I Read Something Narrative Again!

Personal Update: after four freaking months of not being able to read anything but non-narrative non-fiction, I read a narrative again! Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh, which I will give a proper review, hopefully soon. But I’m happy and excited and wanted to share that.

Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium—Fight or Flight and For the Emperor

Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium by Sandy Mitchell book cover
Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium by Sandy Mitchell

Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium is an omnibus volume containing the first three Ciaphas Cain books, as well as three short stories. They’re by Sandy Mitchell. Fight or Flight is the very first Ciaphas Cain story and For the Emperor is the first book. The stories take place in the Warhammer 40,000 universe—where the term “grimdark” originated from—but Ciaphas’s stories are a more humorous take on it all—Ciaphas, despite his heroic reputation, is a self-centered near-sociopath and it’s his commentary on things that lend the comedy. Not that there isn’t a hefty bodycount in these military scif stories.

The stories are presented as Cain’s private memoirs, which have been placed under Inquisitorial seal, and the book has been annotated by said Inquisitor.

1—Fight or Flight

Fight or Flight follows the newly minted Commissar Cain on his very first mission. He has no heroic reputation yet, and has finagled his way into a post with the Valhallan 12th Field Artillery on a little backwater planet that should see little to no action. Of course, that doesn’t turn out to be the case, and the events that follow in the wake of a tyranid invasion start Ciaphas on the path to that glorious reputation. Oh yes, and this is also the story where he meets Jurgen and Jurgen’s smell. Continue reading “Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium—Fight or Flight and For the Emperor”

The Doctor Blake Mysteries Season Two—More of the Same

The Doctor Blake Mysteries
The Doctor Blake Mysteries

I don’t have anything substantively different to say about season two than I did about season one. The mysteries are still good, the atmosphere is still gloomy, and the character development still has good subtext. However, Danny is gone with a new young copper taking his place. This cop has been sent from Melbourne to spy on the Ballarat police department. Later in the season, Superintendent Lawson gets into some internal political trouble, so we’ll see if he comes back next season or not.

I still enjoyed season two of The Doctor Blake Mysteries and will be watching the third season on Netflix.

Tangential Links

It’s been a very busy week and I haven’t finished my book yet, so here are some sites you might enjoy.

1—Tea and Jeopardy

A podcast hosted by Emma Newman who, with her politely evil butler Latimer, interviews authors, illustrators, agents, and all kinds of people over tea and cake. After which, the guests find themselves in some form of peril they must creatively escape.

Each week finds Emma and Latimer in a tea lair as well, and since acquiring their time machine, this can be anywhen as well as anywhere.

2—Lit Brick

“Sequential Comedies of Literature” as it says in the subtitle. John S. Troutman reads classics from the Norton Anthology and draws comics about whatever comes into his head. Hilarious, amusing, pick your adjective.

3—Writing Excuses

Another podcast, this one by a set of authors. Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor (who writes and illustrates the webcomic Schlock Mercenary), Dan Wells, and Mary Robinette Kowal (who also narrates audiobooks) talk about writing and everything to do with it. A must listen for writers, especially their series of podcasts on elemental genres.


Stick figures and diagrams have never been so entertaining. Written and drawn by Randall Munroe, who manages to explain complex things with simple words in a way that I actually understand what he’s talking about but don’t feel talked down to. Some comics are just silliness. Either way, read the hover text, it’s always funny.

Reading About Other People Reading

My current reading obsessions are several erieses of articles on Tor.com. Here they are.

The Lovecraft Reread

A series of articles wherein “two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original sandbox”. Rithanna Emrys and Anne M. Pillsworth summarize a story and the comment on it. Both ladies have great commentary on the cosmic horror stories. Continue reading “Reading About Other People Reading”

Bepuzzled Jigsaw Puzzle Mysteries—My Family New Year Tradition

Bepuzzled Logo
The Bepuzzled Logo

Ok, so this will be a short post as I’m still recovering from Christmas. One of the things my family does every year is start a jigsaw puzzle on or after Christmas and try to finish it before midnight on New Year’s. Well, a few years ago—seven, maybe?—my mom and I found a puzzle that was also a little mystery story. By solving the puzzle, you get the clues you need to solve the mystery. It seemed like fun, and was—so much so that these mystery puzzles replaced regular ones as our New Year’s tradition.

The company that makes the ones we’ve like most—and each short story does vary in quality—are made by Bepuzzled. Like I said, they’re fun. There are also puzzles that are done as a full on dinner party, with roles for the guests to play, but we’ve never done those—too much trouble. But we’ve enjoyed the mystery puzzles we’ve done, and I always read the story aloud, complete with voices. Here’s some of the puzzled we’ve played.

The Un-Book Reporter on Video

So these Youtube videos are an experiment. They contain my musings and thoughts on stories, and maybe some observations that aren’t long enough or organized enough for a formal post. We’ll see how they do and maybe I’ll do more.

How to Save Your Sanity from the Christmas Season

Why Stories Matter