Weeknote, Sunday 28th May 2023

Bank holiday! Another one! Yay!

On Friday we went over to Margate to see The Chimera Function, a performance lecture by artist and researched Lo Lo No which involved quite a bit of cutup spoken word stuff. I had never been to the Tom Thumb Theatre before and loved it – the work was pretty interesting, and if you’re interested in experimental spoken-word stuff I would recommend seeing it if you get the chance.

Saturday night I was doing my own spoken word piece at the Free Range open mic night. My work isn’t experimental: I just like telling stories. And as part of it I told my own story, or rather the story of how I didn’t write any stories for over 40 years and finally started when I decided that was really silly.

After that we went along to our friend Edward’s birthday drink, then headed home via a really rather large Five Guys burger (grilled cheese for me, of course). Memo to self: you really don’t need to have even the medium fries. Small is more than enough.

Today was my fortnightly writing group, but I ended up only being able to stay for an hour because I planned to meet up with Kim and head over to Herne Bay to collect her mobile phone (she had left it on the bus on Saturday night, and I needed to be with her to find the bus station where it had been left after being found).

I also took delivery of a new monitor. A couple of months ago I moved the Mac mini and my old monitor out of my study to give myself more desk space, so have been using my laptop on its own. It hasn’t quite worked: although it was nice to have such an open and uncluttered desk, leaning over a laptop doesn’t suit my body, and propping it up on a stand just means I end up peering into the 13in screen from a distance which isn’t great for my eyes.

The new monitor is a Dell S2722QC USB-C 27in 4K thing, which is similar to the ones we use in the office. It’s good – not only does having USB-C mean that I can connect and charge my laptop on it. But Dell’s stands allow me to move the monitor up and down which my old LG couldn’t. So no more having a monitor on top of a stand which isn’t quite the right height.

I didn’t realise how much the details of the environment that I work in made a difference to how I feel about working. Things like having a decent keyboard, a screen that’s the right size and height, and all the other things make a big difference not only on things like my posture and my back but also in how producing and creative I feel. It sounds stupid, but it’s true.

Things I have been writing

At today’s writing group I only had about half an hour so dived in and wrote a short piece of micro-fiction which I’m quite happy with – so I will be publishing that on the writing blog at some point soon.

Things I have been reading

I have been continuing on with Temereire, which is a fun and easy read. This week also saw the arrival of M John Harrison’s Wish I was here too, which is a sort-of biography from my absolute favourite author. I’m looking forward to diving into that.

Weeknote, Sunday 21st May 2023

There’s been a lot of London this week. I’m doing a stint of training sessions for various teams across the business – eight sessions this week, basically two a day – and I prefer to do them from the office so I was in for four days running. The good bit is that I get a later train in (the sessions start at 11, so I can get the 9.21) the bad bit is that it turns out commuting is quite tiring. Who knew???

It does have some plus points. It’s nice to see people face to face, and to have those kind of serendipitous chats to your colleagues which actually drive some of the more valuable creative work. It’s good to have a proper gap between work and home. The hour on the train serves that function really well. And it’s nice to have to avoid the inevitable temptation of ill-disciplined home work, where I slide out of bed at 8.45 and am furiously typing Teams messages fifteen minutes later.

I like working at home. But I like working at home on my stuff, rather than the business. That, I like to keep at arms length – and the blurring of home and work life which I fought hard to resist during the pandemic is finally catching up with me. I need more discipline about that, because I have lots of other things which I want to do.

I was reading Mo Morgan’s weeknote yesterday and he mentioned switching email providers. I’m not sure if Mo is actually my doppelgänger, but I have been doing exactly the same dance this week, working on trying out Fastmail. I’m impressed with it, and I am already certain that at the end of the trial period I’ll move all my email and calendars to it.

Another service that I’ve been looking at this week is Authory, which I have been using and recommending for a few years. I did an interview with them about how it meets my needs and was gushingly positive. If you don’t know it, and you’re a writer on the web, you should be using it: it basically scans sites that you write for for your work and create a personal archive of it. So, when someone on the site’s audience development team decides that your old content should be redirect fodder for strengthening another article’s rankings, you don’t lose your work.

(Yes, I have done that to people’s work. I’m sorry.)

