Saturday, December 31, 2011

The White Rose by Glen Cook
In his conclusion to the Black Company trilogy, we get to watch the epic showdown between the White Rose and the Lady, and the awakening of the Dominator. The Black company is caught in the fat middle of all of this, and unfortunately, a lot of what happens doesn’t make much sense.

Cook’s writing is downright wooden at points (“To be seen was the Limper.”) The action is muddy (though the windwhales and mantas are cool) and the framework story by which Croaker gets manuscripts periodically from mysterious strangers just feels like the contrivance that it is.

I enjoyed the Chronicles of the Black Company, though the White Rose is certainly the weakest of the three novels.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

What if you could go back in time and prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

I read Stephen King’s newest novel on a great 4 days trip to Whistler with LT & Wilvis. In between ski runs and watching the snow bunnies dance, I enjoying an epic 900 pages of classic King, in which he returns to his favorite haunts (Derry) and favorite decades (fifties and sixties) to spin the yarn of a time travelling school teacher on a weighty mission to prevent the moment when everything went wrong for the baby boomers.

As with all of King’s later novels, he meanders and fills pages with side plots and observations that add reams of texture without particularly addressing the primary story. But as always, it’s a delightful journey. There’s plenty of the horrific here, though the novel is not an According to Hoyle horror novel per se.

A few time travel clichés rear their heads, but in the main, King is able to keep the focus on observations about how things have changed in the last 50 years, give us a little bit of JFK trivia, and give us at least two or three characters we can invest in.

A fun ride.

Shadows Linger by Glen Cook

In Shadows Linger, Cook gives us further chronicles of the Black Company, though at first, we start far from them, in a little town where evil is growing. Croaker and the boys arrive and get entangled in events they cannot initially comprehend. The book starts slow, focused on deadbeats we don’t much care about, but by the conclusion, it’s been a great ride, with a few particularly cool ideas. (The mechanics of the Black Castle are particularly noteworthy.)

The Guardians by Andrew Pyper

Mr. Pyper writes a decent, if somewhat predictable psychological thriller / ghost story set in a small Canadian town. Four members of a boys’ hockey team get involved in the disappearance of a local teacher, and their lives are forever changed by their exposure to the supernatural, and the eeevil that lurks within the hearts of men. The first quarter of the book borrows heavily from Stephen King’s IT, in which the return of evil summons back a far-flung collection of adults to their childhood home. The back half of the book wallows in a predictable resurgence of the events of the past and the troubles an adult has facing up to the deeds of his childhood and the misspent years since. Structurally, the book also mimics IT; even chapters are set in the present, odd chapters set in the past.

The setup to the big surprise is so wrapped up in the hammer-heavy themes of the book (you never know who might be evil!) that the conclusory chapters feel plodding in their obviousness. Also, the sex is dry and boneless.

Still, the book moves quickly, and some of the imagery is decent. Overall, I give it a C+.

The Black Company by Glen Cook
I’ve been aware of Mr. Cook’s Black Company for a long, time, but had never had the occasion to investigate. As part of a Fall that I wanted to be focused on reacquainting myself with fantasy and RPGs (DarkSouls!), I picked up a new copy of the first three books in the saga of the Black Company, entitled Chronicles of the Black Company. Glad I did.

Simply put, Mr. Cook writes what feels a lot like a Vietnam war novel in a fantasy wrapper. A company of soldiers plot and fight and laze their way through a morally black universe in which subterfuge, misdirection, and the fog of war constantly obscure the real meaning or significance of most events.

Our narrator, Croaker, is also the company physician, and the current chronicler of the Black Company’s history. He’s a soldier, a normal guy (at least at first), and he plays cards, lounges, shirks work, and generally does everything we’d expect from a soldier. Even his language is closer to that of a grunt stationed outside of Saigon than an an Authurian legend; no “thees” or “thous” here. Descriptions of events are terse; combat is seldom play-by-play. Instead, the company crosses weeks in the eyeblink of a paragraph.

The battle at the Stair is a particularly cool moment… The Taken are a neat idea, well executed, and Croaker is a fun narrator. I enjoyed The Black Company, and look forward to reading more of their Chronicles.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley
The “Lit Club” splinter cell of the Heights Alkies Book Club started with this little nugget; my fault, I’ll admit. The book got love from NPR. I cannot for my life understand why. In a crowded supernatural romance marketplace, Sunshine fails to shine through the fog. Hell, even Stephanie Meyers managed to write a more engaging story based around a main character who can barely emote.

