July 6th, 2008


Write to your MEP - now, today!

On Monday, July 7, 2008 there will be an attempt to sneak through an EU law to clamp down on file-sharing. If it gets passed, you could end up being disconnected from the Net for ever if your ISP decides you've been file-sharing.

More information here. Worth bearing in mind that the two principal protagonists of this bad proposal are British Conservatives, Malcolm Harbour and Syed Kamall.

I have a certain amount of contact with MEPs, but perhaps not surprisingly very few of those who I know at all well seem to be directly involved with this.

Edited to add: Bart Staes, the sole MEP of the Flemish party Groen!, tells me that the Green/European Free Alliance group will vote against. Worth writing to them anyway to stiffen their resolve. More updates as I get responses.

ETA 2: Heide Rühle, the Green/EFA rapporteur, gives a somewhat different spin - she tells me that "most of [the rumours] are unjustified see my added explanation [which she attached, and I must say didn't make a lot of sense to me]. But we’ll meet once more with the legal service on Monday to clarify that no wording can endanger the freedom of Internet."

July Books 4) Farthing

4) Farthing, by Jo Walton / papersky

I almost literally couldn't put this down. Walton's setting is an alternate 1948, where Britain made peace with Germany in 1941 after Rudolf Hess's mission; and her viewpoint characters are a young aristocratic woman married to a Jew, and a homosexual Scotland Yard detective investigating a murder, as Britain slides into totalitarianism. It is a story of the seamy underside of respectability and conformity, and of the discovery of unlooked-for courage. It is a crime novel that turns into a political parable. Brilliant stuff, with some lovely nods to our timeline especially in the last few chapters, and riveting characterisation.

(My only complaint is that Walton is not on totally firm ground with her nobility - baronets do not sit in the House of Lords, and there seems confusion as to whether one character is the Duke or the Earl of Hampshire.)

2008 Hugo votes

I won't be doing my mega-meta-review this year - other things have been absorbing my energy. However, various people have been reminding me that it is time to cast my vote, so I can reveal that my preferences are as follows:

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I should also add that for the relevant category I am voting for Blink, Human Nature/Family of Blood, and Captain Jack Harkness in that order.

In summary: I liked this set of nominations much more than last year's. In each of the fiction categories, I feel that any of my top three nominations would be a credible winner. (Probably my feeling this won't be enough to stop Connie Willis though.)

Edited to add: Apologies to John DeNardo for misidentifying him first time round!