Sunday Oh My! What am I Drinking?

The things I get for Christmas. It’s some sort of spirit and apparently Hungarian. Not sure if it will kill me or give +10 Resistance to Magic Attacks.

Happy New Year (assuming I survive).

Today’s Infographic: Doctor Where

doctormap

Based on Wikipedia bios – note that birthplace was just the most consistent information I could get. Where an actor is ‘from’ is a bit more complicated. Colin Baker is listed here under London but grew up in Rochdale – so really should be with the actors from the North of England.

Matt Smith is the outlier from the otherwise not unusual town of Northampton (OK it is also inherently unusual because Alan Moore is from there but aside from that…).

The clusters represent major ribbons of urban development in the UK: London obviously, but then the ribbon of towns and cities from Liverpool to Manchester to Leeds and then in Scotland the towns around and between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Book Cover Thing 2017 – The Final

Previously: Start, Longer list, Culling, Artwork, An Aside, Functionality, Design, Relevance…

I do enjoy doing this. The idea of using different categories is to force me to look at the covers in different ways. It doesn’t make the scores more objective but it does encourage me to look at how covers serve multiple roles and it also makes some of the apples versus oranges comparisons easier to do. A fun side-effect is I don’t keep or look at a running score for each cover until the end. That means that I don’t know which cover was my favourite until this final post!

Of course, I probably already had a favourite and that bias will have impacted on each of the scores I gave. So I am not surprised by the top covers I picked out. Please do wade in with comments on your favourites!

The Top Three

I love each of these. I didn’t have a category that explicitly captures that “Oooh, I want to see what this books about!” feeling but I think each of these has that feeling for me. I’ve only read one of them though! Central Station is in my TBR pile.

  • Rank:1 Score:15 – Hammers on Bone ArtistĂ·Designer: Jeffrey Alan Love| by Cassandra Khaw, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:2 Score:14 – Central Station ArtistĂ·Designer: Sarah Anne Langton | by Lavie Tidhar, Tachyon Publishing ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:3 Score:13 – Firebrand ArtistĂ·Designer: Michael Heath| by A.J.Hartley, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry

The Honourable Mentions – Rank 4 and 5

All great covers. Given the arbitrary way I’m dishing out points, each of these may have made it into the top 3 if I ran my choices again with a fresh brain.

  • Rank:4 Score:12 – The Changeling ArtistĂ·Designer: Yuko Shimizu | by Victor LaValle, Spiegel & Grau ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:4 Score:12 – Lovecraft Country ArtistĂ·Designer: Jarrod Tayler| by Matt Ruff, Harper ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:4 Score:12 – The Days of Tao ArtistĂ·Designer: Galen Dara| by Wesley Chu, Subterranean Press ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:4 Score:12 – The Drowning Eyes ArtistĂ·Designer: Cynthia Sheppard| by Emily Foster, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:4 Score:12 – Too Like the Lightning ArtistĂ·Designer: Victor Mosquera | by Ada Palmer, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:5 Score:11 – A Fierce and Subtle Poison ArtistĂ·Designer: Allison Colpoys| by Samantha Mabry, Algonquin Young Readers ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:5 Score:11 – Breath of Earth ArtistĂ·Designer: Gene Mollica| by Beth Cato, Harper Voyager ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:5 Score:11 – Everfair ArtistĂ·Designer: Victo Ngai| by Nisi Shawl, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:5 Score:11 – Final Girls ArtistĂ·Designer: Julie Dillon| by Mira Grant, Subterranean Press ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:5 Score:11 – Ninefox Gambit ArtistĂ·Designer: Chris Moore| by Yoon Ha Lee, Solaris ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:5 Score:11 – The Underground Railroad ArtistĂ·Designer: Oliver Munday | by Colson Whitehead, Fleet ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:5 Score:11 – Witchy Eye ArtistĂ·Designer: Daniel Dos Santos | by D.J.Butler, Baen ISFDB or Amazon Entry

The Covers I’m Surprised Didn’t Get More Points – Rank 6

Remember that aside from one book, all of these covers had already been through a substantial set of filters. So there aren’t bad covers here, just ones that didn’t grab me quite as much as the higher ranked ones.

This also where the category system might show its bugs. I really thought I’d give Walkaway a lot more points!

  • Rank:6 Score:10 – Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet ArtistĂ·Designer: Joan Wong| by Charlie N. Holmberg, 47North ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:6 Score:10 – Walkaway ArtistĂ·Designer: Will Staehle| by Cory Doctorow, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:6 Score:10 – Fallout: The Hot War ArtistĂ·Designer: David G. Stevenson| by Harry Turtledove, Del Rey ISFDB or Amazon Entry

Fun but Flawed – Rank 7 to 9

Well done to Sieging Manganela – it did manage to hold its own against some big publishing house covers. Again, some nice covers here. Generally, they lost marks for reasons: not enough information or too much information, being too literal or not literal enough, and so on. All good in other ways though.

