This is my final ballot for this year's Hugos, with some thoughts on
the categories for which I haven't written full reviews.
2012 modern fantasy. For a few years, people have been manifesting
magical powers; in the US, the military has taken control of it all.
Some powers are allowed, some aren't. Oscar Britton, Army helicopter
pilot, is about to develop one of the ones that isn't.
Back to Reading, at the Great Expectations (post refurbishment, though
the beer quality is still a tad below par).
I seem to end up GMing more than I end up playing. Here are some ideas
and game mechanics I'd like to use in one of my characters if and when
the opportunity arises.
2012 mystery, twelfth in King's series about Mary Russell, wife of
Sherlock Holmes. In Morocco in 1924, rebellion is in the air, and fell
plots with international ramifications are being prepared.
I now have a working Fisher Delta additive manufacturing device, or
"3d printer" if you prefer.
2008 steampunk fantasy romance. Taya is an icarus, one of the couriers
who strap on wings and buoyant metal to carry messages and small
packages across the mountainside city of Ondinium. But a mid-air
rescue brings her to the attention of the city's leaders.
As those of you who came to the midsummer barbecue will have noticed,
the gazebo roof had rotted in the sun. So we had it re-built. Images
follow: cc-by-sa on
2014 mystery, third in Oswald's Inspector McLean series. Bodies are
found hanging in their homes in Edinburgh, apparently suicides. But
how did they all come to do it in just the same way at the same time?
A miscellany of interesting things seen while driving across Europe in
late June. Images follow:
2013 SF. Andrew Grayson is a long-term welfare recipient, and there
are only two ways out: hope to win a lottery for the colony worlds, or
sign up with the military. He's going for option B.
My copies of the
ship boosters for
arrived on Friday. What's inside?
2010 contemporary fantasy, a "re-imagining" of the Twilight series.
Bella Swan is a "rational self-knowledge junkie", so when she meets
vampires, she starts thinking about them rather than blindly falling
While we were in Mariehamn, Mia Åkerfelt, a PhD who specialises in the
history of architecture, conducted a walking tour showing off the
history of the town. Images follow:
2010 historical detection, third in Dean's Dido Kent series. On a
visit to a supposedly-haunted ruined abbey, a young lady slips and
falls, saying in her delirium only "I saw her – it was her". Was it
the Grey Nun of legend?
The Wednesday meetings are the main ones, but usually I'm occupied
elsewhere. This time I wasn't, and ended up playing a series of small
games. Images follow:
Back to the boardgame café. With
images; cc-by-sa on
2014 military SF, second in the Ark Royal series. The outdated and
over-armoured carrier Ark Royal did what the newer ships couldn't,
taking the war to the alien invaders and even capturing an enemy
starship. Now it's time for a larger raid into alien space.
The Naval Wargames Show was on last weekend in Gosport. With images;
Strictly speaking, the Ålands Sjöfartsmuseum. Images follow:
1999 historical detection. Tenth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series
(1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne is in Sydney, nominally
to watch a cricket match, at the request of two university students,
whose friend has been accused of stealing exam-papers: an obvious
setup. But it seems that there's more to it than that.
Two current kickstarter projects hold a distinct appeal, so I thought I'd
mention them here.
2013 SF, by the only non-slate nominee for the Campbell this year.
Unaging aliens and their human hosts struggle across the Earth.
Various wildlife spotted on the Finnish holiday. Images follow:
2010 mystery, seventeenth in the series about Kate Shugak, part-time
private investigator in a national park in Alaska. The gold mine has
come to the Park, and that's changing everything; but murder is still
This long-running games convention started off as a Diplomacy
gathering. These days it's a blend of board-gaming and roleplaying.
Interest rates everywhere are quite low at the moment. But there's a
(legal) method that can get a 5% (pre-tax) return on up to £9,000, and
3% on a further £21,000.
2006 SF, third in a five-book series. With the space pirates moving in
earnest to extort protection money from interstellar trading polities,
Kylara Vatta starts to build a fleet to take them on.
The first Dungeon Fantasy Monsters book dealt with all sorts of
creature one might find while kicking in doors and killing the things
behind them. This one is more specialised, dealing specifically with
2000 non-fiction, a collection of anecdotes by officers of the Royal
Navy's Fleet Air Arm.
What is off-table state, and why do I complain about it?