Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Forest Mage, by Robin Hobb

About a week ago, I got Forest Mage from Zooba. It's a great book. I liked the first volume in the soldier Son trilogy, and I thought this one was even better. Nevare seems painfully stupid at times, and he can be kind of an arrogant jerk, but he's still a great character. I'm very tired right now, so this is all of a review I can manage. I give this book five yo-yos.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas, Everybody!!!!!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

It's not actually going to be Christmas here for about four more hours, but I wanted to get this out of the way, because I'll probably forget about it tomorrow.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Burning Land, by Victoria Strauss

I finally finished reading The Burning Land. It took me almost a week, mainly because I've been playing a lot of MTGO in my spare time. Despite how long it took me to read it, I think The Burning Land is a good book.

The thing I liked most with this books was the characters. The story is told from the viewpoints of Gyalo and Axane. They're both very well-rounded sorts of characters. I especially like Gyalo and his struggles with his faith.

I also liked the fairly original sort of magic in this book. There are Shapers and Dreamers. Shapers can make or unmake non-living things with magic. Dreamers can dream of far flung events and attempt to change the world with their dreaming (I wasn't all that clear on exactly what they did). It's far more original that the usual waving-your-arms-and-mumbling-in-a-foreign-language type of magic that's most common.

The only thing I really didn't like was the ending. There's no real resolution to the larger issues. Sure, Gyalo and Axane finally get together, but there are a lot of plot threads left hanging. That's no too much of a handicap though, since I assume that many of the plot threads will be tied up in the sequel, The Awakened City. I give The Burning Land four yo-yos.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ask A Ninja DVD

So, I got my copy of the Ask A Ninja DVD: Volume 1 yesterday. After I finished checking the box for booby traps and disarming the bomb inside, I popped the DVD into my DVD player, which promptly tried to kill me. I'm still not sure how The Ninja did it, but it sure was cool.

All kidding aside, it's a great DVD. It features 30 episodes from the Ask A Ninja podcast, two of which haven't actually been on his site yet. It's got ten of the Ask A Ninja Special Deliveries including the Doogtoons episodes and his review of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Then there are several other extras, like an interview with a real ninja, and a bit where the Urban Ninja shows you how to kill a bad luck dragon.

There are plenty of Easter Eggs. I won't tell you how to find them, because then The Ninja would have to kill me. Really though, they aren't very hard to find, and I thought one of them was cool. They're all just weird, little short things. I'm not really sure how to describe them any better than that.

This DVD is hilarious. It's well worth the measly twenty bucks. You should buy it now. That way, you'll get a chance to watch it before The Ninja kills you. Ask A Ninja DVD: Volume 1 gets the full five yo-yos, and not just because I'm afraid The Ninja would kill me if I gave it a bad review. This thing is really good.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

You Can Be the Stainless Steel Rat, by Harry Harrison

I ordered You Can Be the Stainless Steel Rat a few weeks ago, and I finally got around to looking at it. I love the Stainless Steel Rat series (all except Circus, which I haven't read yet, but still probably wouldn't like much judging by the reviews). Unlike the rest of the series, this isn't a regular novel; it's a Choose Your Own Adventure type of thing. You know with stuff like "If you want to pick that guys pocket go to 65."

Unlike other books of this type--at least as far as I recall, since I haven't read any since elementary school--there is no way to lose this one. If you make a wrong choice, the book just tells you to go to the right choice. In fact, all the coices ultimately lead to the same path, which means there is little or no value in rereading it to try some alternate choices.

This book does have some good humor in spots. It also has a dragon two singing porcuswine, and a Robin hood wannabee. Since It's a Stainless Steel Rat book, I'm tempted to give it a good review, so it gets four yo-yos.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wizardborn, by David Farland

I finished Renelords book 3, Wizardborn and I thought it was better than the second book in the series. Obviousle some people don't agree with me. I don't know why I bother reading the Amazon reviews; they're always either mindlessly devoted to a book or saying things I don't agree with.

