February 3rd, 2021


Whoniversaries 3 February

i) births and deaths

3 February 1959: birth of Jimmy Vee, who has played various short creatures in New Who: most frequently the Graske, also the Moxx of Balhoon, the Space Pig, Bannakaffalatta, Skovox Blitzer, and several short Slitheen.

3 February 1975: birth of Mat King, who directed Journey to the Centre of the Tardis (Twelfth Doctor, 2013).

ii) broadcast anniversaries

3 February 1968: broadcast of first episode of The Web of Fear. The Tardis lands in a deserted London Underground; Jamie and Zoe are captured by the soldiers of an outpost and the Doctor encounters the Yeti.

3 February 1973: broadcast of second episode of Carnival of Monsters. The Doctor and Jo explore further inside the Miniscope, and encounter the Drashigs.

3 February 1978: broadcast of third episode of The Armageddon Factor. The Shadow tries to get the first five segments from the Doctor, who escapes; the Marshal launches his "final attack".

3 February 1984: broadcast of fourth epsiode of Frontios. The Doctor gets the Gravis to reassemble the Tardis and removes him from Frontios, neutralising the other Tractators.

3 February 1996: broadcast of third episode of The Ghosts of N-Space on BBC Radio. The Doctor discovers that Vilmio is an immortal alchemist, while the Brigadier and Jeremy attempt to retake the castle.

ii) date specified in canon

3 February 1872: death of Joseph Sundvik (in The Curse of Fenric, Seventh Doctor, 1989).

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January 2010 books

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging which will fall in 2023. Every six-ish days I've been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I've found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.

The biggest world event of the month was the earthquake in Haiti, in which two people who I vaguely knew died: Hédi Annabi, the head of the UN mission, who had once hosted me at a brown bag lunch with his team in New York when he was at DPKO, and elections expert Gerard Le Chevallier, a colleague from NDI days, were both among the 22 UN employees killed when their headquarters collapsed (they had been meeting a Chinese delegation in Annabi's office when the quake struck).

I had another of my marathon trips in the middle of the month, visiting Cyprus for what I think was the last time before that work ended, and going straight on from there to Juba via Istanbul and Nairobi. Here I am with Gérard Prunier and the famous Riek Machar (the husband of Emma of Emma's War). It's fair to say that he's had his ups and downs over the years since.

Later Gérard and I sampled injera and wat. I think we were watching the Egypt-Cameroon match. (Egypt won 3-1.)

In Belgium the weather was different.

With many long plane flights (including a two hour delay in Istanbul due to snow there, which must be unusual), I read 30 books in January 2010.

Non-fiction 8
The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin
The Panda's Thumb, by Steven Jay Gould
The Wheel of Engaged Buddhism, by Kenneth Kraft
The Two Faces of Islam, by Stephen Schwarz
The Language of the Night, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ta Hsüeh and Chung Yung
Juba Arabic - English Dictionary, by Ian Smith and Morris T. Ama
Southern Sudan: Too Many Agreements Dishonoured, by Abel Alier

Non-genre 7
Framley Parsonage, by Anthony Trollope
Mortal Causes, by Ian Rankin
Thirteen Steps Down, by Ruth Rendell
Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
Let It Bleed, by Ian Rankin
Holy Disorders, by Edmund Crispin

SF 10
Unseen Academicals, by Terry Pratchett
Year's Best SF 8, edited by David G. Hartwell
The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett
The Wandering Fire, by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Darkest Road, by Guy Gavriel Kay

The Uplift War, by David Brin
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
Irish Tales of Terror, edited by Jim McGarry
Noughts and Crosses, by Malorie Blackman
The Turing Test, by Chris Beckett

Doctor Who 5
Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible, by Marc Platt
Vampire Science, by Kate Orman and Jonathan Blum
Doctor Who Annual 1968
Wooden Heart, by Martin Day
Short Trips: Dalek Empire, edited by Nicholas Briggs with Simon Guerrier

~8400 pages (allowing for the fact that I didn't read all the explanatory material of Ta Hsüeh and Chung Yung, and only the front and back matter of the Juba Arabic English Dictionary)
5/30 by women (Rendell, Austen, Orman, Blackman, Le Guin)
4/30 by PoC (Blackman, anonymous Confucian sages, Ama, Alier)

Really enjoyed The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett, which you can get here; The Language of the Night, by Ursula K. Le Guin, which you can get here; and The Turing Test, by Chris Beckett, which you can get here. Really did not enjoy The Uplift War, by David Brin, which you can get here, or Irish Tales of Terror, ed. Jim McGarry, which you can get here.