purplecthulhu: (Default)
2025-09-25 08:43 am

PSA: Journal Security

As I go into full scale teaching, this blog will become default friends-locked.

This post will remain open to all. If you want to be added to the flist, please introduce yourself here and I'll see what I can do.

ETA: Comments to this entry screened
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2017-05-30 04:38 pm

Phish Phinding

It's so usefule that phishers are so bad at spelling and grammar that it makes their attempts to tempt you to click and activate trojans or to send your identity and credit card details are so easy to spot.

The most recent (3 copies of this identical email received in a week) started out:

Reversed Customer

But this does get me wondering what a 'reversed customer' would be. Does this mean they want to send me money?

Answers on a postcard...
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2017-05-24 02:59 am

Thwump (academic)

I usually refrain from THWUMP posts for academic writing, partly because I end up as a coauthor on lots of papers thanks to huge Planck and Herschel collaborations, but also because this is my day job and I don't get paid by the publishers of papers (sometimes quite the opposite in fact).

However, if you define a thwump post as being for paid writing I can now do one for an academic paper...

Back in January I was quite unexpectedly invited to submit a paper titled 'An Introduction to the Planck Mission' for a journal published by the IoP that is aimed at late stage students and general physicists.

They wanted about 20 pages of writing providing an introduction to Planck and its science by the end of May. It would then be refereed and, if accepted, published.

And if I could do this all to schedule they'd pay me 600 quid!

I didn't know such things could happen and, needless to say, have got the article in on time.

I'll reveal the journal's name and let you know where to get hold of the paper as an online preprint once it's accepted.
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2017-05-23 10:40 pm

A very Delta Green movie

Got pointed to this from the DG mailing list:

Alien Raiders:


A pretty good rendition of what happens when a night at the opera goes south, and a pretty good, claustrophobic sf/horror movie.

I know at lrast one person reading here might be interested.
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2017-05-22 02:29 am

Tory U-turn - not exactly strong & stable

A few days after their big social care plans in the manifesto we're hearing the screeching of brakes as a massive U-turn takes place.

All the result of the massive OAP Tory block vote seeing their nest eggs disappearing into the profit lines of future privatised social care megacorps (presumably owned and directed by Tory future ministers).

Pandering to vested interests is not the 'strong and stable' that May's mantra would predict.

Don't you think she looks tired?
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2017-04-29 11:06 am

On Skye!

This is a good thing, despite a 2 hour delay on the sleeper.

Oh dear - am I now posting tweets to dreamwidth?
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2017-04-23 01:49 pm

Back to Dreamwidth

I'm going to try to post a bit more here and become part of the Dreamwidth Renaissance triggered by all of us refugees from the Russian annexation of LJ.

So what has been happening?


Just bounced a story off Analog and Clarkesworld - not sure what to do about this one. I may send it to Lightspeed when they reopen for SF. Asimov's is a possibility, but my experience is that if one of the big names doesn't take a story none of them will. Suggestions on a postcard please (the story is set on Io so if any of you know of relevant anthologies please let me know).

I was shortlisted for the Clarke Centenary anthology competition at Eastercon. The reading went well, but I didn't win. Would be interesting to see voting figures. I have a plan for this story but need to do some editing before that can be put into operation.

The Novel is being worked on, after some very useful comments the writing group. Coming back to it fresh, and reading/editing it over a compressed time frame leads me to think that it might not be as execrable as I have been thinking for the last umpty years. I'm now about 10000 words from completing another major re-edit incorporating comments form the writing group. This last 10000 us going to be the hardest as it's been suggested that I need to put some more speed bumps in the way of my protagonists, so it's likely to grow from 10000 words, but I think I may soon be able to send it to potential agents. Scary!


While my own research is grinding along - with the unexpected speedbump of being commissioned to write a (paid for!) paper on 'An Introduction to the Planck Mission' for money! - my PhD students are doing well. My more senior student especially is going great guns right now, with loads of proposals submitted and several projects nearing the point when they can be turned into papers, as well as one paper close to being submitted. People have been asking me pointed questions about when they might be looking for a job, which is a good sign.

