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Aaron Bitman wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

I didn't believe you, but you're right, it looks awesome.

NOBODY LIKES A GOBLIN

What do you think of Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines?

Never heard of it.

Was looking to drastically change genres last night and started reading Kinky Friedman's Elvis, Jesus and Coca-Cola. Blew through the first half in an hour before falling asleep.

I should read more detective stories.


Just finished Scalzi's "Old Man's War", which I think was recommended here. That, or I heard of him in that whole Hugos/Sad Puppies debacle and wanted to read his stuff. Regardless, I enjoyed the book and am on the (long) waiting list for the second of the series. It's glorious to read hard science fiction again!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Aaron Bitman wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

I didn't believe you, but you're right, it looks awesome.

NOBODY LIKES A GOBLIN

What do you think of Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines?

Never heard of it.

Was looking to drastically change genres last night and started reading Kinky Friedman's Elvis, Jesus and Coca-Cola. Blew through the first half in an hour before falling asleep.

I should read more detective stories.

How about The Goblin Mirror by CJ Cherryh?


Nope.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Aaron Bitman wrote:
What do you think of Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines?
Never heard of it.

Wow. Well, if you'd be interested in knowing, from a goblin's point of view, what he can do when a party of pesky adventurers invades his dungeon home, you may want to check that one out.

(I know nothing about The Goblin Mirror though.)


Get 'em, gobbo!


Took a break from Soul by Soul to read A Massacre in Memphis, about the miscalled "race riot" (try pogrom) in the city in the spring of 1866, 150 years ago this month. It was really good and also the only book-length treatment of the event. But there are some presentation issues.

It's a short book that draws very heavily on testimony given to a congressional committee. That's something I do myself, so it was nice to be on familiar methodological turf. However, the fact is that even with the testimony there's not a massive amount to say about the event itself. There's a stitched-together narrative, which is fine, but most of the stuff is right at the point where it's hard to really flesh out. We have the testimony we have, you know?

As such, the pogrom itself only takes up about half the book. Much of that is a very straightforward reporting of events. Sometimes he goes body by body. There's interpretation at the end, some of it quite good, but you go through a lot of scene-setting foreplay to get there. The book opens with very chunky chapters about the various communities in Memphis that introduce you to everyone you'll see again in the violence but there are so many of them and it takes so long that they're just vaguely familiar by the time you get there. Those chapters are great at scene-setting and you know where everyone is coming from, but keep them straight? Good luck.

Bonus points for nailing that point where it's so horrible that you laugh or cry, though. There's one guy who literally resolves to go out and kill a black person or two, mistakenly kills a white guy, and then literally says he wouldn't have done it had he known. Then goes off to kill a black person. It had a very nineteenth century Joker ring to it.

Then I hopped over and finished up Soul by Soul. That's a hard read. Part of it is just that Johnson tends to write pretty dense sentences but the subject matter itself is pretty heavy. Slave market, you know? So there's lots of stuff about how buyers picked out slaves, who slaves tried to work the system, how they couldn't, how traders would cheat people, the social functions of slave buying in the South (cool metaphor: enslavers made themselves out of slaves), specific considerations as to what sort of person one wanted to buy for what task, the ways they lived out their fantasies through the purchase, the ways the finances and warranties worked, the fine gradations of color, comparative values of tall vs. short, young vs. old... There's a ridiculous amount of stuff in there and it's almost all horribly, horribly depressing. Several times I had to take a break, and I'm pretty jaded about this stuff.


The Goblin Mirror is awesome! It features self actualized goblins with an active, outdoor lifestyle! (Seriously though, the kind of goblins who could beat up Hell's Angels for the fun of it if they wanted to.)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Hitdice wrote:
The Goblin Mirror is awesome! It features self actualized goblins with an active, outdoor lifestyle! (Seriously though, the kind of goblins who could beat up Hell's Angels for the fun of it if they wanted to.)

Back in 3.5, I ran a homebrew based on The Goblin Mirror. The PCs were from a small isolated village. Isolated by a Cave Troll! Which the 1st level PCs were able to kill in one round due to some lucky crits with longbows and lance charges and paladin smite.

But the campaign was really fun. Lots of goblins and trolls and evil fey, a goliath ranger that carried the horses, a dreaming dragon with the woodling template, so he looked like a perpetually autumnal copse of trees, and some creepy undead too.

Basically, the small village was blocked in by a sleeping dragon on one side, a troll-guard bridge on another, and an undead-filled swamp on the other side. The PCs were the first heroes in over 2 generations.


At the literary festival, not reading any literature.

