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.

View all my reviews.

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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