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Reviews from March 2019 (21)

The Color Symphony

Champions, 4th Edition

By Rob Bell 

30 Mar, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!

9 comments

Hero Games’ Champions wasn’t the first superhero roleplaying game1 or even the first SHRPG I played2. It was, however, the SHRPG I played the most often. 

Originally published in 1981, the system was initially developed in a rather haphazard way; rules accreted across several editions of rule books. Efforts to correct this lack of organization began in the mid-1980s. 1989’s 4th Edition Champions, written by George MacDonald, Steve Peterson, and Rob Bell was arguable the culmination of this process. Known as the Big Blue Book, it was a fan favorite that shaped many games that came after it. 

How does the rulebook stand up after OH GOD HOW IT IS 30 YEARS ALREADY



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All Alone in the Moonlight

A Memory Called Empire

By Arkady Martine 

29 Mar, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

3 comments

A Memory Called Empire is Arkady Martine’s debut novel. It is a space opera. 

Lsel Station has spent ages engaged in a careful dance with the Teixcalaanli Empire. It tries to maintain vital trade ties to the vast polity, but avoids becoming so essential as to invite annexation. The empire is a dangerous neighbour, but it protects Lsel from neighboring polities who are even worse. Hence the dance. 

Mahit Dzmare is the latest ambassador to be dispatched by the Stationers to the empire. If she plays her cards badly, she may be the final ambassador to the empire. 


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And The Wind Blows Free

Choukakou, book 3

By Xia Da 

26 Mar, 2019

Translation

0 comments

Choukakou, which is also known as Chang Ge Xing, Chang Ge’s Journey, or Song of the Long March, is an ongoing manhua (Chinese comic) series by Xia Da. Volume Three collects issues twelve through eighteen. 

Princess Li Chang Ge survived the Turkish conquest of Shuo by transferring her allegiance from the doomed governor of Shuo to General Sun of the Turks. Sun accepted Li Chang Ge as a subordinate. Sun is unaware that: 

  • Li Chang Ge is a woman; 

  • she is the niece of the Chinese emperor Taizong; 

  • Taizong ordered Li Chang Ge’s father and his entire family executed; 

  • Li Chang Ge is a wanted fugitive. 

Sun habitually distrusts women and he certainly does not need to be drawn into Chinese dynastic disputes. He has Turkish dynastic disputes to concern him. 


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Meaning of Life

The Afterward

By E. K. Johnston 

25 Mar, 2019

Special Requests

2 comments

E. K. Johnston’s 2019 The Afterward is a standalone secondary-universe fantasy. 

Summoned out of oblivion by power-hungry fools, the Old God raised an army of mind-controlled slaves and marched to retake the world it once owned. As so often happens to world-conquering villains, the God was vanquished by seven adventurers led by Sir Erris Quicksword. 

The world saved, the adventurers were each rewarded (although not too lavishly) and were free to return to their old lives. Or so some might have thought. 


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Where The Rippling Waters Glide

Hestia

By C.J. Cherryh 

24 Mar, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

1 comment

C. J. Cherryh’s 1979 Hestia is a standalone science fiction novel. 

The colonists who settled Hestia were warned that the valley on which they had set their hopes was not suitable. The settlers ignored the warnings and founded a community in the valley. In the century since settlement, the community has endured disaster after disaster. Each year the community is worse off. 

The colonists now believe that they have a solution: a dam to control the river. Only problem: they lack dam-building know-how. That’s where Sam Merritt, our protagonist, enters the narrative. 


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Somewhere Beyond the Barricade

Kingdom, book 2

By Kim Seong-Hun 

21 Mar, 2019

Translation

0 comments

Kingdom is a 2019 South Korean television series. It was written by Kim Eun-hee and directed by Kim Seong-hun. There are six episodes in season one, of which this is the second. 

Primary cast: 

Supporting cast: 

The Haewon Cho clan has unjustly framed Crown Prince Yi Chang. They accuse him — correctly, as it happens, although innocence would not have stopped the clan from trying to remove the Prince — of conspiring against his own father, the King of Great Joseon. The Crown Prince has serendipitously left the capital before he could be arrested. 

Great Joseon has problems much larger than mere dynastic conflicts. 


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Candle On The Water

Burning Bright  (Extraordinaries, book 1)

By McShane. Melissa 

19 Mar, 2019

Special Requests

4 comments

2016’s Burning Bright is the first volume of Melissa McShane’s Extraordinaries series. 

Elinor Pembroke discovers she has extraordinary powers when she wakes to discover her bedchamber is on fire. She extinguishes the flames with a thought. This marks her not just as a so-called scorcher, a pyrokinetic, but as the very special sort of scorcher who can control and dismiss the flames she creates. 

Since the year is 1812, this means that Elinor is no longer an unremarkable middle sister well on her way towards spinsterhood. She’s now a valuable commodity on the marriage mart. Her father is eager to hawk her to the first sufficiently well-born prospect. 


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