RogerBW's Blog

The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers 31 May 2018

1983 fantasy. Brendan Doyle, an expert on nineteenth-century English poets, takes a job as a guide for time-travelling tourists, off to listen to an unrecorded talk by Coleridge. But he soon finds himself stranded in London in 1810, fleeing from sorcerers, a werewolf, and even his employer.

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Lovecraft's Lesser-Known Collaborations 30 May 2018 - 2 comments

Howard Philips Lovecraft (1890-1937) is known mostly for the work published under his own name, but as with many prolific writers he indulged in many collaborations. More, it seems, than have previously been suspected.

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Pyramid 115: Technomancer 29 May 2018

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's GURPS Technomancer, the magic-as-technology world inspired by Magic, Inc., Operation Chaos and The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump.

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Demons of the Void, David Adams 28 May 2018 - 4 comments

2011 military science fiction, first of an ongoing series. In 2029, previously-unknown aliens destroy three cities, with a warning: "Never again attempt to develop this kind of technology." Earth responds in the only way possible: space battleships! Spoilers.

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OpenVPN on LineageOS 27 May 2018

Since I have a bunch of useful things on servers at home, I was interested in using OpenVPN on the phone to get at them.

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Busman's Honeymoon, Dorothy Sayers 26 May 2018

1937 mystery, eleventh and last of Sayers' novels about Lord Peter Wimsey. Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane are married at last… but at the house they've taken for their honeymoon, the owner is dead in the cellar with his head bashed in.

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The Dark Times 3 25 May 2018

The Dark Times, edited by Lee Williams, is a fanzine that follows on from Demonground and Protodimension in dealing with "the horror-conspiracy-weirdness gaming genres", beginning with Dark Conspiracy and drifting into nearby areas.

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Torchship Pilot, Karl K Gallagher 24 May 2018

2016 science fiction, second of a trilogy. Michigan Long continues to serve aboard the analogue ship Fives Full as tensions brew up into interstellar war.

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Exit: The Abandoned Cabin 23 May 2018

I borrowed a copy of Inka and Markus Brand's Exit: The Abandoned Cabin, one of the many recent escape-room-in-a-box games. (I will not reveal anything that's not immediately available when you start playing.)

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The Island of Sheep, John Buchan 22 May 2018 - 1 comment

1936 thriller, inter-war thud-and-blunder, last novel dealing with Richard Hannay and Sandy Arbuthnot. Hannay is feeling old and stale, not helped by seeing an old firebrand friend settled in suburban domesticity, when an old promise leads to adventure one more time.

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Jelly Comb folding Bluetooth keyboard 21 May 2018

Because I knew I was going to be using Termux quite a lot, I got a bluetooth keyboard to use with my phone. It turns out to be really rather good.

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The Plain Old Man, Charlotte MacLeod 20 May 2018

1985 cozy American detective fiction; sixth of MacLeod's novels of Boston Brahmin Sarah Kelling and art investigator Max Bittersohn. Sarah's aunt is putting on her annual Gilbert and Sullivan show, but it will be made harder by theft… and perhaps murder.

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Osmand+ 19 May 2018

I've replaced the fairly basic Maps program I was using on my shinyphone with Osmand+.

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The Drawing of the Dark, Tim Powers 18 May 2018 - 1 comment

1979 fantasy. Aging mercenary Brian Duffy is recruited by a strange old man to work as a bouncer at a brewery-inn in Vienna. But it's 1529, and the Ottomans are on their way.

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The Night Mayor, Kim Newman 17 May 2018

1989 science fiction. In the City, it's always two-thirty in the morning, and raining. Mickey Rooney sells the papers and Barton MacLane is Captain of Detectives. All the noir films happen at once… and the guy behind it all needs to be taken down.

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Kitty Takes a Holiday, Carrie Vaughn 16 May 2018

2007 urban fantasy, third in the series. Kitty Norville, the late-night DJ who has become the world's most famous werewolf, goes to a mountain retreat to work on her book. But, of course, trouble follows here there.

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Entering the 21st Century 15 May 2018 - 4 comments

I've finally found a smartphone that falls within my parameters for the three Ps: price, performance and paranoia.

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The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold 14 May 2018 - 1 comment

2001 fantasy, the first set in this world. Lupe dy Cazaril has been a courtier, then a soldier, then a galley slave, and now he just wants to rest. But the gods meddle in the affairs of men, and to do it they need tools.

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Disappointed with the RAC 13 May 2018 - 8 comments

I have decided not to renew my membership of the RAC.

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Gaudy Night, Dorothy Sayers 12 May 2018

1936 mystery, tenth of Sayers' novels about Lord Peter Wimsey. Harriet Vane, doing a favour for a friend, returns to her Oxford college for the annual dinner for former members. But someone starts sending poison-pen letters, and worse; as the closest thing the college has to an investigator, Harriet reluctantly looks into it.

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Pomerania is burned 11 May 2018

I had never seen a cockchafer before, and then met two on the same day. One was dead on its back just outside the front door; the second one crashed into me several times while I was in the garden after dark.

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American Gods, Neil Gaiman 10 May 2018

2001 Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning modern fantasy. Shadow finishes his time in prison… but learns that his wife has died just before he was due to be released. He goes to work for Mr Wednesday, who's gathering forces for a big fight…

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Marlow Tabletop and Board Games 7 May 2018 09 May 2018

This Meetup-based boardgames group continues to meet at the Marlow Donkey. This time five of us turned up at the end of a long bank holiday.

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The Grub-and-Stakers Quilt a Bee, Charlotte MacLeod 08 May 2018

1985, cosy American detective fiction; second of MacLeod's novels (as "Alisa Craig") of Dittany Henbit and the Lobelia Falls Grub-and-Stakers Gardening & Roving Club. In a small town in Ontario, the new museum (of early-settlement-era tat) needs a curator. Unfortunately, the first one seems to have fallen to his death.

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Karl Marx Barbecue 07 May 2018

On the 200th anniversary of the birth of Marx, there was fire and meat and beer.

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Sweep in Peace, Ilona Andrews 06 May 2018

2015 modern fantasy short novel, originally published as blog posts on the author's web site; second in the series. Dina Demille's magical inn needs guests; she's offered the chance to host an interstellar peace conference. But only because everyone else has turned it down…

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Thirsty Meeples May 2018 05 May 2018 - 1 comment

Back to the boardgame café. With images; cc-by-sa on everything. This time the theme accidentally ended up being "games that are quite like other games".

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Escape, Pippa DaCosta 04 May 2018

2015 science fiction short novel. Ship-owner Caleb Shepperd, pilot and spy Francesca, and the android Number 1001 continue to be badly messed up people dancing around each other, and only one of them has an excuse.

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West Wycombe Caves 03 May 2018 - 1 comment

The West Wycombe Caves are quite local to me, just on the other side of High Wycombe, and a guest felt like seeing them. They have some historical interest.

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The Nine Tailors, Dorothy Sayers 02 May 2018 - 2 comments

1934 mystery, ninth of Sayers' novels about Lord Peter Wimsey. Stranded in a fen village on a snowy New Year's Eve, Wimsey helps out with the bell-ringing since one of the regular men is down with 'flu. But Fenchurch St. Paul has not finished with him, and soon enough a body will be found.

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April 2018 Trailers 01 May 2018 - 5 comments

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

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