Tuesday 6 March 2012

Show and Tell | What Every Speculative Scotsman Wants

Oh, hey! I turned 28 yesterday, by the way.

I was working, unfortunately -- or fortunately, as the case may be. Had a lovely day anyway. A buffet breakfast-come-lunch with my parents and my partner, an afternoon and evening of easy teaching, then last but not least a night of sleepy gift-giving.

So I thought the thing to do was blog a bit about what all everyone thought I'd enjoy. It's actually unspeakably illuminating. You can group all but a few of the gifts into three categories. The first is of course coffee, that best friend of bloggers since time immemorial.


Alongside a bottle of Tia Maria that I immediately "tested," the day also saw fit to deliver into my clutches some delicious Illy espresso, which I gather is the best ground coffee to be had without grinding the beans yourself. Truth be told, I wouldn't know; I've always balked at the cost.

Meanwhile, tying into the second category too, this thing, and I'll be filling it with a vast amount of the steaming stuff later today:

It's a thermos, Captain... but not as we know it! :)

The second of our three categories, then, involves a miscellany of things to take on holiday, because we're jetting off to the States shortly, the other half and I, and why not get ahead of the game? Speaking of which, another excellent gift: Carcassonne

I've loved Catan for years, playing online and off. Also Ticket to Ride. And Risk. I'm certainly no expert at any or all of the above, but sitting down to a good strategy game always makes me inordinately happy. Carcassonne is a German-style, tile-based board game that I've been hugely curious about for ages, so this will definitely be coming to America with me.

Last but not least... books! That is to say two review copies and one Amazon Marketplace purchase that just so happened to pop through the letterbox yesterday, thus in a weird way I think of them as gifts:

The Lions of Al-Rassan is a very timely reissue from Voyager, and I imagine it'll be excellent company on my international mission. The Steve Rasnic Tem - new from Solaris and very intriguing too - I aim to have read and reviewed in advance of my departure in a few short weeks. Meanwhile A Different Kingdom by Paul Kearney came highly recommended during last week's shenanigans with the Macht, and you may or may not ever hear me mention it again. It really depends.

That isn't everything either, but this post has already taken longer to put together than I'd imagined, so it'll have to do for today.

Obviously, I am a very happy camper, and incredibly grateful to everyone who cared. In part because of the goodies and the games and the gadgets, yes, but at this (late) stage in my life, it really is the thought that counts, more than any individual gift. And what thoughtful thoughts they were this year!


  1. Happy belated birthday sir! Those look like some nifty gifties. I can vouch for the Kay. Lions of al-Rassan is my favorite Kay novel so far.

    Whereabouts in the states are you traveling to?

  2. We're off up the East coast, stopping just short of New York, so from Texas to Miami, with a little New Orleans in the middle there, as well as some other stops still TBD. It's all exceedingly exciting.

    Actually, Ryan, I've been meaning to get you and a few other folks an email about this whole holiday thing, but hell, why not now? Would you kindly consider guest blogging on TSS in my absence? I'd be over the moon to borrow you for a day, if you've the time, and I know the readers would be too.

    1. Sounds like a sweet trip. The south is one part of the country I haven't explored too much yet. Been wanting to check out New Orleans for a while though...so I'll be jealous.

      To answer your question: Yes I would definitely be down for guest blogging. I'd be honored.

  3. Happy Birthday, Niall! I hope you have a great time in the States and that we Americans treat you well. :-)

  4. Yay, happy birthday!!! I hope you had a wonderful one.

    Indeed, Carcassonne is hugely addictive. The German Game of the Year system produces excellent, timeless board games. If you see the "Spiel des Jahres" icon on the box, you know it's going to steal countless hours of your life...and you're going to be glad for it. ^___^

  5. Merry Birthday! :)
    Twitter won't let me reply to you directly but, yes, I would love to!

  6. Brilliant news, Nibbles! Much obliged. Can you maybe email me at thespeculativescotsman [at] gmail [dot] com so I can can say thank you properly and send along all the gory details?