ellestra: (lightning)
In Poland it's already 2014 so Happy New Year from the past

Because nothing conveys good wishes as explosions
ellestra: (sunrise)
After few days of temperatures above 20 oC (we all wore summer clothes to my friend's Swedish Christmas party - it was weird) it got below 10 today. It should even drop below freezing tonight and we will, at least, have frost for Christmas. Which is more then my family is going to get because the temperature in Poland isn't going to drop below 0 even at night any time soon. So here - at least some snows from the years past:

Those flowers usually bloom in North Carolina in January - and sometimes this means they are blooming in snow. Sometimes the winters in Poland can be snowy but rarely on Christmas.
"Wesołych Świąt" is traditional Polish greeting for holidays. It literally means "Merry Holidays" - you need to add "of Christmas" or "of Easter" if you want the people know which holidays but mostly people don't bother.
ellestra: (once upon a time)
​Golden Globes nominations were announced today and ​Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany got nominated in ​Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama​ category. I was disappointed at SAG for not including her earlier this week but all is good now. It also helps that they also appreciated The Good Wife which is awesome this season (Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles and the series itself all got nominated and my only regret that Christine Baranski was nominated too as Diane's story was both heartbreaking and awesome). I'm also very happy with the film nominations (basically the whole drama category is something I would pick). This is the kind of news I needed after spending this afternoon discussing the possible reasons for failure of the experiment I worked on for the past few days.

In other news:

You can listen to the interview with Terry Pratchett about his new book - Rising Steam at BBC 4.

Charlie Stross decided to abandon the Halting State universe because he doesn't write reality. It was supposed to be science fiction, NSA. Yes, I'm talking to you, the one conferencing all of my Skype calls.

Doctor Who - 50 years in crayons:
ellestra: (lightning)
It was over 25 oC on Friday. People went back to wearing shorts and flip-flops and we were all overheating. It was still humid and hot during the night and I couldn't cool down my apartment even with the balcony door open wide. It was too hot to sleep and finally after 1 am I gave up and switched AC on too cool the place down. When I woke up on Saturday it was colder and I had to turn the the heating back on and go back to wearing warm jacket. Today it was barely 3 oC the whole day and it drizzled non-stop. Tomorrow - it goes back to 15 oC.

It's not that I mind the weather. Although cold, drizzling rain and clouds all day and mud everywhere is that exact type weather that makes Poland in November so depressing. There is no light, no warmth and there is even no snow. I know that this is usually a cause for panic around here but I would rather have snow. If it was snowing I'd be spending today outside running around and taking photos. With all the Christmas lights already on it'd be so nice. Instead it's just ugly.

I know that this complains seem trivial compared to the devastation that the orcan Xaver did to Northern Europe. My uncle send me picture of repairs they had to do when a tree fell and destroyed the roof. The winds in some parts of Europe reached over 220 km/h and toppled trees and overturned cars and the combined with ocean surge caused floodings and even pushed several homes off the cliff. People hundred of thousands of people lost power in Poland and with it many lost heating - including my parents. But they were lucky as they got it back the same day. Those who didn't had to face snowstorms that came after in cold and darkness. But most complains I hear is about all those people who still didn't change tire for winter ones in their cars because it's been warm so far.

It's only slightly better in the most of the US. For some reason south east was the only part not covered by the big chill. Temperatures are dropping below freezing in California with Californians are experiencing ice and frost in the mornings sometimes for the first time. It snowed on the west side of the country all the way down to Texas on Thursday and Friday and been moving east and today the snowstorms hit the East Coast.

However, the sudden and large changes in temperatures - we went from basically summer weather to almost winter in two days and it's to get warm again and then cold again next week - are already causing people all around me to fall sick. And winter is only starting.
ellestra: (river song)
Have you see today's Google Doodle? It's a Doctor Who game and you can pick the Doctor you play with and escape Daleks and everything. Or if you're not a player you can just watch how it's done:
ellestra: (tiger)
I was so busy at work and so occupied by Doctor Who outside of it that I only learned today that Frederick Sanger died on Tuesday.

