Monday, July 21, 2008

Status & Mind Mapping

Though things have been quiet around here, I've been busy in the background. I'm currently polishing a review of Halting State which I'll be posting this week. That way, even though I failed to review the Hugo nominees before the voting closed, I'll at least get to them all before the results are announced. That counts for something, right? I've also recently finished James Blish/William Atheling Jr.'s first review collection, The Issue At Hand and I'll be writing up my thoughts on that shortly. I'm currently reading Stephen Baxter's latest, Flood, and my non-fiction reading has shifted to Joanna Russ' collection of criticism, The Country You Have Never Seen. Very different from Atheling's style, but equally insightful.

Speaking of books and things to read, I'd like to point out that DreamHaven Books is having a huge sale on their used book inventory, running to about 50% off. They're going to be moving shops soon, so could use to have a lot of books off their hands. I got five, won't you help?

The other piece I have going right now is a review of Jonathan Strahan's Years' Best anthology, compared and contrasted to Hartwell & Cramer's Fantasy and Science Fiction volumes. This has been quite a challenge for me; it's the first time I've tried to tackle this sort of review. Below is the screen capture of something I've been finding quite helpful.

That's a mind map of the contents of all three volumes, complete with color coding. Never say that I don't go above and beyond the call for Strange Horizons! I found a very good free software package called Freemind that does mind maps. It's fairly intuitive and does everything I want it to. I've found myself using it much more than I expected. It's surprisingly handy for organizing thoughts and large amounts of information. It's also small enough to fit on my thumb drive, from which I always run it so I can have it with me on any computer I use. Very nice.

In other news I'm still waiting for my new iMac. My desktop finally gave up the ghost (not unexpected), and I ordered the iMac through my college last Monday. Unfortunately this means that they have to order it from Apple and have it shipped. Considering that I really want it now, I sometimes wonder if it was worth saving $200 and getting a free 8GB iPod if it means waiting more than a week... gosh darn those student discount programs! And thank heavens for my trusty laptop.

1 comment:

RobB said...

Hi Karen,

I'll be interested in seeing your comparison of the two (3?) volumes of Best ofs.

I've been pretty impressed with the anthologies I've read which were edited by Strahan and haven't read Hartwell/Kramer's YB in a few years, since back when the fantasy volume was published by EOS.