Sunshine is a baker, and the daughter of a wizard. And she gets kidnapped by vampires, and is rescued by the not-very-originally named Constantine. And then she bakes more. And then there are some demony secret police types. And then she her biker-wizard boyfriend do it. And then she and Constantine assault the vampire fortress. The end.

Sorry, Lit Club. I’ll pick better next time.

Chuck Klosterman IV by Chuck Klosterman
Styled somewhat in the style of Led Zeppelin’s final album, Chuck Closterman IV treads the same turf as his other works: fast-paced, clever pop culture analysis. The book is divided into three sections: Things That Are True, Things That May Be True, and Things That Are Not True.

Klosterman definitely improved as his career advanced and he matured; there is a pronounced delta between Klosterman IV and, say, Eating the Dinosaur, written some years later. Still though, Chuck Klosterman IV was entertaining, but by this point, I’d grown a little weary of the shtick, and the pop-culture references had started to feel more like an exhumation than a fresh look at (semi-) current events. So I elected to move on rather than read Klosterman’s earliest book, Fargo Rock City. However, I would like to make my esteem for Mr. Klosterman clear here: He writes a great essay.

Sex, Drugs, and Coco Puffs by Chuck Klosterman

More Klosterman from a few years earlier, Sex, Drugs, and Coco Puffs deals primarily with television, sports, and music. It’s all in a similar vein to Eating the Dinosaur, though without the clever mashup structure.

If overly clever, not-at-all-reverent essays on pop culture are your thing, and you don’t mind subject matter which is fast becoming dated, you’ll be delighted by Sex, Drugs, and Coco Puffs.

Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman

Turns out, Chuck Klosterman is smart, funny, and occasionally insightful. Eating the Dinosaur is a collection of essays on pop culture and interviews with the type of vapid celebrities that little the late-night talk-show pop culture landscape like worms on the sidewalk after a rain. Except the essays are brilliant, and they are woven together in twos, sections from each essay, which are seemingly unrelated, chopped and screwed under the banner of an interview. And the awesome magician’s trick that Klosterman pulls off is to have the disparate parts all combine by the end of each chapter to have some broader significance, relationship, or commentary.

I read Eating the Dinosaur in one sitting on an airplane from Texas to Seattle, and immediately visited a Half Price Books there in Redmond, where I picked up two more Klosterman books.

Highly recommended.

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Awesome dark and twisted Scandinavian vampire fiction. The novel is considerably more depraved than the film, and offers a bit more insight into the world of Oscar and his deadly lady love. Lindqvist sets a sustained tone of urban blight and despair in a snowswept hell. None of the characters are more than a deep shade of moral grey, and most of them tend towards the dark black. Even our hero appears to be a budding serial killer.

The book is fast, twisted, and generally, some of the most interesting horror I’ve read in quite some time. Nice work, Mr. Lindqvist.

A Dance of Dragons by George RR Martin

What to say about George RR Martin’s megaselling franchise? Fifteen years ago, only us geeks read fantasy novels, and with a few noteable exceptions, very few of those were filled with the kind of foul language and sexual-sadism that permeates Mr. Martin’s world. Now, HBO has picked up (and done a fine job) of televising the first book of a Game of Thrones, and everyone from the nerd fringe at Dragon’s Lair, to the cute little pixie lawyerette in The Professor’s graduating class seem obsessed with the World of Westros. So what on earth to say about this book that hasn’t already been said?

Let’s start by suggesting that Mr. Martin’s narrative seems to be running away from him. So much time in A Dance of Dragons is spent with minor characters about whom no one seems to care. We’re forced to slog through endless pages of court intrigue amongst men with colored beards whose names read like fantasy clichés (Renak, Hizdahr, and Skahaz? Really?) The book only barely manages to narrow the focus of the ever-expanding cast of characters, and resolution of any kind still seems thousands and thousands of pages away.

These complaints aside, there are some fun action sequences here. Dragons, ship–fights, etc. And some of those characters you love are revisited, and have interesting things happen to them. Jon Snow and Aria Stark make an appearance. That wicked little incestuous queen Circe receives some measure of just dessert, and things finally start to happen in the North.

If you’re already this far into the series, grab and enjoy, since you know you will anyway. If you’ve not already started these, then you either live under a stone, or you know already that violent, dark fantasy isn’t your thing. As for me? I’ll be awaiting the next novel in the Song of Fire and Ice, and eagerly awaiting HBO’s next season of Game of Thrones. It’s far from art, but it’s still fun.

