Wed, 25 Jan 2012 13:34
Subterranean Press (2007), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 100 pages
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Tue, 24 Jan 2012 10:38
Finished with The Tomb (Adversary Cycle, #2), by F. Paul Wilson http://t.co/rnybJYGt
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Tue, 24 Jan 2012 10:15
Berkley (1996), Edition: Boulevard Edition, September 1996, Paperback, 1 pages
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Tue, 24 Jan 2012 10:15
Berkley (1997), Paperback, 240 pages
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Mon, 23 Jan 2012 11:00

by Salt-Man Z

I had been considering sleeving Dominion some time in the future (when I absolutely had to.)

Then we played through a copy of Mystery Rummy so much that it became necessary to sleeve the cards just to play, because the game is out of print. The sleeves (Mayday premiums) are so obnoxious, I've since changed my mind; I have no plans to sleeve any other game, ever, and the Base Cards expansion announcement makes me feel better about that decision.
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Mon, 23 Jan 2012 10:24
...that hang suspended in the air before collapsing inward, Kaylee stares at the screen with eyes wide and whispers, "It's so beautiful!"
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Mon, 23 Jan 2012 10:24
Every time I beat "The Imprisoned" monster in Zelda: Skyward Sword, when he explodes into a million glittering shards...
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Fri, 20 Jan 2012 15:43

by Salt-Man Z

apotheos wrote:

iNano78 wrote:

We all seem to be saying the same thing: The default strategy ("Big Money") is beaten by any "good" strategy.
Has anyone really demonstrated this? I've only ever heard it anecdotally, and as I only get to play with regular, non competitive players, I'll never have a chance to explore this myself.

I've played the Big Money strategy twice myself as was quite surprised at the speed of game end and the point spread.

It just sounds like a "good" strategy is being defined as "one that beats Big Money."
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Thu, 19 Jan 2012 17:07

by Salt-Man Z

It's criminal that there's not one named reiner yet (or, in a pinch, knizia.)

And what about some love for the dude whose best game held the #1 spot for so long? How about seyfarth? (Or maybe sanjuan?)

And I totally want a server named dxv.
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Thu, 19 Jan 2012 16:30
LucasBooks (2012), Hardcover, 256 pages
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Thu, 19 Jan 2012 16:21
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Thu, 19 Jan 2012 09:44
RT @RobbieMcDunc: Voyager traditional boys steak dinner... A farewell to Neelix who's moving back to NYC! We'll miss him!!! @StarTrek ht ...
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Thu, 19 Jan 2012 00:04

SFBC Malazan bindings


tags:,,
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Thu, 19 Jan 2012 00:04

SFBC Malazan spines


tags:,,
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Thu, 19 Jan 2012 00:03

SFBC Toll the Hounds pages


tags:,,
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Thu, 19 Jan 2012 00:03

SFBC Deadhouse Gates closeup

Date: January 18, 2012 23:03


tags:,,
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Thu, 19 Jan 2012 00:03

SFBC Deadhouse Gates pages


tags:,,
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Wed, 18 Jan 2012 10:49

by Salt-Man Z

The first time we played, we ran out the 10s in a 3-player game (partially thanks to my wife nuking everything.) I don't think we've made it to that Age since.
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Wed, 18 Jan 2012 09:55
On page 223 of 434 of The Tomb (Adversary Cycle, #2), by F. Paul Wilson http://t.co/wetFQ26B
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Tue, 17 Jan 2012 13:10

by Salt-Man Z

I'm going to guess that India doesn't come with 9 extra trains of the "non-standard" colors (white and purple)? Those who own both Nordic and Marklin will be fine, though.
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Tue, 17 Jan 2012 11:55
On page 521 of 960 of Midnight Tides, by Steven Erikson http://t.co/4a5X94a4
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Tue, 17 Jan 2012 11:13
Night Shade Books (2012), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 376 pages
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Tue, 17 Jan 2012 10:00

