Category Archives: Books

Dinah makes the media

Today Dinah and I went to C2E2 for about 5 hours.  We had a great time, and what made it better was Dinah being in costume. Lots of people wanted to take their picture with her and she loved it.

For a good idea of what the day was like (and to see Dinah at the 7:22 mark) check out (the video is non-embeddable, deal with it.)

(I’ll update this post later with some images, just too wiped out right now.)

[Update 4/16: As promised, images!

Book review: Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After thoroughly enjoying the HBO series True Blood for two seasons I decieded to give the Sookie Stackhouse books a try. (This worked well for me in reading Kathy Reich’s Temperance Brennan books after watching Bones.)

The first season of the show is incredibly faithful to the book so most of the major plot points were not the surprises they could have been. However, lots of little details are just different enough to add to the experience of both the show and the books.

You follow the story of Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress in Bon Temps, LA. A Vampire named Bill moves into town in the process of mainstreaming. Sookie is taken with Bill since she can’t read him. Then, women who seem to be assocated with vampires start dying around town. Was it Bill? Is it Sookie’s brother? And the mystery is on…

It seem to fall somewhere between a mystery with supernatural elements and a bodice ripper. At times it almost felt “too girly” but the supernatural characters and happenings allow me to accept the material where usually only Fabio dares to tread.

The writing style and my interest made it an incredibly quick read. All in all, if you liked the shows, you’ll like the books. If you haven’t seen the show, you’ll still like the books if you’re looking for what I’d venture to call “a girly Harry Dresden.”

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206 Bones

I’ve been neglecting the blog of late. I haven’t really had much to say that the 140 characters of Twitter hasn’t taken care of. However, since I took the time to write a book review on GoodReads, I thought I’d share it here too.

206 Bones (Temperance Brennan #12) 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Kathy Reichs’s Temperance Brennan is back again. This time starting out in a well described Chicago. She ends up back in Canada, but I did appreciate how well represented Chicago geography was represented.

I ripped through the book in a few days, due to Reichs’s writing which gels well with me as a reader. There were a few things I didn’t see coming, or at least not in the form they did, which is what I want in a mystery. That said, the only weakness to Reichs’s books is that many of them feel formulaic. Many of these motions I felt like I had gone through with Tempe before.

All in all I still largely enjoyed the book.

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LOAD “:*”,8,1 (yes, I know I’ve used this title before…)

On the Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore On the Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore by Brian Bagnall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Some of the reviews I read of this book lead me to believe it would be more focused on the business side than the technology side. I was presently surprised that I felt it was 70% or greater about the technology. Having had a C=128 and using the heck out of it and having admired Amigas and their uses (but never having owned one,) my look at this book may be a bit biased.

From the technology side: for those who think they know how the personal computer space started, this book provides a different point a view from the very Apple and MS-centric stories you normally here. Commodore definitely deserves our praise every time we use cheap PCs at home, as they were the progenitor of “computers for the masses.” I was really entertained learning about the personalities that come up and developed the technology behind commodore and in the amazing amount of time they did it. Because I am the geek I am, I did easily identify with many of the people and I fondly remember using the technology they came up with.

From the business side: Its really illustrative of what someone with a vision can drive people towards. It also clearly illustrates how when the vision goes away how the waters get muddied quickly. There’s also lessons to be learned in not screwing people you need to succeed and maintaining a good relationship with them.

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Recent readings

13 Things That Don't Make Sense 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense by Michael Brooks

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Great read, worth reading for anyone who likes to get their science geek. Gets as deep as it needs to into what it covers, but not deeper. Light fun science reading

Princeps' Fury: Book Five of the Codex Alera Princeps’ Fury: Book Five of the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
My favorite of the books so far. Sarah argues that it doesn’t advance the story far enough for her, but the characters are well fleshed out including Tavi growing into his own. The bad part is now I have to wait a month for the next book.

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
A great breakdown and examination of how comics work and their place among other works of art. It gave me a much deeper appreciation for the language of comics that I had subconsciously learned.

