Weeknote, Sunday 5th June 2022

This might be abbreviated as we have just returned from spending a long weekend camping with some lovely friends. Memo to self: take more pillows. And a titanium back. Oh, and of course, it rained, because this is England in June. I am fond of camping, though, at least the whole sitting outside with a campfire reading a book bit.

Apparently, there was some kind of jubilee celebration too? Must have missed it.

After much fooling around, I managed to get Scrivener 3 working on Linux via Wine. In theory, this should be easy, but there are a lot of configuration bits and pieces to go through to make it work, and annoyingly the articles which tell you how to do it have some minor errors in the options they suggest. Now I’ve got it done, though. I have been able to completely nuke the Windows partition from my ThinkPad, as there are no other Windows applications I need to use on it.


Episode three — sorry, “Part III” — of Obi-Wan Kenobi was OK. I’m not really getting drawn into it, which has been true of quite a few of the Netflix/Disney+/Amazon Prime series. I haven’t even really got into the second series of Russian Doll. Maybe it’s me?


While spending time stuck in a tent, I finished Neal Asher’s Weaponized. Asher’s speciality is space opera on the cusp of horror, with a different take on what a post-scarcity society run by AIs would look like compared with Banks’ Culture. In this one, Asher comes back to a theme that he used in his first novel, Gridlinked — that of what it might be like to be so altered by technology that you start to lose your humanity. Where Gridlinked looked at this from the perspective of computing tech, this time around, it’s about genetic engineering of a sort.

If you’ve read and liked Asher before, you’ll enjoy this one, but parts of it definitely felt like Asher-by-numbers, and I’d like to see him abandon the Polity Universe — although he would probably end up suffering the same experience as Gary Gibson, dropped by his publisher after he started writing novels which weren’t like his Shoal sequence:

The thing I learned writing for Pan Mac was that publishers expect you to write books as much like each other as possible. In many ways, this actually makes sound business sense. It means readers come to you seeking the specific type of experience you can provide them with, and it also makes it easier to market you. You always knew with an Iain M. Banks Culture novel what you were going to get. Ditto with an Peter F. Hamilton book, or even a Clive Cussler book, and so on and so on.

My problem was that no one fucking told me this, so I had to figure it out largely for myself. Unfortunately, I had a problem: I get bored easily. Worse, while I have no trouble generating story ideas, they aren’t automatically ideas that fit in the context of starship+aliens+space travel. Or rather, I had plenty of mediocre ideas for space operas, but brilliant ideas for entirely different kinds of books.

Having read that and Alistair Reynolds’ Eversion in a row, it’s time for a change of tack, and I’m not sure what I’ll read next. I might finish off D. B. C. Pierre’s Release the bats, which is about as far away as you can get from space and aliens.

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