Monday, 30 January 2023

Reading in Jan 2023

 The first two are books left over from December.

CS Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The book that introduced me to Narnia over 45 years ago.   I wrote about it last month.

Peter Moore, Endeavour: The Ship and the Attitude that Changed the World

I really enjoyed this splendid biography of Capt Cook's ship, covering  1764-1778.  As the author says, these years  “form a mini-epoch in the development of Western society”, and he was able to use the ship to explore that.  

I knew Endeavour ended up in the American War of Independence, but it was news to me that she was instrumental in the early British settlement of the Falkland Islands. 

CS Lewis, The Silver Chair

Things start to get a bit darker in Narnia.  

This and Dawn Treader were always my favorite of the Chronicles.  Quite possibly because Eustace Scrubb is a lot less annoying than his cousins and I always liked Puddleglum.

Bayt al Azif: A Magazine for Cthulhu Mythos Roleplaying, No 3

An interesting read, as always.  I must have had this on my to-read pile for over a year, as I see that No 4 is already out.

The main articles were the round-up of mythos gaming publications in 2019, a look at why Call of Cthulhu is the leader in the Japanese TTRPG scene, and an article on using Sanity loss.  There were three scenarios, which all looked interesting, but you never know until you play them.

Paul StJohn Mackintosh, Casting the Runes: Occult Investigation in the World of M R James

A guide to running RPGs in the world of MR James and other horror writers of the 1900s-1920s.  It's a setting that I'm interested in (I consider myself a fan of James), and I will certainly steal the premise if I ever get around to running a horror game.  The reservation I have is that it's written for games using the GUMSHOE system, which I don't know.  Quite frankly, I don't want to go down the rabbit-hole of a new system, when I haven't really got my head fully around Call of Cthulhu: if I was to run a game it would be using CoC or Pulp Cthulhu.

CS Lewis, The Last Battle

Narnian eschatology.

Everyone's least favourite book in the Chronicles.  Partly because of the subject matter, partly because Lewis allegory (and some would say, racist elements) are the most heavy-handed here.

And I really should mention Neil Gaiman's short story 'The Problem of Susan', which deals with Susan's exclusion from Narnia and paradise for liking nylons and lipstick too much.  It can be read here (but isn't suitable for youngsters).

Various, Murder Under the Christmas Tree

Another from the anthology series I read back in December.

Publishing this sort of thing must be money for old rope when people are desparate for Christmas presents!  But it was a good mix of stories.

Scott Lynch, The Lies of Locke Lamora

This is the first in the 'Gentleman Bastards' series about a group of conmen and theives.  I was re-reading it because, although I've read the first two books in the trilogy (and typically, I see that there is a "second trilogy" planned), I've only just acquired the third.

In this instalment we're introduced to the Locke Lamora and the Gentlemen Bastards, a gang of conmen posing as petty theives.  While secretly doing one of thier Big Jobs, they get entangled in a bloody underworld succession battle.

I'd remembered this as a masterclass in world-building, and the opening pages confirmed this.  It's really an excellent piece of work.  Whether reading three 600-odd page books after another is sustainable remains to be seen.

Scott Lynch, Red Seas Under Red Skies

Locke and Jean flee their home city and plot a casino heist.  But old enemies follow...

And there are pirates!

1 comment:

  1. Fully agree on the Scott Lynch books, Dawn Treader and Silver chair.


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