Instead, I have read 'Nine Princes In Amber' by Zelazny, 'The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow' by Constance Cumbey and 'Rationale of the Dirty Joke' part 1, by G. Legman, who hates women in trousers almost as much as John Norman does.

Presently have Flashing Swords! 2 (ed. Lin Carter) open.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Recently made a foray into the self-published works on Amazon, because I figure if I want people to eventually take a chance on my self-published novels, I should do the same for others, right?

Turns out, there's a big market for stories of conspicuously-competent Special Black Force Ops Beret veterans rebuilding society in the wake of an apocalypse/time travel accident/etc. with little to no opposition. They list the things they need, then find them, even when the thing they need is a person with a very particular primitive survival skill. All of the plans are executed flawlessly, all necessary resources are found in abundant supply, and the only danger is from the occasional violent lunatic, who is effortlessly dispatched via Special Black Force Ops Beret badassery.


RainyDayNinja wrote:

Recently made a foray into the self-published works on Amazon, because I figure if I want people to eventually take a chance on my self-published novels, I should do the same for others, right?

Turns out, there's a big market for stories of conspicuously-competent Special Black Force Ops Beret veterans rebuilding society in the wake of an apocalypse/time travel accident/etc. with little to no opposition. They list the things they need, then find them, even when the thing they need is a person with a very particular primitive survival skill. All of the plans are executed flawlessly, all necessary resources are found in abundant supply, and the only danger is from the occasional violent lunatic, who is effortlessly dispatched via Special Black Force Ops Beret badassery.

Sounds awesome...


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Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War, by William Manchester


Currently reading Tolkien's prose translation of Beowulf. I'm looking forward to reading the commentary as well, but when the commentary is twice as long as the work itself, I get a little nervous...


therealthom wrote:
I do want to find out more about Stanley now. Can anyone recommend a good biography?

No, but he featured prominently in the beginning of an excellent (though depressing) book on Africa, The Scramble for Africa: White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent, From 1876 to 1912 by Thomas Pakenham.

IIRC, he was kind of a dick.


Readerbreeder wrote:
Currently reading Tolkien's prose translation of Beowulf. I'm looking forward to reading the commentary as well, but when the commentary is twice as long as the work itself, I get a little nervous...

I like his Pearl as well as Gawain and the Green Knight and Sir Orfeo. He was a top-notch translator.


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Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
therealthom wrote:
I do want to find out more about Stanley now. Can anyone recommend a good biography?

No, but he featured prominently in the beginning of an excellent (though depressing) book on Africa, The Scramble for Africa: White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent, From 1876 to 1912 by Thomas Pakenham.

IIRC, he was kind of a dick.

Safe to say that about most people working in Africa for King Leopold of Belgium.


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therealthom wrote:
I do want to find out more about Stanley now. Can anyone recommend a good biography?

His blood-drenched career and his life leading up to it get a few chapters in King Leopold's Ghost, by Adam Hochschild.

And I think the bibliography of that book could give you what you're after.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Just before PaizoCon, I blazed through Solitaire by Kelley Eskridge, which I quite enjoyed, and now am on to The Man Who Ate the World by Jay Rayner.

The Exchange

Gobbled up Crisscross (Repairman Jack #8, by F. Paul Wilson), which was a perfectly satisfying read. Writing duo James S.A Corey had the audacity to miss a deadline this year, so I cannot transition back to space opera with Babylon's Ashes. It would be a nice birthday present for myself when it comes out in august though.

So, I believe it is finally time to get in to the cool kids club and pick up Promise Of Blood (Powder Mage #1 by an author who I swear is called something like Brian Mclleliblallefgh), which has been raved all over the internet for years now.

Crisscross thoughts:
So after taking a trip to Florida to bond with his dad, Jack is back to New York. When I finished the previous book, I wondered where the series is going now - it was filled with gunfights, mutated swamp monsters, swarms of alien bugs, and big scale black magic. I felt like Wilson might write himself into a corner by now having to ramp the supernatural stuff up to match or exceed that in every book for the rest of the series.

Wisely, he didn't. Jack is not only back to his home turf, he's also back to solving problems the way he is most comfortable with - cunning, stealth and misdirection. The supernatural aspects take a back seat as Jack confronts the Dormentalists, a cult very similar to Scientology (though Scientology does exist as a separate entity in the RJ universe) only it happens to be a tool used by the Otherness. essentially, imagine how horrifying it would be to find out that Scientology was unintentionally serving Cthulhu. There's also a side job involving a blackmailed nun, which interacts with the main plot in a non cheesy way and never took the plot off the rails.

