RogerBW's Blog

The Amateur Cracksman, E. W. Hornung 30 November 2017

1899 thriller, collection of short stories from 1898 with new material. A. J. Raffles, prominent society man and cricketer, leads a double life as a burglar.

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War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, Chris Hedges 29 November 2017

2002 non-fiction: an experienced foreign reporter gives his views on the fundamental psychological brokenness of war.

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GURPS Fantasy-Tech 2: Weapons of Fantasy, Sean Punch 28 November 2017

This GURPS Fantasy-Tech supplement deals with upgrades, plausible or otherwise, to low-tech mêlée weapons.

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The Riddle of the River, Catherine Shaw 27 November 2017 - 1 comment

2007 historical mystery, fourth of Shaw's series. In 1898, Vanessa Weatherburn investigates a young woman whose body was found floating in the Cam.

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Marlow Tabletop and Board Games 20 November 2017 26 November 2017

This Meetup-based boardgames group continues to meet at the Marlow Donkey.

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Dying for Millions, Judith Cutler 25 November 2017

1998 mystery; fourth of Cutler's novels of Sophie Rivers, a teacher in a sixth-form college in Birmingham. Sophie's cousin Andy is a rock legend, planning to retire and devote himself to good causes; but it seems that someone wants him dead.

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Fifteenth Harpoon PBEM AAR: Gulf Escort Deja Vu 24 November 2017 - 1 comment

After a long break while I was busy doing other things, I've returned to Harpoon. I really need to rewrite the support software from scratch, but it just about holds up.

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GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Encounters 1: The Pagoda of Worlds, Matt Riggsby 23 November 2017

This first Dungeon Fantasy Encounters book deals with an abandoned (but monster-infested) tower offering portals into other worlds.

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When In Rome, Ngaio Marsh 22 November 2017

1970 classic English detective fiction; twenty-sixth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Various people have gathered for an expensive but exclusive tour of the sights of Rome; some of them are Bad Lots, and some of them will die.

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Marlow Tabletop and Board Games 6 November 2017 21 November 2017

This Meetup-based boardgames group continues to meet at the Marlow Donkey.

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The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson 20 November 2017

2003 non-fiction; the story of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, and of Herman Mudgett or H. H. Holmes, America's first serial killer.

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Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o 2 19 November 2017

2017 ongoing comedic fantasy manga adaptation in 10 episodes: Anidb, vt "Konosuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World!". Kazuma continues to live in an MMORPG world.

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Pyramid 109: Thaumatology V 18 November 2017

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's a return to thaumatology, looking at magic and what to do with it.

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Running Scared, Ann Granger 17 November 2017

1998 thriller; third of Granger's novels of Fran Varady, would-be actress and amateur sleuth. Fran's working in her friend Ganesh's corner shop when a man stumbles in, obviously injured, then leaves once he's cleaned himself up a bit. But now sinister characters are hanging around the shop, and around Fran herself.

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November 2017 Trailers 16 November 2017

Some trailers I've seen recently, and my thoughts on them. (Links are to youtube. Opinions are thoroughly personal.)

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Burgle Bros. 15 November 2017

Burgle Bros., by Tim Fowers, is a cooperative heist game for 1-4 players.

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Echoes in Death, J. D. Robb 14 November 2017

2017 SF/mystery; fifty-fifth (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. (Or 44th novel, I think. At some point I may renumber these reviews.) On the road on a snowy night, Homicide Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke find a naked, blood-stained and delirious woman who claims to have been attacked by the Devil.

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Mansions of Madness Second Edition, revisited 13 November 2017

I played the new edition of Mansions of Madness last year, and wasn't hugely impressed. But there's now an editor to allow people to write their own scenarios.

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The Battle for History, John Keegan 12 November 2017

This short book is a survey of histories of the Second World War.

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Pyramid 108: Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game III 11 November 2017 - 2 comments

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's the last of the three issues promised during the Dungeon Fantasy RPG kickstarter. (It's well timed, as hardcopies of the books were reaching Kickstarter supporters as it came out, and they're now available to the public.)

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Startide Rising, David Brin 10 November 2017 - 2 comments

1983 Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning science fiction, second book of the Uplift series. In a universe where every known intelligent species has been "uplifted" to sapience by an earlier species, humanity is the sole exception, and it's breaking interstellar politics; if humans hadn't already uplifted dolphins and chimpanzees before first contact, it would be even worse. An exploration vessel from Earth (mostly dolphin-crewed, with some humans and one chimpanzee) has found something amazing, but has made a forced landing on an unknown world while evading alien fleets.

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Thirsty Meeples November 2017 09 November 2017 - 2 comments

Back to the boardgame café. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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The Rules of the Game, Andrew Gordon 08 November 2017 - 1 comment

For over a hundred years, the Royal Navy had been expecting to win the next Trafalgar. On 31 May 1916 off the Danish coast they got their chance, and it didn't go as well as might have been hoped.

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Essen 2017 haul 07 November 2017

This is what I brought back from Essen. (Things for other people are not included.)

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Clutch of Constables, Ngaio Marsh 06 November 2017 - 2 comments

1968 classic English detective fiction; twenty-fifth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Worn down by having to be too much in public, Agatha Troy takes a river cruise in fen country. But nobody is quite what they seem, and soon one of them will be dead.

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Essen 2017 05 November 2017 - 4 comments

At the end of October I went back to Internationale Spieltage SPIEL, or "Essen" as it's generally known in the boardgaming world.

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Mrs, Presumed Dead, Simon Brett 04 November 2017

1988 mystery; second in Brett's Mrs Pargeter series (amateur sleuthing). Mrs Pargeter moves into one of a small cluster of new houses, but it seems that the previous occupant may have come to a bad end.

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Marlow Tabletop and Board Games 16 October 2017 03 November 2017

This Meetup-based boardgames group continues to meet at the Marlow Donkey.

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Cargo of Eagles, Margery Allingham 02 November 2017

1968 classic English detective fiction; nineteenth and last of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion, finished after her death by her husband. A hamlet on the Essex marshes is keeping secrets, and apparently some of them are worth murdering for.

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Thirsty Meeples October 2017 01 November 2017 - 2 comments

Back to the boardgame café. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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