Jul
27
2015
5

Book of the Week: “Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary.”

OK, I admit it: I’m saving JRR Tolkien’s Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary for Pennsic.  Gotta have something to read while I’m waiting for the rain to stop, the dancing to start, or the beer to get cold. But my wife read it, and she liked it, and shoot, it’s JRR Tolkien.  It’s not like I’m taking some kind of hideous risk here.

And so, adieu to A Matter for Men, which was apparently a touch more, ah, controversial a choice than I had hitherto imagined. (more…)

Jul
22
2015
12

Book of the Week: A Matter For Men.

I will regret this; but there have been… rumors… that Book Five of David Gerrold’s War Against The Chtorr alien invasion series may be approaching a place where it could be considered as possibly being in a position where it might be -and this is going to sound strange, I know – well, published.  I don’t believe it, either… but I can’t make myself quite disbelieve.  So, since I apparently enjoy feeling the pain of broken hope, here’s A Matter for Men (The War Against the Chtorr, Book One).  It’ll all end in tears, of course.  Ten thousand years from now, they’ll uncrate David Gerrold’s cyronically frozen head and ask him “WHEN ARE YOU FINISHING THE SERIES?!?” …And there still will be no good answer.

But I’m not bitter!

And so, adieu to The Lost Majority. (more…)

Jul
13
2015
1

(Revisited) Book of the Week: Lost Majority.

I kind of hate having to a), redo a previous book; and b), do one that’s non-fictional: but The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government Is Up for Grabs – and Who Will Take It is frankly essential reading for people talking about inevitable and permanent electoral victories.  Spoiler warning: neither of those happen. And Sean Trende will happily explain to you why.  So if you have not yet gotten this book, I will repeat what I wrote last time: (more…)

Jul
06
2015
5

Book of the week: ‘Uprooted.’

Finally got around to reading Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, and WOW but it’s good.  We’re talking a deep dive into folklore themes here, folks: Polish, in this particular case, but the actual culture doesn’t matter. What matters is that Novik takes this stuff seriously, and is smart enough to be properly wary of its narrative power.  Terry Pratchett would have loved this book, and I can’t think of a single nicer thing to say about it. I pretty much read the whole thing in as few fell swoops as Fourth of July weekend would allow.

And so, adieu to The Annihilation Score. Which I will gleefully consume tomorrow.

(more…)

Jun
28
2015
3

Book of the Week: “The Annihilation Score.”

This one I am anticipating: The Annihilation Score (A Laundry Files Novel) will not be out for another week and a half, and I don’t think that I’m going luck out with this one and find a copy at a Borders bookstore that had unaccountably been put out early (which is what happened to me with another book in this series).  Mostly because Borders doesn’t exist anymore, of course.  Anyway, this is going to be the latest book in Charlie Stross’s Lovecraft-meets-spy-novels-meets-computer-math series, and it’s been a pretty nifty series so far. Hopefully, Charlie can keep a handle on his increasing tendency to conspiracy crank before the Great Old Ones come to finish the series by eating everybody’s souls – which is a selling point for this series, actually. It’s Lovecraftian cosmic horror. You know everybody’s gonna die. The author promised. (more…)

Jun
22
2015
--

Book of the Week: “The Last Wish.”

More properly: Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Last Wish: Introducing The Witcher.  …Yeah, I’m not proud.  But the truth of the matter is that the book is a fairly good set of fantasy short stories that draw on the grimmer aspects of traditional European fairy tales. I liked it; the translation was pretty good, too, which is fairly helpful in this sort of situation.  If you’re playing the game, it’s not a bad call at all for the Kindle. (more…)

Jun
16
2015
2

Book of the Week: The Martian Chronicles.

…No, I’m not sure why The Martian Chronicles.  Aside from the fact that it’s a great collection of short stories, of course. Maybe I just kind of miss Ray Bradbury.  Although I typically tend to miss him in October, which I think would please him.

And so, farewell to De Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica. (more…)

Jun
08
2015
5

Book of the Week: “De Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica.”

I freely admit: De Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica is one of the more obscure ones I’ve picked. It is a translation – oh, don’t look at me like that – of a Roman’s account of his encounter with the Living Dead; and the translator  (Thomas Brookside, and stop snickering) gives a certain dry wit and academic japery to the whole thing. Plus, the footnotes entertain.

And so, farewell to Hoka! Hoka! Hoka! What would the Hokas have made of zombie fiction? Be grateful that question was never answered. (more…)

Jun
04
2015
4

Book of the Week: ‘Hoka! Hoka! Hoka!’

So, Hoka! Hoka! Hoka! is this collection of short stories (a collaborative effort between Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson) involving… you know something? It’ll take too long to explain.  You’re probably better off just reading them.

And so, adieu to Conquistador. (more…)

May
25
2015
3

Book of the Week: “Conquistador.”

Conquistador by S.M. Stirling is an… interesting book. The premise is classic Golden Age science fiction: a H. Beam Piper*-esque hero creates a stable dimensional portal to an alternate California that Europeans have never colonized, or even visited.  And so, in classic Golden Age style, the aforementioned Great Man of history goes and carves out a nice little kingdom for himself and his fellow freebooters… and that’s where the book gets a little enjoyably awkward, because S.M. Stirling quite enjoys reminding us that our grandparents and great-grandparents were from a completely different people.  The book is not precisely a dystopia, but the society it describes is perhaps not somewhere you’d want to live.  Read about? Sure.  Live? …Not so much.  But it is indeed a page-turner.  Especially if you like your adventure fiction to come with appendices, and who among us does not?

And so, adieu to Digital Divide.

Moe Lane

*This was so totally a homage to H. Beam Piper.  Stirling made it pretty explicit, in fact.

May
18
2015
1

Book of the Week: ‘Digital Divide.’

I’d actually recommend the series: Digital Divide is simply the first book in a three book series (so far) by K.B. Spangler, who also writes the A Girl And Her Fed webcomic that I am currently in the process of archive-diving.  Set in the same universe as the AGAHF webcomic, Digital Divide is what happens when you take a DC police procedural and put a bunch of people with nethacking chips in their heads in it. I read all three books in the series, one right after the other; I quite enjoyed them. I do find several of her political opinions to be… incorrect; but there’s nothing about that that’s worth making a fuss over. Well worth picking up the first one, and seeing if you like it, at the very least. I certainly plan to read the fourth book, when it comes out.

And so, adieu to Bride of the Rat God.
(more…)

May
11
2015
7

Book of the Week: Bride of the Rat God.

Well… Bride of the Rat God is simultaneously about the silent film era of Hollywood; Pekingese dogs; and an ancient, murderous Chinese curse. ….Yes, this is pulp. Quite entertaining pulp, particularly regarding the bits about the Pekingese. They’re apparently much more awesome dogs than I had been previously led to believe. Seriously, this standalone by Barbara Hambly is well worth perusing, especially if you like historical fantasy where you don’t have to take a refresher course in medieval/Renaissance history first.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. (more…)

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