Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

Recent Reading

  • Blue Moon, by Laurell K. Hamilton; Ace, November 1998. Eighth in the series.

  • Obsidian Butterfly, by Laurell K. Hamilton; Ace, October 2000. Ninth in the series. We find out a lot more about Edward.

  • Narcissus in Chains, by Laurell K. Hamilton; Jove, October 2002.

  • Dead to the World, by Charlaine Harris; Ace, May 2004. These are not as intense as Hamilton's Anita Blake books, but I enjoy the small-town aspect of Harris's books.

  • Gardens of the Moon: Volume One of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, by Steven Erikson; Tor, June 2004. Interesting high magic world with an expanding empire. Not much like Glen Cook. This first book has a military organization in one of its main threads, and a good deal of gritty details, but it also has an much higher level of magic.

  • In the Kingdom of the Mists, by Jane Jakeman; Berkeley Prime Crime, March 2004. Quirky thriller with Monet as a peripheral but important character. Good.

  • Redwall, by Brian Jacques; narrated by Ron Keith; Recorded Books, 1995. Well read by Keith, but something about it was annoying. I suspect I'd have liked it better if I was 12, which is probably a failing on my part.

Recent Reading

  • The Ultimate Cyberpunk, edited by Pat Cadigan with stories by Alfred Bester, Cordwainer Smith, Philip K. Dick, James Tiptree, Jr., Rudy Rucker, William Gibson, Greg Bear, Lewis Shiner, John Shirley, Michael Swanwick, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Paul J. McAuley; Ibooks, April 2004.

  • The Killing Dance, by Laurell K. Hamilton; Ace, 1997. Sixth in the series.

  • Burnt Offerings, by Laurell K. Hamilton; Ace, 1998. I was glad to see Larry and amused by the apparent RPG reference: Larry has a "higher wisdom score" than Anita.

Recent Reading

  • The Smoke Ring, by Larry Niven; Del Rey/Ballntine 1987. More fun and interesting SF from Niven.

  • Fool's Fate, by Robin Hobb; A Bantam Spectra Book/Bantam Dell/Random House; 2004. Enjoyable sixth book of two series. Robin Hobb has also written as Megan Lindholm. I gather that it's not unusual in the current writing market for a mid-list author to have to change their nom de plume to be able to publish work.

  • Confusion, by Neal Stephenson; HarperCollins, 2004. This is the second volume of Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, and he explains that it's actually two intertwined novels published as one. Like the earlier volume it's very wordy, but enjoyable if you don't mind big books.

Recent Reading

  • The Lunatic Cafe, by Laurell K. Hamilton; Ace, January 1996. Continuing with my Anita Blake theme, the fourth book in the series has moved into full speed, with almost all of the important elements of the series, and sets up situations that will take serveral books to resolve. Lots more information on werewolves, and the leapards first show up. Very good.

Recent Reading

  • Circus of the Damned, by Laurell K. Hamilton; Ace, May 1995. Richard finally shows up in this, the third book in the Anita Blake series. Larry (Lawrence Kirkland) also first appears in this book. Whatever happened to Larry after this book, though? I suppose he finished up his semester internship, but did he continue as an animator? Did he become a vampire killer? Oh, yes, he returns in Bloody Bones* and Burnt Offerings, at least.

Gaming; Recent Reading


I get very annoyed with people who state that Fudge is not a complete game, much less when they state it's not a game at all. Especially when it's obvious that it is.

Recent Reading

  • The Laughing Corpse, by Laurell K. Hamilton; Ace, September 1994. This is the second book in the Anita Blake series, and we get to see a little bit more of how animators and necromancy work in Anita's world, along with some of the elements that will become romance later in the series. Very good. Sometimes, though, I wish she'd return to the world of her first book Nightseer.

Recent Reading

  • Bloodstone, by Karl Edward Wagner; Warner Books, March 1975. I reread Karl Edward Wagner's Kane books every so often. They are wonderful examples of Sword & Sorcery fiction, filled with blood, sweat, strange magic, intrigue, foul rituals, and things from outside space. Bloodstone is probably my least favorite of the Kane novels, but it's still very good.

  • Guilty Pleasures, by Laurell K. Hamilton; Ace, October 1993. Hamilton's Anita Blake books are also on my regularly-reread list. They started out as an interesting mixture of action adventure, detective story, horror, and romance, and have intensified each of those elements as the series went on, with latter books adding a big dose of sex. This book is the first, and sets up the situation and introduces a many of the recurring characters. Very good.

Recend Reading and Viewing

Recent Reading

  • Pandora's Legions, by Chirstopher Anvil, edited by Eric Flint; Baen Books, February 2002. This novel was constructed from Anvil's earlier novel from 1972, Pandora's Planet, itself based on an earlier novella published as “Pandora's Planet” in the September 1956 Astounding, combined with a number of related short stories from the 1960s. Flint has woven the different stories together well.

  • The Bloody Red Baron, by Kim Newman; Avon Books, 1997. The sequel to Anno Dracula, this book brings us forward forward from the end of Victoria's reign to the first world war. Geneviéve is missing from this novel, alas, but Charles Beauregard and Kate Reed return, joined this time by Edgar Allan Poe. Enjoyable.

Recent Viewing

  • Bubba Ho-tep, 2002. Directed by Don Coscarelli; short story by Joe R. Lansdale, screenplay by Don Coscarelli. Starring Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Ella Joyce, Heidi Marnhout, and Bob Ivy.

    In the words of Bruce Campbell, Bubba Ho-tep, is a redemptive Elvis mummy movie. It's great fun, whatever it is. Bruce Campbell does a wonderful job as Elvis. Very enjoyable.