderer has been used in 6 books in our database, the first mention being in Don Quixote – some 200 years before it became the Times’ nickname.)


The City & The City

How nice to come home and find an ARC of the new China Miéville book on my doormat, courtesy of Pan Macmillan editor Julie Crisp. A sneak preview: the first words are “Part One”. And a spoiler for the ending: “it was all a dream”. Oops!

(That was a joke, for those of you who take the internet a little too seriously.)


Little Ones Rise!

As reported in the New York Times, the children of the left are uniting.

Financial behemoths have been nationalized. The government is promising to spend liberally to combat recession. There are even rumors of universal health care. Socialism is on the march! As we leave capitalism behind, the traditionalists among you may be wondering: Will they come for our children?

Too late. As Julia L. Mickenberg and Philip Nel document in Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature (New York University, $32.95), Marxist principles have been dripping steadily into the minds of American youth for more than a century. This isn’t altogether surprising. After all, most parents want their children to be far left in their early years — to share toys, to eschew the torture of siblings, to leave a clean environment behind them, to refrain from causing the extinction of the dog, to rise above coveting and hoarding, and to view the blandishments of corporate America through a lens of harsh skepticism. But fewer parents wish for their children to carry all these virtues into adulthood. It is one thing to convince your child that no individual owns the sandbox and that it is better for all children that it is so. It is another to hope that when he grows up he will donate the family home to a workers’ collective.

Who’s up for a class-war version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar?