Books

Category archives for Books

The Grey Mouser, along with Fafhrd the Northerner hero of Fritz Leiber’s genre-defining sword & sorcery story cycle, is the archetype of the Dungeons & Dragons thief. He began his career however, Leiber informs us, as apprentice to a “hedge-wizard” who taught him some simple magical cantrips. I never understood what a hedge-wizard was, until…

Best Reads of 2012

Here are my best reads in English during 2012. I read 50 books this year, six of which were e-books. I flirted with LibraryThing for a while, but lately I’ve found that Goodreads is more the kind of leisure reading database/community that I enjoy. Find me there. Packing for Mars. Mary Roach 2011. Delving into…

Book Review: Erotic Refugees

I’ll tell you two things up front: this book is my friend’s first published novel; and I would have read it with great enjoyment even if I had no idea who the guy was. Paddy Kelly classifies it astutely as “Dick lit / Romantic comedy”: it’s Bridget Jones or Sex and the City, only from…

Jack Parsons (1914-52) was a rocketry pioneer, a science fiction fan and a deeply committed occult follower of the aged Aleister Crowley. I recently read the 2004 edition of John Carter’s biography of the man, Sex and Rockets. The Occult World of Jack Parsons. Despite such promising material, it’s not a very engaging or well-written…

I’ve blogged before about authors who write fiction in the first person past tense but clearly have no idea of in which situation or at what point in time their narrator resides while telling the story. This is one of the problems with David Tallerman’s 2012 novel Giant Thief. But what made me quit reading…

Vacation Fun

Spent a week gloriously off-line at my mom’s glorious summer house in the archipelago. Oh the joy of reading 300 pages for fun in one day without feeling the need to check e-mail! Here are the books I read: Invented Knowledge. False history, fake science and pseudo-religions. Ronald H. Fritze 2009. One amazing essay covers…

Sweden’s traditionally divided into 25 landskap provinces. They live on in people’s minds despite having been superseded by a new län division in 1634. The boundaries of the landskap go way back into prehistory, and so they don’t respect the country’s cities much, these generally being much later in origin. Stockholm is a case in…

Sigh. Another crappy publishing deal. This firm wants me to write a 500-word encyclopaedia entry and assign copyright entirely to them, with the right to re-edit in the future. And what do they offer in return? A £30 book coupon and access to a paywall website. I just can’t see why I would find this…

Harry Martinson Talk

The Swedish Skeptics have received the 2012 Harry Martinson Memorial Prize from his birth municipality Olofström and the Harry Martinson Society. Martinson, a Nobel laureate, was a poet and prose writer who is particularly well known for his book-length science fiction epic poem Aniara. As chairman of the Swedish Skeptics I was invited down to…

I listened to BBC Click about the future of publishing and had the idea to look at a couple of parameters in my reading habits: where I get the idea to read each book-length text, how I get hold of them and what form they take. Here’s about the past year, April 2011 through March…