Enemy of Entropy

The Geek Who Understands You

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Review: The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross

The Atrocity Archives The Atroc­ity Archives by Charles Stross


My review

rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars
I don’t give many 5-​​star rat­ings, but The Atroc­ity Archives deserves one. You may need to read it with a web browser open to look up ref­er­ences using Wikipedia or Google, but if you enjoy Torch­wood, Men in Black, or Snow Crash, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

The vol­ume actu­ally includes the novel and a novella, The Con­crete Jun­gle. Both are good read­ing, and I rec­om­mend giv­ing your­self time to enjoy the fore­word and after­word, as well.

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American Accent Quizzie

What Amer­i­can accent do you have?
Cre­ated by Xavier on Memegen​.net

North­ern. Whether you have the world famous Inland North accent of the Great Lakes area, or the radio-​​friendly sound of upstate NY and west­ern New Eng­land, your accent is what used to set the stan­dard for Amer­i­can Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion (not much any­more now that the Inland North sounds like it does).

If you are not from the North, you are prob­a­bly one of the fol­low­ing:
(a) A South­erner who hates South­ern accents and tries really hard to “talk right”; or
(b) A New Yorker or New Jer­seyan who doesn’t have the full accent

Take this quiz now — it’s easy!
We’re going to start with “cot” and “caught.” When you say those words do they sound the same or different?



Then again, it could be that I’m a south­erner who grew up in the metro Atlanta area, where we hear all kinds of accents. Or that I watched too much tele­vi­sion as a child, and broad­cast­ers use the same stan­dard. In any case, the author of the quiz seems to be a bit out of touch as far as the expla­na­tions of dif­fer­ent results go (and a bit defen­sive, as well).

Review: Selene by Lilith Saintcrow

Selene Selene by Lilith Saint­crow

My review

I was just as annoyed with this lit­tle 5-​​chapter novella as I was by the bit that was in an anthol­ogy—Hot­ter Than Hell, maybe? We get a good idea of who Selene is, a glimpse of Niko­lai, and lot of Selene being an utterly ungrate­ful bitch to him, hot sex, and NO res­o­lu­tion in the plot. None. At. All. Blah.

Edited: I’m informed that this isn’t just a novella, and that it is still being released. So I’ll wait and review the whole thing when it’s done, if it is inter­est­ing enough to read. What I said so far is absolutely true — Selene is a bitch and Niko­lai is inex­plic­a­bly devoted to her — but that seems to be part of Saintcrow’s for­mula. Maybe there will be more plot soon.

Protect Your Dogs and Boycott Four Paws Products Ltd.

First, if you dog has a Pim­ple Ball With Bell (what an icky name!), take it back wher­ever you bought it and ask them to refund your money for the dan­ger­ous thing, and take the rest off the shelves.

After read­ing about the injuries at least four dogs have expe­ri­enced due to the absolute refusal of Four Paws Prod­ucts Ltd. to mod­ify or recall their prod­uct after being informed of these prob­lems. One dog had to be euthanized.

The com­pany and its insurer (I wish I knew their name) have been irre­spon­si­ble, at the very least.

Please talk to pet stores in your area about remov­ing the “pim­ple ball with bell” from their shelves. Warn other dog own­ers about the prob­lem. Con­sider talk­ing to your vet, so he or she can do the same.

Con­sider writ­ing to Four Paws, as well. E-​​mail isn’t nearly as effec­tive as a mailed or faxed let­ter, or even a (polite!) phone call.

I didn’t find the name of any exec­u­tives on their web site, but will add that after I try call­ing tomor­row. Here’s the mail and phone infor­ma­tion:
50 Wire­less Blvd.
Haup­pauge, NY 11788
Phone: (631) 434‑1100
Fax: (631) 434‑1183

Their par­ent com­pany is Cen­tral Gar­den & Pet Com­pany. The pres­i­dent of the “Pet Group” is James V. Heim
Pres­i­dent of Pet Group
1340 Treat Boule­vard, Suite 600
Wal­nut Creek, Cal­li­for­nia 94597
Phone: (925) 948‑4000

I haven’t found a fax num­ber. Yet.

Review: The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu

The Iron Hunt The Iron Hunt by Mar­jorie M. Liu


My review


rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars
The Iron Hunt is a beau­ti­fully writ­ten book with some inter­est­ing twists on estab­lished fan­tasy memes. To some extent, I felt that I’d come in to the world on book 2 or 3, but as far as I know (and from what Ama­zon says) this is the first book of the Hunter Kiss series. There was a bit of Buffy and a lit­tle Witch­blade, with other ele­ments I’m sure I’m overlooking.

For once, it’s good to see a novel in which an estab­lished cou­ple has a seemingly-​​healthy rela­tion­ship. Max­ine and Grant have very dif­fer­ent skills, but they work together well. That said, this is not a romance, so some of Liu’s read­ers may not enjoy it.

Edited to add: I just learned that there is, in fact, a pre­quel to this book in Wild Thing (an anthol­ogy), which I hadn’t heard of before. I’ll cer­tainly be look­ing for it.

Next up: The Down Home Zom­bie Bluesby new-​​to-​​me-​​author Lin­nea Sinclair

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Review: The Watcher Series by Lilith Saintcrow

Mindhealer (Watcher, Book 5) Mind­healer by Lilith Saint­crow


My review


rat­ing: 3 of 5 stars
I’m actu­ally review­ing all five of the Watcher books. They’re quite short—novella length, really—and very much inter­re­lated (espe­cially the first four). I read all of them in about a day and a half, despite doing other things. I do advise tak­ing them all in row, which is the equiv­a­lent of read­ing one “nor­mal” novel.