For someone like me his name is forever associated with Sanger sequencing - the first and until recently most widely used method of sequencing DNA - finding out the order of nucleotides in genomes that let us understand how they work. Now it has been largely supplanted by Next Generation Sequencing methods that are much faster and have higher throughput but Sanger sequencing is still used by many to sequence small DNA samples (it takes forever to use it for whole genomes). It's till the most accurate method, especially for longer fragments. That was his second Nobel award.

His firs Nobel came from as revolutionary protein sequencing. Back when he started it wasn't sure if the proteins have some definitive composition and when he determined complete amino acid sequence of the two polypeptide chains of bovine insulin he has shown that proteins have a defined chemical composition - an amino acid sequence.

His work changed all our lives - from diabetics who get insulin shots to all the products of genomic studies. To me - he made my field possible. Molecular genetics wouldn't be what it is without him.
ellestra: (river song)
The countdown to the anniversary episode has started and BBC America shows almost nothing else. There is also more and more teasers showing up and this is a round-up of them

First something non-spoilerish (I think) - David Tennant introduces The Day of the Doctor:

Doctor Who on BBC Breakfast - with a lot of spoilerish information about The Day of the Doctor:

The Day of the Doctor: A Preview - BBC Children in Need: 2013 - SPOILERS

And an extra - No bug-eyed monsters! - excerpt from An Adventure in Space and Time

And the out pour of love for Paul McGann and Eight is wonderful but I'm sure we all feel like we haven't seen enough of his Doctor. Some people decided to do something about it and created a petition to give Paul McGann more chances to show us Eight on TV. I don't believe it would happen but I hope it'll get more people to experience his other adventures.
ellestra: (tiger)
The winners of the World Fantasy Award were announced yesterday in Brighton during World Fantasy convention:

World Fantasy Special Award: William F. Nolan and Brian Aldiss

Winner: Alif the Unseen, G. Willow Wilson (Grove; Corvus)
The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Some Kind of Fairy Tale, Graham Joyce (Gollancz; Doubleday)
The Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
Crandolin, Anna Tambour (Chômu)

Winner: Let Maps to Others, K.J. Parker (Subterranean Summer ’12)
Hand of Glory, Laird Barron (The Book of Cthulhu II)
The Emperor’s Soul, Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon)
The Skull, Lucius Shepard (The Dragon Griaule)
Sky, Kaaron Warren (Through Splintered Walls)

Short Story
Winner: The Telling, Gregory Norman Bossert (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 11/29/12)
A Natural History of Autumn, Jeffrey Ford (F&SF 7-8/12)
The Castle That Jack Built, Emily Gilman (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 1/26/12)
Breaking the Frame, Kat Howard (Lightspeed 8/12)
Swift, Brutal Retaliation, Meghan McCarron (Tor.com 1/4/12)

Winner: Postscripts #28/#29: Exotic Gothic 4, Danel Olson, ed. (PS Publishing)
Epic: Legends of Fantasy, John Joseph Adams, ed. (Tachyon)
Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic, Eduardo Jiménez Mayo & Chris N. Brown, eds. (Small Beer)
Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane, Jonathan Oliver, ed. (Solaris)
Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Random House)

Winner: Where Furnaces Burn, Joel Lane (PS Publishing)
At the Mouth of the River of Bees, Kij Johnson (Small Beer)
The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories Volume One: Where on Earth and Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands, Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)
Remember Why You Fear Me, Robert Shearman (ChiZine)
Jagannath, Karin Tidbeck (Cheeky Frawg)

Winner: Vincent Chong
Didier Graffet and Dave Senior
Kathleen Jennings
J.K. Potter
Chris Roberts

Special Award—Professional
Winner: Lucia Graves for the translation of The Prisoner of Heaven (Weidenfeld & Nicholson; Harper) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Peter Crowther & Nicky Crowther for PS Publishing
Adam Mills, Ann VanderMeer, & Jeff VanderMeer for the Weird Fiction Review website
Brett Alexander Savory & Sandra Kasturi for ChiZine Publications
William K. Schafer for Subterranean Press

Special Award—Non-professional
Winner: S.T. Joshi for Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction, Volumes 1 & 2 (PS Publishing)
Scott H. Andrews for Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Charles A. Tan for Bibliophile Stalker blog
Jerad Walters for Centipede Press
Joseph Wrzos for Hannes Bok: A Life in Illustration (Centipede Press)

