Desert Of Zin

The occasional blog of Alistair Bain – Writer, Husband, Father and Chief Techno-Arcanologist at the Institute of Giant Robots, Spaceships and Wizards. None of these positions pay well.

Humble Book Bundle Haikasoru

Here I am, after my customary long disappearance/hibernation/voyage to the end of time (delete as appropriate), hawking yet another Humble Bundle.

I check the site weekly because there’s often something interesting. Not always interesting enough to buy but sometimes I find a bundle that peaks my interest.

Like now.

The Humble Book Bundle Haikasoru has 16 books for just under 15 quid. I can’t vouch for the quality of the fiction, but it’s something different perhaps from what I usually read.

I think I’m going to give it a go.


September 28, 2017 at 11:16 am | Reading | Tags: | No comment

Star Wars – The Infographic

This is an example of why I love the Internet.

Make yourself a cup of tea and settle down for a unique retelling of the first Star Wars film.

June 1, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Reading | Tags: , | No comment

Sci-fi Classics Humble Book Bundle!

Hey Campers,

There a new Humble Bundle on the go with the following books for 15 of your Earth Dollars.

  • Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov
  • Robot Visions by Isaac Asimov
  • The Computer Connection by Alfred Bester
  • The Deceivers by Alfred Bester
  • The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
  • The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
  • Roger Zelazny’s The Dawn of Amber by John Gregory Betancourt
  • Roger Zelazny’s Chaos and Amber by John Gregory Betancourt
  • Roger Zelazny’s To Rule in Amber by John Gregory Betancourt
  • Roger Zelazny’s Shadows of Amber by John Gregory Betancourt
  • Wild Cards: Deuces Down editied by George R.R. Martin
  • George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards: Death Draws Five by John J. Miller
  • Dragonworld by Byron Preiss
  • Arthur C. Clarke’s Venus Prime 1 by Paul Preuss
  • Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny
  • Eye of Cat by Roger Zelazny
  • The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth by Roger Zelazny
  • The Last Defender of Camelot by Roger Zelazny

Not a bad selection. A few in there that I’m not massively interested in but for the price having a few more books on the (electronic) shelf to work through isn’t a bad thing.

And it being a Humble Bundle, there’ll be more added soon no doubt.

Oh, and just over 12 days to go to get them. Here they are.

February 19, 2016 at 10:44 am | Reading | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No comment

Happiness is…

Peace and quiet, despite being on a 8am to 8pm shift, and Sailor On the Seas Of Fate by Michael Moorcock.


And a couple of notebooks for scribbling my ill advised attempts and fiction. And a kindle. And my bottle of water.

Happiness. Without being anywhere other than work, I reckon things could be worse.

December 22, 2015 at 7:07 pm | General, Reading, Writing | Tags: , , , | No comment

I do love a good partwork

Especially when that partwork is going to be 100 issues in total, running to just under 900 quid and will leave me with a large but beautifully detailed model of the Millennium Falcon. Yeah, internet. That’s right. And only for £900. Money well spent there.

I’ve dabbled in partworks in the past. A few editions of the Marvel Graphic Novels Collection. Bits and pieces of the Star Wars and Star Trek Fact Files. Comic books. My Doctor Who dvds.

I’ve bought the first issue, for the bargain price of £2.99, and not because I intend to go any further with it. I’m a sucker for a big poster of a spaceship.

But £900 is a step too far. I could get a Forge World Imperial Reaver & Warhound Titan for that.

Hmmm… Titans…

January 9, 2015 at 11:53 am | Gaming, Reading | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No comment

Luther Arkwright: Ascendent!

After a pretty heavy week of job hunting, and letting job hunting get me down, I discover this and my mood lightens.

Arkwright Integral, a new collection of Bryan Talbot’s The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and Heart of Empire, is due for release at the end of October. AT THE END OF OCTOBER.

My copy of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright has seen better days and I’ve only ever read one issue of Heart of Empire but to get a new collected edition is now at the top of my list of future fun buying.

