Sunday, 31 May 2015

TV review: Grimm season 3

This third season of Grimm has the standard monster of the week, now interspersed with a pregnancy arc. Nick was zombiefied at the end of last season, packed up in a coffin, and being flown off to Europe. Anyone looking forward to Grimm hijinks in Vienna is in for a disappointment: with a leap and a bound the even-stronger-than-a-normal-zombie Nick breaks output of the coffin, crashes the plane, and walks off into the forest. Now the race is on for the Scoobie Gang to find, and administer, the cure.

The cure is duly administered, but Nick is left with a strange propensity to go grey and look dead, at least for a few episodes, after which the scriptwriters seem to forget about it. He has the odd bout of superhearing when the plot needs it, though.

And at last Juliette is in on the secret, and a full member of the team. As such, she has significantly fewer problems than before: see, knowledge helps. However, poor old Sergeant Wu is still in the dark, despite having wrestled with and nearly been killed by a Wessen he could see, been totally stressed out by the whole experience, and checked himself into a mental hospital because of it. Despite all this, the gang decide it’s safer for him if he remain in ignorance. Pah.

The monsters of the week continue to be diverse and mostly interesting, and we get a new Grimm discovering her heritage. Rosalie and Munroe get to meet each others’ parents, which provides some good culture shock, and some not so covert messages about racism. But the main focus is on the pregnancy arc: scary Adalind getting her powers back, and having a super-baby, and meeting Nick’s even scarier mother. More lying and deceit, which not surprisingly doesn’t end well, and leads up to yet another fine cliffhanger. How is Nick going to get out of this one?



For all my SF TV reviews, see my main website.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

book review: The Ode Less Travelled

Stephen Fry.
The Ode Less Travelled: unlocking the poet within.
Arrow. 2005

I know essentially nothing about poetry. We never really studied it at school, and I was never the least bit interested in what little we did do. I do remember one occasion when we were asked to write a poem for homework. I had no idea what to do, so I wrote some flowery prose, and broke the lines up arbitrarily. My homework was returned with the ominous words see me scrawled at the bottom. I went up to the teacher, who looked at me in some bemusement, and said “this is really rather good”: words never said to me in an English lesson before, or after, for that matter. I went back to my seat with my opinion of poetry, and my teacher, confirmed. I suppose it could have been worse: it might have encouraged me and set me on the road to doggerel. Since then my only excursion into that realm has been to compose a couple of limericks for a competition at the 1995 Z User Meeting, held in Limerick; I didn’t win.

Stephen Fry, however, is in love with poetry, and that love permeates this book. But he does something my English teachers never did; he describes the mechanics: the nuts and bolts of metre and rhythm, rhyme and structure. Now this is interesting.

Fry wants to teach you how to write poetry, so there are exercises throughout. I confess, I didn’t do any of these; I’m a theoretician, not an experimentalist, and have no desire to start writing poetry. However, I can see how they would help get someone writing. And they’re not all “write a poem about beauty”, they are “write something in iambic pentameter” (I now know what that means!), or “write something in the form of a sonnet”: exercises in structure, not in some airy fairy aesthetics that I could never grasp. And even when he does suggest a subject, it is some prosaic everyday thing, like a headline from today’s news website, or daytime television programmes.

This book would make a wonderful school book for someone like me, more interested in the mechanics of things than in, well, poetry. It could make the whole enterprise a complicated word game, which would definitely appeal to nerds; then meaning, feeling, and emotion could be snuck in later, if necessary.

On second thoughts, it might not do well as a school text. Some of the examples in the limericks section are extremely obscene.

On third thoughts, that would probably make it popular with school children, if not their parents (those who fail to recall what they themselves heard in their school playgrounds).

The whole book is written with a lightness of touch, and a love of language. It is peppered with lovely little historical, geographic, and linguistic tidbits, and some great rants (especially the section Stephen gets all cross). I particularly like the way Fry writes little example poems to describe a particular structure in that very structure. He continually says his poems aren’t good, though they seem fine to me. But then, what do I know? Well, even I can tell that two examples of poems to written commemorate disasters, McGonnagal’s infamous “The Tay Bridge Disaster” and Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, are at opposite ends of the quality spectrum. Fry explains why one works so much better than the other.

