Jules Jones

Yog's Law: Money flows *towards* the author

Use it or lose it
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I've lived in a place where much of the adult population was disenfranchised by law. I've lived in a place where suffrage is not just universal, but mandatory. I much prefer the latter. Get out there and vote. I don't care who you vote for, as long as you're voting for a party that believes in universal suffrage.

Yes, they're all a pack of weasels. But they're not all the same, most of them do genuinely believe in democracy, and they're a lot better than the alternative. Even writing "none of the above" across your ballot is a slap in the face to those who'd prefer the serfs didn't pay any attention to what their lords and masters are doing.

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Anzac Day centenary
poppy, remembrance, armistice day
One hundred years since the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps stormed the cliffs of Gallipoli. They weren't the only, or even the largest, group to land. They weren't even all Australians and New Zealanders. But so very many of them were from two small and new nations. And so very many of them didn't come home.

I'm old enough to have watched as some of those who did come home marched on Anzac Days past. Old enough to have seen the days when the Vietnam War veterans didn't march alongside the Great War and the Second World War returned services, because it was still too raw and bitter a memory for them. Old enough to have seen Peter Weir's film on a school outing as part of our history lessons that year, and been in tears on the way out along with my classmates, girls and boys both.

Not old enough to have seen the last of fresh generations to march. But there is also this -- Anzac Day is a symbol of both remembrance and reconciliation. The ones who didn't come home have been looked after all down the years by their former enemies, who lost so many of their own young men. And there are memorials to Ataturk in both Australia and New Zealand. Would that all conflicts could end with such determination to set aside our differences in recognition of our common humanity.

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Worldcon supporting membership bought
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Having achieved updating my accounts at the weekend, in pursuit of a completed tax return, I discovered that I had Worldcon supporting membership for 2016 but not for this year. There were so many opportunities to buy supporting, voting, pre-supporting etc etc at LonCon that I lost track of which bids and cons had actually got my money. :-)

I have now remedied that lack. I'd been intending to vote on the Hugos anyway, having discovered the joy of the Voting Packet a few years ago as a way to make sure I'd actually read anything recent enough to be eligible, but there's an added incentive to make sure I've got my voting PIN this year.

For anyone else who had the same problem as me at Worldcon of spending more time volunteering than going around the tents, the link is


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I want this for my cover art
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I followed a link from Absolute Write to "pretties". They are indeed pretty - a stunning gallery by Feimo on Deviant Art. And one of the pretty men really caught my attention, because put dragonfly wings on him and I could use this as the cover of my urban fantasy WIP. Yes, complete with rosary. My fairy lad is nowhere near as beaten and helpless as that, but the villain thinks he is...

Tagging this post as story idea, because some of those pieces are making me want to write about them.

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Eastercon was good
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Enjoyed myself at Eastercon. Got to see various friends, was well enough to do a bit of volunteering (if only minding the table in the green room), went to some fun and useful panels. (Am still giggling madly at the look on the other panelists' faces when one minute in Charlie Stross launched into his description of a Real Life Vampire, the hippo arse leech.)

Returned home too tired and sore to report in before now, and am now developing suggestions of Con Crud. But it was well worth it. :-)

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Kalypso_V and I are travelling down together Friday morning, arriving early afternoon. We'll be leaving sometime on Monday afternoon.

I'm not on any panels. I may well be in the audience when other rascafarians are on panels, but am not guaranteeing it. :-) In fact, I really need to cross-check the programme first thing, to make sure I know where to track other people down.

Twitter handle is @bookfetishist and my mobile number has not changed - ping via gmail if you need a reminder.

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Depression lies
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Jim C Hines offers a detailed list of the many ways in which depression lies to you. The comments are worth reading, too.


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book log 2015 - January summary
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Summary of the books read in January, posted only a month or so late... All were reviewed in more detail earlier in the blog.

1) Ben Goldacre: Bad Pharma
Excellent non-fiction analysis of the problem of biased research in the pharmaceuticals industry.
Kobo, Amazon US, Amazon UK

2) Gemma Halliday - Spying in High Heels
Chicklit mystery, not to my taste.
Kobo, Amazon UK, Amazon US

3) Christmas in the Duke's Arms
Regency romance anthology with linked novelettes by four authors, set in a small village one Christmas.
Amazon UK, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Kobo

4) Pati Nagle -- Dead Man's Hand
A lovely short ghost novel for Halloween, with the emphasis on the human soul rather than on horror.
direct from Book View Cafe, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia

5) Summer Devon -- The Gentleman and the Lamplighter
Gentle and lovely Victorian m/m romance.
Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Kobo

6) Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett -- Good Omens
Yes. Well. I mentioned on Twitter while reading the book and when I wrote my review that it coloured the book to be re-reading it for the first time since Pterry announced The Embuggerance. I posted the review two days before he died. It's no bad thing to be reminded of why he was so special.
Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Kobo

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memories of Terry Pratchett
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As with so many other fans I know, Terry wasn't just an author whose books I loved; Terry was someone I *knew*, even if it was only a slight acquaintance. It hurts that he is gone; it hurts that I am grateful that he is finally free of The Embuggerance. He was and always will be an important part of my life, and even the 70+ books he left us don't quite make up for the ones we didn't get.