Dark Watcher opens in San­ti­ago City (aka Saint City), with a quar­tet of witches. Mind­healer is the only book that takes place out­side of San­ti­ago City, which seems to be the pri­mary set­ting for all of Saintcrow’s nov­els (from what I’ve read in their descriptions).

Theodora, earth witch and healer, runs the Caul­dron, an occult book and sup­ply store. Mari­amne Niege (water witch, prog­nos­ti­ca­tor) and Elise Nichol­son (fire witch) work for her in addi­tion to being, respec­tively, a grad­u­ate stu­dent and a musi­cian. Suzanne (air witch, I don’t believe we ever learn her last name) is Elise’s fos­ter mother and their teacher, some­thing of a high priest­ess to the lit­tle group.

The four women know that they’re psy­chic and that “mag­ick” is real. They don’t know that they are “Light­bringers,” that there are groups and crea­tures in the world that hunt them, or that a group called Cir­cle Light­fall trains and sends out “Watch­ers” to pro­tect (and recruit) Light­bringers in order to coun­ter­bal­ance the dark­ness in the world.

Watch­ers are for­merly wicked men with some psy­chic tal­ents who have been given a chance to redeem them­selves. They are bonded with a tanak, a dark sym­biote that gives them super­nat­ural speed, strength, heal­ing power, and longevity. The tanak also makes it pos­si­ble for them to sense dark­ness, but it causes the Watch­ers to expe­ri­ence pain when­ever they’re around Lightbringers.

The catch is that for every Watcher, there is one Witch whose pres­ence and touch will be intensely plea­sur­able instead of tor­tur­ous. The hope of find­ing that one witch is what keeps each Watcher going, fight­ing and sur­viv­ing hor­rific wounds for one chance at happiness.

The use of the tired soul­mate meme (though that spe­cific word is never used) is annoy­ing, and it detracts from what is oth­er­wise a fairly orig­i­nal con­cept. The fact that there are only male Watch­ers, though there are a few (mostly queer) male light­bringers, is a big­ger dis­ap­point­ment. The rea­son­ing given is that women do not have the vicious­ness to kill with­out hes­i­ta­tion. That’s sim­plis­tic, at best. Male light­bringers are also painted as weaker than females, and that, in com­bi­na­tion with the pedestal upon which Watch­ers place Light­bringers, unbal­ances the novels.

Theodora is the main sub­ject of the first book. Mari­amne is the focus of Storm Watcher. Fire Watcher, of course, is pri­mar­ily about Elise. We meet a new air witch, Anya Har­ris, in Cloud Watcher. And finally, Mind­healer is about Caro Rob­bins, whose brother plays a small part in Fire Watcher.

The books should cer­tainly be clas­si­fied as romances first, although they do have very strong para­nor­mal themes. Every book fol­lows the clas­sic romance novel for­mula. The fact that I kept read­ing despite my dis­like of romances is a tes­ta­ment to Saintcrow’s talent.

I sus­pect that the author either is pagan, or is very famil­iar with pagan prac­tices. The rit­u­als in each novel are nicely done, and I wouldn’t be sur­prised to hear peo­ple using some of the invo­ca­tions used in Circle.

I do have to pro­pose the Watcher drink­ing game. Take a shot every time there’s any men­tion of treat­ing a Watcher “dread­fully,” and every time a Watcher moans about how unwor­thy he is to be in the pres­ence of a Light­bringer. You’ll be past notic­ing any for­mu­lae in no time!

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Review: Night Child by Jes Battis

Night Child Night Child by Jes Bat­tis



My review


rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book, and hope Bat­tis returns to this world. His prose is lyri­cal, engaging—a major depar­ture from most of the urban fan­tasy genre. There were a few lit­tle con­sis­tency blips that made me think that the book had been edited with less care than it deserved, but they didn’t detract seri­ously from the plot.


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Review: In Legend Born by Laura Resnick

In Legend Born (Chronicles of Sirkara, Book 1) In Leg­end Born by Laura Resnick



My review


rat­ing: 3 of 5 stars
Well-​​written high fan­tasy, but hon­estly, it just went on too long. So far, every­body has lost some­one impor­tant. Any­body who loves any­one seems to be doomed. Betray­als are every­where, and that’s some­thing I find pro­foundly dis­turb­ing.



The book did end on a note of hope, and I want to know what hap­pens next. I just don’t know if I want it enough to slog through (at least) two more vol­umes.


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Please Think About Sam

His father died last night. He didn’t want any kind of funeral. We’re going to see his mom.

That A/​C thing

Appar­ently the fil­ter for the unit is miss­ing, and the coils need to be cleaned. There’s no obvi­ous sign of mold/​mildew, but Sam says that fresh air is com­ing into the bed­room via the unit, and our neigh­bors on that side have been burn­ing some­thing in their back yard.

I found the web site for the man­u­fac­turer, and of course the man­ual for our model isn’t there. The self-​​service sec­tion of the site does men­tion that the coils need to be cleaned, but doesn’t say how to do it. I sus­pect that it involves coil cleaner and a hose. Coil cleaner seems to come with a/​c ser­vice peo­ple. I’ll have to ask my father if we can get some and use it safely.

Sam remem­bers a fil­ter, but hasn’t seen it since we moved here, so we may have to order a new one from the com­pany. Of course, their not-​​helpful site doesn’t have any infor­ma­tion about parts, either. So I sent them an e-​​mail, and hope that they’ll reply.

They asked me to do a review about my expe­ri­ence with their site. That was prob­a­bly a mis­take on my site, but I did it. Their rat­ings may have just plummeted.

Now the girl and I need to get to work get­ting the house ready for our Dragon*Con guest next week. I hope the “guest room” isn’t too hot for him! Maybe I should put up a Freecy­cle post look­ing for another win­dow unit?

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