So although I still know essentially nothing about poetry, I know a good deal more than I did before reading this very enjoyable book.

Oh: a useful glossary. But no index.


For all my book reviews, see my main website.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Ctrl+Alt+Del+Zap



Slashdot has a story about how the Planetary Society's LightSail spacecraft has gone silent, its telemetry having crashed because of a software bug.  Remote commands to reboot it have failed, so their current plan is to wait charged particles to affect electronics so that it forces a reboot.




As another commenter said: “Watchdogs are for wimps. Real designers use supernovas in a distant galaxy to reset their boards.”

speedy spam

I’ve had my new phone for less than a week.  I’ve given the number to no one except the Telephone Preference Service.

Today I had my first spam call, from 0333 155 2939.  I didn’t answer it, or even notice it, since I have  the phone ringtone on silent (see the bit above about having given no one my number?)  When I next looked at my phone, I saw the missed number, and googled it.  Looks like I didn’t miss much!

At least I got to play with the “add to auto reject list” menu option in the phone app.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

to stay or not to stay

The referendum question has been decided: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?”  There has been a lot of discussion on the precise wording; there has even been a suggestion we should have a referendum on it!

One reason1 for all the agonising is that having the “yes” answer allows a more positive campaign, as we’ve seen recently (even if it doesn’t always lead to victory).


So the stay-ers get the yes option:


But why should it restricted to a boring yes/no response, when there’s so many more possibilities?  Here’s an option that would suit computer nerds:


Or we could have a blast from the past:


Or there’s always:


I wonder which one they will choose?  Maybe we should have a referendum on it?



[1] Apparently another reason for agonising is the concern that not everyone knows we are already a member of the EU...

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

film review: Looper (2012)

Time travel has not yet been invented. But thirty years from now, it will have been. It will be instantly outlawed, used only in secret by only the largest criminal organisations. It’s nearly impossible to dispose of a body in the future, I’m told. Tagging techniques, what not. So when these criminal organisations in the future need someone gone, they use specialised assassins in our present called Loopers. And so, my employers in the future nab the target, they zap them back to me, their Looper. He appears, hands tied and head sacked, and I do the necessaries. Collect my silver. So the target has vanished from the future, and I’ve just disposed of a body that technically does not exist. Clean.
Although well made, in a grimy dystopian noir sort of way, and fun to watch, in a mindless sort of way, the plot of Looper doesn’t hold up to even the smallest scrutiny. Let’s start with that lazy introductory voice-over: only criminal organisations use this outlawed tech? There’s no Time Police hunting them down? Given the way they can change the timeline? And the only use these master criminals can think of for time travel, instantly outlawed presumably for the amazing power it has, is to dispose of some bodies? Oh, and “tagging techniques” that could seemingly survive incineration or other 2074 disposal technology, somehow don’t raise suspicions when people keep going poof from time-machine-containing warehouses? Nope.

There’s more voice-over (why should I bother summarising this stuff when they couldn’t bother to work out how to film it?):
There’s a reason we’re called Loopers. When we sign up for this job, taking out the future’s garbage, we also agree to a very specific proviso. Time travel in the future is so illegal, that when our employers want to close our contracts, they’ll also want to erase any trace of their relationship with us ever existing. So if we’re still alive thirty years from now, they’ll find our older self, zap him back to us, and we’ll kill him like any other job. This is called closing your loop. You get a golden payday, a handshake, and you get released from your contract. Enjoy the next thirty years. This job doesn’t tend to attract the most forward-thinking people.
Anyway, that voice-over is spoken by Young Joe [Joseph-Gordon Levitt], a Looper who’s about to encounter his future self, Old Joe [Bruce Willis], sent back to close his loop. Things do not go well. We know he has to kill his older self, as we’ve seen what happens to a Looper who messes up.

First time round the loop, he does as he should: Young Joe’s contract is closed, and he gets to enjoy the next 30 years. But when now-Old Joe, a somewhat reformed character, is captured by The Rainmaker’s mob to be sent back, he manages to change things, so that when he arrives in the present, this time round Young Joe fails to kill him. The chase is on: Young Joe must find and kill Old Joe, to avoid the grisly fate of failed Loopers. But Old Joe has a mission: to kill the future crime boss The Rainmaker while he is still a young child, Cid (maybe not that reformed, then), to stop his rise to power in the future. Time lines are fracturing and the future is unsure: eventually Young Joe makes a desperate sacrifice to avoid catastrophe.

