lurkerwithout: (television)
From Dusk 'Till Dawn s.1:  I only watched the first three episodes and then the series finale.  And it was very much not good.  Even on a specialty tier network like El Ray I can't believe it got three seasons.  Making Richie Gecko's psychotic delusions actual psychic visions was..almost clever though.  And his actor was a step up from Tarantino.

Chewing Gum s.2:  I liked and even empathized with most of the characters in the first season.  This time around, I mostly just found them selfish and irritating.  Until the end when again they become more sympathetic again.

Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King:  Comedy special for Minhaj, who is a writer for the Daily Show.  Funny and good, but not great.  I liked the stuff from his childhood with his immigrant little sister the best probably.

Girlboss s.1:  I went looking for reviews after I finished and maaaaaan did a lot of reviewers hate this.  I wouldn't call it A-level television, but the actors were good, the overall story arc was interesting and it was often amusing at least.  Plus it has Hutch from the Middle.

lurkerwithout: (Default)
January:
Short Fiction:  Seanan McGuire's My Last Name, Velveteen vs. the Retroactive Continuity & Velveteen Presents Jacqueline Claus vs. the Lost & Found; Stephen Leigh's the Atonement Tango

New Read:  Eric Flint/Griffen Barber's 1636: Mission to the Mughals
Chuck Wendig's Star Wars: Aftermath
Yuya Sato's Dendera: Old ladies vs. enviroment.  And a marauding bear.
Mira Grant's Parasite
Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl:  Coming of age/starting college for the fanfic writer set.
Douglas Hulick's Sworn in Steel
Foz Meadows' An Accident of Stars.  Teen travel to magical worlds now with PTSD.
Paula Goodlett/Gorg Hoff's Bartley's Man: "Ring of Fire" sidestory, specifically the Sewing Circle/OPM/Barbies bit.
Grady Hendrix' Horrorstor:  There should be an umlaut over that 3rd o.  Haunt at not-Ikea.
Evan Curie's Into the Black
Rachel Aaron's No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished

Rereads: Eric Flint's 1635: the Eastern Front, 1636: the Saxon Uprising & 1636: the Ottoman Onslaught

Graphic Novels/TPBs/RPGs:  Chris Hastings & Guhiru's the Unbelievable Gwenpool vol.1: Believe It
Stjepan Sejic's Sunstone vol.5:  Final volume of the best bdsm-lesbian-romance comic.
John Layman/Rob Guillory's Chew vol.12: Sour Grapes: More than a bit of a downer ending.  Not Ex Machina levels, but still.

Total: 18


February:
Short Fiction: Seanan McGuire's Lay of the Land & Velveteen vs. Recovery, Yoon Ha Lee's Extra Curricular Activities.

New Read:  Robin McKinley's Deerskin
Tim Pratt's Liar's Blade: Pathfinder tie-in novel.
David Drake's Death's Bright Day:  Latest "Lt. Leary".
April Daniel's Dreadnaught: Nemesis:  Cape fiction with trans-female lead.
T. Kingfisher's Summer in Orcus  YA magical quest from one of the best in the genre.
Ben Aaronovitch's the Hanging Tree:  Latest "Rivers of London" with visits the American & Russian magic heritages.
Becky Chambers' the Long Way to the Small, Angry Planet (I'm not crying you're crying shut up) & a Closed and Common Orbit
Daniel Jose Older's Battle Hill Bolero
Jasper Fforde's the Eye of Zoltar
Jack Weathford's the Secret History of the Mongol Queens:  Non-fiction history on the female Mongol leaders.

Rereads:  -

Graphic Novels/TPBs/RPGs:  Jennifer Doyle's Knights Errant
Tom Neely/Keenan Marshall Keller's the Humans vol.1: Humans For Life:  Planet of the Apes meets outlaw biker gangs

Total:14


March:
Short Fiction:  This was basically the "Neverless, She Persisted" theme Tor.com did.  With stories by Seanan McGuire, Kameron Hurley, Hyssa Wong, Carrie Vaughn, Chalie Jane Anders, Nisi Shawl, Brooke Bolander, Jo Walton, Amal El-Mohter, Catherynne M. Valente.

New Read:  Jo Walton's the Just City: Athena & Apollo attempt to create Plato's "perfect" Just City.  Shockingly the actual and the theoretical do not mesh perfectly.
Chuck Wendig's Invasive.  Sequel to the Zer0es.  With this second volume its very much supers type bad guy in an espionage/adventure setting.
Chuck Wendig's Atlanta Burns: the Hunt: 2nd of his YA white-trash pulp.  "Winter's Bone" meets Veronica Mars I guess.
RJ Ross' Coyote's Howl:  Latest "Cape High" book.
C.B. Lee's Not Your Sidekick: YA semi-dystopian with supers.
Seanan McGuire's Magic For Nothing:  Latest "InCryptid", with youngest sibling Antimony this time.
Patricia Brigg's Silence Fallen:  Latest "Mercy Thompson", with Mercy kidnapped to Europe 'cause vampire politics.  And the vamps are really the last interesting part of Brigg's urban fantasy series.
Jim Butcher/Kerrie L. Hughes' (ed) Shadowed Souls:  Urban fantasy anthology.
Louis McMaster Bujold's Mira's Last Dance
Anne Leckie's Ancillary Mercy
Matt Dunn's A Day at the Office
Clifford D. Simak's City
George R.R. Martin/Melinda Snodgrass' (ed) High Stakes:  This "Wild Cards" volume was actually a bit too dark even for me.  I'm looking forward to at least slightly more upbeat future books.


Rereads:  John Scalzi's Lock In & Redshirts
Douglas Adams' the Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.  Rereading this I'm suddenly left with the feeling Adams just gave up around the final act.

Graphic Novels/TPBs/RPGs:  G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona/Tekeshi Miyezawa/Cameron Stewart's Ms. Marvel vol.6: Civil War II:  Carole is in an idjit, out-idioting Tony from the first one.
Gwenda Bond/Kate Leth's Girl Over Paris: Lady high-wire walker vs. ghost mystery.
Marguerite Bennett/Ming Doyle/Marguerite Sauvage/Laura Bragen's Bombshells vol.1: Enlisted
Kate Leth/Brittany Williams' Patsy Walker aka Hellcat! vol.2: Don't Stop Me-ow.  Now with teen mom/vampire Jubilee.
Tom King/Michael Walsh/Gabriel Walte/Mike Del Muado's Vision vol.2: Better Than a Beast
Jason Bulmahn's (et al) Pathfinder: Horror Adventures
Sandy Petersen's (et al) Call of Cthulhu: Keeper's Handbook

Total: 24

lurkerwithout: (Cat Jedi)
After a lengthy scheduling break, we're back to Creepy New England Academic Town.  And we investigate the mystery of Can We Find a Hotel Room?  No we can not.  Both the good and the cheap lodgings are sold out.  Why?  No one knows! (Obviously its Cultist Season and all the Cultists are in town).  We also learn that many local homes and farms are being foreclosed on for seemingly no reason.  So we end up essentially camping in the empty home of our missing professor aquaintince.  Though during the night my Hawai'in Dick sneaks off to check on the secretary and her creepy twins.  One of said twins was spotted washing their hands late at night in a creepy manner.  Sadly the basement window was too small for Max's overly large frame and my lockpicking skills are non-exsistant.