Rogue Island by Bruce deSilva

Rogue Island was the second (of two so far) books that we read as part of our “literature club” (so named just to give it a tongue in cheek distinction from the girls only alkie club to which a few of our members also belong.) Unfortunately, Rogue Island got us off to a bad start, which we’ve not yet recovered from.

On the shitty little Island of Rhode, in the town of Providence, assorted corrupt scumbuckets perform misdeeds. Our anti-hero newspaperman walks these dirty streets, checking noir detective clichés off deSilva’s list, looking for an arsonist. He gets double crossed, finds a little love, etc. etc.

All of this retread turf would be more interesting if I felt that deSilva were somehow offering a new look at a fifty year old formula, or a more interesting insight into the fading days of print journalism; but we get neither. The plot and pacing also get a tad wonky towards the end of the novel, when our hero runs off to nowhere in particular to wait out a few key events, which happen off screen. Then, just to further shred any sympathy we might have had for the broken-hearted narrator, he goes and gets with some random waitress.

I applaud DeSilva’s interest in the detective/noir space, and would probably read his next work, but ultimately, Rogue Island never took me anywhere I hadn’t already been, which made it feel forty years too late to really qualify as even a footnote to the genre.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carre

La Carre’s famous spy works more or less defined the genre, way back before there was a Tom Clancy. His world is one of double crosses, complicated setups, midnight meetings, cold and drizzly nights in cities which have been renamed, and exist in a binary continuum on either side of an Iron Curtain. It’s a curiously dated time now, when simple things like cel phone calls or using a credit card were either impossible or far more complicated. As a result, a lot of the intrigue is almost a tad difficult to get one’s head around; the simple solutions we’ve taken for granted don’t work, yet the world still vaguely looks and talks like ours.

In the Spy Who Came in From the Cold, a once intrepid agent is forced to go back across the line one more time. It’s an unpleasant world of intrigue, where no one’s motives are what they seem, and where even the conditions for victory seem unclear; I suppose it’s a bit like the cold war itself in that way.

This is a short book, and a fast one, and I’d recommend that anyone interested in the early days of spycraft and spy fiction go through it. But do so now, because in another twenty years, when even the politics are largely forgotten, this book isn’t going to make much sense anymore.

The Devotions of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

Interesting if somewhat slow detective novel based in Japan. A young woman and her daughter end up killing her abusive ex-husband. The brilliant mathematician next door helps her to dispose of the body. Detectives investigate, with the assistance of a brilliant physicist who was once a collegue of the mathematician. The investigation ends up being a chess game between the two brilliant men. The tale is an exploration of the lengths to which devotion will drive some people, and flirts with some mathematical/philosophical principals. Its prose is straightforward and unadorned, never gets in the way but is also without any particular elegance. I’m willing to chalk this up to the version I read being an English translation. The characters are fairly wooden and shallow; they’re almost cardboard cutouts really. The tenacious detective. The brilliant physicist. The socially awkward mathematician. Swallowed this one in an single sitting on a transatlantic back from Ireland with the Professor. Was my least favorite of the books I read on the trip.

Little Brother by Cory Doctrow

Little Brother is a fun, adolescent romp through the basics of modern computer security. In Little Brother, some teenaged hackers in San Francisco use a networked of hacked Xboxes to fight an invasion of overzealous Homeland Security goons who are turning the Bay area into a surveillance happy police-state. Sound corny, as if it’s meant for thirteen year old boys? It is.

Little Brother is likely the second or third geekiest book I’ve ever read. But, it does give you a pretty good overview of some basic computer and network security philosophies and techniques. There’s some ‘netspeak dialog (“Being at school on a Friday was teh suck.”) in case you missed out on the wholesale assault on the English language that forums and icanhascheezeburger have mounted. The hero quotes Kerouac to his girlfriend. But then he does get laid, so that’s good I guess.

Fun, silly, highly juvenile “fight the man” romp around the Bay Area through the eyes of an adolescent hacker.

Elegy for April by Benjamin Black
Wanted to read this one before we got to Dublin, since it takes place there and was written by an Irishman. The bleak, foggy, depressed, alcoholic city of secrets described herein didn’t much match the sunny, lively, cheerful, media-obsessed, alcoholic city I saw this week.

April disappears. Her friend Phoebe goes to Quirk, her (Phoebe’s) father, who is a coroner, and who is just finishing a stint in rehab for his alcoholism. Quirk, his buddy the detective, and a few other 1950’s Dubliners explore the fast-living world of April and her friends in an effort to find out what may have become of her. As a period piece that paints a picture of Dublin, Elegy might be pretty good. It certainly hits a sustained tone of bleakness, while keeping the overall level of sordid up nicely.

