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December 2005

Reading Retrospective

Nearly two years ago, I looked at my 'to read' pile and realised that it never seemed to go down any further in size. I became pretty curious to work out just how much I was reading so I decided to start to track the books that I was reading on an Excel spreadsheet. The first year saw me (just) break the hundred book barrier, but this year it's looking like the end count will be around the low-mid eighties. I'm guessing that the dropped numbers are a combination of the change in my job at work hitting free time, and the fact that I have read a fair few RPGs this year. For some reason, they always take longer!

I was lucky enough to be given a number of new books for Christmas, with quite a range. Current affairs (Robert Fisk's book on the Middle East) through to history (Atlas of the Year 1000, Persian Fire), Humour/Fantasy (Terry Pratchett and Lynne Truss' "Talk to the Hand") through to SF (Stross' Accelerando and Ken MacLeod's latest). So the reading stockpile is as high as every. On top of that, I've a few RPGs to read like the new Deryni Game, and the new edition of 'The Burning Wheel'.

The Call of Cthulhu

I've just spent an excellent weekend in London, spending Saturday at Dragonmeet, running Traveller for BITS. However, as we had an abundance of helpers, I got the chance to visit the various stands. The standout material at the show was that produced for Call of Cthulhu by the HPLHS (HP Lovecraft Historical Society). Amongst this was a Region 0 DVD, of their silent 1920s / 1930s style B&W silent film version of The Call of Cthulhu, Lovecraft's classic mythos tale.

CoC DVD cover

Having watched it, I wholeheartedly recommend it. It's never going to be your blockbuster style Hollywood movie, but it's a great way to pass an hour. If you're in the UK, Leisure Games took all the remaining stock.

To add icing to the cake, I also picked up their Props and Fonts CDs. The first one is a collection of PDF files of 1920s artifacts – such as passports, drivers licenses, library cards and newspapers – that can be modified at will. The second is a collection of fonts taken from a 1920s font book. They've been scanned and turned into True Types (which work in Mac OS X and Windows). As a bonus, one of the fonts is a script based on Lovecraft's own hand.