The Life Time Achievement Award: Susan Cooper and Tanith Lee

Since I haven't read any of this (but I heard good things about Alif so maybe one day) here is fantasy I am for sure going to read. There is a new blurb for the new Ian Cameron Esslemont's malazan novel Assail and it is even more interesting - Crimson Guard, Fisher and Sliverfox with the Imass.
Tens of thousands of years of ice is melting, and the land of Assail, long a byword for menace and inaccessibility, is at last yielding its secrets. Tales of gold discovered in the region’s north circulate in every waterfront dive and sailor’s tavern and now countless adventurers and fortune-seekers have set sail in search of riches. All these adventurers have to guide them are legends and garbled tales of the dangers that lie in wait - hostile coasts, fields of ice, impassable barriers and strange, terrifying creatures. But all accounts concur that the people of the north meet all trespassers with the sword. And beyond are rumoured to lurk Elder monsters out of history’s very beginnings.

Into this turmoil ventures the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard. Not drawn by contract, but by the promise of answers: answers that Shimmer, second in command, feels should not be sought. Also heading north, as part of an uneasy alliance of Malazan fortune-hunters and Letherii soldiery, comes the bard Fisher kel Tath. With him is a Tiste Andii who was found washed ashore and cannot remember his past and yet commands far more power than he really should. It is also rumoured that a warrior, bearer of a sword that slays gods and who once fought for the Malazans, is also journeying that way. But far to the south, a woman patiently guards the shore. She awaits both allies and enemies. She is Silverfox, newly incarnate Summoner of the undying army of the T’lan Imass, and she will do anything to stop the renewal of an ages-old crusade that could lay waste to the entire continent and beyond. Casting light on mysteries spanning the Malazan empire, and offering a glimpse of the storied and epic history that shaped it, Assail brings the epic story of the Empire of Malaz to a thrilling close.
ellestra: (sunrise)
There was a solar eclipse today. It was a rare hybrid solar eclipse - from some places on Earth it is an annular eclipse (like the one I saw last year) and from others it is a total eclipse. But the totality was only visible over the Atlantic and in some parts of Africa. Here in the US east coast the sun rose after the main part was done so all I could see was partial eclipse as the Moon was moving away from the Sun.

I was afraid I won't be able to see it. Firstly, because the weather is changing and after few days of very warm days and nights it's starting to get colder. There was a cold wind yesterday and then it suddenly started to rain just at sunset. Luckily, today morning it was cold - just 6oC - but sunny. The second challenge was finding the right spot. There are hills and trees everywhere and this late in the year finding a place with unobstructed view of sunrise is a bit tricky. I had to walk for a while to find one. But I did and it all worked out fine.

As my father noticed this is something like my 5th solar eclipse. I saw two partials in Poland, total in Austria in 1999, annular in California last year and now another partial here. If I stay here for 4 more years there will be a total one going through whole US with totality visible in south west corner of North Carolina - just around the corner. Maybe I should start calling it a hobby.
ellestra: (muppets)
Today is the All Saints Day and my family spent it (and the rest of the weekend) visiting graves. But I'm here far away from all of them so I went to see Halloween instead. I haven't done it since my first time here because it was either cold or rainy but this time after a very cold last week (it was even below freezing at night) yesterday was very warm (20oC even at midnight) and dry and this time all the skimpy costumes were total justified.

There was a lot of people there:

Doctors, Captain Planet and Chell - everyone:

And just like in Cinderella story the party ended at midnight. First policemen on bikes drove through the whole width of the street slowly. Behind them there were ones on foot and behind them street cleaning trucks:

ellestra: (lightning)
It was sitting outside my bedroom window. It's the first time I saw one in the wild not in cage and it was so close and just sitting there looking around for few minutes. It was big - one of the biggest birds I saw:

It was dark (late dusk) so I had to up the ISO so the photo is really noisy and the processing made it even more so (I had to up the brightness) and then I just got through several remove noise steps and it ended up looking almost like a painting.
ellestra: (sunrise)
I just came back from a conference in Boston. I didn't expect to go back to Boston, especially not so soon, after my last time at the end of April. However, it gave me an opportunity to cash my raincheck ticket for the whale whtching trip. It completely failed last time - we could barely see the ocean and there was no whales. This time I was more lucky. I was wearing three layers of clothing, including a hat and two hoods and Doctor Who scarf so all that was sticking outside was my dark glasses so despite very cold weather (nights were just above 0 and days only 10oC) and intense wind (sometimes the boat felt like a swing - good I have no problems with that) this was a great trip. Mostly, of course, because I got to see humpback whales. Humpbacks can be recognised by the pattern on their tales so the crew told us it was mostly Owl and her calf (who will get a name when he comes back next year) and they surfaced repeatability and the calf was playing in the water turning around.

Owl tail pattern

Owl and calf

Whale breath

ellestra: (once upon a time)
We all got sent home early today. Hospital clinics got closed. Extra buses were running. And streets were getting closed. All because there was an American football match, sorry, game this evening. I thought they only happened on weekends but this is something special for some reason (don't care enough to search) and even though the game was to start at 7:30 everyone was evacuating before 3 pm. When I was leaving with tons of other people the music was alrady blasting from stages before frat houses. Apparently the game is still going on. I have no idea what is taking so long but I wonder how that works for the people who have to go to work tomorrow morning.

But the fact that the campus was basically dead already today meant I didn't have to feel guilty about my birthday lunch with a friend. I just had a birthday, she just had a birthday and we exchanged gifts and had fun. My niece also just had a birthday and I paid for her Furbie and my mum just said it's a hit - she takes him everywhere and every other kid wants their own - including her brother. Frankly, I'm jealous - I always wanted an interactive pet toy. I read way too much sf as a kid and though they were real. I can't feel bad about getting it for her even though it's horribly overpriced.

I also just came back from a birthday trip with my friends - we left on birthday of one of them and came back on mine. That was fun few days. The post you all saw were written before I left and showed up on schedule and I'm happy to know it worked. We went to the Smoky Mountains. I haven't been there yet because I didn't have anyone to go with until now. It was fun and beautiful but mostly cloudy so the colours never looked as bright as we hoped. Still, it was very pretty and we saw waterfalls and autumn colours and some awesome dawns (it's easy when sunrise is after 7:30):

Now, I only have to write my brother a birthday card - he's from October, too and then have last one birthday lunch with some other friends and I'm done celebrating for this month.
ellestra: (tiger)
Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was awarded for cell package delivery system - vesicles. Membranes not only separate cells from outside but also create separate compartments inside the cell - most notably nucleus and mitochondria - but there is also long series of something that looks almost like a tube system. Ribosomes stick to part of it and produce proteins. Those proteins end up inside and can be transported inside but the system is long and twisted. Just like it's faster to take a ferry from Gdańsk to Stockholm then drive all around the Baltic Sea it is faster to send a stuff packaged from one compartment to the other. In a vesicle. That transport is highly regulated and used for many different things. That's how cells absorb the food from outside, how they spit out and absorb hormones and how they transport transmembrane proteins. All the countless ours I spent learning how the phagocytosis and endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus worked I never thought about people who made all those discoveries. It's funny how at some point things like that become basic knowledge of the subject - something you just know.

Prof James Rothman, from Yale University, found proteins embedded in the vesicles which act as the docking mechanism meaning the cargo is released in the correct location. Prof Randy Schekman, from the University of California at Berkeley, discovered the genes which regulated the transport system in yeast. He found that mutations in three genes resulted in a "situation resembling a poorly planned public transport system". Prof Thomas Sudhof, originally from Germany but now at Stanford University in the US, made breakthroughs in how the transport system works in the brain so that neurotransmitters are released at the precise time.

I was disappointed at the journalist disappointment because this is a very important system in the cell and the basic science Nobels are the ones touching the most important subjects.

Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to people who theorized existence of Higgs boson - Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh, UK, and François Englert of the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, have won for developing the theory of how particles acquire mass. The theory is 50 years old but the experimental confirmation is brand new - not even a year old - so the delay in the announcement wasn't that surprising. Ever since few spectacular mistakes at the beginning Nobel committee has preference for waiting long enough to see that no one disproves it and that multiple sources can repeat the results. Still this was a big thing in physics and a long awaited one. And if they didn't do it now there might've not been another chance. Both laureates are in their 80s and Nobels are not given to dead people. I'm most disappointed in comparisons of the problems of finding Peter Higgs for comment during his vacation with the search for Higgs boson.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to theoretical chemists for devising computer simulations to understand chemical processes. Michael Levitt, a British-US citizen of Stanford University; US-Austrian Martin Karplus of Strasbourg University; and US-Israeli Arieh Warshel of the University of Southern California will share the prize. Modelling molecules is becoming a bigger and bigger thing in drug production where new molecular compounds are first tested for possible uses and molecular interactions before spending money on costly synthesis. It can also help predict protein shape and function which helps to understand how cell processes actually work. Those programs use the equations of quantum physics to simulate reactions as closely to reality as possible. It of course requires vast amounts of computing power to describe every electron and atomic nucleus so these detailed models are limited to small molecules with just a few atoms. To model larger molecules we still need to use classical computer models but they do not include descriptions of molecules' energy states, which is vital for simulating reactions. Still they both allow us to sift faster through the possibilities then any RL experiment and concentrate on most plausible possibilities making discoveries faster and drugs (just a little) cheaper.
ellestra: (cosima)
I have been so busy recently I didn't realise that it is time for IgNobels already. They were awarded today and I must say that I am in awe. I wouldn't even think about trying to investigate most of these but I now want someone to test if Usain Bolt could run on water on the Moon. I'm also wondering what you feel when large chunk of your life is spent on observing dung beetles and cows. Although talking to drunks about how pretty they think they are might've been worse. But the archaeology prize paper makes perfect sense and I'm sure it would be useful - probably to the same people who keep body farms. And I knew there is a reason why I onion tears are the worst. Although, of course, nothing can beat Łukaszenko as he is something special even among other dictators.

MEDICINE PRIZE: for assessing the effect of listening to opera, on heart transplant patients who are mice.

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: for confirming, by experiment, that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive.

JOINT PRIZE IN BIOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY: for discovering that when dung beetles get lost, they can navigate their way home by looking at the Milky Way.

SAFETY ENGINEERING PRIZE: for inventing an electro-mechanical system to trap airplane hijackers — the system drops a hijacker through trap doors, seals him into a package, then drops the encapsulated hijacker through the airplane's specially-installed bomb bay doors, whence he parachutes to earth, where police, having been alerted by radio, await his arrival.

PHYSICS PRIZE: for discovering that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond — if those people and that pond were on the moon.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: for discovering that the biochemical process by which onions make people cry is even more complicated than scientists previously realized.

ARCHAEOLOGY PRIZE: for parboiling a dead shrew, and then swallowing the shrew without chewing, and then carefully examining everything excreted during subsequent days — all so they could see which bones would dissolve inside the human digestive system, and which bones would not.

PEACE PRIZE: Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, for making it illegal to applaud in public, AND to the Belarus State Police, for arresting a one-armed man for applauding.

PROBABILITY PRIZE: for making two related discoveries: First, that the longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up; and Second, that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again.

PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: for the medical techniques described in their report "Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam" — techniques which they recommend, except in cases where the amputated penis had been partially eaten by a duck.

You can watch the whole award ceremony here and it is worth it. It's fun, the speaches are kept short and there is opera at the end dedicated to The Blonsky Device.

ellestra: (tiger)
One last awards I need to show you this week. The one I can just get exited for because this one is for the artwork and includes lots of dragons. The other winners announced on the Worldcon - the 2013 Chesley Award Winners:

Best Cover Illustration: Paperback Book
John Picacio: The Creative Fire by Brenda Cooper, Pyr, November 2012

Best Cover Illustration: Hardback Book
Todd Lockwood: The Wild Road by Jennifer Roberson, DAW, September 2012

Best Interior Illustration
Sam Burley: "Brother. Prince. Snake." by Cecil Castellucci, Tor.com, July 2012

