wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,

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No iron, no victory

Man, I hate when I'm playing Civ 3 and I can't get at the damn iron. It's just a matter of time before you lose when that happens.

For the benefit of those folks on my f-list who likes them some reading, I submit a couple of reviews:

S.M. Stirling's In the Court of the Crimson Kings is set in the same universe as The Sky People, where Mars and Venus really are the dying planet with real canals and the swamp planet with dinosaurs they were depicted as in the Pulp Era. The kicker, of course, is that Somebody has planted humans on both planets aeons ago, which makes things interesting for the U.S. and its allies, the capitalist Eastbloc, and the European Union, which is playing a very definite second fiddle to the two superpower alliances. Anyway, this is the Mars novel, and aside from a subplot that may annoy the womenfolks, it doesn't have much in common with The Sky People aside form its background. Martian culture and tech lovingly detailed (longtime Stirling readers will note the Martian Empire's resemblances to el Gubierno Civil from the Raj Whitehall books), the hero and supporting characters are pretty cool, and all in all it adds up to some above-average brain candy.

On the other hand, George MacDonald Fraser's The Candlemass Road is pretty good historical fiction, set in the appallingly lawless 17th century on the English/Scottish border. The old Lord Dacre had a reputation as a hard and capable Border lord, but when he dies and his daughter returns from the Court to take up residence, she faces the prospect of leading the target list for the Scottish Borderers. In order to stave off blackmail, cattle raids, and other such impoverishment of her demesne, the only man she can turn to is a "broken man", held in irons for attempted theft of bread and cheese from her ladyship's pantry. How it turns out makes for a pretty neat story, even if it does verge on being a Japanese romance sort of thing. Recommended, and not just for the afterword in which GMF commits "bad art" by showing how reality relates to his tale. Very interesting and worth reading.

I swear, the Moody Blues' adaptation of The War of the Worlds doth suck greatly. I don't think even acid would improve it; quite likely it would make matters worse. Thank goodness they're playing some Oingo Boingo to cleanse the aural palate.

BTW, I haven't forgotten that this is Pearl Harbor Day. I do have to say, though, all those deaths in 1941 matter less to me than one death eight years ago tomorrow.
Tags: books, family drama, games, history, music
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