Jun
16
2013
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Book of the Week: The Drawing of the Dark.

This pick was inspired by various beer-related comments here: The Drawing of the Dark is a Secret Magical History (involving the Siege of Vienna, Western chivalric mythology, and beer) which first demonstrated that Tim Powers is really, really good at creating esoteric and mystical explanations for historical events that make perfect sense at the time; disbelief is not so much suspended in one of Powers’ works as it is chained to the floor to keep it from smashing through the ceiling and out of one’s life completely.

[pause]

Basically, it’s just that it’s never a bad idea to go read a Tim Powers novel. (more…)

Mar
29
2013
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Book of the Week: Interior Desecrations.

Largely because if you buy Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible ’70s via that link you’re rewarding James Lileks, and not Buzzfeed’s rip-off of the rip-off of James Lileks*. Some people have no class.

So long, Space Eldritch. It was a good run, huh?

Moe Lane

*Excuse me: ‘alleged.’

Nov
14
2012
1

Book of the Week: Space Eldritch.

I mentioned Space Eldritch a couple of days ago, and I’ve since read it.  It’s very nice, very nice: not explicitly HP Lovecraft, mostly – but it does combine cosmic terror with cosmic vistas (that’s Pretentious for ‘horror in space’) pretty well, and the writers are all pretty good.  I liked Howard Tayler’s story best… but only by a bit; and he has a bit of of an unfair advantage, given that Howard’s the guy who does Schlock Mercenary.  It’s only on the Kindle; check it out.

And so, good-bye to The Hobbit DEAR GOD WHEN WILL THE MOVIE COME OUT I CANNOT WAIT FOR MUCH LONGER IT IS MY PRECCCCCCIOUUUUSSSSSSSS

Sep
23
2012
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Book of the Week: “The Hobbit.”

Just started my kids on the The Hobbit; the youngest is ignoring, and the eldest was trying to… but I caught him being a little interested in it tonight. Just a bit.

A somewhat short tenure for The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection, but I suspect that Victoria will forgive me.

Sep
08
2012
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Book of the Week: The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection.

I know, I know: The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection is not my usual fare, but it was written by an old friend and colleague of mine and there’s going to be a lot of art involving erupting volcanoes in it.  I figure that this is close enough to ‘post-apocalyptic’ for me to get something out of it. Besides, I do have some genuine inclinations towards culture.

We say good-bye to The Black Opera. Which, of course, doesn’t go quietly off the stage…

Aug
09
2012
2

Book of the Week: The Black Opera.

I think that Mary Gentle is as bemused as I am that she had to call The Black Opera ‘alternate history;’ it is, technically, but it’s not alternate history in the current style.  It’s alternate history because it’s a book about early 19th century Italian opera, with a plot that have could come out of early 19th century Italian opera, which means that history is pretty much folded, spindled and mutilated to make room for the music.  Need magic to work?  No problem!  It’d be convenient if Napoleon didn’t lose at Waterloo? Sure, hey, the librettist can do something with that!  Will it be necessary to take southern Italy and… whoops!  Gotta watch for those spoilers.

Seriously, it’s a fun, very melodramatic book; and I plan to hand a copy off to a friend of mine who is genuinely knowledgeable of opera.  I expect either it’ll be well received, or else it’ll be thrown across the room.  Possibly both: opera’s like that.

And so, adieu to Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas.  Which was also fun, and melodramatic.  Well, sort of melodramatic.

(more…)

Jul
13
2012
1

Book of the Week: Redshirts.

I was able to pick up Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas – all hail scrounged change jars, not to mention change counting machines that will issue you full-credit slips for Amazon – on the Kindle, and let me tell you: damn, that was a good read.  Intensely meta, and maybe the codas were the best part – but Scalzi hit this one out of the park.  Pick it up.

And that will replace Tigana. Which is also a great book, of course.

Moe Lane

Mar
14
2012
1

Book of the Week: Tigana.

Tigana was written by Guy Gavriel Kay, and I’m not going to beat around the bush, here: Kay is one of my favorite authors, and Tigana is one of the best damn books he’s ever written.  It’s low-to-mid-level fantasy based around the late medieval/early Renaissance Italian city-state period, and manages to be extremely evocative of the time period without exploiting it.  Check it out.

Yup, short reign for The Collected Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Trying to keep these a little fresher. (more…)

Feb
16
2012
2

Book of the Week: The Collected Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Because, honestly, things like The Collected Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs are more or less what the Kindle is for.  I’m embarrassed with myself that I didn’t buy this sucker thirty seconds after I got a Kindle.

And so, farewell to How to Lie with Statistics.  Gone, but it had better not be forgotten…

Moe Lane

Jan
11
2012
5

Book of the Week: “How to Lie With Statistics.”

A colleague recommended How to Lie with Statistics to me, and despite the fact that it’s from the 1950s (with numbers/examples to match) it’s one of the more entertaining books I’ve read recently.  It’s a basic book – very basic; it assumes that you don’t know the difference between mean, median, and mode – and it’s telling that the negative reviews mostly involve either that detail, or the fact that the examples are dated. I didn’t find said dating to be particularly difficult to get my head around, so I can suggest this book for anybody who needs to have an introduction to the subject.  From what I can tell, you could generate a rather long list from the Internet without even trying hard.

Well, maybe that wasn’t the nicest way to put it.

And so, adieu to Monster Hunter International.

Sep
12
2011
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Book of the Week: Cthulhu 101.

Simply put: if you need a book to get you up to speed on the various aspects (and available materials) of the Cthulhu Mythos, Cthulhu 101 is the book for you.  There’s stuff in here that I didn’t know, and that will inform my buying/watching/reading habits for the next month or so as I get up to speed.  Plus, it’s funny enough that I don’t dare read it while my gut heals from the gallbladder surgery.  Ken Hite outdid himself with this one, in other words.

And so we say goodbye to Murder Mysteries.  But not forgotten.

Aug
23
2011
2

Book of the Week: Murder Mysteries.

This  is perhaps a little… cheeky of me; but I’m in that kind of mood, honestly.  You see, I got told by a since-passed-the-sell-date-commenter that my little grit-in-the-Left’s-self-regard that was this post about Jane Yolen supposedly got the attention of Neil Gaiman himself*; so I think that it’s a perfect time to note that Murder Mysteries was a great graphic novel adaptation of Gaiman’s short story, which is of course one of the best stories about angels ever written. Then again, you know: Neil Gaiman.

And thus the circle closes.

In other words, Temporary Duty is signing off.

*Although I haven’t really confirmed that; you see, it’s apparently all on Facebook, and the only time I check that site these days is to find out whether they’ve fixed the lag for Dragon Age Legends.  Annnnnnnd…. no, they have not.  You’d think that they would; particularly since the problem seems mostly confined to Firefox users.

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