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RSS Feed This page collects recent BookReviews. Collecting them on a single page just did not scale well.

I’m interested in giving away old books!

2014-01-04 The Walrus and the Warwolf

These days I read a lot less books than I used to. I read too much blogs on the topic of role-playing games, too much time spent on Google+, also on the topic of role-playing games, I skim this role-playing book and that PDF, and since I’m mostly interested in the Old School Renaissance of role-playing games—namely D&D from the nineteen eighties—I also feel like I ought to like the books recommended by one of the founding fathers of D&D, Gary Gygax in his Appendix N of the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide. If you’re interested, you should check out the articles in Martin Ralya’s blog tagged Reading Appendix N.

These books are weird. Compared with the The Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time, A Song of Ice and Fire or Malazan Book of the Fallen, these older books are short. There are sometimes short stories, collection of short stories, novellas, or little paperback books. All of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian fit into two books of typical size for these fantasy series.

A while back, I remembered how eagerly I read all those Darkover books by Marion Zimmer Bradley and I decided to find them all second hand, in German, on Amazon, and buy them for Claudia. Every now and the she reads one of them, interspersed with some Steven Erickson and George R. R. Martin. We start talking and comparing. There are two aspects I like about these books:

  1. each book stands on its own
  2. each book only has a single plot line

Tolkien may have started this dreadful fashion of telling multiple stories at once. But in his case, at least each segment was long, very long. When I read George R. R. Martin, I feel like the author is suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder. Is every little segment ending on a cliff hanger? When I start noticing the literary devices, when I start to see the man behind the curtain, it doesn’t really work anymore. It starts to bore me. I start noticing that—like in Zeno’s paradox about Achilles being unable to overtake the turtle—as the number of segments increase, the time slot available decreases. As more stories are told in parallel, less actually happens. Plot is reduced to flashes and still images.

I am exaggerating, of course. In comparison with older books, however, I start to appreciate a tight plot, a unified vision, a drive forward. All the Conan stories stand on their own. They can be arranged in some sort of chronological order, but that’s not the important part. Similarly, the Darkover books can be read in any order. You get the occasional reward for regular readers. Older stories are referred to, but understanding this is strictly optional.

I was once again reminded of this when I read The Walrus and the Warwolf. It was published in Paizo’s Planet Stories line (now discontinued). I liked it very much. The book itself wasn’t short, but the chapters were short. The characterizations were short. Things happened. I felt that it incorporated not the best of literature, of language, of fancy words and synonyms and antonyms but it incorporated what is best in story telling. Keeping things short. Just enough words to let the reader’s imagination embellish it all without ever taking too long to read.

I’m hoping that I’ll like the other volumes in Hugh Cook’s Chronicles of an Age of Darkness series. I’ve ordered many of the volumes second hand, via Amazon. I also ordered the four books that got translated into German. Perhaps Claudia will enjoy them as well.

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Summary: Yeah, I read the same thing on Wikipedia. I'm fascinated by the idea of telling the story of a different protagonist in each book with intersections between the books every now and then. It reminds me of the Eternal Champion stories by Michael Moorcock. I was always fascinated by the boat trip in…

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< Yeah, I read the same thing on Wikipedia. I'm fascinated by the idea of telling the story of a different protagonist in each book with intersections between the books every now and then. It reminds me of the -> Eternal Champion (en) stories by Michael Moorcock. I was always fascinated by the boat trip in the mist where the various heroes all meet.

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> Yeah, I read the same thing on Wikipedia. I was sad to learn that he had died in 2008 and I was disappointed to learn that his 60 book plan had been cancelled much earlier because of financial failure. Nooo!
> I
'm fascinated by the idea of telling the story of a different protagonist in each book with intersections between the books every now and then. It reminds me of the -> Eternal Champion (en) stories by Michael Moorcock. I was always fascinated by the boat trip in the mist where the various heroes all meet.



brad
I loved hugh cooks books. A breath of fresh air when they were released. I read recently that initially he had planned 60+ books in the series. Sadly passed away now but walrus and warwolf was ond of the better ones

– brad 2014-01-05 10:31 UTC



AlexSchroeder
Yeah, I read the same thing on Wikipedia. I was sad to learn that he had died in 2008 and I was disappointed to learn that his 60 book plan had been cancelled much earlier because of financial failure. Nooo!