by Salt-Man Z

Related Item: Catan Dice Game

Downloadable here: SMZ Catan Dice
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Tue, 17 Jan 2012 09:45
#TodayILearned: Daunte Culpepper has more Lambeau Field wins than Aaron Rodgers. Hunh.
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Mon, 16 Jan 2012 12:31

by Salt-Man Z

Screenshot of my Excel VBA implementation.
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Sun, 15 Jan 2012 23:10
On page 87 of 257 of The Sword of the Lictor, by Gene Wolfe http://t.co/ZIOFV9xf
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Sat, 14 Jan 2012 16:46
Walden Pond Press (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 320 pages
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Sat, 14 Jan 2012 14:18
On page 82 of 434 of The Tomb (Adversary Cycle, #2), by F. Paul Wilson http://t.co/5M2DYl3p
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Sat, 14 Jan 2012 13:25
Tor Fantasy (2010), Edition: First Edition, Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
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Fri, 13 Jan 2012 10:19
Shortest. Workday. Ever.
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Thu, 12 Jan 2012 13:43
Putnam Adult (1997), Hardcover, 127 pages
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Thu, 12 Jan 2012 11:28
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Thu, 12 Jan 2012 10:28
RT @emmrowland: RT @wstonesoxfordst: I saw the apostrophe on my way to work this morning. It's not looking too well. http://t.co/zVLKpTsy
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Wed, 11 Jan 2012 21:26
@FourBrosStudio Something screwy with Video Poker? I got a straight and a 3 of a kind, and each time the app immediately crashed. #Taptitude
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Wed, 11 Jan 2012 15:27
@FourBrosStudio: You wiped the Throwing Star stars/stats! (Except for Targets Hit, oddly.)
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Tue, 10 Jan 2012 17:20

Welcome to the first annual Salty Awards! I liked how last year’s “Best of 2010″ post turned out, so that’ll pretty much be the template for these awards. The main difference being, I’ve got a shiny new trophy now! Like last year’s Best Ofs, this is stuff that wasn’t necessarily published in 2011, just what I read the past year. And first reads only; re-reads don’t count. (Here’s a link to my 2011 reading list for reference.)


Statistics

First off, let’s start with some numbers, because who doesn’t love numbers?

Total books read: 51
Re-reads: 7
Non-series reads: 14
Nonfiction reads: 1
Novels by female authors: 3
Short story collections: 9
Reads that were also acquired in 2011: 21
Borrowed (unowned): 10

Interesting stuff, maybe, but not the real reason you’re here. Without further ado:


Best Short Story Collection 2011:

Runners-up:

5. Side Jobs by Jim Butcher
In the first half of 2010, I tore through the entirety of Jim Butcher’s fantastic Dresden Files series. I had to wait until fall of 2011 for the next installment, and decided to check out this short story collection (that I had skipped out on previously) in the meantime, particularly since it contained a story that took place between the previous book and the upcoming one. I’m glad I did, because Dresden shines in the short story format, and it was fun to read about the “side jobs” that take place before and between the books of the series. “The Warrior” might be my favorite Dresden story of all time.

4. Galactic North by Alastair Reynolds
The Revelation Space universe is an amazing place, and a large part of what gives it its charm is the sense of history with which Reynolds has imbued his books. This collection is a bit of an eye-opener in when you get to see just what the scope of his created fictional history is. Copious references to characters and events from his series make these stories mesh perfectly with those books, and perhaps the most impressive part is that main of them were written before the books. Beyond that, though, this is still a solid collection of awesome sci-fi stories.

2. (tie) Storeys from the Old Hotel and Strange Travelers by Gene Wolfe
I chickened out and put both these books in a tie for second place. You know I love me some Gene Wolfe, and ranking two superb collections by a favorite author is always hard, but beyond that, each collection showcases a different form: Travelers features a number of Wolfe’s longer-form stories, 15 in all, while Storeys tackles the shorter form, with over 30 inclusions. They’re two totally different animals, but at the same time, they’re both totally Gene Wolfe. It’s like picking your favorite child (and sure, you might actually have one, but you’ll never tell!)


