I got one of those double books that is one novel on one side, and then you flip it upside down and there is another novel on the back!
No one would put the blame on her. But were you to blame Jacob Chen himself, a man who could punch a program of a million words into a computer?
-Endless Shadow by John Brunner
This is a crappy sci-fi book from the early 60s about how computer programmers run the transit system that keeps the galaxy together. Computer programmers are so smart that they are given any difficult job, including non-computer-related action-hero James Bond stuff. As a computer programmer myself, I find this highly unlikely.
Also, when Earth interacts with a new culture, they send a computer programmer, because their intelligence makes them uniquely insightful about the emotional states of others. As a computer programmer myself, I utter a single ringing bark of mirthless laughter.
This book was difficult to read, because I couldn’t figure out what was motivating everyone, because everyone’s motivations were derived from pop psychoanalysis. Everyone had a complex or whatever. There was also some sci fi stuff. There was a mystery, and it was solved when it turns out that someone had surgically given themselves devil horns! And that revealed what complex they had? or something?
There’s a tiny germ of a D&D idea here. Someone alters themselves to get tiefling attributes. Why? They must be trying to fool someone: either themselves, or the tieflings, or the non-tieflings (they’re trying to frame the tieflings), or the devils. If they’re trying to fool the devils, then either they are very dumb or the devils are very dumb.
Let’s expand the latter into a D&D mystery adventure. A supernatural disaster strikes the city! Legend has it that this type of disaster can only be caused by a tiefling calling on an ancient devil promise. The PCs must determine which of the handful of tieflings are the guilty one.
Except at the last minute, a human’s hat falls off and his horns are seen! It turns out he has magically given himself tiefling attributes in order to hoodwink the devils into killing his enemies. I guess we’d better make the guilty human young, so we can have met his parents and established his human pedigree.
OK, it’s not the best idea in the world, but this is not the most inspiring book.