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kyonshi

kyonshi@bookrastinating.com

Joined 3 months ago

fan of fantasy, science fiction, weird tales, et. al. Also likes manga and light novels, pulp magazines, and ttrpg.

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Main Event (1993, Penguin Publishing Group) 3 stars

Dispossessed in the battle of Tukayyid, former Com Guard Soldier Jeremiah Rose wants nothing more …

Breezy introduction to Battletech without depth

3 stars

This was my first Battletech novel back in the 90s (when I read it in German as "Stahlgladiatoren"). As I recently got into the franchise again I decided to reread it, this time in English. And it is definitely a breezy read. Hardly a good one, but at least the action keeps coming, even if some of the plot points feel a bit sus. We encounter Jeremiah Rose, who lost his Battlemech but still wants to fight the Clans who invaded the Inner Sphere and were stopped at the Battle of Tukayyid. So he goes to his home planet and tries to get support there, only to be frozen out by his own father. He does manage to recruit both his sister and a cousin, then goes to the arena planet Solaris VII to somehow get a Battlemech for himself. After a surprisingly short time there he has both mechs …

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (Paperback, 2014, Baen) 4 stars

"Book Fourteen in the best-selling Vorkosigan series. Captain Ivan Vorpatril is happy with his relatively …

Review of Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (Vorkosigan Saga 15) by Lois McMaster Bujold

No rating

It's hardly the best of the Vorkosigan saga books, but it does have it's charm. Unfortunately it also is quite uneven, and the brisk pacing drops considerably during the second half of the book. Which is odd, as this should be just the time when it should pick up. The book is a screwball comedy in the science fiction setting of the Vorkosigan saga. Ivan Vorpatril, cousin to the series' main star Miles Vorkosigan and often recurring side character, is on a work trip to the planet of Komarr. There an agent from Imperial Security he knows recruits him as a bodyguard for a girl who might be in danger. After a complicated few days, with local authorities, interstellar criminals, and his boss on his back, he and his charges are backed into a corner and he comes up with a rather gallant but foolish proposal: marriage. Weirdly enough it …

reviewed Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

Deep Secret (Paperback, 2002, Starscape) 5 stars

Rupert Venables is a Magid.

It's a Magid's job to oversee what goes on in …

Review: Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

5 stars

This, truly, is one of my favorite books. It is perfect in so many ways.

For one, it is a fantasy novel set on a fantasy convention. I would say this is a winning formula, but I also read "Bimbos of the Death Sun" and was less than happy with that. Deep Secret is different because it is actually well written, with a keen insight into the world of fantasy fandom.

Rupert Venables is a Magid. Not a magician, but something very similar. He is tasked with watching over Earth and other worlds in the multiverse, including, to his disgust, the Inter-dimensional Koryfonic Empire. The plot kicks off when 1. his mentor dies and he is tasks with finding a replacement, and 2. the emperor of the Koryfonic Empire is assassinated, along with much of his court. For reasons of his own making he now needs to juggle running a …

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Bimbos of the Death Sun (Paperback, 1996, Ballantine Books) 4 stars

Sharyn McCrumb's Bimbos of the Death Sun is a strange work. Ostensibly a mystery novel …

Review: Bimbos of the Death Sun - #dnd #fantasy #sff #mystery #fandom

3 stars

I don't know any other mystery novel that uses a D&D game as a parlor scene. This one does. Unfortunately it sucks. It does manage to capture the atmosphere of a badly run exhibition game quite nicely though: At the the end of the game players and audience are frustrated, and the bored reader is glad that this waste of time is over. It's just as well the exposed murderer commits suicide, because this mess would never hold up in court. The whole mystery part of the book seems like an afterthought, a mere excuse to be able to sell it as some, any genre at least. In truth this is a book about SF fandom, but it hardly is science fiction in itself. So after half the book the asshole victim is killed, nobody really is bothered much by that, and the only reason the main character finds who …

Bimbos of the Death Sun (Paperback, 1996, Ballantine Books) 4 stars

Sharyn McCrumb's Bimbos of the Death Sun is a strange work. Ostensibly a mystery novel …

Review: Bimbos of the Death Sun - #dnd #fantasy #sff #mystery #fandom

3 stars

I don't know any other mystery novel that uses a D&D game as a parlor scene. This one does. Unfortunately it sucks. It does manage to capture the atmosphere of a badly run exhibition game quite nicely though: At the the end of the game players and audience are frustrated, and the bored reader is glad that this waste of time is over. It's just as well the exposed murderer commits suicide, because this mess would never hold up in court. The whole mystery part of the book seems like an afterthought, a mere excuse to be able to sell it as some, any genre at least. In truth this is a book about SF fandom, but it hardly is science fiction in itself. So after half the book the asshole victim is killed, nobody really is bothered much by that, and the only reason the main character finds who …

Brick by brick (2013) 3 stars

Review of 'Brick by brick' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

In the mid-2000s Lego was the bestselling toy manufacturer in the world.
It also was on the verge of bankruptcy.
This was a surprise to everyone, most of all Lego's management.
It took the work of a group of talented analysts to convince them that while some of their recent business decisions were quite successful to say the least (Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Bionicle), altogether the company was losing money on developing and even selling their products.

In the '90s, when action figures and computers became all the rage in the toy industry, a few bad numbers had convinced Lego's management to take a new direction. Old people with insitutional knowlege were let go, new people with the best, but often unrelated, qualifications were brought in. Multiple new development units had been created that were not providing any benefit to the company. New toys were created that did not …

The Victorian Internet (Paperback, 1999, Berkley Books) 4 stars

Trade paperback edition

Review of 'The Victorian Internet' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

The telegraph was the first tool that allowed rapid communication between parties thousands of miles away from each other. This book is a rather too short history of its development, starting with the failures that preceded the technology, over the optical semaphore systems originally used, towards the mature system that allowed instant communication in the later half of the 19th century. The book delves into the amusing follies that came with its development (the first Atlantic telegraph line failed after a month, and records later showed the operators were largely asking if the other side received them), touches on the subculture of telegraph operators that held sway for a long time (including at least one wedding conducted over telegraph), and goes on to see its slow and inevitable demise after the invention of the telephone, originally just an outgrowth of the booming telegraph market.
The book is a light and …

The Second Deluge (Paperback, 2007, BiblioBazaar) 3 stars

Review of 'The Second Deluge' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

The story of a second deluge. The main character is an eccentric and wealthy scientist who predicts the coming of a new deluge due to Earth passing through a nebula. While people first laugh at him when he starts building a new ark, soon enough the rain starts and does not stop. The world drowns, and few people remain, but our hero protagonist has miscalculated still, and the whole situation is not quite as bad as he thought.
This book gets points for trying to trace the realistic consequences of someone trying to convince the world about a new deluge, and loses it when the president of the US and the king of Britain become protagonists. Oh, and then there is of course the hidden message in the Sphinx.
Kind of slow-moving scientifiction story. Mostly for people who are interested in the genre.