I was two-thirds of the way through before I realized this book is actually the third in a series of novels about Quirk. Luckily, my ignorance to the occasionally referenced grim previous events didn’t really impact my enjoyment of the book much.

Nothing remarkable about the writing, though I will remember the Irish alcoholic crime-solving coroner, if not the specifics of what exactly happened to April Latimer that bleak year in Dublin.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Windup Girl is inventive “Calorie-punk” sci-fi set in futuristic Bangkok a few hundred years after the “contraction” that came about in global trade as a result of us running out of hydrocarbons, and a series of corporate germ-warfare based around genetically modified foods. Edgy, fascinating world that lushly envelops a story that gets tripped up by its own plotting on occasion.

The language is solid, the characters are generally interesting, though only the Yellow Card and the Windup Girl stand out as memorable. The plot gets tangled in a study of regime change politics in Thailand, which is interesting, but can’t help as feel a little bit beside the point.
Still, this is certainly the best sci-fi I’ve read in a decade or more.

The Homing by John Saul

An evil misogynist serial killer etymologist raises a crop of killer bees who infect the residents of a local town. There’s a little bit of subtext about how a small town is like a hive mind. A plucky cop is involved, as is a mother of two trying to start a new life…

Worth slightly less than the $2 I paid for it at Half-Price.

Caught by Harlan Corbin

A guy is busted trying to meet up with an underage girl he met on the internet. Other assorted complex social dramas associated with crimes unfold. Things aren’t as they seem. Supposedly you’ll be thrilled, but really, it’ll be like snacking on Pringles while on the plane.

Horns by Joe Hill
You wake up in the morning and there are horns growing out of your head. In fact, you seem to be turning into a demon in general, and are able to coax the innermost wicked thoughts out of everyone you meet. People think you killed your girlfriend, and life goes downhill from there.

Horns is one part The Metamorphisis and one part comedic romp (“Devil in a blue dress” and almost every other demonic play-on-words you can imagine make an appearance.) Hill clearly has a good time with his second book. Though it’s a tad uneven, and the pacing stutters a bit, it’s a decent followup to 20th Century Ghosts. In particular, the letter from dead girl to our horny hero sticks in my mind as a poignant bit of sap, and the novel’s resolution is mildly satisfying.

A Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
“Rothfuss dazzles with his second installment!” – Tim Fields, theWORD.

Patrick Rothfuss continues the adventures of Kvothe, bartender, musician, lover, sorcerer in this rambunctious, thoughtful second novel. While there are a few structural issues with the book — cases where the story appeared to have nearly gotten away from him, and had to be reeled in using particularly crude mechanics – the sequel to the Name of the Wind is even better than the first. Rothfuss feels more sure in his tone, and the adventure, violence, love, and general fantasy of the deal are all more pronounced.

There’s a lot to love in this book, and I cannot wait for the third, which will likely be called The Shape of the World, since the phrase appears repeatedly in reference to future events.

The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar

Often mentioned by people who liked The Four Hour Work Week, or Vagabonding, I’d been meaning to read the Monk and the Riddle for a few years now. It’s business philosophy at its heart, though far less philosophical than the title might lead you to believe. In a rambling collection of Silicon Valley anecdotes, bookended by a couple of glimpses into various world travels Randy has enjoyed, Mr. Komisar advances the popular cliché that “It’s not the destination that matters, but the journey.” He digresses from this central theme for the majority of the book to name drop and wag about the ways of the Silicon Valley VC crowd, using a case study in misguided entrepreneurial spirit ( as an object lesson in why just chasing money isn’t likely to be very successful. At its best moments, the book discusses the difference between management (execution) and leadership (vision), and meanders around the importance of an inspiring vision to galvanize a company to greatness.

Interesting book, but somehow a lot less insightful or motivational than I expected, given the praise it has received. Had I just already learned all this through high-tech osmosis over the last decade?

Goes on the shelf between Tim Ferris and Jack Welsh, but isn’t as good as either.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley

This book got a lot of praise around release. It was billed as a sort of modern Flowers for Algernon, which I suppose it was. An old man suffering from deep dementia is given a second chance to make things right when a young woman and an experimental drug give him a few week stay of senility. He finds the lost treasure, gets the girl, and brings justice to a murder victim to whom is he related.

