A skill book for RPG games

As first heard on Have Games Will Travel:
The Ultimate Skill: The latest book in Hero Games’s Ultimate line takes an in-depth look at Skills. In addition to expanded and alternate rules for learning, using, and modifying Skills, it contains detailed information about every Skill in the game, making it a resource unparalleled in the world of roleplaying games. If you want to know the modifiers for picking a double-wafer lock (or even what one is), bypassing a fingerprint analyzer, navigating by the stars, living off the land, tracking a fearsome monster, bribing a city guard, or anything else that has to do with a Skill, The Ultimate Skill will tell you all about it. The product of hundreds of hours’ and thousands of dollars’ worth of research, The Ultimate Skill will bring new levels of detail, excitement, and fun to your game.
Author: Steven S. Long
Tentative Release Date: Mid 2006

Iain Banks, Civilization Addict

I may not have liked the one Iain Banks book I’ve read to date, but he and I have something in common. From the Independent Online:
Iain Banks has committed the cardinal sin of failing to meet a deadline.
The award-winning novelist’s latest work, Matter, was due to hit the shelves in a couple of weeks as a shoo-in for the Christmas bestseller lists.
It now won’t be released until some time next March.
“It’s all because I became a serial addict of the computer game ‘Civilisation’,” Banks said at this month’s Edinburgh book festival.
“I played it for three months and then realised I hadn’t done any work. In the end, I had to delete all the saved files and smash the CD.
“It is very unprofessional of me. I had to ask for an extension for the first time, which made me feel just like I was a student again.”

Bully for Pluto

The Washington Monthly
Kevin Drum wraps up the current debate at the IAU, where the status of Pluto as a planet is being debated.
I’ve mentioned this debate before in a few entries here at Blog, Jvstin Style over the years
I stand by what I said about a year ago in an blog entry about the NY Times position on the matter:

Me, I think we can keep Pluto in on the Grandfather Clause, and declare a Planet to be a body large enough that it has a spherical shape due to gravity, that orbits the Sun in the general plane of the solar system. While Pluto itself (nor any asteroids, nor any Kuiper belt objects) would not qualify under this definition, let Pluto remain, rather than demote it.

Books Read List 2006

38. The World Turned Upside Down, David Drake, Eric Flint, Jim Baen
37. Throne of Jade, Naomi Novik
36. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett
35. Dies the Fire, S.M. Stirling
34. One Lamp, Gordon Van Gelder
33. Blood and Iron, Elizabeth Bear
32. The Stonehenge Gate, Jack Williamson
31. Kushiel’s Scion, Jacqueline Carey
30. The Hedge Knight, George R.R. Martin
29. Ilium, Dan Simmons
28. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
27. Elemental, Steven Savile and Alethea Kontis
26. His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik
25. The Clan Corporate, Charles Stross
24. Melusine, Sarah Monette
23. The Golden Age, John C. Wright
22. Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett
21. The Fabric of the Cosmos, Brian Greene
20. The Hostage of Zir, L. Sprague De Camp
19. Lord of the Fire Lands, Dave Duncan
18. Zulu Heart, Steven Barnes
17. The Knight, Gene Wolfe
16. A Civil Campaign, Lois M Bujold
15. Lords and Ladies, Terry Pratchett
14. Spin, Robert Charles Wilson
13. DeadHouse Gates, Steven Erikson
12. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
11. Singularity Sky, Charles Stross
10. Atlas of the Medieval World, by Rosamond McKitterick
9. America Discovered, an Historical Atlas of North American Exploration, Derek Hayes
8. National Geographic’s Mapping the World, an Illustrated History of Cartography, Ralph E Ehrenberg
7. Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana, Jess Nevins
6. Prague, The Crown of Bohemia 1347-1437, Barbara Drake Boehm and Jiri Fajt
5. The Paths of the Dead, Part I of III of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Steven Brust
4. Lost Burgundy, Mary Gentle
3. Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman
2. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
1. A History of God, Karen Armstrong