Isn’t she just so sweet?

Congratulations to Sue Grafton: SHOTSMAG CONFIDENTIAL: CWA Announces 2008 Cartier Diamond Dagger Winner. Often overlooked, or under-rated, this award is well-deserved for an A to T of consistently entertaining and good reads.

From Shotsmag: "On hearing of the award, Ms Grafton said: "News of my being named the 2008 recipient of the CWA’s Cartier Diamond Dagger so astonished me that I thought at first it was a practical joke. The note from my British publisher, Macmillan, was typically understated: ‘I have some good news from the Crime Writers’ Association. They would very much like to award you the 2008 Cartier Diamond Dagger at a ceremony in London on 7th May in Kensington.’ Good news !?! I read the message three times and then checked the e-mail address just to verify that it had been intended for me. The publicity director was gently inquiring if I might attend the ceremony. I am absolutely delighted to respond that I’ll be there with bells on, as they say over here. I’m thrilled with the news and honored at the prospect. I confess I’m still slightly worried there’s an error in the works, but I’ll be there nonetheless." "

See also this post on Lying for a Living, the amusing blog of author Meg Gardiner.

Simultaneous games of pairs

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Reading Karen’s post about the importance of being consistent brought to mind an experience of earlier today. While on a necessary but unpleasant journey, I popped into a bookstore to kill ten minutes, and browsed the "new in paperback" table. On it: "Die for me" by Karen Rose and "Die with me" by Elena Forbes. Also, "The Ressurectionist" by James McGee near to "The Reincarnationist" by M. J. Rose. Finally, "Silent at the Grave" by Deanna Raybourn, which reminded me of a fairly recent (very good, by the way) book not on this display, "Silence of the Grave" by Arnaldur Indridason.

I understand that publishers cannot coordinate their titles in advance, but perhaps a little more originality is called for, somewhere along the line. I am glad that the table top wasn’t any bigger, as I was confused enough already.

Did Borges invent the Web?

Via Dave Lull, a link to a strange article in the New York Times Dot Com: Borges and the Foreseeable Future, in which it is suggested, in all apparent seriousness, that Jorge Luis Borges "uniquely, bizarrely, prefigured the World Wide Web". The "evidence" provided in the article consists of three excerpts from Borges’ writings, one of which suggests an infinite encyclopaedia (aka Wikipedia):

It is conjectured that this ‘brave new world’ is the work of a secret society of astronomers, biologists, engineers, metaphysicians, poets, chemists, algebrists, moralists, painters, geometers, … guided and directed by some shadowy man of genius. There are many men adept in those diverse disciplines, but few capable of imagination — fewer still capable of subordinating imagination to a rigorous and systematic plan. The plan is so vast that the contribution of each writer is infinitesimal.” “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” (1940).

A second is supposed to predict blogs: “Two or three times he had reconstructed an entire day; he had never once erred or faltered, but each reconstruction had itself taken an entire day. ‘I, myself, alone, have more memories than all mankind since the world began,’ he said to me. … And again, toward dawn: My memory, sir, is like a garbage heap.” “Funes” (1942)"

And a third, digitisation of libraries: “From those incontrovertible premises, the librarian deduced that the Library is ‘total’ … that is, all that is able to be expressed, in every language. … When it was announced that the Library contained all books, the first reaction was unbounded joy. All men felt themselves the possessors of an intact and secret treasure. There was no personal problem, no world problem, whose eloquent solution did not exist.” “The Library of Babel” (1941)

And this final extract is supposed to prefigure the online horror that nothing can be forgotten once you’ve sent it out there: “I was struck by the thought that every word I spoke, every expression of my face or motion of my hand would endure in his implacable memory; I was rendered clumsy by the fear of making pointless gestures.” “Funes” (1942)"

This unique honour is conveyed upon Borges by various scholars who are referenced in the NYT piece, the best-known of whom is a gentleman called Umberto Eco. I think next week we will be reading that it wasn’t Borges after all, but a combination of J. G. Ballard and Salvador Dali.