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Dec. 13th, 2007

MOTTMBS: The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon

Day 6: Things that Make Becca Squee

Expect weekend updates, until I get this darn thing caught up. Today's book is The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to include this book. I had mixed feelings about the ending, and it got downright preachy at times -- which is weird for a book with a fictional religion. However, I'm including it as I do think it's a good read for D&D DMs. Deed does the paladin thing quite well. Which is what sold me on the book. Anyone who knows me knows I have a soft spot for paladins. (No, I don't know why -- kind of funny to have an agnostic nerd who, if she wasn't orc fodder, would probably be a wizard or an alchemist if tossed into a D&D-based world.)

Deed isn't properly a D&D novel, but the world does map pretty well to the basic D&D book. As in, I could whip out my Player's Handbook, and probably run a game in the world with only a bit of work. Magic feels a lot like they just took the wizard, cleric, druid and paladin and put them in. The races are humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, (halflings still belong to the Tolkien estate) and orcs. It feels a bit old-school to my 3rd edition sensibilities, but it's still D&D-esque.

But, yeah, my soft spot for paladins. Moon actually went through and put some thought into 'so, D&D has these holy orders of religious knights -- what does it take for them to actually do it'. Granted, I think Chalion handled fantasy gods better, but this puts more focus on a person who served the gods.

(I'd love to know if Elizabeth Moon permitted fanfiction. I've never seen her name on one of those lists of authors that ban fanfic, and I really think that Paks's further adventures would be interesting to read about. It could be that it's just a fixer-upper, which makes me want fic)

Dec. 10th, 2007

MoTTMBS: PlanetES by Makoto Yukimura

Day 5: Things that Make Becca Squee

Ooh... okay, so I meant to do this on Friday, but Friday was the holiday party and I was exhausted after that. So, I'm doing it now. So, a Special Sunday Edition of the MoTTMBS. (ETA: This got lost when IJ went down on Sunday -- so repost!)

Friday was supposed to be a grab bag day, but it ended up being "Near-future SF and Steven Brust", since I had two near-future SF titles and two Steven Brust series. Today, I'm talking about PlanetES, a manga by Makoto Yukimura.

This series (and Chrono Crusade) made me realize something. My tolerance for certain types of characters goes up if there's a character I like a lot. I wouldn't like Azmaria from Chrono Crusade as much if she didn't play off of Rosette, who I adore. And I wouldn't like Ai from PlanetES as much if Fee wasn't on the cast.

(See, this is why having many women characters is a good thing. If there's one I like, she'll make me like the others a lot better than if I want to punt the entire female cast (which may be only one person) through the wall.)
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Wikipedia says that the anime adds a lot of things like orbital mechanics, and had JAXA (the Japanese space agency) as a technical consultant. I look forward to seeing it.

Dec. 6th, 2007

MOTTMBS: Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold

Things that Make Becca Squee: Day 3

This is my day for Space Opera and Science Fiction.

So, I have this history of being spoiled by my friends for things, mostly because I don't care about spoilers until I'm actually reading something. I also have a history of remembering when friends mention series that I later end up liking -- like the time we watched the first VHS of Slayers in high school and I kept thinking I ought to see the rest of the series. Heck, I even noticed that the mall's music store carried the tapes. But, I didn't end up seeing the rest until Anime Club in college re-introduced me to it.

(Then again, I would have probably thrown myself right into the ship wars... maybe this was for the best.)

Anyway, today I'm talking about the Vorkosigan Saga series by Lois McMaster Bujold, who was also the author of the series I did for Monday. She's one of four authors that appears more than once on my list, and one of two that appears three times. And the reason I told that story above is because my real first introduction to the series was when [info]eiviiaru decided she was going to play Mark Vorkosigan in an RPG I ran and the co-mod and I had to hunt down a picture of him (or Miles Vorsokigan, rather -- clones are handy like that, and he appeared on more covers).

But, I didn't end up reading the books themselves then. I have no clue why I started reading them. Maybe a chance mention on [info]limyaael's journal or something, or I was really craving some science fiction.

Anyway, the series runs to nine books and four short stories. There are an additional four books set in the universe, but not about Miles himself: two about Miles's parents, one that involved one of Miles's subordinates on a mission, and a fourth set early on that elaborated on a bit of backstory for the universe. The books have a mix in tones from mystery to adventure to romance, and the places Miles visits look interesting.

