Sci-Fi before bed

I have a huge “best of sci-fi” compendium out from the library which is my bed-time reading.

Last night, after dropping of midway through a story of alternate history, I had the dreams of a delusional puppy on acid.

We were in this agrarian world where some predatory big cats had broken loose from their enclosure and were chasing poeple through the fields so we had to climb up to the edge of the world and roll over a chasm where we joined a virtual reality. Each move had to be completed after replying to a Questioner’s riddles. Although we were playing along with the game, it was more a matter of being alive inside a virtual reality game where someone else thought they were controlling events and using those events to escape.

The RPG graphics were vividly real!

I shall have some extra strong cheese tonight, settle with the book and see what happens…

Goals of incarceration

The blog OnFiction describing Hamlet being performed in a high-security prison. One line struck me:-

“One also cannot help but ponder the potential for human transformation in general, and the competing goals of incarceration: to both rehabilitate and to punish”.

Competing goals of incarceration.

1. A phrase that explains exactly why different prisons end up taking different approaches. In some societies it is primarily a tool of punishment and in other a chance for rehabilitation.

What is ‘incarceration’ to you?

2. Can you imagine prisons working so well that an individual might prefer committing a crime and, say, learn a skill in there while being fed than take the alternatives society provides him? Could such a model prison work when society around it is operating at a worse level (I suppose there could be micro-climates that are operating at lower levels than society taken as an enitirety).

Is this already happening?

Fiction better than fact

Ok, catching up on the weekend: Went snowboarding with Tech guys from work and others to Chill Factor on Saturday, had a spicy chicken enchillada with 3 Dos Equis. Off to Ioannis’ for a quick change and then out to the Saints and Scholars in Didsbury. More beer, then caught up with everyone in the Pitcher & Piano. From there we headed off to La Tasca for Hannah’s birthday meal, where we had mixed tapas, beers and wine before heading off to Mojo’s. Met up with more people there before heading off to Sugar Lounge. We ended the night dancing in Copacabana.


Football was great yesterday, Pareto got beat 7-0 and I got a nasty scrape on my knee. Went home to catch Murray beating Pasquel/Gasquet/Rasquel or some similarly named Frenchie in a thrilling 5 set match. Tried to watch Cloverfield but was too damn knackered.

In this weeks New Scientist I see an aticle called ‘The Science of Ficion’ that says “…reading novels isn’t just entertaining, it helps you navigate the complex social world. It reminded me of an old sci-fi compilation book I have which has the story ‘The Saturn Game’ by Poul Andersen. It explores the repercussions of active imaginations by talking about people creating imaginary game scenarios when idle for long periods, such as the time it takes an interplantary vessel to reach Saturn perhaps?


I’ve always tried to read some of the “classics” to get an education (following the BBC’s Big Read Top 100 list) and rate my prodigious sci-fi reading as just entertainment. This research has turned that theory upside down!