Blog Posts

Last day teaching in England

Picture if you will: finding it difficult to get a job in your chosen profession near home, you elect to move to an entirely different country to start your career. Now, some of you might have actually done this. So factor in having stayed in your hometown for almost your entire life, including university studies, with only occasional forays to other places.

Visit to Kentwell Hall

It has been ages since I blogged. There’s plenty I could talk about: TV shows that I have enjoyed lately, the Ontario provincial election and voting by special ballot, my impending return home … and I may indeed get around to blogging about these. For now, though, let’s talk about Kentwell Hall. Last Sunday, I accompanied my landlady and her daughter to Kentwell Hall Through the Ages. Ordinarily this stately manor house has re-enactments from a single time period (often Tudor).

Amsterdam travel diary: Wednesday

When I went to Edinburgh, we took a Sandeman’s walking tour of the city. These tours are given by freelance guides who hire Sandeman’s to promote them; they are “pay what you want” tours, where one pays the guide at the end within their means and according to their satisfaction with the tour.

Amsterdam travel diary: Tuesday

I don’t like travelling. I’m not like Frodo Baggins; I’m perfectly happy to stay in the Shire. It’s nice there. I don’t relish the interruptions to routine that travelling brings, the fiddly bits required in packing, the problem of hygiene on the road. So I travel sparingly. Instead I live vicariously through others: through the stories of friends and the writing of well-travelled people.

Amsterdam travel diary: Monday

We have two weeks off for Easter. Earlier this week, I went to Amsterdam for a few days with three other teacher friends. I’ve written some blog posts about our time there. We left Monday evening, and originally I wasn’t going to blog about that part of the trip, because it’s mostly travel. But Monday was a special day all by itself, and I need to record it. Last year, around this time, I had shingles. In my eye.

Missing winter

I’m wearing shorts right now. Shorts. In March. OK, I wore shorts in March back in Canada—but towards the end of March, when the snow was actually melting. Today it’s so nice that I can go outside and sit in shorts and a T-shirt without so much as a jacket.

Currently Reading

Book Reviews

The Chaplain's Legacy cover image

Well, this was a lot better than “The Exchange Officers”, Brad R. Torgersen’s Hugo-nominated novelette for this year. The Chaplain’s Legacy takes two classic science fiction tropes and runs with them. First, we’ve got the “humanity versus implacable aliens” with a group of individuals from both sides caught in the middle as they try to broker a ceasefire. Second, we’ve got the age-old question of what drives us to believe, as explored through the idea that some alien species might not share huma…

Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9) cover image

Mmm, it’s good to dip back into the Laundry Files universe for a little while. Charles Stross is in fine form with Equoid, a delightfully creepy take on unicorn mythology guest starring a young H.P. Lovecraft. Bob Howard is itching to get out of the office, and in a classic case of careful-what-you-wish-for, he gets sent to a country farm with a unicorn infestation. Zombies and tactical teams and chaos and destruction ensues.

The Laundry Files is a great series because Stross attempts to tell a…

The Philosopher's Apprentice cover image

What is this I don’t even.

Argh, my brain hurts. Where did it all start going so wrong? Was it when the sexually ambiguous cadre of private female shock troops seized the recreation of the Titanic in order to force its first-class passengers to toil at menial labour in an effort to rehabilitate them? Or was it earlier than that, when the ludicrously one-dimensional antagonists unleash a clone army of aborted foetuses on unsuspecting would-be parents? Or maybe even earlier, when a lone philosopher…

Wakulla Springs cover image

Having not grown up during a time with segregation, it’s difficult for me to understand completely what such a society is like. But stories like Wakulla Springs at least help by highlighting some of the less overt but no less harmful racist and oppressive tactics used in the United States to maintain the social status quo. In this eponymous Florida town, Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages allow their characters to dream—and then sacrifice those dreams on an altar of realism.

The first part of the story…

The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling cover image

I actually read this back when Subterranean Press first published it online. I almost didn’t re-read it when I found it in the Hugo Voters Packet … but then I decided that I wanted to write a review of it, and I wanted to refresh my memory. I’m glad I did this, because “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” is even better than I remember. (I am aware of the irony of this statement given the story’s subject matter.)

The subjectivity of human memory is a subject open to endless interesting specu…

The Waiting Stars cover image

Aliette de Bodard’s Xuya short fiction continues to be a universe that I enjoy reading but don’t hanker to return to very often. “The Waiting Stars” continues her heavily figurative style of writing, something that doesn’t always work for me. So my feelings about this story are ambivalent: I want to like it, but I also have to admit it doesn’t appeal to my personal aesthetics.

Lan Nhen and her cousin Cuc are on a mission to retrieve a captured Mindship from the Outsiders. But when they finally find…