Okay, I lied about not posting for a while, because I remembered I hadn’t yet put up a books-read entry for last month.
The Book of Earth. L5R gaming book (the first of several you’ll see here). I actually read about half of this late last year when it came out, but only finished it recently. The line continues to be pretty solid quality; I think this one is more solid than The Book of Air was (no pun intended).
Imperial Histories. Another L5R I read half of a while ago, and only finished just now. I figured I should take care of that before . . .
Imperial Histories 2. So this is the first L5R book I freelanced for, with the “Togashi Dynasty” chapter. It came out in May, and I still get warm little glows looking at it. Better still, I already know of one person who’s intending to use my chapter for a campaign, so I can pretty much call this one a win.
Oh, you want to know about the rest of the book? Well, it’s a lot like the first Imperial Histories, which is a good thing. I have come to realize that I’m much more interested in the chapters that describe something other than a war; things like the Clan War (in the first book) and the Destroyer War (in this one) may be important as historical events, but I wouldn’t want to base a campaign around them. I vastly prefer the chapters where there’s a socio-political conflict simmering along, with less in the way of armies.
Harbinger of the Storm, Aliette de Bodard. Second of aliettedb‘s historical Aztec murder mystery fantasy thingies. This book does a thing I love love love, which is to take the sort of magical thing that real-world cultures believed in and make it entirely real. When the Revered Speaker dies, there is a genuine danger that the star-demons will come down and eat the entire freaking world if the priests don’t do their jobs right. This threat shows up in chapter one and is chilling. As for the ending . . . yikes. I espy problems for the third book, hoo boy.
The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, Samuel Delany. Prepping for the TIP course. There is one chapter in here I didn’t get at all (and haven’t assigned), but much interesting stuff, too. The descriptive parts of “Midcentury” alone are great reading.
The Writers’ Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy, ed. Michael Knost. I thought about using this for my course, but it didn’t come out in time, and now that I’ve read it, eh — I’m just as glad I didn’t. This purports to be more of a 200-level discussion of writing, and some of the essays rise to that level, but others don’t, and I personally found the interviews to be not all that useful.
Five Red Herrings, Dorothy Sayers. It’s been a while since I started my Sayers read, so I can’t be sure whether I’m right in saying this one feels weaker. It’s all the trains, really: my eyes started glazing over. I imagine there are some mystery readers for whom that kind of timetable puzzle is fascinating, but I am not one of them. Plus quite a lot of this seems to be about other people investigating the murder, with relatively little seen of Lord Peter Wimsey. And then there’s Sayers’ decision to phonetically represent Scottish accents/dialect . . . oy. I got a whole stack of Sayers at a nifty used bookstore in Menlo Park, though, so hopefully the next one will be better.
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