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World Cup, Day Six

Poll #2082408 World Cup, Day Six

Who will win the first match on Tuesday?

Colombia will beat Japan
2(66.7%)
Japan will beat Colombia
0(0.0%)
It will be a draw
1(33.3%)

Who will win the second match on Tuesday?

Poland will beat Senegal
0(0.0%)
Senegal will beat Poland
0(0.0%)
It will be a draw
3(100.0%)

Who will win the third match on Tuesday?

Russia will beat Egypt
2(66.7%)
Egypt will beat Russia
0(0.0%)
It will be a draw
1(33.3%)

You should be able to vote using your Facebook or Twitter account, even if you aren't on Livejournal.

Congrats to dave_gallaher for predicting both Mexico and Serbia to win yesterday. Nobody foresaw Brazil failing to beat Switzerland.

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P.I.G.S., by Cecilia Valagussa

Third page:
Over to
foreign news. A
heated debate broke out
today between the Financial
Times newspaper and the
Portuguese minister
Manuel Pinho...











The reason for this?
The Financial Times'
use of the acronym...

DIINNG DOONNG

Good morning,
Hugo!





Good morning,
Elias!


I picked this up from the author herself at FACTS last October. It's a nicely done short graphic novel about the experience of being a young Italian immigrant in Ghent, just at the time that the financial crisis was hitting the southern European economies and Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain were dubbed PIGS by the Financial Times. Cecilia has a pig's head but does not realise it, as she tries to pass for human in Belgium; and she learns that you really discover how much you belong to your home country by leaving it. The story is therefore a bit cliched, but the art is really good. In particular, she makes great use of the space on the page - no boxes, a lot of two-page spreads, giving a broad canvas, and placing her characters several times over in a frame as they move around, giving a sense of movement and space that we don't often get with comics. It hasn't been translated into English, of course. You can see the first half of it for free here, and buy it here.

World Cup, Day Five

Poll #2082390 World Cup, Day Five

Who will win the first match on Monday?

Sweden will beat South Korea
4(57.1%)
South Korea will beat Sweden
1(14.3%)
It will be a draw
2(28.6%)

Who will win the second match on Monday?

Belgium will beat Panama
5(71.4%)
Panama will beat Belgium
0(0.0%)
It will be a draw
2(28.6%)

Who will win the third match on Monday?

Tunisia will beat England
1(14.3%)
England will beat Tunisia
5(71.4%)
It will be a draw
1(14.3%)

You should be able to vote using your Facebook or Twitter account, even if you aren't on Livejournal.

Well done to vilakins and johnny9fingers on getting three correct out of four yesterday, successfully predicting that Denmark would beat Peru as well as Croatia beating Nigeria (which I also got) and France beating Australia (which mount_oregano and I also got). Nobody expected Iceland to hold Argentina to a draw.

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Tumuli and church at Tienen

A few years ago I posted about a visit to the Three Tumuli of Grimde near Tienen. These are three first- or second-century Roman graves; when we went five years ago, they were covered in trees and undergrowth. (Also F, then 13, was noticeably smaller than he is now.)

The tumuli are being cleaned up. Here's B contemplating where the undergrowth used to be:

And a panoramic view showing the width of the site:

It's all under construction right now, and we probably shouldn't have gone into it, but I think it will be striking when it is finished.

Not far away is the Church of Our Lady of the Stone, another place I've been before. B was enjoying the good weather now.

Inside the church is the shrine of St Maurus, whose iron crowns may be worn by sufferers from mental disorders, hopefully offering them some relief.

And sometimes it's just nice to be inside in the cool air of an otherwise deserted place of worship.

World Cup, Day Four

Poll #2082366 World Cup, Day Four

Who will win the first match on Sunday?

Costa Rica will beat Serbia
1(25.0%)
Serbia will beat Costa Rica
2(50.0%)
It will be a draw
1(25.0%)

Who will win the second match on Sunday?