Best Cover Illustration: Magazine
Ken Barthelmey: Clarkesworld #74 November 2012

Best Monochrome: Unpublished
Raoul Vitale: “Last of His Kind”, pencil

Best Color Work: Unpublished
Julie Bell: “A Passion for the Future”, oil

Best Three-Dimensional Art
James Shoop: “Ramautar”, bronze

Best Gaming-Related Illustration
David Palumbo: “Ereshkigal, Death Mistress” (Legend of the Cryptids) Applibot Inc., April 2012

Best Product Illustration
John Picacio: La Sirena Loteria card 2012

Best Art Director
Irene Gallo for Tor

Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement
Gerald Brom

You can see all the nominees artwork on the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists website but I put here some of my favourites:

John Harris "SunflowersinStarlight"

Lucas Graciano: “Guardianship”, oil

Donato Giancola: “Joan of Arc”, oil

Dan Dos Santos: “The Dragon Empress” (Dragon*Con promotional poster) August, 2012 - Look she's not a mammal; Soutchay Sougpradith: “Peacock Prophecy”, oil
ellestra: (tiger)
There were another awards awarded this weekend on a con. The 2012 Zajdel awards were handed out on this year Polcon:
Robert M. Wegner, Niebo ze stali (Sky of Steel)
Jakub Ćwiek, Kłamca 4. Kill’em all
Jarosław Grzędowicz, Pan Lodowego Ogrodu, tom 4
Anna Kańtoch, Czarne
Andrzej Ziemiański, Pomnik Cesarzowej Achai, tom 1

Short Story:
Robert M. Wegner, Jeszcze jeden bohater (One More Hero)
Jakub Ćwiek, Będziesz to prać!
Jakub Ćwiek, Co było, a nie jest...
Jakub Ćwiek, Kukuryku!
Jacek Dukaj, Portret nietoty
Tomasz Kołodziejczak, Czerwona mgła

I haven't written about nominees before because I didn't read any of them, except for Czerwona Mgła - Red Fog story. I also haven't written about them because I never read them but I read other stories from most of those authors and there wasn't a lot of results I could be happy with. I finally decided that one good thing about that this is a nice reminder that there are much worse things then Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They fell into similar category of being widely beloved and nominated for awards but full of questionable content. Between Ziemianski's beloved trope of turning his "kickass strong woman" protagonist into object in her own story (I haven't read that one but I'm sure he manage to stick rape/sexual abuse/prostitution in there too) and Kołodziejczak's stories about how only normal families with men and women in their traditional roles of husbands and wives in idealised version of 1920s will save the world from being taken over by evil (literally, it stops it from corrupting souls - also singing patriotic and religious songs). The worst part about it that they are often have cool worldbuilding and they read really well. But only until your tolerance for the underlying message runs out and you turn away in disgust. Or, judging from those nominations, not.

The guy who got most nominations isn't as bad so I won't bother you with rant about him but I can't get over how he got all those short stories nominations. And I can't get over that only one woman got nominated. But I don't know the guy who won both categories. Maybe he is better.

I didn't want go so depressing and grumpy old woman on another post so now time for something nicer. And in English.

Steven Erikson wrote about his inspirations for his current trilogy and epic fantasy in general in On the Origins of Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson. He also proved once again that he is a writing machine because he had two week writer's exhaustion and then published another book year after the last.

Here's Neil Gaiman intervied by BBC at the age of 7. And Below is his talk with with Philip Pullman. I'm not going to say anything about first one because I already ranted today except that it so awesome they found it for him. The second one mentions Neil in badger costume:
ellestra: (muppets)
The autumn is clearly starting - back in Poland kids started the school today and yesterday on Worldcon the winners of 2013 Hugo Awards were announced:

Best Novel
Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (Tor)

Best Novella
The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)

Best Novelette
“The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” by Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity, Solaris)

Best Short Story
“Mono no Aware” by Ken Liu (The Future is Japanese, VIZ Media LLC)

Best Related Work
Writing Excuses Season Seven by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler and Jordan Sanderson

Best Graphic Story
Saga, Volume One written by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
The Avengers Screenplay & Directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios, Disney, Paramount)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
Game of Thrones: “Blackwater” Written by George R.R. Martin, Directed by Neil Marshall. Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (HBO)

Best Editor, Short Form
Stanley Schmidt

Best Editor, Long Form
Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Best Professional Artist
John Picacio

