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.

View all my reviews.

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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