Science fiction

Spurred on by the prospect of reading the new Douglas Hofstadter book, I rearranged my priorities last night. I watched just the first half of Watford vs. Chelsea*, leaving the second half until this morning; this gave me the time to finish Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. I really enjoyed this: very powerful, strangely reminiscent of Gulliver’s Travels.
On the subject of sci-fi, I’ve always been a fan of Alastair Reynold’s work, especially his “revelation space” tales. Now he’s assembled a series of short stories, more or less connected with that alternate universe, under the title Galactic North. It came out in England in hardcover last October, and the U.S. hardcover publication is scheduled for June 2007. Imagine my surprise to find a paperback edition at Heathrow Airport a couple of weeks ago! I breezed through it on the three flights that occupied the following 24 hours (LHR-ORD, ORD-SEA, SEA-RNO), and I passed it on to a colleague as soon as I was done. Good stuff, not great; I recommend that you wait for the paperback. (However if you don’t plan to fly through Heathrow, there’s no telling how long you’re going to have to wait.)

* Chelsea just managed to scrape a win with a goal in the 90th minute. Frankly they looked unconvincing, and a bit tired. These days there are several EPFL clubs that are playing much better, and more entertaining football: ManU and Spurs are at the top of my list, with Liverpool rediscovering their form. It’s hard to imagine Chelsea retaining their title.

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