Monthly Archives: January 2016

Psychoactive Substances

It took the chair five minutes to get from “good afternoon” to finishing his explanation of why they were sitting round the table, by which time Karim was already conscious of his eyelids drooping. “Let me get this straight,” said

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle

Fiction review: Hand of God by Philip Kerr

Let’s get one thing straight: I couldn’t care less about football. I’m one of the very few Englishmen who looks blank when someone asks me what team I support. When England get knocked out of the World Cup, I breathe

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Posted in Book review: fiction, Wednesday Pontification

Winter in the South

“Winter just got damn cold,” said the Englishman. “Ye big jessie,” said the Scotsman. “The temperature’s hardly in single figures. I cannae understand why the whole south grinds to a halt at the first sniff of snow.” “That is not

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle

Greater Minds: Shami Chakrabarti on dissent

Civil rights activist Shami Chakrabarti gave the 2015 Reading Agency lecture. She quoted Shelley, who called for a benign order to be imposed on chaos. Order is antithetical to the freedom to dissent. Refusing to engage with opposing views prioritises

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Posted in Greater minds, Wednesday Pontification

4 Ways to Plan Your Writing

Originally posted on WordDreams…:
Few people can sit down and start writing. Most of us hem and haw as we mentally walk through how to get from introduction to conclusion. It’s called ‘prewriting’ and everyone does it. What differs is the…

Posted in Reblog

Ask the Moon

Ask the moon, you tell me. I ask you for a bourbon cream, you tell me to ask the moon. I ask you if you’d like peppermint tea or camomile, you tell me to ask the moon. I ask you

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle

Fiction Review: The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling

The year is 1855, and Britain is in the throes of the computer revolution. That’s the premise for The Difference Engine: an alternate history in which Charles Babbage actually built his analytical engine. Technological development has accelerated so fast that

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Posted in Book review: fiction

James Barry’s Final Joke

“Mrs. Sofia Bishop.” Hawkins’s tone informed Major McKinnon that it was beneath the dignity of an army surgeon to admit a charwoman to his London rooms, and beneath the dignity of his batman to do the admitting. McKinnon said nothing,

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle

Article on Dynamic Description

Mary Jaksch has some interesting things to say on the art of dynamic description, which is well worth a look for any aspiring fiction writer. WordPress won’t let me reblog it, but it’s on her Write to Done blog.

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Posted in Reblog

Inspirations: The immaculate deception of James Barry

James Barry was a senior army surgeon of the Regency and Victorian eras, and also a woman in disguise. ‘He’ wasn’t identified as Margaret Ann Bulkley, an Irish debtor’s daughter, until 2008. Barry performed the first successful Caesarian section in

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Posted in Inspirations, Wednesday Pontification
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