One reviewer complained that "Gaborn's army is still in about the same location, [...] Borenson is just starting his search to find Dylan Hammer, Celinor and the Horsesister girl are taking their dear old time completing their quest, Averan is still barfing up Reaver brains, and the Days(another cool idea with the endowment system that has been squander)have done nothing." All of these are rather stupid complaints, seeing as how the book takes over a period of two days. Sheesh. The characters aren't The Flash and they don't have planes, so you can't expect them to cover vast distances in that short a period of time. That reviewer also thinks that all the parts of the plot not having to do with endowments are boring and should be cut out, which is odd, because I thought that endowments were the most boring, stupid idea in the series.

Another reviewer complained because a lot of horses died in the book. WTF? Another reviewer complained that he didn't like it as much as George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Well, so what?

I thought it was good, and since this is my review blog, that's all that matters. I liked learning more about the Reavers in this book. They aren't anything like us. In fact their way of life would be monstrous for a human, but they aren't really evil; they're just being controlled by an evil force. In a way, I pity them, and making someone pity what is essentially a monster is a good thing.

Since I'm feeling fairly generous today, I'll give Wizardborn five yo-yos.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kino No Tabi, by Keiichi Sigsawa

The Beautiful World 1: Kino No Tabi is a very strange book. It's about a girl named Kino and her talking motorcycle, Hermes. The two travel around visiting these weird city-states, where aspects of the world are taken to strange extremes.

The first story, "Grownup Country," is set in Kino's homeland, where all 12 year olds are required to undergo an operation to become grownups. Then there's "The Land of Shared Pain" where everyone has become an empath, which causes everyone to become hermits, because people don't want to know each other's emotions. There's "The Land of Majority Rule," where democracy is taken to a frightening extreme that leaves only one survivor. "Three Men on the Rails" is a story about three elderly men and their futile and pointless jobs. "the Land of Peace" is about a very horrible place full of awful, awful people. "Coliseum" is about a country where people are required to fight for citizenship.

While this book may be strange, it's very compelling. I'm definitely going to try and read the rest of the books in the series, and maybe find the anime. I give this one five yo-yos.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Gateways, by F. Paul Wilson

The only sad thing about the fact that I've finished Gateways is that now there aren't any more Repairman Jack books to read (until the next one comes out). Yes, I've finally read them all (except Nightworld, and that doesn't really count).

F. Paul Wilson's books tend to flow very well, if you know what I mean. Once you start reading one, you have a damn hard time putting it down. The pace is steady, the tension is more or less constant, and there's a Hell of a lot of action. Anyone who hasn't read Wilson's books is missing out on a good thing.

This book starts with Jack's father in a coma in Florida. Jack goes to Florida to help and runs into a pack of crazy swamp mutants. They're responsible for what happened to Jack's dad, so naturally it's up to Jack to kick their collective asses.

I love this book, like I love all the Repairman Jack books. I give Gateways a full five yo-yos.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are quite a few reviews up this week. I have the next for days off of work, and sadly, I don't have anything better to do with my time than read. I so need to get a girlfriend.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Hal Spacejock, by Simon Haynes

The only bad thing I have to say about Hal Spacejock is that it's going to cost me $18 to pick up the second volume in the series. I'll still do it though, because this was a great book.

It's very funny. I laughed out loud several times while reading (so it's probably a good thing I didn't bring it with me to read at the doctor's office the other day, because who knows what they would have thought). It's also a great adventure story with lots of action and adventure and explosions, and a few fires, and some radioactive gunk, and a lots of other cool stuff. I'm going to go ahead and say that I agree with Tom Holt's blurb on the front cover; This is better that Red Dwarf.

Sure, the main character's kind of a jerk and a total incompetent, but that's okay, because he's a lovable incompetent jerk. Hal Spacejock kind of like Homer Simpson in space, only funnier and way more macho. I give this book the full five yo-yos.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Memento Mori, by The Bastard Fairies

I love free stuff, so when I heard that this band had full copy of their album available for free download, I thought what the hell. First thought, I did check out their MySpace page, from which I learned that their music was pretty good (and their lead singer is a hottie). Naturally, I went on and downloaded the full album.

It's pretty good. I'm too tired to go into a track by track summary, but I really liked "We're All Going to Hell" and "Memento Mori." You should download a copy, and tell all your friends. The Yoyogod gives Memento Mori five yo-yos.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Eragon, by Christopher Paolini

With the movie coming out, and people saying how great it is, I figured it's about time I read Eragon. While I do think it was good, I don't really think it was all that great.

