Here we go again, pretty much the same kind of mix as last month.
This month I've read:
- The Music of the Primes by Marcus du SautoyA good introduction to the mystery of primes numbers and the Riemann hypothesis. However it is pitched somewhere between beginner and competent mathematician and so didn't really do it for me. I suppose I could just read text books but they really are dull. Talks annoyingly about "sea-level" instead of explaining the proper terminology and thus is confusing for everyone.
- Goomi's Unspeakable Vault of Doom by François Launet. A series of one page strips with the Elder Gods. It's a bit of a laugh but he does use the same jokes over and over again and in the end it gets a bit tiresome. Nice colours and kiddy art though.
- The Three Imposters and Other Stories by Arthur Machen. I like Arthur Machen, more so than I do Lovecraft. His stories show less imagination than HPL, but his writing is much more economical and more for other people to read. In essence, he can tell a story whereas HPL has some cracking paragraphs but gets to wrapped up in himself to deliver for anyone else.
- The White People and Other Stories by Arthur Machen. More of the same from Machen. His favourite myth is the little people, did he know something about homo hobbitses that we don't?
- Nightmare Town by Dashiell Hammett. One of the original masters of Noir delivers in (Sam) spades. He's cool, she's hot and the crime is vicious. Hardly a word is wasted in these tight scripted short stories and it's hard to beat.
- Winter's End by John Rickards. The first Alex Rourke story from a friend of mine. John has got a good story about an ex-FBI PI who goes back to his home town to uncover the truth about a murder, and his past. It has all the elements of a good thriller but the writing doesn't quite hold up. There are thrills but they are never really thrilling. Still, it's only his first book, and he has at least written a book, unlike so many of us who just threaten to do so. Perhaps he should read some Hammett.
- Denied to the Enemy by Dennis Dettwiler. The fourth book of Delta Green fiction is about dealing with another world threatening conspiracy. This one ties neatly into several of Lovecraft's stories. It's gritty and nasty as you'd expect but pretty enjoyable all the same, even though interesting characters are likley to be killed off just as you start warming to them.
- Wyrd is Bond by Jason L Blair. This is the game that takes roleplaying back to the streets. It's as if Unknown Armies had been written in Compton by gangstas. The system is light and allows play to move quickly, the theme is interesting without being too wacky and the writing is decent enough. I think more could have been made of the rap style that is introduced in the fictional taster at the start, the layout is not conducive to easy reading and the gangs, although much more justified here, seem to owe much to the White Wolf way of working. However these don't really detract from making this an allround strong product and one very worthy of play.
- Hellboy: Weird Tales Voulme 2 by Various. More of the same kind of thing that you'd expect. HB, or his chums, find some nasty piece of occult badness and beat the hell out of it. Patchy but still very readable. Rounded off with a tale from one of the best pulp heroes, Lobster Johnson
- Primetime Adventures by Matt Wilson. A new indie roleplaying game, as championed by The Forge. This one is aimed a bringing television melodramas to life and has a clever mechanism for creating series and varying the impact of characters in each episode. It looks like a great game to play with experienced and new players alike.
- The Airloom Gang by Mike Jay. James Tilly Matthews is patient zero for paranoid schizophrenia which he seems to have developed as a result of being screwed over by the English government and the French revolution. It's a cracking story and well told by Mike Jay who brings in many of the surrounding events and modern day issues. The Airloom itself is a machine that Matthews said was controlling his thoughts. He even created some technical drawings of it, 200 years before the X-Files.