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Good Things Come...

In the midst of rising interest rates, skyrocketing petrol prices and gross grocery bills, it’s nice when live gives you something to smile about. For starters, publishers have glutted the office with comp copies of new novels, so I’ve been helping out by reading and reviewing some of them. Through this I’ve been introduced to the brilliant work of Scott Lynch; I’ve read both of his novels (so far) in the Gentleman Bastard Sequence, which is fantasy like I’ve never read it – street level, with a Tarantino-esque flair. Not even Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar stories have as much wit as The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies. Okay, maybe I’m slanging off a master just to get attention, but I really do prefer Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen to Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser.

Last week, though, I ploughed through The Host, a novel by Stephenie Meyer, whose Twilight young adult novels are being made into movies. The Host is her first adult novel, and I’d be tempted to call it an SF romance, except that title could put you folks in mind of McCaffrey or Lackey; this novel has tons more honest-to-God tension. If you can, buy it or borrow it from the library. I’m very glad I get to keep the books I review, because I really don’t want to let this one go.

At the moment, I’m reading City of Thieves by David Benioff, which, in a refreshing change of pace, is an utterly non-SF or fantasy novel set during the siege of Leningrad. So far so very gripping.

But going back to last week, the entertainment editor at the office pulled me aside one day and asked me whether he was right in remembering I had a Nintendo Wii. I said yes, and he asked me whether I’d be willing to review a comp copy of Speed Racer: The Videogame. I said yes, and it’s been sitting on the entertainment unit for a week waiting for me to take a break from clan training on Halo 3 to give it a whirl, which I did this morning. I definitely need to spend more time with it, including getting some multiplayer action in, to form some proper impressions, but at this early stage it’s reminding me of Wipeout, except with more chatter. Driving with the Wiimote is also a new and slightly weird experience.

So, good free novels and a chance to play a new videogame – which caused me to dust off the Wii, something I’ve not done in months (I was starting to think about selling it again).

Oh, and the PMS/H2O Clan have so far been a great bunch to play Halo 3 with; logging four hours a week has been a pleasure. The younger fellow I was assigned to mentor was kicked out for being too unruly, but they’re still keen on exploiting my non-gaming talents; once the clan forums are restored (the site is getting a complete overhaul of both back and front ends, with a sleek new look and a host of new features going online early this coming week) I’ve been asked to organise a monthly clan newsletter.

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