No, that’s not all one topic (though it sounds like it would make an interesting discussion). I’m just giving you an update on some things over at my other site that you might be interested in. Continue reading
Prince Raoden of Arelon awoke early that morning, completely unaware that he had been damned for all eternity.
These are the opening words to one of the best novels ever written: Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson. I first read it in 2011, barely more than a year into my career as an editor. It immediately became one of my favorites, if not my most favorite novel ever.
It had been sitting on my shelf for years, though, waiting to be read. The problem was that the paperback copy doesn’t tell you what the story is about, and so I never knew if I was in the mood for it. My reading list is so long, and I stopped counting at a hundred, that I kept deciding to try something else. This is after reading both Mistborn and The Way of Kings. I’d heard good things, but not knowing what to expect kept making me pick something else.
Well, now it’s the only novel I’ve ever considered worth getting in a collector’s quality leatherbound edition. And not to give you a clickbait kind of hook, but what Brandon Sanderson put on the personalization inside made me tear up.
Considering how I feel about this book, I should have done a review on it years ago. I even said on this blog that it deserves its own review. For some reason, I kept putting it off. Maybe it’s just that I didn’t know if I could do it justice. I’m glad I didn’t, though. If I had, then I couldn’t have given my readers this story. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I finished Son of the Black Sword, the latest book from Larry Correia. I’ve been delaying on writing blog posts, so this review isn’t the only one on my to-do list; but the thing is, if you like fantasy that’s a little bit different, you need to read this book. You’ll thank both me and Larry later.
Son of the Black Sword is the first in a new series for Correia. It’s also marketed as the first in a new genre; that’s not really true, since he’s been writing Iron Kingdoms tie-ins, but when it comes to his original fiction he’s known as an urban fantasy writer. He’s most famous for his bestselling Monster Hunter series, a contemporary story about a group of contractors whose job it is to hunt and kill the monsters humanity would rather pretend don’t exist. Second to that (and my personal favorite) is his Grimnoir Chronicles, an epic-scale alternate history/fantasy set in an alternate Great Depression where magic exists and the West is in a cold war with Imperial Japan. (Also, there are airships and Tesla superweapons.)
Compared against that, Son of the Black Sword is definitely something different — and not just because there isn’t a single gun to be found. It’s an epic fantasy, of the sort that might normally be described as “traditional fantasy” until you read through the first chapter. Son of the Black Sword is set in a world that heavily draws on South and East Asian concepts, in terms of society, politics, philosophy, and even the fantasy itself. But that’s all mere backdrop, however well-painted, supporting a story with three major twists, five minor twists, and a story where you’re not sure quite what’s going on but you’re hungry, starving for more.
This is epic fantasy at its finest. My favorite epic fantasy remains David Eddings’ The Belgariad and The Malloreon, despite such personages as Brandon Sanderson redefining and expanding the genre. Larry Correia is now approaching a rival for Sanderson, and after this start I would not be surprised if he starts rivaling Eddings for me on pure enjoyment.
As you might expect, minor spoilers ahead. Only minor ones, though, so if you want to read more you should be safe. Continue reading
This has been a very busy summer. Between work and family commitments, I’ve been running around so much that when I get back home I just really haven’t had the energy to blog. Heck, my work has been cutting into my vital goof-off time, and we all know how important that is. I didn’t have time to review a single item on the Hugo ballot this year like I’d expected, and I quite literally finalized my ballot only on the last day. I had to skip the fan and related work categories, too; I just didn’t have the time to finish those.
This last weekend was particularly hectic and stressful, to the point that reading about Hugo kerfluffles online was relaxing by comparison. I didn’t even think I should blog about it, but decided I could probably squeeze off a quick post.
The short version: I can’t say I’m surprised. In fact, I can’t even say I’m disappointed. Continue reading
On Friday, May 24th, I read the last comic for Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire. It’s a long-running webcomic that I’ve read for years, generally five days a week. It started out as almost a gag-a-day comic with limited storylines and grew into an epic about the fate of the world. It centered on the title character, Dominic Deegan, a seer and oracle whose visions would lead him to one adventure after another. Whether it was as simple as solving a murder or as complicated as teaching a university class on divination, every story got better and better, widened the world, and deepened the characters.
I have a list of comics I go through regularly, and usually just open all the tabs at once and page through them in turn. Today, when I got to the Dominic Deegan tab, I found a thank-you message for the fans. On Friday, when I saw the 3,000th strip, I was thinking the end of the comic had sunk in. I knew it was coming, after all. But it’s actually only becoming real today, when I automatically loaded the comic and saw that thank-you. Eleven years have come to an end.
If you’ve never read the strip, I recommend trying it out. It may not be for everyone, and I’d put a mild maturity warning on it for some of my audience, but I obviously enjoyed it. The ending was also one of the best I’ve ever encountered: the perfect blend of confirming the end while acknowledging other stories, all in the context of showing a happy marriage. That might be a spoiler for some people, but we all like happy endings.
Farewell, Dominic, Luna, Spark, Gregory, Quilt, and all the rest. I’ll see you in the archives.
My friend, sister (well, by mutual agreement; who says you can’t pick your family?), and future co-author (next year) Elizabeth, of the more-popular-than-mine blogs Elenatintil and Confessions of a Seamstress, has been resisting one of my recommendations. Doctor Who? Check. X-Men? Check. David Eddings’ The Belgariad? Check. Firefly? Shiny! Girl Genius? SCIENCE!
But even as our other friends read more and more of The Dresden Files, she has steadfastly (if quietly) demurred. On Saturday, her latest response was “Maybe someday. But you have to read The Parasol Protectorate first.” Continue reading
G. K. Chesterton was a British journalist and author living in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He wrote on nearly every topic there was to be discussed at the time, and naturally that includes literature. In fact, it’s widely agreed that his critiques of Charles Dickins’ books were a key part of the latter’s success, and Chesterton went on to have strong influence on both Tolkien and Lewis. Continue reading