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|Tuesday, February 1st, 2011|
what the hell is the point? Where am I going?
|Saturday, July 17th, 2010|
|I'm wasting too much time on LJ today
If you could have 10 minutes alone with anyone in the world where you could do or say whatever you wanted without consequences, who would you choose and what would you do?
|Hell's Gate & Hell Hath No Fury, a brief review
Both by David Weber & Linda Evans, Hell's Gate
and Hell Hath No Fury
are interesting explorations of a different type of SF, unless your S in that stands for 'speculative'. The books are set in a series of parallel universes, explored by two very different transuniversal civilisations - one a fairly stratified (with exceptions) society which relies on magic for its technology, and one an incredibly diverse melting pot of a civilisation which relies on a combination of steam age technologies and limited mental powers.
As is usual for David Weber's stuff, the style of the books are quite 'military SF' - with heavy explanation for the technology and capabilities on both sides (both magical and steam-age). The hand of Linda Evans is evident in the emotion and reaction displayed by the characters though, and it makes a refreshing change from Weber's general staunch military men and women. Those military men and women are still quite common, and it almost audibly clicks when it switches from a character heavily designed by Weber to one jointly designed by the co-authors, but it is nevertheless something unexpected from Weber.
The plot of Hell's Gate
consists of an account of the first meeting of the two civilisations and the two months afterward, from the first confused meeting and horrible misunderstanding to the first flares of military conflict between the two forces. Both the representatives of the civilisations are expeditionary elements sent far in advance of actual colonisation from their home universes, and without instruction from headquarters for the duration of the books. In the case of the Sharonians (the machinists) they have a two week information lag and a three to four month
transport lag from their home universe, while the Union of Arcana are four months communications and six
months travel from their own homeworld. Thus, rather than a true account of the civilisations meeting and clashing, Hell's Gate
consists largely of the action between the expeditionary forces and an account of the scrambling preparations of the Sharonian governments to meet the new threat.Hell's Gate
plods along at a fairly leisurely pace, detailing the first mistaken massacre of the Sharonian civilian survey crew, and the retaliatory strike by the local forces of the Sharonian military, but little other action in a vast quantity of wordage. A lot of that wordage is spent on establishing the facts about both societies and how they work, which after all, is a truly herculean task when Weber & Evans are describing civilisations larger that our own, and very, very different. The technology and society/ies of the Union of Arcana, in particular, are quite alien, whereas the society of the Sharonians bears a great deal of similarity to our own, except with a lower technology level (though about the same speed of information as, say, 1950, thanks to widespread telepathy). Hell's Gate
introduces the reader to a vast, well thought out, thoroughly grounded world based on principles that are alien to us, and that's the sort of thing I love to read. However, it does drag somewhat.Hell Hath No Fury
, however, is an entirely different kettle of fish. From the fifth page, the sequel explodes into blistering action, detailing the complete breakdown of diplomacy between the two expeditionary forces and the subsequent counteroffensive by the forces of the Union of Arcana. It's in this book that Weber's gift for military-style, edge-of-your-seat writing really hits its stride, and the reader is carried along with the speed of the offensive all the way to the fringe of Sharonian colonisation. It is in this book that the action really
picks up, and while I read Hell's Gate
over a few weeks, I read Hell Hath No Fury
in one day from cover to cover.
I don't think I've ever read a story in which two opposing forces have had such different capabilites, but yet are so evenly matched. The Sharonians' military technology consists of bolt action rifles, slide action shotguns, railroads, artillery, mortars and hand grenades, as well as the superior communications and occasional other useful odds and sods granted by the mental capabilies of the Sharonians, none (except for the telepathy) particularly situation-orienting. The Union of Arcana's hand weapons consist of crossbows, swords and small spell-cannons, as well as spells from their more gifted troopers, but what really sets them apart is their more specialised weapons.
The Union of Arcana has Dragons
Dragons just like in the standard fantasy model, albeit quite stupid and piloted by men, but real, blue whale sized, fire-and-lightning-and-poison breathing dragons
. As well as that monstrous advantage (which gives them an air capability which the Sharonians cannot match) the Union of Arcana has gryphons, incredibly fast moving aerial strike and recon units, and augmented mounts, giving them the ability to move across rough land at a consistent clip of forty miles per hour. As well as that, the expeditionary reinforcement of fourteen thousand people has around two hundred transport dragons which enable them to airlift around three quarters of their forces anywhere within a thousand mile range, at two hundred miles per hour.
