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Everything posted by SKJAM!

  1. Allegiant Rykka North has the ability to make people loyal to her temporarily. The bad news is that they otherwise retain their own free will and personalities, so tend to do what they think is best for Allegiant, rather than what she wants them to do. She's working on Disguise and Acting skills so that she can appear to be an authority figure as needed for the situation.
  2. Bleak This suit of armor radiates cold, able to freeze objects solid with a touch (including objects that touch it.) However, it can only be worn by someone of great generosity who uses it for good.
  3. Over at Crunchyroll, they're streaming a show titled "Tiger Mask W." It's set in a world where professional wrestling is 100% real and the evil Global Wrestling Monopoly is trying to take over the Japanese market. It guest stars real world wrestlers; the Bullet Club appeared in the episode "Don't Be a Softy!"
  4. Also, Arnie has actual political experience and has learned how government works.
  5. Perry Rhodan 10: The Ghosts of Gol Still very early in the series, well before he becomes immortal. Rhodan comes to a supergiant planet inhabited by energy beings from a higher dimension. http://www.skjam.com/2016/11/13/book-review-perry-rhodan-10-the-ghosts-of-gol/
  6. Not a book, but the January 1946 issue of Astounding Science-Fiction. Stories by Lewis Padgett and Murray Leinster, among other goodies. See my review here: http://www.skjam.com/2016/10/29/magazine-review-astounding-science-fiction-january-1946/
  7. Steal the Sky by Megan O'Keefe--the Scorched Continent is an interesting setting, and I like the characters better than the Locke Lamora series, which there are some similarities to. http://www.skjam.com/2016/08/25/book-review-steal-the-sky/
  8. The Ark by Patrick S. Tomlinson--an SF mystery story set aboard a generation ship carrying the last survivors of humanity. http://www.skjam.com/2016/08/20/book-review-the-ark/
  9. Have done a bunch more reviews over at my blog, some of which are SF/F. The most recent such is First Contact by Michael R. Hicks, the first book in the first trilogy of three of the In Her Name series. I'd downloaded it a few years ago as a free sample when thinking of buying a Kindle. It's pulpy military SF; humanity runs into the Kreelan Empire, who aren't really hostile so much as massively into honorable hand to hand combat. The humans are the first new opponents the Kreelans have had in millenia, and the Empire isn't going to take "we come in peace" as an answer. War ensues. Most of the characters feel like they came from Central Casting, and the set up is highly dubious, but a fast read. http://www.skjam.com/2016/08/06/book-review-first-contact/
  10. Umm, you mean Clive Cussler, right? (Though a Dirk Pitt book written by Clive Barker would probably be worth reading.) Myself, I read Louis L'Amour's The Quick and the Dead, about a pioneer family being pursued by horse thieves, and being helped by a knowlegable drifter. But what is Con Vallian really after? http://www.skjam.com/2016/01/24/book-review-the-quick-and-the-dead/
  11. Amarillo Armadillo (the Yellow Armadillo) is Alejandro Azteco, a (legal) Mexican immigrant. A brilliant engineer, he had already designed his power armor in his hometown, but was dismayed when he learned that the company building it was owned by a notorious drug-lord. By cooperating with the DEA, Alejandro got a jump on green card processing, but the drug lord's gang has never forgiven him. When not adventuring with the A Team, Amarillo Armadillo is improving his armor or assisting the Anaheim police with combating drug trafficking.
  12. Lovebot's name is deliberately ironic. Mary Ronsch was a typical Army Reserve supply sergeant serving in Iraq until the vehicle she was in ran over an IED and she lost most of her limbs and half her face. She got a medical discharge, but wasn't too keen on spending the rest of her life with the relatively primitive prosthetics available to disabled veterans when she saw super-powered cybernetics every day on the news. The legitimate programs have decades-long waiting lists, so Mary was tempted by an offer from the black market which seemed specifically aimed at her. It was. What she didn't know until too late was that this particular research program was run by a man she'd been particularly cruel to in high school and had never matured in his relationships with women. His project was creating consort/bodyguard cyborgs for wealthy third world dictators, and prioritized aesthetics over practicality. Thus Mary found herself rebuilt to look like a horny teenager's idea of a sexy cyborg. Unfortunately for the cyberneticist, the control chip could only force specific actions, not attitudes--the moment he left an opening, Mary disemboweled him and fled. She joined the mercenaries to protect herself from the scientist's backers and law enforcement. Lovebot primarily handles logistics and supplies, but is decent in combat, particularly hand-to-hand. Lovebot still has the control chip in her brain (it can't be removed without causing severe brain damage) and thus is vulnerable to machine-based Mind Control powers.
  13. Been preparing my playlists for the mix CDs I send out every holiday season. Most people will be getting the "Stay Warm" playlist which is primarily fire-related songs, but I'm also doing a Captain Kirk mix for one person--lots of filk music.
