The Warhound and the World’s Pain: Book Review

Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion series is interesting to discuss. Some stories have direct analogies to and inversions of Robert E. Howard’s work, like Elric. Others, like Hawkmoon, go in radically different directions. The first Von Bek novel probably falls more into the former camp – feeling like something of an inversion of Solomon Kaine, in multiple respects.

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Matter: Book Review

Matter is my first step into the world of The Culture. I’ve heard bits and pieces about it through a variety of other sources, from the absurd ship names, to the concept of Outside Context Problems, to the absurdly high tech level – but I’ve never actually read a novel in the universe. While Matter is not the first book in the series, it is a pretty good jumping on point to the series.

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The Friendly Orange Glow: Book Review

Histories of the computer industry tend to have a focus on the West Coast in general and California and Silicon Valley in particular. It’s where Apple and Microsoft came from, along with Atari. Occasionally, histories will head to Texas (because Texas Instruments) or New Mexico (because Microsoft was based there in a while, and that’s where MITS operated). However, the Midwest tends to get brushed over. So, when a book about the PLATO system, which came out of the University of Illinois, came up on my radar, touting about how much of modern cyber-culture came about on the system, I decided to check it out.

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False Value: Book Review

Book cover of False Value

When I finished reading Lies Sleeping, the seventh book in the Rivers of London series, I kind of wondered where the series would go from there. I had thought The October Man might point out the direction of the story’s progression, but I wasn’t exactly sure. Well, I was part right – in that the direction of the story’s progression was going to get into more international practitioners, just not those in Germany.

False Value involves Peter Grant getting involved in the tech sector. Earlier books had set up an idea where technology and magic couldn’t get along – this book sets up a situation where the two can coexist, though parasitically if not symbiotically. Spoilers will be below the cut.

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Dragons of Winter Night: Book Review

Dragons of Winter Night, as a novel, runs into the problem of adapting what was we think of it into just a trilogy of books – a bunch of material has to be skipped over. We start off after the retrieval of the Hammer of Karass and the re-unification of Dwarven society (which would later be covered in Dragons of the Dwarven Depths), with that kind of setting the tone somewhat for how the show comes out.

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The Electric State: Book Review

Excerpt from the art of The Electric State.

The Electric State is very much a different book from Tales from the Loop and Things from the Flood. Those books had a retrospective narrative – the point of view for those books was from the viewpoint of someone looking back on events with a sense of nostalgia. The Electric State, on the other hand, has a more conventional narrative, while still having significant themes of memory, but definitely without the warmth of nostalgia.

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The October Man: Book Review

The last book in the Peter Grant series of Urban Fantasy police procedurals wrapped up the end of the “Faceless Man” Arc, with the recurring antagonist of that series being taken down, while one of the members of Peter’s supporting cast who had turned to the Dark Side was now on the lam. In the wake of this, author Ben Aaronovitch has decided to, basically, explore a different chunk of this world with the novella The October Man, which moves the plot from the UK to Germany.

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Quag Keep: Book Review

If I was going to describe the modern “Isekai” genre in brief, I’d describe it as “Game-based another world fantasy.” It’s not just fantasy where a protagonist is whisked to another fantastic world from ours like with the John Carter of Mars novels, or on the anime front with El-Hazard and Magic Knight Rayearth. This is fantasy where the characters are explicitly in a world that draws inspiration to games from gaming – sometimes by drawing the characters or their psyches into an actual game (ala Sword Art Online or Log Horizon), or a world which uses the language of RPGs like with Konosuba or Grimgar: Ash and Illusions. I would argue that if not the first of these, then one of the first of this particular genre – and was done in the ’70s by a woman.

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Dragons of the Dwarven Depths: Book Review

Dragons of Autumn Twilight ended with the refugees from Pax Tharkas having found a refuge in a mountain pass in the hope of (possibly) making it through the winter. The second book in the Dragonlance Chronicles series begins with the Heroes of the Lance having already gone on another adventure, and having brought the refugees to the Dwarven city of Pax Tharkas. In the roleplaying game modules, your player characters would have gone through this story. However, while much of the Dragonlance modules were adapted to the original Chronicles series, not all of them were. In the late 2000s, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman returned to Dragonlance to adapt this missing chapter into novel form.

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