Wednesday 1 May 2013

Reading Roundup

Breaking radio silence for a quick guest spot on episode 51 of The Three MMOsketeers on the splendid CSICON last week, one of the news stories covered malware attacks on MMORPG companies, reminding co-host Breki of Charles Stross’ novel Halting State. My “to read” pile keeps growing; it includes the sequel to Halting State, Rule 34, and another Stross novel, The Apocalypse Codex, from his Laundry Files series, which I must get around to.

From the “have read” pile I really enjoyed the first two books of the Milkweed Triptych by Ian Tregillis set in an alternative World War II of mad science and blood magic, sharing some of the occult/espionage themes of The Laundry Files (Tregillis and Stross have a nice chat at Orbit Books). For those who like to read a full series in one go, the third book, Necessary Evil, has just been published; I don’t tend to pre-order books due to aforementioned “to read” pile but made an exception for this one and would highly recommend the series. Excerpts are available on the author’s site, and there’s a standalone story on that gives a flavour of the universe.

While poking around similar things on Amazon, the “Customers who bought this item also bought…” section threw up perhaps the greatest book title ever: Ack-Ack Macaque. From the first sentence of the synopsis, “In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque.’ The trouble is, Ack-Ack Macaque is a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, and he’s starting to doubt everything, including his own existence.”, it was an instant buy, and it’s a lot of fun.

(Fascinating etymology corner: ‘flak’ and ‘ack-ack’, terms for anti-aircraft fire, have completely different derivations despite the similar sounds. Flak is from the German for anti-aircraft gun, fliegerabwherkanone; ‘ack’ is the letter ‘a’ in the World War I British signal alphabet, thus ‘ack-ack’ for ‘anti-aircraft’.)

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