Simon’s Backup Weblog

Thinking aloud: using this journal for writing SF

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on April 30, 2003

I’m currently wondering about setting up my first friends group.

My current career hiatus is making me think about a lot of things.

As a result, something I’m planning on doing more of over the next few months is working on my short fiction. I want to use a section of this LJ to think about (and share) ideas I’m having, and to noodle through plots and character studies, and to playtest early versions of works. I’ll be using it to put together outlines and “high concept” approaches, like the “hello kitty meets Kitsune” vignette I wrote here a while back.

Now, I know some of you won’t really be interested in my playing with what Cory Doctorow has called “nerdcore SF”, but it’s part of my writing I’m now very sure I want to explore further. I’ve got a couple of universes in my head that are trying to get out, and I’m hoping that using the blog format will help me free up some of the log jams…

So, if you want to see it, sign up here, otherwise I’ll assume you don’t want to be on the list!

(And those who wanted to read “Tigers”, I’ll be sending it out tomorrow.)

(Of course, if you’re reading this, want to see what I get up to, but don’t have an LJ account, I’m happy to deliver one of the many codes I have!)


Waterloo Sunset Colours

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on April 30, 2003

The sky caught fire the other night, burning orange and purples as the setting sun reflected off a passing rainstorm…

Luckily I was in the study, armed with a loaded digicam.

Sunset colours
Sunset colours
Sunset colours
Sunset colours
Sunset colours

Ground Control To Major Blair

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on April 30, 2003

Walking through the City yesterday afternoon I got a new perspective on the Swiss Re Tower and realised that it’s not a building. It’s a spaceship built to blueprints from a 1970s SF cover, probably by Tony Roberts or a young Jim Burns.

Hmm. It’s got to be the getaway ship for the government…

…5…4…3…2…1…We have lift-off!…

The Swiss Re Tower

What else could it be?

That song titles meme…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on April 29, 2003

The band should be obvious…

Are you male or female?: I Am a Camera
Describe yourself: Johnny on the Monorail
How do some people feel about you?: Kid Dynamo
How do you feel about yourself?: Beatnik
Describe your girlfriend/boyfriend: I Love You (Miss Robot)
Describe what you want to be: Living in the Plastic Age
Where would you rather be?: Vermillion Sands
Describe how you live: Clean, Clean
Describe how you love: Fade Away
Share a few words of wisdom: Video Killed the Radio Star

Meme following…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on April 29, 2003

Found in too many blogs to acknowledge them all…

WHAT COLOR ARE YOUR KITCHEN PLATES? White Ikea porcelain plates.
WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? Dance With The Devil, John Ringo
WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read”
FAVORITE MAGAZINE? Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Locus
LEAST FAVORITE SMELL? Ammonia-based cleaners
FAVORITE COLOUR? There’s a flattish powder blue – it’s somewhere near #8080FF.
LEAST FAVORITE COLOUR? Drab reds – maybe something like #800000
HOW MANY RINGS BEFORE YOU ANSWER THE PHONE? I have phones in every room, so fairly quick. I check the number on my mobile before answering it
OF ALL THE POSSIBLE CIRCLES OF HELL, WHICH ARE YOU MOST LIKELY TO BE ASSIGNED TO? The one where procrastinators go… I never got round to reading Dante, so I don’t know which one it is. I’ll do it someday, though…
CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA? White chocolate. That way I get the best of both worlds…
DO YOU LIKE TO DRIVE FAST? Yes. That’s why I have a small black sports car!
DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL? Depends if the cats have eaten before they crush my feet. Knowing Jeoffrey, I’d expect yes!
STORMS – COOL OR SCARY? Varies. I’ve seen cool storms and I’ve seen scary storms…
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR? A red Mini Metro. I called it “The Red Menace”.
DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI? Yes. Especially Purple Sprouting.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB WHAT WOULD IT BE? I’d like to travel the world, advising people on IT problems, and then writing about them.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY HAIR COLOR WHAT WOULD IT BE? I think I’d like one of those Georgette Heyer-style regency buck heads of hair, raven black curls tied back in a pony tail.
DO YOU TYPE WITH YOUR FINGERS ON THE RIGHT KEYS? Sort of – fast four finger typing (or is that “typoing”?)
WHAT’S UNDER YOUR BED? Old clothes, bags and two or three cats.
FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH? None. Or perhaps watching climbers on a tricky route.
FAVORITE TV SHOWS? The West Wing, 24, Buffy, Babylon 5
KETCHUP OR MUSTARD? Neither. Now, if it was mayonaise…
HAMBURGERS OR HOTDOGS? Schwartz Brothers Hamburgers, from the original Walcott Street branch in Bath..
BURGER KING OR MCDONALDS? Burger King. If I really had to…
DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE RIGHT NOW THAT YOU COULD FALL IN LOVE WITH? Yes, no, maybe. But I think that’s true of everyone everywhere. In other words, I’m not answering!
WHAT DID YOU DO YESTERDAY? Worked, packed up my textbooks and brought them home, finished reading <i.The Dark Wing on the tube, moved the contents of the loft into storage, had a late dinner, watched The West Wing, read some of my bedside book.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FOOD? Food. Probably best eaten as a menu gourmandaise at a Michelin-starred restaurant somewhere in the Massif Central…

