Since neutrals and hostiles seem to be infesting my home station at the moment, I'm off at the other end of the southern regions ratting Sanshas out of a Loa - a Moa equipped with lazors instead of the usual railguns. This fitting makes the Baby Jesus cry and Goons laugh, but since there's nothing else I can fly and fight down here in Period Basis I'm kind of stuck with it unless I want to go run missions in Empire. Sod that. Anyway, current short-term goals are to blow up enough Sansha cruisers and frigates to buy a Ferox, which should speed up the process of killing stuff and earning money so I can get back to the front lines in a halfway decent Typhoon or maybe a Scorpion, which is what I'd be flying if I were interested in living up to my character's name.
Mark Taylor warned me about this John Scalzi book, and he was right. The book starts with an extended fart joke that sets off the aforementioned interstellar war, which can only be halted by delivery of a special genengineered sheep. Unfortunately, someone's been running around killing off all those sheep, and the State Department's "deliverer of bad news', Harry Creek, has to protect the last one. Which doesn't look terribly sheeplike, for horrible (but foully understandable) reasons. There's also a cult, the Church of the Evolved Lamb, created from the scribblings of a failed SF writer, which has an interest in this particular sheep, a dead guy working out of an abandoned IBM mainframe at NOAA, legal trickery, bureaucratic treachery, and all kinds of other fun, moving along at a pace that occasionally makes Scalzi's Old Man's War look like a leisurely stroll in the park. Recommended, especially to the depressed or merely unhappy.
Remember how in the second and third Jak Jinnaka novels there's this sense of impending doom against which the main characters struggle in vain? Yeah, World Made of Glass is pretty much like that. Giraut Leones and his OSP comrades are sent to Briand, which is divided between murderous, racist Tamils and stolid, equally racist Mayans. Ethnic harassment up to and including race riots are a fairly common occurrence on Briand, and to make matters worse the Ambassador doesn't even seem to understand that the nominal governments aren't really in charge. Add in a Mayan prophet who is preaching a gospel of peace and societal transformation, a woman straight out of Bob Seger's "Hollywood Nights", and Giraut's own marital problems, and you have a veritable train wreck of a book. You keep hoping the heroes are going to be able to pull this one out, and Barnes keeps stringing you along...this sounds like I didn't like the book, which is not at all the case, but I'm giving you fair warning that you may not. Read it anyway.
No, not an Utena reference. Sorry.
Dies the Fire describes what happens in America - well, okay, Oregon and Idaho - after the events that propel Nantucket into the events of Island in the Sea of Time. Basically, all the electrical power fails, gunpowder burns but doesn't explode, and everything goes to hell in a handbasket with extreme speed and prejudice. The novel follows bush pilot Mike Havel, folk singer Juniper MacKenzie, and to a lesser extent the would-be Protector of Portland as they try to survive in the ruins of the Willamette Valley, and it's an interesting tale of ancient skills preserved as hobbies combined with modern knowledge applied to a post-apocalyptic situation. Part Lucifer's Hammer, part Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen with a dash of Lest Darkness Fall, Steve Stirling's novel brings the chaos, horror, hard work and hope alive with a gritty reality that will be very familiar to readers of The Peshawar Lancers and his work with David Drake on the Raj Whitehall stories. Most excellent and highly recommended; I'll be picking these up for my own bookshelves as money and space permit.
Other than EVE and reading, not much of interest going on today. Called a couple of folks, but apparently they were out and about like sensible people. Tomorrow, laundry and filling in the few remaining gaps in the grocery list.