The Red Phone Box

First up a couple of disclaimers, this review is based off an ARC provided to me to review the book, so I won’t be picking holes in the layout or editing here. And it was free so feel free to take whatever I say with a pinch of salt.
Also I’m good friends with one of the writers, they know who they are, and fleetingly thoughts about writing for the anthology as well, so again take me thoughts with however my salt you’d like.

Personally I found it a hard book to read, not a bad book but due to it’s structure I found it at times hard going. To understand why it took me a week to read it you need to understand what you have before you. The original plan was quite simple, a collection of short stories that each featured the Iconic British Red Phone Box. Now being a child of the 70′s I have fond memories of these impressive pieces of British engineering, including a memorable party when I was very young were there was one in the back garden. The fact that a few of them remain, much like the blue police boxes you see dotted about selling coffee, gives me a little burst of nostalgia. But back to the book, a short story collection featuring a phone box. Except, and this is what I understand from conversations I’ve had and the foreword to the book itself, the plan changed. A number of the initial stories had a modern day magical fantasy theme. The box wasn’t just a place for tramps to relive themselves, though it is mentioned a couple of times, but something more, something that changed things.

And so more stories were written, to tie together the disparate threads into a plot, some editing was done, names changed, references made to events in other stories. And this is where my, small and puny, brain got confused. If this was just a collection of short stories is would be fine. Many of them are brilliant and all of them tell a tale well in their limited space, a skill that I’m always a fan of. But there is also the meta plot, that you can see the initial threads of at the beginning, threads that shine brighter and brighter as you progress. Threads that make it that little bit harder to read the book because you always have one eye looking back, trying to tie things together.

Or at least I did. There will now be a dramatis personae included in the book which I received later and I think it’ll be helpful, and next time I read it I’m sure I’ll find it so.

I think that’s possibly my best comment about the book, I will be reading it again and I’ll be keeping an eye out for the sequql that is mentioned at the end. Yes it took me some time to read, but that’s not a bad thing all told.

The book is coming out in November and I’ll post some more thought about it then.

Degrading and depraved

So I heard on the news today (via the new DAB radio my lovely fiance bough me) that the boy Dave is going to mandate Porn filtering and call for search terms that degrade and deprave to be curbed too. Well I had a think and I’ve thought of a few search terms that if we can ban will make the country a nicer place to live.

  • How do I join the Conservative Party
  • How do I become a Member of Parliment
  • How do I fund the Conservative Party

If I think of more I will tweet them. Also, hey look I’m blogging again…. wonder how long it will last?

Finally on Friday night we saw Will Franken at Funny in Falkirk. He’s a great absurdist with a stream of consciousness style of humour. I saw him last year in Edinburgh too as he’s a friend of a friend type thing. He’s a great guy and has a show planned for the Fringe this year. Unfortunately there were issues with his housing and he’s trying to raise the cash for a room £10 gets you a ticket to his amazing show. I need to check my funds as I go on holiday next week but hope to put some money in. But if you can help that’s be great.

Have fun folks.

Ghave’s Cards

So here’s an idea I’ve been bouncing about for a bit which is a breakdown of my favourite Magic deck. This being my Ghave, Guru of Spores Commander deck.

So here is the current deck list, I’m going to cover some of the cards in more detail in the future as well a changes that are made to the deck, as it’s Commander assume there’s one copy of a card in the deck unless it’s listed otherwise.

So that’s the list, thoughts on it later, but yes before you ask there’s only one non permanent and that’ll let me play the rest of the deck. Or as much as I’d like to play to win the game.

Ok Ok.

I’m going to start work on I Can Has XP again. To whet you appetite here’s some random text from it:

One of the major failings with the Ubermind’s plan to protect the world from the Alien menace is that a cat’s brain, even one that has been nanotech enhanced really isn’t that big, plus they tend to get distracted by shiny things and anything the moves quickly near them. In order to try and make space for information on building invisible vehicles and ray guns the Ubermind radically reduced the English language, stripping out syntax and generally mangling it as required. Even so your average LOL-Cat is still not amazingly gifted with intellect, tending to rely on luck and manic energy instead, the little brain power they do have is represented by their Smarts stat.

And

Generally LOL-Cats are Atheists, they know they were created by the Ubermind and why. But some have had the truth of the Flying Spaghetti Monster revealed to them, they know his Noodley Goodness touches everything in the universe. A Noodlista can focus his mind to ask for aid from his God, by moving items, clouding others minds or other manifestations.

Plus

Thus it was that another ‘scientific research’ mission was sent to Earth, in fact the Vashtari came hoping to get more ideas from Earth and it’s unique inhabitants. While they had already become the wealthiest race in the galaxy, they needed more and they hoped to find things that they’d missed in their first reconnaissance. They did learn a number of new ideas, such as strip mining, mortgaging and repossession, the power of monopoly and just how much politicians love money. After a few years on Earth though they realised they were getting less and less done. More than half of the crew were spending most of their time watching television programmes, either live or those recorded and stored in the ship’s archives. Studies were made, hampered by when the entire medical staff started watching ‘I Love Lucy’ a few months into the proceedings, which eventually found that television programmes as well as being horribly addictive, caused long term brain damage to all normal Galactic races. The humans bizarre brains seemed to give them some measure of protection.

