Thursday, July 20, 2006

Early Birthday Wishes

I ought to be writing this one tomorrow, but tomorrow I'll be travelling (leave the house at 6.00 am -- ouch! -- and off to San Diego just for the day) so I think I should take this opportunity of posting slightly early birthday wishes for my son Mike. Who is 23, or will be tomorrow, an age that I find really weird because that was when I was starting to get published, and finally felt really and truly adult, back when I was a gawky young journalist. Mike is not gawky at all. He's taller than me. He even has a proper widow's peak. ("Do you know?" I ask him, "What I would have given in my youth to have a proper widow's peak?" And he just shrugs and makes his "Ah, that's my dad talking, what a dear old fellow he is to be sure," face. Water off a duck's back. Also I had to walk to school in the rain and the snow, while, er chased by packs of rabid stoats or something.)

Mike's current project is turning the whole of the internet into everyone's magic eight-ball, so that people who don't know you and don't care can tell you if you ought to go to Russia, wear or not wear linen trousers, or whether you should wake your husband to deal with the scary insect on the wall...

It's all at if you wish to find out what I'm talking about.

Other things that I should probably mention while you're here are Lisa Snellings' Luck's Dancer sale is in its final week (and she's sending a percentage of her profits to the CBLDF) and that I've updated Where's Neil.

Fascinating essay by Cory Doctorow over at Locus Online -- -- called Science Fiction is the Only Literature People Care Enough About to Steal on the Internet.

Finally, several people wrote in to ask whether the BBC news story that begins

In 1996 in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Italian mineralogist Vincenzo
de Michele spotted an unusual yellow-green gem in the middle of one of
Tutankhamun's necklaces.
The jewel was tested and found to be glass, but intriguingly it is older than the earliest Egyptian civilisation.
Working with Egyptian geologist Aly Barakat, they traced its origins to unexplained chunks of glass found scattered in the sand in a remote region of the Sahara Desert.

was somehow the inspiration for the Sandman story TALES IN THE SAND, written in longago 1989, or to point out that reality appears to have imitated art, or just to ask if I knew something the scientists didn't...