The main timelines are nicely shown in this graphic:

This graphic illustrate my first peeve with the plot. Old Joe is trying to kill Cid to make sure he doesn’t grow up to become The Rainmaker, but it becomes clear it is Old Joe’s efforts that make him the Rainmaker, so Old Joe must be stopped. But actually it’s not clear that’s what makes Cid into The Raimaker, as he existed in the initial timeline, which started all this process. (Old Joe killed Sara in timeline B, setting off the Rainmaker transformation, but we don’t know what happened to her in timeline A.)

But my main peeve is with the whole underlying premiss. We see what happens to a Looper who fails to kill his returned older self. The organisation starts chopping bits off the young version; the older version then has these bits chopped off too, but there is no other change to the timeline. Young guy looses a finger: old guy in the present suddenly notices he has a finger missing, all nicely healed up. Then another finger goes. Then his nose. Then a foot. Then a leg. By the end, there’s hardly anything left of him. Given all his wounds are healed, presumably because the younger one lives (lived? will live?) long enough to heal, how one earth does this not have any other effect on the timeline? How does the chopped up guy get to come back? Okay, let’s say for the sake of plot it somehow doesn’t change the timeline. But then Young Joe uses this technique to make his sacrifice in order to change the timeline: not just to stop Old Joe now, but to make Old Joe never have happened. WTF?

And that sacrifice is just stupid. Young Joe has no real reason to believe it will heal the timeline. He could just carry on, become Old Joe, and do something different the next time round, make things better. And if that doesn’t work, do things differently again. He’s so right: “This job doesn’t tend to attract the most forward-thinking people.”

Oh, and the reason Cid can become The Rainmaker is that he’s powerfully telekinetic. Hint: don’t add two impossible things to your SF: either time travel or telekinesis, but not both. Especially without thinking through the consequences of either.


For all my film reviews, see my main website.

Monday, 25 May 2015

my new toy

It’s been nearly four years since I got my first smartphone.  Since then it's become indespensible (although a subsequent tablet acquisition made it less so: as long as I have one of them on me, I'm fine).

However, four years is like forever in phone years.  I’ve noticed it becoming more unstable, with frequent reboots (weekly, then almost daily) needed.  Finally, it started ignoring the SD card.  Right.  Time to upgrade.

I decided to go for a Samsung Galaxy S5, for two main reasons:  Samsung, so I don’t have to learn a new style (and I know to ignore all the Samsung crud that is preloaded);  S5, because it’s got a bigger camera than the other plausible Samsung options, and I use the camera a lot.

I spent about half a day hiding all the preloaded apps, uploading the apps I use, configuring them, having a quick look at the manual to work out how to switch off various options, and generally fiddling about.  All much smoother than my previous experience, partly due to me knowing more about the system, and partly due to software/usability improvements.

So now I have a nice 4G device.  It’s a little bigger than the previous phone, so I’ll need a new case, but it uses the same power adaptor, so I don’t need to replace the several of those I have dotted about my world.

Main gripe: this is my alarm clock, and I’m used to the Smart Alarm Sparkling mist tone waking me gently in the morning, and gently alerting me to upcoming meetings.  It’s not an option the new device, however.  Why on earth remove options like this?  (I had a google around.  There are copies of Sparkling mist out there, but they are different, missing the early swoosh sound.  To get the full tone off my old phone and onto my new one seems to require rooting the devices in order to access /system/media/audio.  I’ll learn to like a different tone.)

Also, pity about that tacky chrome edging.  Gives it a sort of retro 1950s vibe.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

falling with style

I did not know this: rays leap out of the water.


It makes this Stingray leap look more plausible:



But watch how the real rays land.  Boom!  And then watch what starts happening on the video around the 2:15 mark.  Wow!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

what could possibly go wrong?

For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. — David Camperon, PM
That doesn't sound ominous at all.





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Monday, 18 May 2015

my first question

I’ve gained enormous help from Stack Overflow, reading the answers to others’ questions.  But in writing my superformula app, I had a problem with mouse events and processing.js, and I couldn't find an answer there.

