From the Mookshelf

I’ve been granted a few days off work, and waiting for me is a stack of books eighteen inches high.  But there’s time now.  Time enough at last!

Burgess Meredith

First is Man of Gold, a fantasy from the early 80s but clearly belonging to the bevy of 70s fantasies written in the long shadow of Tolkien.  Set in a fantasy India (not Europe) with aliens filing the role of Greeks and Parsis, this is the adventure of a young scholar who specializes in deciphering dead languages.  The author is a language scholar who wrote the book from the notes he made while developing a setting for a paper-and-pencil role playing game.  I recommend having a dictionary on hand when you read it.

Next is…

Physics on the Fringe, a fun survey of the world of amateur and heterodox physicists.  I’ve already read ahead a little, and as you might expect the trouble begins when all the autodidacts get together to talk about their idiosyncratic Theories of Everything and find that they don’t agree on a single point, except that conventional physics is wrong, wrong, wrong.  I’m all for open-mindedness, but there’s vanity in being skeptical only of conventional wisdom and credulous of everything else, don’t you agree?


This doesn't mean anything

Two books I’ve had for a while but have stalled on are Three Musketeers and Before They Were Giants.  The latter is an anthology of first publications by well-known science fiction authors.  (The cover art is a typical Jungian space hero battling a Freudian tentacled orifice monster).  It’s published by Paizo, whom I knew only as a role playing game imprint.


This reminds me of something...

Speaking of games, I’ve finally read through my GURPS basic rules, so now it’s time to do what (I assume) everybody else does to start: try to build a Mr. Spock for less than 200 points.  (GURPS would be a good system for the Man of Gold setting: there are rules for insectoid creatures and for creating unusual scholarly skills.)  The whole system runs about $75, which feels pretty steep to me, although it’s now about the same as a tank of gas.  In New York City they used to say that a Subway fare and a slice of pizza always cost the same, so that when one goes up the other is sure to follow; maybe there’s a similar rule for role-playing systems and gasoline.


You could be a psychic dragon for the same number points

Later today I have to pick up my copy of BattleTech Historical: Liberation of Terra vol. 1.  This is the book that I and about 5000 other fans have been waiting for since 1990.  Will it be everything I dreamed?  Not possible!  Will it be better than I ever dared hope?  Quite likely!

If you listened to the latest Moocast, you heard Castor and Pollux say they’re leaving the store unminded for a while, and I’ve got time to burn.  Stay tuned, Moo-fans!

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  1. Mookshelf?

  2. Don’t worry, the puns are going to get much, much worse.

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