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Blog Posts from April 2018 (9)

April 2018 in Review

30 Apr, 2018

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April

22 books read. 12 by women (55%), 10 by men (45%).

Works by POC: 6 (27%)

Year to Date

86 books read. 46 by women (53%), 34 by men (40%), 2 by NB (2%). 4 by persons whose gender is unknown (5%).

Works by POC: 36.5 (42%)

And now, the meaningless table.

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Announcing BRP Reviews Presents

30 Apr, 2018

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AKA BRP:

Because I so very much need another ongoing review series.

As previously established a year ago today, Runequest was an important part of my early roleplaying experience. Parent company Chaosium distilled the essential details of the game engine into a system they called Basic Roleplaying. Both under Chaosium and the game companies who licensed the BRP engine, the BRP rules have been at the heart of many roleplaying games over the decades. 


I own many of them. Too many to review in a reasonable amount of time. What I can do is focus on a specific subset: science fiction roleplaying games that use the BRP game engine. Once a month or so, I will review one of those SF RPGs. It should only take me two or three years to work through the lot! 

My current list of candidates is as follows:

  • BRP Mecha

  • Chronicles of Future Earth

  • Cthulhu Rising

  • Elfquest

  • End Time

  • Fractured Hopes

  • Future World

  • Hawkmoon

  • High Colonies

  • Laundry

  • Luther Arkwright

  • M‑Space

  • Mission to Epsilon

  • Mutant

  • Once Men

  • Operation Ulysses

  • Outpost 19

  • Other Suns

  • Ringworld (Already reviewed)

  • River of Heaven

  • Rubble and Ruin

  • Star Wars (RQ6)

  • Swords of Cydoria 

  • Worlds Beyond

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Books Received, April 21 — 27

28 Apr, 2018

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At Sigma Station, a remote mining facility and luxury hotel in deep space, a group of tourists boards a small vessel to take in the stunning views of the Horsehead Nebula.

But while they’re out there, a mysterious ship with devastating advanced technology attacks the station. Their pilot’s quick thinking means that the tourists escape with their lives — but as the dust settles, they realise they may be the only survivors …

Adrift in outer space on a vastly under-equipped ship, they’ve got no experience, no weapons, no contact with civilisation. They are way out of their depth, and if they can’t figure out how to work together, they’re never getting home alive.

Because the ship that destroyed the station is still out there. And it’s looking for them…

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Books Received, Humble Bundle

27 Apr, 2018

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From the writer whose name is synonymous with the science of robotics comes five decades of robot visions-36 landmark stories and essays, plus three rare tales-gathered together in one volume. A collection of 18 of Asimov’s ( Foundation ) robot stories. The earliest tales here, written from 1940 to 1960, remain among the most-loved in the field, the best being Little Lost Robot,” about a robot who obeys an order to get lost.” The Bicentennial Man” (1976) about one robot’s desires and efforts to be first free, then equal, is the quintessential robot-as-man’s‑mirror story. The book concludes with brief essays offering companionable commentary on the history of robots in fiction, the Frankenstein complex, the origin of Asimov’s famous Three Laws and the author’s own surprise at the emergence of robots during his lifetime.

Review
This collection offers 18 stories about robots as well as brief essays in which Asimov comments on robots in fiction, the Frankenstein complex, his famous Three Laws and the development of actual robots. The earliest tales here, written from 1940 to 1960, remain among the most-loved in the field.” —Publishers Weekly

Classic stories with new material, both fiction and fact, that puts the whole theme together in a larger context.” —Poul Andersen

About the Author

Isaac Asimov authored over 400 books in a career that lasted nearly 50 years. As a leading scientific writer, historian, and futurist, he covered a variety of subjects ranging from mathematics to humor, and won numerous awards for his work.

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Books Received, April 14 — 20 

21 Apr, 2018

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In a posthuman virtual world sealed off from the ruins of Earth, the idyll is shattered by an arachnid invasion.

Designed in imitation of a harbor town in southern Europe, the Realm of Summer is just one of the zones within the virtual resort known as the Costa del Número. It has been more than a thousand years since human guests stopped coming to the Realm, leaving the AIs alone in their endless summer. But now all that has come to a sudden end, as an army of mysterious Spiders begin reducing the town to nothing. As night falls, the few remaining AIs prepare for their final, hopeless battle… War between the virtual and the real begins in book one of the Angel of the Ruins series.

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Books Received, April 7 — 13

11 Apr, 2018

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A dark and twisted Victorian melodrama, like Alice in Wonderland goes to Hell, from the author of The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath.

Two orphans, Pedrock and Boo Boo, are sent to live in the sinister village of Darkwound. There they meet and befriend the magical and dangerous Mr Loveheart and his neighbour, Professor Hummingbird, a recluse who collects rare butterflies. Little do they know that Professor Hummingbird has attracted the wrath of a demon named Mr Angelcakes.

One night, Mr Angelcakes visits Boo Boo and carves a butterfly onto her back. Boo Boo starts to metamorphose into a butterfly/human hybrid, and is kidnapped by Professor Hummingbird. When Mr Loveheart attempts to rescue her with the aid of Detective White and Constable Walnut, they too are turned into butterflies.

Caught between Professor Hummingbird and the demon Angelcakes, Loveheart finds himself entangled in a web much wider and darker than he could have imagined, and a plot that leads him right to the Prime Minister and even Queen Victoria herself …

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Books Received, March 31 — April 6

7 Apr, 2018

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War tears the galaxy apart, power tests the limits of family, and violence gives way to freedom in this exhilarating sequel to Empress of a Thousand Stars.

Empress Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne. Fugitive Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life. Madman With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly must confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

Rhoda Belleza crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy in this exhilarating debut, perfect for readers of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman’s Illuminae Files.

The Snail on the Slope takes place in two worlds. One is the Administration, an institution run by a surreal, Kafkaesque bureaucracy whose aim is to govern the forest below. The other is the Forest, a place of fear, weird creatures, primitive people and violence. Peretz, who works at the Administration, wants to visit the Forest. Candide crashed in the Forest years ago and wants to return to the Administration. Their journeys are surprising and strange, and readers are left to puzzle out the mysteries of these foreign environments. The Strugatskys themselves called The Snail on the Slope the most perfect and the most valuable of our works.”

A ragtag crew of humans and posthumans discover alien technology that could change the fate of humanity… or awaken an ancient evil and destroy all life in the galaxy.


The shady crew of the White Raven run freight and salvage at the fringes of our solar system. They discover the wreck of a centuries-old exploration vessel floating light years away from its intended destination and revive its sole occupant, who wakes with news of First Alien Contact. When the crew break it to her that humanity has alien allies already, she reveals that these are very different extra-terrestrials… and the gifts they bestowed on her could kill all humanity, or take it out to the most distant stars.

The Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field.

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