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Zovarue

Zeugma's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 1,132 posts (1,300 including aliases). 3 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 6 aliases.


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The Exchange

I'm such a lit geek, I've read the annotated Treasure Island. It was awesome. The only thing I liked slightly less than most of Stevenson's works was The Black Arrow. My favorite Stevenson story is "Markheim," which is a little gem of a morality play, and really displays his deft hand at characterization.

The Exchange

Set wrote:
Set wrote:
Just re-read Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart, and it was as fun the second time as it was the first. Fun stuff set in an over the top 'mythic China.'

Turns out he has two sequels, The Story of the Stone (which I had to buy twice, since 'bunko' apparently means 'written in Kanji,' which I did not know...) and Eight Skilled Gentlemen.

Neither was as good as his first outing, IMO.

I kind of feel like I did with Neal Stephenson, whose Snow Crash was life-changingly hilarious, and whose later books have been meh.

I dunno. The Story of the Stone has

Spoiler:
the most hilarious and shocking encounter with a demon in Hell I've ever read.
However, SotS is the book I read first out of the trilogy (I didn't know they had a reading order), so I didn't read Bridge of Birds with the same set of expectations of it being better, which skews my perspective on the series.

I do agree with you about Eight Skilled Gentlemen. I liked the conclusion with the dragon-boat race, but it has a lot of plot problems. Even if you pay close attention it can be impossible to tell what is going on.

The Exchange

What am I reading now, you ask?

Daughters of the Samurai: a journey from east to west and back, by Janice P. Nimura.

It's about five young daughters of disgraced Meiji-era samurai who were deputized to spend 10 years being educated in the United States of America, in order to acquire Western ways and introduce them to Japan. I'm enjoying it so far!

The Exchange

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I really love the cover art for this one! It has a "sword-and-planet" style pulp vibe!

The Exchange

Marco Massoudi wrote:

None of the 6 Second Darkness issues are sold out. On acount of the last info 1000+ remain of each (a shame, as parts 3-5 are great, the intro and end could use some work).

Legacy of Fire #4 is SOLD OUT.
#5 & #6 are under 250 copies each.
#1 & #2 are under 1000 copies each.

If #5 (THE CITY OF BRASS) and #6 (great article on Rovagugs spawn if i remember correctly) sell out, we COULD get a hardcover in a few years.

So do yourself a favour and buy them, as the articles, Pathfinder Tales and a lot of the art WON'T BE REPRINTED in a hardcover!

I really enjoyed the Pathfinder Tale in the Legacy of Fire AP. The half-elf "water druid" was awesome!

The Exchange

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Can I FINALLY get that Grey Maidens T-shirt they ran out of before I could order? Pretty pretty pretty please????

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This sounds great! The 32 page modules were "just right" for the limited time my group had to play, so this might fill that one-shot niche while also offering more for folks who want to run a longer game. It also sounds like the turn-around time for the final product will be quicker with 3 authors working on their parts at once.

It'd be cool if going forward the modules mix it up between offering "anthologies" for short sessions/one-shots and "mini-campaigns" for those who want something longer with a unified theme or arc.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I like this! Two back-stories for one mixed up personality! Quinn is an awesome character too, so it's great he could be brought into the story.

"What will the Red Raven do next? Find out next time on [cue the echo-chamber] The Adventures of the Reeeeddd Raaavveeennnn!"

The Exchange

My recent reads are an interlude of non-fiction:

The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past, by John Lewis Gaddis.
It is more of a defense of history-as-discipline than a deep exploration of methodology, so I was mildly disappointed. I was hoping for more interviews and anecdotes and less deprecation of the social sciences (Gaddis is particularly hard on Sociology for some reason).

The Turk: The Life and Times of the Famous Eighteenth-Century Chess-Playing Machine, by Tom Standage.
This one was fun. It made me think about reading some clockpunk, if that's still a thing.

Now I'm reading Cry, The Beloved Country, by Alan Paton. It's good, but at times I have trouble distinguishing the speakers due to Paton's style of setting off dialog by em-dash.

The Exchange

the Queen's Raven wrote:
Why does everyone keep bringing up Batman? Zorro, is who Batman was based on. Red Raven and Galt, Zorro and California.

It warms the cockles of my heart to have my lovely home-state compared to Galt. Does that make Governor Brown our Citizen Goss, and our State Senate the Cabinet of Skulls? Thank Desna it's an election year!

Also, it looks like the Red Raven has gained quite a bit of weight since we last saw him, in addition to his wardrobe upgrade.

The Exchange

I read Alexei Panshin's Masque World again yesterday. I laughed. I also noted one of Panshin's dedications is to Chip Delaney. That gave me a bit of context (or resonance?) for one of the organizations in MW that I hadn't noticed before. A change in perspective, if you will.

The Exchange

I finished Barabara Hambly's Darwath trilogy. I'm SO glad I'm done. I won't be revisiting this series. I liked the fight scenes, the aliens, and her use of the two viewpoint characters, but really nothing else about the books. I wanted the villains to win as redemption for their being written as such flat, stupid stereotypes with cardboard swords. The themes in the book don't feel "of a piece" and each separate idea on its own that she introduced didn't quite mesh with the other ideas.

The Exchange

Lord Snow wrote:

Blazed through the second half of "Interesting Times" by Terry Pratchett in what was otherwise a slow and lazy day.

I'm going to be doing around the clock shifts for an entire week soon, and I am saving the last Wheel of Time book as a read for that, so for now I'm back to The Long Way To The Small Angry Planet.

** spoiler omitted **

Re: spoiler. Dangit, Snow! You made me get teary-eyed.

Spoiler:
I still haven't read The Shepherd's Crown because Granny Weatherwax dies!
The Exchange

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Fleetwood Mac's The Green Manalishi. Priest does a more-rock cover, but the original is more psychedelic.

The Exchange

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

My recommendations to get you out of your established comfort zone: Some of them have books I particularly recommend, but you can't go wrong with any of them.

Harlan Ellison If you really want some insight in the gutters of "Star Trek", I recommend his book "City on the Edge of Forever".
Kurt Vonnegut "Sirens of Titan", "Slaughterhouse 5" "Player Piano"
Phillip K. Dick "The Man in the High Castle"
Michael Moorcock,
Ursula K LeGuin, one of the few Masters of both Fantasy and Science Fiction. "The Dispossessed" "The Earthsea Trilogy"
Samuel R. Delaney "Empire Star", Canticle for Leibowitz

Walter M. Miller wrote "A Canticle for Leibowitz," not Delaney. Delaney wrote "Dhalgren" which is a book that really intimidates me (and most books don't intimidate me).

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'd like to see what happens to mini-Durkon (is it Durkon's soul? I'm not clear on that); he has to find a way to break Durkula from within, somehow.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gark the Goblin wrote:

I . . . may have it the worst.** spoiler omitted **And every single player is an adult.

When yours figure out that they can change their characters' minis and drag new images onto the map, a whole new level of distraction will arise.

This made me snort-laugh.

The Exchange

Aw heck, might as well give it another go.

book: 1d1001 ⇒ 791

The Invisible Man, by H G Wells. Hmm...Or I could watch the movie!

The Exchange

Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
False start on Some Summer Lands as I realized I should probably read some of the books I got for Christmas. Mr. Comrade and the Nigerian Princess got me a book by Octavia Butler

Thanks for the heads up about the Clockshop and Huntington celebrations. I remember reading something about it on the Huntington's website but I'd forgotten about it.

When I went to school in Santa Monica my sister would point out this house she said Octavia Butler used to stay at. One of those small Santa Monica stucco bungalows they've probably torn down by now.

The Exchange

@SmiloDan:

How did you like The Girl with Ghost Eyes?

