Monthly Archives: June 2011

About and Abroad

Generalissimo Fofo will be out of the office from June 13th to June 29th.  He is enjoying beautiful Europa with his Kindle and a Eurail pass. Books and trains.  A natural combination.

The Crusades – A Map

Herein lies the final reading list for the second phase of the CBRIII, in no particular order.  Created from recommendations from Facebook, the main Cannonball Blog and  Thanks to everyone for the excellent recommendations.  Some books were omitted due the lack of a digital edition.   There may be additions, (there already are two) but I will finish these books by the end of the year, and hopefully before then.

Embassytown – China Mieveile  FINISHED
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe – Charles Yu
Casting the Runes and Other Ghost Stories – M.R. James
Faerie Tale – Raymond E. Feist
Gates of Fire – Steven Pressfield
Devil in the White City – Erik Larson
Dark Tower – Stephen King
Shades of Grey – Jasper Fforde
In the Woods – Tana French
Then We Came to the End – Joshua Harris
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova
PS Your Cat is Dead – James Kirkwood
Stormlight Archive – Brandon Sanderson
Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

CBRIII Maneuver #27 – Embassytown

Target: China Miéville’s Embassytown

Profile: Sci-fi, Speculative Fiction, Linguistics

Summary: From “In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak.

Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language.

When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties—to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak yet speaks through her.” Read the rest of this entry

CBRIII Maneuver #26 – The God Engines

Target: John Scalzi’s The God Engines

Profile: Sci-fi, Religion, Metafiction

Summary: From, “Captain Ean Tephe is a man of faith, whose allegiance to his lord and to his ship is uncontested. The Bishopry Militant knows this—and so, when it needs a ship and crew to undertake a secret, sacred mission to a hidden land, Tephe is the captain to whom the task is given.

Tephe knows from that the start that his mission will be a test of his skill as a leader of men and as a devout follower of his god. It s what he doesn t know that matters: to what ends his faith and his ship will ultimately be put—and that the tests he will face will come not only from his god and the Bishopry Militant, but from another, more malevolent source entirely…” Read the rest of this entry

CBRIII Maneuver #25 – Sailing to Sarantium

Target: Guy Gavriel Kay’s Sailing to Sarantium

Profile: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Summary: From the back of the book, “Sarantium is the golden city: holy to the faithful, exalted by the poets, jewel of the world, and heart of an empire.

Caius Crispus, known as Crispin, is a master mosaicist, creating beautiful art with colored stones and glass.  Still grieving the loss of his family, he lives only for his craft-until and imperial summons draws him east to the fabled city.  Bearing with him a queen’s secret mission and seductive promise, and a talisman from an alchemist, Crispin crosses a land of pagan ritual and mortal danger, confronting legends and dark magic. (truncated)” Read the rest of this entry

The Crusades – A search for war, wealth and wisdom

Greetings Readers… if you exist and are not just webtrolls.

As the Summer of 2011 starts to show itself, I am retreating to the comforting cool dark of my basement to begin the second leg of my Cannonball, the Crusades.  Like their namesake, these wars are poorly planned, incredibly ambitious and ultimately doomed to failure.  I’m hoping to get enough reading done in the next 2-3 months to justify attempting a Double Cannonball (104 books in 52 weeks) Given that I’m only about 3 books ahead of the regular Cannonball (52 in 52), this is probably a pipe dream.

What I need is a map.  Or in normal terms, book recommendations.  I have a brand-new Kindle with a lot of free space that needs filling.  I’ll be pulling novels off the main CBRIII blog, a number of book podcasts I’ve picked up in the past 5 months and the recommendations of friends, but I’m not confidant that I’ll have enough great options to pick from so I’m opening it up to everyone!

IF ANYONE TELLS ME TO READ THE HUNGER GAMES I WILL STAB THEM!  If I wanted to read Battle Royale again, I’d fucking read Battle Royale again.  Piss off.

Everything else is on the table so let me have it!  We Ride for Xanadu!

CBRIII Maneuver #24 – Cybermancy

Target: Kelly McCullough’s Cybermancy

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Greek Mythology, Modern Fantasy.

Summary: From the back of the book, “Not just any computer geek and hack into Hades.  But Ravirn (please don’t call him Raven), a direct descendant of one of the three Fates, is no ordinary hacker.  Magic has gone digital in the twenty-first century, and Ravirn is a sorcerer with a laptop – otherwise known as his shape-changing best friend.

These days, Ravirn’s crashing at his girlfriend’s place while she works on her doctorate in computer science.  Only one problem: all of her research is in her webgoblin’s memory, which is now in Hades along with its soul.  To save Cerice’s webgoblin (and her Ph.D.), Ravirn must brave Hell itself. (Truncated)” Read the rest of this entry