And the best short story collection I read in 2011 is…

1. Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
I adore Gene Wolfe (see above) and one of his largest influences is the Argentinian author Borges. Allusions to Borges’ work abound in Wolfe’s, and I had recently read The Shadow of the Wind which had its own share of Borgesian elements, so I knew I had to eventually get around to reading the original. Holy wow. It’s easy to see the parallels between Wolfe and Borges; Borges is what you might get if you took Wolfe and removed all the sci-fi and fantastical elements, stripped it down to the raw, crystallized ideas. And concentrated it. Mind-blowing stuff, is what it is. “The Garden of Forking Paths” is one of my favorite stories ever.


Best Comic Book 2011:


This might be a one-off category for this year, but I read a fair number of comic book collections, mostly thanks to Half Price Books. There were three worth singling out, and they are…

Runners-up:

3. Last Stand of the Wreckers by Nick Roche & James Roberts
This series had been hyped beyond all belief by the Transformers fanbase, so I was excited to finally lay my hands on a cheap copy of the trade paperback. It did not disappoint. This is the kind of book that shows just how great this franchise can be when put in the hands of people who really care about and understand it. It takes place in IDW’s current series continuity, but besides a couple of scenes, it’s entirely self-contained, and it draws heavily on obscure characters from all throughout franchise history, meaning you don’t have to be familiar with them to enjoy this book. If you’re a hardcore fan, or just interested in seeing how good TF storytelling can get, you need to pick up this book. Besides the original 5-issue series, the trade paperback also collects a related prose story by Roberts titled “Bullets” that’s just icing on the cake.

2. Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher & Ardian Syaf
In the introduction to the graphic novel edition, Butcher explains that when writing the Dresden Files novels, he always pictured them in his mind as comic books. Which goes a long way toward explaining why this 4-issue original prequel series feels just like reading one of the novels. It’s pure unadulterated Dresden goodness, with all the trademark wit, magic, and monsters you’ve come to expect. And Ardian Syaf’s artwork is perfect: comic booky without being overly cartoony, and his characters—especially Harry Dresden himself—are spot-on.


And the best comic book I read in 2011 is…

1. Echo by Terry Moore
I have Tor.com and Stephen Aryan to thank for this one. After his write-up of this series, I just had to check it out, and was able to find 4 of the 6 available collections for cheap on eBay. Later I sold them and sprung for the Complete Edition containing all 30 issues, and let me tell you that is a beast of a book. And it’s amazing. Moore’s black-and-white artwork is gorgeous, his characters—their personalities and expressions and interactions—all fully realized, and he still manages to throw a bunch of slam-bang action into the mix. Almost impossible to put down.


Best Novel 2011:


Man oh man oh man this was tough; I read a lot of really good books this past year. (Titles link to my reviews.)

Runners-up:

5. The Crippled God by Steven Erikson
This was the big one, the final volume in the 10-book Malazan Book of the Fallen, perhaps the most ambitious fantasy series ever attempted, and the series responsible for my participation in various book cataloging sites and online forums, and thus also for my reading habits for the past half-decade. In those 5 years I’d read all of the previous books, re-read most of them, and discussed them all ad nauseum, and this capped it all off. It was exhilarating and bittersweet at the same time, bringing the decalogy full circle and tying (most) things up eventfully, emotionally, and thematically. It wasn’t perfect, but then, that’s fitting, too.

4. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
This was on my “I really need to read books by this guy” list, and I finally picked it up over Christmas of 2009. I haven’t read any Heinlein—outside the fairly crappy The Cat Who Walks Through Walls but people compare this book to Heinlein’s work a lot. It reminded me a lot of Card’s Ender’s Game, but mostly in a “sci-fi you’d recommend to a friend whose never read sci-fi before” way. The first-person narrative is fabulous, hilarious, and moving, and the action is gritty and frantic and very very real. All around, a very enjoyable, very human book.

3. Peace by Gene Wolfe
Yes, I love Gene Wolfe. Shut up. It feels weird to write a book review that basically goes, “I don’t understand this book, but I love it.” So it is with this one. A book of Midwestern memoirs doesn’t seem like it would be my thing, but Wolfe’s writing is so gorgeous, so eminently readable, but also quite haunting; and the sinister undercurrents that never quite reveal their true nature (at least on a first read) make this an absolutely fascinating book.

2. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Scott recommended this one to me as his favorite book, and I trust his judgement, and hey, I found it for $2, too. It’s worth the cover price, though; this is one lush and luscious novel full of romance and mystery (and a tinge of horror) and absolutely dripping with atmosphere. It’s a book for book lovers, and for lovers of fine storytelling in general.


And the best novel I read in 2011 is…

1. Embassytown by China Miéville
Like Scalzi, I had never read any of Miéville’s work before, but that changed when I won a review copy of his upcoming Embassytown. Talk about being blown away; this book was amazing. All of my favorite sci-fi elements were present: well-developed, alien aliens, cultural clashes, intrigue, mystery, unconventional narrative structure, jaw-dropping revelations, and plenty of Big Ideas and musings on the nature of language and thought. I read a lot of reviews that basically gave it a thumbs-down, and I it’s like I can’t even decipher the words being written; it makes no sense at all to me. This was easily the best book of 2011, and one of the best books I’ve had the pleasure of reading, period.

Honorable mentions: Dissolution by C. J. Sansom, The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall, The Breach by Patrick Lee, Reamde by Neal Stephenson



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Tue, 10 Jan 2012 15:21
@TeresaFrohock @IcebergInkScott @jdiddyesquire @DougHulick @civilianreader Bought it last year. One of these years I'll get to reading it...
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Tue, 10 Jan 2012 13:36
@IcebergInkScott: I'm just teasing, of course, but if Gene Wolfe could be said to have a shtick, it'd be the unreliable narrator.
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Tue, 10 Jan 2012 13:27
@IcebergInkScott @jdiddyesquire @TeresaFrohock @DougHulick @civilianreader: Then how on Urth have you not read Wolfe yet?! ;)
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Tue, 10 Jan 2012 12:00
@IcebergInkScott: Dunno if you've read this before, but it might come in handy when you start SHADOW & CLAW http://t.co/yFXDGJk3 :)
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Mon, 09 Jan 2012 13:44
@IcebergInkScott: Heh. I JUST saw you marked Shadow as "to read" on Goodreads. BotNS is SO good, but it might take some time to realize it.
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Mon, 09 Jan 2012 11:47
@FourBrosStudio: Solitaire needs a Games Won stat. Distance Run/Dug/Dropped/Traveled for Hurdle Hero, Coin Miner, Bally Drop/Ninja.
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Mon, 09 Jan 2012 11:42
@PythagorasGamer @Dexxstar: Gotta admit that's pretty clever, though.
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Mon, 09 Jan 2012 11:38
@ravsitar: The angle on that shot threw me for the longest time.
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Mon, 09 Jan 2012 11:35
@FourBrosStudio: Heh. I was gonna ask about that.
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Mon, 09 Jan 2012 11:26
RT @wigu: What if "Mambo #5" was actually Lou Bega's chillingly clever admission of the names and locations of women he's murdered
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Mon, 09 Jan 2012 11:18

by Salt-Man Z

montebanc wrote:

I'd say Border villages are made for shenanigans! Amazing with you can get away with out at the kingdom's border.

Indeed! We played our first game with BV the other night; Mandarin was there too. I got $6 at one point, bought a BV, gained a Mandarin, and put the $6 back on top of my deck. Rinse and repeat.
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Mon, 09 Jan 2012 08:44
Finished with Deep Sky, by Patrick Lee http://t.co/HNHVfTkj
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Sun, 08 Jan 2012 20:48
Finished with The Claw of the Conciliator, by Gene Wolfe http://t.co/30Hqq4Dq
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Fri, 06 Jan 2012 23:17
@IcebergInkScott: Very cool! I don't recall you having read any Gene Wolfe before, have you?
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Fri, 06 Jan 2012 11:56
On page 424 of 960 of Midnight Tides, by Steven Erikson http://t.co/smFndVpU
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Thu, 05 Jan 2012 16:24

by Salt-Man Z

Besides the Kosmos editions, the first and second Mayfair editions had the smaller cards as well. So really, the larger cards are a bit of a special case.
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Thu, 05 Jan 2012 14:23

by Salt-Man Z

UnknownParkerBrother wrote:

Yup. Folks need to stop overthinking this. Cards say things like "1 point per green card". Look down, count your green cards. Done.