Authory has some really nice features. You can use it to create a portfolio site which has all your content from across the web on it. Or you can have an email susbcription using it, so people get all your stuff if they sign up. Oh, and if you tell it a site where your content is, it will go through and find all the existing content to preserve, which is useful when, like me, you have done a bunch of freelance work over the years.

I am still getting slightly scratchy about how to set up my desk at home. A few weeks ago I exiled the Mac mini into the spare room, because although it was great it also tended to dominate the desk. I had a computer and pretty big monitor right in front of me, and it just didn’t feel right.

So I moved the Mac mini and now use my MacBook Air M2. It’s on a stand at the moment, which raise it to a nice height, and I use the Keychron K2 with it which has a lovely action on it. But somehow it still seems like… a lot? Just having the laptop on the desk might be a better option, even though ergonomically I know for a fact that’s terrible. Or maybe I should just go back to having a monitor and a minimal Mac mini setup. Decisions, decisions.

Yesterday we went down to Chichester and saw “Kaye Donachie: Song for the Last Act” at the Pallant House Gallery. It was really good and I would highly recommend it, and the whole gallery too. Pallant House specialises in modern art and does some really interesting curatorial stuff, contextualising the work in different ways. There’s also some great work by Gwen John, which you need to see.

Things I’ve been reading

For a bit of a change of pace I’ve been reading Temeraire, which is basically Napoleonic Wars with dragons. It’s really fun and of course I’m breezing through it.

Weeknote, Sunday 14th May 2023

This week was mostly about training at work. Not me doing training: me training other people, and developing supporting materials, and so on. It’s been a while since I did proper training, and it was a lot of work.

It was also interesting how different groups react differently: I did three sessions and two went really well, while the other felt like an absolute disaster. The people I was training in the hard session weren’t getting what they wanted from the tools I’m training out, and it really showed.

Wednesday evening I was lucky enough to spend some time in the company of a really lovely set of people at a dinner organised for Interesting by the redoubtable Russell Davies. It reminded me how much I like the company of people that I don’t know, as long as I let go and allow myself to enjoy it. Interesting 2023 is next week and there are still tickets available: I would strongly recommend you go.

On Friday, I woke up with a nasty sore throat, which meant that I could work, but couldn’t talk. It wasn’t much fun and – as I had the same issue last week when I was unwell – I wonder if it was something connected to that. When I poked around at the very swollen tonsil on the left-hand side, I got a really unpleasant squirt of something out, which probably means it was some kind of infection. It feels OK now, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

It’s not the only thing that’s wrong with me at the moment. I also have an odd trapped nerve in my back, which makes it hard to stand still for long periods of time. Walking is fine, but standing gives me a sore, uncomfortable feeling in my lower back on the left. I think it’s a trapped nerve because of the weird other symptom: when it’s really sore, the front of my left thigh goes a little numb. Getting old is fun!

It makes me realise quite how much the body is a set of interconnected parts which affect each other. Because I have that pain on the left of my back, when I stand for a long period I tend to put more weight on the right leg and that means I end up with a sore ankle. This is how bodies collapse: not in a single bad thing, but in a small series of problems which cause and amplify each other.

All fixable of course, and more important, preventable too. I’ll get there.

Things I’ve written this week

I wrote a piece of micro-fiction called The memory of everything you ever felt, about a quite unfamiliar kind of hell. It’s only a couple of hundred words, and I’ll post it once I have a chance to edit it.

I also started a longer short piece about a man who misses his plane and meets someone who is stuck in-between countries, and so has lived in the airport for some unspecified amount of time. If this sounds a bit like The Terminal… well, it’s not. All is not as it seems. It’s another small exploration of The Weird, and I want to finish it off this week.

Things I’ve read this week

I finished Julia Armfield’s Our wives under the sea, which was outstanding. I really love her writing style, and I wish I could write this kind of amazing clarity of voice.

Of course, that means I’m on to the next book — or rather, books. When I finish one thing, I rarely have a great idea of what I’m going to read next, and so I tend to dive into a few books and see what sticks. This week it’s been a few pages of Rooms of their own by Nino Strachey, some of All gates are open by Irmin Schmidt and a bit of Laine Looney’s look at the world of early microcomputers, The Apple II Age. None of them have quite stuck yet, so I may jump into something else instead. There’s a lot on the list.