More broadly, though, science in the UK is in trouble. We've had flat cash for 7 years which amounts to a real terms cut of about 15%, and there is no sign of this changing in the foreseeable. In fact, what with Brexit coming at us like a steam train, there is no light at the end of the tunnel at all. About 40% of my department's funding comes from the EU in some shape or form - whether ERASMUS students, EU grants or whatever - so things are looking a bit bleak right now. I am looking at possibilities outside academia (see novel above - though I'm not stupid enough to think I can make a living writing SF unless I'me amazingly lucky) and outside the UK. I have one application in for a job in mainland Europe already.


Eastercon was fun - it was a lot less work than being a GoH as I was at Mancunicon, but there were a couple of fun readings - the one above for the competition and another for Shoreline of Infinity who just published a story of mine - as well as the usual. I managed to get to a surprising number of panels as an audience member.

Looking forward to Helsinki in August!

State of me:

It's not easy being bouncy and optimistic when you feel the country you live in isn't yours any more, and when the forces of ignorance, prejudice and privilege are taking hold across the world. William Gibson's view of the future is looking ever more likely and Dystopian is now a recognised fictional form on bookshop bookshelves. Still, we're off to Skye shortly and that always helps.
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2017-04-12 05:23 pm


No sale to Analog for the Io story :-(
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2017-04-09 09:30 pm


The story I submitted to the Clarke anthology competition is one of the finalists!

Three of us get to read them in a programme item at Eastern on Saturday afternoon. If you're there come along, listen and then vote for me!!!
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2017-04-08 12:23 pm

Leaving LJ

It's been fun, but the new T&C are too much.

Once my LJ has completed import it will be deleted.
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2013-01-02 12:25 pm

Blog feed

My Wordpress blog is now available as a Dreamwidth feed:


Thanks for the help setting this up!
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2013-01-02 11:32 am

Wordpress feeds to Dreamwidth

Anyone know if it's possible to establish a feed account on DW the way it is on LJ?
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2009-11-10 10:06 am

Two days left!!!!!

Another reminder about the Great Debate on Human Spaceflight at Imperial on Thursday.

If you intend to come, please do register before hand to make sure you get a seat and that we have enough wine for the refreshments afterwards.

More infomration available here.
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2009-09-25 08:53 am
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2009-09-24 06:23 pm

Privacy settings

As I go into full scale teaching this year I'm minded to set this LJ's default settings to friends only.

If this is going to cause anyone problems squeek now!
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2009-09-10 09:17 pm

Books Read Update

Previously... )

Permanence Karl Schroeder

Karl's second published SF novel. It's got a huge amount in it, almost too much. From modest beginnings not unlike a Heinlein juvenile we head into discussions of interstellar civilizations, weird alien species, interstellar mysticism, why FTL is bad for you, economics, and much more. The Heinlein juvenile like wrappings get rather stretched in carrying all this material, and we end up with not one but at least three interstellar quest stories as well as links to future Schroeder novels, though it's not quite clear how they fit into this background. The result is a rather odd beast, not shaped like a usual novel, which is both a flaw and a feature. This was published in 2002. I suspect these days it would be split into two or three separate books...
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2009-09-06 11:24 pm

Insane Band of the Day - Adrian Edmonson and the Bad Shepherds

It was a close run thing but I think Ade Edmonson (yes, the one from the Young Ones) and the Bad Shepherds just about win. They do old punk classics in a folk way - mandolin, pipes etc. And it works amazingly well! Of course in a sense punk was folk music - 'here's three cords now write a song'.

Runners up are Mama Matrix, a psychedelic klezmer band, and, of course, Jethro Tull for still doing it all into their 60s - and they played a very good set!

Tired now!
purplecthulhu: (Default)
2009-09-05 09:16 pm

Insane band of the day: Comus

Reformed after 35 years and playing a very distinctive form of psycho-folk-rock. Inspired by Milton, including songs of death and necrophilia, surprisingly they weren't commercially successful first time round.

But the internet has brought them back!