  • Rank:7 Score:9 – Sieging Manganela ArtistĂ·Designer: Brian Allen| by Charon Dunn, Amazon Digital Services ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:8 Score:8 – The Sunlight Pilgrims ArtistĂ·Designer: Suzanne Dean, Kai & Sunny| by Jenni Fagan, William Heinemann ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:8 Score:8 – A God in the Shed ArtistĂ·Designer: an unsung hero| by J.F.Dubeau, Inkshares ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:8 Score:8 – Of Sand and Malice Made ArtistĂ·Designer: RenĂ© Aigner| by Bradley P. Beaulieu, DAW books ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:8 Score:8 – The Hammer of Thor ArtistĂ·Designer: John Rocco | by Rick Riordan, Disney Hyperion ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:9 Score:7 – After Atlas ArtistĂ·Designer: Anxo Amarelle | by Emma Newman, Roc ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:9 Score:7 – Borderline ArtistĂ·Designer: an unsung hero| by Mishell Baker, Saga ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:9 Score:7 – Occupy Me ArtistĂ·Designer: Sidonie Beresford-Browne| by Tricia Sullivan, Gollancz ISFDB or Amazon Entry

The Judge is an Idiot – Rank 10 and 11

I think both of these scored poorly because they are BIG ART on a tiny cover with text on top. On reflection, my low scores seem mean and your own judgement might put these much higher. Still, somebody has to come last and it was a tough field.

  • Rank:10 Score:6 – Babylon’s Ashes ArtistĂ·Designer: Daniel Dociu| by James S.A. Corey, Orbit ISFDB or Amazon Entry
  • Rank:11 Score:5 – Death’s End ArtistĂ·Designer: Stephan Martiniere | by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry

This Score is too Good For It – Rank 12

Enough categories and enough lapses of judgement on my part and this monstrosity still managed to pick up some marks here and there.

  • Rank:12 Score:4 – MAGA 2020 ArtistĂ·Designer: Dawn Witzke| by ed Marina Fontaine, Superversive Press ISFDB or Amazon Entry

 

A Cat Watches The Last Jedi

Courtesy of Timothy the Talking Cat.

Opening music. These are the lyrics I made up but halfway through I had to sing them in my head because of the shush-shush noises. They go like this:

Snoke, Snoke, Snokity,
Snoke, Snoke
Snokity, Snoke, Snoke,
Snokity, Snooooke

Snoke, Snoke, Snokity,
Snoke, Snoke
Snokity, Snoke, Snoke,
Snokity, Snooooke

Banaaaanas, banaaaaanas,
Banaa-nanananas,
(doooo-doodley, doodley)

[Repeat]

And wham! We are back into the action. Oh boy! Supreme Leader Snoke has got that darned Resistance cornered. Will he manage to wipe them out this time? You’d think so but this is a middle movie in a trilogy and that means SET BACKS for our hero.

[CF: if you can make sense of this there may be spoilers below. So not recommended if you haven’t watched the film]

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6. Ask A Triceratops

askatriceratops

This week I take a look at choosing a program to write with:

“Dear Susan,
Top five writing programs?

Yours
Mrs. Type Cast”

I just use Notepad because I eschew formatting. I asked around to see what everybody else uses:

  • Camestros: First choice is Excel, then Word, then Pages (Mac), then Text Wrangler, then Notepad++ (he was unwilling to accept that Excel is not a writing program)
  • Timothy: Libre Office, Word
  • Straw Puppy: Scrivener
  • Mr Atomic: internal OS text editor
  • Random squirrel teasing Timothy: Microsoft Publisher
  • Nice Lady from the Post Office: Adobe In-Design (Creative Cloud)
  • Bortsworth Drycleaners: GNU emacs
  • Shadowy figure spotted in the abandoned Woolworths: astral projection of blood that seeps through the plaster of your walls

There are so many choices! Pick one that has the features you need for the writing you want to do. The only one I’d advise against is the one based on an ancient eldritch evil that may consume your soul i.e Microsoft Publisher.

 

Book Cover Thing 2017 – Relevance

Previously: Start, Longer list, Culling, Artwork, An Aside, Functionality, Design, …

Relevance – this category only gets 2 points because not every cover needs this and I don’t know all the books well enough to make fine distinctions. In some ways this is a simple test and also the hardest. Does the cover suggest what you are going to get? Does it match the style and contents of the book? The easiest to judge are the more Nutty Nuggets covers, the hardest to judge are the ones for more literary novels which are hard to sum up with a cover.

Luckily I don’t need to be fair and your own judgement may differe…

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