Time and Consciousness

Today, I attended my first seminar in the Time and Consciousness module. We all met in Dr. Barry Dainton’s office on the third floor in 7 Abercrombe Square. It was mostly a planning session for our future seminars. For next week, we’re going to discuss Asimov’s I, Robot collection and Alan Turing’s “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.”

The Time and Consciousness module should be a lot of fun, particularly since a lot of my research has centered on autonomous machines and AI. I’m going to review basic philosophical concepts over the weekend, so that I’ll be better prepared to engage the discussion next week.

I went to the Liverpool Public Library today to get a card, but I didn’t have an official letter or bill with my Liverpool address on it. I’ll have to walk back over there tomorrow.

I began reading Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 last night. I should be able to finish it tonight. Over the summer I read his novel, Gravity’s Rainbow. Thus far, I feel as in as a nebulous place in The Crying of Lot 49 as I did in Gravity’s Rainbow.

Also today, I walked around the city centre with Christian. We hit several of the bookshops and comic shops. While we were talking, I learned that he likes playing WoW too. I haven’t played in a few weeks, but it reminded me that I need to level my Tauren druid. Besides playing the game, it will be cool to talk with my friends Perry and Matt back in Atlanta.

Box of Books

My box of books finally arrived yesterday! I was walking by the porter’s lodge and I noticed my box sitting under another box. I rushed in, grabbed the sign-out book, and I ran with utmost haste to my room. I proudly unpacked my books on the shelves adjacent to my bed. Since unpacking, I’ve already read one of the shipped books, Marleen S. Barr’s Oy Pioneer!

I attended Mr. Sawyer’s undergraduate speculative fiction lecture yesterday afternoon. It’s a full class, but there is room at the top of the auditorium for AP, Sandor, and myself.

Also yesterday, I finally received my student membership card. Immediately after procuring this magic card, I went over to the library and into the basement to peruse the Archives and Special Collections. Mr. Sawyer was kind enough to let me check out The Road to Science Fiction: From Heinlein to Here, Volume 3, edited by James Gunn. It has a copy of Tom Godwin’s “The Cold Equations,” which I need to read before next week.

Let me tell you about the SF Collection. It’s big. I mean really big. I think there were five moving shelves devoted to the collection, and each shelf is about 7 feet tall and 30 feet long. It’s organized by a modified Library of Congress system, so it wasn’t easy to browse through. However, I did get to hold a real, genuine Hugo Award! Now, the trick is for me to do something worthy of winning my own Hugo!

Today, I’ve been enjoying the cold and overcast from the relative comfort of my room. I finished watching A Scanner Darkly on my computer this morning, and I read Philip K. Dick’s Ubik. I’m taking a break right now, but I’ll probably go on to Godwin’s short story momentarily.

Oh, today’s picture was inspired by the opening sequence to Doctor Who. I read in a free paper that a Doctor Who exhibit begins on 30 September at Spaceport, which is across the river from Liverpool. Check out Spaceport’s website…it has a “Holly” just like on Red Dwarf. I’ll post pictures from the exhibit after I get a chance to attend.

The Long Good-Bye

I just finished reading Raymond Chandler’s The Long Good-Bye. I’ve heard of his work before, but I decided to read one of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe mysteries after the urging of my Hungarian friend, Sandor. I like Marlowe, and in some ways, I would like to be like him. This was an enjoyable read, and I’m looking forward to reading Chandler’s other Marlowe stories!

Yesterday, I had my first seminar in the genre definitions module. It was an enjoyable discussion, and I think that everyone had something to contribute. Present at the seminar were: Mr. Sawyer, Sunshine (MA), Christian (MA), Sandor (visiting scholar), Aiden-Paul (PhD), and myself. Mr. Sawyer hasn’t heard from the fourth MA student, so we might only have a class of three.

Also yesterday, I walked down to Bold Street to find the Waterstone bookshop. I had heard that they have a larger science fiction selection than Blackwell’s. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware that they close so early. I arrived at their storefront to be turned away by a pretty attendant who told me that they closed at 17:00. I’m used to the convenience of stores being open until 21:00 or 22:00. It’s just a minor point that I’ll have to remind myself of before I want to undertake another evening shopping trek.

Returning to today’s going-ons, I am currently doing a load of laundry across from the porter’s lodge. It costs £2 for a wash and £1 for drying. It’s a little more expensive than I would care for, but the washers can handle more than a normal sized load.

First Seminar

At 2:00pm today, I’ll join the other MA in Science Fiction Studies students for our first seminar. I’m prepped for talking about Hugo Gernsback’s Ralph 124C 41+. I think that the seminar will go very well!

On Friday, I chipped the cap on one of my incisors. I hope that the cap will last a little bit longer, but I should be able to get it repaired under Britain’s NHS. I’ll look into what I’ll need to do to obtain a NHS card.

The other day, while I was walking around Liverpool, I noticed that when a group of cars are sitting at a Red light, the traffic light will change to a Red/Yellow, to indicate that they are about to get a Green. If we had that in America, I’m afraid that there would be carnage on a massive scale!

Six Days Since Arrival

I’ve been in Liverpool for six days, and it’s been a great six days! There are still a lot of administrative tasks that I need to address, but I’ve had a good deal of time to explore the city and the university.

Today, I walked to the city centre after picking up some books at Blackwell’s. Yesterday, I hiked around town and I took a copious amount of photographs! Afterwards, I took off my tourist hat, and put on my SF badass academic hat before I met with Mr. Sawyer and the other folks in the Science Fiction Studies program. Only one of the other students was able to make it to the meeting. Her name is Sunshine, and she’s from Canada. There are two other MA students, who I imagine will be at our first seminar on Monday. I also met some of the PhD students and a visiting scholar from Hungary. We all went to the Cambridge for a drink. That night I went out to the Augusta John, which is adjacent to Blackwell’s.

On Monday, Sunshine is going to begin our discussion on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and I’ll introduce our second text, Hugo Gernsback’s Ralph 124C 41+.

I still haven’t received my box of books that I shipped myself from Norcross. I hope that they haven’t been lost, or worse, destroyed by overzealous customs agents who fear that Derrida is a fancy name for “explosive device!”