I’m fascinated by the idea of telling the story of a different protagonist in each book with intersections between the books every now and then. It reminds me of the Eternal Champion stories by Michael Moorcock. I was always fascinated by the boat trip in the mist where the various heroes all meet.

AlexSchroeder 2014-01-05 12:26 UTC

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2011-08-16 Spending Time With Books

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5006/5261468559_4a8c5e8748.jpg

I sometimes think that every type of media has its own way of telling a story. If you watch a movie, sometimes good movies have snappy dialog, visual splendor and a soundtrack. Books, on the other hand, have a vast array of characters, multiple parallel plot lines, a lot of details. When taking a story first published as a book and turning it into a movie, one needs to pay attention to these media preferences.

As readers, we learn to experience stories in particular ways, depending on context. I expect snappy dialog in movies. If it doesn’t deliver, I’ll note.

When it comes to Fantasy books, it seems to me that the books written have changed and our expectations have similarly changed. The Conan stories by Robert E. Howard  were just short stories. Other people started to write novels. Successful novels got follow-up novels and got turned into a series. As a kid, I loved the Pern books by Anne McCaffrey and the Darkover books by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Every book was a self-contained story. Every story shared its world with all the other stories in the series.

As I grew older, expectations changed.

I wanted a lot of value for my money and that meant that I wanted thick books. I loved books with five hundred pages and more. I loved to read more about the people and places I loved.

The market went farther than that, however. Authors started telling epic sagas that required trilogies to tell. These trilogies got extended by appending another trilogy. I’m thinking of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, for example. Sometimes, I didn’t understand how trilogy after trilogy got added after the first. Hello, David Eddings.

What had happened? Authors no longer tried to tell the story of a single protagonist. I’m not sure where this all started. Was it The Lord of the Rings? It was published as a trilogy. It featured multiple protagonists. Their respective story lines diverged. The rest of the story was told using interleaved chunks.

I loved J.R.R. Tolkien but I did not get into David Eddings. I started to read less. I just could not keep up. The turning point was reached when Robert Jordan wrote The Wheel of Time. At first, I hated it. It seemed like such a cheap Tolkien rip-off. Then I started to like it. But when I reached book six I realized that there was another problem. The author just wanted to tell too many damn stories, all at the same time. He introduced more people, more plots, more stories, and in order to tell them, he started to interleave the shrinking segments more and more until I felt that the story had hardly progressed over a thousand pages.

And then he died. Ever since Robert Jordan’s death, the phrase “pulling a Robert Jordan” has turned into a short hand for a series that just keeps on growing and one has to fear that the author won’t live long enough to tell the entire story.

I have started to notice the same ennui with A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. I think I stopped around book three. There just wasn’t any progress because too many stories were being told at the same time.

Recently I discussed this with some friends after we had begun talking about A Song of Ice and Fire RPG campaign and the latest book in the series, telenovelas and TV series like Lost and Six Feet Under.

It seemed to me that my expectations had fallen out of sync with what authors were publishing. I still expected stories to be self-contained. I was expecting a climax and closure.

The market, however had moved on. It seems to me that many successful authors now expect to keep adding to their corpus for as long as they live. Instead of reading a short story, a book, a trilogy, or a ten volumes series, readers are now expected to keep on sharing a part of their reading life with the living and breathing world of their favorite author.

In a way, I don’t mind. Perhaps the same thing is true with Arthurian romance. There’s the story of the love triangle, the grail and Merlin. But if you want to, you can add Tristram and Isolde. You can add Parcival. You can focus on Morgaine Le Fay. The older versions of King Arthur’s story is in the public domain and therefore anybody can add to the whole. People can rewrite, retell, edit, merge or highlight aspects of the whole. If you are interested, you can spend a part of your life with Arthurian romance.