Weeknote, Monday 8th May

I hate being ill, so I have hated this week. After having a tickly throat on Tuesday, Wednesday morning I woke up with a full-blown very sore throat which I couldn’t talk around, plus a head that felt like it was stuffed with old socks found at the bottom of a particularly disreputable drawer. Oh and, of course, the kind of tiredness that makes you feel completely out of control of your body.

That wrote off Wednesday and Thursday, which, because of the first flush of warm early summer weather, were unpleasantly spent in bed sweating and feeling dreadful. I was finally able to get up on Friday and feel human enough to head down to the sea for an evening “fuck the Tories” ice cream. Wasn’t it wonderful to see them defeated so comprehensively that they immediately had to crown a new king to get everyone distracted?

On Saturday, I was feeling well enough to demand a drive to a country house and some fresh air, which is how we ended up at Knole in Sevenoaks. It’s part of the character of Sevenoaks – and tells you a lot about it as a place – that there is a large country house and deer park right next to it. Or rather, in it: where most maps look like cities eat away at the surrounding countryside, Sevenoaks seems like Knole has devoured part of it, the green biting a chunk from the concrete grey.

Knole is an incredibly well-preserved 17th century house and was the home of the Sackville family, who later became the Sackville-West family. Vita Sackville-West was born here, and her inability to inherit the house – denied by British primogeniture laws – was something she was bitter about her entire life. Instead, the house (and title) went to her uncle Charles, who bequeathed it to the National Trust in 1947.

Things I have been reading

I skipped a few days reading this week – there is nothing I like less than reading when I’m confined to bed ill – but I have been pressing on with Julia Armfield’s Our wives under the sea, which I am enjoying a lot. I would love my own writing to be this accomplished. Many passages have been clipped from it, and there are times when she hits the mark with a sentence so well that it almost leaves me breathless. For example:

I see my mother in myself, though less in the sense of inherited features and more in the sense of an intruder poorly hidden behind a curtain.


Panic is a misuse of oxygen.

At Knole I bought Rooms of their own by Nino Strachey, which is a large format pictorial book of the rooms of Edward Sackville-West, Vita Sackville-West, and (of course) Virginia Woolf. If you don’t find the Bloomsbury group and their era fascinating, you’re missing out.

Related, I also bought The Crichel Boys by Simon Fenwick, which focuses in part on Eddy’s later life when he bought a house down in Dorset with some friends. That will be next on the list – I feel like I’ve read a lot of fiction lately and need to balance it out. Reading books about writers seems like a good half-way house.

Mastodon, BlueSky, and Highlander Syndrome

I am total agreement with Jamie Zawinski here. There is no way I will trust anything that Jack Dorsey has anything to do with. He’s either incredibly naive – in which case he should be nowhere near a service which requires trust and safety to be at the front of everyone’s minds – or he knew what Musk was like and didn’t care (in which case… you guessed it).

I don’t, though, really care if people jump from Twitter to BlueSky. There is room for more than one successful microblogging platform and different people will have priorities which aren’t the same as mine. I don’t particularly want to spent a massive amount of effort on a centralised service, but you might feel differently.

There is a lot of Highlander syndrome here: “there can be only one” social network which wins, there can be only one platform which everyone must be on. Some of this comes from the narratives which tech journalists love to write about. Conflict sells, conflict drives clicks, and if you can personalise the conflict to two “heroic founder” figures duking it out, all the better.

This isn’t, by the way, some kind of failing solely in journalism. Our oldest and most fundamental narratives frame things as battles between giants. The myths of gods and heroes are full of them, and seeing founders in the same vein is just part of the same old story. We do it with kings, religious leaders, scientists, you name it. Even our efforts to celebrate the collective often devolve back into hero worship. We’re just not very good at celebrating the collective, unless we have a clear enemy to stand against.

Weeknote, 30th April 2023

I missed out on my week note last week because I was incredibly tired, and when I’m too tired to write you know it’s really something. I was trying to contain a lot of work-related stress: Sunday night, I slept until 3 am and woke up with my head spinning, and the same on Monday night.

Fortunately I know enough about how that pans out to immediately put up the emergency bat-signal at work and talk to my team about it, which of course helped, and then we worked out what it was I was fretting about and sorted that out. Cue solid seven hour nights from then on, and a much happier Ian.

I have been through this kind of thing a couple of times before and it always happens when for one reason or another I lose focus. I do not thrive when I try and take on too much – I end up circling around a bunch of thing and trying to do them all at once, which of course means I don’t actually do any of them to be best of my ability. That creates a nasty little feedback loop, and what clears it is always sitting down, getting my focus back on one thing per day, and breaking that cycle.

