RogerBW's Blog

2015 Hugo Awards: final thoughts 31 July 2015

This is my final ballot for this year's Hugos, with some thoughts on the categories for which I haven't written full reviews.

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Shadow Ops: Control Point, Myke Cole 30 July 2015 - 3 comments

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.

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Reading Boardgames Social 28 July 2015 29 July 2015

Back to Reading, at the Great Expectations (post refurbishment, though the beer quality is still a tad below par).

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Characters I'd like to play 28 July 2015 - 2 comments

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.

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Garment of Shadows, Laurie R. King 27 July 2015 - 2 comments

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.

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I have a 3D printer 26 July 2015 - 4 comments

I now have a working Fisher Delta additive manufacturing device, or "3d printer" if you prefer.

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Clockwork Heart, Dru Pagliassotti 25 July 2015

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.

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Gazebo Roof Reconstruction 24 July 2015 - 5 comments

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 everything.

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The Hangman's Song, James Oswald 23 July 2015

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?

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View from the Road (summer 2015) 22 July 2015 - 4 comments

A miscellany of interesting things seen while driving across Europe in late June. Images follow: cc-by-sa on everything.

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Terms of Enlistment, Marko Kloos 21 July 2015 - 8 comments

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.

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Firefly Jetwash and Esmeralda: unboxing and first look 20 July 2015

My copies of the Jetwash and Esmeralda ship boosters for Firefly arrived on Friday. What's inside?

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Luminosity, Alicorn 19 July 2015 - 2 comments

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 in love.

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Architecture of Mariehamn 18 July 2015

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: cc-by-sa on everything.

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A Woman of Consequence, Anna Dean 17 July 2015

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?

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Reading Boardgames Social 15 July 2015 16 July 2015 - 2 comments

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: cc-by-sa on everything.

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Thirsty Meeples July 2015 15 July 2015

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

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The Nelson Touch, Christopher Nuttall 14 July 2015

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.

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Naval Wargames Show 2015 13 July 2015

The Naval Wargames Show was on last weekend in Gosport. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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Alands Maritime Museum and Pommern 12 July 2015

Strictly speaking, the Ålands Sjöfartsmuseum. Images follow: cc-by-sa on everything.

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Death Before Wicket, Kerry Greenwood 11 July 2015 - 2 comments

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.

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Kickstarter Watch on High Frontier and Nuclear War 10 July 2015 - 1 comment

Two current kickstarter projects hold a distinct appeal, so I thought I'd mention them here.

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The Deaths of Tao, Wesley Chu 09 July 2015

2013 SF, by the only non-slate nominee for the Campbell this year. Unaging aliens and their human hosts struggle across the Earth.

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Wildlife of Scandiwegia, summer 2015 08 July 2015 - 2 comments

Various wildlife spotted on the Finnish holiday. Images follow: cc-by-sa on everything.

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A Night Too Dark, Dana Stabenow 07 July 2015

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 murder.

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Summer Stabcon 2015 06 July 2015 - 3 comments

This long-running games convention started off as a Diplomacy gathering. These days it's a blend of board-gaming and roleplaying. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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The Sloshing of Money 05 July 2015 - 2 comments

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.

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Engaging the Enemy, Elizabeth Moon 04 July 2015

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.

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GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2: Icky Goo, Sean Punch 03 July 2015

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 slimes.

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Fly Navy: The View from the Cockpit 1945-2000, Charles Manning 02 July 2015

2000 non-fiction, a collection of anecdotes by officers of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.

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The perils of Off-Table State 01 July 2015

What is off-table state, and why do I complain about it?

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