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Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

7 Articles Tagged with “Neil Gaiman”

  1. Things I wish I had done or seen

    I tweet a lot, and that includes links to interesting things I see on the Web. Twitter is an interesting medium with a lot of advantages—but one of those isn’t really permanence. It’s not easy to go back and look at one’s previous tweets, or to collect and categorize one’s tweets.

    Since I’d like to blog more, I thought I’d try sharing here some of those things (and other things) I’ve encountered over the week.

    • You can use math to become better at Monopoly. Well, you can use math to help you out with any game of chance, but Walter Hickey does an excellent job actually analyzing, step-by-step, the different probabilities involved. You don’t have to be well-versed in math to get something from the presentation, though familiarity with probability will definitely help.
    • I’m stoked that the Large Hadron Collider has detected what is most likely a Higgs boson. It would have been exciting to have to tweak the standard model even more, but now we have some interesting evidence in its favour (especially because it wasn’t quite the mass of Higgs we were looking for). That being said, discovering what you are looking for, instead of something entirely

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  2. Small break in the madness

    My reading week has suddenly left me swamped with things I'm normally doing but don't feel like doing right now, things I don't normally do and don't feel like doing right now, and things I wish I normally did and wanted to do this week but can't do right now. Still, I managed to go see Coraline last night, and I've managed to find some time right now to write a short blog post with my reflections.

    Let me get this off my chest first: I have never watched The Nightmare Before Christmas. I'll pause for a moment to let you gasp.

    As such, this is my first experience with the work of Henry Selick, and indeed, my first mature experience with stop motion animation. I don't watch Robot Chicken (more gasps); I've never seen any Wallace and Gromit; and I was too young to appreciate Chicken Run.

    The production quality on Coraline is amazing; indeed, if you didn't know it was stop motion, you could mistake it for CGI. The amount of artistry and craftsmanship required for such a production boggles my mind. The doll for Coraline had numerous different faces that could be switched out…

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  3. Read Neverwhere online or download it for free

    Last February, I drew your attention to Harper Collins' free online browsing of American Gods. Well, they are doing if again, this time with Neverwhere!

    You can read it for free or download it as a PDF. You don't get to keep it forever (the PDF will self-destruct in thirty days) but it's an excellent offering nonetheless.

    I mean, I could go off on a tangent about how self-destructing PDFs is an example of "tethered appliances" taking over the Internet and taking away our control over what content we can access. Then I could casually mention Jonathan Zittrain's The Future of the Internet--And How to Stop It. But I won't.

  4. Read American Gods online for free

    As previously mentioned, Neil Gaiman and Harper Collins have put the entire text of American Gods online. You can read it for free here. :drool:

    I own a copy of American Gods, of course, so it's redundant for me. Nevertheless, it's extremely cool because, hey, let's face it: it's free stuff. And it exposes more people to Neil Gaiman and one of his wonderful novels.

    So, as the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation says, Share and Enjoy!™

    Update (2011): People keep finding this post somehow. I suspect they are googling for "read American Gods for free" or something of that sort, to which I say: dude, local library. Book piracy is dumb. Anyway, I keep getting comments saying, "It's not the whole book! It's just an excerpt!" This blog post was written in 2008. The entire book was available, back in 2008, and then after a certain amount of time, they removed the entire book and replaced it with an excerpt. Deal with it.

  5. Free stuff

    Got your attention, didn't I?

    Neil Gaiman, one of the greatest authors of our era, is going to offer one of his books online for free to celebrate the seventh birthday of his blog. But that's not the best part. We get to choose which book! Head on over to his blog and vote for the book you want to see online for free. Take his advice, though, and instead of voting necessarily for your favourite book, vote for the one you'd give to a friend. I just introduced a friend of mine to Neil Gaiman and lent her my copy of American Gods.

  6. Love, beauty, and Stardust

    I've been quite excited for Stardust ever since I learned about it, and tonight I went to see it. If I had one word to describe it, I'd simply say beautiful.

    I'm no critic. I like a lot of movies, movies that many people might dismiss as a waste of their time for one reason or another. Oh well. However, even most of my favourite movies don't fall into the category of "beautiful". Hot Fuzz was a raucous action adventure with a great plot, but it wasn't "beautiful". Serenity was an outstanding conclusion to Joss Whedon's Firefly series, but it wasn't "beautiful". What was beautiful? I can name a few: Children of Dune, Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Stranger Than Fiction. Why? Dunno. :) Like I said, I'm not a critic. But I like them.

    They changed the story quite a bit from the book, but unlike many movies, this does not detract from it. The core of the story remains, wrapped around the nugget goodness of the central theme. In fact, I enjoyed most of the adjustments better than the book! Particularly the ending, which suited this story of love and magic far more than the…

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  7. American Gods

    American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, is one of the best stories I have ever encountered. I once read it, oh, must have been two to three years ago. Then I bought it from Chapters last week on a whim, even though I barely remembered the plot. When it arrived and I picked it up and started to read, I instantly felt better. Just being able to sink into the universe that Gaiman creates with his words.

    The tale is compelling, and it blows my mind. Very few books do that for me--I enjoy most of the books that I read. Some of them I find hard to put down (lately, for example, I have been reading some Jennifer Fallon. She is no Gaiman, but I still hurry to reach the end of her books). But my memory isn't that great, and they slowly slip away. Dune, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, American Gods ... these books resonate and impart something to me that transcends that. It's why books are so great.

    I'm going to try and read my entire novel in one sitting now. I finished the second draft a few days ago, and I have found…

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