I don't like the writing style very much. I thought it seemed to be a bit simplistic. Yes, it was written for a younger audience, but so were the Harry Potter, Redwall, and Chrestomanci books (among others I've read), and those didn't have that same feel to them.

I also had some problems with the logic of the story. Near the end, there's an epic battle in a dwarven tunnel. This battle is between two fairly massive armies, so you've got to figure it's bigger than a football field. The tunnel is also high enough for a dragon to fly around overhead, which to my mind means that it's taller than my house. I can't see how anyone, even a dwarf, could make a tunnel that big without modern technology. I also can't see why anyone would bother making a tunnel that huge, if it isn't going to get much use (this one was supposed to have been practically abandoned).

Anyway, it's still at least a good book, I'll read the rest of the series eventually, and I'll probably see the movie even if--from the pictures I've seen--it looks like they didn't bother giving the elf pointy ears. I give Eragon four yo-yos.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Cool email & cool snail mail

I got two interesting things today. I got my package from joining the Hal Spacejock support crew, and found an autographed copy of the first Hal Spacejock book inside. :) Thanks, Simon. It's now next on my reading list after I finish Eragon.

Also, I just preordered a copy of the Ask a Ninja DVD, and recieved the coolest order confirmation ever:

Dear Nathan,

You have chosen to risk life and limb to pre-order the Ask A Ninja Volume 1 DVD. You have earned Film Baby's eternal respect for your obvious bravery.

A messenger just tip-toe'd over to the Ninja's office and whispered to him in his sweetest voice that you'd REALLY like one of his DVDs. He said to tell you that he'll send it to you, and he looks forward to killing you soon. And then he killed the messenger.

Provided the Ninja doesn't kill US first, we'll ship your DVD the moment it arrives at our warehouse. We'll send you another email to WARN you that a NINJA is on its way to your house. You'll be hearing from us again shortly. Until then, perhaps you'd like to browse our catalog of ALL INDEPENDENT films, docs, shorts, instructional videos, and features. Browse here:

Thanks for supporting independent entertainment!

Your new friends at Film Baby

It looks like it'll be a cool DVD, and even without seeing it yet, I recommend buying it. It's only $20 + shipping, so go here and get it, and maybe the Ninja will kill you soon.

Enchanter, by Sara Douglass

Sorry it's been so long since my last post, but like I said last time, I've been sick. I'm just about over my cold now, so it's time to review Enchanter, part two of the Wayfarer Redemption.

I liked this book. I didn't like it quite as much as the first one, because I though that Axis, the main character, was kind of a jerk throughout most of this book. Yet everybody still loves him. Also, some of the plot twists were totally predictable; I mean anyone who couldn't figure out that Azhure was the daughter of WolfStar before the characters, must be pretty dense. and, the battle between Axis and his half brother was a bit anti-climactic.

Still, it was a pretty good book. There was lots of action, and the tale itself is pretty darn epic. I'll definitely read the next one in the series, and I'll recommend this one, too. It's not perfect, but it's not that bad, so Enchanter gets four yo-yos.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Harbringers, by F. Paul Wilson

I'm not feeling too good right now, so I'm going to try and keep my review of Harbingers short. If you've read my previous blog posts, you know I love the Repairman Jack books. We finally get to find out who's been killing Jack's family. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise to any reader who's been paying attention. There's lots of action and emotion, and we get to see Jack make a really tough choice. I give Harbingers five yo-yos.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Brother Odd, by Dean Koontz

I picked up Dean Koontz's new Odd Thomas book, Brother Odd, yesterday, and I've already finished it. If you haven't read the Odd Thomas series, you don't know what you're missing.

Odd Thomas is, not surprisingly, odd. He can see the lingering dead, and worse things, like the creatures he calls bodachs. Bodachs are shadowy harbingers of disaster, and when Odd sees them at a hospital for disabled children, he knows that big trouble is coming. Pretty soon, all Hell breaks loose.

Brother Odd is very fast paced, full of action and humor, and is a great read. Odd Thomas is one of the most original and memorable characters you'll ever read about. The only real complaint I have is that the villain is utterly predictable. I mean, when weird monsters start popping up you gotta figure that either a mad scientist or a wizard of some sort is behind it, and there just happens to be a scientist with a secret underground lair in this book. Still, that doesn't detract from the plot.

