21 Oct 2016

The New Face of the Necromancer (and Other Goings On)

Hello readers!

It has been awhile since I last wrote a new post here on the Magical Realm. The reason, as you know, is that I have been busy working to republish the Necromancer on its second anniversary. Nonetheless—you are by now, I am sure, bored of rereading old essays on liberalism and the Soviets. Today you are in luck; I have found a window of opportunity in my seemingly infinite pile of work, and I shall use it to brief you on all that has been going on in these past few weeks.

To begin with, the most pressing and interesting aspect of my work so far: the new face of the Necromancer.

The Necromancer, 2016

I have been a busy boy: I have written approximately 8000 words. Most of these have found themselves in the epilogue; the Necromancer has a new ending! I shall, of course, be secretive as to how exactly things have changed. What I can say? I have tied up several loose ends, and given Linaera an altogether new purpose in her life.

Aside from that, I have also rewritten the prologue. The prose is more fluid, and more cogent—one of my favourite beta readers has already commented favourably upon it. I hope that a more convincing prologue will, indeed, convince more readers to give the Necromancer a chance.

Aside from that, I have made notable edits to a number of chapters; and in the following days, I hope to have completed all of the edits I intend to make with the new edition. I shall not reveal too many details as yet; that will be for a later post.

The new edition also has various other miscellaneous changes. The Deathbringer, a sequel I considered writing, is not to be; therefore that excerpt has been removed and replaced from one in the Ark. I have also changed the preface and made a host of other minor changes.

But perhaps what will you notice most of all—particularly on publication day—is the new cover. Once more, this is hush hush. Rest assured that there will be a cover reveal day, however; and there you will see the new face of the Necromancer...

Scriptus

I have also written (and subsequently revised) two articles for Scriptus, the university’s student-run journal. Sadly, my second article—regarding my experience writing the Necromancer—will be published in then next issue on November. Thankfully, my article on Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century is out today!

As you may know, I intend to furnish my journalism credentials over the coming months and years; I one day hope to write pieces for the likes of the Guardian, the FT, the New York Times, and other respectable publications.

Life in the Netherlands

The final part of this update will concern some observations I have made about the university here, and life more generally in the Netherlands.

I have already mentioned that university does not function like lower school: I have an irregular schedule, with no lessons on Wednesday and variable hours depending on whether a guest lecture is scheduled, whether I have a particularly challenging assignment due in, and so on.

I have also mentioned that I am not convinced of this system, and that impression has only been re-enforced. There is something to be said for regularity—for starting school at 9 (or preferably 10), having something to do for a set number of hours, and then going home. Such a system allows a lot of work to be done in a co-ordinated manner.

The university system, I have found, is flexible—but difficult to work with. I often find myself working well into the evening, and alternately having plentiful time on my hands. My sleep has suffered somewhat: I tend to sleep erratically from day to day. On a morning lecture, I will have slept about eight hours the previous night; on other days I will have slept ten. I am functional—the ten hour nights prevent sleep deprivation—but I am tired on some mornings, and oversleep on others.

Sleep is a common problem for young adults, alas. The best I can do is attempt a schedule and practise some good habits. I will, for one, open the curtains before I go to bed—for in the darkness I can sleep eternally.

As for the grading system, assignments, and tests, I have found them... reasonable. I am still getting to grips it with—an inevitable consequence of changing systems—but so far I have found it reasonable. I have scored the maximum grade, A, on most of my tests and assignments.

One strange aspect is that scoring above 82.5% will give you the maximum grade—regardless of whether you got 83%, 90%, or 100%. While such a grading system does not finely distinguish between very high performers, it has the more beneficial effect of giving me a certain margin of error. Trying to always score 90% would be exhausting; the lower boundary supports better mental health.

I must also admit that the marking schemes are somewhat foreign to me—although considering my strong performance, I hope I will not need to memorise mark schemes, as I was forced to do lower down in school.

As for the courses themselves, I have them highly interesting. Energy, Climate and Sustainability perhaps more so than any other: I find the boundaries between economics, physics and chemistry to be intellectually febrile ground. But this is not to say that my other courses are not interesting.

In Economic Thought, we have learned a great deal about the classical economists. In Academic Writing, I have the benefit of discussing the finer points of literature with the teacher. And in logic I was given a very interesting lecture on group aggregation logic—a topic with applications ranging from distributed computing to voting systems.

The Land of Milk and Bicycles

As for Holland itself, it is in many ways as I remember it. Dark and rainy, though beautiful when the sun shines. Amsterdam itself is not the most interesting European city architecturally (sorry Dutchies!), but it makes up for that with numerous beautiful parks, events, and plenty of shopping.

Although, I do detest its street signs. They are written in small font, kept hidden behind corners, and often have obscure and difficult names. (For example: Carolina MacGillavrylaan.) This makes it challenging to find one’s way, even with GPS.

The city is relatively compact—I can get from one side to the other by bike, although it can take up to an hour once traffic and faulty GPS directions are factored in.

I have also found Amsterdam unusually difficult—by Dutch standards—for bikers. This probably down to the large number of intersections, traffic lights, and the wretched motorcyclists. (Which really ought to use the road. And be properly regulated: they are tremendously noisy and polluting.)

Finishing Thoughts

I hope you have found my update illuminating. I am, as you can see, very busy. Assignments, lectures, bureaucracy, and the toils of moving all fall on top of my writing commitments. Nonetheless I am making progress; and soon, with luck, you will be able to see the new version of the Necromancer up for sale.

Until then, do keep following.

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