Germany will beat Mexico
2(50.0%)
Mexico will beat Germany
2(50.0%)
It will be a draw
0(0.0%)

Who will win the third match on Sunday?

Brazil will beat Switzerland
4(100.0%)
Switzerland will beat Brazil
0(0.0%)
It will be a draw
0(0.0%)

You should be able to vote using your Facebook or Twitter account, even if you aren't on Livejournal.

Congrats to lexin, trepkos, vilakins, tournesolavande and me for calling Uruguay's victory yesterday. Nobody called either of the other two matches.

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The 2018 Hugo finalists for Best Novel

My preferences are as follows:

6) The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin

Reviewed here. I am in the small minority that has completely bounced off this series. You can get it here.

5) New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson

Reviewed here. Too rambling for me, especially in the second half. You can get it here.

4) Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee

Second paragraph of third chapter:
The usual instructor was a stocky, graying man who never smiled. Brezan, sitting in the classroom with the other cadets, noticed the gleam in his eyes. Not a good sign. Next to him, Onuen Wei was taking slow, deep breaths, which meant she had noticed, too.
Next in Lee’s sequence of novels about a long-dead male general reincarnated in a female body in a military sf future. Fascinating to see the central character developing his own agenda in the face of an ideological and segmented society, and I understood the society itself much better; but MilSF still isn’t really my thing. You can get it here.

3) The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi

Second paragraph of third chapter:
“You are going to have to officially declare a period of mourning,” Naffa Dolg said to her [Cardenia], in what had suddenly and officially become her office. It was now only moments after her father had died; his body was currently being removed from his bedroom—her bedroom—via a litter that had borne the bodies of nearly all the emperoxs who had been lucky enough to actually die at home. Cardenia had seen the litter, stored away in one of the other rooms in the private apartment, and thought it a ghastly bit of business, and realized that one day, it was very likely her bones would be carted out on it too. Tradition had its downsides.
It’s well recorded that I have had my problems with Scalzi’s prose in the past, but I really liked this up to the final moment - two excellent kickass female protagonists, a scenario of looming cosmic chaos, and high politics including crooked oligarchs. I was even considering it for my top spot - and then it turns out that this is the first part of a larger story, and the book ends practically in mid-sentence - well, not quite that abruptly, but with an awful lot of plot threads very far from being resolved. So it loses marks for not being a full story. You can get it here.

2) Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty

Second paragraph of third chapter:
He knew it was ridiculous, given that whatever had happened, his last memory of Earth was only a few hours ago in his time line. The last time he went swimming, according to his memory, was a week ago. But this body had never touched a pool or ocean, and probably never would. He’d thought about the freedom of swimming several times after waking up. Diving down into the black water, away from the horrors that surrounded him. His mood, his quips, felt like autopilot while he submerged inside himself.
I had to swallow quite hard to accept the initial set-up - in Lafferty’s future, people routinely transfer their consciousness into younger clones of themselves, but clones have lesser rights than born humans and only one clone is allowed to exist at any one time. It’s no more ridiculous than faster-than-light travel, of course, or than a lot of other social and technological innovations that are sf staples. The plot then is a locked-room murder mystery, where the crew of a long-haul colonising starship are all resurrected to find that their previous bodies have been gruesomely murdered and they have lost their memories of the voyage so far. The answers turn out to lie in the very construction of their society. Very nicely done. You can get it here.

1) Provenance, by Ann Leckie

Reviewed here. The first of the finalists that I read (because it was a BSFA finalist too), and it has remained my favourite. You can get it here.

2018 Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Related Work | Graphic Story | Dramatic Long | Dramatic Short | Professional Artist & Fan Artist | Young Adult
1943 Retro Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Dramatic Short | Fan Artist



World Cup, Day Three

Poll #2082330 World Cup, Day Three

Who will win the first match on Saturday?

France will beat Australia
4(100.0%)
Australia will beat France
0(0.0%)
It will be a draw
0(0.0%)

Who will win the second match on Saturday?

