Fitting in. I rarely find spaces that fit me. Or I them. At times I am too shallow, at others something else. I dabble. I play. I toy. I suspect I mostly toy. Tools. Conversations not so much unless you count those spaces where I talk to myself…at length.

This blog, this space has always been my space. A space to talk about whatever is on my mind. Sometimes professional, often not. These days a little obsessive. Book stuff but not a glam perspective, not libraries: alt.nerdy.collector.owning.acquiring.appreciating.

That’s my now. Perhaps there’s a different now further down the track.

I am pondering removing myself from glam lists as it seems like folk using those lists are seeking stuff other. Perhaps there’s stuff later that may be relevant but for a long while it doesn’t seem relevant.

How many people still read blogs via rss?

Dunno. It used to matter. I don’t much. What I used to read many years ago mattered then, less now. Aside: googling about RSS I came across twobithistory and I sorta like it.

Perhaps if I ever scan in all my books [that are scannable] which will provide a file of the “books of snail” and that may be a fun file to play with. I suspect my collecting is at a point where I need to track the value of my books for insurance. Yet I sorta feel if they burn, they’re gone, I start again. Viking stuff is big at the moment and I like the idea of a bonfire on my death of all my books and belongings…all my friends and family would each choose one thing to keep to hold their memory of me. I desire not to be remembered but respect that memory is important to those that continue on.

bits of online history

I discovered today that tucows is retiring/disappearing/perhaps mostly gone. Admittedly I don’t think I’ve used it since my windows XP days. Was a fab source for shareware/freeware utilities to enhance XP. There used to be another site, now long gone, called DownloadSquad that would have regular reviews/announcements of new software and I’d usually try out something new every other week. Over time, some of those things have been incorporated into operating systems.

I remember there used to be a tool so that I’d hit the space and start typing to launch documents and software. These days, that’s built into windows via the windows key and windows indexing has improved lots. There are still things I like to install on new systems like cygwin and text adventure interpreters but a lot less than I used to.

Meanwhile I came across a timeline of web browsers dating back to the early 90s and of course my old favourite text only browser, lynx, is still kicking about – I usually have it installed as part of my cygwin setup. The downside of using a text viewer to browse webpages is that you usually have to scroll through a bunch of pages to get to the content as per below:

Sydney Morning Herald via lynx

There’s been a European case around geoblocking game purchases ie forcing folk to buy games in their country rather than from whatever country they can get it from cheaper. It’s an interesting result as gaming isn’t the only area that’s done this sort of thing, books being another good case. I remember when I started buying via amazon how much cheaper the same edition of a book was that way than locally. These days, I don’t buy much from Amazon tending to either buy from local distributors like Booktopia or direct from publishers.

In other news, the Alta-Vista URL still works but redirects to Yahoo…which still works.

some sf-ish bits

I was browsing elsewhere and remembered long ago that I used to post occasional lists of interesting links, sometimes commented. I thought I’d try that again.

Saw a mention of Cory Doctorow recently and realised I hadn’t seen a post of his on Boing Boing in a while. So it turns out he’s doing other stuff.

Greg Bear is a hard SF author I’ve read lots of but haven’t read anything in ages. Happily he’s still writing and posts occasional news. Interestingly, I don’t think he’s gone down the special edition path, though I wouldn’t mind having his stuff in nicer editions than my old paperbacks.

Bear posted a link to “10 Exciting Cyberpunk Books Filled with High Tech and Low Life” on Portalist as it included a link to his “Slant“. An interesting list that reminded me that I should read The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi one of these days [hmmm SubPress did a nice edition of it too – though long sold out]. That review notes that Girl shared the Hugo with The City and the City by China Mieville and I do have the SubPress edition of that. That was the 2010 Hugo awards and they were held down south in Melbourne as AussieCon.

I’ve never been to a book convention and sometimes feel like this was something I should have done, particularly when the main annual SF con made it to Australia. I’ve rarely met authors of books I’ve liked, though Terry Pratchett was an exception. I recall in primary school, attending author and illustrator dinners which were fun and I was able to get books signed. For some reason I never went down the convention path. I love library conventions as a librarian but I seem to have shied from fan based conventions. Perhaps shyness was a factor, or an avoidance of fannish things.

I’ve been joining book groups on facebook of late, mostly independent publisher based. I suspect I’m as much interested in discussion of different editions and availability as I am in discussion of the works. I have always struggled to discuss books I like, perhaps there’s a level of detail required, that I find difficult to retain, so I end up listening rather than participating. I vaguely recall trying a book club once long ago, they met at UTS in the ugly tower. I have friends in book groups of long standing and I envy their longevity of engagement. Perhaps a sense of structured engagement combined with the flexibility of good company.

they’re all lined up

After around 9 years, I have finally managed to complete the 10 volume set of Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson in matching numbers. It was around 9-10 years ago that Subterranean Press started publishing limited editions and releasing them one a year. Book 10, The Crippled God, arrived on my doorstep on Tuesday morning.

I regard the Malazan series as some of my favourite writing and like to make the comparison that Lord of the Rings is what you get when an English professor creates worlds, while Malazan is what you get from two archaeologists, one of whom is also an anthropologist. It is a challenging read and I recall several attempts to get into Book 1 as they are densely written, with lots of characters and perspectives to keep track of, not to mention a massive timeline of history.

I commented on instagram that book 5 is set in the time before book 4 while book 6 follows on from book 4. The series requires full immersion and it is hard to keep it all in the head. Minor characters and vignettes in early books may actually be portentous of later events and play a larger part further along. I’ve read a couple of interesting reviews recently including Tor and Medium, each grappling with the task of summarising Malazan effectively.

Collecting was a bit of fun in the early days as I was determined to read them all first before deciding to get special editions; I don’t do that anymore as I’ve had too many close calls. The first two Malazan had sold out by the time I decided I wanted the Subterranean editions so I ended up paying around $400 for book 2, then had a bit of luck and paid US$650 for book 1 of the same number, while the remaining were initially US$150 early on, but as costs rose in the following years, the final book was US$175.

Over the years I have been fortunate to acquire just about every other special edition of related works including all the releases from PS Publishing and Ian Esslemont’s works. I think the only title I’m sort of missing is the PS deluxe slipcase edition (100 copies) of Erikson’s The Lees of Laughter’s End, though I do have the limited release which was one of 500. I’d meant to follow it up years ago but didn’t get round to it and may have left it too late.

There have been books published in addition to the special editions including recent continuations. I am not aware of any special editions of those and have been picking up the first editions. It took me a while (along with access to Global Books in Print via my local library) to work out that the first edition (and first UK edition) was via Bantam Books and they were then released in the US through Tor. Increasingly I think the Bantam and Tor editions are being released almost simultaneously. While working that out I have ended up with 2-3 editions of each of the later works :-) That I think is getting a bit excessive. I have also managed to get the Bantam and Tor releases of the first book, Gardens of the Moon. Interestingly the first editions haven’t significantly increased in value like the Subterranean releases.