RogerBW's Blog

Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain, David Gerard 31 January 2018

2017 non-fiction. What is bitcoin, and why should any sensible person have absolutely nothing to do with it?

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1 Player Guild UK Meet 30 January 2018 - 2 comments

The 1 Player Guild is a group of solo game players, organised on BoardGameGeek. I do this occasionally, and when the inaugural real-world meeting was suggested in the UK, I went along. What could work better than a bunch of solo gamers getting together in one place? Actually, it was an excellent day - in a village hall in the middle of nowhere, bring your own food and drink (but much in the way of snack makings provided by the organiser), eleven people.

With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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Risking It All, Ann Granger 29 January 2018

2001 thriller/mystery; fourth of Granger's novels of Fran Varady, would-be thespian and amateur sleuth. A private investigator tracks down Fran to tell her that her mother (who abandoned the family when Fran was quite young) is dying, and wants to talk to her. But that's not all she wants. It turns out that after she left she had another daughter…

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Handycon January 2018 28 January 2018

I missed the second instance of this because it clashed with the Worldcon in Helsinki, but made it to number 3. Given how far I travel for other games conventions, one that's just on the other side of High Wycombe is a pleasant change.

With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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The Science of Food, Marty Jopson 27 January 2018

2017 non-fiction, popular science; short treatments of scientific aspects of farming, food transport and cooking.

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Screen burn 26 January 2018 - 1 comment

Burned-in screens were standard when I started with computers, though towards the end of the CRT era it mostly didn't happen any more, and more modern monitors tend not to do it either.

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Light Thickens, Ngaio Marsh 25 January 2018

1982 classic English detective fiction; thirty-second and last of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Peregrine Jay is putting on Macbeth at the Dolphin, but tensions are running high and not all the cast will make it to the end of the run.

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Marlow Tabletop and Board Games 15 January 2018 24 January 2018

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

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All Systems Red, Martha Wells 23 January 2018 - 2 comments

2017 science fiction novella. Murderbot is an AI running a light-duty security robot, trying to keep the humans of a planetary survey expedition alive, though it would much rather spend its time catching up on episodes of Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon. Unfortunately its job is going to get rather harder.

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A Better Statecraft 22 January 2018

I recently played Peter Blenkharn's game Statecraft, and I wasn't terribly impressed. Here are some ideas that I think might improve it.

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Photo Finish, Ngaio Marsh 21 January 2018 - 2 comments

1980 classic English detective fiction; thirty-first of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. The Great Soprano is being pestered by a paparazzo; her millionaire friend takes her to a retreat in the New Zealand bush, with just a dozen good friends – including the young composer she's taken over, and whose new opera she's going to put on in a private performance. But all that's not going to stop someone from killing her.

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Pyramid 111: Combat II 20 January 2018 - 2 comments

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's fighting – not a theme I find particularly compelling in RPGs any more.

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Boardgames at Home, January 2018 19 January 2018 - 3 comments

With a role-playing session cancelled because of non-availability, the people who would have been doing that got together to play some boardgames.

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Furnished for Murder, Elizabeth Ferrars 18 January 2018

1957 murder mystery in rural England. The Jeacocks have split off part of their house to make a cottage to let, but not only is their tenant entirely too willing to pay three months' rent in advance in lieu of references, he's mostly interested in the Big House nearby, and its new owner.

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Thirsty Meeples January 2018 17 January 2018 - 2 comments

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

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Neoreaction a Basilisk, Philip Sandifer 16 January 2018 - 1 comment

2016 non-fiction. Sandifer writes about the alt-right, starting with the writings of three luminaries of neoreaction and in demolishing them wanders through a variety of strange places.

Note: this is the title both of the collection and of the first essay, which seems also to have been published separately.

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December 2017-January 2018 Trailers 15 January 2018

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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Soonish, Kelly and Zach Wienersmith 14 January 2018 - 1 comment

2017 non-fiction, popular science. A biologist and a cartoonist look at ten fields of technology that seem likely to produce large changes in human life.

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Time After Time 13 January 2018

2017 science fiction/investigation, 5 or 12 episodes; H. G. Wells pursues Jack the Ripper into the modern day.

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Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card 12 January 2018 - 2 comments

1985 Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning science fiction, expansion of an earlier short story. Ender Wiggin is brought up to be the tactical genius necessary to fight off the alien invaders.

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Stabcon 2018 11 January 2018

This long-running games convention had another instance at the start of January. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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The Rose in Darkness, Christianna Brand 10 January 2018

1979 detective fiction; fourth and last of Brand's novels of Inspector Charlesworth. On a stormy night, faded film star Sari Morne finds her road blocked by a fallen tree; but a stranger has just arrived at the other side, and they swap cars to finish their journeys. But the next morning the car in her garage has a corpse in it.

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Marlow Tabletop and Board Games 1 January 2018 09 January 2018

This Meetup-based boardgames group continues to meet at the Marlow Donkey. We planned for a long day of gaming.

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Betrayal, Pippa DaCosta 08 January 2018

2015 science fiction. Captain Caleb Shepperd runs a rustbucket interplanetary freighter, trying to make enough money to keep going. Number 1001 is a synth, supposedly built to be some rich woman's immortal body, but in practice sent off as an assassin. Things aren't going to go well.

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Museum of London 07 January 2018 - 1 comment

I went to the Museum of London to see a particular exhibition, and stayed to see the rest of it.

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Grave Mistake, Ngaio Marsh 06 January 2018

1978 classic English detective fiction; thirtieth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. The wealthy double-widow Sybil Foster apparently commits suicide while staying in a hotel for hypochondriacs. But this is not a story about suicide. vt A Grave Mistake.

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The Dressmaker 05 January 2018

2015 drama, dir. Jocelyn Moorhouse, Kate Winslet, Judy Davis: IMDb / allmovie. In 1950s rural Australia, Tilly Dunnage is coming home to upend the small town that threw her out as a child.

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Her Brother's Keeper, Mike Kupari 04 January 2018

2015 military SF. Catherine Blackwood is a privateer ship's captain, which in practice means mercenary; a new contract has her employed by her estranged father to haul her idiot brother back out of whatever trouble he's got himself into.

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2017 in boardgames 03 January 2018

2017 was another very boardgame-ful year.

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2017 in Books 02 January 2018

In 2017 I read 124 books, down again from the previous year.

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Roger's 2017 in 50 Words 01 January 2018

A friend likes to sum up his year in a set number of words, and I copy this fine idea. "Think of it as a short and un-boastful summary of the year, which nobody is expected to understand all of."

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