I am a traditionalist in many things and I find this sort of explanation soothing. Spending a part of your life with an ever growing tree of related stories is not new after all.

Comics work the same way. You can spend a part of your life with Superman or Batman. A gazillion stories are told about the various protagonists. Sometimes authors change, sometimes there is a reboot (2011 DC Universe reboot). It’s all good (unless you are talking to nerds).

Perhaps I just have these two problems:

  1. I wasn’t expecting this to happen to Fantasy books. I didn’t expect George R.R. Martin and Steve Erickson to keep on writing until I fear they’ll pull a Robert Jordan on me.
  2. The book is no longer a useful reading unit. These are not stories that stand on their own. These are collections of story fragments.

I cannot help but wonder if A Song of Ice and Fire would be more palatable if I could just read the various plots in separate books.

Sure, the main events of the story will be revealed in the first book, but it seems that spoilers don't reduce the reader's enjoyment of a book.

Wow, this post wasn’t short at all.

I wanted to add a final, role-playing related thought: I’m suspecting that there is a similar divide in expectations when it comes to typical campaigns. In one of my games the characters can have followers (Entourage Approach). These followers can earn experience as the older characters turn into NPCs (or die), players continue playing the followers. Thus, barring a TPK, the campaign can go on forever. My wife told me so: “I could keep playing in this campaign forever!”

It wouldn’t make a good book with a climax and closure, but it obviously is a good way to spend a part of your life with an ever growing tree of related stories.

Further reading:

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Summary: You cannot but feel like this with the Song of Ice and Fire, IIRC the Daenerys story still has 0 connection with the other stories at the end of the 3rd book after 3000 pages, it's the kind of stories that are normally published after the success of the main series and labelled "in the same . . .

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< It reminds me of [[2011-01-26 Perry Rhodan|Perry Rhodan]]. A German weekly science fiction series of fifty page pulp novellas published continuously for over forty years. Forty years, 52 weeks, fifty pages… Catching up is /hard/. People just pop in and leave again as the years pass.

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> It reminds me of [[2011-01-26 Perry Rhodan|Perry Rhodan]]. A German weekly science fiction series of fifty page pulp novellas published continuously for over forty years. Forty years, 52 weeks, fifty pagesâ... Catching up is /hard/. People just pop in and leave again as the years pass.



Adrian
You are not far from my Two Rules of Fantasy:

1. I do not read unfinished series.
2. I do not read series longer than three books.

Mostly this was caused by the Wheel of Time. Of course, I have broken the rule twice recently, for A Song of Ice and Fire (which still intrigues me) and The Kingkiller Chronicle (which is supposedly going to be a trilogy).

Adrian 2011-08-17 03:46 UTC



AlexSchroeder
Hm, what do you think of the other idea: perhaps you’re missing out if you don’t accept the new style of perpetual series. You read a few books of a particular series and if you like it, you keep buying it until either you or the author die.

Eventually this will reach a point where an awesome author will write his masterpiece in his twenties and he’ll keep publishing an awesome book every two years until his eighties. You’ll age as the author ages, as the protagonists age, and it’ll just be a part of your life. And if you have kids, they’ll be unable to catch up. Reading the entire series will turn out to be impossible unless you started reading. For a while it seemed that Harry Potter would be going this way.

It reminds me of Perry Rhodan. A German weekly science fiction series of fifty page pulp novellas published continuously for over forty years. Forty years, 52 weeks, fifty pagesâ… Catching up is hard. People just pop in and leave again as the years pass.