The next day we attempted to report our missing person to the local cops to no effect.  And checked with the grocery store where our deranged and doomed grocery clerk worked.  Minimal gains there as well.  We did notice an ongoing pattern of injury to eyes amongst the townsfolk.  After that we headed out to the farm owned by the local handyman who dragged off Kenny's body last time.  And had a bad reputation.  There we came upon some goons and what looked to be a mob digging a giant hole.  Violence ensued, with the goons drawing knives after mention was made of the rampant pink eye going about.  The mob seemed to be some kind of forced labor and fled the farm after the fight.  And interogation was attempted on the surviving goons but to no avail.  And then we searched the farm, finding a drawer full of assorted key rings, a barn full of cars and eventually a group of filled in giant holes.  Investigation of one revealing it was mass grave.  Leading to more shock and horror to poor, innocent Wooster.
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
April
Short Fiction: Marie Brennan's "From the Editorial Page of the Falchester Weekly Review", Glenn Hirshberg's "Freedom is Space for the Spirit", Tara Isabella Burton's "the Destroyer" & Genevieve Valentine's "La Beaute Sans Vertu".

New Reads:
Brandon Sanderson's Calamity and the Bands of Mourning.  The first finishes up his supers' trilogy and the latter is part of his steampunk-era "Mistborn" series.
Steven James' Blur.  An ok YA paranormal mystery.
Daniel Jose Older's Midnight TaxiTango.  2nd novel of his "Bone Street Rumbo" series.
Tim Dorsey's Florida Roadkill.  First foray into Dorsey's  modern crime/pulp stuff.  A bit too wide a spread of characters and plots for me.
Adrian Tchaivosky's Guns of the Dawn.  A black powder-fantasy book where one of the two warring nations begins conscripting female soldiers to shore up its manpower shortages.  Feels a little like of an Austen character was the lead in a Bernard Cornwell Napoleonic book.
Elizabeth Bear/Sarah Monette's a Companion to Wolves.  Monette is the writer of the Goblin Emperor under a pseudonym and Elizabeth Bear is Elizabeth Bear.  So this is very well written.  It also has a LOT of really graphic gay sex, much that borders on the edge of non-consensual.
Daniel Abraham's the Spider's War.  The final to "the Dagger & the Coin" epic fantasy series which features the heroism of the banking system and using it to fight mad, religious tyrants.
Seanan McGuire's Indexing: Reflections.
Charlie Higson's the Enemy
Sherwood Smith's Remnala's Children.  Some follow-up stories to the Crown/Court Duel books.
Michael Shea's the Extra.  Future dystopia where filmmakers can literally kill off their extras in movies.
Emmie Mears' the Masked Songbird.  First of Mears' "Shrike" supers series.

Rereads:
Eric Flint/George Huff/Paula Goodlett's 1636: the Kremlin Games, 1636: the Barbie Consortium & 1636: the Viennese Waltz
Iver Cooper's 1636: Seas of Fortune
Lois McMaster Bujold's Captain Vorpatril's Alliance & Gentelman Jole & the Red Queen

Graphic Novels/TPBs/Rulebooks:  I'm moving rpgs and other non-fiction here since I don't really go thru enough of it for its own category.
Faith Erin Hicks's the Nameless City.  Alt history in a pseduo-China/Mongolia border setting.
Ultimate Intrigue (Pathfinder).  I liked this sourcebook quite a bit.  The roommate fell in love with the evil version of the Leadership feat and other new rules for his wizard/rogue crime boss.

Total books: 22


May
Short Fiction: Theodora Goss' "Red as Blood and White as Bone", Emmie Mears' "Uncaged", Brit Mandelo's "the Pigeon Summer", P. Djeli Clark's "a Dead Djinn in Cairo", K.B. Spangler's "Who Tells Your Story", Dennis Danvers' "Orphan Pirates of the Spanish Main" and Seanan McGuire's "Waking in Las Vegas".

New Reads:
Sharon Lee/Steve Miller's Alliance of Equals.  Their most recent "Liaden" novel.  Actually an eARC for the most recent.
Elizabeth Bear's Karen Memory.  Steampunk/Western with a bisexual female prostitute as the lead.
Emmie Mears' Rampant.  2nd "Shrike" novel which are set in Edinburgh.
Kameron Hurley's Mirror Empire.  Super-grim and violent fantasy series about parallel worlds and invasions between them.
Marko Kloos' Chain of Command
R.J. Ross' Cape High Christmas
Kate Elliot's Jaran, An Earthly Crown, His Conquering Sword & the Law of Becoming.  Both a pseudo-Mongolion horde "fantasy" and a Conquered Humanity sci fi series.
Alex Shvartsman (ed) Funny Fantasy.  What it says on the box.  A collection of previously published comedy fantasy stories.
Nick Mamatas/Masumi Washington (ed) Hanzai Japan.  Japan-set scifi, much with a noir or horror slant to it.
Amy Poehler's Yes Please.  Poehler's autobio.

Rereads:
Andre Norton's Gryphon in Glory.  While this was a reread, I honestly couldn't remember anything at all going in.
Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small

Graphic Novels/TPBs/Rulebooks:
XCrawl (d20).  Picked up on the cheap with a stack of other rpgs from Bookmans.  Competitive reality show dungeon crawling works better in concept than the actual execution.
Mike Maihack's Cleopatra in Space vol. 3: Secret of the Time Tablets.  Caps off the trilogy with a reveal of the origin of the big bad and some idea of why Cleopatra of all historical figures.
Scott Snyder/Jock's Wytches.  This was honestly one of the more disturbing horror comics I've read in awhile.
John Layman/Rob Guillory's Chew vol.11: the Last Suppers & Chew vol. 10: Blood Puddin'.  I actually ordered and read vol. 11 and then realized I'd skipped the 10th volume.
Krazy Krow/Rocio Zuchhi's Spinnarette: Crisis in a Bunch of Ohios.  Latest print collection of the supers/humor webcomic.
Kiyohiko Azuma's Yotsuba&! vol.13.  We get to meet Yotsuba's grandmother.

Total: 24


June:
Short Fiction: Harry Turtledove's "Typecasting", A.J. Hartley's "Chains" and Monica Byrne's "Traumphysik".

New Reads:
Cat Valente's Speakeasy.  Roaring 20s plus Faires with Valente lyrical-style.
Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver.  Paranatural-YA with external temparture triggered werewolves.
Ian Thomas Healy's Tusks & the Lion & the Five Deadly Serpents.  "Inception" style dream adventure and 70's era kung fu in Healy's "Just Cause" supers setting.
Naomi Novak's League of Dragons.  The finale for the "Tremaire" series.
Jim Hines' Revisionary.  And another finale, this time for the "Libriomancer" series.
Drew Hayes' Corpies.  I like Hayes' supers books, but they all feel like they could use another editorial pass once they're collected together from his original free chapters online source.
Jennifer Henshaw/Allison Lin (ed) Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft.  There are some really good scifi stories in this collection.  No really.
Ryan North's Romeo and/or Juliet.  I do like that several of the ending options involved the teens just talking to their parents and avoiding a whole lot of deaths.
Andre Norton Cat'seye. Human/animal psychic partnerships.  Different from the "Beastmaster" ones.
Chuck Wendig's Atlanta Burns.  Kind of white-trash "Veronica Mars".  Or maybe Really Angry and VIolent "Nancy Drew".

