66. Stasheff, Christopher. The Warlock's Companion (The Warlock Series) (235 p.)
67. Stasheff, Christopher. The Warlock Insane (The Warlock Series) (247 p.)
68. Simpson, George E. and Neil R. Burger. Ghostboat (412 p.)
October total: 894 pages
2013 YTD total: 23,015 pages
That list makes it look like a light month for reading this month, but I've been busier than usual, and spent a lot of the month reading a long book that I still hadn't finished by the end of the month.
In any case, Stasheff's Warlock series continues to find new ways to hold my interest, which I appreciate. It's not top-notch, must-read fiction, but I'd definitely recommend it if you're just looking for some fun reads that mix fantasy with a bit of sci-fi. (The Warlock's Companion, in particular, is mostly sci-fi with a smidgen of fantasy; the others are mostly fantasy with a sci-fi hero and sci-fi explanations for why magic works.) Also, props to Stasheff for marrying off the protagonist in book 1, and then having him stay married and raise a multi-child family throughout the rest of the series, without using the permanent breakup of a protagonist's marriage as a cheap shortcut for character development, and without creating a single-child triangular family structure with the wife & kid used as decoration, handy hostages for the antagonists, or there just to be killed off to support character development via the Sledgehammer of Angst. Instead, the family are all just as competent as protagonists as the main protagonist is, they still have their share of internal family conflict, and Stasheff finds ways to split them up every couple of books (without actually splitting them up permanently). It's something I haven't seen often in fantasy (and only slightly more often in science fiction), and it's like a breath of fresh air that helps keep my interest up.
Ghostboat started out interesting, with a U.S. submarine being lost during WWII in a Pacific Ocean equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle, and then showing up 30 years later, almost as pristine as the day she left, except with no crew on board. A new crew sails her back to where she vanished, hoping to figure out what happened to her and prove that there really is a Pacific version of the Bermuda Triangle. The book teases the ambiguity between whether the strange happenings would eventually be explained quasi-scientifically or quasi-mystical/paranormal, but as it goes on, it starts to lean more and more towards the latter before jumping off the deep end in favor of the latter, and then not actually explaining much beyond what amounts to, "Weird, ghostly things happen sometimes, even with submarines," and then an abrupt "and none of them lived happily ever after", the combination of which left me thinking the authors had decided to quit while they were ahead when they realized they were quickly running out of steam, rather than come up with a more satisfying ending.
Feudalism: Serf & Turf