AlexSchroeder 2011-08-17 09:52 UTC



Adrian
I suppose massive series can be good, and in all honesty I read all four David Eddings series (two were trilogies, two were five or so books), at least seven books in the Wheel of Time, and I have the fifth book of ASoIaF waiting on my Kindle. But I harken back to my grade school English classes and discussions of plot. A narrative has an intro, a rising action, some sort of climax or turning point, a falling action, and a denouement. The same thing is true for series, I think, if you consider them simply a book that was too long to fit (physically) into one book. You can’t continue to pull the reader along towards a climax without actually having one. It just becomes a drag – again, the Wheel of Time is a great example of this. I thought the end of Book 6 was the climax or turning point of the series, and ended up we were nowhere near a resolution.

The second thing I always remind myself is that authors have created truly monumental works of science fiction or fantasy literature in the past, and have done so within the confines of a single novel, or perhaps three novels. The Lord of the Rings, the Foundation trilogy, Dune…these were all epic in scope and yet did not require encyclopedia-length series. The Guy Gavriel Kay novels you introduced me too are also good examples.

My last thought just occurred to me. I know for reasons of economics that this is impractical…but with e-books, you can start to think about novels that would otherwise be too large (physically) to publish. In reality, I imagine that there are more pressing reasons why publishing houses do not want to put out 2,000-page tomes. But imagine if an entire series came out at once?

Adrian 2011-08-17 12:57 UTC



Keith Davies
I remember reading that JRR Tolkien insisted the Lord of the Rings was “one book in three volumes”. It was just too physically big to put in one set of covers.

However, I agree with your general thrust here, that many series are getting too big to readily manage. I’ve started Malazan (Erikson) and it’s a lot of reading; Jordan and Martin are the same. I like stories with clear direction and closure.

Incidentally, there is a similar effect in anime. Some of the most popular series go one for literally hundreds of episodes and they might never end. The best series though, in my opinion, are generally the short ones – often about 13 or 26 episodes tops (one or two seasons of weekly episodes) – for exactly the same reason you describe. The story starts, has a middle, a climax, and a denouement. done.

Keith Davies 2011-08-17 15:27 UTC



vbwyrde
This is a really great post, thanks! I’m not sure how I feel about the question of extended trilogies and ultra-long series. On the one hand if the author really has that much interesting stuff to say about their world and the characters that live in it, then ok, I can see it. But if the rational is more along the lines of the publisher saying the first book was successful, so keep adding to it because people will keep buying anything that has ‘success’ tagged onto it, the way Hollywood does with movies, then I’m inclined to believe that after a while I’ll be dissatisfied with the results. The real questions is - is the author motivated by some Great Idea, or by money? In the former case, wow, awesome, cool, and great! In the latter case, I’m going to wind up saying ho-hum, whatever, and eventually, leave me alone already. I’m a curmudgeon that way.

As for RPG Campaigns I have a similar feeling. If the GM has truly great concepts I’ll keep coming back for me. But if the ideas grow stale, and the campaign is just going on and on without end because there is just no distinct stopping point, then after some time I will begin to lose interest.

I think it is simply the case that some people are brilliant, and come up with brilliant worlds that are worth investing the time to get to know, even if that happens to be years. Other people are really not that brilliant, or have a limited amount of brilliance to share. In those cases I prefer to get a short story, or a limited scope campaign. Hopefully authors and GMs are self aware enough to distinguish where they are at, and will provide material that is suitable to their capacity. I probably sound kind of harsh, but I think it’s better to be honest and provide feedback that will give authors and GMs a nugget of self-reflection on this topic. If you have brilliant concepts then by all means, lay them out for the public to experience. But if the motive is “my publisher wants me to keep writing xyz because the first one was successful and so I said, ok”, or “my players haven’t complained about this going on forever so I’ll keep going on even though I can’t really think of any good new material” then I respectfully suggest you maintain artistic integrity, and say no. Start something new, get fresh ideas, and prosper. I hope I don’t offend anyone with my comment.

vbwyrde 2011-08-17 18:43 UTC


I think it’s mainly bad writing and editing… and one of the reasons why I can’t read fantasy books anymore. Song of Ice and Fire was the exeption of the last 10 years, but after book 3 (book 6 in German), it definitively goes down the drain. GRR Martin gets totally lost in his world and the plot doesn’t move one inch over hundreds of pages. So I guess I am finished with the genre.

