Warning, contains spoilers from George R.R. Martin's Live Journal
Mean Streets (Roc) Mean Streets by Jim Butcher

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Short story anthologies featuring established characters should, hopefully do two things: provide an introduction to the uninitiated and provide elements for the long term fan. I have only read one of the authors, Jim Butcher, before but have come out with distinct opinions about each work.

Butcher's The Warrior is not much of a story and I fear it wades too far into the overall metaplot of The Dresden Files for new readers. That said, it provides some great character moments, particularly at the story's conclusion, that I believe make it an intriguing story for even the unfamiliar. Read separately, I would give it three stars.

Simon R. Green's story The Difference a Day Makes is far more troublesome. Green feels the need to establish way too much of his, apparently overfull, cliche-ridden, world and has provided his character with an ability so unreasonably powerful as to question why he ever experiences any sort of challenge. Furthermore, the plot stumbles through basic steps, the tone is erratic, and the overall story is highly predictable. Read separately, I would give it one star out of pity.

Kat Richardson's story The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog, unsurprisingly the longest novella, was the real find for me in this collection. Richardson wisely abandons her protagonist's normal stomping grounds, making it highly accessible to new readers. Furthermore she carefully lays out an intricate mystery, leaves clues to decipher, and allows the reader to progress with the character throughout the story. Read alone, I would give it four stars.

Thomas E. Sniegoski's contribution, Noah's Orphans, about a fallen angel detective and the death of that Noah is somewhat entertaining, but relies heavily on its exotic characters, leaving little to be done by the average ordinary human. It feels out of place in a book titled Mean Streets, but isn't necessarily bad on its own. Read alone, I would give it three stars.

View all my reviews.
Sorry [livejournal.com profile] marag

first shots of Avatar: The Last Airbender )

Your result for The Social Persona Test (What kind of man/woman are you?)...

The Frat Boy (NLAM)

Normal Liberal Alpha Male

Let's get it out of the way: You can be a giant douche sometimes. Not that this is intentional. Despite some hedonistic tendancies, you are quite well meaning, and will try and help out peers you see as socially impaired. Just keep in mind that this help is not always needed, and that, believe it or not, there is more to life than having a good time.

When dating, stay away from Beta Females; I know you don't mean to break their hearts, but it will happen. Look for the types you don't normally go for, as they will make a better match in the long run.

You are more NORMAL than QUIRKY.

You are more LIBERAL than TRADITIONAL.

You are more DOMINANT than PASSIVE.

When picking a date, consider: The Rarity (QTAF), The Renaissance Faire Wench (QLAF), or The FemiNazi (NLAF).

Avoid: Any Beta Females

(Image from week.com)

Take The Social Persona Test (What kind of man/woman are you?)
at HelloQuizzy


Apr. 24th, 2009 02:54 pm
Meet MyBrute!

A little powder-keg of destruction he is. You can play too.
So yesterday my wife went and picked up Turn Coat, the latest novel in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series.

Once Matt was in bed I started reading.

I finished about 1:45 in the morning.

So.... tired....
This one's too far down the (guessing) particle physics path for me to get it.

Did Ozymandias' Antarctic refuge in (the movie version of) Watchmen remind you of the Columbia Mall or was it just me?
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The first person I heard was Paul Rudd, usually phrased as "that guy from Clueless".

My wife says I look like Harrison Ford but she's biased.

A recent addition was Jeroen Krabbe

Pretty much you can go with any dark haired actor with a substantial chin and you'll probably see a resemblance.
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I'd like to be a professor of history/anthopology/archaeology on some obscure long lost civilization who gets brought in to do commentary on History Channel shows.
First chapter of the next Dresden Files book, Turn Coat, can be found here.
After President Obama's administration's failure to defend civil liberties yesterday, I needed cheering up. Thank goodness for The National Review (can't belive I just said that).

I'll let Glenn Greenwald explain

"Along those ponderous lines, National Review is currently unveiling -- one by one, to keep the suspense level extra-high -- its list of 'the 25 Best Conservative Movies of the Last 25 Years.' One of its writers, S.T. Karnick...

... named the genuinely superb 1985 Terry Gilliam film, Brazil, as #22 on the list. When doing so, Karnick wrote -- and this is really a quote that appears in National Review's Corner (h/t Crust1):

Terry Gilliam’s Brazil portrays a darkly comic dystopia of malfunctioning high-tech equipment and the dreary living conditions common to all totalitarian regimes. Everything in the society is built to serve government plans rather than people.

The film is visually arresting and inventive, with especially evocative use of shots that put the audience in a subservient position, just like the people in the film. Terrorist bombings, national-security scares, universal police surveillance, bureaucratic arrogance, a callous elite, perversion of science, and government use of torture evoke the worst aspects of the modern megastate.

Is it even theoretically possible for someone's brain to allow them to write that last sentence in National Review as listing the hallmarks of "a totalitarian regime" and "the worst aspects of the modern megastate" without simultaneously realizing that this is everything that same magazine has cheered on for the last eight years at least? Karnick is a rabid fan of 24 and finds discussions of how the show glorifies torture and "the opinions of ex-military and police officers who argue that torture is never effective and never justified" to be "absurdly tendentious" and "stupendously uninteresting."

I'm genuinely interested in understanding the specific thought process that allows someone like this to write a paragraph like the one above while remaining blissfully unaware of the glaring irony and internal contradictions. Though we all have the capacity for advocating inconsistent ideas in different circumstances, certain instances are so blatant that it's hard to believe the person's brain allows them to remain blind to it. Canadian psychologist Bob Altemeyer, in his probing study of the right-wing authoritarian mind and its capacity to embrace multiple contradictory beliefs at the same time, probably came the closest to shining light on this bizarre syndrome.
yet another 20 questions meme )
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Literate Good Citizen
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


Jan. 27th, 2009 08:40 am
And I don't even play Left 4 Dead )
If you ignore the plot, it's pretty entertaining.

Though it was interesting to see Marc Warren (a.k.a. Elton from Doctor Who: Love & Monsters as a tough guy in it.
Error message for a program I use:

“The Crystal ActiveX Viewer is unable to create it’s resource objects.”
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I'm a Wood Tiger which sounds a little more like me than the generic Tiger portion.

On the generic side "Tigers have a continual need to be challenged which may explain why they jump from job to job." - While I do have a need to be challenged, I've held the same job for way too long about 10 years now. So that doesn't quite work.

From the Wood Tiger section

"Not feeling the need to be in charge, Wood Tigers work well with others. Others enjoying being around Wood Tigers because they’re very giving individuals. They’re compassionate and willing to do whatever is necessary to help others. "

That sounds much more like me. Indeed, I might be too self-sacrificing. I keep wondering whether I should resolve to be more selfish in my New Year's goals.
Y'see, I've been reading The Sunday Philosophy Club (JX Note: To page 144, said club not appearing in this book), and it's an interesting, if meandering, read. When I commented how little actually happens after ripping through the first 60 pages, my wife wondered if it was "too chick-lit" for me. To which I responded, I'm enjoying it, it's just that not much is happening. The author allows his (and his protagonist's) mind to wander over all sorts of digressions at the proverbial drop of a hat and only occasionally checks back in on the mystery.

Is this what "chick-lit" is? (For lack of a better term) Unfocused storytelling? Consideration and evaluation of tangentially related topics to the main flow of conversation? I don't know that I buy that.


Jan. 21st, 2009 08:48 am
Apparently I've been brain dead for the past 12 or so hours. Got home from the grocery store last night and both my wife and I forgot to finish putting away the groceries.

Came downstairs this morning to find the yogurt still in the bag.

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