Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Books I miss, or would like to miss.

While in general the selection of books in the US is good, there are some I've been having great difficulty finding. Therefore, if you're stuck for a gift idea for me, and you run across any of these, feel free to consider them. I'm very much in favour of secondhand books, so long as no pages fall out and nobody's been at them with a highlighter.

Barry M. Hughart, The Story of the Stone; this is the middle one in a trilogy, the ends of which I have. I don't know how available it is worldwide, but it's in the "duelling algorithms, silly money" state on Amazon in the US, which means people aren't selling copies.

Goscinny & Uderzo, trans. Bell & Hockridge, Asterix (series); these comics were a major element of my childhood, and I'd love my daughter to have access to them as well. Besides, I can now read them as an adult and understand far more of the jokes than I used to.

Lindsey Davis, M. Didius Falco series; so far, I've seen ONE of these excellent historical-comedy-detective novels this side of the Atlantic. Naturally, I snapped it up, but it was Venus in Copper, and I'd forgotten most of the details of The Silver Pigs and Shadows in Bronze. I'd love to re-read, and indeed to continue reading after I left off (which I think was somewhere around Last Act In Palmyra), and besides, Amazon tells me that the US covers are terrible. No character at all, nothing to draw the eye, and no relation to any events within. Far be it from me to cast aspersions, but I would suggest that a good cover is a particular necessity when dealing with unconventional content.

Dmitry Glukhovsky, Metro 2033; this one is translated from Russian, and distinctly dark. It's since been turned into a very interesting computer game.

Friday, October 18, 2013

We're a little bit busy.

The LA and I are currently in the local hospital. Well, one of at least four I can think of off the top of my head; this one is shiny and new, and ever so concerned about security. They're also very concerned about patient care, which is good. You see, the LA is a patient. I am in a strange sort of state wherein I have elevated visiting privileges; I've actually been sleeping in the hospital the past few nights, but I'm not under any sort of care and they won't feed me at all. I do, however, have an identifying wristband. The reason for this is simple: the LA is now a mother. And yes, this does make me a new father. I've been wandering around with the beatifically shellshocked expression common to such men, mostly wearing the Cthulhu-feet novelty slippers the LA gave me for giftmas a few years ago.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Some musings on Mass Effect's gameplay changes.

The Mass Effect series is noted as having a jarring gameplay change between the first two games. In the first game, your various firearms never run out of ammunition; they instead build up heat with each shot fired, and if this heat hits a certain threshold they deactivate for a few seconds to cool down. This eliminates one piece of tiresome bookkeeping from the game (sadly, many remain, and the interface is not generally of the highest quality) and fits in well with the space opera theme. Below the fold, there will be spoilers, as if that matters...