February 22nd, 2016

politics

Interesting Links for 22-02-2016

tardis

The Legends of Ashildr, by James Goss, David Llewellyn, Jenny T. Colgan & Justin Richards

Maisie Williams' Ashildr didn't turn out to be Susan as I had once hoped; she did turn out to be a very interesting character in her own right, whose future and past histories are now open to all kinds of speculation. I had high hopes for this collection of novellas, since James Goss and Justin Richards, on form, are the best regular Who writers for print, and Jenny Colgan (here adopting a Banksian middle initial as Jenny T. Colgan) is one of the most visible of the big name writers who have been brought in of late - a generally successful initiative.

And I wasn't disappointed. Goss in particular inserts Ashildr into the Thousand and One Nights,in a story that both respects the original tradition of nested and linked narratives, but also throws in some gender subversion. Colgan's story of the Black Death is surprisingly bleak. Llewellyn mashes up Columbus and the Hunger Games. Richards wraps it all up at the end. It's a good collection, perhaps aimed at a more mature readership than is immediately apparent. Let's hope for more.
buzz

The Cosmonauts Exhibition

This is Vostok 6, the space capsule in which the first woman in space, 26-year-old Valentina Tereshkova, travelled out and safely returned to Earth in June 1963.


This is Voskhod 1, the first spacecraft to take more than one person into space, Vladimir Komarov, Konstantin Feoktistov and Boris Yegorov being the three-man crew on its brief mission in October 1964. It looks to my eye even smaller than the Vostok capsule in the next case. There was not enough room for spacesuits.


This is Soyuz TM-14, the first Russian (as opposed to Soviet) space flight, launched in March 1993 with two Russian cosmonauts and a German. They docked with the Mir space station; the German stayed only a week, but the Russians stayed until August and brought a more recently arrived Frenchman home to Earth with them. When they landed, the capsule ended up upside down and they hung suspended in their seats until the recovery team reached them.


This is a memorial bust of Sergei Korolev, the Chief Engineer who made Soviet space flight possible.


Working in politics, my instinct is to provide an ideological critique of all of this (and there is plenty to critique). But sometimes one should take a step back and appreciate the achievements of humanity.


The Cosmonauts exhibition runs only until 13 March in the Science Museum in London. Worth a detour, as the Michelin guides used to say.
big n

(no subject)

Shortlist season these days: the Kitschies are out. Here are the two novel shortlists, ranked by Goodreads ownership.

The Red Tentacle (Novel):
Goodreads LibraryThing
owners av rating owners av rating
The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood 49,751 3.38 537 3.52
The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin 31,607 4.34 321 4.37
The Thing Itself, by Adam Roberts 689 3.98 81 3.52
The Reflection, by Hugo Wilcken 487 3.46 12 3.5
Europe at Midnight, by Dave Hutchinson 461 4.28 32 3.88


The Golden Tentacle (Debut):
Goodreads LibraryThing
owners av rating owners av rating
The Gracekeepers, by Kirsty Logan 12,770 3.63 251 3.58
The Shore by Sara Taylor 4,428 3.55 131 3.81
Blackass, by A. Igoni Barrett 1,875 3.69 16 -
The Night Clock, by Paul Meloy 872 3.13 9 -
Making Wolf, by Tade Thompson 87 3.9 8 4