Monthly Archives: November 2012

Book Review: Forward the Mage, by Eric Flint and Richard Roach

Baen
464 pp.

Forward the Mage is neither a prequel nor sequel to The Philosophical Strangler. Instead, this book is chronologically somewhere in the middle of the events of The Philosophical Strangler. Our main protagonists are the wizard Zulkeh, his long suffering apprentice Shelyid, and the artist and swordsman Benvenuti Sfondrati-Piccolomini. We also have revolutionaries, madmen who run their own asylum and a region of absolute anarchy that has regularly scheduled civil wars. Continue reading

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Filed under Eric Flint, fantasy, humor, non-earth, Review: Book

Simon & Schuster Joins Forces With Author Solutions To Rip Off Writers

Simon & Schuster has launched a self-publishing operation, Archway Publishing, contracting one of the most disreputable players in the business to run the show: Author Solutions.

We’ll get to that distasteful link-up in a second, but first let’s have a look at what Simon & Schuster are offering prospective customers (i.e. writers).

Simon & Schuster Joins Forces With Author Solutions To Rip Off Writers.

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Manga Review: Kuroshitsuji Volume Five, by Yana Toboso

Kuroshitsuji Volume Five (yeah, I’m just going to keep calling it Kuroshitsuji instead of Black Butler even though the English translation uses Black Butler) opens with Sebastian attempting to come up with a curry recipe that is the equal of Agni’s. His first attempt is less than successful because store-bought “curry powder” and paste while convenient, lacks the depth and personality that Agni’s curry does. Feeling extremely challenged by this, Sebastian embarks on an epic montage of culinary experimentation with poor Prince Soma as his taste-tester. Just when poor Soma hits his absolute limit, Sebastian hits upon the correct combination of spices but there is still something that is not quite right. After some more experimentation, Sebastian creates a completely unique curry that Soma dubs “divine in its own right.” Continue reading

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Filed under fantasy, Kuroshitsuji, Review: Manga

Manga Review: Kuroshitsuji Volume Five, by Yana Toboso

Kuroshitsuji Volume Five (yeah, I’m just going to keep calling it Kuroshitsuji instead of Black Butler even though the English translation uses Black Butler) opens with Sebastian attempting to come up with a curry recipe that is the equal of Agni’s. His first attempt is less than successful because store-bought “curry powder” and paste while convenient, lacks the depth and personality that Agni’s curry does. Feeling extremely challenged by this, Sebastian embarks on an epic montage of culinary experimentation with poor Prince Soma as his taste-tester. Just when poor Soma hits his absolute limit, Sebastian hits upon the correct combination of spices but there is still something that is not quite right. After some more experimentation, Sebastian creates a completely unique curry that Soma dubs “divine in its own right.” Continue reading

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Filed under fantasy, Kuroshitsuji

Manga Review: Chrono Crusade Volume Four, by Daisuke Moriyama

 Volume Four of Chrono Crusade begins with Rosette talking on the phone with Sister Kate, who is less than pleased about the trouble Rosette keeps getting into. (Meanwhile, Satella is extremely smug about being a rich, self-employed bounty hunter.) After some more squabbling between Rosette and Satella, Rosette goes to check on Chrono, who is having Symbolic Nightmares of Doom. (We see that Chrono has some very deep issues that have yet to be resolved, most of them centered around Aion.) Continue reading

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Filed under Chrono Crusade, fantasy, manga/anime, Review: Manga

Reading: Daybreak 2250 A.D. by Andre Norton, Part Five

starmansoncougarsmallReading this book, I am reminded of a conversation I ended up in with a gentleman concerning a post-apocalyptic book called Earth Abides. The conversation revolved around the problematic racist elements I found in the book. Earth Abides was written in 1949 and has certain racist assumptions and stereotypes concerning black people. I found the book to be problematic and the main character obnoxious, though I fell in love with one of the secondary characters. I was informed that I had completely failed to understand the point of the book and that the racist elements were totally forgivable since the book was written in the forties.

Star Man’s Son/Daybreak was written in 1952, only a few years later and has few/almost no stereotypes or racist elements. (The slightly horrible pseudo barbarian, “what even are contractions?” schtick does not count since everyone in the book talks this way.) In fact, one of the main themes of the book is about prejudice, and the need to work together to overcome obstacles. It is infused with a sort of youthful hopefulness about the future and the need to rebuild. (Which is one of the big reasons why I love Star Man’s Son and intensely dislike Earth Abides, because it’s the exact opposite.) Continue reading

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Filed under Andre Norton, apocalyptic, daybreak, Reading, science fiction

Manga Review: Blue Exorcist Volume Three, by Kazue Kato

Volume three of Blue Exorcist opens with Rin and Yukio arguing over Rin’s lackadaisical work habits. The argument is interrupted by Yukio being called on a mission. The mission concerns Father Fujimoto’s familiar, a Cat Sidhe named Kuro who has recently learned of Father Fujimoto’s death. Rin is successfully able to calm the distraught feline down. (Funny bit: Rin states that he will “use his head” to deal with the problem instead of his sword. Of course, this does not mean Rin is going to try to be smart, he is literally going to use his head.) Continue reading

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Filed under Blue Exorcist, fantasy, manga/anime, Review: Manga