August 24

Out of this World-British Library

sciencefictionThere are at least a million different things a geek can do in London, and in my effort to do them all, alas, I failed. One major highlight was the current free exhibition at The British Library (for us yanks, it is like The Library of Congress), Out Of This World: Science Fiction, But Not as You Know it.

First, I am a bibliophile, so this was like Disneyland for me, except at Disneyland you can take pictures and touch things. Each section of the exhibition had a specific theme ranging from the birth of Science Fiction (in the 1600s!), Utopian societies, distopian societies, graphic novels, robots (did you know that the first “robots” in literature were actually synthetically made human slaves, and not machines?), and more. Among these were impeccable, perfect first editions, that made me drool, with some of the most beautiful, and outright cool cover art you will ever see. One major highlight was an original telegram sent from George Orwell to his publisher, lamenting that 1984 would have been “better” if it had not “been written under the influence of TB”, where he goes on to call Satre a “big bag of wind”.

I could write for days on the books on display and how amazing it was to see hand written pages of first drafts, books hundreds of years old, amazing posters (see?), but what really struck me were the interactives they had set up, for all age ranges. You (or your kid) can use an interactive touch screen to draw your own alien, and then watch it join other hand drawn aliens dancing around on the wall behind, there was a sleepy robot that was motion activated that carried on conversation about his favorite science fiction robots, a computer where you could challenge AI to the Turin’s Test, and at least five other things I didn’t have time for.

All in all, this would be an amazing stop in London (runs until September 25), even (or maybe especially) if you have kids in tow.

July 10

Amigurimi Coraline

“I have no plans to love you,” said Coraline. “No matter what. You can’t make me love you.”
— Neil Gaiman (Coraline)

Crochet Coraline doll - amigurumi patternThat may be what Coraline said to “the other mother”, but you won’t be able to say it to this adorable amigurimi by Ravelry poster, Sharon Rose, aka Homemade Obsessions.

I love her little yellow boots, her key necklace, and the drapey blue hair, and of course the button eyes are perfect. (Even though, I have to admit, they creep me out a little bit.)

The blog post includes the pattern, and stepped-out photos for attaching the pieces and hair.

Also be sure to check out Sharon’s patterns for Wybie and the Ghost Girl.

In case you haven’t heard about Coraline, it’s a fantasy/horror novella by British author Neil Gaiman, published in 2002. There was a graphic novel adaptation, published in 2008, and illustrated by P. Craig Russell. The stop-motion animated film was directed by Henry Selick, and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2009. [Historical facts per Wikipedia]

Now, unrelated to Coraline, but related to Neil Gaiman…have you seen the footage of the Minnesota Public Radio interview with Neil Gaiman, where they call Mythbuster’s Adam Savage and he does a short singing stint in the voice of Gollum?  According to, it “contains so many different brands of geekery it might shut down the internet.” You simply must see.