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Post-Balticon quickie book review

Okay, bored with being horizontal now, and hungry besides, so while I'm irradiating tubes of meat, some quickie reviews of books I picked up at Balticon.

Why do we all love The Princess Bride so damn much? It does a lot of the things we hate about highfalutin' arty movies, drags out just about every cliche from a century's worth of pirate and fairy tale movies, and yet a rather sizable army of geeks can quote vast chunks of the dialogue from memory. Maryann Johanson explores this question in a solid little extended essay that traces the roots of the film to earlier pirate and fairy tale flicks, includes a pile of quotes from Inigo Montoya Mandy Patinkin and other cast members, and doesn't come off as some horrible pretentious post-structuralist piece of academic twaddle. Extremely highly recommended.

I think I'm in love.


So is Mark Rogers, who is arguably better known as the author of the Samurai Cat books, and in Nothing but a Smile he has a nice selection of pinups and nudes in the finest traditions of Vargas, to say nothing of other classical painters of the female nude. If you like Fastner & Larson's work, you'll like Rogers' as well. Recommended.


As longtime readers of this LJ are aware, I like about 80%, maybe 90% of John Ringo's work, and the 10-20% I don't care for is usually the bastard offspring of a collaboration with a less talented writer. (Tom Kratman, I'm looking at you, buddy.) I've got really mixed feelings about The Last Centurion, which I won in the RiF auction along with some promotional clothing, because there's a lot of political polemic in this interesting combination of Stephen King's The Stand and Harold Coyle's technothriller The Ten Thousand. Most of it is in the first section, which describes how a strain of the bird flu devastates America and the world, helped along by a president who is a thinly disguised Tuckerisation of Hillary Clinton. Once you're through that section, which is really just stage setting for the next part, it's not quite as bad, but the protagonist has a fair amount of brutally plain speaking when the subject turns to the State Department and other political (as opposed to military) annoyances. So far, I'd still recommend it; update to follow.

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