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Category Archives: Books

I’ve rounded the horn on 2016 Hugo Awards finalist novels, wrapping up Naomi Novik‘s Uprooted on Sunday night. Seveneves was a 5/5 that roared through my brain, and The Fifth Season was a 5/5 that took a bit of time to get rolling, so I was curious to see if Uprooted would keep the streak […]

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My kiddo checked Claire Llewellyn’s The Big Book of Mummies out of the library this week, and we’ve been reading it at bedtime. Apart from being interesting in its own right, I was thrilled to find that it contained four fantastically gameable ideas — beyond the obvious, that is (mummies are cool, pyramids were full […]

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I wrapped up my second 2016 Hugo Awards finalist novel, N.K. Jemisin‘s The Fifth Season, yesterday, and it was awesome. The Fifth Season is post-apocalyptic fantasy, which is unusual enough to pique my interest, but it’s doubly unusual: Its setting, The Stillness, experiences recurring apocalypses — Seasons — that can be decades or centuries apart. […]

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I’ve been reading fantasy and sci-fi for as long as I can remember[1], but this is the first time I’ve ever become a member of the Hugo Awards voting pool. (A voting membership costs $50, and members also get to make nominations for the 2017 Hugo Awards.) My faithful Kindle Paperwhite is already getting a […]

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I’m currently reading Neal Stephenson‘s Seveneves, and it’s blowing my mind. (This post is spoiler-free.) The larch Stephenson is one of my favorite authors, and Cryptnomicon is both my favorite Stephenson book and one of my favorite books period. Quite apart from “just” being fucking amazing in every way, it sparked my interest in cryptography, […]

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My wife, Alysia, got me The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens for my birthday, and it’s a fabulous book. (The rest of this post contains spoilers for the film.) I enjoy these sorts of books as a fan, but I also dig them as a gamer. I’ve written about using non-RPG books as […]

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More RPGs and supplements should be coil-bound, or offer a coil-bound version. Coil-bound books lay flat and stay open, making them a joy to use at the gaming table. Away from the table, I prefer perfect-bound (traditional softcover) or hardcover for reading, and hardcover for bigger table-use books (large-diameter coils suck, and a big hardcover […]

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I just started reading William Hope Hodgson‘s 1912 weird fiction work The Night Land (also available as a free ebook). I’m interested in it in large part because the setting sounds fabulous — and rather well-suited to gaming. I say “sounds” because I’m not that far into the book yet. It’s a strange animal: It’s […]

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My high school girlfriend introduced me to the Amber series back in the early 1990s, and shortly thereafter to Amber Diceless Role-Playing, the RPG based on the books. Zelazny, like a lot of Appendix N authors, writes with economy and punch. Nine Princes in Amber grabbed me with its opening sentence, “It was starting to […]

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Martin Brown from Grognard Games produced a great short video introduction to Appendix N, the influence the works therein in had on D&D — from thieves and paladins to plane-hopping and alignment — and the inspiration those works can provide today. It’s a bit surreal for me, though: He’s called Martin as well, and is […]

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