Pokémon vs Potter

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Adam looks at two similar games to consider why one succeeds, and the other doesn’t.

I have relatively little shame in admitting that I’m a Pokémon Go player. I will admit that I do have some shame, but it is manageable. I started playing back when the game was new, exciting, and popular, and kept playing as everyone else I knew slowly dropped away, leaving just a small group of serious players who refuse to move on.… Read the rest

RoboRoos 2019

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One of the interesting things Adam does in his “spare” time is to build robots.

After taking a year off, in 2019 I returned to mentoring the local student robotics team, the RoboRoos. I enjoyed my break but I admit to missing the team, and even though difficult years can be more than a tad frustrating, when things are working there is little that I enjoy more.… Read the rest

Novellas (novellae?) are in

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There was an interesting discussion between Jonathan Strahan and Gary Wolfe a while back on the Coode Street Podcast about the attractions of the novella form: long enough to allow some interesting world-building and development, but not as major a commitment as a novel. With Tor (in particular) publishing a number of novellas, there’s a market for the stories. Unsurprisingly, authors have risen to the challenge.… Read the rest

Heard on the Grapevine…

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Tony Thomas sends us his thoughts on some articles in recent issues of Wild Goose

Red Sparrow reviewed by Roman: I read the novel about the same time as you and had similar reactions.
Although considerably bloodier than novels by Stella Rimington (former head of MI5), you’ve got to believe the spycraft in both her books and Red Sparrow because they’re written by people who supposedly have lived these lives.… Read the rest

The Leafie invasion of Adelaide

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A French group, Le Phun, created a hundred of these sculptures for WOMADelaide.

“The innovative theatre company from Toulouse combines the reality of the everyday with the creative world of the imagination. Their beguiling, ephemeral Leafies (Les Pheuillus) – plant sculptures born from autumn leaves, in human form – will appear and migrate to unexpected places in Botanic Park during the festival, as a reflection on the poetic aspects of nature.”

I didn’t make it to WOMADelaide this year, but soon discovered that the leafies had escaped the Botanic Park and started to show up in unexpected places around the city of Adelaide. Read the rest

Ecocide — why isn’t it a Crime Against Peace?

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Polly Higgins was a Scottish barrister, who left her career as a corporate lawyer to focus on environmental advocacy, and unsuccessfully lobbied the United Nations Law Commission to recognise ecocide as an international crime.

Ecocide had been proposed as one of the international crimes against peace in 1996, but failed to be included in the final Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Higgins started to campaign for its inclusion around 2009, when the Rome statue was being reviewed.… Read the rest

Jane Austen: Private Eye

Sense & Spontaneity are a Perth-based duo of performers, Jess Messenger & Esther Longhurst,  who normally put on an absolutely splendid and highly enjoyable self-titled improv show set in the world of Jane Austen’s fictional realm. And this is said by someone who normally detests Austen’s fiction with the fury of a thousand exploding stars.
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Phantasmagoria

On the 150th Anniversary of one of Lewis Carroll’s lesser known works.

Phantasmagoria is Lewis Carroll’s longest poem, weighing in at 140 verses with five lines per verse, as opposed to The Hunting of the Snark, which has one more verse but in which each verse consists only of four lines. All things considered, I prefer the Snark, but Phantasmagoria has its own charms.… Read the rest