Saturday, June 20, 2009

Adam Curtis

The introduction to 'It Felt Like A Kiss'. From his blog. Major stuff. Curtis has made some extraordinary explorations of the undercurrents of power in Western civilisation of the second half of the twentieth century

Going In

I seem to have posted a fair few Moon-based posts at the moment - no particular reason except the upcoming 40th anniversary of the first manned moon-landing is focusing all kinds of attention on our sister world. And then there's this, the last high-definition images taken at one-minute intervals by Japan's Kaguya (Selene) probe as it powered in towards impact at Gill Crater, strung out here in a Flash animation (click on the arrow to flip to the next in sequence). Spaceship crashes are the stuff of cliche in SF novels; here's the real thing.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Destination: Moon

On The Beach

Unambiguous evidence that Shalabatana Vallis on Mars was once occupied by a lake fed by a broad delta - a pretty big lake too (about the size of Lake Champlain). Lasted beyond the point when Mars was supposed to have cooled after its brief warm wet period, so it looks like climatological models might need revised. Long gone now, of course, but what might be found in those fossil beaches and sediment fans?

A Ghost I Became

Singer-songwriters and poets completely inhabit their art. They create it and then they recreate it in public, over and again. Novelists, on the other hand, design their work and build it word by word, decorate it and move in fixtures and fittings that give an illusion of habitation and a history, and then they move out so that the readers can move in. Some ghostly trace of the author remains, but it’s the reader who thoroughly inhabits the novel.

(I dreamed that my friend Steve Jones and I were in a cantina or old-fashioned hotel, the kind with a bar and dance-floor off the lobby, and Bob Dylan was there, singing someone else’s song (it might have been ‘Desperado’). Afterwards, he came over and sat down with us. He was wearing a red and white shirt with pearl snaps, and high-waisted black pants and cowboy boots and he looked at us and when we couldn’t think of anything to say (because what can you say, to Bob Dylan) he shook his head slightly and stood up and walked off. In the kind of l’esprit de l’escalier reverie you have between dreaming and waking, I tried to explain to him how writing a novel was different to writing a song; I’m sure I’m paraphrasing someone or other).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


A major plot point of Players happens in real life (I'm not claiming anything - it was only a matter of time).
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