I finished the wasp factory (Iain Banks' debut novel) last week. To be honest, I didn't like it much. That's why it took me longer than usual to finish. I'm still struggling on with the algebraist in the evenings, which is quite an enjoyable read.

I've been reading bits and pieces from The Mammoth Book Of Best New SF 17 (a good breakdown of which is available here) but the first few stories haven't been too good, at least not as good as the first few from #13.

On the short SF front my subscription to interzone is one issue away from lapsing. I haven't really got into it since it was bought out by TTA press - I may replace it with a sub to either Analog or Asimov's. Possibly the latter which was edited by Dozois (the guy behind the "Year's Best" books above) and has published a lot of Greg Egan stories in the past.

Durham University appointing Bill Bryson as the new Chancellor prompted me to buy a copy of A Short History of Nearly Everything, a science book which reviews have suggested is along similar lines to Simon Singh's Big-Bang (which I own but haven't read yet, I thoroughly enjoyed his last two). However I have found Bryson's prose pretty impenetrable so far.