  14. This one may have been posted before, but it's still one for getting going.
  15. Headaches Can Be Murder by Marilyn Rausch & Mary Donlon. Mystery writer Chip Collingsworth has writer's block until he falls off a roof, which gives him an idea for his next book starring neurosurgeon John Goodman. Gimmick is that we get to see both Chip's life, and the way he incorporates bits of it into the thriller he's writing. http://www.skjam.com/2015/11/16/book-review-headaches-can-be-murder/
  16. Queen's Rook is Crusher Carver. Yes, that's his real name. His father was a huge sports fan, and encouraged by how large his son was at birth, gave him an aspirational name. Young Crusher, however, did not share his father's enthusiasm for athletics, but funneled his interest into science, particularly chemistry. His father did not take this well, becoming physically abusive towards Crusher (and emotionally neglectful of his daughter Cutie, who did love sports and excel at them.) Crusher won a scholarship to a prestigious college, but on a trip home was so badly beaten that he was hospitalized for several months and lost the grant. To pay his hospital bill, Crusher began supplying customized chemicals to shady enterprises that did not mind his lack of a formal degree. He moved up the ranks of criminal scientists until he was picked up by the Chessmen. Queen's Rook uses various chemical sprays and mists to defend the team. He invented the amnesia gas that the Pawns are rigged with. In combat, he will generally be called upon to lay down smokescreens, knock out opponents the Chessmen want to capture alive, and assist teammates who have gotten in over their heads. His white armor is equipped with several impact-released sprays to make engaging him in hand to hand dangerous--he can control which one is released by toggles inside his helmet. He is not otherwise a good melee combatant. QR's biggest psychological weakness is a rivalry with other criminal scientists--he hates it when they lord their completed degrees over him.
  17. "Young Black Jack" over at the Crunchyroll website. It's a prequel to the Blackjack manga by Osamu Tezuka, set in the 1960s when our hero was an intern. Presumably we will get actual character development for Megumi when she appears, before the horrible thing that we know happens.
  18. I imagine that the fact that it's her adversary's dreamworld is also a bad sign. Norman Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron which I am now glad I didn't try to read when I was twelve, because I never would have "gotten" it. Media celebrity goes up against a billionaire obsessed with immortality, and has to reach deep down for that last scrap of integrity he never thought he had. Some scenes are in fact pornographic. See more at http://www.skjam.com/2015/09/10/book-review-bug-jack-barron/
  19. Birthright: Book 1 of the Temujin Saga by Adam J. Whitlatch Iowa farm boy and his cool allies battle a clone of Genghis Khan (who has alien superpowers). Young adult boys' adventure/wish fulfillment. The hero has a twin brother who exists because the alien scientist who created him tried to cram too much awesome into one body. Seriously, that's the twin's origin story. http://www.skjam.com/2015/08/26/book-review-birthright-book-1-of-the-temujin-saga/
  20. Cowman's Jack-Pot by Frank C. Robertson. As you might guess from the title, it's a Western. Chet Calder returns from years in the East to take over his father's ranch. Unfortunately, his head is up his nether regions, and he makes some very bad choices. Once he finally realizes how deep the hole is, can he dig his way out? http://www.skjam.com/2015/08/15/book-review-cowmans-jack-pot/
  21. The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu. Sequel to The Lives of Tao. Tao is a non-aging alien who must piggyback on native lifeforms to live in Earth's atmosphere. He and his fellow Quasing arrived on Earth millions of years ago, then a long while later began guiding the protohumans to develop a civilization capable of letting the Quasing get off this hellhole. Some time back, the Quasing split along philosophical lines--are humans just very bright animals to be used by their Quasing gods, or full sentients who should be treated as equals? Tao chose the second path, and now he and his human partner Roen Tan must battle the majority Genjix in a secret war. In this sequel, Roen and Tao have discovered most of the puzzle pieces to the latest Genjix plan, one that could mean the end of independent human existence. http://www.skjam.com/2015/07/25/book-review-the-deaths-of-tao/
  22. Non Sequitur was formerly Adam Lilithski, a scientist known for his inability to explain his advanced theories in a linear order. As you might imagine, he got laughed at a lot. His power is being able to alter the order or action of causality--making things happen in reverse order, making correlation equal causality, producing illogical results from standard procedures, etc.
  23. Empire of Sin by Gary Krist, a history of New Orleans' seedy red light district "Storyville" from roughly 1890 to 1920. Shows what happens when reformers think racial egalitarianism is one of the bad things they need to fix. http://www.skjam.com/2015/06/25/book-review-empire-of-sin/
  24. Invidious is Oleander Heff, who had a decent career as a cat burglar before getting caught one too many times and sentenced to a long jail term. He volunteered for experiments designed to reduce criminal impulses--they backfired and gave him the ability to make people irritable and quarrelsome. He often uses this power to distract guards and police officers while he commits his thefts unnoticed.
  25. Obligate is a pony from a dimension where horses are the dominant species (see the One-Trick Ponies) who was shunted to the Earth dimension and immediately became disgusted with the evil meat-eaters. Her ability is to change any living being into an obligate herbivore; their teeth, digestive system and metabolism adjusting accordingly. It isn't terribly combat effective (except on enemies who rely on carnivore teeth for attacks) but is heck annoying.
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