This book does something very different. It has Jack failing to protect both his major clients - the cynical Jamie (who is pretty much a female version of the classic noir detective archtype) and the pious Maggie. In both cases Jack actually does everything right, except for managing to control his clients - he will refuse to force them into acting smart, instead allowing each to make a serious mistake that brings them, ultimately, to a terrible end. Couple that with Richie Cordova, the slimy blackmailer-turned-murderer who gets off on controlling people, and Cooper Blascoe, the hippie-turned-cult leader who started Dormentalism before it was taken over for notorious ends, and a picture emerges. This book has a very strong theme on what control is, both over your own life and over the lives of others. Pretty much every character in the book (except perhaps for Gia, who is having some stuff happen in the background which will probably become important later) has a complicated relationship with the concept of control, and ultimately we see the flaws in all of their different approaches. This connects to the overall theme of the series, of Jack essentially being a near nut case when it comes to a desire for independence yet ironically finding himself as a pawn in a cosmic war.

Crisscross was grim, clever, excellently paced, had a clear theme that transcended the story and advanced the mega-plot of the RJ universe. I truly enjoyed it - to me, this is the best of the last three or four books I've read in the series, and it's not that any of the other ones was bad. I also have to take a moment to point out that I do think Wilson has honed his style well over the years, and this one is much better written than his older stuff. Don't come looking for beatiful prose or impressive word-smithing. Do come looking for extremely readable and fun story telling that would leave you wondering when did you read so many pages anyway.

On a side note, I am listening to The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August and quite literally loving every minute of it. This is shaping up to be easily the best book I've stumbled upon this year so far.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The Powder Mage series by Brian Mcl;sfllkdlkjfhjejk is amazing. The characters might not be the most likeable, but they are compelling.


'The Sword And The Centuries' by Alfred Hutton, in which a lot of people get stabbed.

'The Fortress of Eternity' by Andrew Whitmore, in which prostitutes and barbarians unite.

'Thongor Against The Gods' by Lin Carter, in which Limey completes his Thongor collection.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

"Unite." I see what you did there. ;-)


Last year, on this thread, I mentioned that I was looking for a Buffy the Vampire Slayer type of book series, and griping that I couldn't find a satisfying one. Bjørn Røyrvik asked me what I meant by "BtVS type" and I couldn't come up with a decent answer. There are obviously TONS of urban fantasy series' featuring a female hero going against monsters, so what do they lack that Buffy has?

I think I just found a book that helped me to figure out part of the answer. You know what those other series' need? A strong heroine! One of the major appeals of Buffy was that she was a tough, butt-kicking monster-slayer. And some imitators just can't seem to capture that.

I remember, long ago, getting halfway through the first "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" book, before giving up in disgust. I may not be remembering correctly, but the way I see it, the heroine went on and on about how frightening those vampires were, and about how helpless she was against their powers. It seemed like Blake was completely under the dominating influence of her sire. This was no Buffy!

For another example, I read the first Morganville Vampires book, whose main heroine seemed completely unable to defend herself, always needing her friends to protect her.

Why do female characters always have to be so weak?

But the book I'm reading now seems to have gotten it right - and I'm 99% through it, so I feel qualified to say so. It's called Blood Song by Cat Adams. The heroine, Celia Graves, is physically strong and fit. The first chapter shows her packing some good weapons, both magical and mundane. The second chapter shows that she has the skills and will to use them, as she gets attacked by vampires. Even when overwhelmed with impossible odds, she goes down fighting.

And even when a vampire tries to sire her, and something goes wrong with that, turning her into a not-quite-vampire no-one-knows-what (called an "abomination") she doesn't give up. She's determined to track down her sire and destroy him. In one scene, her sire tries to take control of her telepathically, and she successfully resists. In another scene, when the sun goes down, her blood thirst threatens to take over, and she fights that with will power that deeply impresses the expert who was with her at the time. And she continues to kick vampire butt.

Yeah, I think I found my Buffy!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Kim Harrison's "The Hollows" series is real good. Strong female POV, witty banter, interesting characters, likable characters, a strong sense of family, characters who have their own voice. Very Buffyesque without being a Buffy clone (the POV is actually smart, too!).

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Quote:
Why do female characters always have to be so weak?

