Kind of bummed that I missed the knees-up with Colby Cosh and the NRO lads at Karma last night, but it's not like I won't have other opportunities to meet one of my favorite Canadian bloggers. Ah well. It gave me the chance to fine-tune my Pandora stations, finish Charles Stross' Halting State, and go to bed at a reasonable hour.
This morning I paid my truck insurance, recharged my DD card, bought a copy of Adrian Belew's Young Lions from the Root Man's eBay store (if you want something Goth, hardcore or thrashy and he doesn't have it, it's probably not worth having) and am now going to shower before going forth for breakfast, headlight replacement, shopping, and who knows what else?
Oh, yes. This is ostensibly a book about a bank robbery - but the bank is in the MMORPG Avalon Four, the robbers are orcs, and while things seem amusing at first with the Scottish cops trying to get a handle on what happened, the plot very quickly takes a hard right turn into the territory of Tom Clancy, Len Deighton and other masters of the spy novel, because this isn't just a routine smash & grab. Stross does an excellent job of mixing several genres here, while not sparing the rod when it comes to the IT (and common sense) failings of the UK, EU and large companies alike. I thought for a while that this would be the disaster that Glasshouse was, but it's orders of magnitude better, quite worthy of comparison with his previous high-tech mystery thriller Iron Sunrise. Lots of great plot twists, some sad & sympathetic characters, and some chewy food for thought. Highly recommended.
Also worth the time: joel_rosenberg's Not Exactly The Prisoner of Zenda, which in an odd coincidence I was time-sharing with Flashman and the Tiger, which skirts the same territory. This is, of course, a sequel to Not Exactly Scaramouche, which in turn is part of the larger Guardians of the Flame saga, and is actually a continuation of that novel. That having been said, trying to summarize the novel is pretty hopeless since I'd have to relate not just the plot of Not Exactly Scaramouche but Not Exactly the Three Musketeers, and that would take up a good part of your day and mine. So, if you like your sword & sorcery fantasy gritty and realistic, get on with it and get some Rosenberg.