Reread:
Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men, a Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, I Shall Midnight & Shepard's Crown.  Shut up, I'm not crying.  You're crying.

Graphic Novels/TPBs/Rulebooks:
the Dresden Files RPG: Your Story (FATE)
Evan Dahm's Vattu: the Sword & the Sacrament
C. Spike Trotman (ed) New World: An Anthology of Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Jim Zub/Steve Cummings' Wayward vol. 3
Tony Cliff's Delilah Dirk & the King's Shilling.  To England!

Total: 22

3 Movies

Apr. 14th, 2015 04:57 pm
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Cavalry:  Brendan Gleeson is a small town priest who recieves a death threat from a parishoner during the confessional.  Which leads to him contemplating the nature of good and evil and sin and justice.  Gleeson is a fucking treasure...

Chef: John Favreau is a highly paid chef who has a meltdown after an internet feud with a food blogger.  Leading to him going on a road trip in a food truck with his son.  Cute movie with a nice cast...

Horns:  I'd managed to forget how really brutal the rape/murder in this was in the book.  Really hard to watch on screen.  Good apadaptation though, just that scene is somewhat neccesarily horrible...
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
Only three free-range short pieces for September.  The GOON Squad Summer Special 2014 by Jonathan L. Howard is several short shorts showcasing brief interludes for the main characters of his "GOON Squad" series.  Kendare Blake's When Gods & Vampires Roamed Miami has a retired goddess being mistaken for a vampire by would-be child-of-the-night.  And finally Lavie Tidhar's Selfie is a quick little horror piece involving a cell-phone haunt...

Of Limited Loyalty is the second of Michael Stackpole's "Crown Colonies" books, an alt history of the American Revolution with magic and dragons and necromantic pre-human races.  Well building up to the American Revolution.at least...

Brandon Sanderson's Way of Kings and Words of Radiance are the first two of his "Stormlight Archive" books.  Where he goes all-out for the Big Epic Fantasy, with these being the first of a ten-book series, as well as having them tie-in to a many worlds "Cosmere" setting that seems to involve the majority of his other fiction.  Sanderson delivers perfectly on the Epic Fantasy with a sprawling cast, betrayals, mysteries and of course plenty of Big Damn Hero moments for his leads...

C.M. Priest's Maplecroft takes the Lizzie Borden story drops it into a Call of Cthulu campaign.  Let us just say that she had some very defensible reasons for taking an axe to her father and stepmother...

Seanan McGuire continues her "Tobey Daye" series with the Winter Long.  Where someone thought dead returns, old alliances and friendships are shaken and beliefs about her enemies motivations are torn down...

It has been many years since I'd last read Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle and I'd forgotten how really, really good it was...

Conservation of Shadow is a collection of scifi and fantasy stories by Yoon Ha Lee.  All heavy on the metaphor and stylistic reintirpitation of South Asian history...

Arianne "Tex" Thompson's One NIght in Sixes is another alternate American history.  This time with her fantasy setting being the American Old West and a dangerous border town...

Stephen Baxter's Stone Spring has an interesting setting, a lush forested area now under the waters of the North Sea.  But his prehistoric peoples can kind of be summed up by saying life was short and often brutal and everything smelled like farts.  I just couldn't invest myself in any of his characters...

Orbus is another of Neal Asher's "Polity" books with increased focus on the alien Prador and dangerous secrets revealed on the history of the world of Spatterjay.  Plus lots of high end scifi gun fights...

Carla Speed McNeal's latest "Finder" trade is mostly a collection of the shorter pieces she did for Dark Horse Presents.  But Finder: Third World includes a few new sections, plus her usual in-depth footnoting and, BONUS, all in color...

Patrick Weekes follows up his delightful fantasy/caper book, the Palace Job, with the Prophecy Con.  The sequel also manages to both be a Epic Stakes fantasy story as well as a fast-paced caper story...

Dis Enchanted by Robert Kroese is a moderately entertaining fantasy story that wants to be a boffo fantasy comedy.  It was a cheap e-book and a fairly quick read...

Total Books: 14

3 Movies

Oct. 28th, 2014 10:37 pm
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Bad Words: Jason Bateman's movie about an adult who uses a loophole to get into the National Spelling Bee competition for reasons.  Which  wobbles all over the place between treating its characters as sociopaths or woobies in need of a hug.  Some funny scenes but honestly adult who plays cruel head games with children doesn't work for me...

Only Lovers Left Alive: Jim Jarmusch directs Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as melancholy vampires was a very easy sell.  Slow-paced but clever.  Doesn't try to reinvent the cinematic vampire concept and doesn't need to...

Detention of the Dead: On the other hand this last movie probably could have done with ditching of its sub-genres cliches.  Or at least done a better job of lampshading them...
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
Looking over the non-collected short fiction to start, beginning with N.K. Jemisin's Playing Nice With God's Bowling Ball which is about a police investigation of some super-science gone wrong involving young kids.  Steve White's the Last Secret of Mary Bowser is a sort of side story to what I think is his normal time travel war series.  I think.  What I do know is it doesn't feature near enough Mary Bowser, an African-Amercian woman who served as Union spy in the home of Jefferson Davis during the Civil War.  The Penitent Damned is a prequel to Django Wexler's "Shadow Campaigns" series.  And the Face in the Window and Servant of the Crown are more prequel stories for Brian McCellan's "Powder Mage" trilogy.  Max Gladstone's the Angelus Guns is a high concept story involving many worlds theory, an angelic civil war and a sister trying to save her brother.  Ursula Vernon examines modern living as a supernatural woman with the Day My Grandmother Exploded.  I'm not normally a fan of Adam Christopher, but I do enjoy noir stories involving robots like his Brisk Money.  Jonathan L Howard's Goon Squad stories are a mostly monthly supers serial done all in prose.  Enjoyable government cape squad stuff, and I finished the first three in July...

Sophie Goldstein & Jenn Jordan's webcomic Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell was a wonderful sometimes dark comedy in a world where the mythological and fantastic mixes with the everyday.  And where protagonist Darwin Carmichael has to work constantly to try and improve his karmic balance after accidently giving the reincarnated Dali Lama brain damage.  Glad to have kickstarted and recieved the print collected omnibus...

Greg VanEekhaut's California Bones is a creepy urban fantasy where magicians can gain powers by ingesting the bones of extinct magical creatures.  And others take that further by ingesting the flesh and bones of other magicians.  The book is a heist story with a talented magician having to re-assemble his old crew to rob the vault of the ruthless and deadly ruler of California...

Adrian Tchaikovsky finishes up his "Shadows of the Apt" series with Warmaster's Gate where the Wasp Empire again goes after Collegium, while the Empress investigates an ancient power.  And then it all comes to a giant climax with Seal of the Worm with everyone, Imperial, Collegiate, Apt, InApt falling under the returned threat of the Centipedes...

I'm glad Robots Vs. Slime Monsters popped up on my kindle recommended list.  Because I'd manage to totally miss A. Lee Martinez doing a kickstarter to fund this collection of short fiction sequels to many of his books...