– Peter 2011-08-18 04:20 UTC


You cannot but feel like this with the Song of Ice and Fire, IIRC the Daenerys story still has 0 connection with the other stories at the end of the 3rd book after 3000 pages, it’s the kind of stories that are normally published after the success of the main series and labelled “in the same universe” or something like that. Martin forces you to read this at the same time, as if the other stories were unfolding too quickly….and it only seems to get worse.

PierreGaston 2011-08-21 08:06 UTC

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2010-11-05 Books

Claudia hat vor einiger Zeit angefangen mit uns D&D 3.5 zu spielen. Gleichzeitig fing ihr Bruder an, in einer Bibliothek zu arbeiten. Plötzlich bekamen wir ganze Fantasy Serien geschenkt! Claudia begann wie wild zu lesen. Die Malazan Bücher von Steve Erickson, Eis und Feuer von George R. R. Martin, Eragon von Christopher Paolini…

Als sie mich nach Buchempfehlungen fragte, musste ich an die Zeit zurückdenken, in der ich Fantasy Bücher entdeckte. Ich muss so zwischen 10 und 14 Jahre alt gewesen sein, als ich den Herrn der Ringe und die Nebel von Avalon verschlang. Mein Mutter war mit jemandem befreundet, der hatte eine ganze Büchewand voller Perry Rhodan, Darkover von Marion Zimmer Bradley, Pern von Anne McCaffrey, Welt der Ebenen von Philip José Farmer, … Und ich hatte gerade eben wieder ein paar Buchempfehlungen online gesehen. Also habe ich mich hingesetzt…

Was wir uns also besorgen werden:

  1. Der dunkle Turm von Stephen King
  2. First Law von Joe Abercrombie
  3. Die Schwarzen Juwelen von Anne Bishop

Ich war etwas enttäuscht, als ich merkte, dass die Bücher meiner Jugend nicht mehr aufgelegt werden. Aber Amazon Deutschland bietet ja einen ziemlich guten “Marketplace” an, wo man 2nd hand kaufen kann. Man muss in der Schweiz einfach nach dem ersten Anbieter suchen, wo das Wort “international” vorkommt. :)

Gerade habe ich ein paar Stunden online verbracht…

  1. Songs of the Dying Earth
  2. A Deepness in the Sky
  3. Book of the New Sun: Sword and Citadel Vol 2
  4. Book of the New Sun: Shadow and Claw Vol 1
  5. Tales of the Dying Earth
  6. Dying Earth 1. Cugels Irrfahrten
  7. Chronicles of the Black Company
  8. The Books of the South: Tales of the Black Company
  9. The Many Deaths of the Black Company
  10. Die Welt der Drachen. Die Suche der Drachen. Drachengesang. Drei Romane in einem Band
  11. Drachenmeister (= Drachentrommeln)
  12. Drachendämmerung (= Drachensinger)
  13. Moreta. Die Drachenherrin von Pern
  14. Die Weyr von Pern
  15. Die Monde von Darkover
  16. Die Erben von Hammerfell
  17. Die Winde von Darkover
  18. Die Schwarze Schwesternschaft
  19. Die Tänzerin von Darkover
  20. Das Zauberschwert
  21. Rote Sonne über Darkover
  22. Gildenhaus Thendara
  23. Der Preis des Bewahrers / Freie Amazonen von Darkover
  24. Herrin der Falken
  25. Die Zeit der Hundert Königreiche
  26. Sharras Exil
  27. Die zerbrochene Kette
  28. Landung auf Darkover
  29. Herrin der Stürme
  30. Das Wort des Hastur

Gebrauchte Bücher kaufen rockt! :D rocks

Was ich auch empfehlen kann sind die Artikel von old school B/X Blackrazor Blogger JB zum Thema Darkover:

Was habe ich wohl gelernt? Vor allem eines: Ich bin damals zu einem beinharten Feministen geworden und nie mehr davon weggekommen.

