A Short Spoiler Free review of The Rhesus Chart

The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5)The Rhesus Chart by Charles Stross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While not the most exciting of the Laundry novels, The Rhesus Chart is certainly the most expansive. Continuing the story of Bob Howard, computational demonologist, is taken to the next level. More information about his position within the Laundry is revealed, more about his relationship with his wife Mo is presented and a greater understanding of the Laundry provided. Stross has also invented a great new vampire that fits almost seamlessly into his Laundry universe. Some wonderful characters are introduced, others re-visited and Bob gets a cat.

I would love to say more about this book, but any serious discussion of it will be full of spoilers and I do not want to ruin any part of the experience for fans of Stross’s Laundry stories. Suffice it to say, this is one of the best of the novels; a nice slow burn leading to an explosive finish. I hope—pray—that Mr. Stross continues to write in the Laundry universe. It is one of the finest Lovecraftian fantasies available.

Fans will be sure to enjoy this. If you are new to the Laundry, you can read it without the previous novels, but a certain amount of the action and characterization relies on the earlier books. Do yourself a favour if you haven’t already read and pick up The Atrocity Archive and start the saga of Bob Howard.

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How Amazon is holding Hachette hostage

Cory Doctorow writes on how Amazon is holding Hachette hostage at theguardian.com

I don’t much care for Doctorow’s fiction, but his non-fiction is spot-on. If we want books, especially e-books, to remain DRM free, Amazon, and Hachette as well, must be the first casualties in the DRM wars.


The Next Star Trek Movie

Inspired by a comment in a thread at Tor.com.

Star Trek The Apology  smaller

Embiggen for reading of the billing block.


School bans Cory Doctorow’s novel for lauding “hacker culture”

School bans Cory Doctorow’s novel for lauding “hacker culture” | Ars Technica: “this is a totally inappropriate way to address ‘controversial’ material in schools”.

Damn straight, Cory.


I Just Went Pro

Well, it’s official. I just went pro. My self published collection of short stories (including two novellas), Shoggoths Are My Business has gone up for sale at most major digital book retailers. Not only that, someone has actually bought a copy. I am pretty stoked and while I do not expect that I will make millions (or even tens) of dollars from it, I hold a certain pride in my accomplishment. I did every thing myself, cover design (yeah, it shows), typesetting, CSS and layout for the epub itself.

It’s been a crazy experience. I had to teach myself how epubs work, and learned enough CSS to make them look nice. Outside of the cover (which is better than some I’ve seen) I think that the typesetting is rather professional and I turned out a fairly good looking e-book.

I through it up on Smashwords for shits and giggles, and was immediately surprised that a copy sold the very same day. I’ve qualified for Smashwords “Premium Catalogue” which means the epub will be (and has already) distributed to all the major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and the Apple iBookstore.

I am excited to be participating in the newest form of publishing, one that I feel will begin to, if not supplant, augment the traditional publishing industry. Epubs are the future, and I have been saying that from long before they started their meteoric rise. I am happy I’ve put my time (if not money) where my mouth is.

Here are a couple of links for anyone looking to help out an amateur author just turned pro. I don’t expect anyone to buy, but it would be nice to sell more than one copy.



Post Script: As anyone who has read this blog knows, I oppose DRM. Even if Smashwords wasn’t DRM free, I would, and I did. Shoggoths Are My Business is DRM free.


BBC News – Wisconsin girls charged with ‘Slenderman’ stabbing

BBC News – Wisconsin girls charged with ‘Slenderman’ stabbing

Okay, that’s just plain weird.


Does Canada Have a Firearms Problem?

According to the latest StatsCan survey, no, we don’t. Less than 3% of all violent crimes committed in 2012 involved a firearm. Firearms homicides have dropped every year since 2009 (a decline of 27%) and 46% of those are gang or organized crime related. Robberies involving firearms have declined by 55% since 1998.

While Canada does have a higher rate of firearm homicide rate (0.5 per 100 000) than countries such as Japan (0.1 per 100 000) and England (0.2 per 100 000), we are on par with other countries where strong firearms ownership (and regulation) is present (Switzerland: 0.5/100 000; Ireland, Italy, Finland: 0.4/100 000). We are, however, nowhere near the United States (3.5 per 100 000).

There’s lots of other interesting statistics in the report linked below, and all of them indicate that firearms are not a major factor in violent crime in Canada.

So why all the hysteria about firearms? I don’t know, but I would hazard a guess that the news media’s “if it bleeds it leads” mentality has something to do with it.

Firearms and violent crime in Canada, 2012

mouldy squid proudly reads: BROODHOLLOW

What part of ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn, didn't you understand?


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