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Haven't done one of these for a while but hey, no time like the present:

Article in the Guardian about models of cognition and the portrayal of the mind in literature here:
Free indirect style, that fusing of third-person narrative with depictions of first-person consciousness, means that writers can state their characters' thoughts explicitly, as though they were utterances of speech, without having to describe their shape or character. Modern novelists' fondness for first-person storytelling, brilliantly exemplified in the embedded narratives of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, has often served as an excuse for writers merely to render thought, rather than getting to grips with its dynamics and complex simultaneities. For all their limitations, metaphors of mind give writers a handle on the ineffable qualities of cognition. When thought becomes no more than unspoken speech, fiction's gleaming reputation as a mirror of human consciousness will inevitably begin to tarnish.
Also links to this neato metaphor of mind databank. [via tom]

Interesting discussion of what 'hard fantasy' means (and what it should mean) in megmccarron's journal here. David Moles asks what bad hard fantasy would be.

The US cover for River of Gods. Pretty, but not, I think, quite as good for the book as either of the UK covers.

In other cover art news, Locus online has an extensive directory (read: large page) of 2005 cover art. Good resource for awards etc.

The official talking squids in outer space webpage. With a Stephen Baxter story, obviously.

And finally: The Periodic Table of Dessert. Yum. [via grahamsleight]
Ooh, nice links, Niall. Thanks. :)

And agree abour the cover of _RoG_.
Agree about the US cover of RoG not being up to the UK ones - my vote would go to the UK paperback, as the colours work better with the design.
That would be the yellow one, right? I found the blue cover a bit too gloomy...
Yes that's the one - the same colours as the underwear adverts we saw on the walls in Indian villages last year (which Ian said was a coincidence as he had no say in the cover - but he did like it).
Ah yes, that *ia* the yellow of the Rupa Underwear ads...
I liked the UK blue cover though ... kind of matched the quality of light the researchers were exploring...
That shade of blue is the blue which predominates my nightmares. Major psychological block, I tell you. ;)
I see, well then, just don't read Spares then. ;-)
I was also a little let down by the _RoG_ cover. I like Martiniere's stuff--I own two prints--so I was expecting to like it a great deal. But it looks pedestrian and awkwardly balanced.
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Intersting article - thanks for the link. Last year I did an OU short course called <i>Practical Thinking</i>, which was based around exploring the metaphors and imagery that we use, both in thoughts, and to describe thoughts and throught processes. The constraints of the "mind as container" model were discussed, and we also looked at different models (there weren't explicit links made to the psychological dicoveries of recent years, but they were alluded to). Fascinating stuff.
The Periodic Table of Dessert.

One of the best of these things that I've seen, but still seriously flawed: there is no way that butter would be higher up than milk.
(Jumping in via sartorias's mention...)

I *did* pace around and mutter about the butter/milk question. (Designing this took a lot of pacing and muttering.) As you see, I came down on the side that butter is a basic constituent of the universe. There's just no getting around it. The richness gradient of the right column had to be compromised.

On the other hand, I put chocolate below vanilla, because chocolate is more complex. (Thus passing up the lovely pun of having "C" in the place which carbon bnormally occupies... like I said, there was a lot of pacing and muttering.)
butter is a basic constituent of the universe. There's just no getting around it. The richness gradient of the right column had to be compromised.

I think future studies will demonstrate that the order of pudding elements in the right-hand column is basically as follows:

Milk (Lt)
Single Cream (Cr)
Double Cream (Cd)
Butter (B)
Shortening (Vs)
Lard (La)

.. and that Coconut Milk (Cc) and Ricotta (Ri) actually belong in the penultimate column, being inherently less stable. I'm still working out where the hypothetical but unproven element, Fudge (Fg), fits in. Is it possible that it decays to form Brown Sugar (Bs)?

Gentlemen, let us adjourn to the kitchen. Science awaits!
Very interesting links.

I have been meaning to write an article about metaphors about memory in SF and how many speculative treatments of it in SF have their roots in the metaphor rather than the reality.
The stuff about metaphors of the mind is very chewy. Thank you!
I definitely do not like that US cover ... its only ethnic distinction is the cyber-elephant. The impression I got from the book was a vast LA-style spread-out grubby city, with lots of sewage-strewn watercourses, some dry and rubbish-filled, and a terrible stink filling the 3rd World ad hoc architecture, wiring and signage. There are, of course, several glittering palaces of modernity, but they rest amidst the miasma of vibrant chaos.