Thus, to the Sharonians, the Union of Arcana are slow to react because of their communications shortfall, but when they react, they react fast
. The Union makes it ten percent of the way to the sharonian homeworld in just two weeks, and a lot of Hell Hath No Fury
consists of the Sharonians scrambling to form a world government to combat the offensive which they didn't even realise was happening until it was already most of the way done. The brave defence of Fort Salby, the last bastion before true sharonian civilisation, is one of the most gripping battle sequences I've ever read, showing the crown prince of the largest empire on Sharona leading the defence against alien weapons and honest-to-goodness dragons. As I said before, I've never read a story where two forces with completely different capabilities are so evenly matched. It's like the balance in goddam Starcraft. The battle which goes until almost the end of the book had me staying up reading until 2 in the morning with back-and-forth action and constant, almost coy reveals of the technologies and their implications of both sides by Weber and Evans.Hell's Gate
is slow, establishing the parameters, but it's worth it just to read Hell Hath No Fury
. I'm looking forward very much to more in the series, especially since the second books ends on a bastard of a cliffhanger. Weber's website, however, says he's not working on a sequel at the moment, bah.
In conclusion, if you like military SF at all, read 'em, you buggers.
|Friday, July 16th, 2010|
|dad stuff, also gym
Dad's prognosis is clean! The enlargement in his prostate is benign, though there are some small polyps in there that might need investigating in six months. The tumour in his kidney is still too small to operate on, and is likely benign anyway, so they're just investigating again in six months. A weight off his and my mind, anyway.
Also, who has two thumbs and is below 150 KG again?
|Friday, June 25th, 2010|
|Writer's Block: Mind blitz
Is there anyone you would permanently erase from your life and memory? If so, who and why?
Yes. I won't say who, but someone who once was a dear friend and now hates to look upon me. I don't really quite know how it happened, or I do know how some of it happened but not all, but it's something that brings me pain every time I think about it, and what could have been.
|Friday, June 11th, 2010|
My father has a 1cm diameter tumour in his kidney. They're operating on June 25th, the friday.
I think I might be late to terracon, if there at all.
Apparently there's a good chance it'll work out! But it's an operation, still, and the risk is real, and they might not get all of it. oh god.
-Woke up in my bed from sweden
-turned off my german alarm clock
-put on sweatpants made in china
-walked to the bathroom and took pharmaceuticals from canada
-took a shower with australian fittings
-put on clothes made in china and taiwan
-slipped my japanese mobile phone, my australian-made keys, and my italian wallet into my pockets
-walked to the kitchen and ate my cereal from french cutlery and plates, while drinking coffee from costa rica
-walked to my US-made car and drove to work
-put my british-made backpack on my shoulders and walked to the office
-Sit here typing on my US-made computer.
What a wonderful world.
|Monday, May 24th, 2010|
|Friday, May 21st, 2010|
I took the astra which I haven't actually bought yet into the RAC for an inspection yesterday, and I'm really glad I spent the money to do so, as they found quite a few things that would make the car unroadworthy.
-Brake pads below legal thickness
-brake disc more worn that legally allowed
-two practically bald tyres
-fluid levels needing top-up
-dodgy windscreen wipers
the last two I don't care about much, but the first three I certainly do. So I took it back to the dealership and said "fix this" and they hopefully will by friday :D. If they don't, I can legally void the contact and get my deposit back (yay)
The quiz night was good, but large social events have been depressing me lately, I don't know why. Maybe it's a room full of people who I know peripherally but would barely care if I lived or died? Maybe it's the large number of PDA couples? The fact that I'm not really all that great at quizzes? Panto people obviously together and enjoying themselves and not being in that group, due to my own fault and drama? Who knows. I tried to do CBT on myself to fix the mood, but no matter what I did it steadily got worse throughout the night. Oh well.
|Monday, May 10th, 2010|
my weight, I found out recently, has topped the 150 kg mark. Some of the new stuff may be muscle, but nevertheless, this is unacceptable
I aim to get the weight off to get under 150 in six weeks. If you see me doing anything actively counterproductive towards this goal, let me know! I have some goals and stuff to help
|Wednesday, May 5th, 2010|
|to those who know bugger-all about cars
My jazz, my lovely wonderful jazz is somewhat the worse for wear now, and is being written off for 8 grand. I have another 5 grand or so I can scrape together at short notice, and for that I have a few options for a new car -
Suzuki Alto, $12,500ish
Hyundai Getz, $12,990ish
What I need is essentially a runabout for city travel. I don't need anything more, but I WOULD very much prefer a 3-5 year warranty, which a new car and some used cars come with. Looking into the paper I can see a lot of hatchbacks that are 4-5 years old and are generally around 10.5-12.5 k - what are thoughts? Any?
|Monday, March 22nd, 2010|
It's almost unreal. In fifteen to thirty minutes, the storm flooded the driveway, broke three windows, smashed my car's windscreen, ripped the flywire on the windows to shreds, shattered two skylights, flooded the carpet in mum's room (she had her window open) and scared the crap out of my dog.