The Exchange

Celestial Healer wrote:

Burroughs, along with the other Beats, is one of my dad's obsessions.

I've finished A is for Arsenic, and I've started the last book in the Darwath trilogy. So far it's not so bad, but there's more of a Shaver-like bent to the story once the protagonists start confronting the monstrous "Dark" (a collective monster kind of like a cloaker with ESP and magic).

The Exchange

"[Describing chiral compounds by analogy] Hands have identical components (fingers, thumb, palms and so on) but they are arranged slightly differently on each hand, forming mirror images that cannot be superimposed onto each other (hence the labeling in chiral compounds: l- for laveo, 'left' in Latin, and d- for dextro, 'right.'"

--A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup.

The Exchange

I finished book two in the Darwath trilogy. Man, was it a slog! It felt like a big book with a skinny book inside it waiting to get out... and it was only about 300 pages! But I'm still probably going to read the last book, "The Armies of Daylight" because I do want to find out what happens to the protagonists. This trilogy isn't really a recommend from me, but YMMV. Be prepared for cardboard villains if you do read it.

I'm now reading A is for Arsenic: the poisons of Agatha Christie by chemist Kathryn Harkup. I'm already at H in the alphabet-titled chapters: H is for Hemlock. If you are a Christie fan and/or a chemistry fan, pick this book up! It goes into all the details about the drugs Christie uses in her novels, the real-life cases that inspired her (and that she inspired!) and how the drugs function to disrupt the body's systems.

In the wings: The Devil's Rooming House: the true story of America's Deadliest Female Serial Killer. I picked this one up at the library and just KNOW I'm going to enjoy it! This is the true case that inspired the classic play/movie Arsenic and Old Lace.

The Exchange

Which is better by you? Spooky Tooth or Judas Priest? I like Rob's fire on the lyrics, but you've got to hand it to Mike Harrison for bringing the soul & being the original artist.

The Exchange

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Blackwing is my favorite character in OOTS!

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So, I'd heard of "Dreamer Deceiver" but I'd never heard it before. Holy moly! Now I know why they call Rob "the metal god"!

The Exchange

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Black Sabbath's Paranoid

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Archivist.

I'm currently a librarian, but I used to be an archivist and some of what I do is not all that much different.

The Exchange

I had to take a break from Hambly and read some Jorge Luis Borges because the cliches and inconsistencies were getting to me. Any other Borges fans on here?

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I liked table-reading Shakespeare when I was in college. I felt I learned the most with that combination of hands-on acting and reading, with background reading/research sloughing off of it as needed. I also really liked Shakespeare in high school, but I was reading him on my own as well at the time so I didn't have much trouble with his language. After the weak-sauce of "Romeo and Juliet" I got to study "Henry IV" - & my English elective teacher looked like Falstaff!

They had an article on the recent DVD release of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" in the Los Angeles Times today. It works as a film, apparently because Tom Stoppard directed it. But it is also post-Walter Benjamin's "Task of the Translator", an Absurdist play working on different levels. Which is kind of why I like Julie Taymor's film "Titus" and her adaptation of "The Lion King" as a play. Things don't always have to resemble themselves. Plays can be films, if the difference of the medium is respected. Kurosawa's "Ran" is a great movie! & I own a comic-book version of the Iliad!

However, my favorite "Hamlet" movie is the scene in Last Action Hero, with Arnold. ; P

The Exchange

Oops. Nevermind. It was a far far far more recent article in Bustle (though I did write a bunch of essays on the Gothic mode in college). Link: 8 things you didn't know about Wuthering Heights.

The Exchange

Aaron Bitman wrote:
Zeugma wrote:
I couldn't stand Wuthering Heights when I read it as a teenager, but years later I learned it was intended as satire and it completely changed my view of the novel.
Now I'm curious. How was Wuthering Heights a satire?

