Archive | January 2016

Favorite Reads: January 2016

iceIce by Anna Kavan: A stark slipstream novel I flippantly described as Cormac McCarthy’s Frozen. Three unnamed characters, two men and a woman, chase, flee, and collide with each other as the world slides into a glacial apocalypse. This is one of those books you read for the experience, as opposed to the sense it all should logically make. I have no proof but I suspect this novel influenced both Doris Lessing’s Mara and Dann and Jenn Brissett’s Elysium, two books that have been on my year-end favorite reads lists.

the-great-wash-5125-825The Great Wash by Gerald Kersh: This reads a bit like Arthur Machen trying his hand at a James Bond novel, which if you’re me sounds pretty cool. Two bachelor writers uncover a diabolical plot involving the world’s scientists and do their best to stop it. Much of it is written in “That was a fascinating story you just told, it reminds me of this fascinating story I am now going to tell you” style, which makes for a breezy read.

pleasureThe Pleasure Merchant by Molly Tanzer: A raunchy, irreverent historical novel set in 18th century London about a shop boy turned social climber who ends up in over his head as heroics transform into villainy and the villains behave most heroically. If you like your books to poke fun at and skewer social customs than this is your historical adventure novel. Not that you’ll be above the skewering yourself. Tom Dawne’s climb has its triumphs, but also plenty of cringe worthy elements that cut more than a bit close.

fingersmithFingersmith by Sarah Waters: A twisty Dickensian novel of thieves and con-artists that’s a delight to read, which is a very nice way of saying OH MY GOD THIS BOOK IS FUCKING AMAZE BALLS YOU GOTTA READ IT WHAT PUT DOWN THAT THING YOU’RE DOING READ IT READ IT NOW *gasp* *sputter* So, yeah, I thought it was pretty good. I’d been hearing about it for years and always had it mind to read it. My wife watched the BBC series when it came out, but it wasn’t until I heard that Park Chan-Wook director of Old Boy, Snowpiercer, and Stoker was going to adapt this into a Korean movie that I pushed it to the top of my TBR pile. If you at all like the melodramatic twisty Dickensian style, but wish it had a more modern sensibility then run don’t walk to read this book.

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Star Without Number ???: Where They Stopped

The last SWN post I did was adventure 004. We got in another month or so of sessions before stopping. Here’s how it ended:

The crew’s managed to befriend a group of mutant space gypsies that wander the local systems walking a tightrope between the two rival powers: a mad cult that appears to worship one of Rana Bai’s ancestors and a cyborg army that worships an unbraked AI.

Here’s how they got there:

The crew opened the box, got the coordinates to get them across the nebula, jumped, and found themselves in an unknown star system with most of their onboard systems fried and requiring immediate emergency repairs. Meanwhile they watched and snooped on the few ships in the system. One was a military patrol boat, but it failed to notice the party. After a few days they managed to enter the orbit of the gas giant where the derelict Wild Card waited.

They made a number of forays onto the ship looting pretech treasures, fighting an “insane” crystalline repair nano and some decidedly toxic flesh monsters, and contracting a disease or two. They knew they weren’t the only ones on board, but didn’t really want to make contact with whomever else was around. Instead they stuck to exploring the massive ship’s engineering and navigation decks, where on their last run they came upon a group of mutant human fugitives.

These folks wanted off ship and managed to explain some of the political situation in the system. At least their version of it… the crew agreed to help and let the prisoners board the Far Drifter (although there might have been some fracas regarding whether or not they could stay armed) before high-tailing it out of the system ahead of another military patrol boat.

And that’s when boardgames took over game nights…