It’s hard to know what to write in this section when it’s all closed-source now. This week I finished off an implementation plan for some scalability work we want to do, and began working through it.


This week I read:

  • Lord Valentine’s Castle by Robert Silverberg

    I really liked this one, in fact I think I should check out more by Robert Silverberg. I’ve previously enjoyed his Downward to the Earth too.

    This was interesting because the book “spoils” itself almost immediately. You learn what’s going on within the fifty or so pages: Valentine, a juggler with no memory, is actually Lord Valentine, king of the world, and had his memories erased and his mind transplanted into another body, so that a usurper could rule in his stead. In fact, the hardest character to convince is Valentine himself. So the book is about how Valetine makes it back to his castle and wins everyone over on the way, finally confronting the usurper. It’s short, only 466 pages in my copy, and it’s a page-turner.

    I also liked the character names in it. Often, particularly in RPGs, character names are pretty boring. Lord Valentine’s Castle has its share of boring character names, like Sleet, Carabella, and Valentine; but it also has weird and interesting names like Zalzan Kavol and Simonan Barjazid. I think what makes those names special is that they actually sound like names. Too often a fantasy or sci-fi name is just a collection of weird letters and punctuation marks, or a transparent pastiche of a more famous fantasy name, or otherwise just sounds fake. Whereas those names sound like they could actually be names from a different culture.


As mentioned last week, I’ve finally got into sourdough. My starter is healthy, and I’ve made my first loaf of bread. It turned out really well: it rose better than my bread usually does and, while the sour taste isn’t particularly strong, it is noticeable.

I made the bread with a mixture of rye flour and wholegrain flour. I want to try it with some white flour next, to compare. I think the sourness will be more noticeable in white bread, as the bread itself has a weaker flavour. I’m also going to experiment a little with baking times and temperatures. The recipe I’ve been using calls for baking at 250C, but I’ve seen a few similar recipes this week which called for 180C and more time.

Lots of Traveller links this week: