Posted using <a href="">LJ Talk</a>...

also, in completely related matters, my GRE scores from when I went to OSU are still good

Posted using <a href="">LJ Talk</a>...

Well, this IM post thing might get me to post more often. Probably not though. Not much happening in my neck of the woods. Hopefully I'll have an announcement soonish though. Depends on issues of timing (poor on my end.) Ooh this is way funner than posting through the regular window, though I have to be careful not to hit enter. Oh, yeah I'm considering learning Blitz Basic. Probably should stick with something more useful, but having all of the graphics stuff right there on the surface and having tutorials that tell me how to do the sorts of things I'm actually interested in is kind of neat.

Running my game is just under the critical annoyance threshold. We run on Fridays.
Last Friday, I told my players that I'd be emailing them either that night or the next morning with some information that I needed to have so I could prepare for the next adventure. Three of my six players had a 3 day weekend (they are out of school for MLK day.) Two are old friends who have always been pretty bad at the whole e-mail thing, but seriously, I told them it was going to be there. One is my little brother.

From the information I needed, there were two things to vote on and then either a single preference to state or a list of five items out of a possible 15 to send me.

So far, I have received:
3 of the voting responses, one of which I only received after repeatedly asking my sister to do her part. Which she then only partially did.
1 list of items. From my brother. Who did it on Saturday, in about 5 minutes.

My sister was sitting here this evening doing nothing. Well, watching commercials and eating cheerios, but nothing important. I asked her if she had five minutes and she came over, and when she saw it was about the game, she decided that she would do it later. Then she asked me to do extra work so she could do it on her own time.

Right, hell no. I've already done extra work to keep it from impacting game time.

I am fucking ready to quit.

Apparently the Pentagon is unwilling to let truth speak for itself.
(nb. I am getting worn out. 6 years ago, the outrage at this would have been much higher. Or maybe it is just that ground level has been shoved way up so the peaks seem to be not so high anymore.)

This son of a bitch, a government official working for the executive branch (albeit in what is most likely a bureaucratic post, not an elected one) is suggesting that American businesses boycott law firms that dare to represent people we are keeping prisoner without the benefit of a trial or evidence. He is openly calling for people to punish these firms for providing a service that our whole body of law, not to mention basic decency, requires they be capable of receiving.
These people have not been proven guilty of anything. The government has gone out of its way to make sure that they haven't had a chance to prove their guilt or innocence.





The law doesn't say that you shall have representation so long as we think you are innocent.

It doesn't even say that you shall have representation so long as you are innocent.


Breathing while of Arabic descent is not a sufficient crime to take away the right of legal representation.


This weariness, this overload, it recalls to me the words of a friend of mine, from early November 2004. We don't always see eye to eye, but in this case I agree with the sentiment here completely. I think I quoted them her before, but her words bear repeating. If for no other reason to remind myself.

"i won't let you take away my right to choose. i won't let you send my loved ones into wars we cannot win, and places we shouldn't be. i won't let you bring out the worst in humanity. i won't let you preach your hate to me. i won't let you push your religion on me. i won't let you shove your xenophobia down my throat. i won't let you forgot we're global citizens. i won't let you ruin the planet for my children. i won't let you pass your hateful laws. i won't let you rule this place under the guise of 'coming together.' i won't give you my compliance. i won't give you my support.

you can have my hatred, you can have my anger, you can have my fists and feet. you will not get my approval. you will never get my agreement. you will never get any of these things.

of course, not like this ever mattered to you." November 3, 2004

As I recall, in 2004, they were already doing all of the above and more, and they haven't slowed down since.

Good night and good luck.

George Bush is Leeroy Jenkins:

In unrelated news, I really hate Graphic Smash's business model. So much for becoming a Digger Fan.

Well, working on a resume to send off to twisted pixel games. They are a new game design company opening up in my home town. Their website needs some more information, like who they are. Also it needs not to be flash. If you want to build a brand on the internet, making it hard for people to talk about you is not the best way to start. Well, after I get hired or not, however things go, I'll mention it to their webmaster. *shrugs* Why are art type people so enamored with interfaces that break the key functionality of the internet?

In related news, I envy those of you with a clear goal in life. I wish I had your focus.

I was reading my printer manual to try to figure out how to print on index cards. I came across the tech specs on the printer... It has 4 times as much ram out of the box as my first IBM PC did.

Year's end 2006 Reading list

1 Running from the Deity Alan Dean Foster.
2 The Dark Knight Returns Frank Miller et al.
3 Crystal Gorge David and Leigh Eddings
4 Woken Furies Morgan
5 At All Costs David Weber That is how it is done.
6 A Feast of Crows George R.R.Martin
7 Burning Water Mercedes Lackey Diana Tregard. Not bad at all.
8 League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 2 Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
9 1602 Neil Gaiman Et al. Wonderful and then some
10 Shadows of Amber John Gregory Betancourt He isn’t Zelazny. They lack the pulp anti-hero feel of the first Amber books. But so did the second set of five of Zelazny’s Amber books.
11 Identity Crisis Brad Meltzer et al. Wow.
12 Nightmares and Fairy Tales: Beautiful Beasts Serena Valentina and FSc.
13 Creatures of the Night Mercedes Lackey Diana Tregard book. Not bad.
14 Anansi Boys Neil Gaiman And I doubted that it was as good as his other stuff at the midpoint. Oh me of little faith.
15 Kingdom Come Alex Ross and Mark Waid. Good, maybe as good as Identity Crisis, though maybe not.
16 The Books of Magic Gaiman et al. Even had it not been good, the scene with Destiny would have been worth the price of admission.
17 Eleven on Top Janet Evanovich One could wish for a little more character growth, but it was no worse than the other 11 Evanovich books I’ve read. (Yeah, I know. I have to turn in my heteromale license now, don’t I?)
18 Acorna Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball Meh. I read it because the cover art on a much later book in the series caught my eye. Good enough, but not spectacular. *edit* Not good enough for me to actually get the later books)
19 Alanya to Alanya L. Timmel Duchamp Not as heavy handed as some feminist fiction. I find the future described a little extra unlikely, sort of a “to make my point I must make things be like this” future.
20 Five Nations Bill Slavicsek et al. Game book. Useful for an Eberron campaign. I happen to like the setting.
21 Teenagers From Mars Rick Spears, Rob G. A little forgettable.
22 Leave it to Chance Book One James Robinson et al. Not bad. I want more of it before I make a decision.
23 The Shattered Land Keith Baker More Eberron. No one has done a novel length pulp/noir book for the setting yet. :(
24 The Road to Death Matt Forbeck Even more Eberron
25 Pretender C.J.Cherryh She delivers the goods once again in her solid skilled manner.
26 Superman World Peace Alex Ross
27 The Risen Empire Scott Westerfeld Okay. Not the best new SF I’ve read this year. Not the worst either.
28 Wolf Star R.M. Meluch The ending of this one didn’t annoy me as much as the first book’s “And then none of it really happened because of the wormhole.” Made the whole book more palatable. Also, killed off a least favorite character.
29 Lieutenant Hornblower C.S. Forester *shrugs* I enjoyed them while I was reading the Hornblower books. Can’t say much more for them.
30 Hornblower and the Hotspur C.S. Forester
31 Hammered Elizabeth Bear Very good, need to hunt down more of her stuff.
32 The Life of Riley Alexander C. Irvine Pretty good. Missed some of the references. Should have been in the SF section of the library.
33 Hornblower and the Atropos C.S. Forester
34 Melusine Sarah Monette I like it when characters redeem their shitty attitudes. Yay Dr. Sarah!
35 Night Train to Rigel Timothy Zahn Not hard SF. Good story nonetheless.
36 In the Garden of Iden Kage Baker. Read this one because I want to read the series because book 7 or 8 looks intriguing. The first book was okay, not spectacular but okay.
37 Watchmen Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons Better than V for Vendetta.
38 V for Vendetta Alan Moore and David Lloyd Pretty good. Not convincing, but Morre is an anarchist so I suspect that I’d find his political fiction universally unconvincing.
39 The Tales of the Last War Mark Sehestedt ed. One or two noir short stories in the Ebberon setting. My new favorite character from the setting makes his debut here.
40 The Dark Wing Walter H. Hunt Decent Series. Gets better with time.
41 The Dark Path Walter H. Hunt
42 The Dark Ascent Walter H. Hunt
43 The Cassandra Complex Brian Stableford Finished more of it than of Brian’s other books. I’ll have to try them again.
44 The Peace War Vernor Vinge The combat stuff was unconvincing. Which since the showcase scene was a mass combat scene, hurt the book a lot. (The good guys should have all been carrying 10 cm “bubbles” with them to disable the bad guys bigger bubble machines.
45 The Dark Crusade Walter H. Hunt
46 The Quickening Ly de Angeles Er, I think I read this just before starting the book that I should have put down at the words “venom cock” Looked it up. It was like a well written Mercedes Lackey Urban Fantasy. (Shaddup, I like ML’s urban fantasies)
47 The Silver Lake Fiona Patton Looking forward to the next book.
48 Thieves of Blood Tim Waggoner. The return of Dirian in Ebberon. I want to game again. *edit* gaming. ON the wrong side of the GM’s screen alas.
49 Player’s Handbook 2 David Noonan. I like a lot of the material in the book. My next WotC purchase will be something with less “crunchyness” and more “setting” though. That said, the Knight class is awesome. (Not more powerful than the other fighter classes, but I like the role it plays on the battlefield.)
50 Zero Point Richard Baker Yeah, gaming fiction. If all gaming fiction had to be at least this good, people who don’t scoff at fantasy or science fiction wouldn’t scoff at gaming fiction. I sort of hope there is a sequel to this one though. A lot was left unresolved.
51. Music to My Sorrow Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill. Yet another Eric Banyon book. And this time it actually includes Eric Banyon. I think they’ve decreased his power again. Although it might just be that he has grown to the point where he refuses to use it. I was thrilled that he was the main character again though. I know that he has grown past all of his stupidity (and when they needed characters to fall into a trap where stupidity kept them in it, he was notably absent) and that makes it hard to come up with real conflicts for him, but I was a little disappointed that the previous book (or the one before it) focused almost entirely on Hosea Songmaker, mage in training. Good book, the bad guys mostly survive. Eric ends the book with unearned guilt. He’s not entirely over the stupids.
52 Serenity Those Left Behind. Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, Will Conrad I wish that I had read this before watching the movie. It fills in the gap between the last episode of the show and the movie and explains why the missing folks are missing.
53 Engaging the Enemy Elizabeth Moon Hum... well, I think the major flaw that this series has as military sci-fi is that after the first they are too short. I’d really rather have had a longer book later that told a more significant part of the story. Kylara Vatta seems a lot more real than the Captains of most Naval SF, and I always worry that in the interest of progressing the plot that will eventually change and she’ll become Honor Harrington (Or Esmay Suzia, though as I blurrily recall, Esmay was less insanely overcompetent than Harrington. And yes, I know that military training can create insanely overcompetent people. Harrington may still be above and beyond the call. Very few fleet command track folks are also Special Forces material.)
54 Green Lantern Rebirth Geoff Johns, Ethan Van Sciver, Prentis Rollins I hadn’t been following the Green Lantern very much, but is was neat seeing five of them all together. Including the Redemption of Hal Jordon.
55 Starship: Mutiny Mike Resnick Last year I read what I thought was a brilliant piece of standalone myth making called Return of Santiago. Same author as this. Same physical setting. Different tone. Sadly I found out that Return of Santiago is part of an extended future history, which makes it seem a little less like an inspired bit of solitary myth weaving. Still like Return of Santiago, but now I have to hunt down the books from Santiago till Return. This one was very different in tone sadly. Had I not found out about the connection, I would have been quite happy with the book.
56 Futureshocks Lou Anders ed. I don’t think I could do a mixed author anthology. It would be too hard to pick participants and to work out the proper order of stories. This had some good stories in it.
57 Falling Free Louis Bujold Well, I do wish that either there was a sequel to this one or that it had ended about three years later. Pretty good though.
58 The Forever War Joe Haldeman Pretty good, the degree of deceptiveness that was used to maintain the titular war is particularly disturbing since the blackhats are doing the same shit right now. I keep seeing it contrasted with Heinlein’s glorification of war in Starship Troopers. You know what? Bullshit. Starship Troopers didn’t glorify war. It admitted that wars are sometimes necessary even though the people who actually bring them about are frequently venial. It did glorify the individual who gave his freedom to protect his nation/species/whatever. It seems that Haldeman did much the same thing, though in his case things turned out less well in some ways for Mandella. It does seem to set a pattern for “group minds as the necessary nest stage of humanity” theme that pops up in the other book by him that I’ve read.
59 Forever Peace Joe Haldeman Not a sequel to Forever War. Same themes as the above, handled with a lot more grace and skill. 28 years of practice will do that to your writing. Still ends with the group mind thing.
60 The Lies of Locke Lamora. Scott Lynch This is Scott’s freshman novel with a second and third under contract. Honestly, I opened this book with dread. You see, Scott is a friend of mine in that “we’ve never met in meat space and occasionally exchange LJ posts” sort of way (since this won’t be posted until the end of September I want to note that I write this on June 30 06) and while I’ve read many good things about his book and I’ve enjoyed the excerpts of it that I had read before I bought it, I really wanted to not dislike it and a book is a very iffy sort of thing. Even with authors that I have come to like I can come across a book that starts out promising and ends up unreadable. And this time I had some personal investment in not disliking the book.
Turns out my worries were wholly misplaced. Up to tonight, only 5,6,9,14, and 48 from my list are competing with this one for best book of the year. It was fun, engaging, it had the little expository cultural/historic notes that I so love when done right, you like the protagonist mostly but don’t like him without reservations. This and the next two books are going on my shelves in hardback. Good job Scott.
61 A Cold Day in Paradise Steve Hamilton PI/Murder Mystery. *Shrugs* Writing was tight enough, but the genre isn’t really my thing. Read it as part of a summer reading program at my library. On the other hand, I did end up wondering “what next” about the main character, so he probably deserves his Edgar. Usually in detective stories I really couldn’t care less.
62 Nexus Volume One Mike Baron Steve Rude Feels like a 1950s pulp story. Written before the fall of the Soviet Union. Of course the authors didn’t foresee the immanent collapse of soviet communism. (Even the few people with the vision to see that it wouldn’t last another hundred years didn’t expect it to fall that fast.)
63 The Moor’s Last Sigh Salman Rushdie This one started weak, and mostly the characterizations were pretty awful and the plot nonexistant through most of the book. It did get better on a page to page basis and had he condensed the first 2/3 of the book into a dozen pages, the last third would have made a splendid novella.
64. Mort Terry Pratchett I am not absolutely certain that I haven’t read this one and the next one in the past sometime. I am hoping very much that there is another book with Mort and such at the center.
65. Sourcery Terry Pratchett Again I’m not sure that I haven’t read this one before. As much as I like his work, Mr. Pratchett has a few themes and set pieces he visits over and over again. My confusion stems partly from the similarity of the initial infodump to that in Equal Rites.
66. Wyrd Sisters Terry Pratchett This one I’m sure I haven’t read before. Nice story, looking forward to the next witches book in the set.
67. Guards! Guards! Terry Pratchett I’d already read Pyramids (It was one of the first two books by Pratchett I’d ever read.) I’ve been assured that of the Guards books, this is the least good. That bodes well for the rest of the set.
68 Eric Terry Pratchett Meh. Not bad, but not as good as most of the ones before it. The ending felt particularly tacked on.
69. Moving Pictures Terry Pratchett This is another one where I hope that the main characters show up somewhere else, though I wouldn’t be set on them being the main characters of the next book. If Victor had some skill other than applied slacking and wizardry, that would be great. Otherwise we just have another smarter and braver Rincewind. I also would like to see Detritus’s developments carried over to the next book he is in. If so, he’ll have gone from backdrop to full fledged character.
70. Life As We Do Not Know It Peter Ward. This was probably a really neat book. The problem was a distinct scarcity of details. He kept asking questions and implying that he’d give a potential answer and then not doing it. This was definitely written for the lay reader, but instead of Science News, it read like a science news writer writing for the Friday Science page of your news paper. I’d have preferred a slightly more technical book. Maybe I’m just spoiled by having read Dawkins. On the other hand, I read a review by a science writer who said that the section on biochemistry (the one I thought needed more detail) was “a hard slog.”
71. Way of the Wolf E.E. Knight I picked this book up from the library three times before I read it, and eventually did so at the (not aimed at me) suggestion of Jenn and Scott. Okay. Disclosure time. The book is about post apocalyptic alien/mutant vampire hunters. (That actually explains why I returned it unread the first two times. Turns out that after you get past the bit about the alien vampires and their mutant rapists, it is a pretty good book. I’m looking forward to grabbing the rest of the series.
72. The Ghost Brigades John Scalzi I am thrilled that my library grabbed this one. It gives a broader view of the universe he introduced in Old Man’s War, one not from the exclusive viewpoint of a recruit. The return of Jane Sagan gave me the warm and fuzzies. Ooh and there is a drop trooper scene without the traditional rifle barrel imagery!
73. In Fury Born David Webber I was in the middle of this book when I read the entirety of The Ghost Brigades. That is what inspired my relief at Scalzi’s presentation of the launch of drop troopers that wasn’t taken verbatim from Heinlein. This all of the classic Webber bits, including some scenes from the Honor Harrington books that still had the serial numbers on them. Fairly good. If I didn’t have a mild distaste for unexplained (or even most explained) psionics in science fiction, I’d have liked it better, even though this book was a lot more subtle about the psionics than say Trigger and Telzny or any of Anne McCaffrey’s books. The thing I like best about Webber’s books is his distinct awareness of the honor of the service, the humanity of those who serve and the responsibility of the people in charge to the soldiers they use.
74. A Miracle of Rare Design Mike Resnick An okay book. Didn’t hold a candle to Return of Santiago or even Starship: Mutiny. Ooh, I found out that there was an original book Santiago by Mr. Resnick. I’m a little disappointed by that. There was something about the Return book, the fact that it seemed spun from whole cloth that made it even neater, and to find out that the myth that it was based around was a previous book detracts from that a little.
75. The Wizard Lord Lawrence Watt-Evans Fun, a dysfunctional group of “Chosen Heroes” off to kill the Dark Lord (who was the good wizard until he went nuts.) The premise of the book would have (probably has) worked well in a genre parody, but Watt-Evans plays it straight. The council of wizards that appoints the wizard lord is very much short sighted bureaucrat, for all that they are the only wizards left in the lands (the council’s fault in fact.) It felt a little like Rich Cook would have written it if he wasn’t busy being funny and techy with his wizards. The above is faint praise, but I really did like the book. I wanted it to be about 20 pages longer. I swear, so many authors end their books about 20 pages before they should. You don’t have to conclude the characters lives, but get to the point where they have started to live them again after their quests. Stopping at the welcome home party isn’t enough.
76. Nature Friendly Garden Marlene A. Condon A few good points, nothing new, as a pure personal note I disliked the author’s tone a little, but then this book isn’t targeted at people with training in ecology. I did notice that she was willing to disregard studies when they opposed what she wanted to say. She made a point of mentioning the flaws in a study that determined that bird feeders didn’t do much good for local birds (it was done outside of the urban and suburban environments where it is most applied) but talked about the evils pet dogs and cats without referring to the studies that have shown that they have minimal impact on local populations in most cases. (That one is an emotional issue and the dogs and cats are evil people base their arguments on a few preliminary studies.) There was also her insistence that essentially everything had a place in nature except dogs and cats... it didn’t fit in well with what she said earlier. On the other hand, she mostly avoided the fluff bunny mysticism that many amateur naturists spew, even though there were times I thought she was headed that way.
77. Dragon Champion E.E. Knight I look forward to the next in the series.
78. Light Brigade Peter J. Tomasi et al. Decent one shot comic book. Has Immortal Nazi Zombies led by a fallen angel. What else could you want?
79. What We Believe But Cannot Prove John Brockman ed. This one was a series of short (mostly less than two full pages) essays by notables in various technical and or academic fields. Particularly liked Dawkins’ entry. His was a very short essay, and it gave as a given things that most people hedge about then went on to say that he believed but couldn’t prove that those things held across the universe.
80. Jack of Shadows Rodger Zelazny I am not 100% sure that this belongs on my list as I might have read it in the past. I know I’ve read the graphic short story, and Jack is very similar to several of his other characters, and the fact that I don’t remember the events of the novel don’t really mean much. I really would like a 5 years later story for this one though.
81. Choice of the Cat E.E. Knight
82. Operation Thunderbolt E.E. Knight
83. Valentine’s Rising E.E. Knight
84. His Majesty’s Dragon Naomi Novik Horatio Hornblower with dragons and character growth.
85. The Younger Gods David and Leigh Eddings. Poor use of viewpoint made the repeated scenes feel like they were writing the book for imbeciles. Also, last year when I read The Myriad and I griped about the freaking “and then they went back in time and none of it happened” ending. Yeah it sucks in fantasy too.
86. Tainted Trail Wen Spencer I didn’t read the first book in the series. This one was okay, though the bioscience the aliens use was at best unlikely. Also it is a werewolves and dopplegangers from space book. That’s about as bad as vampires from space.
87. Path of Fate Diana Pharaoh Francis Telepathic Companion Animal story where the human repudiates the companion strongly. A complete reversal of the classic Lackey story where the chosen ones all leap at the chance to escape their dreary lives. I liked the fact that the main character had achieved, through a lot of hard work, a life that she liked/enjoyed, and was resistant to the idea of giving it up, so much so that there had to be a great crisis before she was willing to.
88. A Brother’s Price Wen Spencer I think it is an alternate earth story. I kept hoping it was a colony story, since there are a lot of anachronisms. It is a fairly well realized female dominant society with decent justifications for the situations. (The gender disparity suggests a viral or at least biogenic problem which yells “colony world” but while the tech is anachronistic, there is nothing so far out of whack that it had to be left over tech (and even if a colony was able to maintain the science of the early 1900s, the few males to many females problem would bear more solutions than were presented in this book. She gave a strong rationale for sister-wives all with a single (or maybe two) husbands, for a strong insistence on the virginity of these husbands, but then she never explained why if they were willing to sell their sons to other clans for husbands or large sums of cash, why they weren’t willing to use the turkey baster method with the same sons to increase cash flow and increase genetic diversity (and lower the chances of ‘husband raids’) Also, for a society where males are often trained in the sensual arts and group marriages were the norm, the sex was all very vanilla. That said, this book has fed me a wonderful couple of scenes for my Prior family stories, and it has made me hope that there is a sequel in the works so much so that I found and friended the author’s livejournal.
89. Oh my Goddess TPB Vol 1-36 (Issues 1-216) Kosuke Fujishima I’d read the first 15 tpb volumes before. I’ve commented on Oh My Goddess before. I don’t know that it is the first of the Harem Manga, but I think it is, and either way, it does things righter than the others I’ve seen (even Love Hina, which I love a lot.)
90. The Killing of Worlds Scott Westerfeld I liked this better than the previous one, though I admit that I’d have liked a little more resolution at the end. (I get the feeling that this is the final book in this set and it would have been nice to have a 15 years later bit (since it will be 10 years before the two main characters can even see each other again.))
91. Spin Control Chris Moriarty Very neat. Sequel to Spin State, brings us back to the AI and the Ex UN soldier, this time in the AI’s personality’s birthplace of Israel. I really wish this book had been 10 pages longer. (Of course, It felt like we’d reached the middle of the book about 25 pages from the end, not an awful thing, but the pacing was a little off.) I really liked several of the characters. I think the reveal on who the bad guy was was mishandled though. I can accept a reveal without any foreshadowing in a second person limited book. If the pov characters don’t notice anything, then there isn’t a need for clues. On the other hand, if you are going to spread clues, they shouldn’t feel tacked on for the purpose of adding a single clue to power the reveal at the end.
92. The Queen of Death Matt Forbeck. More game fiction. Third in the lost mark series, this book visits Argosen in following our heroes’ attempt to keep the young bearer of the mark of death safe. It had a satisfyingly non-heroic ending, something that I like to see in an Eberron book. The concept of sacrifice and falling short of an ideal goal is too seldom present in fantasy of any type and in rpgs it is especially difficult to find. That said, I think the little girl’s stepfather was a little too quick to get over the events of the last fifth of the book.
93. Voyage of the Mourning Dawn Rich Wulf. More Eberron fiction. More shades of grey. Fun book, I’ll want to read the rest of the set before passing a final judgment on them.
94. Faith and Fire James Swallow A warhammer 40000 book about the Sisters of Battle. I’m not overly fond of the society that is pictured by the WH40k setting, and that continues to grate as I read the book, though the sisters are an interesting force. The book seemed a little to eager to toss in terms and passages from the warhammer 40k game book, something that would take me out of the story with disturbing regularity, especially at the beginning. I really do hope that Mr. Swallow writes the sequel that the ending implies.
95. The Virtu Sarah Monette Hurm. I liked it. I read too much of the author’s process to talk much about it outside of the book report form though. I was surprised to find it on my library’s new books shelf, but they did buy the first book in the series (at my request too) so it isn’t unreasonable to expect that they would have this one too. Still don’t like Felix. But then he isn’t supposed to be liked, I think. Understood, emphasized with, maybe occasionally accepted, but not actually liked. On the other hand, he may yet redeem himself. It won’t change who he is, but it will move him from disliked to not disliked. Time will tell I suppose.
96. Rainbow’s End. Vernor Vinge Much much better than Peace War. Cyberpunk with less punk. I liked it.
97. Aerie Mercedes Lackey. So yeah, Lackey is one of my guilty pleasures. I’ve been reading the “The Dragon Jousters” series as they come out. I think there has been a backlash recently against the likes of Robert Joran, George Martin, Kevin Anderson, and David Webber. (And personally, only Webber and Martin of those four could actually pull off both “long” and “good” at the same time, and you are free to argue about Webber.) This book felt like it had been edited down by 80,000 words, and not the 80,000 words that every King or Hubbard (well okay, Hubbard’s novels need to lose more than that. All of the words would have been a good starting point) novel needs to be edited down, but the 80,000 words that were dropped from Stranger. The ones that added depth to the story. (Stranger worked in the short form, but it was, I thought, a better book in the unabridged version. Especially the scene where Jubal lost an argument. People accuse Heinlein, somewhat rightly, of having one older always right Heinlein-stand in in his storys (and several other Heinlein stand ins in most of his stories. Number of the Beast had 4 in the first section and most of the Heinlein stand in characters from his other books in the last sections. I loved the tip of the hat to the Dorsai irregulars at the end. Apparently they actually helped him out a lot at one con where he kept getting lost.) Oh yeah, this is about Lackey...
Well, it felt for a bit that there was going to be one of those idiot love triangle plots where a and b have a stupid misunderstanding and c courts b innocently, and everything is out of whack because a and b are obviously destined to be together. Actually you can drop c out and it is still a dumb plot. *cough Bujold cough cough* But then it didn’t happen. C did have one of those blinding realizations and a and b made up and never really noticed c’s interest and that was annoying. If you start the gambit, don’t just make it go away without at least having some interaction leading to it.
Oh yeah, about my comment at the start. Yeah, this book was over edited, but it also really needed to be 2 books. The lead up should have been one book and the other bits should have been the second.
Ooh, I just thought about a way to make the fizzled romantic hijinks plot more interesting. A and b carry on, only apparently distanced because of outside responsibilities but getting along quite well when c can’t see them. C keeps following a, and falling in love, completely unnoticed by a, and only realizes that a didn’t return the feelings when a and b get married or some such At least there wouldn’t have been the magical revelation scene. I still would have been annoyed by c, but less so as she was resolved in a more logical conclusion type manner. Longest entry yet. Much of which was, sadly only peripherally about things that were peripherally about the book.
97. Blood and Iron Elizabeth Bear. I liked the first novel I read by Elizabeth Bear. It was nice solid competent near future science fiction. I loved this book. It is in the contemporary fantasy sub-genre, and in the “secret history” subset of the sub-genre. The overarching conflict is between Faerie and a cabal of mortal wizards founded abut 400 years ago. I am looking very much forward to the next couple of books, especially if she continues with the Seeker’s storyline. I won’t say more about this one. Go get a copy for yourself.
98. Serenity R.A. DeCandido. Well, look at the source material. It would have been a challenge to screw this one to the point of unreadability. As I’m unfamiliar with DeCandido’s other work, and I don’t usually read looking for flaws anyway (got to beat me over the head with them flaws iffin you want me to notice them,) I can’t really analyze it apart from the story and the characters anyway, and well, I liked the story and the characters from the get go. (If you can do a decent story I’ll forgive you much, and if you add to that either characters I like or a setting that I like, I’ll let you get away with all sorts of sins. I’m looking at you Mrs. Lackey and Mr. and Mrs. Eddings.)
99. Atrocity Archives Charles Stross Another mythos story by the man who brought us A Colder War. This one is a little lighter hearted and it has a fair amount of government agency as bureaucracy humor. I liked it a lot.
100. Neil Gaiman Fragile Things. Short Stories. Those last 6 words told you everything you need to know about this book. If you have a positive reaction to them, then you’ll like the book. If not, you won’t. There may be better writers writing in the English Language than Mr. Gaiman. There might be better story tellers. There could possibly be someone out there who speaks English who is both. I doubt it.
101. In the Company of Ogres. A. Lee Martinez Add 2 parts Robert Asprin’s Fantasy Parody to 2 parts Robert Asprin’s Military Parody. Let settle, skim off the punnish names as they float like dead fish to the top. Carefully pour a thumb of David Eddings’ favorite theme in so it settles to the bottom and serve cold. Not a bad book. Not the best of the year either. (Not that my reading list this year provides a lot of leeway for the number one spot. See 5,6,9,14, 48, 60, 67, 77, 80 (and this isn’t the best thing by him I’ve ever read), 84, 88, 95, 97, 99, and 100 for competitors.)
102 The Privilege of the Sword Ellen Kushner. I wanted a sequel when I finished it. I also wished that I had known about the other book in that setting before I had grabbed this one. It stands perfectly well by itself (possibly because the central characters, I suspect, weren’t born when the first book took place.) Very well written, though the male aristocracy didn’t complain nearly enough about the female swordswoman usurping their prerogative I think. On the other hand, the villain played to the prejudices of his set in his counter attacks.
103 Wintersmith Terry Pratchett Well, it is a Tiffany Aching book, which means it has many of my favorite characters from Diskworld in it. I’m also fond of books about characters I liked in their “growing into their powers” stages. (Like I love reading Eric Banyon now that he is in full possession of his abilities and has finally matured emotionally to something approaching his actual age.)
104. Singularity Sky Charles Stross Stross isn’t my new favorite writer, but he could have been 10 years ago. (Not that he would have specially appealed to my 17 year old self, but I’ve picked up a very lot of very good writers since then.) One complaint. When you make it obvious that you have taken pains to be right about the far future tech things, the last thing you want to do is screw up on something out of modern technology. Thermite in paraffin is not an effective delivery method. If by some magic you get a chunk of paraffin to burn with a lighter, the thermite inside of it isn’t going to ignite. What you’d end up with was a pile of warm to the touch thermite. That is assuming that you could get a block of paraffin to burn at low temperatures without a wick. Also, I started thinking “well look new common themes in the genre” and then realizing that the other places I’ve come across them are in other Charles Stross novels.
105. Iron Sunrise Charles Stross This one opened with something that is central to an era in my Earth’s Empires setting that I was still trying to work out the specifics of. Girr. Other than the disappointment of reading one of my clever creations before I had even worked them all the way out in someone’s rather quite good book, this was a rather quite good book. The characters are a little deeper than in the first one, and there is less setting establishment since many of the assumptions were already established last time. Also, I like Herman a lot, and was very happy when his reveal was what I thought it was going to be. (Actually there are two reveals, the “subtle” one and the explicit one.) One thing, a little more foreshadowing on Steffi’s reveal would have been nice. It wasn’t a “WTF I should have seen that coming” situation, it was a “WTH did that come from one.” It felt like he found himself running out of people who could play a particular role and since Steffi was sitting there not doing anything, he shoved her into it.
106. Glasshouse Charles Stross Another post singularity setting, the bad guys were somewhat stupid though, and their chosen victims seemed to act out of their supposed victims mostly. (If you are going to create a prisoner breeding experiment where you are in the prison too, don’t choose mostly combat veterans who have had partial (and only partial) memory erasures without removing core skill sets. Hell, with the intended time scale, there is no reason they couldn’t have grown their own people from scratch. (It seems to me that given their resources and the tech level, they went disastrously out of their way to achieve their goals. Also, I have no idea why the prisoners expect to arrive at their destination at the end of the book. Were I the person running the project, I would not have had every instance of myself on the ship, and if things were that badly fubared, I’d definitely send some k-e weapons at the ship from their destination. Other than that (and a few other minor points) this was quite a fun novel, well, for some values of fun. It was a little too brutal to be all the way fun.
107 World War Z Max Brooks. I should have read this one months ago. Other than the base premise, the book was completely reasonable. Well, actually, I’m not sure that the various survivor populations would really have acted as sensibly as they did in the end, but gods, the Israel thing in the beginning, exactly right. Even down to the ultra-orthos’ response. A pure bio-zombie that didn’t gain nourishment from eating people wouldn’t actually last all that long though.
108. The Chains that You Refuse Elizabeth Bear. A collection of short stories by one of the authors I’ve started reading in the last year or so. Clear prose, a couple of hilarious poems (e e (Doc) Cummings made me squee) and a handful of really neat what-ifs make this a short story collection worth noting. *edit* Squee I tell you.
109. Order of the Stick: Origin of the PCs. Rich Burlew Read the title out loud. *grins* A companion volume to the comic, possibly best read after having read the rest of the comic. Very nice though. I like the look at the PCs before they are together.
110. Codex Witch Hunters Andy Hoare and Grahm McNeill. Army book for Warhammer 40k. I’m building a Witchhunters army (one of my two favorite groups. WH and the Tau.)