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.

What If… Wonder Woman was the most powerful witch in the universe? Sounds like an Elseworlds topic. But this not-quite-a-crossover within the Justice League Dark’s The Last Age of Magic storyline is a bit off-putting since there was no actual crossover other than a scene in the Hall of Justice where the rest of the Justice League are featured.

May 20, 2020 – Started Reading and Finished Reading

Wonder Woman & Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour by James Tynion IV (DC)

An ancient force of dark magic is stirring and the Justice League Dark stands in its way. The only problem? The source of its power lies deep inside one of their own–the soul of their leader, Wonder Woman!

Hecate, the witch-goddess of magic, always knew that this day would come, when the monsters from which she originally stole the power of magic would return. All these millennia, she’s been hatching a plan, and now is the time to take back and use the power she’s hidden across Earth inside The Witchmarked, human beings with vast reservoirs of power secreted inside them. And the most powerful Witchmarked of all…? Wonder Woman!

In an event that will change the face of DC’s Dark universe forever, James Tynion IV (Detective Comics) and a team of all-star illustrators present Wonder Woman/Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour! Collects Wonder Woman/Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour #1-2, Wonder Woman #56-57 and Justice League Dark #4.

An interesting start to the Justice League Dark. But the story wanders into an unexpected exposition in the πŸ“š Wonder Woman & Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour by James Tynion IV midway. So one has to read that one too to make sense of the story.

May 19, 2020 – Started Reading
May 20, 2020 – Finished Reading

Justice League Dark, Vol. 1: The Last Age of Magic (DC)

The new Justice League Dark is here! Led by Wonder Woman this team of Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Man-Bat and Detective Chimp (?) must bring the fight against all supernatural foes too big for the World’s Greatest Super Heroes!

From the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE comes writer James Tynion IV’s epic new series JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK! Earth’s magic once belonged to them. Now they want the magic back. But who exactly are they? It’s up to the new Justice League Dark to find out and stop this nightmarish new threat at all costs! After the events of NO JUSTICE, Wonder Woman guides the misfit magic mix against enemies too fantastic even for the Justice League. Plus, what awful things are coming through the Tree of Wonder? Dark days ahead…

Written by James Tynion IV (Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) with phenomenal illustrations from Alvaro Martinez (Detective Comics), this bold new graphic novel series is one of the most anticipated in years! Collects issues #1-3 and 5-6.

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.

Prologue from Audioboom

A preview of what’s to come. Your hosts give you a lay of the land and let you know what you’re getting in to.

Eric and Scott introduce everybody to the concept of the show, detail their Stephen King origin stories and give a sneak peek at the first full episode with guest Kumail Nanjiani.

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?

April 5, 2020 – Started Reading
April 8, 2020 – Finished Reading
The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?

The Twelve have been destroyed and the terrifying hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anewβ€”and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amyβ€”humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.