"Does this yellow card that tells me to count my yellow cards count as a yellow card?" :shake:
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Wed, 04 Jan 2012 15:12

by Salt-Man Z

From the Prosperity rulebook:

Bank card description wrote:

If you play Bank with no other Treasures in play, it is worth $1. If you play two copies of Bank in a row, the one you play second will be worth $1 more than the first one.
Also:

Additional Rules for Prosperity section wrote:

A player may play his Treasure cards in any order and may choose not to play some (or even all) of the Treasure cards he has in his hand. During the Buy phase, a player must play all of the Treasures he wishes to play before he buys any cards, even if he has +Buys; he cannot play more Treasures after Buying a card.
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Tue, 03 Jan 2012 17:21

In the next week or so, I’ll be writing up the first annual Salty Awards, looking back at my favorite reads of 2011, but right now I want to take a second to look forward to 2012.

My plans for 2011 didn’t entirely pan out, but that won’t stop me from making plans for the coming year! I’m scaling back considerably, with only four planned projects to tackle, but they’re not necessarily unambitious:

Gene Wolfe’s Solar Cycle

Since 2008, I’ve spent every December reading Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun, and this year is no different. I’m currently halfway through book #2, The Claw of the Conciliator, but I don’t plan on stopping with the BotNS this year; rather, I’ll also be reading the related Book of the Long Sun (4 volumes that I’ve read once before) and Book of the Short Sun (3 volumes that I’ve yet to read) as well as various related short stories. The full list (in my planned order, the order of shorter works subject to change) goes like this:

  • The Book of the New Sun
    • The Shadow of the Torturer
    • The Claw of the Conciliator
    • The Sword of the Lictor
    • The Citadel of the Autarch
  • “The Map” (short story in Endangered Species)
  • “The Cat” (short story in Endangered Species)
  • The Urth of the New Sun
  • “The Boy Who Hooked the Sun” (short story in Starwater Strains)
  • “The God and His Man” (short story in Endangered Species)
  • “Empires of Foliage and Flower” (novella in Starwater Strains)
  • “The Old Woman Whose Rolling Pin is the Sun” (short story in Innocents Aboard)
  • The Book of the Long Sun
    • Nightside the Long Sun
    • Lake of the Long Sun
    • Caldé of the Long Sun
    • Exodus from the Long Sun
  • The Book of the Short Sun
    • On Blue’s Waters
    • In Green’s Jungles
    • Return to the Whorl

Tolkien’s Middle Earth

I’ve read The Hobbit and the The Lord of the Rings twice; the last time was about 10-12 years ago, and the first was about 10-12 years before that (I figure I was 10-12 at the time) so a reread this years seems in order. But I’ll be also be throwing in some of the ancillary material that I’ve never read before. I’m actually pretty excited about this one:

  • The Children of Húrin
  • The Silmarillion
  • The Hobbit
  • The Lord of the Rings
    • The Fellowship of the Ring
    • The Two Towers
    • The Return of the King
  • Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth

That Dang Song of Ice and Fire

I’ve slowly been accumulating George R. R. Martin’s infamous series from used bookstores over the years, and have really wanted to get into them, but I also refused to start in until the most recent volume had been published. It will (presumably) be out in mass market paperback later this year, which will be the perfect time to dive in.

  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • A Game of Thrones
    • A Clash of Kings
    • A Storm of Swords
    • A Feast for Crows
    • A Dance With Dragons

Mistborn!

My wife has been on my case to read Brandon Sanderson’s acclaimed trilogy for a while, now. I keep telling her I’ll get to it next year. Now it’s in writing! I may as well stick the standalone sequel on as well.