Golfball hail. In PERTH.
|Wednesday, March 17th, 2010|
|Probably the last one of these
My words from aunt_pol
Hugs, sleeping, sad, loving, helpful. You know what to do if you want words from me and somehow haven't acquired them yet.hugs
Kinda glad this has been attributed to me! It shows that someone thinks I'm quite good at them, or maybe that I ask for them too much? IDK. Hugs are an important part of how I interact with my friends, for me, and unless they have indicated as such to me (I'll always ask before the first time I hug them, unless I am VERY drunk or something) I'll hug them whenever I feel the need or want, dude or lady. If it's a problem, let me know. Sometimes I've been told I squeeze too hard, that's probably true, but it's also what people have come to expect. My specialty, of course, is "the bear hug" - where I actually pick up the other person by the torso. I don't do that without express permission, though, any more.
Don't make hugs like this:
Make them like this:
except not with jesus because he never returns my calls.sleeping
Heh, I suppose I always seem tired or asleep most of the time. Interesting that auntpol identified me as such - an explanation? I seem to need a lot of sleep, when I have a choice, but can easily function on less if necessary - during the working week, I'll sleep 6-7 hours a night, though on my days off I'll often sleep for ten or more. It's probably not the most healthy thing ever, and might be an indication of some deeper problem. I just know sleep feels like nature's candysad
I am the paragon of emo, all lesser emos bow to me.
Seriously though, I have my ups and my downs. The result of my depression is that my downs are very, very down and trigger easier, such as "when I'm alone for 20+ minutes in non-natural light without distractions" or "when someone makes a bad comment that could be easily traced back to their hating me". I'm very defensive as of late, and I apologise if that's alienated people.loving
is an interesting one. I've been told that I don't give of myself enough in romantic relationships, that I hold too much back, that I keep too much private. Others have told me that I give too much. I lie somewhere between the TMI and 'too little' extremes, and that applies to the other people I love as well. My parents remain a constant loving presence, but I fluctuate between telling them too little so as not to scare them and too much so as to overwhelm them and try to make them give up on me. So far, they never have. It's interesting that I'm tagged as loving by a friend, though, or that that is one of the first words they associate with me. I guess I do love a few of my friends, but it is a difficult thing to quantify!helpful
I have few skills, mostly to do with technical stuff or shifting heavy things, so that when I can help a friend out I'm happy to do so. If for no other reason, it keeps me busy and in good company so that I'm not depressed for awhile, and makes others think well of me, which for me is well worth the time investment for the most part. I don't think I'm any more particularly helpful than others of my friends, and am very bad at helping with certain issues (terrible at relationship advice, for instance, or career advice, or a lot of things really) so this is an odd tag for me.
Now to bed
|Friday, March 12th, 2010|
|The meme again + an actual post
This time from Colm. Again, leave a comment asking me to and I will pick 5 words I associate with you. You then must expand upon them.
My words: Seeking, tall, ohgod, drums, blackrockseeking
I asked Colm what this meant, and he said I always seem like I'm seeking for answers, purpose, etc. That would be true, in a sense. What I'm seeking is a place I can rest, content, and I suspect I will not find it until the day I die. Looking back on that statement, it seems very morbid, but there you go. I continue to try to find meaning and satisfaction in what I do, in my friends, in my hobbies, in my work, but no dice as yet. Perhaps never being content is part of depression. At any rate, I'll keep seeking.Tall
is what I am! I am 6'4" or so and have been since I was 17. It's not particularly useful, but is occasionally hilarious.ohgod
imonfire is the first thing I thought. I use this catchphrase a lot.drums
is something I should learn to do on real drums someday. I'm pretty good at RB drums, and am constantly searching (seeking?) For rhythm.blackrock
I don't see this crowd much any more, except at a few parties. It refers, btw, to my friends I met through WoW, sort of, and it turns out that without WoW I don't have much in common with many of them. Perhaps this is my failing, but anyway.
and now the real post.
Work is hectic lately, or feels hectic, anyway. I worked a 14-hour shift last week which was probably as much as I could handle at once. By the end of it I was dizzy as and really lethargic, which probably means I had low blood sugar or dehydration or something. Nevertheless, it sucked, and being in at 8 the next morning sucked more :) Still, money money money. On that front, I've been doing much better since I've started getting pre-semester pay in, smashing my way out of debt and now working myself firmly into the black. I intend to spend some money on a holiday to the eastern states in june, there to see my family in melbourne and a friend in sydney, as well as the sights.
