Quag Keep by Andre Norton
Let us venture back to 1978 for the very first novel about a role playing game. A group of adventures, including a Lizard Man, have these strange and vague memories of living in a technological society and having some hobby that involved books, papers, and dice. Dice just like the ones on the bracelets locked on their wrists that spin when they do things like fight or cast spells. Nearly four decades later, there is a pocket industry of game related novels. They all trace their roots to this classic.
“ISIS has declared war on the west – an entire western civilization – and Obama has declared war on Hobby Lobby.”
— Andrea Tantaros
Former Bond Pierce Brosnan teams up with former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko in this tale of espionage, morality, and international conspiracies. The action is good, as is the acting. There is the occasional upper torso female nude scene, just so you can have some sex with your violence. Not all the portrayal of human sexuality is wholesome though, one of the main villains is not a nice person. In all, a good example of B-Movie making. Well worth the rental and popcorn.
Filed under: Libertarian, Monday Book Pick, Politics, Science Fiction
Roswell, Texas by L. Neil Smith
This is a graphic novel, set in one of L. Neil Smith’s Libertarian universes. In this reality, Santa Ana was killed by a long range rifle shot from the Alamo, allowing the people in to escape, and the Republic of Texas to survive. Flash forward to 1947. There is a mysterious crash near the Texas town of New Mexico. Four Texas Rangers are sent to investigate, along with various military units and spies from various nations, including the California Republic, the Third and Half Reich, and a much smaller United States. It’s a fun read, and Ranger William Bear doesn’t just get the girl, he gets the girl.
Elizabeth Banks stars in this light comedy about a “good girl” having a bad day. She plays a local LA news anchor (i.e. a meat puppet news reader) who goes out drinking with her friends after a bad day (her fiance dumps her, and she comes up second for a network news position. Much drinking occurs, and after a series of advents going wrong, she ends up on the streets of LA without ID, phone or cash. She does have her car keys, but her car has been towed. To add to the drama, she has to get to work on time because it turns out she has a shot at the network meat puppet job. She endures a series of adventures, including a cabbie who thinks she is a stripper, cops who think she is a hooker, and the best part, spending some time in a South Central crack house. An ok comedy, not a great comedy. I think Banks took the role because she was turning 40 and wanted to show she could rock that yellow tube sock of a dress she spend most of the film in.
“The “progressives” who today masquerade as “liberals” may rant against “fascism”; yet it is their policy that paves the way for Hitlerism.”
– Classical liberal Ludwig von Mises 1940
The Cosmic Computer by H. Beam Piper
Originally published as “The Junkyard Planet” in 1963, and based on a short story (“Graveyard of Dreams”) first published in 1958. This is the story of a planet down on its luck. Poictesme experienced a boom when it was a major military HQ during the System States War. When the war ended, the Terran Federation couldn’t even afford to ship their gear home. Bases and Logistical centers were sealed up and all the military personnel left packed on transports. The planet’s economy takes a major hit. They are reduced to two major exports. The first is a local mellon prized for the brandy made from its juice. They can sell it for centa-credits a barrel, which is what the rare interstellar trader will pay for it. The brandy made from the juice sells for several credits a glass on Terra. Their other export is military surplus they dig out of old Terran Federation bases, which they are also paid in single digit centi-credits on the credit. A group of leading citizens pool their money together and send one of their own, young Conn Maxwell, to far off Terra. He is to study computer systems at a major university and learn all he can about the legendary Terran Federation military super computer, Merlin. After being told by impeachable sources that Merlin was a myth, Conn returns home with a plan to bootstrap the economy with a search for Merlin. His hope is that by the time the planet is producing its own starships and engaging in interstellar trade (instead of having middlemen dictate prices to them), the group of ‘leading citizens’ will realize that they don’t need Merlin. Then the unthinkable happens and throws a giant monkey wrench in Conn’s plans.
Let’s ring in the new year with the latest from Woody Allen. The Woodman isn’t in front of the camera for this film, he just wrote and directed. He got Owen Wilson to play the role of Woody Allen in this movie, and I have to say that Wilson plays the Woodman better than Woody ever did. A bit of Allen history here. Fans of the Woodman know his first film appearance was in “What’s Up Pussycat?”, which was set in Paris. Shortly afterwards, Allen moved to LA and starting writing (and directing/acting in) a string of successful movies. In this film, Wilson plays a writer who has had a string of very successful screenplays made into successful movies. He is currently in Paris, with his fiance, working on a novel. He is constantly complaining that he was truely happy back when was living in Paris as a near starving writer, before going to Hollywood and “selling out.” His fiance doesn’t see what the problem is, he is successful in his career and should continue doing what has been bringing in lots of money. To make things worse, they run into old “friends”, including a fellow Wilson’s character (i.e. Woody Allen) can’t stand, but his fiance thinks is knowledgeable and charming. True to form, our protagonist is complaining about many things, including about how boring modern times are, and how much more alive Paris was during the 1920s. Then comes the movie magic, while wandering the streets of Paris alone, at Midnight, an old limo pulls up and the occupants insist that he join them. The booze is flowing freely, so he gets in. The car takes them to a party where he meets F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Ernest Hemingway, and other famous people who made 1920s Paris their home. In the morning he returns to the early 21st Century and freshly inspired, works on his novel, while his fiance “tours” Paris with friends. This repeats for multiple nights, and his adventures continue, including getting Gertrude Stein and Hemingway to read his novel and give advice. Oh, and he also finds the love of his life. She is as bored with Paris of the 1920s as the Woodman stand in is of the 21st Century. She pines for the “Bella Epoch”. The two of them travel there, were they find her heroes pining for the old days as well. This is a revelation for him, he returns to the 21st Century, cleans up the mess of his personal life, and decides to move forward rather than living for the past.
I described an earlier B-Movie pick as “a big sloppy wet kiss, with tongue, to Steven Spielberg.” In this film, Woody Allen does much more than that. He gets down on his knees, unhinges his jaw, and deep throats Paris. The city of Paris is as much a character in this movie as any of the roles played by actors (the actor playing Hemingway was fornicating awesome BTW). This is a film carefully crafted by a master film maker and will be especially enjoyed by fans of the Woodman’s work, such as myself. The only part I would warn my gentle readers about is where Allen let’s his far left extremist political views leak through. It’s clear that those are based on his emotions, and not any rational thought.
One this Boxing Day, I’m going with a traditional Christmas move. It takes place during a Christmas office party, the hero came to LA to visit his wife for Christmas, there are Christmas decorations all over the place. It’s a staple of the holiday season!
Filed under: Baen Books, Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction
Pirates of the Timestream by Steve White
Jason Thanou is back (26 Aug 2013 Book Pick) for round three. This time is it in the golden age of Pirates. His team links up with Captain Henry Morgan while they battle it out with time traveling Transhumanists! Even worse, he has to deal the uncaring bureaucracy of his own government.