One Saturday night we had a trip into town to go to the Free Range open mic night, where one of our friends was doing a performance involving sculpture and inviting the audience up to interact with them and, if they wanted, read from the texts on them. It was a lot of fun and involved three whole pints which is an event rare enough to be fun and get me quite drunk. The days when I could drink all night are long, long gone.

I’m trying to consolidate all the online storage I have into less places. My subscription to Office 365 is up soon and I’m almost certainly going to give it up: I have access to the Office suite through work if I need it, and I prefer using Nisus Writer as a word processor and Scrivener or Ulysses for writing more generally. Dropbox is also going, as I don’t need it either – I’ll probably consolidate all my cloud storage into iCloud. I’ve been testing Nextcloud and it’s good, but unless I’m migrating away from everything else it’s just another thing to keep track of.

This week I have been reading…

A swift canter through Ken MacLeod’s Beyond the reach of Earth, which was OK. I often find the second volume of a trilogy is the low point, as you never find out whatever the “big reveal” is likely to be and quite often the series seems to be treading water.

I also finished Neal Asher’s Jack Four, and am half way through it. It was a bit Asher-by-numbers, with that blend of hard SF and horror which makes him a fun read, but I saw the twist at the end coming when I had read about 50 pages which made it more than a bit unsatisfying. It would have been more fun had that twist been something entirely different.

Neal’s an interesting character. We used to chat a bit on social media (back in the days when social media was a bit move conversational and a bit less performative) and although our politics are worlds apart I always liked him. His beloved wife passed away a few years ago and it really seemed to hit him hard. I hope that he’s in a better place now.

I finished Claire Keegan’s Foster which was an absolute delight. It’s a long short story, not even long enough to call it a novella, but it’s just a beautiful piece of writing. Highly recommended.

All that has taken me to five books this month and twelve for the year so far. Next up is Julia Armfield’s Our wives under the sea which I’m looking forward to as I loved her short story collection Salt Slow. I have booked myself on to another Arvon writing course later in the year and Julia is one of the tutors, so it will be interesting to learn more about how she writes.

This week I have been writing…

I worked a bit on the Shaye and La Muerte stories, but I’m feeling a yen to go back to something which isn’t fantastical for a while. Also I should just complete something. That would be nice.

Weeknote, 16th April 2023

Bit of an abbreviated week note as we have not long got back from seeing my sister up in Suffolk. The last time we were up there, about a month ago, I bought a picture in a little art exhibition – and today was when I could collect it.

My little office is slowly taking shape!


I’ve been writing a bit of a blog post/rant about British technology journalism and quite how stuck in the past of CIX, “kit”, “your scribe”, and using “we think” for an article written by a single solitary person. Still, I don’t know if I’ll ever publish it because it’s a bit shouty. And the readers aren’t much better (see every comment thread on The Register for more).

I also wrote something about Substack Notes, published it on Substack, and then realised that I already loathed Substack enough to want to delete my account – which I promptly did.


I finally finished Becky Chambers’ Record of a Spaceborn Few after a month of putting it down and picking it back up again. It took quite a while for me to get into it: Chambers’ work is heavily character-driven, and this one weaves together the narratives of quite a few characters. But after about halfway, when there’s a single point of plot which changes the whole thrust of the book, I raced through it. And (not for the first time in her work) I got a little emotional.

I love how she writes: I’m almost sad that there’s only The Galaxy, and the Ground Within and To be taught, if fortunate left to read. But I’m taking a break and diving into Ken MacLeod’s Beyond the reach of Earth instead, just for a bit of a change of pace.

I also quickly finished Make Something Wonderful, the collection of speeches and quotes from Steve Jobs created by the Steve Jobs Archive (and available for download for free). I am very familiar with almost everything in it. Jobs, and Apple, were the subject of my work for many years, and the return of Jobs to Apple happened when I was actively reporting on the company. But seeing all this familiar material laid out as part of a historical narrative makes it clear how much Jobs developed throughout his life. Of course, he wasn’t a saint; this isn’t a biography. But it’s taking the best of a person and using it to inspire thinking in others, which is no bad thing.

Just why do journalists love Twitter so much?