The language is good, bordering on superb, particularly in the first half of the book. Mosley’s portrait of “PityPapa” is caring and does a good job of conveying the sense of frustrated befuddlement and fear that goes along with old age and the ravages of diseases like Alzheimer’s. (I suspect.) This is a topic that figures profoundly in my own life, and indeed, in the lives of so many in the first world now; we are all caretakers of the elderly, and many of us destined to become ancient doddering shells, like Ptolemy.

What most of us will not ever get is the old man’s fantasy come true: No super drug will give your mind back, nor restore the mind of that vacant eyed shambler who was once someone you loved. You will not get to right wrongs, and you will almost assuredly not discover a lost treasure that will ease the days of your family. No nubile young beauty will give you her love, and any peace you get before the end of your days will be the grey purgatory of apathetic forgetfulness.

So while I quite appreciated Mosley’s writing, the plotting of the book ended up making me feel cheated; like the author had to resort to cheap tricks to give me an improbable adventure tale, instead of the portrait of aging and mental vacancy to which so many are heir.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey is a well written book, but I wish that Mosley had possessed the courage to look into the yawning abyss of mental decay and report back more accurately what I believe he saw.

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Four stories. One in which a man kills his wife in 1922 and tells us about it later. Another in which a writer is brutally raped and gets revenge. A third of a man who wishes the ills of his world onto his best friend. A fourth in which the wife of a serial killer discovers the awful truth…The first and the last of these are the best two.

I enjoy Stephen King, and have devoured almost everything he has written so for me, these stories were a treat. But if you’re not a fan, or are just getting started, there are at least ten other books of his I’d recommend first.

Where There is No Doctor by David Werner, Jane Maxwell and Carol Thuman

Rawles, the survivalist, highly recommended that every household keep a copy of Where There is No Doctor around as a guide to how to perform the most common types of medicine and hojw to diagnose ailments when, um, there is no doctor available.

I read through this book in the summer of 2011 as part of my continuing James Bond training. It’s a wonderful volume, which explains in simple language and diagrams how to prevent, diagnose, and treat a wide array of maladies and medical situations in less than ideal conditions. Need to deliver a child? Splint a broken bone? Treat diphtheria? Keep your village free from hookworms? It’s all here!

Highly recommended for any section of a library dealing with how to address extreme situations. If this were Fallout, reading this book would give you +1 to the Doctor skill.
Merry Post-Christmas! It's time for a new and mighty update. As a matter of fact, I expect to give you several over the next few days. It's a sacred duty to myself to not let one year morph into the next without having jotted down a review, however paltry, for each book I've read that year, and getting it posted here for my imaginary army of readers.

A quick personal update, as well, something akin to drawing a line on the wall to measure a kid's height: I'm living in Houston still, with the Professor. We've found a nice little enclave called The Heights, where we reside in a cool modernist tower just a few blocks walk from several bars and restaurants. More importantly, we live less than a mile from our good friends The Senator and Dr. KMK. In fact, tonight we'll be having dinner and wine with them while we have an "Organize the Library" party -- to move their collection into the wonderful new library room they've built. I'm still working as a director at Certain Affinity, a fun boutique game development shop in Austin. My family in Austin is all doing well; as strange and fun as ever.

I've written three books in the last three years. Two cover topics in game development and are published by Focal Press. The third is an unpublished horror novel set in a decaying city on the bayou... And I know that one of my New Year's resolutions will be to write another in 2012. I've promised myself it'll be fiction, probably fantasy.

Monday, November 14, 2011


David Foster Wallace so loves the DSM that I decided I needed to break down and get a copy. Thanks to the wonders of Amazon’s used book sales, this is easily done. The DSM (in case you’re not a reference book fetishist) is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition). If you are going to be diagnosed with some form of mental or emotional malady in the Western world, it’s described herein. Because many of these terms and diagnoses are tossed around willy-nilly in the modern post-therapy world, we’re quite familiar as a culture with depression, PTSD, bipolarity, and various forms of addiction and dependence. For these well known disorders, its fascinating to read clinical descriptions of what the terms really mean. (Turns out we use them pretty haphazardly in everyday life.) And then there are all of the other more arcane disorders, from Pica (eating dirt and other inappropriate things) to paraphilia (sexual compulsions associated with some atypical objects.)

