Fast-paced and reminded me of the Querencia sequence of Peter F Hamilton’s Void trilogy… Next up is Quillifer the Knight.

May 25, 2020 – Started Reading
May 26, 2020 – Finished Reading

Quillifer by Walter Jon Williams

Rogue. Joker. Lover. Reluctant soldier.

Quillifer is a young man, serially in love and studying law, when a family tragedy throws him into the world to seek his fortune. A charmer rather than a fighter, he soon finds himself embroiled with a bandit gang, caught up in vicious court intrigues, and the plaything of an angry, beautiful, and very jealous goddess. While he struggles to establish himself in the capital, the country finds itself pitched into a civil war, and Quillifer, a unwilling soldier at best, finds himself caught up in the action, and able to tip the scales of fortune.

Quillifer, with its engaging hero and his exploits with lovers, brawlers, warriors, and privateers, is a book that bursts with life. It’s the first volume in a new epic fantasy by bestselling and award-winning author Walter Jon Williams.

As always, the Constant Reader will be delighted with these four stories.

May 13, 2020 – Started Reading
May 19, 2020 – Finished Reading

If It Bleeds by Stephen King

This extraordinary collection includes four new and compelling novellas β€”Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, The Life of Chuck, Rat, and the title story If It Bleedsβ€” each pulling readers into intriguing and frightening places.

News people have a saying: ‘If it bleeds, it leads’. And a bomb at Albert Macready Middle School is guaranteed to lead any bulletin.

Holly Gibney of the Finders Keepers detective agency is working on the case of a missing dog – and on her own need to be more assertive – when she sees the footage on TV. But when she tunes in again, to the late-night report, she realizes there is something not quite right about the correspondent who was first on the scene. So begins ‘If It Bleeds’, a stand-alone sequel to the No. 1 bestselling The Outsider featuring the incomparable Holly on her first solo case – and also the riveting title story in Stephen King’s brilliant new collection.

Dancing alongside are three more wonderful long stories – ‘Mr Harrigan’s Phone’, ‘The Life of Chuck’ and ‘Rat’. All four display the richness of King’s storytelling with grace, humor, horror and breathtaking suspense. A fascinating Author’s Note gives us a wonderful insight into the origin of each story and the writer’s unparalleled imagination.

I’ve been a fan of Randall Munroe for a long time. I believe he is one of the best explainers of science. And How To is an excellent book if you ever want to try out something outrageous like taking your house off the grid.

Continue reading “πŸ“š How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe”

How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe

The world’s most entertaining and useless self-help guide, from the brilliant mind behind the wildly popular webcomic xkcd and the million-selling
What If? and Thing Explainer

For any task you might want to do, there’s a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally bad that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It’s full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole.

Bestselling author and cartoonist Randall Munroe explains how to predict the weather by analyzing the pixels of your Facebook photos. He teaches you how to tell if you’re a baby boomer or a millennial by measuring the radioactivity of your teeth. He offers tips for taking a selfie with a telescope, crossing a river by boiling it, and getting to your appointments on time by destroying the moon. And if you want to get rid of this book once you’re done with it, he walks you through your options for proper disposal, including dissolving it in the ocean, converting it to a vapour, using tectonic plates to subduct it into the Earth’s mantle, or launching it into the sun.

By exploring the most complicated ways to do simple tasks, Munroe doesn’t just make things difficult for himself and his readers. As he did so brilliantly in What If?, he invites us to explore the most absurd reaches of the possible. Full of clever infographics and amusing illustrations, How To is a delightfully mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.

May 3, 2020 – Started Reading
May 8, 2020 – Finished Reading
Cibola Burn by James S.A Corey (James S.A. Corey)

The gates have opened the way to a thousand new worlds and the rush to colonize has begun. Settlers looking for a new life stream out from humanity’s home planets. Ilus, the first human colony on this vast new frontier, is being born in blood and fire.
Independent settlers stand against the overwhelming power of a corporate colony ship with only their determination, courage, and the skills learned in the long wars of home. Innocent scientists are slaughtered as they try to survey a new and alien world. The struggle on Ilus threatens to spread all the way back to Earth.
James Holden and the crew of his one small ship are sent to make peace in the midst of war and sense in the midst of chaos. But the more he looks at it, the more Holden thinks the mission was meant to fail.
And the whispers of a dead man remind him that the great galactic civilization that once stood on this land is gone. And that something killed it.

