March 23rd, 2013

politics

Links I found interesting for 23-03-2013

not happy

Things that jarred me in Chris Butler's "The Flight of the Ravens"

"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.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

summer

BSFA Short Fiction - my vote

Not going to justify these in detail, but wanted to record my thoughts anyway.

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.
tardis

March Books 12) The Spear of Destiny, by Marcus Sedgwick

‘You’re taking us to see the Vikings?’ asked Jo incredulously.
‘I know! Wonderful, isn’t it?’ said the Doctor with a grin.
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.
cinema

The Oscar poll

Poll #1903899 Oscars

Which of these films which won the Oscar for Best Picture have you seen?

1927/1928: Wings
3(0.1%)
1928/1929: The Broadway Melody
5(0.1%)
1929/1930: All Quiet on the Western Front
40(1.0%)
1930/1931: Cimarron
5(0.1%)
1931/1932: Grand Hotel
11(0.3%)
1932/1933: Cavalcade
5(0.1%)
1934: It Happened One Night
32(0.8%)
1935: Mutiny on the Bounty
37(1.0%)
1936: The Great Ziegfeld
5(0.1%)
1937: The Life of Emile Zola
3(0.1%)
1938: You Can't Take It with You
10(0.3%)
1939: Gone with the Wind
73(1.9%)
1940: Rebecca
50(1.3%)
1941: How Green Was My Valley
24(0.6%)
1942: Mrs. Miniver
22(0.6%)
1943: Casablanca
96(2.5%)
1944: Going My Way
10(0.3%)
1945: The Lost Weekend
11(0.3%)
1946: The Best Years of Our Lives
11(0.3%)
1947: Gentleman's Agreement
6(0.2%)
1948: Hamlet
30(0.8%)
1949: All the Kings Men
13(0.3%)
1950: All About Eve
35(0.9%)
1951: An American in Paris
35(0.9%)
1952: The Greatest Show on Earth
23(0.6%)
1953: From Here to Eternity
22(0.6%)
1954: On the Waterfront
29(0.7%)
1955: Marty
10(0.3%)
1956: Around the World in 80 Days
58(1.5%)
1957: The Bridge on the River Kwai
67(1.7%)
1958: Gigi
38(1.0%)
1959: Ben-Hur
67(1.7%)
1960: The Apartment
31(0.8%)
1961: West Side Story
81(2.1%)
1962: Lawrence of Arabia
65(1.7%)
1963: Tom Jones
22(0.6%)
1964: My Fair Lady
93(2.4%)
1965: The Sound of Music
101(2.6%)
1966: A Man for All Seasons
49(1.3%)
1967: In the Heat of the Night
36(0.9%)
1968: Oliver!
79(2.0%)
1969: Midnight Cowboy
33(0.8%)
1970: Patton
36(0.9%)
1971: The French Connection
42(1.1%)
1972: The Godfather
69(1.8%)
1973: The Sting
62(1.6%)
1974: The Godfather Part II
51(1.3%)
1975: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
70(1.8%)
1976: Rocky
45(1.2%)
1977: Annie Hall
49(1.3%)
1978: The Deer Hunter
39(1.0%)
1979: Kramer vs. Kramer
46(1.2%)
1980: Ordinary People
17(0.4%)
1981: Chariots of Fire
70(1.8%)
1982: Gandhi
66(1.7%)
1983: Terms of Endearment
26(0.7%)
1984: Amadeus
78(2.0%)
1985: Out of Africa
37(1.0%)
1986: Platoon
46(1.2%)
1987: The Last Emperor
53(1.4%)
1988: Rain Man
75(1.9%)
1989: Driving Miss Daisy
51(1.3%)
1990: Dances With Wolves
71(1.8%)
1991: The Silence of the Lambs
84(2.2%)
1992: Unforgiven
58(1.5%)
1993: Schindler’s List
81(2.1%)
1994: Forrest Gump
79(2.0%)
1995: Braveheart
78(2.0%)
1996: The English Patient
53(1.4%)
1997: Titanic
83(2.1%)
1998: Shakespeare in Love
93(2.4%)
1999: American Beauty
68(1.7%)
2000: Gladiator
95(2.4%)
2001: A Beautiful Mind
52(1.3%)
2002: Chicago
60(1.5%)
2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
114(2.9%)
2004: Million Dollar Baby
20(0.5%)
2005: Crash
25(0.6%)
2006: The Departed
25(0.6%)
2007: No Country for Old Men
45(1.2%)
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
49(1.3%)
2009: The Hurt Locker
27(0.7%)
2010: The King's Speech
71(1.8%)
2011: The Artist
33(0.8%)
2012: Argo
18(0.5%)