It may not have bat-people or dog-people in it, but if you are looking for an urban fantasy with a tough heroine, Zero Sum Games (the first book in a series, obviously) is rather decent. It's about a woman with a superhuman mathematical intellect - she is capable of running calculations in her head that make modern computers look like wimps, which allows for some really cool and creative stunts both in combat and outside of it. It is unabashedly nerdy, which I admit was part of the appeal to me (that scene where she figures out how a super complex code works and when she explains it as "using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithm" made me feel so smug when I not only knew what she meant, but also figured it out ahead of time because it's the most obvious way to do what that code was doing) so if you are one of those people who get the shivers whenever numbers are mentioned this may not be for you. If you can stomach the theme of her super power though, you won't find a heroine much tougher than her.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

"The Rook" also has a strong female hero with no bat people or dog people.


Picnic on Paradise, which I have mentioned several times before on this very thread, has maybe the single strongest female hero ever. Not so much with the vampires though, more like interplanetary tourists and a bronze-age tour guide who ends up working the job because the Trans-Temporal Agency can't figure out what else to do with her.


Well, thanks for the suggestions, everyone, but I wanted something more like Buffy. In fact, I would simply have wanted to watch Buffy, but I have limited time in which to watch TV, and more time to read. So I'm taking the closest approximation I can find in book form.

I mean... I know that Buffy books exist, but I imagine they probably assume the reader has a certain amount of knowledge of the TV show, of which I've never seen even a single episode. I would love a straight-out novelization of the TV series, but I'm not aware that any such thing exists.

Of all your suggestions, the one that sounds the closest to what I want is The Hollows. I considered that series last year, but I'm not sure I like the idea of a post-apocalyptic setting for such a story. (And I'm not so thrilled with the idea of my kids seeing me read a book with such provocative cover art. It's not the worst art imaginable, but still, it goes a bit further than I would like.)

I finished Blood Song, and if I ever get the urge to read such a story again, I'll probably move onto Siren Song.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

It's not very post-apocalyptic. They have cellphones and cars and taxes and stuff. The "Inderlanders" (non-humans, like witches, werewolves, and vampires) even have tomatoes.

You can make book covers out of paperbags. You can even have your kids decorate them.


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SmiloDan wrote:
You can make book covers out of paperbags. You can even have your kids decorate them.

*Has flashbacks of writing favorite song lyrics on grocery bag book covers for high school textbooks, realizes this never happens anymore because lockers have been completely abolished in Southern California*

Darn it, SmiloDan! Thanks for making me feel my age! :)

Now you'll have to excuse me for a moment, while I go blame Cosmo...

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Cosmo???


Well, maybe I'll reconsider The Hollows one day. But at the moment, I'm more inclined toward Siren Song. Blood Song ended with a somewhat intriguing cliffhanger, sort of.

And just to be clear, the cover doesn't eliminate the possibility for me. I think that if anything, my making a show of hiding the cover would only make it MORE intriguing. I think it would be more discreet just not to mention it.

Heh. Now I'm having flashbacks too. The last time I covered a book with a paper bag, it was the GURPS Basic Set, 3rd Edition. I wanted to peruse it at work, and was afraid that the showy cover would attract too much attention, making it too obvious that I wasn't working. That paper bag is on that book to this day.

But my other flashback goes way back to my childhood. My mother took out an audio-book of The Haunting of Toby Jugg. I heard it, felt intrigued, and took the book out of the library. The cover showed a woman in a state of undress. Once, when I was reading it, my father gave me a weird look, seeming to want to say something, but he didn't. I didn't notice, but my brother later told me about that.

SmiloDan wrote:
Cosmo???

>>Blame *Cosmo* for ALL your problems here<<


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Aaron Bitman wrote:

Well, thanks for the suggestions, everyone, but I wanted something more like Buffy. In fact, I would simply have wanted to watch Buffy, but I have limited time in which to watch TV, and more time to read. So I'm taking the closest approximation I can find in book form.

I mean... I know that Buffy books exist, but I imagine they probably assume the reader has a certain amount of knowledge of the TV show, of which I've never seen even a single episode. I would love a straight-out novelization of the TV series, but I'm not aware that any such thing exists.

Of all your suggestions, the one that sounds the closest to what I want is The Hollows. I considered that series last year, but I'm not sure I like the idea of a post-apocalyptic setting for such a story. (And I'm not so thrilled with the idea of my kids seeing me read a book with such provocative cover art. It's not the worst art imaginable, but still, it goes a bit further than I would like.)

I finished Blood Song, and if I ever get the urge to read such a story again, I'll probably move onto Siren Song.

I'd take a look at Seanan McGuire's InCryptid novels which feels very much in the vein of Buffy to me.


Goblin books recommendations that Comrade Anklebiter might like:
Clifford Simak, The Goblin Reservation.


