Daughter of the Empire

Share

This is a really good book. It was a delight to find something so good that it kept me up well past my bed time several nights running. I really enjoyed this one — its set on Kelwan, the planet that invades Midkemia in the Riftwar series, and is written from the perspective of the invaders.

[isbn: 055327211x]

Share

Isaac Asimov’s Robot City: Prodigy

Share

This is the fourth book in the Robot City series, which is based in Asimov’s Foundation universe. This one follows Odyssey, Suspicion and Cyborg.

This book has quite a different style, the robot characters using quite convoluted sentences, which I found annoying. It is a little jarring in this series that each book is by a different author — it takes me a little while to transition between the authors’ various styles when I read them, especially when they’re back to back. I think what Cover was trying to achieve is a more intellectual style of book than the others in the series, and it suffers the same fate as the Benford’s Foundation’s Fear — the style is out of place with the rest of the books in the series, and that decreases from the enjoyment to be derived from this book.

The actual plot line is fine though, if a little simplistic. Because of the very verbose style, it feels like less happened in this book than the others (which are of similar length). Overall, a bit of a disappointment.

[isbn: 0441373844]

Share

Isaac Asimov’s Robot City: Cyborg

Share

This is the third book in the Robot City series, which is based in Asimov’s Foundation universe. This one follows Odyssey and Suspicion, and is a pretty good book. Its also a very fast read.

The robot-wandering-the-city subplot is very reminiscent of Caliban, which is yet another Asimov spinoff. The plot lines are different enough that it doesn’t feel like a rehash, but there are certainly strikingly similar elements.

I liked this book.

[isbn: 0441373836]

Share

Polgara the Sorceress

Share

This is the final continuation of the Belgariad and the Malloreon series, following on from the Belgarath the Sorcerer continuation. The two continuation books are really just the same stories told from other perspectives, yet Belgarath the Sorcerer managed to be a really interesting read. It probably helped that Belgarath’s story predates the Belgariad by thousands of years. On the other hand, most of the territory covered in this book is not new.

This book started well, but the tone quickly became annoying for me. I think it was the several hundred pages of Arendish history that ruined it for me — its just not that interesting where Polgara’s bathroom is located, and who won a particular jousting match. There are also these really annoy asides littered throughout the text. The same element appeared in Belgarath, but seemed less annoying there for some reason. It annoyed me that there would be a passage of prose, broken in the middle with supposedly witty comment, which invariably fell flat.

The other problem with this book is that Polgara herself comes across as a bit of a sociopath. She’s always sure of herself, and lacks depth as a character because of it. I’ve got kids, and I find a character who is dumped into raising an orphan at zero notice being so self assured all the time. Surely she made mistakes and learnt something along the way? You wouldn’t know it from the book though — all of that is glossed over.

On the other hand, the book is ok apart from the long middle bit in Arendia. This would have been a better book if that had been omitted.

[isbn: 0345422554]

Share

MythBuntu 8.10 just made me sad

Share

I figured it was time to give MythBuntu a try, so I set up a MythBuntu 8.10 instance in VirtualBox today. That was a mistake. I’m not 100% sure I understand how it happened, but MythBuntu somehow managed to delete my entire mythconverg MySQL database instance. Not pleased. I’ve restored it from last night’s backup, but now I’ll need to recover recordings which happened today, assuming I can be bothered.

I’m writing this just as a warning to others — if you’re playing with MythBuntu, backup your MySQL instance if its not a test one.

Share

Parenting advice

Share

Top tip for parents — don’t teach your kids to “wet willy” people. It might seem like fun at the time, but they’ll end up wet willying you when you least expect it. Oh, and when you ask why they don’t do it to mum, they’ll say “because we love her”. That is all.

Share

The state of Blu Ray on Linux / MythTV

Share

The DVD drive in one of my MythTV machines has given up the ghost. I have to go to Fry’s tomorrow to replace a dead hard disk, so I’ll pick up a new drive while I am at it. I am surprised to discover that Blu Ray drives are now just $90. I wonder what the state of Blu Ray playback on Linux is like at the moment. How’s the MythTV support? Time to find out.

Share

Amtrak Wars

Share

A post apocalyptic struggle between the three groups of North American survivors — a military society called “The Amtrak Federation”, the mutes (the survivors of American poor neighborhoods), and Ne Issan (former Japanese who sailed from Japan when their islands were flooded).

Share