February 5th, 2005


London sf stuff

My professional wanderings will take me to London three times in the next six weeks - I have first-thing-in-the-morning meetings on Friday 18th February and Friday 4th March, and a slightly more civilised Friday-during-the-day meeting on 18th March. So I hope to make it to the First Thursday on 3rd March, which I understand is now going to be in the Silver Cross in Whitehall (correct me if I'm wrong), and will perhaps see some of you there.

I'm devastated by the news that New Worlds, the sf section of Murder One on Charing Cross Road, is to close as part of the shop's coming relocation. I always found it just that bit more user-friendly than Forbidden Planet, and thanks to recent events I am of course boycotting Waterstone's. The (modest) silver lining is that they don't close until the end of March so I have three last opportunities to visit it to look forward to.

What decent sf bookshops does this leave in London? I only know the one on Holloway Road, and Forbidden Planet as mentioned above. Are there any others I should start to explore?

(Oh, yes, and should I consider extending the first of these trips to take in PicoCon?)

All of this information thanks to Ansible, which also includes the cheering information that asteroid 2001 DA 42 has been given the official name Douglasadams. (It is also officially asteroid #25924 and was first identified as 1999 VX 149.)

February Books 1) Cloud Atlas

1) Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

Wow. I slightly regret reading Jeff VanderMeer's piece in Locus before I was half way through - there is a spoiler for the book's structure, though not the plot. Or plots. Nineteenth century Pacific, to 1930s Belgium, to 1970s California, to contemporary England, to future ?Korea, to far future ?Hawaii; all linked together by objects and by themes of power and writing. Not very surprised to learn that he was partly inspired by Jared Diamond's excellent Guns, Germs and Steel. I felt the California bit was perhaps a little too convoluted, and the tone of the Victoriana and one or two of the other bits slipped a bit in places, but I really enjoyed the ride, especially the Belgian and ?Korean bits. Strongly recommended.