"It had been almost a century since the French emperor Napoleon had obliged the Dutch to take surnames, against their own custom"
- this is protagonist Elizabeth's inward response to learning that her acquaintance Doctor Huginn Raaf wishes to be known only as Huginn. The scene is set in 1899; Napoleon's edict on surnames was in 1811. However it's entirely wrong to suggest that the Dutch were mononymous before 1811; generally patronymics were used. And the reference to a legal reform of 90 years before spoils the tone. I can't imagine anyone writing "Helena went to cast her vote, as women of her age had been entitled to so since 1928."
"Huginn had purchased passage by horse-drawn carriage to Frankfurt, following the path of the Danube, and from there to Amsterdam."
- in 1899 it would be a lot quicker and more comfortable to take the train (indeed, the previous chapter has an infodump about the train station in Amsterdam). I actually doubt if it was possible to find a regular horse-drawn carriage service (there are other passengers, so this isn't a special charter by Huginn) on that route in that year.
It is implied that the carriage covers the 700km from Vienna to Frankfurt in a single day, which seems utterly improbable. Also the Danube does not go all the way to Frankfurt; you would have to head north-west by Ulm at the very latest. Compare "They travelled from London to Cardiff, following the path of the Thames, and from there to Pembroke."
"Where will you be staying?"
"In Frankfurt? A hotel called the Mercure, in the old part of town."
- the Mercure chain of mid-range hotels was founded about 40 years ago, so would not have been available in 1899. A hotel in Frankfurt then would have been called Merkur not Mercure. Anyway the hotel to stay at in Frankfurt, then and now, is the Frankfurter Hof.
Just saying, like.
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6) "Limited Edition", by Tim Maughan
5) The Flight of the Ravens, by Chris Butler - some details rather threw me.
4) "Immersion", by Aliette de Bodard
3) "Three Moments of an Explosion", by China Miéville
2) Adrift on the Sea of Rains, by Ian Sales - excellent bleak alternate space race with Nazi occult McGuffin, and twist at the end.
1) "Song of the Body Cartographer", by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz - somehow grabbed me in a way the others didn't.
Well done to the BSFA on producing such a lovely awards book.
‘You’re taking us to see the Vikings?’ asked Jo incredulously.For the first time this year, I am actually up to date with book-blogging. And you can't be much more up to date than this; The Spear of Destiny was only published today, so I could hardly have written it up any sooner. The Doctor and Jo, somewhere in Season 10, are asked to investigate mysterious happenings around a spear held in a private museum, and go back to Sweden in the year 141 to find out what's going on and to discover exactly which bearded villain is behind it all. It's a bit reminiscent of The Time Monster, but a bit lighter (apart from the iconography of the Spear of Destiny, which is actually rather heavy stuff). Sedgwick doesn't quite capture the TV Third Doctor, but then neither does Terrance Dicks if we're honest, and if this wee book is a gateway to a new generation discovering that era of the show, it's fine with me.
‘I know! Wonderful, isn’t it?’ said the Doctor with a grin.
Which of these films which won the Oscar for Best Picture have you seen?