I definitely recommend this book. Brother Odd gets a full five yo-yos.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Deathworld, by Harry Harrison

I like Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat series, so when I saw Deathworld, I decided to pick it up. It's an omnibus edition containing the first three Deathworld novels and a short story (there are apparently four other novels in the series, but they were written for the Russian market and have never been translated into English). Sadly, this book was kind of disappointing. The first novel was great. The second was terrible. The third was mediocre.

The first novel, tells how Jason dinAlt came to the planet Pyrrus, where every living creature is against humanity. Jason is a professional gambler, and he goes to Pyrrus after helping win the Pyrrans a billion bucks, so they can buy weapons. He goes to Pyrrus to prove how manly he is and ends up helping to solve their problems through reason.

In the second novel, Jason is kidnapped by a moralistic do-gooder. The guy's spaceship crashes on a primitive world and the two are taken into slavery. Somehow--despite the fact that he was raised in a feudal world, had little or no formal education, never learned to read until he was 15, and spent his adult life as a gambler--Jason has an unbelievable grasp of science and technology. He improves on the local cars, builds a radio transmitter and receiver, knows how to make sulfuric acid, improves the local metallurgy, and shows a basic knowledge of electrical generators and oil refineries. Jason also proves to be a bit of a dick when he starts a war to try and "civilize" the planet.

He's an even bigger dick in the third novel. There he starts a war, resulting in the loss of many innocent lives, so he can start a mining operation on another primitive planet. I'm sorry, but by the third novel I hated this guys guts.

Sure, the book has lots of action, which is always good. Unfortunately, I found parts of the book to unbelievable, even for SF, and I couldn't stand the main character. Still, since novel number one was so good, I'll give Deathworld an above average rating. It gets a barely above average three and a half yo-yos.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Hal Spacejock Support Crew

I always like trying to get free stuff, and the Hal Spacejock books actually look interesting. Unfortunately they don't seem to be available in the US (okay, Amazon has used copies, buy $25 for the first one and $18 for the second is a bit more than I want to pay). Anyway, without further ado I present the meme:

I joined Hal Spacejock's Support Crew

I didn't pay anything,
I didn't sign anything,
and I didn't read the fine print.
Just like Hal!

No space pilot can exist in a vacuum (hah!), and behind every successful pilot there's a talented and dedicated support crew.

Hal Spacejock is one of the least successful space pilots in the history of the galaxy, and a worldwide support crew is needed just to get him off the ground.

Join now for free Hal Spacejock goodies!
| Join the team | - - - - - - - - - | Hal who? |

Hal Spacejock ... Après moi le wreckage

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Do-Gooder, by F. Paul Wilson

Last week, I was browsing the Repairman Jack forums, and I saw that there was a Repairman Jack short story available for $30 on eBay. These aren't just any short stories. They're printed on a 14x20 broadsheet, and are signed and numbered. It's printed on acid free paper. It has a woodcut illustrating it (and is signed by the artist too). It's printed on acid-free velvet and is suitable for framing. I got one, and it's pretty cool. There are only 200 of them, so if you want one, you better check it out now.

The story is pretty good, considering it's only about 500 words, and it's just such a neat thing to own. I give it five yo-yos.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Midnight Mass, by F. Paul Wilson

Many years ago, I read the novella that the first part of Midnight Mass is based on, and I thought it was a great story. Earlier this year, I rented the movie version, and thought it sucked (and wondered why the Hell they cut out the Rabbi, because he was one of the best characters and had one of the best lines: "What goes through this old Jew goes through you!" as he sacrifices himself to kill the vampire priest). The book is way better than the crappy movie, and slightly better that the novella.

The book is set in a world where vampires have taken over; like I Am Legend, only the vampires owe more to Dracula and other fictional vamps. It's a heroic tale, about how one man can light a spark that can, ultimately, lead to the vampires' defeat. Sure the man ends up becoming a sort of half-vampire--kind of like Blade, only with more vampiric weaknesses--but he's still a heroic man even then.

There's another great bit of dialog in the book:

"'Father Joe Cahill is back--and he's pissed.' I like that."
"It'll make a great bumper sticker"

It would make a great bumper sticker.