I tried to go back to my undergrad notes and realized the computer they were on was stolen years ago! I think the text I read this in was "The Origins of the Gothic" but it could have been any number of books. Literary Women maybe? WH was written in a Gothic style while not being strictly (or actually) a gothic novel (it's a Victorian novel). The actions taken by the characters ape the extreme psychology and cluelessness of those in Ann Radcliff (which Jane Austen also mimics/satirizes in Northanger Abbey, and which Charlotte Bronte takes more seriously in her themes in Jane Ayre, though that story is partly biographical). I think that's the sum of it.

The Exchange

hewhocaves wrote:
Mentions Larry Turtledove...

Gregory Feely has a great essay about alternative history and its discontents in his introduction to his short story "The Crab Lice" in Nebula Awards 33. "The Crab Lice" is about the impossibility of alt-hist fiction and the role of the author to effect change. "The Crab Lice" is one of my favorite short stories! Anyway, you aren't the only one who can't stand Harry Turtledove.

The Exchange

Foucault's Pendulum = awesome. Though perhaps not quite as awesome as Michel Foucault, who really has nothing to do with the book. (I had gone in expecting it to be related to his post-structuralist theory and it wasn't, though it is slightly related in that there are the traditional Eco-ian concerns with semiotics).

I couldn't stand Wuthering Heights when I read it as a teenager, but years later I learned it was intended as satire and it completely changed my view of the novel.

The only book I ever really had a hate on for was Humans by Donald E. Westlake. I threw that book across the room and enjoyed the smacking sound it made as it hit the wall. Too bad it was a library book.

The Exchange

Finished book 1 in Barbara Hambly's Darwath trilogy. Now MST3King my way through book 2. None of the characters are annoying me so far, although the world-building still yanks my suspension-of-disbelief chain.

The Exchange

I'm still reading Barbara Hambly's The Time of the Dark. It's taking waaaay too long because my suspension of disbelief keeps getting un-suspended. Some parallels to our own world I can stand and accept because they're all part of the portal-fantasy genre: Earth-like gravity, horses, similar weather, etc. This isn't sci-fi, it's fantasy. But she goes too far! Why are the signs of the zodiac the same ones we have in Western culture when they are so obviously specific to the late Greek & Roman cultures of Western Europe? Why is the main symbol of the faith a cross (with no alternate explanation or meaning because a cross in itself could signify lots of things, leaving me to assume Jesus somehow died for the sins of the people of this fantasy world, too?)
These little assumptions that jar me from the story! Right now I'm trying to adhere to the MST3K mantra, but it is frustrating to feel bogged down in a light read. I'm actually leaning towards returning to Modesitt's series since it seems like he put more thought into his world building, or at least those aspects of it that keep me from feeling like its a not-too-well-thought-out episode of "Sliders."

Other than that, Hambly is great at describing things, and the "dark" is a really cool concept. Still, not as creepy/scary as I'd anticipated.

The Exchange

Aaron Bitman wrote:

No. After reading your post, I read the summary in the Wikipedia entry.

(Actually, it's a funny coincidence that you mention Jack Williamson. I read a few of his short stories, including the first couple of novellas in Terraforming Earth, and Wall-E is about terraforming Earth. But I gave up on Williamson, feeling that although he had some good ideas, he didn't have the writing talent to pull them off. But I digress.)

Are you making the point that it's scary for robots to make the decisions on what's best for the human race, and heroic for humans to take back control? Is that the general idea?

Except in "With folded hands..."

Spoiler:
the humans don't take back control, and most of them are totally find with their new robot overlords; it's just that one paranoid guy who thinks its awful. When he tries to take back control, he fails miserably. Your summary of Wall-E reminded me of that story. That's all.
The Exchange

@Aaron Bitman: Have you read Jack Williamson's "With folded hands..."?

