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9th August 2016

The Next Big One by Derek Des Anges

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One of My favourite new books this year is The Next Big One, by Derek Des Anges.

It's about Ben Martin and how he finds things he wasn't looking for, like a maybe? conspiracy! with the new deadly virus.
And maybe other things, like new friends.

It's set in London, which functions quietly as a background. It's a very clear place, where people have to travel to get to places and background characters interact. It is solid, not vanishing at the edges. I feel like the author knows where every thing is, but I don't need a map to understand what's going on.

It features our main character, Ben Martin, who is young - but not that young, he's really a grownup, shut up, dad -

Wait, I'll come in again.
Ben Martin is our anxious bisexual hero!
He sorta stumbles into heroing, it's not really what he meant to do. But he heros anyway. I love him.

He goes to a Further Education college to study Journalism. The tutors we meet are Sherazi and Victoria, and they are sharp and witty and sarcastic. And slightly scary, to their students. I like them a lot.

Then Ben gets an assignment that leads him to meet and befriend more interesting people, like Tasneen, hijabi geek girl of awesome and joy. I love her.

And Dr. Natalya Yagoda, transwoman, science-heroine, cooler than anyone ever. She's amazing.

And Dr. Bill who is a wheelchair user and enjoys arguing with people about SCIENCE (and is pretty obviously based on Dr. Ben Goldacre so if you like him, you're likely to like Dr. Bill)

And the abrasive but attractive Dr. Daniel Khoo
who led me to do research and find Hao Yun Xiang looking like https://www.instagram.com/p/BGufhxnHgE0/
But he also looks like: this

Here are links to buying the book:
The Next Big One in paperback
The Next Big One for kindle UK
The Next Big One for kindle US]

Also Kieron Gillen liked it: I have failed to find the tweet where he said so, but he did tweet a recommendation for it.

So I liked it so much I wrote it fanfic, which is set before the book, and is spoilery, and contains non-con. It is here: The Invention of Loneliness.
It made the author hate a hated character even more. People who liked the book seemed to like it, but it is not a happy story.

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5th August 2016

More from the visit to Glasgow

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More things done in Glasgow:

Some postcards purchased, written, and sent.

Went to the Hillhead Bookclub (a pub, not a place of books) and had the Bookclub punch which is served in a gramophone base, and not- as fondly imagined - drunk out of a gramophone horn.

It tasted very much of fruit juice, so we wondered if it was alcoholic, and then suddenly we were quite tipsy and quite certain that it was, in fact, alcoholic.

There was a sign that said 'GIRLS' and indicated a direction. I went where it told me. There were no scantily-clad girls dancing. I was disappointed. But I did find toilets.

There was ice-cream! A Nardini's which had many flavours of ice-cream. I had Irn Bru ice-cream, which was nice. I think an Irn-Bru sorbet would have been even better. The bellini sorbet was entirely delightful (peaches and champagne flavour).

I stumbled on the top-stair that had warning signs about it prominently posted, because I got distracted for a second. I fell to my knees and caught myself with a hand. It hurt a little in the moment but then I was fine. Disappointingly didn't even get a bruise.

Wandered around the Glasgow botanic gardens. There's a big pretty glass house, where [personal profile] valtyr told me about Andrew Marvell's ornamental fish and I told [profile] vigilantejam about the proverbial beauty of insect-trapping plants.

They also had Camellia Sinensis bushes and a tea-tree tree, next to each other, so I could see how different they were.

And! I learned that rice-paper is not and has never been made of rice. Hurray! I learned a new thing! Boo, I had not known this.


oh hey also I had pulled pork for the first time, I think. [personal profile] valtyr let me use a Penguins mug, which must mean I was a very honoured guest.

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30th July 2016

glasgow visit

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I flew up to Glasgow to visit a friend!

Read more... )

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28th June 2016

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Currently open tabs:

  • http://www.unitedagainstracism.org/archive/pages/info30.htm#1
    WHO, IF NOT YOU?
    How you can intervene when witnessing racist assaults

    "This leaflet provides some suggestions for courageous action and shows that some small steps can change a lot."

  • http://tellmamauk.org/faq/

    In the wake of the Brexit referendum, racist attacks have gone up.

    I've seen someone reporting hearing that they thought voting 'Leave' meant voting for the immigrants to leave.

    :(

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  • 19th June 2016

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    Someone elsewhere complained about the abrupt reveal in The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and I was very surprised because to me that was not what the book was doing at all.

    spoilers for The Watchmaker of Filigree Street )

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    10th June 2016

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    Yesterday I went out and met [livejournal.com profile] apiphile for all-you-can-eat sushi at Saki in Crouch End.