The book is great. It's got some great lines, some great adventure, some great characters, and it's pretty damn scary. Even if you don't like vampire books in general, or if you were turned of by the crappy movie, you should still buy this book. Midnight Mass gets five yo-yos from the Yoyogod.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Blood books: Volume Three, by Tanya Huff

If you've read my reviews of Volumes 1 & 2, you can probably guess that I liked The Blood Books, Volume III. The characters are interesting, and the stories are original. This volume contains a novel and a short story collection.

I thought the novel wasn't quite as good as the previous ones. The other ones featured supernatural enemies and mad scientists. This one featured an evil doctor who killed street people for their organs. That might have been fairly original in 1997 when the story was written, but in 2006 it's been done to death. Adding in the ghosts were a nice touch. The story was still pretty goo, though I thought it dragged in places.

I liked the short stories better. I had actually read "This Town Ain't Big Enough," though I have no idea where, since it was first published in Vampire Detectives, and I'm pretty sure I haven't read that. I liked all the stories, but I guess I'd pick "So This Is Christmas" as my favorite.

Anyway, buy these books. I give The Blood Books: Volume III four and a half yo-yos.

Edit: While cataloging my books, I discovered that "This Town Ain't Big Enough" is also in the book Virtuous Vampires, which I do have a copy of.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Where's My Cow?, by Terry Pratchett

I just love the Discworld books. Pratchett is one of my favorite writers. So, I decided to get a copy of his Discworld book for little kids, Where's My Cow?. It's pretty good book.

I wouldn't consider it for the casual reader. It's a very short book, but that's what you'd expect from a children's picture book. The story it tells would be familiar to anyone who read Pratchett's Thud!, as it's told there as well.

So, who would I recommend this too, then? First, for fanatics, like myself. I want to read all the Discworld books. Second, I'd recommend it to parents (or other adults) who want to expose children to Discworld and Pratchett. I plan on getting another copy to give to my 1 and a half year old nephew as a Christmas present. Third, I'd recommend it to anyone with little kids and a sense of humor.

Looking at the Amazon reviews for this book, some people don't like it. Many people complained that the illustrations aren't the same as the ones from The Last Hero/don't look like they think Sam Vimes et al should look/suck. I think the illustrations are funny and go very well with the story. Some people complain that the language isn't appropriate. There is "Buggrit," which means "Bugger it," and would be a curse word in Britain, but I'm in America where it isn't, so that doesn't apply to me. Some people complained that the book wasn't suitable for children or just wasn't good. Those people probably had their sense of humor amputated.

I like Where's My Cow? enough to give it five yo-yos.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Wayfarer Redemption, by sara Douglass

I love getting a good book cheap, so when I saw a copy of The Wayfarer Redemption at my local Borders for $3.99, I grabbed it. What surprised me most about this book, is that so many of the people who reviewed it on Amazon hated it. I thought it was great.

Sure, it does use the fairly standard epic fantasy plot. Villain pops up and threatens the world. Heroes go on a quest. One guy turns out to be very important and has magic powers. Another guy is a total dickhead. They fight over the beautiful woman. There is an ancient Prophecy. There are mysterious, magical races,

One thing I liked is how the aforementioned dickhead, Borneheld, actually had good reasons for being the bad guy (the lesser one). He was abandoned by his mother at an early age. He was ignored by his father. He has always resented how his bastard half-brother is a natural warleader, who is respected by his men (and most everyone else). His anger and resentment have made him act foolishly and just be a jerk.

The main villain, who isn't called Gargamel but I keep thinking of by that name because they sound kind of similar, has some excuses too. He was raised by wraiths (who are evil magic beings). He was the result of a forbidden union between two magical races. Really though, he was evil before he was born. I guess it was the prophecy or something.

The hero is called Axis. He was raised by priests. I turns out that they lied to him his whole life and the whole history of his country is a lie. He's done bad things as the military leader for the priesthood, but no worse than any other military leader has had to do.

