Books, beer and barbarians

Home to fantasy author Ty Johnston

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Books read in 2019: No. 40 -- Doc Savage: The Land of Terror

by Kenneth Robeson

Started: Sept. 13
Finished: Sept. 18

Notes: Though I'm well aware of the Doc Savage character, I've never actually read one of these books before, so I thought it high time. This is apparently the second novel in the lengthy series, and the author's name is actually a house name used by the publisher of the time (here the 1930s). The actual author was apparently Lester Dent. Also, if I should happen to love this novel, I know an antique store that has a revolving rack full of them, so I'll know where to go to get more.

Mini review: A friend of Doc's is murdered and a long investigation eventually leads to an island where dinosaurs still roam! This was just a fun little romp. The writing is quite juvenile by today's standards, but it also has a fun, quirky sense to it that reminds one of old serialized television programs such as Flash Gordon and the earliest days of super hero comic books. I might very well venture forth into this territory again.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Marvel FASERIP RPG: Episode 1


I mentioned recently I took part in a tabletop RPG campaign from the '80s Marvel Super Heroes FASERIP game, and here is episode 1. Hope you enjoy! There will be more of these as I believe we did 10 or 12 episodes.

Beer of the Week: MacTarnahan's Amber Ale

Beer score: 6.2

Company: Portland Brewing Company

ABV: 5.1
IBU: 32

This one poured with a nice, thick, foamy head, so if that's your sort of thing, enjoy! It comes out of the bottle and into the glass with an reddish amber color, but that makes sense since this is an amber ale. The taste is that coppery "red" known in some premium "red" beers, but I have to say the flavoring here is stronger and doesn't have so much of that typical premium feeling. As for texture, its somewhat water but not overly thin, making it easy to drink. There are hints of fruitiness here, maybe citrus.

All in all, this makes an excellent drinking beer. You could easily guzzle down a few of these with your favorite buds at a pub. And speaking from experience, this amber ale does go well with pub food.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Books read in 2019: No. 39 -- Stormqueen!

by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Started: August 25
Finished: Sept. 13

Notes: I've never been a huge MZB fan, but I have been meaning for some time to try one of her Darkover novels since they were so popular a number of decades back.

Mini review: In a feudal world where the rulers have varying levels of mind powers, a group of young people find themselves embroiled in intrigue and war at the highest levels of society and politics. And that description barely touches everything that happens within this novel. I can't say this was a favorite novel, but it was actually pretty good, though I felt it took a long time before truly becoming interesting. This novel is apparently set in one of the earliest ages of the world of Darkover, so most of the other novels take place years or centuries after this one. I would like to add that the ending here is somewhat emotionally wrenching, but that's not a bad thing, at least not to me. Would I try another Darkover novel? Yes, I would, and perhaps I will, especially as they are still being written by other authors since MZB has passed away.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Beer of the Week: Old Speckled Hen

Beer score: 4.0

Company: Greene King

ABV: 5.0
IBU: NA

This decent British ale has been around for about 40 years now, originally as a celebratory beer for employees of a vehicle manufacturer.

Very smooth going back after a nice, fluffy head. It's quite wet but has a cheap bitterness to it, almost like it's been sitting in a can for a good long while. That being said, it does have a nice copper color when poured, and there is a fine grainy and grassy flavoring here with hints of toffee or caramel.

Though that bitterness ... man, it's strong. For those not used to it, all that bitter can be quite the shock, but I could see how this ale could grow on you.

Would I drink it again? Sure. Would I drink it regularly? Probably not. Still, it's a different kind of drink, at least here in the U.S. where I live, so it's worth trying every once in a while.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Marvel Super Heroes tabletop role playing game, Session 0


Yes, folks, I'm in the above video with Professor Bill from Comic Book University, along with a few other hardy tabletop role players, and we are playing the old Marvel Super Heroes game from the 1980s, commonly referred to as the FASERIP game (because FASERIP is an acronym for some of the character stats in the game).

We played these session a few months back, and there were 10 or 11 episodes (sorry, my memory ain't what it used to be). Anyway, we had a lot of fun, and Professor Bill is now uploading these sessions so others can see.

Go, watch, have fun, and enjoy. And maybe you can break out some old '80s RPG action!