New Adds: Record of Agarest War

Record of Agarest War

So every once in awhile (actually pretty often), I am shamed by something that I buy.  Usually it’s because I spent to much money on a comic,  or couldn’t stop myself from ordering a terrible TV show on DVD (Cleopatra 2525 anyone?) However, once in awhile it’s because a game is released that is just so Japanese that I can’t stop myself from indulging in its perverted glory.

Which brings me to the newest addition to my XBox 360 RPG library: Record of Agarest War – The Really Naughty Limited Edition.  I don’t actually know too much about the game itself other than its a JRPG with a dating element to it.  What locked the buy for me though was the limited edition.  Not only does this treasure come with the game (and I buy almost every RPG released), but it also comes with an original soundtrack CD (meh), a “sensual 3D Vira-Lorr Mouse Pad” (what?) and a 26″ x 20″ Yearning Ellis Pillowcase (BUY-BUY-BUY!).  That’s right, if you check the picture above you can see that glorious sensual 3D mouse pad with “wrist pillows”, and the even more glorious pillowcase with the “yearning” Ellis.  Fantastic.  I may never play this game, but I sure do love this collection.

Release date for New Patrick Rothfuss

The Wise Man's Fear - by Patrick Rothfuss

Patrick Rothfuss today announced that his eagerly awaited follow-up to The Name of the Wind finally has a publication date.  According to his blog, The Wise Man’s Fear will be released in February 2011.  Originally expected to be complete in 2008, the author’s sophomore effort is sure to be a huge seller despite the delays.  If you haven’t read The Name of the Wind yet, now’s a good time to pick it up.  While I didn’t enjoy it as much as I have works by Martin, Erikson or Bakker, Name of the Wind was definitely entertaining and really showed a lot of promise for the future.  Here’s to hoping that Rothfuss is able to live up to the built up expectations and avoid a sophomore slump.

Recently Read: Pleasure Model

Pleasure Model - by Christopher Rowley

Wow.  Haven’t finished a book in awhile where I felt so conflicted afterwards.  Pleasure Model by Christopher Rowley is the first book to be published by Tor in their Heavy Metal Pulp line.  For those unfamiliar, the line is based off of the Heavy Metal graphic magazine that was the influence for a number of animated movies over the past few decades, and remains a popular adult graphic adventure magazine.  The idea is to take story lines similar to what you would find in the magazine, write them up as prose novels in the style of old pulp adventures, and then have an illustrator add illustrations to almost every page.

The result was, if nothing else, a lot of fun.   I’ll start my review literally from the cover.  The book contains a beautiful painted pulp-style cover by Gregory Manchess.  This is what originally sold me on the book.  As I’ve admitted previously this type of cover will get me to buy a book just so I have the art. Continue reading

Recently Read: Expiration Date

Expiration Date - by Duane Swierczynski

I love Duane Swierczynski.  Not the man, I’ve never met him (although I hope to at a con sometime in the future).  No, I love his writing.  I’ve read just about every piece of fiction he’s written, from his crime novels to his comics.  And I think things just keep getting better.

His newest is Expiration Date.  Like all of his previous crime novels, I just hated reaching the end because it is just pure fun.  It’s a crime story where he’s taken the time jumping elements of his run on the Cable comic and blended them perfectly.  From what he’s written about the history of Expiration Date I’m sure the ideas from the novel informed his Cable run and not vice versa, but since Cable was published first I’m sure many will see it as working the other way.

Anyway, the plot in brief revolves around a recently unemployed journalist (Swierczynski is a former journalist himself) who after losing his job finds himself living in his grandfathers apartment.  He takes some old aspirin he finds in his grandfather’s cabinet and wakes up in the year he was born.  He soon finds himself investigating what led to his father’s murder when he was a child.  The whole thing has a beautiful Twilight Zone feel to it.  And Swierczynski proves once again that he knows how to write a fast paced, fun crime story with a twist.  If you read quick, you can knock this puppy out in one night.  Of course, that would mean that you’ll be regretting that you have reached the end that much sooner.

Sketch Gallery #2

A few new pictures added to the gallery.  This time I added two sketches by the great JunBob Kim, and one by The Other Mike – Mike Dimayuga.

Cassie Hack - by Mike Dimayuga (2009)

Cloak & Dagger - by JunBob Kim (2009)

Red Sonja - by JunBob Kim (2009)

New Adds: Crime x 5

So, I’ve been starting to pick up some vintage crime paperbacks when I can find them for a decent price.  I found three more this afternoon at the local used book store – Barely Seen by Frank Kane (1964, Dell), Marked! by Bob Bristow (1961, Dell – Bob McGinnis cover), and Run for Doom by Henry Kane (1962, Signet). Haven’t read any of these authors before but I am a sucker for pulp crime covers, especially those gorgeous good girl paintings by Bob McGinnis.  So if you know where I can find some, let me know.

In addition, I found Savage Season, the first Hap & Leonard book, by Joe Lansdale and Small Crimes by Dave Zeltserman. I just started to hear about Zeltserman recently, but what I’ve heard sounded good.  For half price, it’s worth a go.  I’ve also never read Lansdale (I know, a crime in itself).  Been waiting to find Savage Season for awhile, so I’m looking forward to checking this out.

Anyway, I’m happy with the haul.

Recent Reads: Deadhouse Gates

Deadhouse Gates

Erikson - Deadhouse Gates

Earlier this year, I decided I was going to re-read the first 2 books of the brilliant Steven Erikson series Malazan Book of the Fallen before attempting to read all 9 published volumes in a row prior to the publication of the 10th and final volume at the end of the year.  My quest is now 2/10 of the way done with the completion of Book 2 – Deadhouse Gates.

For those that haven’t read, Erikson’s Malazan series is fantasy, but this is not your standard Forgotten Realms/R.A. Salvatore light reading fantasy.  No, Erikson’s world is much darker, much more complex, and much less well explained. This is not a bad thing though, but it does make the series difficult to get into for many people.  It’s like being thrown into a country where people speak your language, but all of the local dialect, customs and rules are foreign to you.  You need to work to understand what’s going on, but when you get it … what a rush.

I compare this favorably with my two favorite fantasy authors – George R.R. Martin and Scott Bakker.  In fact, I think with the exception of Tolkein and Martin, I don’t think you can find such a richly developed fantasy world.  This being my second reading, and the first time I read it back to back with the first volume, Gardens of the Moon, I can definitely say I got more out of it.  Not that you need to read them back to back since most of the characters are new, but it definitely helps to fully grasp what’s going on.

While I’m tempted to take a break before the even longer 3rd volume, I plan to start it tonight.  I’ll leave lighter reading for breaks at work.  My quest must continue.