Hugo Awards 2016

These were announced at the 74th Worldcon, MidAmeriCon II, last Saturday.

BEST NOVEL The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

BEST NOVELLA Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

BEST NOVELETTE Folding Beijing by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu

BEST SHORT STORY Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer

Of these I have read only Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, see here.

I have no idea whether any of these were Sad (or even Rabid) Puppy nominations – in the cases of Folding Beijing and Binti at least I would be inclined to doubt it – but “No Award” appeared only once in the full list this year.

War Graves, Ceres

In Ceres churchyard I found several Commonwealth War Graves and one for the Polish forces.

Private Mary Lindsay, Auxiliary Territorial Service, 20/8/1945, age 21:-

War Grave, Ceres Cemetery

Sister Mary Lister (Peddie) Waddell, Princess Mary’s RAF Nursing Service, 5/8/1947, age 30:-

Ceres War Grave

Corporal W Buchan, RAF, 7/9/1940, age 19:-

War Grave, Ceres

A family grave which commemorates William Husband, killed in action in France, 23/3/1918, age 20, and David Husband, who died as a result of war service, in Crail, on 2/4/1929, age 38:-

Ceres Cemetery War Grave

The Polish War Grave. Corporal Jan Niemiec, 1st Polish Rifle Brigade, 28/11/1940:-

Polish War Grave, Ceres

Bannockburn Monument, Ceres, Fife

Ceres is a village in central Fife.

The monument was erected on the six-hundredth anniversary of Scotland’s most famous victory in battle, at Bannockburn in 1314, to commemorate the men of Ceres who fought in it. It’s situated by the side of the “Bow Butts” as Ceres’s village green is called.

Ceres holds a Highland Games every year. It is said to have hosted a games every year since 1314 after Robert the Bruce granted permission in commemoration of the village men’s contribution to his victory.

Bannockburn Monument, Ceres:-

Bannockburn Monument, Ceres, Fife

Inscription:-

Bannockburn Monument, Ceres, Inscription

Friday on my Mind 136: White Bird

From last week’s slightly ridiculous to the more sublime, a 1969 effort from the idiosyncratically named band It’s a Beautiful Day one of whose members, David LaFlamme, favoured a five stringed violin.

It’s a Beautiful Day: White Bird

Irn Bru Cup

I see our Irn Bru Cup (once known as the Challenge Cup) fate has been settled.

Stanraer away.

Since no-one can remember the last time we beat Stranraer (and in recent encounters we’ve made a habit of going two goals up against them but still losing in the end) and our record in this competition is shocking in the extreme there’s no reason to expect we’ll be in the next round.

Queensferry Crossing (v)

A different angle on the new Forth Road Bridge, from the A 90 heading south. The photos were taken on 31st March 2016; not by the driver but by his good lady.

Queensferry Crossing. (Original Forth Road Bridge to left):-

New Forth Road Bridge 21

Closer view:-

New Forth Road Bridge 22

Even closer view:-

New Forth Road Bridge 23

Interzone 262, Jan-Feb 2016

Interzone 262 cover

Jonathan McAlmont’s column rails against current SF’s inability to conceive of society freed from the shackles of the market and examines the Quatermass series in the light of how “humanity would rather destroy itself than deal with the ambiguities of change”. Nina Allan muses on the pressures of a writer to produce to order and how unlikely that is to suit every writing style. The Book Zone has an interview with Dave Hutchinson and I review Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan. The fiction has:-
The Water-Walls of Enceladus1 by Mercurio D Rivera. Lily has been infected by an alien virus contracted on an asteroid. Despite the pustules on her body she is still regarded as beautiful by the Wergen, who have given humans advanced technology in return for companionship. Hating other humans reactions to herself she has contracted for a mission on Enceladus with only Wergen for company, Wergen whom she has come to hate. A well enough told story but my sympathies were entirely with the Wergen.
Empty Planets2 by Rahul Kanakia. In a future dominated by The Machine, people can offset the dwindling of their habitats’ prospects by earning shares through performing services or making discoveries.
In Geologic3 by Ian Sales the author calls on his knowledge of deep-sea diving and space exploration to tell the tale of an expedition to the crushingly high atmospheric pressure planet 61 Virginis b and the enigmatic rock structure on its surface. This brought to mindSolaris, except it has a rock instead of an ocean.
Circa Diem by Carole Johnstone is set after an asteroid bypass has caused Earth’s rotation to slow. One group of remnants lives underground, another above, never meeting – until a man from below and a woman from above do.
In A Strange Loop4 by D R Napper a man has been selling his memories to accumulate money to try to rewoo his estranged wife. As a result he doesn’t remember having done so.
Dependent Assemblies5 by Philip A Suggars is set in an alternative late 19th century Buenos Aires run by a homophobic, racist dictator who controls a mysterious substance called lux which can bring inanimate matter to life but does odd things to living tissue. Two male lovers try to use lux to make children from metal and ceramics. Effectively done but a little cursory.

