Dinner at Deviant’s Palace

By T. Powers

Of the three books by Tim Powers I’ve read so far (the other two were The Drawing of the Dark and The Stress of Her Regard), I liked this one the best. It takes a while to get started, and it took me a while to finish it (about a month of semi-regular daily reading), but it’s a solid story, with no outstanding thematic problems, depicting a fairly believable dystopian future where alcohol is the main currency, cities have turned to warring states, and ancient shells of rusted cars are hauled by horses as a status symbol.

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A Review of a Review of the Mass Effect Trilogy

I stumbled upon a massive, novel-length review of the Mass Effect trilogy written by Shamus Young and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Apart from a few minor annoyances, I found hardly anything I could argue in his analysis. Unlike so many critics within the fandom who focus all their ire on the controversial ending, Shamus asserts that the narrative of Mass Effect lost its cohesion much earlier. He goes on to examine all the major plot developments and several important subplots and demonstrate that the deus ex machina finale that failed so many expectations was inevitable in the context of the numerous storytelling blunders committed throughout the second and third installment.

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Fail Seven Times

By Kris Ripper

I’m very conflicted about this book. It annoyed me to no end, yet I was interested enough to keep reading it. The main character, Justin, is a gay man who’s been in love with his best friend, Alex, since early adolescence. They’re both grown men now, and Alex has been in a good, stable, open and somewhat kinky relationship with a woman, Jamie, for a while. Alex and Jamie want to include Justin in their sexual relationship and he wants quite desperately to be included in it, but if he simply said, sure! there’d be no story to tell. So instead he stubbornly and stupidly resists it on the grounds that he’s not built for romance, that he’ll screw things up and lose his best friends, that he doesn’t deserve their love and that he has a duty to protect them from himself. And that’s what the book is about.

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The Honours

By Tim Clare

I got this book as a token of support for the author, whose wonderful writing podcast, Death Of 1000 Cuts, I’ve been listening to daily for a month now. I knew it’d be good. In his podcast, Tim explores pretty much every conceivable aspect of the writing craft from his own unique perspective. The episodes where he analyzes excerpts submitted by listeners offer an even deeper insight into what he considers good writing. And obviously I approve of his standards or I wouldn’t be listening to his show. THE HONOURS did not disappoint — but despite the positive prejudice, I ended up with mixed feelings about it.

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Warbooks

I took several warbooks to my seaside vacation last month and managed to read three. I’ve never read that genre before and I wanted to get acquainted with it in the name of research for one of my writing projects. My picks were essentially random, from the several dozen old pocket books I inherited from my father and largely ignored because they’re mostly stuff I’m not interested in – books about the Second World War and Vietnam, books about mafia, books about Japan and books based on a variety of successful movies*. Anyway, the three books I read are, in the order I read them: GOING AFTER CACCIATO by Tim O’Brien, AN AFFAIR OF MEN by Errol Brathwaite and AND THEN WE HEARD THE THUNDER by John Oliver Killens. And the extraordinary thing is, not one of them is really a warbook.

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