So I submitted my first ever Stack Overflow question.


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Sunday, 17 May 2015

book review: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

Chris Hadfield.
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.
Pan. 2013

Chris Hadfield is probably most famous for being the astronaut who sang David Bowie’s Space Oddity on the International Space Station; his YouTube video of it has over 25 million hits. But there’s more to being an astronaut that singing a song in space, a lot more. In his autobiography, Hadfield recounts his life in training, astronaut in waiting for the most part, and some valuable life lessons he extracted from it.

Rather than telling a mere historical account of his life, Hadfield picks and chooses anecdotes to illustrate his lessons.

One lesson can be summed up as be insanely over-prepared for every eventuality, no matter how unlikely. This is of course utterly essential in space, where anything and everything can kill you. But Hadfield lives this back on earth: read the story of how he prepared for the vanishingly small possibility that he would be called up on stage to accompany Elton John at a concert. (He wasn’t.)

Another important lesson is essentially don’t be a jerk (which he calls aim to be a zero). In an environment where everyone is a hyper-competitive overachiever, it’s important to channel that competitiveness into the team, rather than against it. Additionally, he works in an environment where even if one day you are space station commander, you soon literally come down the earth, and end up as ground crew supporting a commander who used to be your ground crew. So aim to be a zero (someone whose presence is neutral) rather than trying hard to be a plus one (someone who adds benefit), in case you are instead seen as a minus one (actively harmful).

There’s the odd touch of self-deprecating humour. Here’s his response when asked how his work affected his marriage.
pp7-8. A lot of people who meet us remark that it can’t be easy being married to a highly driven, take-charge overachiever who views moving house as a sport, and I have to confess that it is not—being married to Helene has at times been difficult for me. She’s intimidatingly capable.
The most important lesson is probably live the journey. An astronaut spends years training for a flight that might last a few days, or might not happen at all. Hadfield set his sights on an almost impossible goal: the training and studying and ground crew work had to be themselves the life worth living, not just something to be endured or suffered through on the way to the ultimate, possibly unachievable, goal. Everything he did was valuable and fulfilling in itself, not merely a means to an end.

This is a great read. I’m not entirely sure that all the life lessons translate to more mundane existences, but there is definitely a lot of food for thought, and a wonderful insight into one particular astronaut’s life.

And, yes, I’m one of the 25 million who watched the video.


For all my book reviews, see my main website.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

surface tension

May showers have left rain‘drops’ behind.



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Friday, 15 May 2015

six parameters in search of an app

A few days ago I came across mention of the superformula, and was intrigued enough to look it up.  I started with that source of all knowledge, wikipedia, which had the formula, and better still, a reference to the original paper, published way back in … 2003.  I always assume these sort of formulae are much older, partly from having got hooked on this kind of thing from reading an 1872 edition of Curve Tracing back when I was an undergraduate.  One thing I'd like to do at some stage is implement a web version of much of Curve Tracing.

The superformula is

Depending on the values of its six parameters, it describes curves like:


It’s not totally clear from that wikipedia figure how the formula works.  The superformula is begging for an interactive exploration tool.  There are nice apps on the web, but I decided to write my own anyway, to continue practicing with Processing.  I then used processing.js to make a web version, and have put it, with a bit of explanation and some more examples, up on my main website.

As usual, the UI took way more time than the core code.  For a language specifically designed as an interactive software sketchbook, Processing has rubbish GUI widgets.  But it is easy to write interactive code.

Using processing.js is an experience, because it is somewhat stricter than Processing itself.  So code development becomes two stage.  I use the “write a line, test a line” style, because it’s much easier to spot immediately when something has gone wrong.  Here it’s “write a line, get it to work in Processing in its IDE, then get it to work with processing.js in a browser”, which is more challenging, especially as the processing.js version error messages are all basically: “nope”.

But still, I now have a much better understanding of the superformula.  And now I can make shapes like


just by fiddling with six parameters!  (Well, seven, it actually turns out.)

Fun!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

procedural generation

I came across this article on No Man’s Sky reading BoingBoing, as one does.


It’s a new game in the making, using procedural generation to enable you to explore a galaxy containing 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 unique planets.  It has a shout-out to Elite, a BBC micro game that I remember playing way back when (it still has what I think is the best representation of the ships surrounding you in 3D space), with its then mind-bogglingly massive 256 different planets to explore.

