Category Archives: Books

The Milkweed Triptych, by Ian Tregillis

The Milkweed Triptych, by Ian Tregillis, comprises three novels: Bitter Seeds, The Coldest War, and Necessary Evils. Together, they form proof that a good author can outshine the most hackneyed premise. The trilogy takes place in a world where Nazi … Continue reading

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Pay what you want for a great book: The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold

This week’s Humble Bundle offers a fantastic deal – pay what you want for Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Curse of Chalion (and several other ebooks). If most fantasy – and most adventure – fiction (such as Bujold’s own Vorkosigan series) is … Continue reading

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Book review: Rivers of London/Midnight Riot, Moon over Soho, & Whispers Under Ground, by Ben Aaronovitch

Last week, I read an urban fantasy novel, Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London (released in the US as Midnight Riot), about a modern London constable who becomes apprentice to the last sorcerer on the force. The very next day, I … Continue reading

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Book review: Castle in the Air, by Diana Wynne Jones

Once upon a time, in the land of Zanzib, there lived a young carpet merchant named Abdullah. Abdullah’s life was safe but dull, and his only excitement came when he daydreamed himself to be a long-lost prince. Then one day, … Continue reading

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Book review: The Lantern Bearers, by Rosemary Sutcliff

The Lantern Bearers, a 1959 historical novel by Rosemary Sutcliff, is officially a children’s book. It is also one of the best, most mature stories I have read in a long time, with a simple but powerful appeal. When it … Continue reading

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Book review: Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is the latest instalment in what is, probably, my single favourite speculative fiction series – Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga. For 26 years, Bujold has chronicled her hero, frail-but-driven princeling Miles Vorkosigan, as he grew from a … Continue reading

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Book review: The Scarab Path & The Sea Watch, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

  The Scarab Path and The Sea Watch are respectively books 5 and 6 in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt series. (You can find my review of book 1, Empire in Black and Gold, here; and my review of … Continue reading

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Aubrey & Maturin sail onto Kindle!

  Calling all lovers of good books! Patrick O’Brian’s entire Aubrey & Maturin series (which you might remember from the Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany movie a number of years ago) is now available on Kindle. Now you can carry … Continue reading

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Anime’s reclusive cousin: what happened to light novels?

Japan is best known in western geekdom for her video games, anime, and manga, but from time to time, we see the novels (often illustrated YA “light novels”) that inspired some of these works. These usually come out in the … Continue reading

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Book review: Dragonfly Falling, Blood of the Mantis, and Salute the Dark, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

  Dragonfly Falling, Blood of the Mantis, and Salute the Dark are respectively books 2-4 in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt series, and the quickest way for me to describe them would be “more of the same”. Together with … Continue reading

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Book review: Empire in Black and Gold, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The city states of the Lowlands have lived in peace for decades, bastions of civilization, prosperity and sophistication. They have been protected by treaties, trade and a belief in the reasonable nature of their neighbours. But meanwhile, in far-off corners, … Continue reading

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Book review: The Children of the Sky, by Vernor Vinge

The Children of the Sky, Vernor Vinge’s latest science-fiction novel, is the direct sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep (my review here). As such, I wouldn’t recommend starting the series with this book! That said, if you are familiar … Continue reading

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Book review: Spice and Wolf Volume 1, by Isuna Hasekura

Travelling merchant Kraft Lawrence dreams of amassing enough money to open a store in town – but for now, his life is dangerous and lonely, his home simply the back of his wagon. Meanwhile, for centuries Holo the wolf goddess … Continue reading

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Book review: Fatherland, by Robert Harris

Berlin, 1964. Germany crushed Britain and Russia, won the Second World War, spent the next two decades locked in a cold war with the United States. Hitler’s 75th birthday is approaching, just in time for a new detente with the … Continue reading

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Book review: The Mistborn Trilogy, by Brandon Sanderson

THE MISTBORN TRILOGY Brandon Sanderson   After really enjoying a short story by Brandon Sanderson, “Firstborn”, I had high hopes for another set of his works, the Mistborn trilogy (comprising Book 1, Mistborn; Book 2, The Well of Ascension; and … Continue reading