Shattered is the latest in Kevin Hearne's "Iron Druid" series.  The main focus this time is split between Atticus helping his original teacher adapt to the modern age and his apprentice investigating the death of her archeologist father.  Plus Loki.  And a traitor among the Tuath(a) Dé Danann...

John Scalzi's latest is Lock In a near future murder mystery where the lead character telecommutes from their totally paralyzed body to a robot drone to work as an FBI agent...

Probably the best of the short stories in Tanya Huff's He Said, Sidhe Said anthology is the title one, a retelling of Tam Lin involving skate punks and the Fae...

After reading Jim Bernheimer's prequel Origins of a D-List Super Villain, I of course had to go back and re-read his Confessions of a D-List Super Villain...

Django Wexler's second "Shadow Campaigns" novel, the Shadow Throne has Crown Princess with a deadly secret, student revolutionaries, dockside gangs, an evil spymaster and a female soldier disguised as a male disguised as a woman...

Another prequel, this time Twenty Palaces by Harry Connolly, to his "Twenty Palaces" urban fantasy series.  Got this one as a kickstarter reward for his Epic Fantasy With No Dull Bits project...

I liked that short story way up at the top by N.K. Jemisin that I picked up her the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.  Great book and great setting.  Big, epic stuff...

Pair of finales.  Ben Winter's finishes up his "Last Policeman" trilogy with World of Trouble.  Which manages to be as uplifting and sad as a series where the Earth gets hit by a comet at the end can be.  C.E. Murphy finishes up her "Urban Shaman" series with Shaman Rising, which has the final confrontation against the Dark God culminating back in Seattle and has call-backs and cameos by pretty much everyone from the whole series...

Weston Ochse's Velvet Dogma is an old school style cyberpunk novel.  With the main twist being that people are essentially born owing their bodies after death for organ donation...

Darryl Gregory's We Are All Completely Fine centers around a support group for the survivors of what are essentially horror movies...

Cautionary Fables & Fairy Tales: Africa Edition, is a wonderful collection of comics telling fables and folk stories from various African traditions, edited by Kel McDonald and Taneka Stotts...

And finally I was surprised and how well Joe Abercrombie does YA-Fantasy with Half a King.  It still has that distinctive Abercrombie mud & blood flavor but with a lighter touch for a younger target reader...

Total books: 20
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
Really procrastinating on these now. *sigh*  Anyways, lets start with the free-range short fiction.  Seanan McGuire's IM is part of her "InCyrptid" series.  Sadly it feels more like a pro or post-logue than a full story. Her latest "Velveteen" story, Velveteen vs.Santa Claus, is a much stronger piece.  Even if it makes you want to punch Santa in the junk.  Ken Scholes' Jay Lake & the Temple of the Monkey King is an ok bit of pulp-parody which is likely very moving if you were one of the late Jay Lake's friends.  Ian Daffern & Ho Chi Anderson's Charcoal is a high school based tale of supernatural vengeance.  Chapter 6 by Stephen Graham Jones takes a look at the zombie apocalypse from the viewpoint of a pair of anthropologists.  Gene O'Neill's Skitterbugging is an old Traveller rpg tie-in story I came across in a back issue of Dragon.  And finally Little Knife by Leigh Bardugo is a folk tale about beauty, obsession and poor decisions in magical complusion...

A trio of short fiction anthologies for June as well. Salsa Nocturna Stories is a collection of fiction by Daniel Jose Older, a strong selection of fantasy, horror and near future.  Older has quickly become someone whose name attached to a project can make me take notice.  Like the collection Subversion, edited by Bart R. Leib.  The stories in the anthology are all on the theme of rebellion, both large and small.  The last collection, the Good Fight, edited by Scott Bachman, is by various supers e-book writers.  Some of the writers involved I was already familiar with, while the only one or two of the new to me ones seemed worth looking into.  Still free book...

Actually that should be four collections.  Almost forgot By Chance or Providence a collection of Becky Cloonan written and drawn fantasy stories.  Wonderful stuff and a pleasant surprise when it arrived in the mail as I'd long since forgotten I'd pre-ordered it...

Andy Weir's the Martian is probably one of the best hard scifi books I've read in a while.  The story of an astronaut accidently left behind on the first manned Mars mission and his struggle to survive was funny, poignant, informative and uplifting...

I've had Karen Healy's When We Wake sitting on my Kindle for a bit now.  Sort of Sleeping Beauty story using cryonics and a hard weather Australian setting.  Clever and touching and I'll have to pick up that sequel soon-ish...

Aces Wild is the latest "Capes High" book by R.J. Ross.  The books are still pretty fluffy, but are steadily moving beyond the well-treaded high school romance concepts.  Or at least expanding to be more than just that plus super powers.  Fellow supers writer Drew Hayes' NPCs steps away from the cape-set for a parody of D&D style fiction with a story where a group of village NPCs have to step into the role of quest-taking adventurers...

Doughnut by Tom Holt, explores concepts in quantum many worlds theory and how that can be best exploited for fame and profit.  I liked the Disney character/Planet of the Apes style world best...

Hilldiggers is another "Polity Space" book from Neal Asher, though this story of two warring human-descended worlds is a bit of a bridge between his regular Polity line and the Spatterjay sub-line.  Unlike Polity Agent, which is fimly in the main story-arc, with the Polity A.I.'s, their special agent Cormac and his allies continuing to work against the threat of the Jain super-nano technology...

MIchael Poore's Up Jumps the Devil and Michael Boatman's Last God Standing are both subversions of accepted Christian mythology.  The former has much of American history and expansion being guided in part by the Devil.  Less thru maliciousness, then poor impulse control, heart ache and a mischievous curiosity.  Really he's more Coyote than Lucifer.  Boatman's setting has the various divinities mostly living lives as simple mortals.  Partly because of the strong-arming of the Christian God, who wants a chance to pursue his stand-up career and maybe propose to his girlfriend.  I found myself more interested in the side-lives of the various gods mentioned in passing than the actual story though...

Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small serves as comfort reading.  Like Bujold's lighter books or Pratchett, Keladry's story of obstinate heroism and clever animals serve to balance out some of the darker or less optimistic works...

Like Weston Ochse's Grunt Life where much of humanity has already fallen to an alien invasion of telepathic insectoids.  And only an army made up survivor guilt soldiers might have the key to our survival.  Or the even grimmer and more depressing Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis.  Where Nazi psychic super-soldiers created thru torturous experiments are opposed by British Chthulu-mythos style sorcerers.  It is all pretty crazy bleak.  And apparently the next two books get progressively worse.  I honestly don't have the reserves to find out for myself...

Happily Martin Millar's latest "Werewolf Girl" book, the Anxiety of Kallix the Werewolf is a much happier book.  Which is a testimony to Millar's ability to balance humor and drama, not just how friggen' dark those previously mentioned books were...

Then back into the darkness.  Well, dark-ish, with a pair of black powder fantasies.  Brian McCellan's second "Powder Mage" book the Crimson Campaign, with a new push from the evil empire backed by their possibly mad divine patron.  And Django Wexler's the Thousand Names which follows a sort-of Foreign Legion/Africa Corps company under a new charismatic officer who could be leading them to their doom or salvation...