Argentina will beat Iceland
4(100.0%)
Iceland will beat Argentina
0(0.0%)
It will be a draw
0(0.0%)

Who will win the third match on Saturday?

Peru will beat Denmark
0(0.0%)
Denmark will beat Peru
2(66.7%)
It will be a draw
1(33.3%)

Who will win the fourth match on Saturday?

Croatia will beat Nigeria
3(100.0%)
Nigeria will beat Croatia
0(0.0%)
It will be a draw
0(0.0%)

You should be able to vote using your Facebook or Twitter account, even if you aren't on Livejournal.


Congrats to strange_complex, yiskah, hano, mount_oregano, johnny9fingers, vilakins and me for calling yesterday's result.

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I wasn't really a supporter of the YA award as part of the Hugos, and am still not entirely convinced; but I must admit that the range of quality here is about the same as for Best Novel, and that's probably a reasonably good thing. None of these is awful or embarrassing; there was one case where it is possibly Great Literature but I found it a bit squicky.

7) No Award - any of these would do.

6) Akata Warrior, by Nnedi Okorafor

Reviewed here. Lost out for me due to being the second of a series where I hadn't read the first. You can get it here.

5) Summer in Orcus, by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon)

Reviewed here. Nice quest narrative / portal fantasy. You can get it here.

4) The Art of Starving, by Sam J. Miller

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Except, you know, life. Life has got her down for the count, and it’s counting slow. The rent, the mice in the walls, the cold, the loneliness, the threat of the slaughterhouse shutting down, they all teamed up on her. And when life couldn’t beat her fighting honest: Maya happened. Maya running off might be the death blow. Ever since that, Mom seems to be losing her light.
I found this pretty tough going. The narrator has anorexia which gives him a superhuman power of smell. The ending was moderately upbeat but getting there was pretty grim. It won the Nebula equivalent (the Andre Norton Award), against completely different competition. You can get it here.

3) A Skinful of Shadows, by Frances Hardinge

Reviewed here. Great take on the English Civil War, with aristocratic magic and wandering spirits possessing the gifted. You can get it here.

2) The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman

Reviewed here. While not the greatest fan of His Dark Materials, this really engaged me. Bonus points for inadvertent references to the venue of next year's Worldcon. You can get it here.

1) In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan

Reviewed here. Stole my heart. Funny and subversive and yet also a bit wise. You can get it here.

2018 Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Related Work | Graphic Story | Dramatic Long | Dramatic Short | Professional Artist & Fan Artist | Young Adult
1943 Retro Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Dramatic Short | Fan Artist


World Cup, Day Two

Poll #2082306 World Cup, Day Two

Who will win the first match on Friday?

Egypt will beat Uruguay
0(0.0%)
Uruguay will beat Egypt
5(100.0%)
It will be a draw
0(0.0%)

Who will win the second match on Friday?

Morocco will beat Iran
3(60.0%)
Iran will beat Morocco
0(0.0%)
It will be a draw
2(40.0%)

Who will win the third match on Friday?

Portugal will beat Spain
0(0.0%)
Spain will beat Portugal
6(100.0%)
It will be a draw
0(0.0%)

You should be able to vote using your Facebook or Twitter account, even if you aren't on Livejournal.

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Sometimes these are quite easy categories to sort out - it's always helpful if there is one artist that stands out from the crowd for good or bad reasons. This time for Best Professional Artist (2018) I have found it much more difficult - all of the artists on the final ballot are very good, and sufficiently distinct that it's quite difficult to give them a comparative rating. So I'm actually going to go from top to bottom of my ballot, rather than bottom to top, because I don't have much to say about any of them but I have more to say about the ones I like.

1) Kathleen Jennings; I found the anthropomorphic Kenneth Grahame style creatures very attractive, and an interestingly low-powered contrast with the rest of the field.
2) Bastien Lecouffe Deharme; some striking female faces and figures, all very full of character.
3) Sana Takeda; mostly slightly manga-ish figures related to Monstress, but here it's Sherlock and Watson brooding.
4) John Picacio; nice interplay of faces and shapes.
5) Victo Ngai
6) Galen Dara


I found it much easier to rank this year’s finalists for Best Fan Artist.

