there's always room for one more…



A confession: due to work and not being well, I’ve not finished The Hydrogen Sonata yet, so the final foray into The Culture will not be appearing this week. However, I have had time to consider the question of What Next and I’ve plotted a course for the Space Age stories of Aliette de Bodard’s Xuya universe – here’s to a summer of bite-sized space opera.

Space Opera Sunday: revisiting the Culture

Needing something to fill the Tremontaine-shaped gap in my life, I am turning my eyes to the sky and filling my heart with stars. A couple of years ago, I began (but failed to finish) an epic reread of Iain M. Banks’s Culture novels. I’m going to revisit my thoughts and finally finish the journey.

Continue reading “Space Opera Sunday: revisiting the Culture”

Well, the year has turned and we get a shiny new one. Best wishes to you all for 2017!

Merry Christmas!

I’m not a religious soul, but I love Christmas as a time for twinkling lights, visiting with family and eating all the things that you’d usually talk yourself out of. Also – in my family at least – for the giving and receiving of books. So here’s wishing you the best of the season from the bottom of my bookish heart.

Snow person sat on a park bench, London 2013

Geeking out at Nine Worlds. Normal blogging will resume when I’ve finished squeeing at epic cosplay (and had some sleep). 

A brief reflection: I consider myself lucky to speak and read several languages. Picking up Temeraire in Dutch has made two things clear: firstly, my Dutch isn’t as rusty as I think! Secondly, the staggering cognitive load of reading in a foreign language. I understand everything as I read it (I don’t actively translate along in my head), but it takes my full concentration. All that grey matter normally deployed on sifting implications and judging characters is focused on basic meaning instead.

It’s good to be reminded on a regular basis what a difference reading in your mother tongue makes. I have ALL THE RESPECT for my friends who read books in English as a foreign language and make it look easy. Now lets take a moment to consider authors who write their works in a second language. People, you are AMAZING. Never forget it.

Lastly, did you know that the Dutch word for ‘pacing’ (as in around a cabin) translates literally as ‘polar bearing’? OMINOUS, much? I love Dutch.

Do you ever read in a language that isn’t your mother tongue?

4 books of myths or fairy tales on a dark wood floor
Big decision: what to read first for Once Upon A Time?

Once Upon A Time…

Artwork: The Queen by Melissa Nucera
The Queen by Melissa Nucera

It’s the 10th year of Stainless Steel Droppings annual Once Upon a Time not-a-challenge: a celebration of fantasy, folklore, fairy tale and myth in fiction and on screen.

There are several Quests you can undertake, which can be as epic – or not – as you choose, so long as you have fun.

Head on over to Stainless Steel Droppings to register your interest, or check out the reviews from those already getting into the spirit. I’ll be chipping in from time to time on Sundays.

Happy World Book Day! To celebrate, I’ve dipped into The Lord of the Rings (don’t wait up, I may be some time). What are you reading?


Looking forward to 2016

2015 has been an excellent reading year for quantity (over 70 books) and quality. I’m back to working more or less full time in 2016, so I think I’m going to have to be a bit less ambitious and a bit more selective in what I focus on…

…which is a problem, because I want to (re)read all the things.

What will you be reading?

It’s taken me half an hour to realise I’ve been listening to my music alphabetically. I had no idea I owned so many tracks starting with A. Or that I liked them so much. Happy Tuesday.

Oh bloody hell. Just caught up on Hell Bent, and I think I need to watch the last 2 years of Doctor Who all over again now. All is forgiven. Well, almost all. Yeah, okay, I’m totally cherry picking. There’s a bunch of episodes we probably can’t all agree didn’t happen, but I’m going to edit them out of my timeline anyway, ok?

Blog at

Up ↑