Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

Recent Reading

  • The Ionian Mission, by Patrick O'Brian; first published by William Collins Sons and Co Ltd, 1981; Norton, 1991. Aubrey has “come it the Nelson bridge at last”, something which must have pleased him, once he recovered from his dismay.

Recent Reading

  • Hell's Faire, by John Ringo; Baen, May 2003. Lots of fun; it was worth re-reading.

  • Wren to the Rescue, by Sherwood Smith, copyright 1990; Firebird, an imprint of Penguin Group, 2004. Crown Duel by Smith was excellent, and this one is too, though in a different way. Firebird, judging by the list (opposite the title page) of other books they're publishing, is looking to reprint a bunch of good books, including some of Lloyd Alexander's Westmark books; I wish them every success. I wonder if they're focusing on young adult books?

Recent Reading

  • Glory Lane, by Alan Dean Foster, copyright 1987; Ace, August 1987. Amusing in some respects, but one of Foster's lesser efforts.

  • The Surgeon's Mate, by Patrick O'Brian, copyright 1981; First published in 1980 by William Collins Sons & Co Ltd; W.W. Norton and Company, Inc, 1992. After facing the apparent diminution of the affections that have driven him for years, Stephen Maturin finds that they have not diminished, rather that they have been muted for a time, and is given the strongest possible evidence that his affections are returned in a measure greater than he could have hoped for, with the long-sought but previously unlikely outcome. Strongly recommended, but it's necessary to have read a number of other books in the series for the full effect, perhaps most importantly Post Captain.

Recent Reading

  • The Fortune of War, by Patrick O'Brian, copyright 1979; first published by William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd, 1979; W.W. Norton & Company, 1991. Captivity in the U.S.A. with intrigue and the contemplation of the decay of affections, followed by escape and the taking of the USN Chesapeake. One of the most emotionally involving books in the series, leavened with interludes of intense action and despair.

Recent Reading; Ada and doing things right

Recent Reading

  • Nebula Winners Twelve, ed. Gordon R. Dickson, copyright 1978 by Science Fiction Writers of America; Harper and Row, 1987.

    • A Crowd of Shadows, by Charles L. Grant. Nebula Winner.

    • Breath's a Ware That Will Not Keep, by Thomas F. Monteleone.

    • Tricentennial, by Joe Haldeman.

    • In the Bowl, by John Varley.

    • The Academic Viewpoint, by James Gunn.

    • The Bicentennial Man, by Isaac Asimov. Nebula Winner.

    • Houston, Houston, Do You Read?, by James Triptree, Jr. Nebula Winner.

    These are some of short Nebula winners and runners-up from 1976. A good collection; all the stories are still worth reading.

Ada and doing things right

I enjoy reading the newsgroup comp.lang.ada, because there are number of people there who are doing commercial work with very high quality requirements and interesting problems to solve. It's nice to listen to folks who really work to get things right. And sometimes it's just a relief to read code that's written with a clear syntax.

Speaking of Ada 200Y, Martin Dowie has back-port to Ada 95 of some of the new Ada 200Y packages:

  • AI-248 - Ada.Directories.*

  • AI-286 - Ada.Assertions

  • AI-296 - Ada.Numerics.Generic_[Complex|Real]_Arrays

  • AI-301 - Ada.(Wide_)Text_IO.(Wide_)Unbounded_IO

  • AI-302 - Ada.Containers.*

  • AI-346 - Ada.Numerics.Generic_[Complex|Real]_Arrays.Generic_Roots

  • AI-351 - Ada.Calendar.*

Recent Reading

  • The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven, copyright 1974; Timescape, Pocket Books, Simon and Schuster, 1974. Still fun to read.

  • Queen's Gambit Declined, by Melinda M. Snodgrass, copyright 1989; Questar, Popular Library, Warner Books. An antifantasy, and very good.

  • The Opal-Eyed Fan, by Andre Norton, copyright 1977; E.P. Dutton, 1977. This is one of Norton's historicals, and is set on one of the Florida Keys in the middle 1800s. I like Norton's science fiction better, but the historicals are good.

Recent Reading and Viewing

Recent Reading

  • Dark Crusade, by Karl Edgar Wagner, copyright 1976; Warner Books, December 1976, reissue May 1983.

Recent Viewing

  • Spider-Man 2, 2004; directed by Sam Raimi, starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, and Alfred Molina. Good.

  • Pitch Black, 2000; Directed by David Twohy, staring Vin Diesel. Enjoyable action adventure flick.

  • The Butterfly Effect, 2004; directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, starring Ashton Kutcher, Melora Walters, and Amy Smart. Good, though somewhat disturbing.

Recent Reading

  • When the Legends Die, by Hal Borland, copyright 1963; narrated by Norman Dietz; Recorded Books, Inc., 1991. I read this book when I was a young teenager. When I listened to it this time (in my car, mostly going to and from work), I was struck again by how the new medium presented it a-new to my mind, striking afresh into my thoughts.

  • Rupert of Hentzau, by Anthony Hope; first published in Great Britian by J.W. Arrowsmith in 1898; published in one volume with The Prisoner of Zenda by Penguin Books, 2000. I've read The Prisoner of Zenda several times, read new interpretations of it by George MacDonald Fraser and others, and seen at least a couple of movie versions of it, but I'd never read its sequel, Rupert of Hentzau. It apparently wasn't as popular as the original, and has been criticised as too complicated and not active enough, and I can understand why. However, it's still a worthwhile read on its own merits, and it does serve to complete the story that The Prisoner of Zenda left open.