Sliding Doors…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on April 29, 2003

…or, “New Adventures In Self Storage”.

Sydney Bristow wouldn’t have any trouble getting into the Battersea storage warehouse we’re using as a temporary replacement for our loft.

Unfortunately I’m not Sydney, so I can’t use SD6’s amazing gadgets to zip over the fence, climb up the roof, disable the alarms with a modified mobile phone, before dropping down into the corridor, and leaving a box of unwanted wigs in her storage locker.

Instead, I have to remember a 6-digit number, and then have to type it into a keypad to open the gate and get the car into the compound (as an aside, it’s amazing just how much you can get into a Puma with the rear seats folded down). Then I use the number again to get into the building to pick up a trolley that I can load up with the contents of the car. Finally it’s another keypad, and a glacially slow door slides open, letting me into the storage area. In front of me are wide expanses of corridor, waiting for me to wheel my worldly goods down the painted floors. At least the locker has a padlock rather than yet another keypad…

We’ve taken a high locker, which is a larger space than you’d think, but you do have to climb a ladder to get to the door. It’s a bit awkward if you want to get a fireplace surround up the ladder and in through the door (don’t ask, but it’s nice, shiny and brass, and doesn’t fit our current fireplace), but fine for boxes and suitcases and the odd bit of wood.

I’m still not sure why the car entry keypads are so awkward to use through a car window.

A typical evening in East Putney…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on April 28, 2003

…courtesy of the delight and wonder that is the weekly fix of Cat and Girl…

Ah, SW15. Delivery food capital of the Western World.

Well, probably.

Actually, well, probably not. Especially if you count New York as being part of the world…

Still, it’s dinner.

A Monday Morning “Finished The Book (No, That One!)” Review: Frankensteins And Foreign Devils

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on April 28, 2003

(It’s been a while since the last one of these, sorry – been a little busy)

Walter Jon Williams is hugely under-rated. Perhaps best known for his early cyberpunk works, he’s been a consistent performer, delivering intelligent and powerful works – including the wonderful Metropolitan, perhaps the only truly urban fantasy.

Frankensteins and Foreign Devils is a collection of his shorter works. Some you may have seen in magazines and collections, others will be new to you. Another NESFA collection, you’ll find the usual eclectic mix of Williams fiction. Sone works are long, novella length pieces. “Solip:System” is a coda to Hardwired, following the lives of Reno has he tears down the Orbitals from within, storming on the wings of Black Mind. Others include a Chinese fantasy, “Broadway Johnny”and a story set in Fred Saberhagen’s Swords universe. If you’re a fan of the early Wild Cards stories, then you’ll enjoy the archeological underpinings of the series in “Bag Lady”, where Williams beta tests the ideas that went to build one of the most influential shred world series of the ’80s.

The stand out story has to be the wonderful “Wall, Stone, Craft”. Like Paul Di Filippo’s A Year In The Linear City, this gentle alternate history is also a meditation on the roots of science fiction. In a world where the lives of Mary Shelley and Lord Byron are very different from the stories we know, what kind of Frankenstein will we have? Other alternate histories in the book include “Red Elvis”, where a protest singing southern musician changes the world, and “Foreign Devils”, which lands H.G. Wells’ Martians in a China in the thick of the Boxer Rebellions.

All excellent works, and a collection that stands head and shoulders above many other single author anthologies.

End of an era

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on April 27, 2003

This is the last post from my old work laptop…

A much belated Eastercon pictures post

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on April 27, 2003

and friend…
a sunday night card sharp
and at the Buffy disco
shiny shiny
the men of LJ worship at the feet of …?
and the famous leather corset
and what is happening here?

Click on a picture to see a larger version…

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