Om Malik highlighted a survey by Muckrake which shows a bigger proportion of journalists expecting to spend more time on Twitter in the next year than less:

To anyone following the trajectory which Twitter under Musk has taken this makes no sense at all. The service suspended the accounts of journalists who criticised him. It curtailed efforts to prevent attacks on women journalists, leading to an upsurge in more attacks. It reinstated the accounts of far right activists who had been suspended because of threats to journalists. It has deliberately reduced the reach of posts mentioning Substack, a platform which many journalists use to directly reach audiences.

And of course this is in addition to providing a safe harbour for bigots, racists, homophobes, transphobes, anti-semites, anti-vax myth peddlers, climate change deniers, and mass murderers who have been charged with war crimes.

So why do journalists appear so reluctant to even reduce their time on Twitter, let alone abandon what’s obviously a dying platform which is slowly choking on the hate that Musk is encouraging?

There are a few factors at play. The first is that most journalists are incredibly conservative when it comes to new technology of any kind. Journalists were slow to understanding blogging and how it was going to change publishing. They were slow to social media: as Anil Dash points out, “prestige media won’t go to the fediverse for another 2 years, same lag where they didn’t think Twitter existed until after Ashton Kutcher legitimized it.”

The second is that almost universally journalists overestimate the amount of engagement and traffic which accrue from Twitter versus any other kind of social media. When I worked in audience development, I would often ask journalists who weren’t familiar with traffic numbers where they thought social traffic came from. Universally, they would put Twitter at the top.

In fact, referrals from Facebook dwarf Twitter, and they always have. Facebook accounts for 90% of social media traffic for publisher and news websites, 10x that of Twitter:

That red smudge? That’s Twitter. The grey whale? Facebook.
That red smudge? That’s Twitter. The grey whale? Facebook.

If what you care about is ordinary people reading your stories, you will get 10x the results from effort put into Facebook vs Twitter.

What you won’t get – and this is the important point – is 10x the attention from other journalists. Journalists love Twitter because it connects them to other journalists. It’s talking shop, and shop window for themselves and their work. Some journalists have made their careers through being noticed by other journalists on Twitter: there is an entire coterie of political journalists, for example, who have become “big beasts” because of the attention they get there, not from ordinary people, but from other journalists.

Journalism is an intensely social and sociable practice. It’s also often – particularly in newspapers – run on a “who you know” basis, which is one of the reasons that over half the top 100 journalists in the UK went to public school. Being able to parade your engagement skills on Twitter in front of your peers has helped people get jobs, and, at the very least, it can establish your name.

So no, I’m not surprised that journalists are clinging to Twitter like a life raft, despite the direct attacks from Musk, the bigotry, and the clear decline in the platform’s importance to ordinary people. It’s not about the plebs. It never was.

Weeknote, 9th April 2023

Everyone I know has been desperate to get to the release of the bank holiday weekend, four days when you don’t have to think about work. Or at least a day when you have the hangover of whatever was happening at work, two days of not thinking about work, and then a day of anticipating being back at work.

That’s been the pattern of much of my life. I have never been good at getting enough rest, although it’s notable that over the past couple of days, I have had more sleep than usual. I’ve been exhausted: getting to bed between 10-11pm and hitting sleep well before midnight, both of which are pretty unusual for me. Perhaps, finally, I am learning to rest.

This week I have been writing…

Outlining never feels like writing, which is why I hate doing it. It’s a necessary evil, though. Without an outline, I get bogged down in the minutiae of the scene, and they drift on… and on… and on…

This week I have been reading and watching

The Mandalorian this week was best described as “absolute trash”. With guest appearances all over the place, the writing on it felt really weak compared to the last few episodes. Very disappointing. And that’s about all we have watched this week: it’s very much been a “not much TV” kind of time.

I have, though, laid in yet more books on to the “to read” pile. From the second-hand heaven that is Ghost Papa in Margate came Mick Farren’s Give the anarchist a cigarette, which details his days from early beatnik in Ladbroke Grove to drug-smashed former hippy turned punk in… Ladbroke Grove. And alongside Farren came DM Thomas’ The White Hotel: Thomas, too, was tangential to the same scene in the ’60s, with much of his early poetry published in New Worlds magazine alongside the likes of M John Harrison, JG Ballard and (of course) Michael Moorcock.

Also purchased: Julia Armfield’s Our wives under the sea. I like her collection Salt Slow a lot, and I’m keen to see how this one goes.

