The lower back pain is starting to clear up, which means I've made tentative steps in the direction of getting back to work on the book again. But there were points where it was getting silly: at its worst, I had to drag myself from the side of my bed to the phone to call a doctor, and the whole process took about fifteen minutes - and the distance from the side of my bed to my telephone is about twelve feet.

A little net research on the laptop told me back pain occurs most frequently in the lower region of the spine, since this is essentially a pivot upon which the entire upper body balances; as a result, the muscles as well as the bones at this point are under considerable stress, which is why good posture really does help.

The next step is to visit a physiotherapist, something I should be sorting out on Monday morning. Mostly I hobble about at the moment, and take the subway everywhere, as opposed to my usual walking or cycling, but another couple of weeks and I should be back to normal. But one of the weirder aspects of the medication I received was the hiccuping. Hiccuping for, like, 26 hours straight. Turned out this is an occasional reaction to some of the painkillers I'd been supplied with, but it would have been nice to know before rather than after returning to work and spending an entire day behind a desk, on a subway train, buying my lunch, and watching television in the evening while hiccuping uncontrollably. I made a joke of it to a friend by imitating Woody Allen's 'countdown' hiccuping in the movie Casino Royale, but still ... bizarre doesn't even begin to sum it up.

I've been watching the current series of 'Sea of Souls' on television with some interest, given I've been attending a scriptwriting workshop at the BBC run by someone who works on the show. Considering the sheer quantity of unadulterated dross that passes for fantasy/science fiction television, it does stand out. Really it fits in the 'supernatural' bracket, but given that the protagonists use scientific methodology in their attempts to understand the phenomena they encounter, I find myself thinking of it as being a little closer to sf: think of all the shows where the heroes wave crosses or chant spells, and you'll see the difference. If, however, you haven't seen the show and think about renting it based on my recommendation, skip the first series and go for the second. The first series wasn't that great: the second is much better (the series is currently on its third season). And what's even nicer is that it's produced locally, by BBC Scotland, and set here in Glasgow.

Oh yeah - thanks to all who mailed me advice on how to deal with the back pain.


Blogging hasn't exactly been high on my list of priorities over the past couple of weeks, given I've been suffering from exceedingly bad back pain, bad enough last week I was almost literally paralysed as the muscles in the lower lumbar region of my back locked up. This necessitated a prescription from the local doctor which made any train of thought lasting more than five minutes something of a rarity: extra strong ibuprofen, diazepam, and co-dydramol (I think).

The pain is mostly gone now, but a visit to a physiotherapist is, I think, rather on the cards. Unsurprisingly, work on Stealing Light also took something of a hit.

Still, more reviews for Against Gravity are starting to roll in, as you can see from the bar to the right. One I particularly liked was in the BSFA's Vector magazine, which addressed the novel's plot in the terms I was hoping it would be, as a kind of dark mirror to real-world events. And now that I can actually focus on something for more than five minutes at a time, SL is starting to pick up pace once more.


Concerning the previous post about 'gateway' sf - it turned out to be curiously prescient, as you'll see if you go this article in Emerald City (Literary Fiction for People who Hate Literary Fiction).

I finally ordered a shiny new toy, as I promised I would once the new book deal was confirmed. The contracts are signed, by the way, and back with the agent; apart from working on the novel, at least the first quarter of the first draft of which is done, I'm going to dig up an old short story and see if I can work it into something manageable. The shiny new toy is the ATMT Storm, a 20Gb MP3 player which should take pretty much my entire cd and vinyl collection. In fact, it's so pretty and shiny (and cheap! £109 quid!) I may be forced to, I don't know, buy new cd's or something. But who, who to buy? Oh, the indecision.

As you'll recall, I managed to bugger the usb slots on my laptop, my main working machine, when my foot caught on a modem wire and partly pulled the machine off the coffee table on which it was resting. Thing is, NOBODY TOLD ME you could buy pcmcia slot cards that carried extra usb slots. Sure, I have to swap that and the wi fi card around if I want to take anything off or put anything onto a usb memory stick (or mp3 player), but for the cost of a tenner as opposed to god knows how much to fix the thing, I'm not complaining. So, once again the laptop is fully functional.