A book that changed how I perceive forests. A couple of weeks ago I visited a nearby area of ancient woodland. Ancient woodland is a rare habitat in the UK, covering only about 2% of the land area (according to the Woodland Trust), so I considered myself lucky to have a decent-sized patch closeby. I … Continue reading Chopwell Wood, or Irony is in the Axe of the (be)Holder
Located on the Scottish Border in northwestern England, Cumbria was (and still is) a sparsely populated county. One curious byproduct of Cumbria's low population density was that, through the middle ages, the tiny chapels in outlying thorpes and thwaites did not have license to bury the dead, so bodies had to be transported to larger … Continue reading The Corpse Roads of Cumbria by Alan Cleaver and Lesley Park
Sunshine on Barf. Stop being childish, that's the name of the hill. I am a changed man. It's not the cuts, breaks and scrapes, nor is it the scars that will undoubtedly mark my flesh for the remainder of my days. It is my understanding of the world around me, my vision, if you will, … Continue reading A Haunting above Thornthwaite: A Cumbrian Ghost Story
This is a straight line. These are all straight lines. If you happen to live on the surface of a sphere, this is a straight line. If you live on a space station orbiting a sphere, this is a straight line.And since we all live in a gravitationally-curved, non-Euclidian universe,this might be a straight line too.∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼If this … Continue reading This is a straight line.
DISTAFF: NOUNA staff used in spinning.Of women and women’s work.An anthology of women’s stories woven through time and space.courtesy of the Distaff website Distaff is a new anthology of science-fiction short stories born out of discussions by several female authors on the forums of the SFFChronicles. Beyond it being sci-fi, there is no common theme … Continue reading Distaff–A New Sci-fi Short Story Anthology
Proxima is, ostensibly, about humanity's first attempts at colonizing a planet in a different solar system. I say "ostensibly" because, really, the story is also about tensions between the United Nations, which has control of Mercury and part of Mars, and China, which controls part of Mars and parts of the asteroid belt. Oh, it's … Continue reading “Proxima” by Stephen Baxter
Uprooted is a tale that, in many ways, is very familiar. Rooted (hee hee, I made a pun!) in Eastern European folk-lore, it has a fairy-tale quality that will feel almost natural to many readers. The story also deals with common themes: an apprentice chafing under a close-minded master, good country peasants ignored by decadent … Continue reading “Uprooted” by Naomi Novik
Paintings of Aurochs on a cave wall near Lascaux, France. Photo courtesy of Prof saxx If you are worried about AI taking over the world, you can relax. If the most recent piece of work from GEBen is a reliable indicator of how AI is developing, it will be a long time before we live … Continue reading “A is for Aurochs”. And “Absurd”. An AI-Generated Primer about Cows.
A Grain of Wheat is set in Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion, with the drama culminating just as Kenya gains independence from Britain in 1963. The story is centred around Mugo, a man consumed by secrets and who desires only to be left alone. Orbiting around Mugo is a cast of characters, each of … Continue reading A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Photo: Jonny Hughes/Flickr Creative Commons As some of you may recall, I've been working my way through the research diaries of Grad Bernart. Bernart is, of course, most famous for his breakthroughs in communicating with trees. While his early discoveries about tree behaviour were quite shocking, it seems the grad eventually reconciled both his conscience … Continue reading The Love Poetry of Trees