The Obligatory 2019 Birthday Post

April 18 was my birthday, so this year’s birthday post is two days late, because the weekly link round-ups for the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene as well as the review of the Star Trek Discovery season finale got in the way.

I celebrated with my parents and we had sailor’s curry (or spaceman’s curry, as I’ve renamed the dish in Freedom’s Horizon, where you can also find the recipe) for lunch. No curry pics today, because I already posted some in the old post linked above as well as on Twitter.

Afterwards, we had to go to Oldenburg to pick up my Dad’s new car. As for why we had to drive almost fifty kilometre to pick up a car, when there are umpteen car dealers closer than that – the car is a plug-in hybrid (replacing an older plug-in hybrid with a weaker battery) and not all dealers are authorised to sell them. That took quite some time, partly because there was a minor problem getting the car to recognise our phones. Traffic was really bad as well, especially since the local authorities in their infinite wisdom have decided to repave a major road in the area just before the already busy Easter weekend, so you had to take long detours to even get onto Highway A28 to Oldenburg.

When I got home, a neighbour dropped by with a bottle of wine and we chatted for a while. I didn’t do anything birthday like in the evening, largely because I was tired.

Birthday presents, wrapped.

Birthday presents, wrapped.

Of course, there were presents as well. My dad took a few photos of me unwrapping them, but unfortunately, he isn’t the world’s greatest photographer. Still, these two came out all right.

Unwrapping presents

Me unwrapping presents. Okay, so you can only see my hair, but it is me, I promise.

Unwrapping presents.

Me unwrapping presents. And this time, you can even see my face.

Because I love books, people tend to get me books. And because of online wishlists, getting books that I actually want (and don’t yet own) is much easier than it used to be. I remember painstakingly writing up lists of books I wanted and handing them out to relatives, only for half of them to ignore the list completely and others to helpfully ask, if I really wanted that book, since it appeared to be science fiction and looked somewhat scary. The book in question was an Anne McCaffrey novel (I’ve forgotten which one) and I was sixteen and therefore well able to handle whatever scares Anne McCaffrey dished up. Never mind that I actually find some of the squickier bits in those books more problematic today than at sixteen.

Birthday presents

Birthday presents unwrapped. Lots of books, bookended (quite literally) by two bottles.

It’s a somewhat ecclectic mix of books this time: Science fiction, mostly new, but also a Liaden Universe novel that was missing from my collection (the typically lurid Baen cover raised some eyebrows), crime fiction (the Locked trilogy by G.B. Williams is highly recommended BTW) and a vintage historical romance by Madeleine Brent a.k.a. Peter O’Donnell as well as wine and champagne. Regarding the champagne, in Germany it’s customary that a car dealer gives you a bottle of champagne to go with a new car (of course, the champagne is only to be drunk, once you’ve taken the car home). And once the car salesperson realised that it was my birthday, he just handed me the bottle, so I sort of appropriated it.

And that was it for my birthday. And for something else.

I’d planned to do a 2019 Hugo finalist reactions round-up, but ninety percent of the discussion this year seems to be focussed on the Hugo nomination for Archive of Our Own in the Best Related Work category. I’ve already said how I feel about that and seeing how the Archive of Our Own nomination seems to hog all the attention doesn’t make me any more inclined to vote for it.

Meanwhile, Thomas Wagner of SFF180 (which would be a fine choice in the fancast category) has put up the first of two videos reviewing the short stories nominated for the 2018 Nebula and 2019 Hugo Awards. He also briefly goes into the 20Booksto50K not-a-slate controversy at this year’s Nebulas (see my posts here, here and here). Thomas Wagner reviews the two Nebula finalists that were on the 20Booksto50K not-a-slate and is considerably less than impressed.

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