  • Mistborn
    • The Final Empire
    • The Well of Ascension
    • The Hero of Ages
  • The Alloy of Law

Well, what do you think? Have I once more bitten off more than I can chew?


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Tue, 03 Jan 2012 16:29

Books read in 2012, listed by month finished. As always, you can follow along with my reading journal @ LibraryThing, where you can also see my complete reading list, or just my 2012 reads.

January

The Claw of the Conciliator by Gene Wolfe
Deep Sky by Patrick Lee
The Sword of the Lictor by Gene Wolfe
The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson

February

Magic: The Gathering: Test of Metal by Matthew Stover
The Citadel of the Autarch by Gene Wolfe
Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson
When She’s Gone by Steven Erikson

March

The Urth of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Endangered Species by Gene Wolfe
The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

April

Caine Black Knife by Matthew Stover
Caine’s Law by Matthew Stover
Star Wars: Darth Plagueis by James Luceno
The Book of Wonder by Lord Dunsany
John Dies at the End by David Wong

May

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards
Star Wars: Cloak of Deception by James Luceno
The Children of Húrin by J. R. R. Tolkien

June

The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien
Tales from Super-Science Fiction ed. by Robert Silverberg
The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson
Orb Sceptre Throne by Ian C. Esslemont

July

Crack’d Pot Trail by Steven Erikson

August

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
Transformers Legends ed. by David Cian
Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
The Keep by F. Paul Wilson

September

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Ghost Ocean by S. M. Peters

October

Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer
Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

November

This Book is Full of Spiders by David Wong
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

December

Vale of Stars by Sean O’Brien
The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock
The Sundered Worlds by Michael Moorcock
Phoenix in Obsidian by Michael Moorcock


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Tue, 03 Jan 2012 15:09

by Salt-Man Z

The thing with Prosperity and other game-changing expansions is that it works best when you go into it already being intimately familiar with the original game (plus whatever expansions.)

I would almost recommend that new players add the expansions in original release order, but also waiting 6 months before adding each expansion in.
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Sun, 01 Jan 2012 14:15
Let me just say that Super Mario 3D Land is AMAZING, and it gets even MORE amazing AFTER you beat it.
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Fri, 30 Dec 2011 14:07
On page 95 of 303 of The Claw of the Conciliator, by Gene Wolfe http://t.co/Bj90PTRo
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Thu, 29 Dec 2011 12:53
Holy Hannah, do I love Famous Dave's baked beans. #TooMuchIsNeverEnough
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Wed, 28 Dec 2011 15:51

by Salt-Man Z

We just sort our own decks out. It's nice to look around and see exactly how each player's deck ended up at the end of the game, and compare how they did score-wise.
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Wed, 28 Dec 2011 15:50

by Salt-Man Z

enfynet wrote:

Magesmiley wrote:

Ours usually goes pretty fast at the end of the game:

1. Players sort cards in their deck into piles of different cards.

Depending on who you're playing with, this could take anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes. I personally stack them in piles of Actions, Treasure, and Victory/Curses. It makes it much easier to count points and return cards to their respective piles quickly.

So, you go through your deck and sort it into 3 piles of cards...and then you go through each of those piles and sort the individual cards?
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Tue, 27 Dec 2011 23:59
Games Workshop (2009), Edition: Original, Paperback, 768 pages
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Tue, 27 Dec 2011 23:58
LucasBooks (2008), Edition: 1St Edition, Hardcover, 272 pages
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Tue, 27 Dec 2011 23:49
Tor Books (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 448 pages
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Tue, 27 Dec 2011 14:07

by Salt-Man Z

harrisc wrote:

Hi,

I have a question related to this.
If I played the minion card, and followed up with courtyard with +3 cards action. Should I finish courtyard before trashing my hands or I could choose to trash all cards and get 7 cards in total?

The former makes sense but the latter one is good sending combo to torturer card too.

Appreciate your help.

Thanks

Harris

You don't play the Courtyard until after you've completely finished resolving Minion. "+1 Action" does not mean "play another Action right now", it means "you may play another Action later this turn".