Hierzu kann ich auch noch einen Blog empfehlen:

Uhm… Warum heisst die Seite eigentlich “Books” und nicht “Bücher”!? Ich war wohl überzeugt, ich würde wieder einen englischen Artikel zum Thema RPG schreiben.

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2010-01-05 Arms and Armor Source Books

Looking around for some books on medieval arms and armor – including details about polearms, and not necessarily with gaming application – I found the following books via Amazon. What do you think? Other books you want to suggest? Warnings? Is this series from St. Martin’s Press good?

Or start with some books from other lists? [1]

I got recommendations for Gary Gygax’s World Builder and The Palladium Book of Weapon and Armour via Twitter. What do you think of these?

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Hello Alex,

the “Fighting Techniques” books are mis-named, imho. Their main focus is on mass warfare; i.e. types of military formations, their positioning and use on the battlefield and similar tactics. Arms, armour and the use of either (actual “fighting techniques”) are mentioned only in passing in this context and are sometimes overly generalised. If you are looking for how individual fighters of the period were equipped and how they used their weapons, you will find a lot of books on swordsmanship (i.e. here: http://www.amazon.com/Medieval-Sword-Shield-Combat-Armouries/dp/1891448439) but little on other weapons.

I also own The Palladium Book of Weapon and Armour.

– Jorunkun 2010-01-06 01:05 UTC


Hm, interesting. I have Talhoffers Fechtbuch here, but without annotations or commentary. It’d be cool to have some interpretation from people with experience. Then again, I’m no European martial arts geek; my Aikido is hard enough to master, haha.

When I walked back from work today I thought that something I’d like to see is a discussion of the arms race through the centuries. Why flails, halberds, maces, rapiers, shield shapes, and so on. I have some amateur ideas. I’d like to read a historian’s perpective, I guess.

AlexSchroeder 2010-01-06 01:16 UTC


(oops … hit save prematurely - continuing)

It features a very detailed list of weapons and armour, each of them with a little picture and detailed statistics such as weight, length and ratings for speed damage etc. History buffs will surely find much at fault with these numbers, but as a guideline for statting up weapons for an RPG, they aren’t all that bad. Also shown are fully quipped “typical fighters” from certain periods and cultures; but there isn’t much descriptive or context given - the book is one big collection of lists, essentially.

Personally, I really like the Osprey books “Men at Arms” series, which features detailed description of warriors, weapons and armour plus a very readable summary of the historical and cultural context, complete with pictures, maps and often great artwork (i.e. by Angus MacBride). http://www.ospreypublishing.com/men_at_arms/

Lastly, TSR put out a 2nd edition AD&D Weapons and Armour Guide (forget the exact title) that did a pretty good job presenting all the weapons usually seen in FRPGs, complete with pictures so you can tell your Bec-de-Corbin from your Glaive Guisarme.

Hope this helps.

Jorunkun 2010-01-06 01:17 UTC


Thanks! I keep hearing about the Osprey books but have never seen any here in Switzerland. I’ll have to try and get a book or two!

AlexSchroeder 2010-01-06 01:23 UTC


Matthew Bennett is an excellent military historian, so I would have no qualms recommending a book on that subject by him. The Palladium book of arms and armour is pretty interesting, but really a gamer’s primer to arms and armour. Gygax’s World Builder I probably would not recommend over any other. The Osprey series is pretty reliable and well illustrated. I was recently given a review copy of Codex Martialis, which is a pretty thorough and well researched guide to historical arms and armour written for D20/3e: http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=65250

Matthew James Stanham 2010-01-06 01:24 UTC


Thanks. That sounds like a start. I’ll take a look at the Matthew Bennett book.