As I read more about the game, I got a definite flutter of good old-fashioned sensawunda:
Every player will begin on a randomly chosen planet at the outer perimeter of a galaxy. The goal is to head toward the center, to uncover a fundamental mystery, but how players do that, or even whether they choose to do so, is open to them. People can mine, trade, fight, or merely explore. As planets are discovered, information about them (including the names of their discoverers) is loaded onto a galactic map that is updated through the Internet. But, because of the game’s near-limitless proportions, players will rarely encounter one another by chance. As they move toward the center, the game will get harder, and the worlds—the terrain, the fauna and flora—will become more alien, more surreal.
I’ll be looking out for the game if and when it is finally released.

But one thing struck me: a galaxy containing 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 unique planets. A galaxy containing 18 × 10^18 unique planets.  We are used to calling large numbers “astronomical”.  But this number isn’t astronomical: it’s much bigger than that.  Our Milky Way galaxy has about 100 billion stars, or 10^11 stars.  Even if each of them had 100 planets, a huge number, then that would be a total of 10^13 planets.  This game galaxy is over a million times bigger!

Space is big. Really big.  Astronomically big, even.  But that’s just peanuts compared to combinatorically big numbers, like Graham’s number, arrived at by multiplying numbers, and raising them to powers, and then to powers again, and again, and again…

Procedural generation uses combinatorics.  So we won’t run out of virtual worlds to explore. But will we run out of novelty?  I’ll be interested to see if the game can make the worlds feel sufficiently different from each other, rather than just variations on a discernible theme.  The details in the article certainly give me hope that they will.  I’m now off to explore the Superformula cited as one of the many procedural generation techniques they are using.

Monday, 11 May 2015

clouds and swoops

1.22min: “Clouds obviously one thinks of as filtered white noise”
Obviously

 

[via BoingBoing]

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Sunday, 10 May 2015

sequestering carbon, several books at a time XLV

The latest batch.


Many of these are from recommendations on websites I read.  Maybe I should stop reading those sites, and read more books instead!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

the advantages of geography

The UK General Election results show the usual pattern of a disconnect between seats gained versus votes cast.

Proportion of seats gained (left) versus proportion of votes cast (right).
Data from BBC website.
The bigger parties get proportionally more seats, as the smaller parties tend to have their support spread too thinly to get a seat anywhere.  This year, with the landslide victory of the Scottish National Party, taking 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland, we dramatically see the effect of spread versus concentration of support.

The LibDems got 8 seats with 2.42M votes; the SNP got 56 seats with 1.45M votes; the Greens got one seat with 1.16M votes.  If seats were proportional to total votes, they would instead have got 51, 31, and 25 seats respectively.  Clearly the SNP are benefitting from the concentration of their vote.  (Yet since they only put up candidates in Scotland, who knows how many more votes they would have got if people elsewhere in the UK could have voted for them too?)  UKIP also got one seat, despite having a frightening 3.88M votes, which would proportionally have given them a whopping 82 seats.

Four years ago we had a referendum on whether to keep the First Past The Post (FPTP) voting system that results in these anomalies, or change to the Alternative Vote (AV) system.  We kept FPTP.  It’s not clear what would have happened here under AV, as people may have voted tactically this time around, not voting for who they really wanted, in order to keep out those who they really hated.  AV means you don’t have to vote tactically; you can vote for your favourite minority party without “wasting” your vote.

Whatever, the graphic shows how disenfranchised “minority” voters are.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Run!

Shouldn’t UNIT have these?
Doctor Who Tardis lift doors for Durham Police HQ



[thanks to VivK for pointing this out to me]

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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

sunny April

The Met Office agrees with us!



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Sunday, 3 May 2015

April showers and sunshine

March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.
Nope.

According to wikipedia:
One of the major causes of the often heavy downpours is the position of the jet stream. In early spring, the jet stream starts to move northwards, allowing large depressions to bring strong winds and rain in from the Atlantic. 
However, we live in the east of the country, rain-shadowed from Altantic winds.  Since records began (which is June 2005 in our case), April is consistently one of the driest months of our year.

rainfall for 2014 (bars), against statistics for all years June 2005 - April 2015

Even with that one massive outlier in 2012, our recorded mean rainfall for April is 11mm, about half that of the next driest month, March with a mean of 20mm.

