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Books Received, July 31 — August 6

7 Aug, 2021

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The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie

Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now that belief will be tested in the crucible of revolution: the Breakers and Burners have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry, and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds.

With nothing left to lose, Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age, while Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke and her fragile Protectorate are running out of allies … while Black Calder gathers his forces and plots his vengeance.

The banks have fallen, the sun of the Union has been torn down, and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver’s ruthless plan are slowly being drawn together …

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July 2021 in Review

31 Jul, 2021

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July 2021

22 works reviewed. 13 by women (59%), 9 by men (41%), 0 by non-binary authors (0%), 0 by authors whose gender is unknown (0%), and 9 by POC (41%).

Year to Date

150 works reviewed. 82.5 by women (55%), 61.5 by men (41%), 3 by non-binary authors (2%), 3 by authors whose gender is unknown (2%), and 61 by POC (41%).

Grand Total to Date

1898 works reviewed. 1065 by women (56%), 791 by men (42%), 24 by non-binary authors (1%), 18 by authors whose genders are unknown (1%), and 540.75 by POC (28%).

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Book Received, July 24 — July 30

31 Jul, 2021

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Noor by Nnedi Okorafor

From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria. Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt…natural, and that’s putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was wrong. But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world views it, as freakish, unnatural, even the work of the devil, AO embraces all that she is: A woman with a ton of major and necessary body augmentations. And then one day she goes to her local market and everything goes wrong. Once on the run, she meets a Fulani herdsman named DNA and the race against time across the deserts of Northern Nigeria begins. In a world where all things are streamed, everyone is watching the reckoning of the murderess and the terrorist and the saga of the wicked woman and mad man unfold. This fast-paced, relentless journey of tribe, destiny, body, and the wonderland of technology revels in the fact that the future sometimes isn’t so predictable. Expect the unaccepted. 

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Books Received, Deepnight Revelation

30 Jul, 2021

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Deepnight Revelation Core Set

A grand 20 year campaign into deep space, commanding the exploration cruiser Deepnight Revelation.

The Deepnight Entity

It was alive when the stars were young. It saw the birth of galaxies, and it will see the death of the universe. It is growth and destruction; menace and saviour. It retreated into a prison of its own making, and there it waits. An exploration ship found the clues, and was destroyed. A researcher touched its mind, and was driven insane. What is it? We must know.

Deepnight Revelation

Deepnight Revelation, a former navy cruiser. Outfitted for the most stupendous mission in human history; a one-ship expedition along the Great Rift to the edge of the Spiral Arm. Deepnight Revelation will explore the uncharted systems along its path; contact unknown species and weather unpredictable dangers. At last we will stand before the gates to the Entity’s prison and demand entry. We will confront the Deepnight Entity and seek answers.

One Ship, Many Stories

There is a place for any Traveller aboard Deepnight Revelation; scientists and explorers, pilots and engineers, diplomats and rogues. There are mysteries to be unravelled, enemies to battle, and situations that require… unconventional… talents. The Travellers can take on any role they please, from humble research assistants to the mission’s commanders. The decisions they make will shape the course of the expedition – and perhaps the history of entire species.

Deepnight Revelation. A voyage beyond everything we know.

Contains:

Book 1: Deepnight Legacy, the introductory adventure that sets the scene.
Book 2: Campaign Guide, outlining the entire voyage and regions of space travelled.
Book 3: Referee’s Handbook, containing all the rules you need to know to run this epic campaign.
Book 4: Terminus Point, the incredible grand finale that will take your Travellers where no Traveller has gone before…

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Roleplaying Games I Might Someday Try (Again) 6: Traveller by Marc Miller (Original)/Gareth Hanrahan (Mongoose)

26 Jul, 2021

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The science fiction RPG Traveller is, of course, one of the most venerable role-playing games. As I mention here, it’s the game that got me hooked on roleplaying as a hobby. I have a respectable Traveller library. It is mainly Classic Traveller, although Mongoose Games’ version is well represented. Despite that, I’ve gotten to play surprisingly little Traveller over the years.

But on Wednesday, I should receive my copy of an intriguing Traveller campaign in whose kickstarter I took part. Perhaps that will be enough to inspire me to finally either run or take part in a Traveller campaign once more! 

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Books Received, July 17 — July 23

24 Jul, 2021

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Campaigns & Companions: The Complete Role-Playing Guide for Pets edited by Alex de Campi

Grab your dice and pencil, sit your pets down, teach them to play… and immediately regret your choices.