I’ll admit that I’ve not finished reading the entire book. It’s about a thousand pages of reference, frequently cross-referenced against diagnostic code lists, and other similar disorders. But for all that, it is a surprisingly readable reference work. Those who would never consider sitting down and reading the OED might be surprised to find that the DSM presents mental and emotional disorders in readable, interesting, bite-sized chunks. It’s the perfect gift for the budding novelist, psychology grad student, or hypochondriac bookworm in your life. Which gives me an idea…
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace

I’d started a writing project this summer in which I wanted to tell a collection of tales of short relationships between a man and a number of different women. Maybe this was a way of capturing the fantasy of various girls I wish I’d gotten to know better earlier in life. Or maybe it’s just a subject that is interesting. But because I wanted a fantasy or supernatural angle, I wanted to make at least one of them a witch, maybe more. Not a mysoginist “all women are evil” witches, but instead a way of sort of celebrating the mysterious and magical diversity of various feminine personalities. (Though I did want to include at least one bit of serious darkness – if you’ve ever done much dating, you’ve got a story or two to be sure – and not all witches are about love spells and pet kittens.) Carried away with my own cleverness, I decided to title the collection Brief Interviews with Supposedly Fun Witches I’ll Never Do Again in a sort of homage to one of our postmodern masters.

This little project led me to reopen David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, a collection of spliced together short fiction relayed as interviews with people who are, as the title suggests, generally not very nice in one way or another. I was reminded of how enchanting DFW’s linguistic hi-jinx and chicanery can be to word worms like me, and in short, what a dazzling writer he could be at times.

Since the men here are not named, but instead identified only by subject or case ID information and a location, and since the stories are arrayed in an order designed to slowly ratchet up the hideous, rather than grouped by subject, part of the puzzle is figuring out who is who here.

Even after more than a decade and a helluva lot of zeitgeist, Brief Interviews holds up quite well. DFW was a master of the craft, albeit it not for everyone. His self indulgence and focus on relationships and the nuances of self-absorption read like paeans from a pre 9/11 world. He regularly loses sight of the forest of the narrative, and can be found climbing the tree of some particular metafictional angle or footnote. But none of this obscures the obvious (and now somewhat over-celebrated) brilliance, of a man who loves language, has terrific gifts with construction, and sees many things clearly.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Proofing process finished for Social Game Design -- now it's off to the printers, and will be availible on Amazon and store shelves by the end of the year!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Two more reviews! Hot, fresh, kinda messy, and late-night. Just like you like 'em!
The Kraken by China Mieville

Ummm, Lumm, Dumm indeed. Mieville is smart, erudite, wacky, and has great skills with language. But this is much more Pynchon than Perdido Street. In London, cults with strange magics vie for control of sacred artifacts. There’s a stolen picked squid corpse involved. But it’s all a bit silly and the main character was too much of a clueless Hitch-hiker’s Guide castoff to be that interesting. The darkness, the blood, the beating heart of awesome that infected New Cruzoban and rode distant rails as part of the Iron Council just isn’t to be found in weirdo cult London.
City of Thieves by David Benioff

A fine tale of adventure and camaraderie during the Siege of Leningrad. City of Thieves is fun, poignant, a little sexy and a little sad. Our hero and his tough, handsome, outgoing friend go on an epic quest for eggs in the midst of the war. I quite enjoyed this one, and I’ll do you the favor of not giving away anything else.
Crimson Alliance Gone Gold!
The Senator's Birthday!!
Tomorrow, a 30 year old Weezel!!!

Decline and Fall by Gibbons.

What a weekend! :)


Friday, July 15, 2011

Inspiring day at Blizzard. Reminded me of why I got into this business.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Can't believe it's been 7 months. Yikes!

But luckily, the book readin' continues, and I've got some fun reviews all set to share!

Unfortunately, (or fortunately) I'm fat in the middle of another new book project right now; one with some rather insane deadlines. So it may be a few weeks still.

But rest assured -- these two goals I vow:

1) I'll get 2011's books all posted before the end of the year. I've not yet missed a book (I think) or a year since I started this thing, and this won't be the first. We're closing in on 10 years before too long -- wanna make sure they're good!

2) I'll get the broken index on the side fixed, so the links to reviews actually work right.

In the meantime, as a teaser, some of the interesting stuff I've read and need to post about:

City of Thieves
The Kraken
Where There is No Doctor
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (again)
Full Dark, No Stars
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey
The Monk and the Riddle
A Wise Man's Fear
The Windup Girl
Elegy for April
Little Brother
The Devotions of Suspect X
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
Rogue Island

But for now... Work needs my attention, and The Professor is telling me it's bed time, and I still owe my publisher another 15k words in about a week, so...

Until later,