22 · Catherine Asaro’s Fondling the Magic Deck

Cover art"The Ruby Dice", by Catherine Asaro.

This week we open the Grimoire Cage and unleash that most dangerous of bibliographic bogeymen: the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book! Your stalwart hosts recount very different experiences on their voyage through the number-coded pages of a vast and sprawling adventure, with naught but their wits — such as they are — and a studious commitment to sincere literary reportage to guide them.

K battles a Space Dragon (who may or may not be a pirate). Khaki invents a collective noun for Velibraraptors.

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21 · Christopher Anvil’s Katzendämmerung

Cover artA gang of rogue geneticists, lead by an anarchic pharmacist-cum-messiah-figure, seek to turn the world order upside down by seeding the atmosphere with a virus that restructures human DNA to pull out animal traits. Robert Katz, an early test subject, must find a way to stop them.

"RX for Chaos", by Christopher Anvil, as recommended by friend-of-the-library Old Pines.

Continuing the trend of hunky cat-men that last appeared in the show back in episode 2, this week's book is all about the hubris of science, the mundanity of human experimentation, and the ecstasy of catnip. It also features our titular kitty-man running amok in a Tactical Jockstrap, which, you know, isn't bad.

K reminds Khaki how time and calendars work. Khaki reenacts his favourite scene from Jurassic Park, with terrible results.

 

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20 · James P. Hogan’s Rainbow Revolution

Cover art“In a world where poor fashion-choices mean death, one man dared to wear orange.”

The heir to an inter-stellar fashion empire, on an in-between year, uncovers an unlikely artefact of ancient Zambian space history and sparks a revolution – but the Fashion Police are always one step ahead...

K recites the French irregular adjectives and explains where jeans go when they dye. Khaki recites one of his favorite limericks and defends JJ Abrams's oeuvre against unprovoked attacks.

Bookmarked passages:
Infrared ID photo, dental records, green boots, Brian Blessed!, Aldrin and Armstrong are hard to tell apart, Commonwealth of Milk & Honey, Space ZAKA, Tau Alpha Ceti, E before I except after C, Menzies where the Stenzies, Space Diaspora, the Planet of Jogging and Premarital Sex, Spanish naming convention, bleu-de-gênes jeans and bleu-de-nimes denim, Edward Nkoloso's Zambian Space Program, Olympic condom logistics, the world's funniest joke (Monty Python), Lovecraftian couture, dessin diabolique, Vantablack, purple reign, dying denim, ace in the hole, Star Wars and Star Trek's inscrutable internal consistency, Intergalactic Holi Festival, definitely unquestionably a book, rated Blue out of Rainbow.

Selected quotes:

"It's kind of left in the middle...
– Oh, is it? Yeah, it's strange how when I when I point out obvious logical flaws and always turns out to be ambiguous in the book."

"Where's the difference between grave-robbing and archaeology?"

"The average Vomit-Comet doesn't do that much better, right?"

"I will never forgivenes JJ Abrams for putting the Klingon Homeworld and Earth within transport a distance of each other."

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19 · Orson Scott Card’s Gay Razzmatazz

Cover art"In a world where science and engineering rule while magic merely serves, an industrialist aristocrat’s genius heir finds himself drawn to the allure of a novice kitchen-wizard."

Young love blossoms in a world aswirl with conflicts both magical and mundane in an alternate Victorian era where Europe's class system changes under the influx of magical innovations from the flourishing African nations.

All that fancy philosophy aside, a cover like this promises certain salacious same-sex shenanigans, and famed marriage-equality activist O. S. Card's saucy gay romance novel certainly delivers on its promise!

K rates this book a B on the turgidity scale. Khaki crafts some convincing stilts.

Bookmarked passages:
More feathers for Phase Four, red ink protocol, Farscape slash fiction, Alvin Maker: The Sorceror-Slut, award-losing author, penis-equipped danders, David Bowie's ball handling, Chang & Eng, Brian Blessed, non-colonial Victorian era, cantrip parlors and back-alley tech clubs, recharging at the sex-garden, Orson Scott Card has a "type", bilingual street signs, Mormon multilingual WordPerfect, Stirling engines, popular polyandry, wizard unions, seizing the means of conjuration, Chuck Tingle's Brexit allegory, Bloise Idaho, a bit of a shit-bird.

Selected quotes:

"The gay sex does get in the way of the cooking.
– Story of my life, really."

"Whatever comes after post-modernism, that's Chuck Tingle."

"A pre-shaprd tip is pressed into the subject at a pre-set force..."

“It’s like the fluffer of modern technology.”

"can't wait to get into his magic sack!"

"Their eyes 'throbbed' at each other — that was a gross one!"

“And he’s into reciprocation, which I like.”

“So we have cat-fur and glass rods – and a lot of other rods being rubbed here, and a lot of magical power is released in the process!”

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18 · Andre Norton’s Shoshone-Suomi Showdown

Cover artPoor timing abounds, as ancient secrets are accidentally unlocked through clumsy cultural appropriation – just as mankind prepares to abandon wonder forever. 

Rival thunder-god wanna-bes Yan-a-bumfit and Perkele enter the ring: place your bets!

K recites the Rhyme of British Coinage. Khaki tells K about a Space Thing for a change.

Bookmarked passages:
Phase 1, Canadian Bear Man, six-wheeled fennecs, abridged and incomplete novels, Readers' Digest, sorting on the Z-axis, Supermarionation, multicultural wizard shaman, Twitter inconsistencies, rockets are quick, gyroc, Currywurst mit Pommes, Thunderbird VTOL aircraft, SANSA-JAXA collaboration, Kessler syndrome, "mopping with the tap running", Pocatello XVI, Snake People, Plains Sign Talk, Alejandro "Alex" Schomburg y Rosa, coin-op gods, are foreign F-bombs permitted, Isotopes of Old Money, telex-memex internet, fulgerite talisman, beating the drums, multi-tribal vocables

Selected quotes:

"Oh my god, feathers!"

"Like Godzilla tromping around New York with a few bits of human clothing saying 'Ooh look at me, I'm getting a latte macchiato!'"

"I would describe it as a Cobra Cat."

"Let's not google it."
– "Why waste an opportunity for ignorance and maybe a corrective tweet?"

"Kill your loved ones."
– "That's not how that saying goes!"

"It's not head-canon when you write it."

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