Weeknote, 2nd April 2023

I bought a new Mac. There was a bonus from work and it was exactly the amount that a new M2 MacBook Air cost, which I took as a sign from the fates that it was time to replace my 16in Intel-based MacBook Pro. I can also sell some machines which I have lying around and no longer really use to effectively cover the entire cost.

Of course I still have (and use) the ThinkPad running Linux but I can’t get out of the old technology journalist habit of having one machine for each of the main operating systems, because you never know when someone might commission me to write something. No one actually commissions me to write anything these days, mainly because I don’t actually have the time to write other than stuff for work, the odd blog post, and my creative writing. One day I will get everything down to one computer, but that day isn’t today.

Early impressions though are positive and it makes me realise quite how compromised the machines which Apple made during the 2010s were. Prior to 2015, I used a MacBook Air – first an 11in version, then a 13in one – and then in 2015 got the new 12in ultra-thin and light MacBook. That computer was Apple’s first to use the much-loathed butterfly keyboard, which was forgivable on a laptop which was designed to be incredibly thin. But using it on the rest of the range was one of Apple’s worst mistakes in its history, because it made their best-selling computers horrible to type on.

The 12in MacBook got replaced by a 13in i5-based MacBook Air (horrible keyboard, underpowered) and then a 16in Intel MacBook Pro (expensive, improved but still crap keyboard, underpowered because Intel was at a low point).

The M2 Air replaces that MacBook Pro and it’s like night and day. Literally, because I bought the “Midnight” version which is a delicious shade of almost-black blue. It’s also far snappier than the MacBook Pro, completely silent and – IMPORTANT – has a keyboard which you can type on. I can’t say how much of an improvement this keyboard is, and when you spend much of your life typing that really does matter a lot.

This MacBook Air is the first design that I’ve loved since the mid-00’s MacBooks, with their chunky polycarbonate (who didn’t love the black MacBook?). It’s almost as if Apple has remembered to make the Mac a combination of loveable and functional, after a fallow decade when it really lost its way.

Meanwhile we went to a local village fate yesterday where Kim was the judge for the cake category:

The fruit cakes were, apparently, all of high standard. While Kim was judging I spent some time working on some fiction I’ve been playing with for a while, re-plotting and outlining a story which hasn’t been quite hanging together. I’ve been using Aeon Timeline to do the outline, because it features some nice capabilities around navigating the complexities of multiple timelines while integrating with Scrivener. It’s a complex piece of software and I feel like I’m only just getting my head around it, despite using it for over a year.

This week I have been writing…

I wrote a short piece about the limitations of current AI, which takes me back about 25 years. Before I joined MacUser and became a journalist, I did a PhD in philosophy, looking at the implications of Kant’s philosophy of mind for artificial intelligence. At that time, cognitive science – a blend of computer science, philosophy and psychology – was the hot thing in AI, but in the past 10 years or so there seems to have been a return to the AI of the earlier years, which attempts to subdivide “intelligence” into a set of discreet functions capable of being developed in parallel.

My old thesis basically said the opposite: consciousness is a necessary part of what we mean when we talk about intelligence as it’s instantiated in humans, and consciousness is unitary (there are many functions in the brain, but only one “I”, no matter if you’re a human, a monkey, or a lizard). No amount of bolting a vision system on to an abstract reasoning processor on to a large language model will get you to unitary consciousness.

Was I right? I think the fact that despite the best efforts of very smart people, we are no closer to creating animal-like consciousness probably means I was. Large language models are impressive, but they “know” nothing – saying they do is a category mistake, as Gilbert Ryle would have put it.

This week I have been watching and reading…

We binge-watched What we do in the shadows this week and I haven’t watched anything which made me laugh out loud so much for a while. We’ve been wandering round the house randomly shouting “BAT!” in a Matt Berry voice, then collapsing into laughter. With Ted Lasso and The Mandalorian on at the same time, and The Power also now out, there’s plenty to watch.

Two new books on the virtual book pile: Ken McLeod’s Beyond the reach of Earth and Katherine May’s Enchantment. I enjoyed McLeod’s book is the second in a series, the first of which I enjoyed quite a bit, and I greatly enjoyed May’s Wintering too (pretty much a lockdown book) so I’m looking forward to both. But first I need to finish Becky Chambers’ Record of a spaceborn few which I have been dithering over for a while.