    That was delightful. The conversation was good and the food was delicious.

    I ate until I couldn't move, then Derek rolled me down the street to the cinema.

    We watched The Nice Guys, the newest Shane Black film. I cheered when the Christmas tree showed up. Okay, being me, I actually cackled. But I was looking forward to seeing Christmas there, and it was good to see that I was not wrong.
    The Nice Guys is a very very violent rom-com with a private investigation plot. spoilers )

    *

    Today someone came and fixed the toilet finally, and it no longer makes a very loud noise when flushing.

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    4th June 2016

    I made a thing. I'd be sorry if I could

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    Some of us are broken children. We can't conceive of someone caring for us for our own good.

    Sometimes, when one of us imagines being loved and cared for by someone in a position of trust and authority, it looks like this:

    Harry Potter and the Trouser Snake

    Harry Potter/Horace Slughorn

    A teacher/pupil relationship

    An enthusiastic review says:"Go read this, it's disgusting."

    Kudos and comments appreciated.

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    2nd June 2016

    Dumbledore

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    Dumbledore 'let me just leave you with an abusive family for the first 11 years of your life'

    Dumbledore 'and send you to them every summer for the next six years'

    Dumbledore 'Let me isolate you just when you've discovered you are extra-vulnerable to mind invasion by Voldemort'

    Dumbledore 'you need to learn occlumency, let me send you to learn from a teacher who hates you, that is the best learning environment'

    Dumbledore 'You've learned not to ask questions, let me not give you useful information about your life and family - and about fighting your enemy - until the last moment, or possibly not at all'

    Dumbledore 'I warn you not to make contact with your godfather, just about the only adult who loves you unconditionally'

    Dumbledore 'It is very important that you learn occlumency, I will not follow up on your progress or take any action if your teacher refuses to keep teaching you'

    Dumbledore 'trust me, Harry, I am good'.

    I like Dumbledore the gay man and I am angry that his gayness is not textual, but word-of-god.
    I hate Dumbledore the benevolent wise reckless endagerment of children for the greater good.

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    1st June 2016

    Harry Potter and the Sleepover of Plausible Deniability

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    So I am rereading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - having Stephen Fry read it to me, because hey, I can do that.

    Harry Potter, the horror that is Harry's life, ephebophilia, consent invalidating scenarios )

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    Harry Potter Headcanon,

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    Moar Potter Headcanon, due to demand. I wouldn't go so far as to say 'popular', but three different people have expressed interest.

    This is jumbled with source and influences
    Read more... )

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    29th May 2016

    Horace Slughorn, you horrible cunt

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    So in my recent re-read of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

    Harry Poter spoilers, also ephebophilia, child abuse, etc. )

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    12th May 2016

    Ready? Achieve

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    Today's achievements:

  • Caused a man to assert his hands were not fictional

  • Ruined a song for a friend before she even heard it.

  • Called a pair of rare-pair shipping fans 'filthy shipsters'.

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  • 25th March 2016

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    Went out and had lunch with the beloved. He was on his way to LARP, camping in the rain and playing an game.

    On Tuesday we went and had a meal at Yo Sushi.

    So um.
    food and eating animals )

    I have started watching 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' which is a television comedy series with musical numbers and high self-awareness. So it's clever and funny. But sometimes still I have to pause and hide because cringe or embarrassment. But I go back, because clever and funny.

    I started watching The BBC's The Night Manager starring Tom Hiddleston.
    (In the first episode I was annoyed by small things, like the manager not calling a receptionist to cover for him at the desk when he went off to attend to a guest, or opening a swimming pool when there is no life-guard on duty. Probably the more you know about any thing, the more small things annoy you in television and other works of fiction.
    Part of me is just thinking: go full Xena. Make *everything* ahistoric and wrong and off, so that

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    22nd March 2016

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    Yesterday I went to see Alex Watts who I follow on Twitter do a show: 25 Stories - at the Blue Elephant theatre in Southwark.

    It was a good show, I enjoyed it.
    There's a review here:
    http://www.theatrebubble.com/2016/03/25-stories-at-the-blue-elephant-theatre/
    And it does say what the show is like.


    Getting there was hard - because getting out of bed and out of the flat is hard, but also the travelling - I kept doing it wrong.
    I underestimated how long it would take, so I told a friend we could meet for an impromptu cup of tea. Then my app told me no, travel actually takes time, and the show has a set starting time. So I had to cancel the tea.

    Then I missed my bus-stop because I was busy looking at my app looking at twitter. But luckily! I looked up in time to get off the bus and get on the tube at the next tube stop.
    Then I got the tube in the wrong direction.
    I noticed! After two stops and went back, in the correct direction.
    And so on.