On the panto front, I got the part of Nathan Explosion in the latest panto, and that's something I am going to have to work at to make the audience believe I am who I say I am. Gotta work on the voice. I'm a little disappointed at the size of the part (it's two lines) but you can't win 'em all, I guess!
On unisfa: The AGM went well, and I'm really happy about the new committee. What's interesting is that Ivo's the only one who's ever been on committee before, and I'm pretty sure he's never been bigger than an OCM! It'll be an interesting time for all, I suspect. I didn't get nominated for OCM, so didn't go for it :) I guess FAL runs will have to be done without me, I'm sure it will be fine. Liam has a challenge ahead of him, I wonder if he knows how much.
Whorl from the pit
A beast untamed
No face, slime, slithering
Towards the exit
Towards the light
Out of the stench
Dripping, wet, slick
It flips the switch
Ends in fetid hole again.
|Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010|
|That five things *from ellie's journal*
Leave a comment saying, "COMMENT" and I will give you five words I associate with you. Then post about what they mean to you, along with this, at your journal.
Panto, WoW, driving, Unisfa...bears?PANTO
is a thing I do every semester, with people who are cool to hang around with. I'm not a great actor, or a great singer, or a great writer, but yet I hang around and make an effort middling-to-large every year, perhaps that is enough. I enjoy myself, too, of course, otherwise I wouldn't do it.WoW
I play as an excuse to spend time with my folks, these days. The server I play on currently is feathermoon, and I have an 80 mage, Kharga, and an 80 warrior, Ribcrack. Occasionally I try to think of RP profiles for them, as it is a roleplaying server, but WoW is just a game so unconducive to roleplaying that it feels unnatural, somehow.Driving
I currently drive a 2001 Honda Jazz, which not much can be said about other than that it is extroardinarily fuel efficient. I need to put it through the carwash sometime soon. I'm not as good a driver as I was when I took my test, make of that what you will.Unisfa
Is the main source of my group of friends, and a place where I can meet new ones. It's also full of books, which is pretty awesome, though my home library is probably bigger. I'm getting rather ancient for the place though, and may have to make my departure in a couple of years so I don't become even more amazingly creepy than I already am.Bears
Are quadrupedal (mostly) land mammals that live generally in thick forest and tundra. The largest type (a subspecies of brown bear, the kodiak bear) is generally found in the uplands of alaska. The largest one ever recorded stood 14' high at the shoulder when upright. I am not that large. Bear also refers to a subset of gay males who are large, hairy, and strong, all of which I am (except gay, unfortunately). Some dudes apparently find this attractive, I kinda wish more women did!
|Friday, November 27th, 2009|
I Have decided to keep a dream journal. Rather than leaving it private, I have decided to add anyone who's at all interested in the ramblings of my subconcious mind. Comment here if you would like to be added to the filter - don't worry, I won't be offended if I get no comments
|Wednesday, November 25th, 2009|
Hello livejournal, it has been a while. Time for a 'deep' post! I haven't done one of those in a long time.
I sleep a great deal, I have for a few months now. I don't know why I started sleeping so much, but I heartily approve of the change. I'll generally be vacant in the premises for anywhere between eleven and fourteen hours per day, now, and rather somnolescent the rest of the time. I look forward to putting my head down all the time, and often cannot wait to sleep again. I am not sure as to the reasons, but I enjoy the promise and the act of sleep a great deal.
I suppose the reason must be escapism. Sleep, to me, seems like a powerful drug which relaxes me from my cares, which while many, are insignificant. What's more, to sleep is to dream, and for some reason, while I'm usually not able to, lately I can remember my dreams with great clarity for hours afterward. Perhaps I should start keeping a dream journal.
In my dreams, I am naked, but no-one seems to mind, including me. There is a grand adventure, usually - in this particular one, last night, it was I and hundreds of others protecting the town of Geraldton from the ravages of darkspawn. I've never even been there! - and while caught up in the grand adventure, things pale in comparison. My own insecurity and insignificance (and nakedness! wot) pale in comparison to the grand task I and my friends must accomplish. Sometimes these friends are my actual friends, or sometimes they are characters from narrative, or sometimes personalities and faces I have made up entirely in my own head. The range and ability of my own imagination is nothing short of astounding.
Is it any wonder, then, that I wonder what it would be like to sleep forever? Escapism is a wonderful thing. Current Mood: contemplative
|Tuesday, October 6th, 2009|
|Friday, September 4th, 2009|
|Monday, August 10th, 2009|
At least the only way is up! Current Mood: positive