Thursday, August 11, 2011

The New Arrivals

So, Tuesday brought not one, not two, but three new books into the house, all of them arriving on the doorstep.

First, there was TATTERS OF THE KING, a CALL OF CTHULHU campaign from Chaosium [2006]. I enjoy reading C.o.C. modules as well as playing them, but have to hold off reading those who others in our gaming group might run (to avoid my Investigator knowing things that wd spoil the mystery). However, I enjoy reading them after playing through them, to see what we missed and how the designer expected things to play out (often widely at variance with what our characters actually did).

In this case, Jeff Grubb (an excellent Keeper)* ran this one a few years back, and while I enjoyed it I found that I cdn't follow it at all. The overall structure of who was doing what to who and why completely escaped me, both while inside the game and afterwards. In part this might have been because of the character I was playing -- I usually play the note-taker of the group who tries to keep track of all the leads, but this time I was having fun with a Bertie-Woosterish survivor of the Great War whose brains had been a bit addled by four years of being shot at, leaving him with an obsession about personalized yacht-sized zeppelins. One of the favorite C.o.C. characters I've ever played, his point of view was not conductive to careful gathering and shifting of evidence; he simply went with the flow, always slightly at a loss and acting more on impulse than careful planning. Hence, buying the adventure now will offer me a chance to read through the whole thing carefully and see if it holds together better in print than it did in the gaming sessions.

Second, there's TOWARD THE GLEAM by T. M. Doran, a book I knew nothing about until a recent discussion on the MythSoc list -- which turned out to be follow-up comments about a book review I hadn't seen, my subscription to MYTHPRINT having apparently silently lapsed recently without my having been aware of the fact. This is the fourth (so far) in the series of recent Novels-With-JRRT-In-Them as a character, this time under the pseudonym 'Mr. Hill' (as in Frodo's 'Mr. Underhill'). Having read Downing's LOOKING FOR THE KING, Hillard's MIRKWOOD, and Michael Ridpath's WHERE THE SHADOWS LIE (of which Ridpath's was by far the best, and Hillard's by far the worst), I'm not likely to baulk at a fourth. Although it was disconcerting to find that once I bought it Amazon filled my 'recommendations' lists with books by the pope (!) -- making the bizarre assumption that people shop by publisher (in this case, Ignatius Press**) rather than author, title, or subject -- the kind of thinking that once got me listed on a conspiracy-theory website as being part of 'the Jesuit conspiracy', whatever that might be (these conspiracy-theorists being so inept they didn't realize I'm a Southern Presbyterian who attended Marquette because of the manuscripts). More on this one down the road a ways when I've had a chance to read it.

And finally, third there's BOOK GIRL AND THE CAPTIVE FOOL by Mizuki Nomura [2006] (tr. Karen McGillicuddy [2011]). This is the third in the 'Book Girl' series, the first two of which were surprisingly unflinching in their dealings with suicide, anorexia, and similar topics; a main issue in the series as a whole is survivor's guilt. I'm looking forward to this third one as well, well aware that though a quick read it'll be no walk in the park. And by the way, now that I've seen both the BOOK GIRL movie and the three 'prequel' ovas that lead up to it, I'm more impressed than ever, esp. by the movie and the one of the ovas that deals with 'Book Girl' herself (since she's not the point-of-view character of the series, that being a traumatized formerly up-and-coming young author who witnessed his best friend attempt suicide because he had more talent than the friend did. ouch.)***

So, plenty of good books still out there, despite the collapse of another major bookstore, and plenty of good reading to look ahead to. Here's hoping the new prescription for glasses I got yesterday from the eye doctor makes the struggles with reading easier. Now to pick out a good set of frames and prepare for the latest round of 'my, these are thick lens, aren't they?'

--John R.
current reading:

*he's running another one on Saturday, in which I get to play my Chicago gangster, Giovanni 'Smokes' Tuscani (a.k.a. Mr. Smokes), who unexpectedly has survived not one, not two, but three Goodman Games pulp cthulhu scenarios -- largely I suspect by assuming his tommy gun won't do much against the monsters (a shoggoth, a dark young, a gnoph-keh), and turning it on the cultists instead. That, and running.

**the same people who did Downing's book. I wonder if they're going to make a habit of this.

***the other two ovas are from the point of view of the friend in question and of a girl who has a crush on the point-of-view character (of which he is entirely unaware).

1 comment:

CNB said...

Another in this trend of books featuring Tolkien as a character is the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series by James Owen. Info can be found at his site:

I haven't had a chance to read any of them yet myself, so I couldn't say how they fair. But thought you would like to know about them all the same.