The Exchange

Here are some other writers' perspectives on writing long series fantasy fiction:
Zeno's mountains and How to write a long fantasy series.
I don't know that GRRM has the specific problems that Tolkien or Robert Jordan had (each writer has his own individual style, structure and plot problems to overcome) but I get the sense he's struggling with the same sort of problems inherent to long series ficition, and that's why he's taking his time.

The Exchange

Zavas wrote:
Zeugma wrote:

Following Kajehase's example:

1) Don Quixote, by Cervantes. Loads of humor and much more lighthearted than the Dale Wasserman musical!

Oooh, that was a good one. I read it this summer with translator's annotations, and that made it all the more enjoyable.

Also read this year that became favorites:
The Aeronaut's Windlass I've read Dresden Files, and this was also a great read. I already like the whole "airboat" sort of thing, and this did not disappoint.

The Alloy of Law Also read the Mistborn books, finishing off with this one. I love the functional magic he's developed, but the wild west-esque setting is pretty great as well.

I read a dual-language edition of the Quijote/Quixote. I'm trying to improve my Spanish.

I think I'd like The Alloy of Law, since I'd like to read more fantasy/western genre, but I haven't read the Mistborn books. Would I be lost picking up Alloy without having read the previous novels? Or should I stick to reading a plain-old Western?

The Exchange

@Cole Deschain:

The Wake is on my "to read" list! I love unreliable narrators speaking semi-made-up languages!

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Following Kajehase's example:

1) Don Quixote, by Cervantes. Loads of humor and much more lighthearted than the Dale Wasserman musical!

2) Hold Tight, Don't Let Go, by Laura Rose Wagner. Set in Haiti after the earthquake, this is the only book that made me cry this year. Excellent!

3) Nightglass, by Liane Merciel. For a story set in Nidal, very tastefully done and the traditional redemption arc made me feel good. It reminded me I haven't read a Western in a long time.

The Exchange

My favorite rendition of Dvorak's "Humoresque".

Merry x-mas y'all!

The Exchange

I started Barbara Hambly's The Time of the Dark. Book 1 of the Darwath trilogy. So far it is not as weird/scary as I'd expected it to be. I also had this strange notion that it would be closer to Francis Steven's style of portal fantasy than L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s. It's not... But it's hard to get that gonzo and still be publishable.

I kinda want to write some Francis Stevens fan-fiction.

The Exchange

I loved that show so much! Yay! :)

The Exchange

Didn't Battle Beyond the Stars get riffed by MST3K? Or am I thinking of some other sci-fi movie?

The Exchange

@Limey: are you going to read all of them?

I'm not looking forward to your upcoming work: "Gor: the annotated bibliography." Complete with index and concordance!

The Exchange

Thanks, Hitdice and thejeff!

I like "action/adventure-ey." What I found boring about the Spellsong Cycle was that Modesitt spent a lot more words worldbuilding than he did moving the plot along or giving new insights into the characters. I found his lengthy descriptions of meals and landscapes annoying. He only needed to go into Anna's voracious appetite to fuel her magic once; he didn't need to describe each time she ate! Also, there were some weird shifts in tense and point of view.

The Exchange

I ordered some more portal fantasy from my local library for next year. Barbara Hambly's Darwath series.
I'm a bit on the fence about more 1980s-90s portal fantasy after reading the first 2 books of L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s Spellsong Cycle and getting bored.

So has anyone read the Darwath series, or any of Barbara Hambly's other books? What did you think?

The Exchange

I finished The Girl with Ghost Eyes.

It was excellent! All the kung-fu and monster-killing action I could want. My only peeve is

Spoiler:
that Li-lin isn't reconciled with her father at the end. I understand it had to be that way, he had to reject her, but it just made me sad in an otherwise satisfying ending.

One caveat: anyone looking for "authentic Chinese wuxia" should probably read an authentic Chinese author - this book is more "Kung Fury" meets "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," as it says on the inside cover. Read it for the fun, not its historical accuracy or authenticity.

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