Hilarious collection of Dungeons & Dragons-themed pet jokes by acclaimed comics creators Andi Ewington, Rhianna Pratchett, Calum Alexander Watt and Alex de Campi

What if your pets could play D&D? And what if they were… kind of jerks about it? If there are two things all geeks love, it’s roleplaying games, and their pets. So why not fuse the two? It’s time to grab your dice, dust off that character sheet, and let your cat or dog (or guinea pig, or iguana, or budgie) accompany you on an epic adventure! It’ll be great! …unless your pets are jerks. Written by comics and videogames writers Andi Ewington (Forty-Five45) and Rhianna Pratchett (Tomb Raider), Campaigns & Companions is edited by Alex de Campi (Madi) and beautifully illustrated by Calum Alexander Watt (The Rise of Skywalker). 

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Roleplaying Games I Might Someday Try 5: Capitalites by Samuel Mui

19 Jul, 2021

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To quote from the Kickstarter:

Capitalites is a slice-of-life, coming-of-age tabletop roleplaying game about young adults living in the big city as they try to find out who they are and get their shit together. Explore real-world themes like ambition, sex, family, and friendships and the sacrifices you make in order to grow up as you navigate an excitingly mundane world of gentrified hipster cafes, skyscraper office blocks, penthouse parties, and late-night drinks at the local bar-and-bistro. 

Capitalites is part of the Our Shores: An RPGSEA Compilation Kickstarter project. I’m astonishingly badly read in non-North American RPGs and this could be an interesting introduction to South East Asian roleplaying games. Granted, thrilling adventures in retirement complex selection might be a more age-appropriate choice1 but thanks to innumerably decades invested in roleplaying an assortment of characters, I am sure I can carry off playing a young adult. Despite the firecracker noises from my joints every time I move. 

1: Traveller is on my list of games I would like to play again some day. 

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Books Received, July 10 — July 16

17 Jul, 2021

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The Gatekeeper’s Staff by Antoine Bandele

TJ Young has been surrounded by magic his entire life, yet he has never tapped into it… until now.

Fourteen-year-old TJ grew up normal in a secret community of gifted diviners in the heart of modern-day Los Angeles. His powerful sister was ordained to lead his people into a new age of prosperity, but her mysterious death in Nigeria threatens to destroy the very foundations of TJ’s world.

Desperate to pick up where his sister left off and uncover the secrets behind her questionable death, TJ commits himself to unlocking the magical heritage that has always eluded him. So he enrolls in Camp Olosa‑a remedial magic school for the divinely less-than-gifted in the humid swamps of New Orleans.

But little does he know, TJ is destined to cross paths with powerful spirits of old thought lost to time: the orishas.

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Roleplaying Games I Might Someday Try 4: Call of Cthulhu, 7th Edition by Paul Fricker and Mike Mason

12 Jul, 2021

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Call of Cthulhu is (of course) Chaosium’s horror role-playing game, based on H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Sandy Petersen’s first edition was published 40 years ago when the field was still young. CoC is very likely Chaosium’s most successful RPG, one of few games of its vintage that has not to my knowledge suffered long periods when it was either out of print or at least hard to find. Quite remarkable, particularly given the usual limited lifespans of licensed products.

I’ve played 2nd and 5th editions (which is to say, the post-Lynn Willis versions). The differences between those editions did not seem so dramatic at the time. 7th on the other hand has somehow become two massive tomes, and a cursory examination indicates some major differences: stats appear to have become much larger, for example, I’m curious how these differences work out in play. Whether that curiosity will overcome my current inability to get through long volumes is a detail to be resolved at a later time. 

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Books Received, July 3 — July 9

10 Jul, 2021

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Destroyer of Light by Jennifer Marie Brissett

The Matrix meets an Afro-futuristic retelling of Persephone set in a science fiction underworld of aliens, refugees, and genetic engineering in Jennifer Marie Brissett’s Destroyer of Light.

Having destroyed Earth, the alien conquerors resettle the remains of humanity on the planet of Eleusis. In the three habitable areas of the planet – Day, Dusk, and Night – the haves and have nots, criminals and dissidents, and former alien conquerors irrevocably bind three stories:*A violent warlord abducts a young girl from the agrarian outskirts of Dusk leaving her mother searching and grieving.*Genetically modified twin brothers desperately search for the lost son of a human/alien couple in a criminal underground trafficking children for unknown purposes. A young woman with inhuman powers rises through the insurgent ranks of soldiers in the borderlands of Night.Their stories skate across years, building to a single confrontation when the fate of all — human and alien — balances upon a knife’s‑edge.

Warning: This book is designed for audiences 18+ due to scenes of physical and sexual violence, and themes that some may find disturbing. 

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