Sunday, March 31, 2013

March Writing Round Up

Your business has a blog--now what?

Five Web Comics you should be reading right now

Let me tell you about Homestuck

Book Review: Hinterland by James Clemens

463 pp.

Hinterland is a slightly dull mix of adventure and political intrigue. For political reasons, the Shadowknights decide to reinstate Tylar, now the regent of Chrismferry, as a knight. This is supposed to be symbolic of the unity of the Realms. What it ends up being is an immense point of contention when the Cabal makes their move and a group of disgruntled gods decides to destroy Tashijan so they can get Tylar. (Whom they feel should not be regent because he is mortal.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book Review: Explorer, by C.J. Cherryh

523 pp.

In Explorer, Bren navigates between ship/station politics and making diplomatic contact with an alien presence.

Just before the ship’s arrival at the space station, he learns the full extent of the information Ramirez withheld from both his crew and the planetary governments he had been negotiating with. It turns out that the space station was attacked as a result of Ramirez completely screwing up a first contact with the aliens he encountered. (Hint: Not replying to an attempt to communicate and then zipping for home can generally be seen as a hostile action by anyone with a brain.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Manga Review: Kuroshitsuji Volume Nine, by Yana Toboso

In volume nine of Kuroshitsuji, Ciel is under a cloud due to the way he handled the circus case. (Dear Queen Victoria, you sent a kid being groomed into an utter monster by a demon on a mission so close to home it’s cohabitating at the rebuilt Phantomhive estate, what did you think was going to happen?) The queen’s two butlers, Charles Grey and Charles Phipps turn up to with a request to provide entertainment for a German VIP. Ciel is reluctant at first, but the queen’s butlers metaphorically twist his arm until he agrees.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Reading Homestuck Part Thirty Six :==> AR: Do mad tricks for great justice, yo

From here to here.

On GA’s monitor, We see the previous conversation that GA had with John, who was pretending to be Rose (badly). With the viewport now on, GA is able to see Rose for the first time.

Rose is directed to examine the laptop. Rose sees the little interaction between John and GA. Her next direction is to go and find John.  Rose takes note of phenomena she already knows the reason for, which we are informed by the narrative, is a silly thing to do. What is even sillier is that despite Rose noticing the door was ajar, and also knowing John likes playing pranks, she still opened the door. The bucket that had been propped up there lands on her. The contents of the bucket were Hellacious Blue Aneurysm Gushers. Rose’s prankster’s gambit sinks to an all-time low as a result.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Reading: Telempath, by Spider Robinson, Part Three

The main reason why I have always been ambivalent about Telempath is that there seems to be something slightly “off” about the entire set up. Jacob Stone, a black scientist frames Wendell Morgan Carlson, a white scientist for spreading a plague that destroys human civilization and starts a war with another terrestrial species. The sticking point I think is the way that the elder Stone’s frame involves playing on a presumably white conservative audience’s fear and mistrust of black (and white?) liberal political activism. He even does the thing where the white liberal is awkwardly attempting to join in on a “black only” activity or group and is subsequently rejected on account of being white and presumably clueless. Another reason I have a problem with the setup is because when you consider it, the entire screed he wrote about Carlson is essentially projection. (Meaning that when Stone is talking about Carlson being a wing nut, the actual wing nut being discussed is Stone.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Review: Fury’s Kiss by Karen Chance

Signet Select
536 pp.

In Fury’s Kiss, Our Heroine spends a great deal of time suffering from amnesia and The Three Faces of Eve (minus one). By which I mean that she apparently has two distinct personalities, a human personality and a vampire one, who were deliberately separated by Mircea in an effort to keep Dorina somewhat sane and healthy. (There is a great deal of exposition where it is explained that when Dorina was a child she almost died because of her “vampire” half attacking her “human” half. The barrier that Mircea put between them is crumbling thanks to Dorina drinking fey wine in order to stop her occasional fits of berserk rage.  Dorina also turns out to have an untapped reservoir of psychic talent.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Article: Five Web Comics you should be reading right now

This is a not-quite-random list of a few favorite web comics. A few are pretty long running and may be familiar with the reader.

Gunnerkrigg Court, by Tom Siddell
This is a continuing web comic that is a blend of fantasy and science fiction. The heroine of the comic is a girl named Antimony Carver who ends up at a boarding school that is a strange combination of Hogwarts and Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. The school is in a state of cold war with a nearby enchanted forest, which is how a great deal of the plot is generated.

I recently got a new Examiner Title: Phoenix Web Comic Examiner. This article was thrown together mostly so I would have an first article. Currently working on a Homestuck article. (Feel free to suggest web comics I should be reading.)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Damsel in Distress: Part 1 - Tropes vs Women in Video Games

Book Review: 1635: The Papal Stakes by Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon

654 pp.
The Papal Stakes is mostly about various attempts to rescue Frank Stone and his wife. It is also about pope Urban trying to decide whether he wants to accept the help of the USE. In addition, we have a great deal of debate on whether or not Grantville is part of some vast plot conceived by Satan. (The debate is not very interesting or exciting however.)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Reading Homestuck Part Thirty Five:==> TA, fix GA’s computer! (For the last time, there’s nothing to fix!)

From here to here.

John explores Rose’s room. He avoids his present, due to a strange feeling of guilt. He also receives a peculiar keysmash pester from Dave, which he disregards. The next command is for John to look at a book. The book is a collection of poetry and philosophy supposedly written by Charles Barkley. John is directed to take the book, which he does. He’s then directed to open his present.

It’s a bunny.  A Frankenbunny who is half plush, half knit.

You can probably guess what the next directions are.

Rose also enclosed a letter to John. It is a very sentimental letter!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bluh Bluh Huge Bully: Vriska

Vriska is one of the more polarizing characters in Homestuck. She is flamboyantly larger than life, a walking disaster. She is a slightly more over the top version of that one bully that you had to put up with in grade school. You know the one, he or she would goad you into getting angry so that you would be the one who got in trouble when you lost it. He or she was the bully who always had to be the center of attention, because everything was about him or her. The bully who if they were caught out, would apologize in such a way that you felt as if you were the one at fault. The one who seemed to think that an apology was license to do the exact same thing they just apologized for. Vriska is that exact type of bully and anyone who has had encounters with that kind of bully get the most intense feelings of the exact opposite of nostalgia when they encounter Vriska.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Manga Review: Kuroshitsuji Volume Eight, by Yana Toboso

In volume eight of Kuroshitsuji, the circus arc ends. We open with Beast and the rest of team discovering that the Phantomhive servants serve as an eerily effective line of defense. Mae-Lin is a sniper, Finnie has super strength and seems fairly indestructible and Bardroy is an artillery expert. Even Tanaka has a remarkably terrifying side to him.