Total Books: 20
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
Short story wise for back in May we had the Litany of the Earth by Ruthanna Emyrs a CoC mythos story on faith from the perspective of the near human.  The Steel Soldiers' Gambit by Ian Thomas Haley, part of reading the remainder of his "Just Cause" supers series, where a robot bluffs a mentalist at a poker game.  And then a tale of artistry, obsession and justice with Walking Stick Forest by Anna Tambour...

Decided to start adding in a few of the trade/graphic novels for the month.  At least the ones that feel note-worthy.  Starting with Andre the Giant: Life & Legend by Box Brown.  Excellent biography, well worth getting.  Then we've got The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys by Gerard Way & Shaun Simon (words) and Becky Cloonan (draws).  Which is a story of rebellion and sex robots and humanity vs. safety.  And finally Mike Maihack gets a collection of his webcomic Cleopatra in Space.  Well, more an expansion then a collection.  This (hopefully) first volume covers the origin of the time-plucked space heroine...

John Allyn's 47 Ronin is far from the first adaptation of the Japanese historical folk-tale.  But at least his doesn't have Keanu Reeves as a half-breed wizard.  Or whatever the movie was about.  Ok book though...

I may start putting off getting the Goodlett edited Grantville Gazette's until I can buy them in big blocks once or twice a year.  Because once again I can't remember much of anything from this volume without pulling up my copy...

Sparrow Hill Road by Sean McGuire is a ghost story and a collection of road stories and a love story.  Also sort-of an "InCryptid" novel, but only a bit...

After reading Neil Gaiman's M is for Magic collection I swear I'd already read it.  I've probably just run across several of the stories in other collections.  The one about the cat and the devil I've definitely read somewhere else...

Blake Crouch's Grab (though my copy says Snatch) is the third "Letty Dobesh" story.  This time recovering addict Letty ends up in Vegas recruited as part of a multi-million job targeting a legendary thief...

I ended up giving up on Chad Leito's the Academy, some kind of dystopian future, super-soldier training, deadly cabal yadda yadda thing.  Nothing in the first third managed to really hold my interest...

So after reading the prequel to Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel, Stranger to Command, I reread the former.  Again.  Because I'm always curious to see if more information on the antagonist of the first half of the book makes me want to smack them in the gob less.  And because this reread involved the expanded e-edition, which adds several viewpoint changes of pivotal scenes, this actually happened.  Mostly because you can know see the character thinking about how he is completely fucking up every encounter he has with book's female lead...

As mentioned earlier, I grabbed up the remainder of Ian Thomas Healy's "Just Cause" supers series.  Day of the Destroyer, the Archmage, Just Cause Omnibus and Jackrabbit.  I think I liked the last one the most, where a teen has to fight an alien invasion after getting divinely empowered by the god Rabbit.  Giving him super-rabbit powers...

Chuck Wendig's psychic heroine "Mirriam Black" takes a visit to the Florida Keys to face another crazy with their own twisted psychic gift in Commorant...

Bonnie Shimko's You Know What You Have to Do left me feeling sad and unsatisfied.  Mostly because the ending didn't feel..finished really...

Elizabeth Bear's Shattered Pillars very much scales up the tension and conflict of her "Eternal Sky" series.  As a middle book should...

Jim Butcher's latest "Dresden Files" book Skin Game brings back the Denarians, with Harry forced by his service to Winter to work with them on a heist of the vault of Hades...

I sort of feel that Elizabeth Moon's Crown of Renewal shouldn't have quite so many unfinished plot hooks lieing around in it, if its actually meant a finale for her "Paksworld" series...

I'm not sure what lead me to backing Kelly Thompson's Kickstarter for her Storykiller book.  Its a good book, one of those All Stories are Real kind of things.  Mashed up with some Chosen Girl butt-kickery.  Sort of a Fables meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I just wasn't familiar with any of her previous work.  Probably did it from a rec from someone whose work I follow more closely...

And finally finished the month with another rereading of Lois McMaster Bujold's Captain Vorpatrill's Alliance.  Of the various "Vor" books I'd say I still like A Civil Campaign best, but CVA is the one I've been going back to the most frequently.  Flustered Ivan is even better than flustered Miles I guess...

Total Books: 22
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
The majority of the short fiction this time around comes from me finally getting around to putting all of Sean McGuire's free stories on the old Kindle.  All pretty good, though a few could have used some extra work going from opening chapter to complete but related story.  But still, lot of free stories; One Hell of a Ride, No Place Like Home, Married in Green, Sweet Poison Wine, the First Fall, Loch & Key, We Both Go Down Together, Ghosts of Bourbon Street, Blocked and Black as Blood.  All are part of her InCryptid series.  The latest novel of which, Half-Off Ragnarok, is what got me jonesing to grab all the tie-in stories I hadn't gotten around to...

R.J. Ross' Cape High is, not to surprisingly, another supers e-series.  And like a lot of them, they start out rocky but improve as the books progress.  Each book of teen-age supers branches to a new view point character.  I got the first four; Super-Villain Dad, America's Grandson, Hello Kitty and Don't Know Jack along with the start of a tie-in short story series, Black Cat Files: the Trial...

And I only read one of Tor.com's free fiction pieces in April, Anyway Angie by Daniel Jose Older.  Very nice near future dystopia/horror story.  Manages that whole introduce a potential series thing without just feeling like an overstuffed introductory chapter.  I'm hoping Older does put out more of this...

David S. Goyer and Michael Cassutt's Heaven's War continues their trilogy of a mixed group of humans kidnapped during a first contact situation.  This second book moves around in focus a lot between the various stolen people from both the American and Indian space centers.  And gives up the motivations of the conflicting alien groups...

Maker Space is K.B. Spengler's latest e-novel bridging the time jump gap of her webcomic, a Girl & Her Fed.  More conspiracies, cyborgs and police work.  Though still no talking koala...

I've know read enough of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Liaden series that I can mostly figure out where the various stories in their second Constellation omnibus should fit in the greater narrative.  Which is a plus, since most of them drop you into their space opera setting pretty cold...

Another ok volume of the Grantville Gazette edited by Paula Goodlett.  But nothing in this 53rd volume that captured my interest like the musicians, Russian, Americas colonies or Sewing Circle/Barbie Consortium series.  I was more pleased with the e-arc of 1636: Commander Cantrell in the West Indies by Eric Flint & Charles Gannon.  Lots of pirates and politics and naval battling...

Mur Lafferty's Ghost Train to New Orleans is an enjoyable second novel in her Shambling Guide series.  Good mix of world-building and character driven drama...

I picked up Ruth Downie's Persona Non Grata on a whim when it was a Kindle Daily Deal I believe.  Its an enjoyable mystery in a Roman Empire setting.  I could see picking up more of them if I find them on the cheap.  And I didn't have a giant electronic pile of unread books still...

Raising Steam is not one of Pratchett's better Discworld books.  But neither is among the least.  Like many of the recent in the series it has a feeling that the author wants to get as much down and into the series before he can't write anymore.  And while Moist doesn't seem to have the focus of his previous two books, that fits a character whose base motivations have changed so drastically from his original introduction.  Andof course even average Pratchett is better than no Pratchett...