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Recent readings…

Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration of the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration of the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel by Michio Kaku

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I became interested in the book after hearing an interview with the author on Slice of SciFi. Its an easy read and goes into just enough depth on the physics you need to know to discuss why certain science fiction stables are possible and why others are impossible.

Fun and educational read.

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Playing for Keeps Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I started with the Podcast but ended with the paper edition that was just printed. A fun read playing with the superhero genre. The creativity of the “useless” powers and their use in the story by the author made this an enjoyable read.

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The Dark Tower returns!

This time in comic form!


It looks like they’ll be following the young Roland when he started out his journey. Hopefully we’ll see Cuthbert and Alain.

Also, this marks the first time Stephen King has done original content for comics, so that’ll be good. I guess I’ll have to tell Keith to hold them for me.

Black Sabbath is making our kids into Satan worshipers!

The Economist had an article on the social impact of video games titled Chasing the Dream. Its been posted elsewhere on the net before me, but I have to quote this one paragraph because its so good.

Another analogy can be made between games and music—specifically, with the emergence of rock and roll in the 1950s. Like games today, it was a new art form that was condemned for encouraging bad behaviour among young people. Some records were banned from the radio, and others had their lyrics changed. Politicians called for laws banning the sending of offending records by post. But now the post-war generation has grown up, rock and roll is considered to be harmless. Rap music, or gaming, is under attack instead. “There’s always this pattern,” says Mr Williams of the University of Illinois. “Old stuff is respected, and new stuff is junk.” Novels, he points out, were once considered too lowbrow to be studied at university. Eventually the professors who believed this retired. Novels are now regarded as literature. “Once a generation has its perception, it is pretty much set,” says Mr Williams. “What happens is that they die.”

The article also goes on to mention the book Everything Bad Is Good For You and quotes the author Steven Berlin Johnson. My point in mentioning this is just to give a shout out to that book. It was an excellent read and made me look at a few things differently, including my television watching and how I interact with video games and the ones I really enjoy playing. Unfortunately, its been two months so I read it, so I can’t point out more specifics. GO READ IT!

Notes from the scarlet fields of Can’-Ka No Rey

In a previous post I mentioned that the end was near for the Dark Tower series from Stephen King. It came out on 9/21 and I finished reading it this past Tuesday morning 9/28. A little bit slower then I thought, but its a big book coming in at 845 pages. It probably should have been two books. I’ve been meaning to post about it all week, but I wanted to reflect on it before I did. I also don’t want to drop too many spoilers here as I know many people haven’t gotten to the book yet. (Hello to my blog follower from Finland, where its unknown when the book will be out.)

As a quick aside, I want to talk about my attachment to the series before I go on. I’ve been trying to think of a way to say how much I enjoyed the series as a whole. The only thing I can come up with is the following: I was at the book store the day the last three books where out waiting to jump back into Mid-World (and any place else the tale would take us, say true.) On average, its taken me less than 4 days to read each book. The only thing getting in the way was either work or sleep (and with the last two books, my daughter.) The only other book series I’ve done this with has been Harry Potter.

I wanted the time to reflect on the book, as my initial impressions where not the ones I know I will have long term. Part of the reason reflection was necessary was due to the fact that I was saying goodbye to at least 4 characters (maybe 5) I’ve followed for somewhere around 13 years. (I don’t remember when I read my first book from the series, but I know I was in high school, so I’m putting it in the middle of that time period.) Due to the attachment I’ve grown to these fictional characters any goodbye would be tough. In general, and I’m sure any author will tell you, endings are tough. (That’s probably why so many authors suck at endings, but that’s a different post.)

The other factor is what I’ll call The Matrix Revolutions Factor. After The Matrix Reloaded I had all sorts of ideas of where the story should go and what would be interesting ends to subplots. Obviously, The Matrix Revolutions didn’t match up with what I had in mind. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but what appeared on the move screen didn’t surpass my expectations. It just met them, if not was a little lower than them. (This reminds me, I should go back and watch the movie now that some times has passed.)

**** WARNING: I can’t help but add some potential spoilers in the next few paragraphs. You have been warned! (I’ll also drop some more protection, to be nice.) ****
Continue reading Notes from the scarlet fields of Can’-Ka No Rey