Best Semiprozine
Clarkesworld edited by Neil Clarke, Jason Heller, Sean Wallace and Kate Baker

Best Fanzine
SF Signal edited by John DeNardo, JP Frantz, and Patrick Hester

Best Fan Writer
Tansy Rayner Roberts

Best Fan Artist
Galen Dara

Best Fancast
SF Squeecast by Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, Catherynne M. Valente (Presenters) and David McHone-Chase (Technical Producer)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
Mur Lafferty

Since I wrote about nominees I've read Redshirts and I get why it won as I think we all like meta things like that (especially about a really popular property like Star Trek). I also find it funny that this is as close to fanfiction you can get away with and that it was one of two novels on the shortlist inspired by TV show (other is Mira Grant Blackout but I like Redshirts more). I'm not sure if any of the novels are really that great but the ones I tried are pretty entertaining.

Also Brandon Sanderson's The Emperor's Soul is waiting it turn on my Kindle and I enjoyed his books (and ones long time ago when he was less popular and there weren't as many blogs he actually responded to my post about the first book of his I ever read) so I'm happy for he got two this year.

I was hoping for Doctor Who to get beaten this year so I got my wish. Although, I'd rather have it go to Fringe. Next year I it hast be Orphan Black.

However, I'm most happy about Saga because it was the most original SF lately - better then any novels on the shortlist - and I'm happy every time it gets appreciated.
ellestra: (aeryn)
The winners of the 2013 Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards have been announced:

Long Form Winner
Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City by Kai-cheung Dung,translated from the Chinese by Anders Hansson, Bonnie S. McDougall, and the author (Columbia University Press)

Long Form Honorable Mentions
Belka, Why Don't You Bark? by Hideo Furukawa, translated from the Japanese by Michael Emmerich (Haikasoru)
Kaytek the Wizard by Janusz Korczak, translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Penlight)
Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, translated from the Russian by Olena Bormashenko (Chicago Review Press)

Short Form Winner
“Augusta Prima” by Karin Tidbeck translated from the Swedish by the author (Jagannath: Stories, Cheeky Frawg)

Short Form Honorable Mentions
“Every Time We Say Goodbye” by Zoran Vlahović, translated from the Croatian by Tatjana Jambrišak, Goran Konvićni, and the author (Kontakt: An Anthology of Croatian SF, Darko Macan and Tatjana Jambrišak, editors, SFera)
“A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight” by Xia Jia, translated from the Chinese by Ken Liu (Clarkesworld #65)
“A Single Year” by Csilla Kleinheincz, translated from the Hungarian by the author (The Apex Book of World SF #2, Lavie Tidhar, editor, Apex Book Company)

Every time I see Belka, Why Don't You Bark? it strikes me how wrong the English transcription of Cyrillic is. The first time I had to look up the actual name because I knew this was wrong but wasn't sure where. If you just heard someone call their dog by that name and had to write it down it would be like "Biewka". "Belka" doesn't even sound close. And this happens to Russian names all the time. And Kaytek name was changed to be easier to pronounce correctly for English speakers. Luckily, Srugatskys' names are close enough.

When I looked at this list I was overwhelmed by nostalgia. Kaytek the Wizard was one of the books of my childhood. I think it was my favourite of Janusz Korczak children's books as it wasn't as sad as the King Matt books. Of course now they all fill me sadness for a different reason.

Roadside Picnic is my favourite Strugatskys' book and if you haven't read it yet you should take this opportunity to do it.
ellestra: (winged)
Sławomir Mrożek died today. He was one of the most esteemed Polish writers - one of those who always get mentioned as possible Nobel winners. Despite long battle with cardiovascular disease he wrote his last play this year. He wrote a lot of things but I will always remember him for his satirical short stories - especially Wesele w Atomicach (Wedding in Atomville) which (along with Lem's Fables for Robots) was the only SF we had in school. Of course we also learned why it wasn't SF but I was just happy they were forced to admit it had any value because Mrożek wrote it. I'm still grateful to him for that experience. Even though I no longer care about validation to made the kid me happy. I'm sad he won't write anything any more but I'm sure his work will make people have feels for a long time to come.

May 2016

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