#23: Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space (Cubicle7)

A light and breezy role-playing system which fits Doctor Who pretty well. There’s an insane amount of repetition between the player’s and GM’s book, and the reason given for it is borderline incomprehensible. The writing and examples border on the twee from time to time.

We had our first adventure last week, and even though some rules were gotten wrong and I had mucked up the balance of action in the adventure, everyone had a pretty good time. I skimmed too much of the GM’s guide, I think, and need to go back and read it more carefully, using it to stat out the NPCs fully and re-design a few gadgets that should be more fleshed out.

I also got a few supplements. The monster — excuse me, Aliens and Creatures — book comes in the worst box. It does have a lot of cards with pictures of, well, aliens and creatures to show your players the first time they come up. I haven’t read the book cover-to-cover — hey, I used to do that with D&D monster books when I was a kid — but the stats for the different kinds of, say, Daleks or Cybermen or Judoon troopers or whatever are neat, the rules for alien character builds are also pretty cool, and all in all it seems like a good buy.

I also picked up the First Doctor sourcebook, and that’s cool; a cross between an RPG rulebook and an episode guide. The best bit is that each episode has a couple of adventure ideas for follow-on adventures, most easily adaptable to come at other times in your campaign. They’re planning a book for each Doctor, and I definitely want them all. (Fallen into their trap, I guess.)

#21: Bridge of Birds (Barry Hughart)

(I am reading this in an omnibus edition, but it’s three books and should count as such. Also, the Kindle only has three “chapters”, one for each book, so it’s hard to get an idea of how far I am.)

A light-hearted fantasy romp through Ancient China with a lot of darkness and mayhem involved. Everything’s treated so breezily that it just kind of flows along. Reads like an account of an amoral D&D game, the type where the plan for stealing something valuable always starts with murdering someone. In other words, just as much fun as I remembered it being last time around.

On to the second one, which I have never read before.

#18: Doctor Sleep (Stephen King)

As I’ve written many times before, it’s pretty useless for me to review a Stephen King novel. I bought Carrie with my allowance at a garage sale close to thirty years ago, I guess, and I’ve been reading his stuff ever since. When a new one comes around, it’s like falling into an old conversation with a friend I haven’t seen for a while, and that’s always pleasant.

I’m not going to recap any part of the plot; it’s a new King novel, and it’s a sequel to The Shining, and that tells you all you need to know about whether or not you want to read it. I’ll just say to read it without having read The Shining, even if you’d seen the movie, would be a mistake; they depend on each other, mirror each other.

I ate this book in two days. It has been a long time since I’ve fallen under a book’s sway like that. I have other books to start, books waiting, but I can’t even think about reading them for a while. My head’s still full of this.

#17: Walking On Glass (Iain Banks)

A book with three stories, widely separated from each other. Because that’s what books do, you expect them to draw together, and they do, but slowly. 80% in is the first tangible link, and then they all come in a rush, some more successful than others.

I’m not sure I’m happy with where the third story goes, symbolically. I feel like some of the same territory was mined again, much more successfully, in The Bridge — but then again, it’s been years since I read that one.