Also, neither Minion nor Courtyard trash cards; they discard them.
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Tue, 27 Dec 2011 11:52
IDW Publishing (2007), Paperback, 200 pages
Category: LibraryThing   [ x ]
Tue, 27 Dec 2011 11:51
saltmanz's review: "This series had been hyped beyond all belief by the Transformers fanbase, so I was excited to finally lay my hands on a cheap copy of the trade paperback. It did not disappoint. This is the kind of book that shows just how great this franchise can be when put in the hands of people who really care about and understand it. It takes place in IDW's current series continuity, but besides a couple of scenes, it's entirely self-contained, and it draws heavily on obscure characters from all throughout franchise history, meaning you don't have to be familiar with them to enjoy this book. If you're a hardcore fan, or just interested in seeing how good TF storytelling can get, you need to pick up this book. Besides the original 5-issue series, the trade paperback also collects a related prose story by Roberts titled 'Bullets' that's just icing on the cake."
Category: LibraryThing   [ x ]
Tue, 27 Dec 2011 11:51
IDW Publishing (2010), Paperback, 132 pages
Category: LibraryThing   [ x ]
Tue, 27 Dec 2011 11:46
White Wolf Publishing (1996), Paperback
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Tue, 27 Dec 2011 11:26
Mariner Books (2001), Paperback, 480 pages
Category: LibraryThing   [ x ]
Tue, 27 Dec 2011 11:23
LucasBooks (2011), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Category: LibraryThing   [ x ]
Tue, 27 Dec 2011 10:33

by Salt-Man Z

Related Item: Dominion: Hinterlands

mrtaylork1 wrote:

what kind of paper do you recommend printing them out on? i was thinking something thicker than regular printer paper?

I print them out on Avery full-sheet sticker paper, then fold each individual divider label around an index card before trimming.
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Sun, 25 Dec 2011 13:39
Finished with The Shadow of the Torturer, by Gene Wolfe http://t.co/x3kUarn1
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Thu, 22 Dec 2011 20:44
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2001), Hardcover, 472 pages
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Thu, 22 Dec 2011 13:37
@cischafer: I'm glad too! Thanks for the book! :)
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Thu, 22 Dec 2011 13:16
@cischafer @jdiddyesquire @Mazarkis_W: And sometimes I don't have the patience for a full review; did you like it, love it, loathe it, what?
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Thu, 22 Dec 2011 13:16
@cischafer @jdiddyesquire @Mazarkis_W: As a reader, I like to have that hierarchy to lean on, for myself and to make available for others.
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Thu, 22 Dec 2011 11:55

by Salt-Man Z

Xeenu wrote:

Puerto Rico Catapulto would be a very good expansion that I will certainly get!

Yes, the loading of ships is now done in the "Captaipult phase".
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Thu, 22 Dec 2011 11:47

by Salt-Man Z

The only TtR "house rule" we have is that sometimes we play TtR: Märklin without the merchandise and passengers, and instead use the passenger pieces as train stations a la TtR: Europe.
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Thu, 22 Dec 2011 11:35
@darth_awesome: I'll be doing CHILDREN OF HURIN before SILMARILLION so I can experience the full story before I get the summarized version.
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Thu, 22 Dec 2011 11:32

The giveaway gods were smiling on me again when I won a copy of Courtney Schafer’s fantasy debut from the Staffer’s Musings blog. I hadn’t previously read any of the reviews in detail, but I got the sense that it had been favorably received overall—plus, I really wanted to find out just what was going on in that cover—so I threw my name in the proverbial hat, and viola! free book! Following some friendly correspondence with Ms. Schafer, a copy of The Whitefire Crossing showed up in my mailbox, complete with an encouraging personalized message in the front. Very lovely. Thanks, Courtney!

I had told her I wasn’t sure I’d get to reading it before year’s end; I was in the middle of Brent Weeks’ massive Night Angel trilogy, and having already let too much time pass between reading the first two books (you know how it is sometimes) I wanted to finish the whole thing in one go. Well, Thanksgiving rolls along, and the end of the second book is within sight, but man I really didn’t want to lug that massive omnibus edition up to my grandparents’ house, and The Whitefire Crossing had been sitting on my nightstand this whole time, with me (rather unexpectedly) itching to read it…

So I packed it and brought it up with me. Cracked it open Thanksgiving Day, and was immediately hooked.

