Tag Archive: Stormlight Archive


Son of the Black Sword 1A 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.

Spoiler Warning

As you might expect, minor spoilers ahead. Only minor ones, though, so if you want to read more you should be safe.  Continue reading

swearing-at-workWe do it a lot. Of course, we might call it different things. Profanity, swearing, cursing, cussing . . . yeah, we do it a lot.

Of course, not everyone does it to the same degree, or with the same words. Sometimes that can be amusing, at least in certain contexts. A common Australian word for a cigarette, for example, is the same word as an insult for a homosexual in the US. In the UK, a very common swear word (though less severe these days than a few decades ago) simply means to have the quality of blood in the US and Canada. And that’s where everyone speaks the same language.

Swearing serves an important function, and the fact that we all do it to some degree or another means our characters probably should as well; but when should we do it, how much, and why? Continue reading

Victory-Cigar-Congress-Passes-DST.jpegIt’s that time of year again. It’s time to wake up an hour early, only to look at the clock and be confused because it’s an hour later than it feels like it should be. It’s time to grumble and moan and ask yourself and anyone in earshot why do we do this ridiculous thing!?

That’s right. It’s Daylight Saving Time.

It’s a peculiar practice that supposedly saves energy, except it winds up causing far more headaches than benefits, makes scheduling things weird, and is generally a pointless exercise that may or may not save a few bucks.

This time, though, it made me think of a different topic. Strange peculiarities that may or may not make sense but always seem weird from a different perspective are what make a real-life culture seem, well, real. What kind of things can we learn from that for worldbuilding?  Continue reading

Yep, I’ve been away for a while. I had some personal-life things to take care of. Nope, I’m not going to describe them here, because they don’t have to do with writing or fun stuff. This ain’t no LiveJournal or MySpace here, bub! (Aaaaand I just dated myself. Moving on.)

I was going to make my first post back be a book review, but instead I decided to get off my duff and start the worldbuilding series I’ve been meaning to do for months now. The reason is that two parts of my life have converged on the same topic very recently. The first is that my workshop at Christendom College has restarted; the second is that I play World of Warcraft on the side.

What’s the relevancy? you might ask, and rightly so. Warcraft players might be able to guess, of course, but I’ll address the workshop angle first. Most of my students are interested in writing fantasy, which is a happy coincidence for me as I fully expected the opposite even though all evidence of youthful interest in fiction backs it up. (Just glance through the Teen Fiction section at your local bookstore, or see what the most popular movies are among the teens-and-twenties demographic.) I tailor my workshop lectures to my audience’s interests, and when I mentioned I could do some lectures on worldbuilding, there was much rejoicing.

One of the things many people overlook when worldbuilding, however, is economics. That doesn’t mean Wall Street and esoteric ideas of bull and bear markets or how one makes money using other people’s money. No, I mean taking into consideration what is valuable to a different society, what constitutes that level of value, how you represent and trade that value, and how you go about creating value.

Oh, dear. I did promise non-technical, didn’t I? It’s right there in the post’s title. I guess I need to live up to that! Continue reading

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