However, this April was the sunniest month since records began (in January 2014).  That's the sunniest month, not the sunniest April.

daily solar power generation in kWh, by month
In April 2015 we generated an average of 37.66 kWh per day.  Compare this with the significantly lower 29.60 kWh per day in April 2014, and even with the 37.17 kWh per day in the month with the longest days: June 2014.  18 April 2015 also boasted the maximum power generation in a single day so far: 56.03 kWh.

So we need a new proverb for where we live.  Maybe
March winds and April sunshine bring forth May flowers.
Who cares about rhyme, anyway?

Saturday, 2 May 2015

book review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Alan Bradley.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
Orion. 2009

Flavia de Luce is a precocious 11 year old, youngest of three sisters, possessing a fully equipped and operational chemistry lab in a remote corner of her family home, and the time and inclination to use it. Neglected by their remote father, the de Luce children spend much of their time playing cruel practical jokes on each other, and Flavia’s chemical knowledge is put to these ends, brewing poisons. Until, that is, she discovers a body in the garden, and her father is arrested. She turns her skill to investigation, discovering dark secrets about her father’s schooldays, and his stamps.

Several things didn’t ring true for me. For example, Flavia smelled a chemical smell on the dying man’s breath, but didn’t recognise it right until the end, when the plot demanded it, despite it being a simple smell that her broad chemical knowledge should have identified immediately. In fact, this kind of thing is used a lot: the precocious Flavia makes discoveries the police miss, then the 11 year old Flavia misses obvious things, as the plot demands.

And then, despite the blurb saying ‘England, 1950’, I had trouble locating this in time. One of the characters uses the word ‘copacetic’ [p.21], a US English word certainly not heard in the UK in the 1950s; however, he had fought in WWII, so maybe he learned it there. Nevertheless, it jarred. Then the inspector states that George VI is the king [p.40]. Okay, that’s compatible with 1950. But then there’s a very strange piece where the housekeeper is describing a particularly important postage stamp to the inspector:
p49. A postage stamp, sir – but not the ones you sees nowadays. Oh no – not like them at all. This here stamp had the Queen’s head on it. Not Her Present Majesty, God bless Her, but the old Queen … the Queen what was Queen Victoria.
If George VI is king as the inspector said, then ‘Her Present Majesty’ would refer to his wife, Elizabeth. But her head wasn’t on the stamps of the time, only the king’s. As far as I know, the only time her head was on a stamp was the 1937 coronation special.

In fact, George VI shared a stamp with Victoria, in 1940, the centenary of the first Penny Black stamps.

A native of the time would know what the stamps looked like, and would have more likely said: ‘This here stamp had the old Queen’s head on it – Queen Victoria wot was.’ So that must mean, despite what the inspector said earlier (sound of flipping pages back to check – yes, he did say it) this is actually set post 1952, post George VI, and Queen Elizabeth II is on the throne (or, more to the point, on the stamps)?

But no, it actually is set in 1950. Now, all this might sound like a lot of pedantry about a minor plot point. And okay, it is pedantry, but not about a minor plot point: tiny details about postage stamps, and the fact that George VI is still king, are utterly central to the plot. Those tiny details are certainly interesting, but can I now trust them?

So by page 49 I was in a bad mood, and my willing suspension of disbelief had precipitated out. Things didn’t really improve. The underlying plot is somewhat contrived and implausible (this is meant to be a detective mystery, not fantasy, so has rather different standards of plausibility from my usual fare), and the de Luce family are all deeply unpleasant. I feel the author was going for semi-humorous “eccentrically sweet” for Flavia, but actually hit “dangerous psychopath”. Having recently read a story of ridiculously precocious 11 and 12 year olds, and enjoyed it, such characters can be made compelling, but not here, I’m sorry to say.


For all my book reviews, see my main website.

Friday, 1 May 2015

beauty is in the eye of the beholder

People always wax lyrical about the beauty of plants.  This makes a refreshing change.
the central cluster is a hypnotizing clot of spirals that resembles the Eye of Sauron vainly attempting to look cheerful
I’ll never look at a sunflower the same way again


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