Finished up the final part of Debra Doyle and James McDonald's original MageWorlds trilogy.  And while their space opera setting was nice enough I don't think I'll be picking up more of the expanded series.  I may eventually take a look at some of their other fiction series...

I very much liked Tad Williams Celestial noir novel the Dirty Streets of Heaven.  And when I have the extra funds its' sequel is definitely on my list of books to pick up.  It is a somewhat lengthy list though...

Finished out the month with the most recent door blocker anthology from editors George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, Dangerous Women.  Generally good to excellent collection of fiction.  And I definitely got thru it faster than I did their Jack Vance tribute anthology...

Total Books: 17
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
Time to get the final list for '13 done.  Starting with the free range short fiction.  John Scalzi gives a tale of obsession and science with Muse of Fire.  Mari Ness' In the Greenwood gives a new slant on the Sherwood myth.  Hope's End and the Girl of Hrusch Avenue are a pair of "Gunpowder Magic" stories by Brian McClellan (read to wait for the arrival of the 2nd book in that series).  The Christmas Show by Pat Cadigan is probably the most upbeat of the seasonal short stories, despite the ghosts and unexpected death.  Though for a "Laundry Files" story Charles Stross' Overtime manages a bit of cheer amidst the forebodings of world destroying doom.  Jim Hines gives a bloody and grim follow up to all those Rankin-Bass specials with Crimson Frost.  Then Sean McGuire's Velveteen vs. Hypothermia checks in with her titular super-hero as she begins her time paying back the Holidays for their help.  And finally a non-seasonal piece from Neil Gaiman gives an almost whimsical Cthulu mythos tale with I, Cthulu...

Started the month by finally getting to Brian McClellan's Promise of Blood the first of his "Gunpowder Magic" novels.  A grim look at overthrowing monarchies and ignoring old prophecies.  But gripping and I'm impatiently awaiting the next book's release...

Then got around to catching up on C.E. Murphy's "Urban Shaman" series.  Spirit Dance has mechanic-turned cop-turned shaman Walker gets a magical night out seeing a dance troupe that gets weird even by her standards.  And then involves murder and a possible werewolf.  Then in Raven Calls its back to Ireland and her dead mom plus time travel and the Celtic pantheon.  No Dominion is a short story collection, concentrating on various side characters throughout the series.  And then the latest, Mountain Echoes, with Walker going back to her "home" on the Rez to help in the search for missing father, ex-boyfriend and the son she gave up as a teenager...

Janet Evanovich's latest "Stephanie Plum" book, Takedown Twenty, is a stronger entry than the previous in this sereis, though its still one of the weaker books.  Even with a giraffe running around in it...

Exodus Towers and the Plague Forge complete Jason M. Hough's "Dire Earth Cycle" trilogy.  With several game changing alien mysteries, regime changes, Immune raiders and final reveal of Why for the alien motivations that makes a certain amount of sense and draws things to a close while leaving a window open for follow up stories...

Two more "Oz" stories by Baum and adapted by Shanowar and Young with Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz and the Road to Oz.  The first has Dorothy reuniting with the Wizard to take a journey thru neighboring fairy lands to return to Oz thanks to an earthquake during a trip to California. The latter has Dorothy and Toto making another return trip, this time alongside magical hobo the Shaggy Man...

The first of Debra Doyle and James McDonald's "MageWorld" books, the Price of the Stars, read kind of like an adaptation of Star Wars if someone had only gotten a synopsis of the original poster art after being translated thru several languages.  Luckily that ends up being pretty great space opera and hopefully the rest of the series is as enjoyable...

The Kerrie L. Hughes edited Hex in the CIty is part of the "Fiction River" e-anthology line.  With an InCryptid tale from Seanan McGuire, as well as Jay Lake, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Nancy Holder and others...

C.M. Priest finishes up her "Clockwork Century" series with Fiddlehead.  Where a ramshackle A.I's predictions may lead to peace between the Union and Confederacy if it isn't derailed by war profiteers.  And if it isn't all too late in the growing menace of the shambling undead...

And I finished the month with the disappointing Pines by Blake Crouch.  A bit Twin Peaks, a bit of the Prisoner and maybe even some Bioshock.  Which may be the perfect mash-up for someone else.  Me I found the science dumb, the reveal aggravating and the epilogue frustrating.  My Crouch book, Run, was good enough that I'm going to try one of his other series a chance.  But I'm done with this one...

Total books: 15
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
Looking over my November list I'm only seeing four free-range short stories.  Andy Merino's grotesque transformation story of a pioneer journey in the Oregon Trail Diary of Willa Porter.  Then Benjamin Rosenbaum's bureaucracy and social media during the zombie apocalypse in Feature Development for Social Networking.  Su Yee Lin has a dreamscape style quest in 13 Steps in the Underworld.  And finally Michael Swanwick has another of his "Mongolian Wizard" stories set in a fantasy alternate history World War with House of Dreams...

Actually started the month with Paolo Bacigalupi's YA zombies & the meat packing industry book, Zombie Baseball Beatdown.  Followed by volume 50 of the Grantville Gazette (edited by Paula Godlett) one of the less memorable and slight collections.  I honestly had to go back and look to remember any of the stories in it...

Veteran mystery writer Janet Evanovich teams with long time tv and novel mystery writer Lee Goldberg with the Heist.  The pair craft a competent and entertaing (if overused concept) cop and crook team up to take down a bigger Bad...

American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett is creepy and gripping mix of small town Americana, Cthulhu-style alien entities and dysfunctional families...

Another entry in Baen's "Ring of Fire" e-books, 1635: Music & Murder by David Carrico collects the various Gazette stories that lead into 1636: the Devil's Opera.  I do like the "modern" music influencing the downtime art forms stories, so it was nice to have them collected in one spot...

Gail Carriger's "Finishing School" was a new one for me.  The two books in the series so far, Etiquette & Espionage and Courtesies & Conspiracies combine Victorian-era steampunk, vampires, werewolves, espionage and girl's finishing schools...

Finally got around to Suzanne Collin' 'pre-"Hunger Games" book Gregor the Overlander.  Turns out its the start of a kidlet series, of the hidden magical world stumbled into by a "normal" hero.  I will give Collins this, she had me crying over the heroic death of giant cockroach.  And roaches freak me the fuck out, so high bar there...

I was less than impressed with the pair of horror novels by Joey Compeau.  One Bloody Thing After Another feels unfinished, like it ends about 3/4 of the way thru the story.  And I could not bring myself to wade thru the wholesale slaughter and murder of kids with the Summer is Ended & We are Not Saved...

I was happily surprised by Drew Hayes' Super Powereds and Super Powereds 2.  He writes the books one chapter at a time and posts them on his site, then publishes the whole thing when they're done.  I've been avoiding checking the individual chapers for volume 3 as I want to read it as a whole.  But you can actually see his writing craft improve chapter by chapter.  I'll also admit I picked up the first one hoping it was by the still-missed late Drew Hayes of Poison Elves.  Sadly, no...

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's latest "Liaden" book, Trade Secret, took me a few chapters to get hooked into.  Mostly trying to recall which sub-story line and short fiction it was mainly connect into...

Sharpe's Prey by Bernard Cornwell takes place in 1807 and Denmark, in between the India and Spain campaigns for Wellington and Sharpe.  Not one of the most memorable in the series, but picking it up filled one of the holes in my collection of the series...