I liked the book. I'll read the next one in the series. I don't care if some people on Amazon thing it's crap. Tastes vary. I give The Wayfarer Redemption 5 yo-yos.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I don't usually read spam. Google does a damn good job of filtering it out. Occasionally though, a spam message slips through. I recently got one in a foreign language that I don't understand. I used some internet language identification programs. One said it was Turkish, and another said it might be Italian. I'm pretty sure it isn't Italian, but I guess it might be Turkish (especially since the link at the end is to a .tr site). If someone could identify this language for me--or even better, tell me what it says--it might save me a trip to the loony bin. Here's the message:

subject: Seri Çözüm

Gazete ilan kampanya

Gazete kampanyalarinin özellikleri, süreleri ve ücretsiz yayinlari için arayarak bilgi aliniz

Sabah Gazetesi Kelimesi (3,50 YTL +KDV)
ELEMAN 2 Gün ücretli + 1 Gün ücretsiz = 3 GÜN enaz 6 Kelime ilaniniza
VASITA 2 Gün ücretli + 3 Gün ücretsiz = 5 GÜN enaz 6 Kelime ilaniniza
EMLAK 2 Gün ücretli + 5 Gün ücretsiz = 7 GÜN enaz 6 Kelime ilaniniza
* Çerçeveli Eleman ilanlari
* Ticari ilanlar
* Sosyal ilanlar (Vefat, Anma, Baŝsagligi, Teŝekkür.)
* Tanŭtŭm ve Duyuru ilanlari

Hürriyet Gazetesi Kelimesi (3,50 YTL +KDV)
ELEMAN 2 Gün ücretli + 1 Gün ücretsiz = 3 Gün enaz 6 Kelime ilaniniza
VASITA 2 Gün ücretli + 2 Gün ücretsiz = 4 Gün enaz 6 Kelime ilaniniza
EMLAK 2 Gün ücretli + 2 Gün ücretsiz = 4 Gün enaz 6 Kelime ilaniniza
* insan kaynaklari eleman ilani
* Çerçeveli Eleman ilanlari
* Ticari ilanlar
* Sosyal ilanlar (Vefat, Anma, Baŝsagligi, Teŝekkür.)
* Tanitim ve Duyuru ilanlari

Posta Kelimesi 1.70 YTL +KDV Milliyet Kelimesi 2.30YTL+KDV
ELEMAN 2 Gün ücretli + 2 Gün ücretsiz = 4 Gün enaz 6 Kelime ilaniniza
VASITA 2 Gün ücretli + 5 Gün ücretsiz = 7 Gün enaz 6 Kelime ilaniniza
EMLAK 2 Gün ücretli + 5 Gün ücretsiz = 7 Gün enaz 6 Kelime ilaniniza

Gazete ilanlariniz için Tel

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Blood Books: Volume Two, by Tanya Huff

I was at Borders the other day, and I picked up The Blood Books: Volume II & Volume three. Sadly, I couldn't continue with Repairman jack or The Runelords series, because my Borders didn't have Gateways or Wizardborn. Sigh, it's there own damn fault Amazon gets so much of my business.

Once again the stories feature Vicki (the half-blind detective), her ex-partner Mike Celluci, and Henry Fitzroy (the vampire). This book introduces new enemies who are truly terrifying. And creepy too.

Anyway, The Blood Books: Volume Two is great. I actually liked it better than volume one. The first novel in this one, Blood Lines, is about a resurrected mummy. I know it sounds clichéd, but it's done very well. The mummy in this book is one of the best villain I've read in a long time. Blood Pact, the second novel in the omnibus, completes the Abbot and Costello Meet... theme in the other books (Dracula, the wolfman, the mummy, and now Frankenstein). It's not at all silly, though. It's a very touching and tragic story. I think I actually cried at one point. I mean Vicki's mother dies and is brought back by a mad scientist. That is sad enough, but the ending is tragic.

I liked this one a lot. I give The Blood Books: Volume Two five yo-yos.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Horrorween, by Al Sarrantonio

The main reason I picked up Horrorween was because I thought the idea of a town where Samhain "the Lord of the Dead" lived, was occasionally sighted, and is about to start killing people sounded silly. Sadly, this book isn't silly and it's not really all that good either.

First off, I'd like to point out that Samhain isn't the Lord of the Dead, it's the name of the holiday Halloween is copied off of. Sheesh. I know it often turns up as the name of a god in fiction, my first though was of the Real Ghostbusters episodes featuring him.

Secondly, I'd like to point out that this "novel" has been previously published as "Hornets," "The Pumpkin Boy," and Orangefield. Unfortunately, these stories don't seem to have a Hell of a lot to do with one another. Samhain appears in the first and last ones but doesn't seem to have anything to do with the second. Even the first and last stories only seem peripherally connected.