1) Geneva Benton; I voted for this piece for the BSFA Award and I like the rest of her work.
2) Maya Hato; gave last year’s Worldcon a striking visual identity.
3) Likhain; striking use of colours and textures.
4) Spring Schoenhuth; as ever, good to see the medium of metalwork getting on the ballot.
5) Grace P Fong
6) Steve Stiles


Most of the 1942 artists are easy enough to track down on ISFDB, which helpfully holds copies of all the magazine covers in its archive. The exception was Edd Cartier, who I had to hunt through the annoying interface of Pinterest, but it was worth it.

1) Edd Cartier; vivid interior illustrations with strong characterisation.
2) Virgil Finlay; great use of space, and you feel that there is a good story with every piece.
3) Hannes Bok; nice clean lines, characters sometimes awkwardly positioned.
4) Margaret Brundage; appears to have had only one professional publication in 1942.
5) Howard W. McCauley; perhaps he should try something other than busty screaming women?
6) Hubert Rogers; vivid colours and shapes, but his human bodies don’t look all that human!


Your mileage may vary.

2018 Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Related Work | Graphic Story | Dramatic Long | Dramatic Short | Professional Artist & Fan Artist | Young Adult
1943 Retro Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Dramatic Short | Fan Artist

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World Cup, Day One

Poll #2082264 World Cup, Day One

Who will win the opening match on Thursday?

Russia will beat Saudi Arabia
7(70.0%)
Saudi Arabia will beat Russia
0(0.0%)
It will be a draw
3(30.0%)

You should be able to vote using your Facebook or Twitter account, even if you aren't on Livejournal.

My tweets

Read more...Collapse )
Beyond This Horizon, by Robert A. Heinlein

Second paragraph of third chapter:
In the nucleus of every cell of every zygote, whether man or fruit fly, sweet pea or race horse, is a group of threadlike bodies—chromosomes. Along the threads are incredibly tiny somethings, on the order of ten times the size of the largest protein molecules. They are the genes, each one of which controls some aspect of the entire structure, man, animal, or plant, in which the cell is lodged. Every living cell contains within it the plan for the entire organism.
This is early Heinlein, his second novel for adults (after Sixth Column/The Day After Tomorrow, the one with the racist ray). Here we have a future society whose population has been and is being shaped by genetic engineering, which raises interesting questions about accountability, which are not really answered. The plot starts promisingly but diverts often into info-dumping and runs out of steam entirely about half-way through. A side-theme is the universal use of fire-arms, at least by men; this is the source of the infamous quote “An armed society is a polite society.” Heinlein's writing style is already lucid and effective, but he hadn't yet found the knack of pulling story elements together to a coherent whole at novel length. But if you want to, you can get it here.

Second-Stage Lensmen, by E.E. "Doc" Smith

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Reasoning from analogy, Kinnison quite justifiably concluded that the back of the drug syndicate had been broken in similar fashion when he had worked upward through Bominger and Strongheart and Crowninshield and Jalte to the dread council of Boskone itself. He was, however, wrong.
I tried the first three Lensman books a decade ago, and bounced off them so heavily that I wimped out of reading Gray Lensman when it was up for the Retro Hugo two years ago. (It came within 28 votes of beating Slan.) Having started this year's reading early, I thought I should give Smith another go, and did in fact get two thirds of the way through Second-Stage Lensmen before I realised that I was appalled by the prose, didn't care about the characters and was not even slightly excited by the plot. So, that's an easy decision then. If you want to test for yourself, you can get it here.