I've been mixing together reading the Frank L. Baum "Oz" series after getting a complete omnibus e-edition and picking up the recent Marvel comics' adaptations by Eric Shanowar and Skottie Young.  For November I read the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz.  The expanded Oz setting is a trip and a half...

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe is another YA/End of Civilization book.  Its also a touching, melancholy and yet hopeful book.  Crewe's makes a great choice in focusing on a small isolated coastal island struggling with the civilization-breaking plague outbreak.  I need to get the sequel sometime soon...

Beta read another book for my friend Joe Selby.  Family Jewels is a future scifi/noir mash-up with detectives and teleportation and planets owned by decendents of todays mega-wealthy and a jewel heist.  I had a few quibbles with some parts of the set-up, but as always I wish Joe had a publisher so more people could get a chance to read his work...

You're Jonah Yu is a Choose Your Own Adventure book by Jeffrey C. Wells, that ties into his and Shaennon K. Garrity's webcomic Skin Horse...

And finally, ended the month with a reread of Lois McMaster Bujold's Captain Vorpatrill's Alliance.  I just really like this and a Civil Campaign and just can't get enough of either...

Total: 21
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
Non-anthologious short fiction:  Twittering From the Circus of the Dead by Joe Hill was one of the most genuinely creepy stories I've read in awhile.  Dale Bailey's A Rumor of Angels is a somber bit of fantasy set during the Dust Bowl.  Grimoire of the Lamb is an "Iron Druid" story from Kevin Hearne dealing with some of the old-school Egyptian pantheon.  Warren Ellis presents a day with a hitman in Dead Pig Collector.  And It Was a Day is an old little poem by Usula Vernon...

On the actual anthology front for that month we start out with the 49th Grantville Gazette (ed. Paula Goodlett).  Sadly the story that sticks in my mind the most from that is the murder mystery one that never really seems to come together.  Glitter & Mayhem (ed. John Klima, Lynne M Thomas & Michael Damion Thomas) are scifi and urban fantasy stories with night club and/or roller derby themes to them...

I got K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr's Loki's Wolves as a give away from Tor.com.  Its a nice enough YA urban fantasy about the descendents of the Norse gods.  I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure if I really want to get more of the series when it comes out...

Herbert Sakalauck's the Danish Scheme was originally part of the Grantville Gazette anthologies, several stories about a new Western Canada colony in the "Ring of FIre".  But its now one of the re-polished into a regular novel eBooks Tor is putting out from the series...

To Be or Not to Be by Ryan North and Shakespeare is probably one of my favorite things I've got through Kickstarter campaigns.  A choose-your-own-adventure version of Hamlet.  I liked the path where Ophelia becomes the founder of modern plumbing thru her mastery of SCIENCE...

Carrie Vaughn's latest "Kitty Norville" book, Kitty in the Underworld, has her werewolf protaganist kidnapped by a small group looking to use her in an occult ritual against the ancient vampire Roman.  Which if it weren't for the whole drugged and kidnapped might have been something Kitty would have been interested in helping with...

Cold Copper continues Devon Monk's is the latest "Age of Steam" horror/western/steampunk.  Like Cherie Priest's books, prefect for any Deadlands players out there...

And still another from a continuing series with Brass Man by Neal Asher, part of his "Human Polity" series.  Though the titular android is really more of a sideshow to the ancient buy deadly artifacts, alien intelligences and A.I.s all warring on the frontiers of "civilized" space...

Young Sentinels is the newest of Marion G. Harmon's "Wearing the Cape" supers eBook series.  With the Sentinels teams recruiting new teen supers to help slow down the ever increasing super-villain threat...

Mark Del Franco's Undone Deeds is the finale to his "Connor Grey" modern fantasy series.  And I'll admit, the ending made me cry a little bit...

I read an interview with Joe Hill where he said that NOS4A2 was him just running right the fuck at writing like his dead.  And the book definitely reads the closest to being a Stephen King novel of his stuff I've read.  And not in a bad way...

Darwin's Elevator makes for an excellent start to Jason M. Hough's post-apocalyptic scifi series.  The apocalypse being an alien-delivered plague that turns humans into near-mindless savages.  Unless they happen to be within a set distance of the also alien-delivered space elevator.  Or are one of the tiny percentage of immune humans.  Like the scavenger group led by one of the book's lead characters...

While David Weber's  House of Steel does open with a short story focusing on the life of King Roger, its actually more one of those world building source books for his Honor-verse.  And mostly just the Manticore part of said universe.  Still it did prompt me into another rearead of the "Honor Harrington" series.  Starting in September with Echoes of Honor, Ashes of Victory and War of Honor...

Total books: 17
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
More late than usual on this one.  So let us start with the free-range short fiction for August.  We've got "Cayos in the Stream" by Harry Turtledove.  A somewhat alternate history story with Hemingway hunting for Nazi U-boats in the Caribbean.  Then Meghan McCarron's "Swift, Brute Retaliation" where just being dead doesn't stop a dead kid from being a bullying dick to his little sisters.  V.E. Sawhab's "Warm Up" probably works better as a prequel chapter to her supers novel then as a stand-alone story.  And finally a Narbonic/Skin Horse short from Shaenon Garrity, "By Comitee", where a group of well-meaning activists (including an A.I, a gerbil and a cat) try to plan a surprise birthday party for a helicopter.  A black ops social services helicopter.  I do so love the Narboni-verse...

Carrying over from the previous month is the remaining of David Weber's "Safehold" books, How Firm a Foundation and  Midst Toil & Tribulation.  And I'm still very impatiently awaiting the next book due out next year...

Then we've got Neil Gaiman's the Ocean at the End of the Lane.  An excellent story about childhood terror and wonder and magic.  So like a lot of Gaiman's stuff...

Greg Stolze's Sinner is a supers book.  I think the roommate got this from a Kickstarter campaign.  I liked the world-building bits and the life and crimes of the titular super-villain, told after he turns himself in.  The final climax feels a bit rushed and I'm not sure how well it really holds together.  But Cephalopod, the remotely operated octopus themed super-hero was pretty damn cool...

Unfettered (edited by Shawn Speakman) was a pretty good anthology from a diverse bunch of writers, all to help with the editor's fight against cancer.  Or at least to help defray some of the costs of said fight...

Christopher Moore ruins art forever with Sacre Bleu.  Ok, thats his hyperbole.  But it definitely puts a similar twist on art to what he did with Jesus and vampires.  And King Lear.  And Christmas angels...

Helen and Troy's Epic Road Quest by A. Lee Martinez shows that working fast food can really suck and lead to being geased and having to work for cryptic agencies who are lot less helpful than they could be.  Also that its hard balancing being a modern Orc with the urge to follow your ancestral traditions...

Probably the most memorable scene in Illona Andrews' Magic Rises is while on a boat ride to Europe, the band of American shapeshifters (plus Kate) have to fight a band of weredolphin pirates.  Greek weredolphin pirates...

The Russians Are Coming is another story filling in the time gap for K.B. Spengler's <a href = "http://agirlandherfed.com/">A Girl & Her Fed</a>.  With squirrel infestations to go along with sort-of-government cyborgs.  And super-hardcore sex.  Lots of that...

