Monthly Archives: June 2016

Greater Minds: Richard Dawkins on the 40th birthday of The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins was published 40 years ago. It argued that life, with all its beauty and its flaws, is a product of gene selection. It is an object lesson in explaining complex and controversial subjects in

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Posted in Greater minds, Wednesday Pontification

Salvation Island

I had an island once. I didn’t have a deed with my name on it but I didn’t need one. I knew no one else would want it the moment I stepped ashore. But an island was better than a

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle

Plot cannot be just one damned thing after another

John Mullan incorporated novels and TV series into a recent essay on plot. A good plot engages the reader by posing questions. The ideal plot hides its own structure in plain sight. Plot is often regarded as the domain of

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Posted in Wednesday Pontification, Writing

Words Like Confetti

Rupert looked as though he’d been hoping for that question. “I love to write because words are like confetti to me. I throw them into the air and watch them rain bright colours on people passing by.” He adopted a

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle

Fiction Review: The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

I opened this book with some trepidation. I knew it won the Hugo Award last year but from the safe distance I watched from, last year’s Hugos looked like a toxic mess of political squabbling. Political choices are rarely good

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Posted in Book review: fiction, Wednesday Pontification

Prime Minister Johnson

“I have the briefing on the North Korea situation here, Prime Minister,” said Janet to the back of his head. The Prime Minister didn’t look around. “Not now, Beth. Can’t you see I’m having my hair done?” “Yes, Prime Minister,

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle

Emmanuel Akinwotu on Hawa Jande Golakai

Hawa Jande Golakai is in the news again, this time with as the subject of an article in The Guardian. I’ve mentioned her here before and I’ll mention her again because she’s an author worth repeating. She’s talking about her

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Posted in Reblog

Inspirations: Are we all living in a simulation?

Elon Musk recently said we probably live in a computer simulation. He was quoting Nick Bostrom, who said we’re either in a simulation or there will never be one. It doesn’t matter to us whether our universe is constrained by

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Posted in Inspirations, Wednesday Pontification

Feeling Lucky

If I had a dream, it would start with this fifty pence piece. This one right here. Heads or tails? Heads? Let’s see… And it’s tails. You lose. I keep it. See, that’s where my dream starts. A little win

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle

Greater Minds: George Orwell’s thoughts on Politics and the English Language

George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language is as relevant now as it was in 1946. Redefining a dangerous word can steal its meaning. Ill-considered ideas may be hidden behind bad prose, even from the writer themselves. Attention to the

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Posted in Greater minds, Wednesday Pontification, Writing
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