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I think we kidded [info]eiviiaru a bit, since between Mark and a halfling, she was playing two out of the three shortest characters in the game -- the third being the Ewok [info]lasafara was playing.

Dec. 5th, 2007

MOTTMBS: Chrono Crusade by Daisuke Moriyama

Things that Make Becca Squee: Day 3

Another comic today -- for the record, I don't really have an order for these things. Day themes, yes. Wednesday is 'Gaslamp and Urban Fantasy', and I'm writing about the manga Chrono Crusade by Daisuke Moriyama. And, unlike the previous series, this one is finished at 8 volumes. You sometimes see it spelt Chrno Crusade, thanks to a weird romanization.

So, Japan and Christianity. The best way to explain things is to imagine everything you have ever seen in fiction about ancient Greek mythology or derivatives. Some of it is really good. Some of it might be entertaining but only has a couple of names in common with mythology. (True story: my dad had to keep me from complaining about Disney's Hercules while we were in the theater. Yes, I was old enough to know better, at age 13. Then again, friends had to do the same at Mission to Mars several years later...)

Christianity in manga can be like that. You get stuff like Nuns Are Mikos, which refers to the large numbers of young, part-time temporary sisters/nuns in anime, because that's how Shinto shrine maidens do it. You get plenty of stuff that is tossed in Because It Looks Cool, and some stuff that... well, if people at a friend's former church objected to her reading Lord of the Rings, they'd just have a heart attack at (see: Angel Sanctuary and Neon Genesis Evangeleon*).

*Though, from what I've heard, a lot of the religious stuff in NGE was tossed in for the Because It Looks Cool.

Just... bear that in mind.
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Dec. 4th, 2007

MOTTMBS: Claymore, by Norihiro Yagi

Things that Make Becca Squee: Day 2

Okay, so all of my weekdays are having a theme. Monday was 'traditional fantasy' -- by which, I mean fantasy set in another world that happens to be pre-modern. Tuesday is 'stuff I just started reading' --- things where I'm not caught up to the current releases, but damned if I'm not enjoying myself. The first thing I'm reading right now that is making me squee is the manga Claymore by Norihiro Yagi.

I realize that there's probably a few people who don't follow comics, so, I should explain some vocabulary. Manga is the Japanese word for comics, and is usually used both to describe comics imported from Japan and stuff done in that style. Shounen manga is manga whose target audience is boys. It tends to have a reputation for being mostly about fights and action, with minimal focus on romance -- friendships may feature strongly, though.

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There's also an anime series, currently being fansubbed -- I've seen the first couple of episodes. It does have one of those 'Oh, crud, we need to wrap up the anime, but the manga hasn't ended yet' endings, according to Wikipedia. Apparently, around episode 20 of 26, the anime writers figure out they need to start making up a conclusion. [info]yuuo, since I know you'll care about this, Clare is voiced by Houko Kuwashima (Filia) and Teresa is voiced by Romi Paku (Ed). (I don't recognize Raki's voice actor.)

Dec. 3rd, 2007

MOTTMBS: Chalion Series, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Things that Make Becca Squee: Day 1

The first entry in the MOTTMBS is the Chalion series by Lois McMaster Bujold. This consists of three books -- The Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls and The Hallowed Hunt. While the first two have a few characters in common, and takes place in the same country, the third is only connected by being in the same world as the first two. Bujold once said she wasn't sure if there would be more books in the series, but she suspected she'd like to do two more.

Read more... )

Dec. 2nd, 2007

My internet has gotten spotty. Grr. Also, I still haven't gotten my iTunes Avatar download.

In other news, tomorrow starts a month of 'Things that Make Becca Squee'. Every weekday I'll post a book or manga that makes me at least moderately amused and pleased. I'm avoiding very popular things, so check it out for some new book or manga recs. (Also, the nice things about books and manga is it takes less than $10 to find the first thing of it, and see if you like it.)

Nov. 25th, 2007

December: Month of Things that Make Becca Squee

In honor of me finally spending the money I got for my birthday, I declare December the Month of Things that Make Becca Squee. As part of this month, every day (or, you know, when I think about it, since it is Christmas and I have a Yuletide fic due), I will make a post about a book or manga series that makes me squee with fannish glee.

So, if, you know you want new stuff to read, keep reading. Keep in mind, my tastes run to fantasy and science fiction.