There are so many stories about him on the net today, of how he touched lives. Little pieces of Terry that will live on alongside his books. This is mine.

The first Discworld con was only the second ever con I went to. I went because it was the Discworld con, because Terry's books had lightened my heart at a time when I was sorely in need of it. I met a lot of wonderful people, including Terry himself.

A few months later, I bought my first modem. That was long enough ago that I selected Demon as my ISP because they offered both flavours of 56k connection. I knew about usenet, and promptly set up my feed for two groups: demon.service, the gripes group for my ISP, and alt.fan.pratchett - and found that Terry was a poster in both. At the time he was posting pretty much every day in afp, and actively involved in conversations, many of which had nothing whatsoever to do with his work, but were just about things of interest to geeks. Because Terry was a geek too, and there were a good many conversations where the Alpha Geek simply happened to be the most shoplifted author in the UK. The online world was smaller then, and such a thing was possible.

I was seconded to the Netherlands for a few months. I still had an online social life to stop me getting too lonely. And not just online. There were friends there to take me out to the pub at a CloggieMeet one weekend, because of afp.

I moved to the US. I still bought the UK editions of the books, via the esteemed ppint, guerrilla bookseller of Interstellar Master Traders. ppint knew that I'm not that interested in autographs just to have the autograph, that it's more about the memory of *getting* the autograph; and accordingly was somewhat surprised the first time I ordered my copy of the latest hardback complete with personalised signature from the signing session Terry did for IMT. "This is different. Terry will probably know who's asking, even if I'm not there to ask in person." He did. And an "it's in the post" email from ppint for one of my orders included a message passed on from Terry that he was glad to hear I'd been successful in getting published. That meant a great deal to me.

Yes. About that. I'm not the only afper who managed to get a book finished and submitted to a publisher in part because of the advice and encouragement Terry freely handed out on afp. There are a number of established writers I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to, but first and foremost is Terry. Best advice I ever heard on not being intimidated by the amount of work in writing a novel: You don't write a novel. You write 300 words a day, and at the end of a year that's 100,000 words, and that's a novel. Thanks, Terry. I don't always manage the 300 words, but that one helped me more than once, especially when I was trying to write again a couple of years ago after a long bout of illness.

Terry eventually quietly withdrew from afp, and the group went on without him. In the end many of the rest of us gradually drifted away in the general Death Of Usenet, but some of the links remained; on irc, on LiveJournal, at meets, at cons. In the friendships and marriages that happened because of afp, and in the children that happened because of afp. And Terry always made it to the UK cons, almost to the very end.

I didn't get to most of the later cons, what with one thing or another. I almost didn't get to 2014, but someone kindly passed on her membership when she couldn't go. When Terry had to withdraw a few weeks before the con, I knew I would never see him again, that most of us wouldn't. In some ways the con became an advance wake -- sharing stories and remembering. And even though he couldn't be with us in person, he was still with us. We had videos of him, and his assistant Rob took video of us to send back to The Boss. He sent us a gift, in the form of a beautiful little folio book he'd had specially printed for the con members when he knew he wouldn't be able to come; one time only limited edition, only 888 numbered copies, ever. We sent him one back, in the form of a Con-inna-Box; a replica Luggage where con members could leave things that represented their memories of the con, and messages written on sheets to be bound into a book. I'll never have to think, "I wish I'd told him how much he meant to me", because I did.

I still haven't managed to read that folio all the way through in one sitting, because I don't want to get tear stains on it. It's probably going to be a while before I do.

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book log 2015 - 6) Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett -- Good Omens
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Usually I make a note when I happen to know the author (or in this case, one of the authors). It doesn't normally affect my review much, but in this case -- I last read this book before Terry went public about The Embuggerance. That's coloured my recent re-read, putting an edge on the humour that wasn't there last time round. Nevertheless...

This is one of the funniest books I've ever read, and yes, that includes Terry's other output. The Bible is true on a literal level, the Antichrist has just been born and Armageddon is coming, and a somewhat shopsoiled angel and demon would really rather it didn't, thank you very much. Aziraphale and Crowley have spent the last six thousand years doing their jobs on Earth, after that unfortunate incident in the Garden of Eden, and in the manner of undercover agents everywhere, have discovered that they have more in common with each other than their masters. They like humans, and they like the human lifestyle. They don't at all like the idea of returning whence they came. And so they decide to do something about it.

All of which was predicted by Agnes Nutter, Witch, who left a set of prophecies for her descendents. Very, very accurate prophecies written by someone who saw things but didn't necessarily understand what she was seeing. Her present day descendent knows that Armageddon is coming, and sets out to do something about the Antichrist.

Who just happens to be a perfectly normal English boy with a gang, and a dog. The dog is from hell, but the gang isn't, in spite of the collective opinion of the adults of the village. One too many swaps in the nursing home left the Antichrist as a cuckoo in the nest of a completely normal middle class family instead of the American diplomat's, and completely untended by satanic nursemaids to guide him in the wrong path. And thus the stage is set for a satire that mercilessly dissects all manner of things about modern life, and has enormous fun along the way.

Very much recommended.

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia

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