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Books of the Internet - Qualified Perceptions
Books of the Internet
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
First, I don't really read fanfic. It's not that I morally disapprove of it, or think it's junk - it's more that I already have SO MANY books to read that I'm not getting to, that I have avoided increasing that by the orders of magnitude that fanfic would add. Second, I'm not that big a Harry Potter fan - I stopped after the Goblet of Fire out of exasperation with the bad guys. However, this particular fanfic keeps getting mentioned by people, so I finally decided to check it out. And then, I pretty much didn't do anything but read it for two days straight. (Even with multiple timelines, it's probably good that one of those days was a holiday). I also had to mention it to mjperson, and he didn't do anything for two days but read it, so it's also a wonder that the last Dragon run wasn't about Dementors. It's a lot clever, and a lot snarky, and a lot "let's bang on the mechanics to understand them", it does sneaky plotting brilliantly, and also - well, the intent of the author is to make the readers smarter, and that probably worked too. It's a little lumpy in pacing (though not more than the originals), and, most importantly (and sadly), it is NOT DONE. But even so, that's the most I've enjoyed reading anything for a long time. Five unfinished stars.

(Speaking of Harry Potter, Jerry and I saw Deathly Hallows Part 1 last night, and it appears to have been filmed during a severe photon shortage. I mean, I knew the last book was dark, but literally? Plus, lots of randomly inappropriate shaky-cam, which always irritates me.)

Mogworld (by Yahtzee Croshaw)
The author is (at least, I know him for being) the Zero Punctuation game critic - funny, sardonic, and quite R-for-language-rated. Look, he has a novel! It's about a minor undead character in a MMORPG, dealing with annoying questers and odd bugs and strange politics due to lazy programmers. It's fun, and funny, and avoids veering into stupid (which humor/fantasy often does), though it's also a little confusing sometimes, and seems to resort to Wandering Falling Building Attacks when the plot flags. An amusing three stars, except for Those Two Bad Guys, who I didn't care for as much.

Machine of Death (compiled by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki)
This is based on this episode of Dinosaur Comics, and includes short stories written by many other web comics authors and others, and also illustrated by many familiar names. Short story collections for me are often not my thing, because if I like a story, it's too quickly over and then I have no motive to keep reading, and if I don't like a story, that isn't any better. And most collections tend to have a couple of good ones, and a couple that I really don't like. This was suprisingly fun all the way through - even the ones I didn't like as much were only down to "well, this wasn't as much fun as some of the others" and not "I can't believe you get paid for this job". Sometimes funny, sometimes touching, sometimes disturbing and plausible, usually quite witty - this is a really nice collection. Also, the authors went on a campaign to get the book to #1 on Amazon on the day it came out, and it did and defeated Glenn Beck's new book on its release date, leading him to complain about the evil liberal culture of death. Hee. Anyway, in addition to being able to buy it from Amazon, you can also download it here for free, and it's coming out as a podcast as well. Four stars, and a lovely data point towards the question of whether society will pay for free things.


3 comments or Leave a comment
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: November 21st, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that's pretty much my review of the Methods of Rationality too.
dpolicar From: dpolicar Date: November 22nd, 2010 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. There are, incidentally, a couple of more chapters out this weekend.
twe From: twe Date: November 24th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, Goblet of Fire is what turned me against all things Harry Potter, though I did read the last three books out of completeness.
3 comments or Leave a comment