When I was first getting into comics it was 2000AD that was my particular poison. I also picked up larger print copies of Batman and The Punisher that did the rounds in the UK in the 80’s/90’s, but 2000AD was my passion. Although I’m sure I saw lots of Talbot’s work in that title, it was Nemesis the Warlock I remember the most when he took over art duties from Kevin O’Neill on The Gothic Empire story and subsequently The Vengeance of Thoth and Torquemurder.

(I really must re-read the three volume Nemesis the Warlock at some point. It’s just spectacular.)

I picked up Luther Arkwright on a whim, recognising Bryan Talbot’s name, and initially I was a bit overwhelmed. It’s quite dense. There’s so much on each page. Even now, I have to be in a particular frame of mind to read it. But it IS brilliant.

September 26, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Reading | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No comment

Crossed Genres Magazine

While I remember, having mentioned it in yesterday’s post, there’s a monthly periodical called Crossed Genres. It’s in a DRM-free electronic format and a subscription – electronic only – is $15. You get three stories a month, all in that month’s theme.

While the three stories are published month by month on their own website, you do also get two compilations per year. And I do prefer reading fiction away from my computer screen. I tend to be too distracted to give it my full attention, so the portable electronic editions are worth it.

Also, and this is important, they pay their authors. So a bit of investment in that kind of genre periodical is something I can’t let pass. I’ve read the last two issues and the quality is pretty high.

If you like your genre fiction give it a try. Even in our current cash strapped times we can shill out what equates to less then a tenner for a 18 short stories over the course of a year?

December 24, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Reading, Writing | Tags: | No comment

Get Me Outta Here!

In the end, one might just say that Moorcock’s work as a whole represents an extraordinarily multifarious execution of the fantasist’s main task: which is to get us out of here.

– John Clute’s introduction to The Michael Moorcock Collection as found at the beginning of Daughter of Dreams: Book One of Elric: The Moonbeam Roads

This is why I write. For me. To get me out of here. And for the few who have read (and, occasionally, enjoyed) my small body of work, such as it is.

…to get us out of here.

That’s why I read and enjoy these fantastic tales. They get us out of here. There are worse ways to spend my time, certainly.

I read quite a range of fantastic fiction. I know in SF circles there tends to be a lot of snobbery about the differences between SF and sci-fi but, to be honest, I don’t really care. Rarely would I get drawn into a conversation/argument about the benefits and woes of either part of the greater genre. I didn’t, and still don’t, care. Just fire up the engines and get me out of here.

My current reading list includes Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds and Mechwarrior Dark Age: Ghost War by Michael Stackpole. The latter, I’ve read before and what’s not to love about giant mechanised robots fighting each other. I mean, really?!?

September 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Reading, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No comment

Currently Reading… Big Bad Bill on the Naughty Step

This is one of Aurora’s story books. We occasionally refresh what she has for bedtimes at Partick Library and this is one of the new batch.

Now, I tend to get a bit twitchy with some of Aurora’s bedtime books. Some are arguably better than others and as the one reading the damn things there are certain preferences I have. I do tend to favour the quirkier tales.

The Tiger That Came To Tea is an easy example. The art is simple and gorgeous and is an utter joy to read. One Snowy Night is the same. I’m sure bonus points are awarded for using different accents for each animal. Well, you’ve got to.

Big Bad Bill On The Naughty Step by Mark Sperring and Tom McLaughlin is of the same standard. The threat of the naughty step, after all, is one we all must acknowledge as being quite, quite real… ;) Other than the main character of the young boy Sam, we have a pirate AND a cowboy AND Santa Claus. I mean, really, it can’t get much better than that. Unless there was a ninja. And an astronaut.

And a wizard. That had a giant robot. In a spaceship.

Take note. Everything is improved by wizards, giant robots and spaceships…

Other than that minor quibble, it’s an excellent example of a children’s book.

August 31, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Reading | Tags: , , , , | No comment

In a room full of victims…

The Straw Men – Michael Marshall

“In a room full of victims, murderers look like gods.”

July 27, 2008 at 11:44 pm | Reading | Tags: , , | No comment