The Far Side of the World, by Patrick O'Brian, copyright 1984; first published by William Collins Sons and Co Ltd, 1984; W.W. Norton and Company, Inc, 1992. Aubrey's finiancial problems continue to cloud the background, along with a number of things of which neither Aubrey nor Maturin are aware, alas.
Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.
Sennen joyu, aka Millennium Actress, 2001; directed by Satoshi Kon, written by Satoshi Kon and Sadayuki Murai. An interesting anime, well worth seeing, though I suspect it would have been better had I some familiarity with Japanese film history.
It was recently announced that Arthaus Publishing, the White Wolf imprint, had purchased the rights and back stock of the Pendragon Aurthurian roleplaying game from Peter Corless of Green Knight Publishing. Stewart Wieck confirmed that they would selling the existing and also developing new projects that would keep the current rules, with perhaps some tweaking. James Lowder of Green Knight confirmed that Arthaus will have access to all the unpublished works that have been written for Pendragon, so perhaps we'll finally get to see some of them.
I find this very encouraging; Arthaus has the resources to support Pendragon and they seem to have produced some reasonably good books. I'm looking forward to seeing new Pendragon materials.
Treason's Harbor, by Patrick O'Brian; first published by William Collins & Co, 1983; W.W. Norton & Co, Inc, 1992. More intrigue and adventure in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
Kill Bill vol. 2, directed by Quentin Tarantino, 2004. “People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.” That said, it's interesting to note that it's not just more of the same as the first movie. Most of what little story there is in the two movies is in this one, and more of the backstory is revealed. Worth renting.
Honor's Kingdom, by Owen Parry; William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2002. This is an interesting historical mystery with a quirky main character. I'll have to look for the other books in this series.
Lord John and the Private Matter, by Diana Gabaldon; A Delacorte Book, published by Bantam Dell, a division of Random House, Inc, October 2003. This is the first of Gabaldon's novels about Lord John Grey, and the first of Gabaldon's works that I've read. A historical mystery set at the beginning of the Seven Years War, it takes a short but sympathetic look in passing at the gay subculture of London. It's a fairly good historical; I'll have to look and see what her other books are like.
Ringworld's Children, by Larry Niven; Tor/Tom Doherty Associates, June 2004. Not quite as good as the earlier three (which I've all reread this year), but still enjoyable.
Death Comes as Ephiphany, by Sharan Newman, copyright 1993; read by Donada Peters; Books on Tape, 1998. (Apparently her name was misspelled as Sharon by Books on Tape.) A very good medieval mystery, with a broader range than I had first supposed. I had not realized that this was only the first of a series featuring Catherine Levendur.
Chaosium seems to be trying to get things published in a more timely fashion. Probably for cash-flow reasons (ever the bane of the small RPG publisher) this seems to be reflected mostly in their Miskatonic University Library Association Monographs series, which are digitally produced small run publications in cardstock covers and tape bindings, with all the editing and layout done by the authors. This should give them an opportunaty to produce interesting works faster with minimal costs, as well as give them a less risky venue for experimenting. I hope it works well for them.
I haven't seen any of these yet, but several look interesting from their descriptions:
The First Book of Things, by Michael C. LaBossiere. This looks like a fun collection of creatures, technology, and magic.
Mysteries of Morocco, by William Jones. A “civil, geographical, cultural, political, and a Mythos tour of Morocco during the 1920s and 1930s”, covering several locations and including a scenario and several maps.
Cthulhu Invictus, by Chad Bowser, Andi Newton, and Deane P. Goodwin. “Horror Roleplaying in Ancient Rome.” I presume from the name that this involves the Cthulhu Mythos in ancient Rome, but I think that you could easily find enough horror without it. Thomas Harlan's Oath of Empire series would be good inspiration for this, if rather later than what we normally think of when talking about ancient Rome.
Interestingly, the Player's Book and Magic Book from Runequest, 3rd edition were available for a couple of days as the BRP Player's Book and the BRP Magic Book, but were apparently removed after a more plan for republishing them was conceived and put into motion. It certainly would be interesting to see a Runequest-derived core RPG published in the modern world. Of course, between Call of Cthulhu and Stormbringer one already has all the necessary rules in print, but it would be nice to see them all presented in one package, well edited and integrated.
With the possibility of this and the actuality of the republishing of the West End Games house system as a (more-or-less) generic system it will be interesting to see how they succeed in the market against existing universal systems such as GURPS, Hero, and Tri-Stat.
The Judgment of Caesar, by Steven Saylor; St. Martin's Minotaur, June 2004. The last three books or so books of Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series have struck me as more unhappy than usual; this one continues in that vein until the unexpected end. Saylor's series remains my favorite of the current batch of Roman mysteries, and this is a worthy addition.