Currently reading:
James Ellroy, Perfidia.


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Today I read 'Graymantle' by John Morressy and 'The Story of O Part II' by Pauline Reage, which reminds me - I need to get Part I back off Ex-Lady Longears. Since she's presently speaking to me, this might even be possible.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I just finished Maplecroft by Cherie Priest. It was interesting, and one of the most interesting aspects was that Lizzie Borden was not the most interesting narrator; there are 6 or 7 throughout the novel. It's first person, but unlike many first person narratives, the characters are literally writing down the events after they occurred. It's not stream of consciousness narration, which can make it delightfully unreliable.

I'm about to start Etiquette & Espionage, Book the First of Gail Carriger's Finishing School series. Wherein proper young ladies learn the correct spoon to use during the assassination course.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

In a questionable choice, I'm following up working on Curse of the Crimson Throne with Ghost Map by Steven Johnson, about London's cholera epidemic in 1854. (If you find that topic intriguing, I also recommend The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman.)


Books to Bring on Summer Vacation in Brooklyn

Karl Marx--Capital, Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy
Suetonius--The Twelve Caesars (I'm in the middle of Caligula)
Daniel Guerin--Fascism and Big Business
Charles W. Chesnutt--The Conjure Stories

and, if I finish all that, (well, I only have to read another chapter in Capital) I'll move on to La Principessa's copy of A Clash of Kings.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Books to Bring on Summer Vacation in Brooklyn

Suetonius--The Twelve Caesars (I'm in the middle of Caligula)

Gaius (Caligula) was pretty good, but shiznit got kicked up a whole notch in the book on Nero.

You can tell it's getting much closer to Suetonius' time, there's way more awesome quotes. Lots of stuff to steal for an evil empire game.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I just finished Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger. Hilarious steampunk comedy of manners!

About to start Chapelwood by Cheri Priest. More Lovecraftian hatchet-work!


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Finished my Paul Cornell month's reading part with Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? - In which the intrepid members of Scotland Yard's 4-person squad for occult investigations investigate, well...


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GreyMind wrote:
The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Which translation?

(Not for elitist reasons or anything, they just scan differently)


Finished up Half Slave and Half Free, Bruce Levine's version of the standard antebellum survey. About three chapters in, I realized that I've read this all already. There's reason to read him if you come into it raw, especially on the social front, but I've been there and done that so it slowly became more and more of a chore. It's not bad; I just know it already.

Looked at Most Blessed of the Patriarchs but the ebook price is ridiculous. For that price you should at least get to water Jefferson's grave with the bodily fluid of your choice. Not sure what's next in lieu of that.


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Kajehase wrote:
Finished my Paul Cornell month's reading part with Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? - In which the intrepid members of Scotland Yard's 4-person squad for occult investigations investigate, well...

And following that, Matt Wallace's first Sin du Jour novella, Envy of Angels about the company who does the catering when, for instance, the US government is setting up a banquet for two demon clans to celebrate their newly negotiated peace treaty with each other.

Read it, and you may never want to eat a chicken nugget again... (can't say I felt tempted to before, personally, but they keep selling them, so I guess they're popular).


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I read The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben Winters, about a detective working to solve crimes in the last couple of months before an Earth-killing asteroid is due to strike. Though I enjoyed the books, it's not a good read for any who might be feeling depressed, that's for sure. But if you are in a good place, I'd recommend them.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Treppa wrote:
I read The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben Winters, about a detective working to solve crimes in the last couple of months before an Earth-killing asteroid is due to strike. Though I enjoyed the books, it's not a good read for any who might be feeling depressed, that's for sure. But if you are in a good place, I'd recommend them.

I read these last summer, I think. They're really good, but not too cheerful. Not horrifyingly depressing, though, considering

the:
world ends.

SmiloDan wrote:
Treppa wrote:
I read The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben Winters, about a detective working to solve crimes in the last couple of months before an Earth-killing asteroid is due to strike. Though I enjoyed the books, it's not a good read for any who might be feeling depressed, that's for sure. But if you are in a good place, I'd recommend them.

I read these last summer, I think. They're really good, but not too cheerful. Not horrifyingly depressing, though, considering ** spoiler omitted **

True, though the author

Spoiler:
kind of strings you along with the hope that the deflection plan might be real. Plus the whole "why keep going" theme is relevant to everyone and brings up those ideas of inevitable death we don't like to think about. I found it uncomfortable and am glad that I'm not depressed at the moment.

I checked out two of Winters' young adult books for grins, and Midnight Riot and Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. That should get me to sleep tonight.

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