Saturday, December 03, 2005

Nebula update

About a year and a half ago, I announced my project of reading all of the Nebula-award winning novels.

At the time, I had read 11 out of 40 award-winning novels. There are now 41 novels. I read the 1973 award winner, Rendevous with Rama, in Spring 2004. I read the 1996 winner, Slow River, and the 1997 winner, The Moon and the Sun, earlier this year. (I guess I never blogged them.) Both of them required me to request the Anne Arundel Public Library's only's kind of sad that less than 10 years after winning one of science fiction's most prestigious awards, these books are fairly difficult to track down. I read the 1999 award winner, Parable of the Talents, during Fall 2004. I read the 2000 winner, Darwin's Radio, last summer. I read the 2001 winner, The Quantum Rose this past winter. I read the 2003 winner, The Speed of Dark, in Spring 2004. I read the 2004 winner, Paladin of Souls, this past October.

So where does this leave me?

  1. 1965: Dune, Frank Herbert
  2. 1970: Ringworld, Larry Niven
  3. 1973: Rendevous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
  4. 1975: The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
  5. 1984: Neuromancer, William Gibson
  6. 1985: Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
  7. 1986: Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card
  8. 1992: Doomsday Book, Connie Willis
  9. 1993: Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson
  10. 1994: Moving Mars, Greg Bear
  11. 1996: Slow River, Nicola Griffith
  12. 1997: The Moon and the Sun, Vonda N. McIntyre
  13. 1998: Forever Peace, Joe Haldeman
  14. 1999: Parable of the Talents, Octavia Butler
  15. 2000: Darwin's Radio, Greg Bear
  16. 2001: The Quantum Rose, Catherine Asaro
  17. 2002: American Gods, Neil Gaiman
  18. 2003: The Speed of Dark, Elizabeth Moon
  19. 2004: Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold
So that's 19 out of 41. The last six I've read have all been written by women. Hmm. And I now have read the last 9 winners. Part of what I've been doing is working my way backwards -- partly because those books are easier to find, and partly to see what's current in the SF world. I have the 1995 winner on hold at the library, and I have the 1974, 1980 and 1988 winners checked out right now.

One thing that holds me back from some of the other is my aforementioned need to read series in order. The 1983 winner, Startide Rising, is a sequel to a book called Sundiver, which I read yesterday. At the time, I couldn't remember which one won the Nebula, and which one was the first...Brin kept referring to past events, and I wondered if it was a gentle reminder of the events of a previous book. I guess not.

(It may amuse you to know that when I spell-checked this I had misspelled "library's" as "libary's". Blogger's spell checker suggested "Liberace.")


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Moores Creek National Battlefield

We went down to Wilmington, NC, for Thanksgiving to spend it with Christina's sister's family. On Friday, it was time to leave the house and get a little bit of culture and education. So we headed 20 minutes north to Moores Creek National Battlefield, scene of an important Revolutionary War victory in 1776.

The victory helped wipe out British influence in North Carolina. It was neat seeing some lesser known, but important, pieces of American history. They had a mile-long trail with some monuments on it that made for a nice autumn walk.


Monday, November 28, 2005 Pseudoephedrine PSA

Recently, many retailers have started "voluntarily" placing Sudafed and its generic equivalents (pseudoephedrine) behind pharmacy counters in response to a patchwork of state laws. Maryland (as far as I know) doesn't have any such laws, but national retailers who want a uniform policy have forced me to deal with this issue.

The reason for these laws is that pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in the production of "meth". Despite the fact that in Maryland "meth" is a lesser "problem" than "congestion", I resigned myself to dealing with this annoyance.

What I hadn't realized is that I would be dealing with a "bait and switch". When I was at Safeway today, I noticed something called "Sudafed PE" (and a generic "nasal decongestant PE"). I assumed it stood for PseudoEphedrine -- the people who make Sudafed might want to market different products, and so push pseudoephedrine down to a "type" of Sudafed.

Then I noticed some laminated cards that I could take to the register if I wanted real pseudoephedrine. I initially thought it was a dosage issue, but it turns out companies have been pushing phenylephrine as a pseudoephedrine replacement, although it "might not be as effective or long-lasting".

I've long been concerned that drug companies sell over-the-counter medication based on the symptoms that it treats ("cold medicine") rather than the ingredients. So people without a cough end up ingesting cough suppressant. Now the active ingredient in a common drug is being replaced, and I bet 90% of consumers don't know what's going on.

Boy, are there going to be some disappointed meth lab owners when they finally get around to reading the label.