Which means my overall votes for the 1943 Retro Hugo for Best Novel are as follows:

7) Second-Stage Lensmen, by E.E. "Doc" Smith (see above)

6) Beyond This Horizon, by Robert A. Heinlein (see above)

5) Darkness and the Light, by Olaf Stapledon

4) No Award

3) Donovan's Brain, by Curt Siodmak

2) The Uninvited, by Dorothy Macardle

1) Islandia, by Austen Tappan Wright

2018 Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Related Work | Graphic Story | Dramatic Long | Dramatic Short | Professional Artist & Fan Artist | Young Adult
1943 Retro Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Dramatic Short | Fan Artist


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Not to begrudge the others which have made it to the ballot in recent years, but I am ever so slightly relieved that the Best Related Work ballot consists solely of actual books this year, for the first time since 2010; it's easier to compare apples with apples than with oranges. This year is also likely to be the first year since 2013 that a Hugo for Best Related Work is presented in the USA, as the category was the only one to be No-Awarded in both slate years.

They're all good enough books. Of the Harlan Ellison biography, I read only the extract in the packet, and that was enough to convince me that I was unlikely to change my vote if I read any more of it. I think it's surely between Zoe Quinn and Ursula Le Guin this year. We'll see what comes out in the wash. My own votes are:

7) No Award. These are all good enough contributions.

6) A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison, by Nat Segaloff

Second paragraph of third chapter supplied (actually chapter 6):
Despite this, today there are more critics than ever — not necessarily with credentials, jobs, aesthetics, experience, or talent — just a Twitter account.
Ellison is of course a hugely important figure in the history of sf, but this biography really tells it very much from his point of view. And he is really very capable of being a cantankerous asshole; his own account of how he sabotaged his mother's funeral, for instance, is painful reading, especially as Segaloff is desperately trying to make us sympathise with him. (Segaloff also feels the need to explain to us in a footnote that the word "teat" is "the vulgarism for breast".) I think we would have learned more from a more objective and critical approach, even though it might have risked infuriating the subject of the book.

5) Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, eds Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal

Reviewed here. Really important subject; was frustrated by the structure.

4) Sleeping with Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Liz Bourke

Reviewed here. Lots of good stuff, didn't overlap all that much with my own tastes (which of course I should expand).

3) Iain M. Banks, by Paul Kincaid

Reviewed here. I actually nominated this, but was more convinced by my top two votes.

2) No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Reviewed here. Tremendously wise essays from the much-missed Le Guin. I think it is quite likely to win, unless voters agree with my first choice which is:

1) Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate, by Zoe Quinn

Reviewed here. I think this is a crucial book that speaks to the unfortunate spirit of the age, and it gets my vote.

2018 Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Related Work | Graphic Story | Dramatic Long | Dramatic Short | Professional Artist & Fan Artist | Young Adult
1943 Retro Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Dramatic Short | Fan Artist


Monday reading

Current
The Art of Starving, by Sam J. Miller
Ghana Must Go, by Taiye Selasie
City of Stairs, by Robert Jackson Bennett

Last books finished
Stories of the Maksura, by Martha Wells
Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty
Gemini, by Dorothy Dunnett
Introduction to the Stormlight Archive for Hugo Voters, by Brandon Sanderson

Next books
Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch
Virgins, Weeders and Queens, by Twigs Way
Old Friends, by Jonathan Clements, Marc Platt and Pete Kempshall

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I first visited Dubrovnik with Anne in 1996, just after the war, and we came back in 1997 with baby B and in 1998 with toddler B. I have been a few times since, but usually without much time to look around. Yesterday, however, our conference finished at lunchtime, and it turned out that C, another participant, is also a Game of Thrones fan; equipped with information from various websites (here, here and here) we went into the old city, C for the first time, me looking at it with fresh eyes. We were joined by Danish B, who confessed that although her sons were big fans she had never seen any of it herself.



(Later on, Danish B went to catch her plane, and we were joined by Austrian K.)



Dubrovnik in June is full of tourists, much more so than in the late 1990s. The city walls have a one-way system set up, so you can now only go around them anti-clockwise.