Chuck Wendig's Blue Blazes is basically a urban fantasy story.  But more a criminal syndicates type story.  But also still that elder horror from beneath the earth.  But also a broken family drama.  Plus monsters and magic drugs...

Warbound finishes up Larry Correia's "Grimnoir" trilogy with the neccesary super-sized action sequences and heroic deaths.  All very epic pulp adventure...

Charlie Huston's latest, Skinner, is a near future epsionage technothriller.  With the titular Skinner being the world's scariest bodyguard...

Naomi Novik's most recent "Temeraire" book, Blood of Tyrants, takes her band of dragons and pilots from Japan to China and then to Napolean's invasion of Russia...

Next is Jim Hines' second Libriomancer book Codex Born.  This volume concentrates more on bad-ass dryad Lena Greenwood, in addition to Libriomancer Isaac...

After that was a quick reread of Steven Gould's Helm.  Don't remember what prompted it, beyond the book being one of my favorites...

Then one of Neal Asher's "Polity" books, Line of the Polity.  Worth it for making me wonder what the D&D or GURPS stats would be for a Gabbleduck.  No one does crazy space monsters like Neal Asher...

And finally Austin Grossman's YOU.  Which reminded me a whole lot of Douglas Coupland's Microserfs, in a very good way...

Total Books: 18
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
Starting with the Free Range short stories for May.  We've got Christopher Rowe's "Jack of Coins" about rebellion and magic and guys in funny looking suits.  Cecil Castellucci's "We Have Always Lived on Mars" is an abandoned Martian colony story with zee twist.  Garth Nix's "Fire Above, Fire Below" gives us OMG Dragons are real and misunderstood.  "Shall We Gather" by Alex Bledsoe is a niftly little bit of hillbilly urban fantasy.  Cherie Priest's "the Button Man & the Murder Tree" is a crime noir piece and a prequel to the most recent Wild Cards book.  Also from that series is "the Elephant in the Room" by Paul Cornell with Elephant Girl and Croyd Crenson and the duplicating powers girl, now naming herself Understudy.  And lastly we've got Wen Spencer's Pittsburgh stuck in Elfland series and "Pittsburgh Backyard & Garden"...

I ended up rereading a bunch of Ring of Fire books in May, I think because I noticed the roommate doing it first.  All seven of the print Grantville Gazettes edited by Flint and Goodlett and all three Ring of Fire anthologies edited again by Eric Flint.  Plus rereading 1635: the Eastern Front, 1636: the Saxony Uprising by Flint alone.  And 1635: the Papal Stakes by Flint and Andrew Dennis, as well as 1636: the Kremlin Games by Flint, Paula Goodlett and Gorg Huff...

Clifford Simak's the Fellowship of the Talisman is an early example of One Quest add miscellaneous band of heroes.  Set in an England where mankind is stuck in the Middle Ages because of rampaging demon hordes.  Or maybe its just one horde...

Wicked Business has Janet Evanovich dipping into the Paranormal Romance setting with a baker\/magic seeker with Sexy Bad Boy partner.  As well as the normal cast of colorful supporting characters...

I have to say I really enjoyed Weston Ochse's Seal Team 666.  Its right behind Larry Correia's Monster Hunter books in the field of gun porn and monster fighting.  And Ochse's band of badasses have a dog.  Correia's just have a werewolf...

Way back whenever it was I read Joe Hill's first novel I didn't care for it.  Thought it was well written and everything but it didn't click.  Horns, with its broken protagonist and murder mystery and interesting supernatural twist definitely grabbed hold of me...

I'm pretty sure I read Jack McDevitt's Eternity Road back in high school or college, but I'm not positive.  I did have a post-apocalyptic civilization slowing rebuilding phase.  And this book, with its archeological expedition to search for a pre-destruction haven, is right in that wheelhouse...

My only real beef with Weird Detectives: Recent Investigations (edited by Paula Guran) is that I had several of the short stories in other collections.  Including the Butcher, P.N. Elrod and Charlaine Harris stories.  Still, plenty of other good, and new, pieces in this collection...

And finishing up with John Scalzi's the Human Division, another entry in his Old Man's War series.  It reads a bit differently, since it was originally published serially, but a fun read nonetheless...

Total Books: 21

3Movies

Jun. 4th, 2013 08:31 pm
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol: I don't remember what the hell the master plan of the bad guy in this was (world chaos maybe?) but I do recall I enjoyed watching Cruise, Renner, Patton and Pegg running around the world trying to foil it...

The Cabin in the Woods:  Very funny in a dark and gruesome manner but also sad.  Partly because of the whole world loses if individuals win.  But also just how normalized mass murder becomes to the People Behind it All...

Porco Rosso: Cute and funny.  Michael Keaton as the lead voice is more than a little spot-on perfect...
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
I really, really need to get these done earlier in the month. Luckily, I suppose, April is a pretty short list. Starting the Uncollected Short Stories. "Backscatter" by Gregory Benford is a cleverer than most scifi bit about asteroid mining and finding life in unexpected places. Karen Tidbeck's "Sing" is an odd piece about alien life and life choices. "Last Son of Tomorrow" by Greg Van Eekhout is a well written if not all that original look at the Superman archetype. And Prudence Shen's "Do Not Touch" is a nifty little modern fantasy about paintings with bonus Faith Erin Hick's illustration. The short story editor at Tor.com really does an excellent job...

For full length books we start with A Kiss Before Dying, Ira Levin's noir classic about a con artist and murderer. Who I know I'm not actually supposed to like, but man did I not like him...

Finished the second of the free Jay Lake books I won from Tor with Kalimpura. A good book, though I'm a bit annoyed to find that the contest gave me books one and three from a trilogy. But only a little, 'cause free books that were also good...

Digital Divide by K.B. Spangler is the first of several books set in the gap of several years between the first and second parts of her webcomic, A Girl and Her Fed. Really loved this and totally looking forward to the rest of the series...

Emma Bull's Finder is a tie-in to the "Bordertown" series. Sad ending, but in a moving way. I'm not sure if she did any more with the characters, but I might check out her husband's "Bordertown" tie-in books. Even if he is all crazy-pants...

Charles Stross' latest "Laundry Files" novel, the Apocalypse Codex is more of that perfect blend of cosmic horror, dry British wit and espionage...

I've had a copy of Nancy Kress' Beggars in Spain sitting on my Kindle for a good while now. Its not alone in that as my eBook version of To Be Read pile has gotten huge. But hers is definitely one I wish I'd read earlier because of how damn good it is...

Damage Time by Colin Harvey actually is kind of terrifying in its use of the cyberpunk trope of memory chips as a type of crime...

Finished the last Mathew Hughes' "Hell and Back" trilogy with Hell to Pay. Still not sure if I actually like the ending. Kind of feels like the author may of dropped the ball right at the goal line...

Right near the end of the month got the May edition of the eBook version for the Grantville Gazette, still edited by Paula Goodlett. This is the 47th in the series and while I enjoyed the new short fiction I wish I had a better way to sort them on my e-reader for when I want to re-read specific writers or stories...

And finally, ended the month with Paul Cornell's Falling London. Which is both a creepy urban fantasy and a British police procedural. Both done really well...

Total books: 11

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