June 18th, 2008


Yesterday's numbers quiz

The answer is 64, 63. The sequence of numbers is therefore:
  • 14, 9
  • 11, 2
  • 12, 5
  • 11, 0
  • 22, 19
  • 15, 10
  • 64, 63
It is entirely mathematical; this isn't the complete sequence; for all but the last I have given the smallest pair of numbers that fits the sequence (but 64, 63 is the only pair of numbers that fits there).

So, what pair of numbers should come immediately before the 14, 9 pair? Again, there is only one correct answer.

June Books 24) Vellum

24) Vellum, by Hal Duncan

Yeah, I know, I'm behind the times, I should have read this two years ago - most particularly because I bought it when the author was at MeCon and then I forgot to get him to sign it.

It was tough work - this is not light reading - but I found it unusually rewarding for such an ambitious book. The plot doesn't really resolve - I may even get the sequel to find out if it does - but I really admired Duncan's delicate handling of linguistics and culture. So many authors get the language thing partly (Stephen Baxter) or completely (Robert Jordan) wrong; but Duncan does have an ear for words and how they may change and re-form over the centuries. Likewise, I was impressed with his confident handling of MacLean's Socialist Glasgow, revolutionary Dublin and the southern Caucasus - not quite at expert level in the latter two cases, but at least free of obvious howlers and successfully engaging my interest to keep me reading.

And I love the basic concept of the Book - indeed, my most serious complaint is that the book wanders away from the Book at the end. No doubt this is resolved to a certain extent in the sequel.

Anyway, a fascinating, rewarding read.