This meant that we joined the circuit too late to look around the Minčeta Tower, which in a rare non-King’s Landing location was the House of the Undying in Qarth, though perhaps it is better appreciated from a distance anyway:




The walls remain as spectacular as ever - click on this to get the full panorama of the ancient city-state:



The Jesuit Steps are now one of the key attractions for visitors. People were muttering “SHAME” to each other, and I heard a few tinkles from handbells. Nobody however had resorted to full nude re-enactment of the notorious scene from Season 5.



A short walk away is the Ethnographical Museum. C exclaimed in recognition, “It’s the brothel!” Danish B muttered that she had not realised that was how the word is pronounced.




The inlet beside the Pile gate was really spectacular yesterday- there was a bit of wind, so the water was rough. It is a far smaller space than it appeared on screen in the Battle of the Blackwater:





C recreated one of the other famous scenes shot here:




Sibel Kekelli, who played Shae, has of course been seen in dubious company:



The other great discovery for me was the Red Keep, actually the Lovrijenac Fort - again, quite a small space in real life compared to how it felt on the screen, but instantly recognisable. Not shown here, but there were several groups of Game of Thrones fans, some reciting lines from the relevant scenes to each other! (By this time Danish B had left us and K had joined our group).







From the top of the fort there is a great view of the whole walled city. (Click to embiggen.)



We also looked in on Gradac Park, scene of the Purple Wedding where Joffrey is poisoned. There is not a lot to see, but there were cute turtles in the pond:



We had originally planned to also look in on the Rector’s Palace later in the evening, but I was too tired and went to bed relatively early.

This boat went past our hotel in the morning. I think it is a non-specific tourist gimmick, though it would not be completely out of place in GoT:



Other aspects of Dubrovnik that don’t fit into GoT include the impressive Christian architectural heritage (here the cathedral, the Church of St Ignatius, and inside the Franciscan Museum):








And of course the islands. Our original schedule for the afternoon had been a boat trip to some of the islands, but the weather was too rough and we were set loose on the city instead. I can’t say I was sorry, though the islands do look beautiful.




So how was your weekend?

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Feeling a bit out of touch here - two episodes nominated from a TV show that I hadn't previously heard of! Anyway, it was fairly easy to rank them.

6) The Good Place: “Michael’s Gambit”



This would probably have made more sense to me if I had seen any of the previous 12 episodes of the first series, to which this is a climax (and partial reset). I actually found some of the acting a bit ropey in the earlier scenes as the stars tried to convincingly deliver lines that they themselves clearly didn't really believe in.

5) Star Trek: Discovery: “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”



I am of course aware of the latest Star Trek, but I confess that this was the first episode I had watched. I wasn't massively convinced - the set-up of the ship being stuck in a dangerous time loop was well done, but the resolution was really a bit ridiculous.

4) The Good Place: “The Trolley Problem”



I liked this much more than the earlier episode - a decent self-contained story, with some really funny lines, humorising a somewhat serious problem. I'm amazed that the set-up for this show has extended into more than one series, but this was worth watching.

3) Black Mirror: “USS Callister”



I was so impressed with the “San Junipero” episode of Black Mirror last year that I broke my usual rule of voting for Doctor Who. This isn't quite as superlative, but it is none the less very good - a story of sentient AIs attempting to escape from a grimly realistic situation, and a superb central performance from Cristin Milioti.

2) “The Deep”, by Clipping



I thought this was excellent: a short story about the sub-Atlantic descendants of drowned slaves roused from the deep by further human interference, delivered in experimental hip-hop. The annotated lyrics may be helpful.

1) Doctor Who: “Twice Upon a Time”



The Moffat era had its low points, but the return of the First Doctor for the Twelfth Doctor's final story was not one of them. I actually thought that the 2018 season was Capaldi's best in general, and would have rated a couple of the other episodes higher than this; but this one deserves its place on the ballot and gets my vote. Bonus points for having scenes set in Belgium.