AlexSchroeder 2010-01-06 01:27 UTC


Hehe, parallel post. Looks like someone is up late in Switzerland … :)

I don’t know of any book focused specifically on the arms race, probably because there isn’t one clear historically accurate narrative about it. Metal availability and quality, manufacturing skill or access to quality weapons and their use varied greatly by region and period so the historical record is patchy. History buffs frequently get into shouting matches over which side used what weapon to which effect (i.e. see here: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=487764) so proceed with caution.

Jorunkun 2010-01-06 01:28 UTC


Haha, I guess I wanted a book that would allow me to join conversations such as these! :)

I ordered the following books:

  • Fighting Techniques of the Medieval World 500 - 1500 AD
  • Fighting Techniques of the Oriental World: Equipment, Combat Skills, and Tactics
  • Weapon: A Visual History of Arms and Armour (Military)
  • Fighting Techniques of the Ancient World (3000 B.C. to 500 A.D.): Equipment, Combat Skills, and Tactics

AlexSchroeder 2010-01-10 10:50 UTC

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2009-06-02 The Secret of Sinharat

I’ve subscribed to Paizo’s Planet Stories and just finished The Secret of Sinharat by Leigh Brackett. I enjoyed the book. It had a nice Stargate meets Conan vibe to it.

I liked it better than the collected Jirel of Joiry stories by C. L. Moore in Black God’s Kiss.

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2009-05-08 Literary Grounding

What I really like about Scott’s campaigns (real name?) is his literary grounding. It seems that he picks a number of books that will act as inspiration for a particular campaign, and exclude all others. Here are his two lists:

So many unread books and so little time!

Update: It turns out that Zachary has been thinking of a very similar topic – instead of asking the per-campaign question, he just asks the per-judge question.

Update: Even more…

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2009-02-20 Exsila vs. Bookmooch

I’ve accumulated lots of points on BookMooch – more than 180 points at the moment. But I’m having two problems:

  1. Sending books to the states is expensive.
  2. They never seem to have the books I’m looking for.

There’s a local exchange site here in Switzerland called Exsila. The problem there is that I have to assign a price to my books. While adding the book to your inventory, the site suggests to use the retail price (?), but I’m sure nobody wants to pay that much. This was easy for BookMooch: Every book is two points; sending outside your country is an extra point.

So what happened is that I entered a dozen books and looked at my listing. Ten of my books were listed as “best price” but two samples revealed that I was also the only one with the book in question. The two books were I was not “best price” seemed to be going for 10% or 20% of the price the system had suggested to me. Damn. Go back and edit those prices? Hope to score? Compare with Amazon?

Gaaaah!

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2009-02-19 The Broken Sword

Instead of reading the books for the English BookClub, I’ve been reading the series Malazan Book of the Fallen for a while now. I decided to take a break and read one of the pulp books I’ve been quietly collecting recently. Inspired by the review in the Grognardia Pulp Fantasy Gallery I picked The Broken Sword, where a human changeling raised in elven courts battles trolls and giants at the side of elven hunters, his human love, and faery gods. I’m approaching the end, and I really like it up to now.

Recommended. ok

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2009-01-06 BookMooch

I thought I was doing fine:

Points: 178.8
Books received: 37
Books given: 72
Feedback: +73

But today I saw this guy:

Books received: 5306
Books given: 4930
Feedback: +4931

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2008-08-11 Planet Stories and other Sword and Sorcery Books

A new delivery of books has arrived:

The last one is the only book not from the Planet Stories but from Fantasy Masterworks.

I really enjoyed the first volume of the Conan Chronicles. I was less enthusiastic about Black God’s Kiss by C.L. Moore. In fact I haven’t finished the last story in that book.

As time allows I’ll try going through some of the books in the Old School Fantasy Reading List recently published by Kellri. (Real name Scot Hoover?)

I am excited! And my collector’s heart also laments the fact that I already gave away some books in these two series via BookMooch:

Then again I also got some fantasy and science fiction books via the same service, so I guess it evens out.

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