RogerBW's Blog

Clarkesworld 142, July 2018 31 July 2018 - 2 comments

Clarkesworld is a monthly on-line magazine edited by Neil Clarke. After seeing where some of my favourite Hugo novelette nominations had been published, I decided to take a look at the current issue.

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GURPS Hot Spots: Renaissance Venice, Matt Riggsby 30 July 2018 - 1 comment

This historical GURPS supplement deals with Venice in the 15th and 16th centuries.

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Peacekeeper, Laura E. Reeve 29 July 2018

2008 science fiction, first of a trilogy. Ariane Kedros was involved in a mission that's often regarded as a war crime; under her new identity she prospects in new star systems. But Intelligence still has jobs for her.

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Failed Crocs 28 July 2018

I bought some Crocs last year, because I like padded shoes when I'm spending several days at a trade show with hard floors. They're very comfortable, but they don't seem to last.

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The Enemy Within, Edward Marston 27 July 2018

2017 historical detective fiction, sixth of Marston's novels of Inspector Harvey Marmion. In 1917, as the War drags on, Wally Hubbard breaks out of Pentonville and searches for the man who seduced and abandoned his daughter. But that isn't Marmion's only problem.

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Type 31e Frigate Suspended 26 July 2018 - 1 comment

The UK's Type 31e Frigate programme has suddenly been suspended.

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Shroud for a Nightingale, P. D. James 25 July 2018

1971 detective fiction, fourth of James's novels of Inspector Adam Dalgliesh. A hospital on the Sussex-Hampshire border has a nurse training school attached; one of the students is poisoned during a demonstrating of tube feeding, and a few weeks later another dies in her sleep.

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Hugo 2018: Novelettes 24 July 2018

These are my thoughts on the Hugo-nominated novelettes. I'm not voting this year, but if you are, you may wish not to read these notes until you have read the stories.

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Station Eleven, Emily St John Mandel 23 July 2018

2014 post-apocalyptic SF. A famous actor dies during a performance of King Lear; outside, the world is ending in pandemic.

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The Corpse in Oozak's Pond, Charlotte MacLeod 22 July 2018

1987 mystery; sixth of MacLeod's novels of Professor Peter Shandy. The old pond that provides startup hydropower to the Balaclava Agricultural College's methane plant is the site of the annual Groundhog Day festivities; this year it's also where a body has floated to the surface.

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Packing Cubes 21 July 2018

On a recent ten-day European trip, I tried out packing cubes for the first time, and my impression is highly favourable.

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Zoo City, Lauren Beukes 20 July 2018

2010 contemporary fantasy. In a decaying alternate-present Johannesberg, Zinzi December is one of the animalled: people who, for reasons that aren't entirely clear, have acquired an animal companion and magical powers. Of course, that's not entirely a good thing.

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Unnatural Causes, P. D. James 19 July 2018

1967 detective fiction, third of James's novels of Inspector Adam Dalgliesh. Dalgleish is on holiday, visiting his aunt's cottage on the Suffolk coast; but one of the local writers has gone missing, and soon the police announce that his body has been found.

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The Exile Waiting, Vonda N. McIntyre 18 July 2018

1975 science fiction, broadly in the same universe as Dreamsnake. In the last city on a post-apocalyptic earth, Mischa the thief is trying to get passage off-world for herself and her brother before their telepathic talents doom them both.

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Summer Stabcon 2018 17 July 2018

This long-running games convention had another instance at the start of July, on a very very hot weekend. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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Her Royal Spyness, Rhys Bowen 16 July 2018

2007 mystery/thriller, first in its series. In 1932, Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie ("Georgie"), thirty-fourth in line to the throne, is desperate to get away from her brother's frozen castle in Scotland, and unwilling to be married off to Prince Siegfried of Romania, but is without funds of her own, so she travels to London to try to make her own way in life. Things rapidly become excessively complicated.

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Mythical Orichalcum in GURPS 15 July 2018 - 2 comments

Orichalcum is a term that shows up in Plato's Critias, particularly in association with Atlantis, as a signifier of the decline of civilisation. For role-playing purposes one can do more with it.

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A Dark So Deadly, Stuart MacBride 14 July 2018 - 1 comment

2017 mystery, tartan noir. In Oldcastle, a notional Scottish city that's mostly Aberdeen with some shades of Edinburgh, the detectives nobody wants (but who can't be fired) end up in the Misfit Mob. When lots of bodies turn up at once in the town dump, they get the most boring one. But now they've got a serial killer to track down…

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Thirsty Meeples July 2018 13 July 2018

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

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Switchback, Melissa F. Olson 12 July 2018

2017 modern fantasy short novel novella, second in its series. The underdog FBI department that fights vampires gets a case in a small town.

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Koi wa Ameagari no You ni 11 July 2018

2018 modern romance/slice of life, seinen manga adaptation in 12 episodes: AniDB, vt "After the Rain". High school student Tachibana Akira has a crush on Kondou Masami, the middle-aged manager of the restaurant where she does a part-time job.

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Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan 10 July 2018

2012… hard to categorise, but I think "contemporary thriller" comes closest. Unemployed web designer Clay Jannon gets a job at a bookshop… which turns out to be distinctly Odd.

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Marlow Tabletop and Board Games 2 July 2018 09 July 2018

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

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The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Michael Chabon 08 July 2018

2007 Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning alternate-world noir. In 1940, refugee Jews from Europe were granted a temporary homeland in Alaska; sixty years later it's about to be handed back to the USA. But for homicide detective Meyer Landsman, that can't get in the way of solving the latest murder.

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GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Settings: Caverntown, Sean Punch 07 July 2018

This first Dungeon Fantasy Settings book deals with a town - in other words, the very thing that Dungeon Fantasy tends to skim over lightly, as merely a place to heal up, sell loot and buy supplies.

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Provenance, Ann Leckie 06 July 2018

2017 SF, set in the same universe as the Imperial Radch series but not in Radchaai space. Ingray Aughskold is a low-ranking political daughter, trying for a major coup to get herself some status. But her plans are going to go comprehensively wrong.

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Wireless networks in the wild 05 July 2018 - 4 comments

I've been running a wireless network receiver while out (mostly driving) with the smartphone, logging beacons and locations.

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Marlow Tabletop and Board Games 18 June 2018 04 July 2018

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

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Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online 03 July 2018

2018 SF, 12 episodes: AniDB, in the same setting as Sword Art Online but sharing no characters with it. People come to the virtual reality game for various reasons, and most of them find what they're looking for.

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A Dismal Thing to Do, Charlotte MacLeod 02 July 2018

1986, cosy American detective fiction; third of MacLeod's novels (as "Alisa Craig") of Madoc and Janet Rhys. After Janet is nearly killed while trying to give assistance at a road accident, Madoc is brought in at the other end of the case to track down stolen military equipment.

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June 2018 Trailers 01 July 2018 - 2 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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