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This weekend has been a bit boring and I haven't had any human interaction to speak of, but that's all right, means I saved $ and it is all needed for Finland.  I realise now that WABA (boardgaming club) was on but did not come to this realisation until around midnight of Saturday.  Saturday is when I do my housework jobs and some garden jobs and try to get in some exercise.

On Sunday I had to call my mother for Mother's Day, since the customs of the tribe mean I would feel intensely guilty if I didn't.  There wasn't a lot to say, as it's only a week since I called before, but since I generally have to repeat everything, that still takes awhile.  M had to go through how wonderful it was to get flowers from my brother and his family, but all in all, not too bad.  When M answered the phone, I greeted her in my best Indian call centre operator accent, and did well enough that M almost hung up on me.  One has to get entertainment where one can. :-)


I messed around online, made Scrabble moves and wrote a bit of Pylon.  Am in the middle slump, i.e. not sure of a good ending, feeling that there's too much standing around and talking heads, so I arranged for a sea serpent to eat a surf boat.  Some rain was swept in this afternoon; it has now moved on, but there was enough to give everything in the garden a decent drink.

I've started to consider what things I may do when I get to Helsinki.  I will have four days to tourist before the Worldcon starts, not including the afternoon/evening of arrival when I expect to not do much at all.  There's the expected hop on/hop off bus, which can be combined with a ferry trip, plenty of museums, markets, the Finnish Parliament, the Botanical Gardens and the zoo.  Since I figure my chances of seeing Finnish wildlife are probably fairly remote, the zoo is my best bet, and the same goes for most of the plant life found in the countryside, so the Botanical Gardens sound like they would be worth a visit.  I also like the look of a tour called the Sustainable City tour, where they use the trams and buses to show you around.

One offering from the Worldcon peeps themselves is this trip to a nuclear power plant, which I include here for attendees not on Facebook. [Rob and Leece, looky here!]  I thought (a) when else am I ever going to see one and (b) it's a longer tour outside Helsinki, so I'll get a look at the aforementioned countryside :-)

Would you like to visit a nuclear power plant in connection with your trip to #Worldcon75?

We're organising a visit to the Olkiluoto power station on Tuesday, 8 August, the day before Worldcon officially begins. The trip starts at 8 am from Helsinki and return in the evening.

The tour of the site would be done by bus, as visitors aren't allowed into the reactor building for security reasons.

If you are interested in participating, please sign up or message pr5questions@worldcon.fi.

More info about visiting Olkiluoto here:
http://www.tvo.fi/Come-and-visit-us

 



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Here are some notes on books. Haven't felt like posting book blog lately, but still want to keep track of the reads, of which there have been some quite a few e-books and some from the library. Some rereads which I haven't bothered noting down. With long running ebook series, I find I have to reread some of them to remember what I need to for the latest.

The Killing Line - James N. Cook.

Zombie apocalypse series, book number 7. Interesting in that it tries to cover the development of a new society from the survivors who learned to deal with the undead, including a fairly well thought out barter system for trade. Downside is rather too much time spent describing military manoeuvres and guns.

Hell's Children - John L. Monk.

Pandemic scenario, killing everyone over 15. Viewpoint character is a 14-year-old boy trained by his survivalist parents, so you essentially get preppers and guns, only with teenagers and younger kids. The background is so nondescript I can't even remember where it's supposed to take place and the characters I was even partway interested in get killed off.

Telepath - Janet Edwards.

The start of a new YA series by the author of the Earth Girl series, which I enjoyed more than this one. This society has everyone on Earth living in giant underground 'hives' as in big enough to hold the population of a small nation. Characters get 'imprinted' at 18 with the knowledge necessary to perform work chosen for them. It was hard to tell whether one was supposed to approve of this society or not; it was a bit creepy to me, but the viewpoint character doesn't rebel from it. Being a telepath is so rare there are only five in her Hive, so the job has huge prestige, but again, no free choice. She's a sort of psi cop for her Hive and has to battle against another Hive's attempt to steal her for themselves.

The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick

I don't know how I never got around to reading this before now. Very good, but I found the ending rather vague and perplexing. Characters circle around one another without much interaction; there's an estranged husband and wife whom I kept expecting to meet up and they never do. The I Ching seems to be a character in its own right, an omniscient one. I have to think about this some more. It's one of the earliest alternate world stories I know, published in 1962, where Germany and Japan won WWII, but now Germany seems to be eyeing off its old comrade in arms. Also, everyone is reading and talking about a strange book describing an impossible world where the Axis powers lost the war.
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I haven't posted a book blog entry for awhile, mostly because I've been on rereads on my Kindle, to decide whether or not I really want book seven in James Cook's zombie apocalypse series beginning with No Easy Hope. That first one was pretty good, focusing on a guy who has a survivalist nut friend, but when the books moved more into super military mode, they became less interesting to me, so I'll leave the new book until I'm desperate for something readable. The best point about the series was that it doesn't knock humanity down to the stone age, exactly; but they need to revamp their model of civilisation and adjust to the fact that people aren't apex predators anymore.

Another thing I do is read a lot of samples, i.e. first couple of chapters of the Kindle books, to decide if I want any of them, and so far they haven't grabbed me enough. On Friday, again got actual books from the library and have got through one of them, a truly bone chilling re-invention of Peter Pan, from the POV of Wendy, who is at first enthralled by Peter (she's 16 in this book, set in 1911 London/Neverland) but then begins to realise that Neverland is, under the bright surface, a nightmare from which she can't wake up. The book is called Wendy Darling, by Colleen Oakes. It's YA, very well written and ends on a cliffhanger which is most frustrating as I don't think book 2 is out yet.

Now I've started reading the second book in my loot, Demon Road, by Derek Landy, another YA featuring another 16-year-old girl who has discovered that her parents are, well, demons and that they have plans for her which don't exactly involve her graduating from high school and getting a life... Loved the book's blurb which said:

For anyone who ever thought their parents were monsters . . .

Beyond that, not too much happening. I've done everything I need to around here for the weekend; may go for a walk around soon if the weather permits. It's been windy with a bit of rain. I'm doing the recluse thing at the moment; haven't been out at all this weekend.

Wait, rethink. Had one shoe on and noticed it had begun hailing. White stuff falling from the sky!

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