Archive for March, 2013

Chess fans, rejoice

One of the most exciting chess event will start today: the Candidates Tournament 2013 including the 4 highest ranked players. Magnus Carlson is the obvious favorite but in this double round-robin everything is possible. I will root for Alexander Grischuk, he has a down-to-earth style that is relatively easy to follow. This is something that can’t be said about e.g. Aronian’s games. It’s a pleasure to watch them but you can’t emulate his style.

Let’s hope that in future we will remember London 2013 in the same way as the famous Zurich 1953 tournament, which has been covered extensively by David Bronstein.



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This year I am in good shape and found enough time to read the nominated short stories for the Nebula Award.

As usual, the rating system is A for great, B for okay and C for “didn’t like it”.

Short Stories

  • (C) “Robot“, Helena Bell (Clarkesworld 9/12)
    This story didn’t impress me. An old woman gets a robot to help her with her life. She uses strong words to show who the boss is but ultimately it might be the robots who run the show on earth. One day.
  • (A) “Immersion“, Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 6/12)
    This was an excellent story covering many interesting topics and featuring great characters. I won’t say more, the story isn’t that long so see for yourself!
  • (A) “Fragmentation, or Ten Thousand Goodbyes“, Tom Crosshill (Clarkesworld 4/12)
    Another great story that covers the question if virtual reality can be the same as what we experience right now? Do you really want to live in a virtual habitat that someone has made up for you instead of saying goodbye to your life how it was?
  • (C) “Nanny’s Day“, Leah Cypess (Asimov’s 3/12)
    This is about a nanny trying to get custody for the child in her care. Looking at the current laws that strongly protect the parents and especially the mothers, I found the plot to unbelieving to really care. What’s the point, really? There will always be better mothers and fathers but this doesn’t mean there is nothing that you can give to your child. Competition is … stupid. And next time I would prefer a text without underlined words.
  • (C) “Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream“, Maria Dahvana Headley (Lightspeed 7/12)
    I don’t mind unusual fantasy story but it needs something that is able to touch me. This one had nothing. The protagonists are too far away from our world so that I didn’t care for them. I liked the passages about the monster, they are very well written and hint at something bigger. A full story in that style would have been more interesting.
  • (C) “The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species“, Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/12)
    This one wasn’t for me. The author shows some fantasy but there was nothing I could relate to. Alien species making books? Who cares…
  • (A-) “Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain“, Cat Rambo (Near + Far)
    An unusual story about the people on the planet Porcelain. The beginning was a bit slow but when Cat Rambo started to tell more about how to fall in love and how it means for the natives I couldn’t put it down anymore.

I have stopped wondering how nominated stories are selected and why I can’t get into most of them. Having found 2 remarkable and 1 very enjoyable one easily makes up for the other 4.

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Tired of chess

I guess I played too much chess in the last weeks. With no new OTB tournament in sight and the upcoming spring I am not really in the mood to spend much energy on anything chess related. Playing from time to time is fine but no study. Instead I will read more short stories and books in the next weeks. One plan is to continue with my various projects, e.g.

Now that the weather finally gets better I think I will add a new toy to my collection:

My friends got me hooked on Geocaching and I will give it a try. Going on a treasure hunt will boost the motivation to explore more of the surrounding area and it has the positive side effect that one spends more time outside and less time in front of the computer.

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SF Award season 2013

When you love Science Fiction and short stories, the announcement of the nominees for the two biggest genre awards (the Hugo and the Nebula) means that a lot of good stuff becomes freely available online. My taste isn’t really in line with the community’s and out of 5 stories I usually only enjoy 2 but these are often so great that it’s worthwhile digging through the big pile.

The Nebula nominees have already been announced and a story that completely blew me away was Immersion from Aliette de Bodard. If you only read one story, that’s the one you should pick. Trust me. 🙂

The Hugo nominees will follow in March. As every year I will try to read as many of them as possible, you will find my reviews here.

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