Pedant’s corner:- Stross’ (Stross’s,) Quatermass’ (x2, Quatermass’s.) “But all writers are not the same” (not all writers are the same.) 1Written in USian; one less freak (one fewer,) corner of their eyes (corners,) Enceladus orbited at its greatest distance from Saturn (was orbiting at,) plateaus (plateaux,) providing us a panoramic view (with a panoramic view,) off of, outside of, trying to acclimate myself (acclimatise,) full-fledged (fully-fledged) 2Written in USian; while I laid out on a rock (lay.) 3 Not written in USian but still employs “ass” for arse, “the pilot in their blister” (I dislike this use of the plural for an individual character.) 4leather-bounds books (leather-bound,) Irving held up hand (a hand,) 5 Rojas’ (Rojas’s,) in middle of the night (in the middle of the night,) off of, sat (seated,) were a group (was a group.)

Mid-Atholl War Memorial

This is situated by Logierait, just off the A 9 at the A 829 (for Aberfeldy) junction.

World War 1 names in the panel, World War 2 in the shield (a little faded I fear):-

Mid-Atholl War Memorial

From North-west:-

Mid-Atholl War Memorial

From south-west:-

Mid-Atholl War Memorial

The Watcher by Jane Palmer

Women’s Press, 1986, 181 p.

The Watcher cover

A Star Dancer has taken to draining the energy pools of Ojal, threatening the planet’s future. Controller Opu finds the perpetrator retreats to Perimeter 84296 (Earth) on the other side of the galaxy and in “less than seconds.” Opu has to delegate care for her offspring before she can deal with this. She decides to send an android to Earth to try to stop the Star Dancer’s activities. Such a transmission is illegal, a transgression liable to be uncovered by a Watcher.

That aliens have childcare issues too is a neat touch; but that responsibility is shrugged off to someone else, in what may be regarded as an all too human manner, for most of the book.

On Earth the locals include Wendle a youthful looking man who is well over a hundred years old, a black police inspector called Weatherby, a sparky policewoman named Perkins, an orphan of Asian extraction called Gabrielle, and a divorced mother named Penny. Not all of these are as they seem but as with The Planet Dweller the interactions between the human characters are much more convincing than those sections dealing with aliens, which again have a cartoonish element. The search for Opu’s agent by giant cylindrical robots mistaken for sea creatures excites a certain degree of interest but the intrusion is accepted in a phlegmatic, restrained, very English way.

In the course of its endeavours the android manages to convert itself into being human; the first to achieve such transformation. As a further complication its senders are about to destroy it, which would be a further transgression now it’s technically alive. In the end the Watcher reveals herself.

The back cover blurb calls this, “Another joyous send up of the SF genre”. It may have appeared satirical when it was written but now I’m afraid it evokes only bathos. At least to this reader.

Pedant’s corner:- ‘They can’s be that backward’ (can’t,) “they stared in wonderment the needle erratically began to flicker into life (has an “as” missing somewhere,) even less that the intruder (even less than,) vocal chords (cords,) ‘But how well these creatures know it’s a trial run’ (how will,) from whence (the from is redundant; whence means “from where”,) andriod (android,) ‘Why?’ said Annac, had no idea what was going on (said Annac, who had no idea,) “he was adamant she should not. and refused” (has an errant full stop,) “and a possible explanation …… came to him he froze (also missing an “as”.)

The Birks of Aberfeldy

The Birks (birches) of Aberfeldy is a local beauty spot lying just outside that Perthsire town encompassing the Falls of Moness.

They inspired Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns, to write a poem/song called The Birks of Aberfeldy.

We dondered up there in February. The path is steep in places and there was snow and ice lying at the time.

The Falls of Moness:-

The Falls of Moness, Birks of Aberfeldy

The Falls of Moness, Birks of Aberfeldy 2

A statue of a seated Burns has been situated at the spot where he is supposed to have derived inspiration. I doubt it’s much of a likeness:-

The Birks of Aberfeldy, Robert Burns Statue

And this is said view:-

The Birks  of Aberfeldy

More falls:-

The Birks  of Aberfeldy

The Birks  of Aberfeldy

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