"Hornets", aka Part I: Something's Coming, is about a writer of children's horror. He's trying to write a story about the god Samhain but has writer's block because Samhain is so vast and evil. Then he decides to write about a cute creature called Sam Hain instead. This seems to piss off Samhain, who promptly kills the writer's wife with some hornets, and then does the writer in the same way. If that's all it takes to get Samhain to kill you, I hope J. Michael Straczynski is watching his ass (he wrote the Real Ghostbusters episode featuring Sam Hain).

"Pumpkin Boy," aka Part II: False Leads, is about a crazy roboticist who kidnaps a couple of boys and uses their brains as remote control units for a pumpkin-headed robot. I swear, I'm not making it up. It doesn't seem to relate to the main plot at all, except that a police detective is in this one and "hornets," and he apparently must be gotten out of the way or he'll foil Samhain's evil schemes.

Orangefield, aka the rest of the book, is about Samhain's evil plot to get three people to commit suicide on Halloween. This will apparently bring about the end of the world or something. The book is never really clear on this. It's also never clear on who Samhain is working for. We know he has a boss, because we get their dialogue every couple of chapters, but we're never told who the boss is. Really, who the heck could be more powerful that "the Lord of Death?"

Anyway, this isn't a very good book. It's not a very bad book, either. It's just plain confusing in parts, but has some genuine excitement. It doesn't hang together all that well, but it doesn't feel totally random. I can't see my way to giving Horrorween anything but three yo-yos.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Since Magic the Gathering is having a Great Designer Search, I though that just for the fun of it, I'd try following their challenges (I'm not entered in the contest or anything). I created these 10 cards based on the requirements from this week's challenge. I used the Magic Set Editor from Source Forge if you're wondering. I'm not much of a designer, so most of these cards are probably undercosted and some are probably broken.

The designers were given 10 slots to fill and 10 pieces of artwork. They could mix and match as they chose. Here are my ideas:

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This slot was for a whit uncommon that is "an answer to all the token making in the environment. Be subtle." I'm not sure if this counts as subtle or as an answer to tokens, but when I saw this image I thought Flagbearer, and I think it kind of works.

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This slot was for a white, rare, "Johnny-style enchantment." I think my selection matches the art, is within white's slice of the color pie, and is at least slightly Johnny flavored.

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This slot was for a blue, common sorcery. "No card filtering or drawing. No bounce (aka returning cards to hand)." I'm not sure how well I did with the artwork, but I think the spell is kind of neat.

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This one was for a rare "Timmy" creature. As with most of the actual submissions I read, this artwork screamed "Shapeshifter with a Clone type effect." I think my take on it is pretty cool, though maybe a bit broken

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This slot was for an uncommon, black aura "you want to put on your own creatures." I think I did a fairly good job here.

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This slot was for any black rare. I knew this guy was a zombie, so I put him here. I think the ability matches that art, but is way out of black's slice of the color pie. Oh well.

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This slot was for a red common "Instant or sorcery. No direct damage or destruction (artifact or land)." I think I did a good job with matching the artwork to the ability and keeping it in the right area of the color pie, but I doubt it's a common.

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This slot was for an uncommon red creature. "Want a build around me for draft (aka something that will encourage players to go down a path or paths he or she wouldn't normally had they not drafted this card early; examples of this type of card are Lightning Rift, Mark of Eviction and Momentary Blink)." I think this one encourage playing sacrificable artifacts and artifact destruction spells, so I guess it works.

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This slot was a common green creature that costs four or more mana. I added Morph since it does have one of those morph spider thingies in it. I'm not sure that this would be printed as a common, though.

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Green rare. Non-creature spell. Green's lacking in "wow" factor (aka something that will impress the player by how different it is). Trying to come up with an ability that matched an artifact apparently blowing up as it destroys a creature was hard. I decided that the creature had destroyed the artifact and is being killed in the explosion. I don't know if it works well or not.

Anyway, I hope you got a good laugh out of these. Seriously, feel free to offer constructive criticism, mockery, or whatever. If you want to steal these to enter in You Make the Card Four when it finally comes out, feel free. If MaRo, or some other WOTC employee, reads this and decides to steal it for their design files (perhaps because of a recent head injury), be my guest.

My next review should be up later tonight (after Doctor Who) or maybe some time tomorrow.