2018 Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Related Work | Graphic Story | Dramatic Long | Dramatic Short | Professional Artist & Fan Artist | Young Adult
1943 Retro Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Dramatic Short | Fan Artist

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Second paragraph of third chapter:
Some campaigns have more time and money for cybersecurity than others. That’s why our recommendations offer two tiers of protection: “good” and “enhanced.” The “good” tier represents everything a campaign must do to have a minimum level of security. You should always aspire to do more as time, money, and people allow, which is why we recommend using the “enhanced” level whenever possible. If you have the resources to get reputable, trained IT support, it’s money well spent. Threats are constantly evolving and professional IT services will help get you beyond what this playbook provides and keep you abreast of the latest threats and solutions for your situation.
A nice little booklet, downloadable here, produced by the Defending Democracy Project at Harvard and adapted for European use by my former employers NDI and their Republican rivals IRI.

I have actually experienced this problem myself. You may recall that I was one of the external advisers to the Georgian Dream's successful 2012 election campaign. As David Ignatius wrote at the time, many of the computers in our headquarters were infected with sophisticated malware which could turn on their cameras and microphones, capture screen shots every 10 seconds, and record keystrokes and passwords, all transmitted to whoever installed the malware. My own laptop crashed irretrievably, beyond repair (hopefully because it successfully resisted the malware, though the damage was so great that one can't be sure). There is some poetic justice in that the chief of staff of our campaign became interior minister after we won. The Democratic National Committee, of course, was not so fortunate.

Not all campaigns will face an opponent with that level of resources and vindictiveness. But not all campaign managers are familiar with the problems of today's technical environment. There are also particular structural problems for political campaigns, which are often ephemeral and depending on unscreened volunteers to perform vital functions. This booklet outlines some elementary and low-cost steps to take for protection of digital resources, including the very important point that responsibility has to be seen to start at the top and that the human element is often the most vulnerable part of a campaign. A lot of the suggested measures make sense for one's non-political online life as well. The booklet is free and well worth a look.

My tweets

  • Thu, 12:08: RT @DivisMountain: Once again British PM repeats the line that only State actors are being investigated at present , in clear contradiction…
  • Thu, 12:08: RT @SorchaEastwood: Disappointed and dismayed that Theresa May giving factually incorrect information again from the dispatch box. Chief Co…
  • Thu, 12:56: In the matter of an application by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for Judicial Review (Northern Irela… https://t.co/EOIoeVgl24
  • Thu, 14:13: RT @JamesCrisp6: Got in touch with an EU contact in Brussels to get a sense of how the David Davis vs May Brexit ding dong was being viewed…
  • Thu, 16:05: Andrew O’Hagan’s Grenfell essay attacks “the narrative” – but creates a flawed one of its own https://t.co/9G9vQibFzZ A robust critique.
  • Thu, 17:51: RT @AlbertoNardelli: A short thread. The shit show that is the backstop debate currently taking place in Britain perfectly exemplifies the…
  • Thu, 18:10: In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan https://t.co/IIFbm7Jjf9
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In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Over the summer, a tavern had opened for the farming community around the camp and the Border guard alike. It was called the Elven Tavern. There was a sign outside that showed an elven warrior, though in oddly revealing armor that Elliot had never seen any elf warrior wear and striking a strange pose. Elliot brought the matter of the sign up with the tavern keeper.
I am still not completely converted to the WSFS YA Award. But the vote was taken, the decision was made, and we have it for the next while at least. However, this book caught me completely - it's the story of Elliot Schafer, son of a distant father and absent mother in our world, who finds himself taking the opportunity to slip into another magical world, à la Harry Potter, for magical military school. I found it funny, moving and sexy without being inappropriate for younger readers. Elliot is a smartass kid who gradually grows up under the influence of meeting other kids from other backgrounds, and also actual combat; and despite his abrasive personality, he turns out to have a gift for the nuts and bolts of diplomacy. Although the narrative is tight third to Elliot, we can see the mistakes he makes and we know just how he is making his own life and loves more difficult. There are some glorious gender inversion moments, and some bits that are just hilarious in any setting. I have one finalist in this category yet to read, but I think this has my vote. You can get it here.

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