Posted by Sari
Category 12, A book based on a game or game world: John DeChancie: From Prussia with Love (Castle Falkenstein)
Castle Falkenstein is one of Jukka's favourite tabletop roleplaying games. It is situated in an alternative steampunky 19th-century Europe where Ludwig II of Bavaria, snatched from our world, rules with the aid of faerie. This tie-in novel has the Bavarian intelligence officers spying against Bismarck's Prussia which has developed a steam-based missiles.
From Prussia with Love is actually pretty decent for a tie-in novel. There are a number of familiar historical and fictional characters from Bismarck to van Helsing and Captain Nemo, airships, space program, magical mirrors, dwarves, assassins and a wonderful chase scene in the sewers of Paris. There are no deep character studies or social critique, but as an adventure it works quite well. It might also be my reading habits, but I found it nice change to have the story mostly situated on the continent instead of Britain.
Category 36, a book where food plays major part: C.J. Cherryh: Foreigner
C.J. Cherryh has written my favourite SF novel ever, Cyteen, and I have yet to read a book of hers I didn't like. Foreigner is the first part of a series or a sequence of novels that is nwt 19 novels long and keeps growing. In it a human spacecraft miscalculates a hyperspace jump and ends up in a foreign part of space with no way back home. They find a liveable planet and only later realize there is a native sentient spieces, the Atevi, living there. The novels center around the human ambassador/interpreter Bren Cameron and his efforts to survive, understand the Atevi culture and mediate between humans and the Atevi.
I binge read about twelve (I think?) of these this year. Bren is a typical Cherryh protagonist: insecure, stressed and scared inside but projecting competence and calm outside. Why this is in the food category is, that many of the Atevi foods are deadly poisonous to humans, and Bren has to be extremely careful about what he eats - every meal is a potential death-trap.
Though this series is nowhere as good as Alliance Union -series, there is lot to like. I liked the effort of making Atevi seem truly alien, though it is not always succesful. I also liked the way humans were split into space-living and planet-bound cultures (very usual for Cherryh) and I was entertained by the from one disaster to another plot this (and the subsequent) books have.
Nordqvist: Valkoinen Elefantti
This is a white tea with apple, pear and grenadine aromas. 75-80 degrees, brew for 2-3 minutes. The taste is very bland, sort of uniformly sweet without any after taste. Not one of my favourites.