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Archive for July, 2012

Just Sixty Years

So, as those who read my last post but one will know, I've picked up a load of Biggles books, and am regressing to childhood by actually reading them. They're (probably obviously) not quite as gripping as I would have found them in my boyhood, but fun nonetheless. At the same time, though, I do have one advantage over the young Daz who read them back in the 1970s. He had virtually no chance of seeing or hearing Biggles' most famous aircraft, the Sopwith Camel, at all, let alone in flight. Whereas this Daz has You Tube. (I half pity the generations growing up with the internet. Never having not had it, I wonder if they fully appreciate the magic—in Arthur C Clarke's sense—that they have at their fingertips. But I digress.)

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This was originally posted on my old site, sometime in early 2011 or late 2010. I've added a single paragraph at the top, to address a subject I should have mentioned at the time, but didn't.

Before posting the article as originally written, I'd like to point out that the main biological/evolutionary premises in the novel are probably, well, dubious, at best. Not that I'm any kind of biologist, but they seem pretty much of a stretch to me. That said, the book reads more like fantasy than science fiction anyway, and it's internally consistent, so—unless you're a stickler for hard SF—I don't think it detracts much. As with most SF and all fantasy, we rely on suspension of disbelief. (A thought comes to mind; I can't think of a single SF or fantasy novel which deals properly with evolution. Hard SF is strict about physics and chemistry, but the biological sciences seem to still be treated to the good old 'half a paragraph of sciencey-sounding babble followed by some distracting action,' before the reader has chance to look too hard. I wonder why that is. Does anyone know of a writer—or even a single novel—that bucks this trend?)

And here's the rest of the article, as originally posted.

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In Which I Regress To Childhood

I've picked up, for a song, a stack of W. E. Johns' Biggles books. And I do mean a stack. Ninety-three of 'em, including an unbroken run of eighty-three from 1932's The Camels Are Coming to 1965's Biggles Investigates.

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Jonny Scaramanga, has taken up video-blogging!

I'm disabling comments on this post; it's his work, not mine. Please visit Jonny's post to comment. Or, indeed, to catch up on the rest of his wonderful blog.
Daz

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The Hollow Crown

So, I just started watching the film-version of Henry V on iplayer; part of the BBC's Hollow Crown series of adaptations of the History Plays. Well, to be pedantic, I downloaded it to watch on Windows Media Player, so as to avoid buffering-problems I get when watching online, but you get the idea.

Anyway, I'm only a few minutes in, but I noticed this, and had to share.

Does it look to you, as it does to me, as if the only things holding that crown up are Tom Hiddleston's ears? Gold being noteworthy for being just a tad weighty, it's probably lucky for him that it's a stage-prop, eh?
Daz

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This began life some weeks ago as a one-stanza quickie in response to an eejit (named Pink Monkey) on a Pharyngula comment-board, whose comments started off silly and rapidly descended into almost unreadable gibberish. Some might say that it should have stayed that way, too, but … ho-hum, I kept thinking of interesting additions, some of which got added. In an effort to deal with the nonsensical brain-worm, I've added an ending and am publishing it. Hopefully this act of finalisation will cause my brain to realise that there's no longer any point in thinking up silly doggerel. We can but try…

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Scales Of Confusion

This article by Jerry Coyne got me to thinking. Britain is, supposedly, a decimalised country, though you'd not know it from the road-signs. Certainly kids these days are taught—as they should be—in purely decimal measurements, but the change-over was gradual. This was further exacerbated, in my case, by the fact that we moved around a lot between education-districts when I was a kid; and different districts made the change at different times, leading to me being taught one year in metric, the next in imperial, and the next back to metric. Which, as you can probably imagine, Gentle Reader, led to my preferences for measurement-scales being somewhat confused.

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