The Rhesus Chart

Bob Howard, former eldritch IT manager, now field agent and applied computational demonologist and suit-in-training for the no-such-agency called the Laundry, really isn't having a good day. The strain of being involved in Lovecraftian peril isn't helping his marriage – especially when his wife Mo is also a field agent with a combat violin made by Erich Zann. He's barely got a grip on the responsibilities that are headed his way as the newest member of External Assets on "Mahogany Row". And then Andy, another Laundry employee, unleashes [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Rimsky-Korsakov’s _Scheherazade_

The Arabian Nights is a classic tale centering around Scheherazade, a young woman about to marry, who is faced with a truly daunting problem: the Sultan or king she's about to marry has all his wives executed the day after their wedding, to prevent any possible infidelity. (apparently his first wife had in fact been unfaithful). Scheherazade of course has no desire to be wed on one day and executed the next, so she devises a unique strategem: she asks to be allowed to say goodbye to her sister, who – according to plan – asks Scheherazade to [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: The Apocalypse Codex

Bob Howard, former network admin, now applied computational demonologist and sometime field agent for the it-doesn't-exist agency called the Laundry, has managed to survive the nearly soul-shattering events of The Fuller Memorandum, which puts him directly in line for something more terrifying: promotion, possibly into even having responsibility for other people. Unfortunately, as with many things Laundry-related, promotion is an offer you can't refuse – at least, not safely. And with CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN (more colloquially known as "When [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files #3)

Bob Howard, IT expert, computational demonologist, and sometime field agent for the ultra-top-secret U.K. agency called The Laundry, is back. Fresh from the James Bondian adventure of The Jennifer Morgue, Bob's married to Mo, who he rescued in the first book and who returned the favor with a vengeance in the second, and while any marriage that includes two people who know about the Great Old Ones and their impending arrival in CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN isn't going to be filled with picket fences and cheery nights all the time, you might hope that [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Nero Wolfe, Revisited

Recently, I was in a discussion where I referred someone to the first version of this review/overview of one of the best series of mysteries ever written. To my surprise, the point I referred them to… wasn't there. I then found that, somehow, several pieces of the review had been left out. Thus, having also recently re-read the entire series, I decided it would be worthwhile to re-publish this review – with some considerable and considered additions! In a timeless brownstone in New York City, on West 35th Street, there lives a very [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Dragonball Xenoverse

I've been a fan of Dragonball for… Holy sheep, over 26 years now. The intensity of my fandom has varied, and I am very far from blind to the various flaws of the series, but it's such a very fun over-the-top series in many ways – and its newest incarnation on TV, Dragonball Super, has done a lot of work to address some of the prior installments' flaws.   Because of this, and because I realized I only had one fighting game for the PS4 in the house, I decided to check out what the Dragonball franchise's fighting games were like now. [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Holst’s _The Planets_

There are a few classical pieces known to almost everyone; Beethoven's Fifth and Ninth Symphonies, Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance (from graduations everywhere), Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor. Many more are known, but not always immediately recognized by name, as they get played in part or in whole in many different settings. But in the world of SF geeks, there are some with special significance, and of these, few could compete with Gustav Holst's The Planets, a suite of seven pieces each representing one of the major planets (other than [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Watchmen

Alan Moore and David Gibbon's Watchmen is, justifiably, a landmark in the comic-book universe, a carefully-planned attempt to analyze and deconstruct the standard superhero universe while, at the same time, staying true to some of its most powerful tropes. Watchmen was also made into a movie, which in my view managed to stick fairly close to the original miniseries/graphic novel, but of necessity had to cut out some rather important elements (discussed below). If you don't want spoilers galore, don't read any farther! The setting of Watchmen [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Girl Genius

Soldier: Herr Baron! We need you! All the experiments have either been let loose or turned on! And everything's on FIRE! Baron Wulfenbach(facepalming): Unbelievable.   Agatha Clay is having a bad day. In the steampunk city of Beetleburg, where she's a not-very-good student at Transylvania Polygnostic Institute, she encounters a strange electrical anomaly, runs from that, is robbed by two out-of-work soldiers who steal the locket that's her only memento of her parents, and arrives – late – to discover that Baron Wulfenbach, ruler of [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Calvin and Hobbes

     "Spiff coolly draws his deathray blaster…"   For ten years – starting in late 1985 and going through the end of 1995 – readers of the comic pages were treated to the (mis)adventures of grade-schooler Calvin, his (usually) walking and talking stuffed tiger Hobbes, his long-suffering mother and sometimes clueless father, next-door girl Susie, schoolyard bully Moe, and a host of other chracters in Calvin and Hobbes. Someone growing up after that era – especially today – probably has a hard time understanding the way things worked [ Continue reading... ]