Hooked bad.

Dev is a mountaineer and a smuggler who takes a job that’s a little out of the ordinary: smuggling a man across the titular Whitefire Mountains and into the country of Alathia. Kiran is the man being smuggled. He’s also a mage, on the run from an even more powerful mage. And magic is outlawed in Alathia…

The story is told in intriguing fashion: the narrative alternates between Dev’s and Kiran’s perspectives, but where Kiran’s POV is told from a third-person perspective, Dev’s is done in the first-person. It’s a fantastic device, as both characters have secrets they’re trying to keep from the other, and never truly getting inside Kiran’s head means the mysteries surrounding him remain tantalizing. However, the imbalance also means Kiran never quite seems as “real” a character as Dev, but that’s okay, because Dev makes for such a fantastic POV character. Saying he’s basically Han Solo seems kind of unfair, but it’s not entirely off the mark; he’s very much of the smuggler-with-a-heart-of-gold archetype, though his gold is perhaps a tad tarnished. But he’s got a past history and well-defined motivations; Schafer makes him a very real, very three-dimensional person. (Which is not to say Kiran doesn’t have those things, as well—he does. But again, he’s got that slight feeling of removal from the reader that Dev does not.)

There’s plenty of magic in the book, and mages and charms and wards and everything; it’s very well done, nicely consistent, and integrated into the story seamlessly and effortlessly. There’s not too much else to say about it. The plot’s not nearly as straightforward as my (very) brief synopsis above makes it out to be; there are some fantastic twists and turns that take the story in unexpected directions. But I don’t have much else to say about the plot. This is a book about relationships. Dev and Kiran. Dev and his fellow outrider, Cara. Dev and his former mentor, Sethan. Kiran and his master, Ruslan. I’ll stop there, but you get the idea.

The book is the first in a series, with The Tainted City due in late 2012. Don’t let that stop you from picking it up. This first entry more or less stands on its own, and comes to an acceptable (if not entirely satisfactory) conclusion. The future of the series depends on how well the first two books do, and they deserve to do quite well indeed.

I went into this review having given the book a 3.5-star rating. 3 stars is pretty much my baseline “I enjoyed it” rating; 2.5 would be “I enjoyed it, but” and 3.5 is a favorable “I enjoyed it, and…” 4 stars is another level entirely, and much as I wanted to, I didn’t feel like The Whitefire Crossing was quite at that level. But reflecting back on the book while writing and proofing this review, it’s become obvious to me that it is at that level. This is a really good book. [4 out of 5 stars]


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Thu, 22 Dec 2011 11:02
@darth_awesome @saltmanz: Also, I've been convinced that I need to throw UNFINISHED TALES in there somewhere, as well.
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Thu, 22 Dec 2011 11:01
@darth_awesome: Funny, me too! I'll be reading HOBBIT and LOTR for the third time, and THE SILMARILLION and CHILDREN OF HURIN for the first.
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Wed, 21 Dec 2011 13:02
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Wed, 21 Dec 2011 12:08
Del Rey (1988), Edition: First Edition, Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
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Wed, 21 Dec 2011 11:42
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Tue, 20 Dec 2011 22:36
After getting my website(s) hacked over the weekend, I finally have everything fixed, upgraded, and back to normal. #CrossFingers
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Tue, 20 Dec 2011 14:27
On page 364 of 960 of Midnight Tides, by Steven Erikson http://t.co/lDrV4u5u
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Tue, 20 Dec 2011 08:46
On page 93 of 262 of The Shadow of the Torture..., by Gene Wolfe: Just as gripping the 4th time. http://t.co/ehz2sDZs
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Mon, 19 Dec 2011 12:01
On page 50 of 262 of The Shadow of the Torturer, by Gene Wolfe http://t.co/jEFIzuiv
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