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Showing posts from June, 2016

Q&A with Charles Stross + Giveaway

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In case you missed it, The Nightmare Stacks is out, and I absolutely loved it.

Well, Charles Stross took some time to answer a few questions about The Nightmare Stacks, and if you don't read his blog it's a nice little glimpse into his incredibly brilliant and complex brain.  I made an attempt to come up with questions he hasn't already answered countless times or talked about on his blog, and I think I met with mixed success.  I will say this, he did drop some hints about The Delirium Brief, and gave some splendid answers to my inquiries.

The Nightmare Stacks marks the 7th book of the Laundry Files, and CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN is no longer simply a looming future.  It's here.  Right in the middle of it all is former merchant bandker and under-prepared neophyte Laundry Agent (and f neophyte PHANG, but that's a different story) Alex.  The most pressing things on Alex's mind dealing with his v-parasite, hoping his new roomates (Pinky and the Brain) don't blow ev…

[Book Review + Giveaway] The Nightmare Stacks

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The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files #7) / Charles Stross

There is so much about this series that I geek out on, it's a wonderful mix of sardonic humor, tech geekery, and tentacles from beyond.  "Case Nightmare Green" and "Jesus Phone" are phrases anyone hanging out with me for an extended period of time may hear.  Needless to say, I was both quite excited for The Nightmare Stacks and curious how a rather new side character would fare center stage.

And then I read this little snipped on Stross' blog:
"I have plans for book 7: let's just say that when the Deep Ones are anxiously offering you their assistance in dealing with your problem, you know you've got a Problem." There might have been gleeful chortling on my part.

Of course, when writing a near present day CASE NIGHTMARE situation, there's always the risk of reality stepping in and jumping all over your plot.  Or as Stross commented on his blog, we now are in the middle of CASE…

Lord of the Rings : The Towering Read - Book 3, Chapter 1

This week's late chapter comes to you from the harried mind of someone less than two weeks from helping launch a LARP.

"The Departure of Boromir" is a bit euphemistic, but not wholly inaccurate.

I do love how hobbits are such a consistently underestimated race since they're generally small and keep to themselves.  Without even trying, hobbit "footprints are not easy even for a Ranger to read."  We know they tend towards wicked hand-eye coordination and amazing fortitude.  If they were of interested I can't help but wonder if they'd give elves a run for their money.  On the other hand, that might in many ways defeat the point.  Subtly is  a good part of their power.

Boromir is mourned in soliloquy.  Alas, poor Yorick, etc.  It is what they find among the dead that makes for much more focused conversation.  It's not just a band of orcs, its orcs from different regions of Middle Earth working together, and under the banner of Saruman.

Here, as Giml…

[Book Review] From a High Tower

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From a High Tower (Elemental Masters) / Mercedes Lackey

Like most Grimm's Fairy Tales, Rapunzel isn't necessarily the cheeriest of stories, though the level of darkness depends on the telling.  But, they tend to stay true to several points; a mother with an irresistible craving for rampion or other greens growing in someone else's garden, the thieving father trading away their unborn child, the child growing into a young woman with very long hair who lives in a tower, and a young man climbing the tower and then falling from it.

More or less, that is the opening of From a High Tower, an introduction to the chosen fairy tale inspiration.  Some notable differences exist, such as the benevolence of the "witch" who raises "Rapunzel," the elemental mastery they both possess, and the villainous nature of the "prince" who comes a courting.

The real literary tribute is to that of a German author who wrote fantastical stories of the Wild West with a ver…

Lord of the Rings : Fellowship of the Read - Book 2, Chapter 10

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Orcs are near but not an immediate threat, and things are uneasy.  A choice must be made, and the decision rests on Frodo.  Aragorn may lead the Fellowship, but Frodo is the one to decide where the Ring goes. He asks for time to consider and walks off to be with his thoughts

In the woods he feels as if unfriendly eyes are upon him and finds a smiling Boromir instead.  I'm reminded of the comment on meeting Aragorn the first time about the enemy seeming more fair.  Boromir seems more kind and caring than he has before, yet he is firmly under the Ring's influence.  He asks that Frodo consider his council, yet he rejects the council of others, believing that men are of truer heart than elves or wizards (which I find a bit ironic).

The effect of the Ring reminds me of the draw of addiction.  Boromir is definitely pulling on some deep seated feelings and desires, but ones that he knows to keep suppressed because they are not who he is overall.  He is an honorable man.  He is proud,…

Lord of the Rings : Fellowship of the Read - Book 2, Chapter 9

I'm really late on this one.  Words just weren't working for me.  We'll blame it on the long ponderous days of travel in this chapter.

Sam could be a bit agoraphobic, or he could just be sensibly paranoid about floating down the river with open plains all around.  I'm going with a little bit of Column A and a little bit of Column B.  I think anyone sane would be "sensibly paranoid."  Aragorn at the very least counts as such in his fears of the Dark Lord's machinations while the Fellowship rested with the elves.

Much of this chapter is a lull before the storm.

Boromir's resolve is clearly cracking, and his fall is hinted at with all the subtly of a boulder.  We've known the he is prideful and that he holds a belief that the Ring could be turned against the Dark Lord.  He's actually starting to behave in a way that reminds me of Renfield (minus consuming lives).  He's twitchy, shifty, muttering to himself, and compulsively biting his nails. …

20 Books of Summer!

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Jumping in on a Summer Reading challenge by Moonlight Reader over on BookLikes.


Not sure how much of this I'll manage to check off, but going with a June 1st starting date (for simplicity) I should be able to manage a bunch of these.