Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book Review: Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn

339 pp.

Summers at Castle Auburn is a quiet romantic fantasy that addresses social problems, but keeps it in the background. Our heroine is a young woman named Coriel who spends summers at Castle Auburn, the royal palace. She is the bastard child of the bastard son of noble and is--pretty much without her actual awareness for most of the novel--being groomed for an advantageous or at least politically useful marriage. She has a close relationship with her half-sister, has a crush of her sister’s fiancĂ©e, and is somewhat feckless and fancy free. Fortunately, she has a strong vocation for becoming a healer and has no intention of ruining her relationship with her sister by acting on her crush.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Manga Review: Kuroshitsuji Volume Eleven, by Yana Toboso

buy on Amazon At the end of volume ten, the young doctor rushes back to the manor because of a hunch. His hunch proves to be correct, and Ciel and Sebastian are willing to reveal the real secrets of the case. (Or at least a good deal more of it than you would expect.) Sebastian also reveals his real form to the Doctor, which causes him such a fright that he is inspired to continue writing. (Sebastian is the scariest muse ever.)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Reading Homestuck Part Thirty Eight : ==> John: Become an ectobiolobabysitter!

From here to here.

John sees that the device in the lab has been recently calibrated. (Mutie is also present.) John is directed to examine the monitor. The monitor is showing his old neighborhood, and a large red Betty Crocker factory. The date is a few months before John was born. (December 1st, 1995) He zooms in and sees a gentleman walking with his elderly mother. A target has been locked over the old woman. We get a slight change of angle and see that a meteor is heading straight for the building. It destroys the building, and John is directed to press the blue button.

Manga Review: Kamisama Kiss Volume Ten, Julietta Suzuki

Buy on AmazonIn Kamisama Kiss volume ten, Nanami helps Kurama solve the succession crisis brewing at Mount Kurama. Since Nanami cannot enter the male-only environment of Mount Kurama, she disguises herself as a boy tengu, while Kurama poses as a tochigami, thanks to Nanami’s “substitute tochigami” ofuda. (It is effective enough that Kurama is able to order Tomoe to act like a cat.) The plan is for Kurama and Tomoe to distract Jiro, while Nanami and Botanmaru go looking for Sojobo, Kurama’s father.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Book Review: Fledgling, by Octavia Butler

Seven Stories Press
316 pp.

Fledgling is another one of those books that took me a while to get around to reading. I was not entirely sure what to think when I first heard that Octavia Butler was going to write a vampire novel. (Let’s just say there was some metaphorical pearl-clutching and leave it at that.) I do not really like vampire novels all that much, even though I always seem to end up reading them. (Most urban fantasy novels have vamps in them. There is no escape.)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Reading: Telempath, by Spider Robinson, Part Five

What is interesting here is that from Isham’s point of view, things like racism, homophobia and sexism are non-issues. (Of course, he considers homosexuality to be a non-issue because there is only one homosexual person in the entire world.) Isham has experienced bigoted individuals such as Alia’s father, but he has been more or less sheltered from actual systemic racism. Contrast this with Jordan (or even Jacob Stone) who have experienced systemic racism and whose personalities have been shaped by it. When Jordan tries to get Isham riled up and knocked of balance by calling Isham “boy,” Isham doesn’t even realize that he should react. Jordan seems to read Isham’s non-familiarity as evidence that Isham “acts white.” (Jordan also levels this accusation at Isham’s father.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Manga Review: Kuroshitsuji Volume Ten, by Yana Toboso

Buy on Amazon
Volume ten of Kuroshitsuji continues the murder mystery arc.

After the latest corpse is examined, everyone once again rehashes what happened and provide or fail to provide alibis. The rehashing is interrupted by an unexpected visitor. He is a vicar named Jeremy and he is apparently acquainted with the Phantomhive family. Apparently, he was the person Sebastian was attempting to reach via messenger owl. (Insert Harry Potter joke here.) He is as first considered a possible suspect in the murder, but he is able to provide an alibi.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Reading: Telempath, by Spider Robinson, Part Four

We know from part three that Helen Phinney has been carrying a torch for Isham’s Dad. What we do not know is if those feelings had been returned. All we know about the relationship is from Isham, and he phrased the relationship as Helen being in love with Jacob Stone. (This kind of makes sense, because Jacob seems like an emotionally distant person. and is highly unlikely to talk about his relationship with his son.) We also know that when asked, Jacob said that he wasn’t going to marry her because she was white. It is pretty clear that Isham does not really understand why this might be an issue.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Reading Homestuck Part Thirty Seven :==> Dave: Get a faceful of safety!

From here to here.

We see Rose and the renamed Viceroy Bubbles von Salamancer who are standing on the alchemiter. We also see a Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff panel reading: shit. lets be santa Rose is directed to combine a number of items. She creates a toy for the Viceroy, a completely useless bronzed vacuumbrella, a useful handsfree computing device and numerous other devices. Then the house is attacked by various monsters and she defends herself with recently alchemized weapons.

Meanwhile, Jade is directed to build. She is also still asleep.   

Next, Dave is directed to wake up and jam. And by jam, we actually mean alchemize stuff. Dave creates a number of useful devices, despite Davesprite having created stacks of useful items in his own timeline. He creates iShades, and a Turntop. He also updates a suit created by future Dave. He also attempts to combine the sword Caledscratch with a “Ruby Contraband.” However, the item is extremely expensive and not viewable. He attempts to show it with the holopad, Using the preview, he finds out that it will create an item called the Broken Scarlet Ribbitar. If Caledscratch is unbroken and he combines it, he gets a complete Ribbitar which is even more expensive than the broken version.

Dave is then directed to combine a shitty sword with a Hella Jeff drawing. This creates a Sord so shitty Dave has a hard time even holding onto it.

He is next directed to combine a Snoop Dogg photo with a mini-AC unit and Caledscratch. This becomes the Snoop Dogg Snow Cone Machete. The next thing he combines is the Hella Jeff picture with a skateboard. This creates an incredibly shitty looking floating skateboard named Unreal Air. It floats up into the sky and disappears. Dave is directed to make another one. He quickly captchalogues the skateboard before it can escape from above.