I promise I wasn’t smoking anything.

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So, the new phone (and HTC One X if you’re interested) has Beats Audio apparently. Enlighten me. …

So, the new phone (and HTC One X if you're interested) has Beats Audio apparently. Enlighten me. Is that good?

I've never really been an audiophile so I don't really know anything about it. Assume I only use my phone to surf the web, play games and listen to Radio 4… oh and occasionally make phone calls.

The Man | Scimons Random ThoughtsScimons Random Thoughts

Two things, testing the Share on Google+ bookmarklet (which works grand) and sharing a short bit of anger I wrote in June. I would say enjoy but it's not a happy story.

I got annoyed and this dropped into my head fully formed. Enjoy. The Man. Jose The Maitre d' took one look at the man who had just walked through the door, taking in the faded track suit and the tape …

Your Dice! – DORK TOWER 14.08.12

I knew it.

OK. A small bit of explanation here. Apparently someone with a Pinterest took this DORK TOWER comic and made THIS with it.
Which is all fine and cool and everything – well, except for the unattributed part. And it looking like carp, and everything.
Anyway, I’m all for folks playing with my stuff, but I’d rather it didn’t look awful – and that there was attribution – before they go mini-viral, which this has. It’s gotten thousands and thousands of…

So I’ve got a new phone a huge HTC One X which means I can install all the stuff I used to have h…

So I've got a new phone a huge HTC One X which means I can install all the stuff I used to have here including Google+. Last time I had it installed I actually used it so maybe again…?
We shall see.

The Man

I got annoyed and this dropped into my head fully formed. Enjoy.

The Man

Jose The Maitre d’ took one look at the man who had just walked through the door, taking in the faded track suit and the tape on the trainers, and began shaking his head.

“I’m sorry sir, we’re fully booked.” He began before the dishelved figure could get a word in.

“It’s about the job.” he mumbled, liking his cracked lips and looking done. If he could afford a hat, like a proper gentleman, he would be turning it in his hands.
Jose’s head began to shake faster as he overrode the words, he had to get this broken attempt at a person out of her before tonight guests arrived. His hand touched the big red button on his touch screen,
security would be here soon.

“There’s nothing available I’m afraid.” he said, his politeness overlaid with a supercilious sneer that oozed the words, for the likes of you. But rather than leaving the man looked up, his eyes full of despair,
the eyes of someone with nothing left to lose. Jose took a breath and swallowed. “Ah…. that job.” He motioned to the large men, no point remembering their names half the time they couldn’t,
“Take this gentleman to see Marcel.” he said. The man followed the guards, his face torn between a smile and a grimace. Jose tried to stop his mind from following him by wondering if he’d need to get the cleaning staff in.

Marcel walked around the man, looking him over and nodding. The room was quiet but imposing and as he stood there, trying to impress the words started to bubble out.

“It’s the cuts you see, got no job since they out sourced my work and my kids have nothing.” Marcel nodded, and prodded the mans gut, a life time of cheap food had made it’s mark. “I need to provide something for them, a chance.”
Marcel smiled, he was perfect he waved to get the mans attention, the verbal stream died away. The hunger on the mans face was papable, a churning need masking a terror a multitude of terrors.

“You’re perfect, we’ll get James in with the paper work but I think you’ll be just what I’m looking for.” The man swallowed, the question he wanted to ask was written in words of fire across his face. “I think we can go to 500,000
maybe three quarters of a million, it depends.” said Marcel. At the he broke down crying, falling to his knees and thanking the chef, Marcel took a step back from the grasping hands and quickly left the room, shuddering slightly.

“Now sir, just a few legal formalities. You’re aware that the final sum will not be know for a while? Good. Sign here for that.” the lawyer was the everything a modern man should be, smart retro victorian suit, shaved head
with the telltale light marks of electro tattooing that said “I’m sensible now, but when I let my hair down I’m a Maori warrior…” and pitch black contacts feeding data from his mobile. He worked through the paper work, pointing
to areas that needed initialed and signed. “Finally we have the consent form, I need to read this out and have to agree to it, it’s in the law. Do you…” he quickly flicked his eyes to the side before reciting the mans name ” agree
that you are under no coercion? That you undertake this procedure of your own free will with the full understanding it will lead to your death?” The man nodded and reached for the pen, his hands shook has he signed, the lawyer shook
his hand and then left. The man sat alone in the room for a moment, feeling the comfortable chair against his body, then the door opened again and a young lady in a nurses uniform open it and beckoned him to follow.


The three bankers in their sharp suits, electro tattoos currently a muted brown, laughed and tried to out do themselves in the jokes they told the girls they where escorting. Jose smiled as the bills changed hands and a table was
suddenly found to be available.

“Why yes gentlemen, we of course the house speciality is available we’ve got some fresh meat in. I’d advise the rump, it’s quite deliicious.”

The Tories and The Cannibals; A Joke, Revisited

Having observed how this government – and particularly Secretary for Foot in Mouth, Francis Maude – deal with the unions to avert crises, I am reminded of a joke. I have taken the liber…