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Guiltless pleasures: John Birmingham’s Weapons of Choice series

Formulaic movies. Shallow novels. Glitchy video games. Not the most promising material. Yet even these will have their fans. Some will have differences of opinion. Some, in between gales of laughter, will mumble: “So bad it’s good!” And some will … Continue reading

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At long last… – my thoughts on ADWD

  After six long years, I’ve finally read A Dance with Dragons. Here are my thoughts.   SPOILER WARNING – stay out if you haven’t finished the book. Like this:Like Loading…

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Spoiled by Greatness

When we want to praise a well-made device, a skilful cook, a more convenient way of doing things, anything, we commonly say, “It’s spoiled me.” Usually this is just a figure of speech. But as with many other clichés, there … Continue reading

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Announcing my short story: The First Sacrifice

Artorius of Cairbrunn hates being dead.   In life, he was a hero, protector to emperors and scourge of the barbarians, before he was betrayed and killed. Now, hundreds of years later, he’s been summoned back to the world of … Continue reading

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One headline I’d like to see in a David Weber novel

The Honor Harrington series of space operas, by David Weber, features Space Commie bad guys who set out to conquer the galaxy when they realised their own treasury could no longer pay for bread and circuses to keep the mob … Continue reading

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What I’m anticipating – May 2011 edition

Currently I’m in something of an entertainment downtime. I finished Tactics Ogre a week ago, and I’m replaying it at a leisurely pace to see one of the other storylines, but I’m not particularly engrossed in any works of fiction … Continue reading

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What are your favourite genres?

I have three questions for you guys reading this:   1.     What are your favourite genres in any medium (games, books, TV, movies, etc)?   2.     How have these changed over time?   3.     And why have these changed over … Continue reading

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Book review: The Other Lands, by David Anthony Durham

THE OTHER LANDS By David Anthony Durham   The Other Lands is the second book in the epic fantasy trilogy by David Anthony Durham that began with Acacia. And I’m glad to say it’s a far more engaging read than … Continue reading

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A Dance With Dragons: The good news and the bad news

So, George R R Martin has good news and bad news regarding A Dance With Dragons.   The bad news is, the book isn’t done yet.   The good news is, he’s so close to the finish line that we … Continue reading

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Book review: Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay

UNDER HEAVEN   by Guy Gavriel Kay   “You gave a man one of the Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You gave him four or five of these glories to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank … Continue reading

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Two very different characters inspired by the same person: Civ 4, The Curse of Chalion, and Isabella I of Spain

The name of Queen Isabella I of Spain should be familiar to any player of Civilization IV. And it will most likely not be a friendly familiarity. For in Civ, Isabella is a thoroughly unpleasant neighbour, a zealot with a … Continue reading

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Digital Distribution Prices: E-Books vs Games

Supreme Commander 2, VGReleases informs me, came out in the US on 2 March 2010. The PC version originally sold for US$50, and the Xbox 360 version sold for US$60. At the time, it received solid if unspectacular reviews (a … Continue reading

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US Versus UK Cover Art: Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes

I usually prefer UK (and, by extension, Australian) book covers to their US covers (see Discworld for an example of good British cover art), and Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes is no exception. Look at this UK cover: yes, it has … Continue reading

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Freebie highlight: The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold

I’ve talked about the Vorkosigan Saga, the multi-award-winning science fiction series, by Lois McMaster Bujold, a fair bit on this blog, and especially in the last week. The novels are some of my favourites (and certainly my favourite science fiction), … Continue reading

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A sneak peek at Lois McMaster Bujold’s upcoming “Ivan book”

EDIT: My review is up!   No heroic tale would be complete without supporting characters: Han Solo, Jack Sparrow, Franz d’Epinay, Lieutenant William Bush, Issun… Ivan Vorpatril. Ivan, Miles Vorkosigan’s cousin and sometime sidekick, is more than just comic relief. … Continue reading

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