Novellas included:

  • The Things We Do for Love
  • Downfall of the Gods
  • The Last Witness
  • The Devil You Know
  • I Met a Man Who Wasn’t There
  • Heaven Thunders the Truth
  • Message in a Bottle
  • Rules
  • Safe House
  • The Dragonslayer of Merebarton
  • Told by an Idiot
  • No Peace for the Wicked

Written mostly in the first person, each narrator is cynically convincing and brings to each tale their own perspective of what it means to be good or bad. Or is everyone a shade of grey?

The Father of Lies by K.J. Parker

Bringing together KJ Parker’s recent novellas and novelettes, totaling over 500 pages of wry, twisty fiction, Father of Lies delves into the arcane as never before. Set amid the world of Parker’s critically acclaimed novels and award winning stories, as well as our own, this volume reveals a side rarely glimpsed in his other works. Contained herein are the tales of creatures that pluck the strings of existence, exposing the seedy underbelly of ultimate power as only Parker can.

It begins with love, as it often does. In All the Things We Do for Love, Parker demonstrates the age old proverb β€˜be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.’ It continues with a fall from grace, in Downfall of the Gods, where a daughter of heaven unwittingly pits herself against her divine family. Demonic pacts are everywhere, in The Devil You Know, where Parker returns to Saloninus, his iconic character who will finish what he started so many years ago. It ends with a beginning, in No Peace for the Wicked, as a New Pope is chosen to push back the darkness.

Filled with Parker’s hallmark wit and biting humor, Father of Lies is an essential collection, not just for the dedicated fantasist, but for anyone committed to a great story well told. Like all of KJ Parker’s brilliant fiction, these stories whisper the truth.

Just ask yourself, can you trust the Father of Lies?

Started and Finished Reading: April 6, 2020

As always, the art work is unbelievable and majestic.

By Chance or Providence by Becky Cloonan

Collecting stories by Becky Cloonan:

1. Wolves
As a lone hunter tracks an elusive beast through the forest, he reflects on his life and past love through a series of flashbacks, bringing the story to a climax that is as romantic as it is savage. This powerful short story begs for multiple read-throughs, never giving concrete answers, but (like the best enigmatic endings) leaves your own conclusions satisfying.

2. The Mire
On the eve of a great battle, a humble squire is tasked with delivering a letter to a seemingly abandoned castle at the heart of an ill-famed swamp. Met with mysterious apparitions on the way, he slowly unveils the truth behind his journey as his past is re-written over the course of the story.

3. Demeter
A fisherman’s wife tends the garden and animals while her husband is at sea, but secrets buried under the waves begin to bubble to the surface revealing a secret treachery and forgotten truth. The third and final book in a trilogy of critically acclaimed stand-alone stories by award winning creator Becky Cloonan.

April 4, 2020 – Started Reading
April 4, 2020 – Finished Reading
Batman, Volume 13: City of Bane Part 2 by Tom King (DC Comics)

The bad guys thought they had it made with Bane in control, but with Batman back in Gotham they’ll be reminded what justice feels like…and how it hurts when it hits you in the face. With Catwoman at his side, the Caped Crusader is looking to take down Bane’s army and reclaim his city.

But is the Dark Knight Detective ready to take on the foe who broke him worse than any other that came before? And what else stands in Batman’s way, to put an obstacle between him and his enemy? Tread lightly, Batman, because not only do the lives of your son and trusted friends hang in the balance, but your entire home could collapse. Batman and his allies have a choice: let Bane stay in power and guarantee the city’s survival, or risk everything to break free!

Collects Batman #80-85.

Eisner Award winner Tom King reunites with Mikel Janin as he continues his best-selling Batman run. Batman faces his most personal battle yet as he is locked in a life or death battle with… his father?

Batman Vol 12 City Of Bane Part 1 by Tom King

Ever since Batman’s impending wedding went south on him, the Caped Crusader has had the sinking suspicion that there has been someone lurking in the shadows setting events into motion. After the attempted assassination of Nightwing he starts to question his commitment to his war on crime, his relationships and even his own sanity.

There has been an unseen hand orchestrating these events. And while the true villain has yet to reveal himself, his minions are starting to step forward and break the Bat down once and for all–beginning with Thomas Wayne, the Batman from the Flashpoint Universe!

Collects Batman #75-79.