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there are 329 days remaining in the year

Work continues with the current project hoovering up much of the day, occsionally interrupted by new products, product changes, research requests, and the other things I do for the Evil Banking Neighbor.


I picked up Stephen King's Wolves of the Calla from the library some weeks ago, and for some reason it's just not holding my interest. This bothers me a little, since I remember being quite captivated by the original story back in the 1970s when I first read it, and by the first four novels in the series, but somewhere between Wizard and Glass and this book that interest seems to have died. It's not that I've seen the spoilers on Wikipedia and elsewhere, since I've seen those for other series and read them quite happily. Perhaps the revelation that the series links all of King's other works together annoys me at a subsconscious level (because now I'll have to read all the other books, a thoroughly annoying prospect) or that King has written himself into the later novels disgusts me...or that the story just isn't that interesting to me right now. In any case, it's going back to the library unfinished.

I don't know how I missed the fact that Kirk Mitchell's Cry Republic has been out since 1989, but this sequel to Procurator and New Barbarians is worth reading for alternate-history fans. In this latest book, our hero the Emperor finds himself on the run after a coup by the Praetorian Guards, whose commander rightly suspects him of wanting to restore the Republic. It makes for interesting comparisons to the Raj Whitehall novels, which in their own way have a lot to say about the kind of fratricidal political infighting among Romans and barbarians alike. Recommended; can be had very cheaply through any number of used book outlets.

I'd meant to pick up Fox on the Rhine by Douglas Niles (better known for his fantasy novels) and Michael Dobson, but instead wound up with Fox at the Front. Both are set in an alternate timeline where the July 20 plot is a partial success - Hitler is killed, but an SS counter-coup leaves Himmler in charge, and he negotiates a cease-fire with the Soviets that hands them Greece and Norway in return for a stronger attack against the Western Allies with Rommel in command. Yeah, kind of a stretch, but it mainly serves to set up a defection of Rommel and most of the non-SS troops to the Allies after the offensive fails, after which Rommel and Patton team up for a drive to Berlin. I gather from what other reviewers have said that the first novel is kind of a dog's breakfast, but the second book is an okay read. Not great writing, but certainly no worse than Turtledove's Worldwar mess and a lot shorter. I'd give it a C.


Still cold as hell outside. The last block from the bus to the Tower was the worst, with the wind out of the north making me truly regret that I hadn't just ducked into the Baker Block and taken the skyway. I won't make that mistake tomorrow...or tonight, either. I'm out of here, with a stop on the way home for milk and other dairy products.