    But I managed to get to the theatre in time, and I enjoyed the show.

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    17th March 2016

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    Stayed in bed and kept telling myself to get up.

    Finally managed to get up, had breakfast.
    took delivery of a new luggage trolly for the beloved.

    Got ready and went out to The Pun Run, a pun-based comedy evening in central London.
    I met the beloved there.

    And we had a good time, we laughed and we groaned and it was fun.
    My favourites of the evening were Bec Hill and Samantha Baines.
    I even managed to go and tell Samantha Baines that I enjoyed her comedy afterwards :) And she complimented my laughter.

    She was wearing a sparkly necklace that said 'BAINES' in big friendly letters. Which is good, because I don't have a good memory for names, but I have a better memory for shiny necklaces.

    It was quick - it started at eight and there was one break and about nine sets. - and it ended at 9:30.
    9:30, the beloved pointed out: early enough to wander down to Gelupo and get ice-cream. So we did that.
    We ordered what felt like half the flavours available - the beloved reassures me that it was not even a quarter. We had the fresh mint stracciatella - it tastes exactly like fresh mint leaves with little chocolate flakes in it.(as opposed to the toothpaste flavour of most mint ice creams). And the dark chocolate sorbet, the crema 101, which was a very rich vanilla custard , the bonet- which is chocolate and other flavours including rum and amaretto and coffee, I think. And the hazelnut which is amazing.







    *My laughter can be heard here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6y75WPvVMKU (QI XL series F episode 5, France. If you can hear Stephen Fry say "Nurse? She's out of bed again!" My laughter is just before that)

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    12th March 2016

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    Today I went to see a schools and families production of Twelfth Night at the Globe.

    Tickets via [twitter.com profile] burntcopper who keeps up with the Globe and periodically gets free tickets to plays. Also there were Gideon, and Orjan and his daughter Carmilla. And all those people I know via Pratchett fandom. And after we sat at the bar and talked and it was so friendly and so much fun - it felt like an appropriate way to spend time on the anniversary of Terry Pratchett's death.

    Also in Pratchett fandom was the first time I heard that Shakespeare's plays were full of knob gags -that is, filthy jokes - I remember Eric said it - and it is very much so in Twelfth night.
    'Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them'
    it appeared three times in this production, the first time slightly suggestive, the second time a bit rude, the third time utterly obvious.

    I liked this production a lot! Viola and Sebastian looked very similar! Orsinio was so handsome and charming (and had such a pretty jacket). Olivia was so dignified in her grief at the beginning, she reminded me of Lady Ty (from The Rivers of London). And then she slowly transformed into giddy-in-love, it was wonderful.
    And Antonio loved Sebastian so much, it was so sad to see his heart break when Cesario didn't recognise him!

    And so on.

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    Tuesday the 1st of March I went to the Distraction Club. It was fun and I saw friends and acquaintances.

    Walking out of the tube station, there was a fire and brimstone preacher, but I felt cold so the idea of hellfire seemed warm and comforting.

    At the club one of the women performers sang a song about an other woman looking really good at the gym; the song seemed to follow the ordinary 'women are at competition with each other for the positive attention of men, which is a scarce resource' kind of story. But it did not hate this other beautiful woman, there was curiosity and admiration of the 'how does she do it?' sort. So I decided that the women in the song find out they are attracted to each other in the end and get together. Slash makes everything better.

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    25th February 2016

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    food )


    tech whinge )

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    1st February 2016

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    Just around the New Year,
    There was a trip up to Yorkshire.
    Had belated seeing family, getting presents that was postponed from Christmas.

    Also visited York, met friend Liza and took her to Betty's tea-roooms.That was fun.
    York was recovering from flooding:
    The path by the river that is called the Judy Dench Walk was more the Judy Drench Wade.

    A day or two after we arrived step-mother-in-law was in a car accident,she had hairline fractures. Very very painful. So most of the time of our visit she was in hospital.

    On New-Year's Eve went to a pub, with an end-of-year quiz: (I tried using google but internet reception was so poor it did not much help.) We basically missed all the sports questions because our resident person who cares about sport is deaf and could not hear the questions clearly.

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    19th January 2016

    Irregular Verbs

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    In Yes, Minister, there's a thing that Bernard explains as 'irregular verbs':

    That's another of those irregular verbs, isn't it?
    I give confidential press briefings;
    you leak;
    he's being charged under section 2A of the Official Secrets Act.


    I was thinking of the way I have it, the same but in the opposite direction:
    She has chronic illnesses and trouble with executive functioning;
    you are tired and in pain;
    I am lazy and useless.

    I was wondering if there is another word or phrase for it when it goes in the other direction, but I think it all falls under emotive conjugation.

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