Selected SF/F Previews for 8/2015

Below are the titles I’ve chosen to highlight from SF Signal’s lists of books and comics released in August 2015.

  • Becky Chambers, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this originally self-published space adventure novel, and the preview seems both readable and pleasant: classic space opera tropes but with a light, contemporary feel.
  • Terry Pratchett, The Shepherd’s Crown. Terry Pratchett’s last Discworld novel is pretty much by definition a gift to be treasured. I can’t imagine this is the best place for someone to begin the series, but to a fan, the opening scenes call to mind many warm and happy memories.
  • John Scalzi, The End of All Things. This is the latest in the Old Man’s War series, and as usual, it seems to be compulsively readable stuff.
  • Christopher Moore, Secondhand Souls. The sequel to Moore’s very funny Grim Reaper comedy, Dirty Job, this seems like fun too, though I’m sure the experience of reading the preview benefits from also having read the first book.
  • Tom Scioli, American Barbarian. This seems to be a parody of 80s cartoons like Thundarr the Barbarian, but with more than a hint of the 70s comic Kamandi to it as well. Like its source material, it appears to be delightfully unsophisticated yet strange.
  • Stefan Petrucha, Deadpool: Paws. Deadpool first appeared well after I’d stopped keeping track of the Marvel Universe, and I’ve been neither here nor there about the Deadpool comics I’ve read. But I did like a couple of the jokes in the opening chapters of this prose novel, e.g. the bit about “Goom hungers!”

Board game rank change report for 2015Q3

On October 1, I compiled the usual stats on board games that have shown large positive movement within BGG‘s top 500 in the past quarter. Standard caveats about recategorization, new editions (etc.) apply.

Fast, positive movers among 'Board games':
083 (+105) Patchwork
097 (+259) The Voyages of Marco Polo
163 (+337) Codenames
167 (+220) La Granja
262 (+238) Forbidden Stars
277 (+118) Orléans
299 (+201) Spyfall
307 (+159) Elysium
324 (+144) Star Wars: Armada
396 (+104) Specter Ops

Fast, positive movers among 'Strategy games':
120 (+380) Forbidden Stars
186 (+314) Fire in the Lake
298 (+202) Summoner Wars: Alliances Master Set

Fast, positive movers among 'War games':
069 (+431) Churchill
092 (+408) Nexus Ops
220 (+280) Triumph & Tragedy
231 (+269) Dungeon Command: Tyranny of Goblins
267 (+233) Enemy Action: Ardennes

Fast, positive movers among 'Family games':
094 (+406) Diamonds
151 (+349) Broom Service
162 (+338) DC Comics Deck-Building Game: Heroes Unite
180 (+320) Steampunk Rally
189 (+311) OddVille
209 (+291) Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
213 (+287) Flick 'em Up!
221 (+279) Discoveries
261 (+239) Tiny Epic Galaxies

Fast, positive movers among 'Collectible games':
002 (+498) Summoner Wars: Alliances Master Set
017 (+483) Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn
027 (+473) Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous – Base Set
044 (+456) Vs. System 2PCG
045 (+455) Epic
055 (+445) Star Trek Deck Building Game: The Next Generation – The Next Phase
095 (+405) Ortus Regni
117 (+383) Krynea Battlefield
153 (+347) Guerra De Mitos II

Fast, positive movers among 'Thematic games':
041 (+459) Cthulhu Wars
120 (+380) Witness
155 (+345) Flick 'em Up!
178 (+322) Legendary Encounters: A Predator Deck Building Game
218 (+282) Onward to Venus
224 (+276) Ancient Terrible Things
246 (+254) Magic: The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers
247 (+253) Hostage Negotiator
262 (+238) Blood Rage
277 (+223) Mistfall
282 (+218) Star Trek Deck Building Game: The Next Generation – The Next Phase
298 (+202) NOIR: Deductive Mystery Game