Saturday, January 31, 2009

Review: Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

Last Argument of Kings (US, UK, Canada) is the closing argument of Joe Abercrombie’s answer to epic fantasy. Abercrombie embraces the cliché of fantasy, spins it around, turns it upside down, and covers it stinky, dark, sardonic wit – and then he surprised you. Not everyone believes he succeeds in these goals – often complaining that he still falls into same old traps – but I applaud his effort and the satiric success of it. In the Last Argument of Kings Abercrombie offers up more of the same from the previous two books and then adds some more with an ending that is simply brilliant.

Since Last Argument of Kings is the third book in a trilogy, I’ll be light on the plot summary. The epic quest of Book 2, Before They Are Hanged (US, Uk, Canada), is complete and our adventures have returned. The war in the north continues, yet does come to an end while the central city of Adua becomes embroiled in issues regarding succession of the monarchy and a threat of invasion. Interesting and surprising things await the characters we’ve come to love (or hate) through the series.

The most enjoyable aspect of The First Law trilogy is the way that Abercrombie plays with the tropes of epic fantasy – he fully embraces them while adding a satiric bite and unexpected outcomes. In my review of Before They Are Hanged I mentioned that this had lost the novelty of The Blade Itself – but I must say that Abercrombie rounds things out wonderfully in Last Argument of Kings. As the trilogy ends, the reader is finally let in on a bit of what’s been going on behind the scenes – and the end is decidedly not typical for epic fantasy. For experienced readers of the genre – basically, people who are in on the joke – the end will likely be something of a breath of fresh air. I imagine those that aren’t in on the joke (or don’t find it all that amusing) will simply think it stinks – or at least that it is not particularly satisfying in the way that people generally want things to end. I found it inspired as the mixed emotions rebelled against one another.

Characterization remains a strong point – Inquisitor Glokta may be my favorite character in epic fantasy at the moment. The sardonic wit of his external and internal dialogue is priceless, while I can’t help but like this almost entirely unlikable person. Logen reveals his dark side and the Bloody Nine, Jezal grows as a character as he falls back to his roots, and that bastard Bayaz…. I was also pleased to find out that Abercrombie has indeed been keeping Ardee around for a reason – though her character is a little too witty and unconvincing.

Series come to an end – and I’ve said before how it’s often a bitter-sweet kind of moment. With the Last Argument of Kings, Abercrombie seems to have poured on the bitter – which makes it all the more sweet. Abercrombie hasn’t been writing the standard epic fantasy trilogy – and the proof is in the ending. This series has overwhelmed many and under-whelmed more than few – but it something that fans of epic fantasy simply must read for themselves. 8.5/10

Friday, January 23, 2009

Coraline Trailer

Well, Neil Gaiman requests that people show off his preferred trailer for the movie Coraline. Ask and yee shall receive (sometimes anyway).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guardian's Science Fiction & Fantasy Novels Everyone Must Read: The Meme

I saw it SF Signal and I figure it'll make some rounds. The alternate title to the post would be something like 'The Shameful Admission That I'm Actually Not Very Well Read in SFF". The books I've read are bolded, I've italicized books that are languishing in The Stack, and linked reviews I've written. I'm not planning on taking the time to comment on what books should be on the list and what shouldn't. I'm sure there will be lots of discussion along those directions elsewhere.

Guardian has been running a series called 1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read and has recently published their 131 science fiction and fantasy picks. (Links to intro. For the list, see Parts One, Two and Three.) They've also listed a couple of interesting articles: The Best Dystopias by Michael Moorcock, Imagined Worlds by Susanna Clarke, and Novels that predicted the future by Andrew Crumey.

  1. Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
  2. Brian W Aldiss: Non-Stop (1958)
  3. Isaac Asimov: Foundation (1951)
  4. Margaret Atwood: The Blind Assassin (2000)
  5. Paul Auster: In the Country of Last Things (1987)
  6. JG Ballard: The Drowned World (1962)
  7. JG Ballard: Crash (1973)
  8. Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory (1984)
  9. Iain M Banks: Consider Phlebas (1987)
  10. Clive Barker: Weaveworld (1987)
  11. Nicola Barker: Darkmans (2007)
  12. Stephen Baxter: The Time Ships (1995)
  13. Greg Bear: Darwin's Radio (1999)
  14. Alfred Bester: The Stars My Destination (1956)
  15. Poppy Z Brite: Lost Souls (1992)
  16. Algis Budrys: Rogue Moon (1960)
  17. Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita (1966)
  18. Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Coming Race (1871)
  19. Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange (1960)
  20. Anthony Burgess: The End of the World News (1982)
  21. Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Princess of Mars (1912)
  22. William Burroughs: Naked Lunch (1959)
  23. Octavia Butler: Kindred (1979)
  24. Samuel Butler: Erewhon (1872)
  25. Italo Calvino: The Baron in the Trees (1957)
  26. Ramsey Campbell: The Influence (1988)
  27. Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
  28. Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871)
  29. Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (1984)
  30. Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000)
  31. Arthur C Clarke: Childhood's End (1953)
  32. GK Chesterton: The Man Who Was Thursday (1908)
  33. Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004)
  34. Michael G Coney: Hello Summer, Goodbye (1975)
  35. Douglas Coupland: Girlfriend in a Coma (1998)
  36. Mark Danielewski: House of Leaves (2000)
  37. Marie Darrieussecq: Pig Tales (1996)
  38. Samuel R Delaney: The Einstein Intersection (1967)
  39. Philip K Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
  40. Philip K Dick: The Man in the High Castle (1962)
  41. Umberto Eco: Foucault's Pendulum (1988)
  42. Michel Faber: Under the Skin (2000)
  43. John Fowles: The Magus (1966)
  44. Neil Gaiman: American Gods (2001)
  45. Alan Garner: Red Shift (1973)
  46. William Gibson: Neuromancer (1984)
  47. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland (1915)
  48. William Golding: Lord of the Flies (1954)
  49. Joe Haldeman: The Forever War (1974)
  50. M John Harrison: Light (2002)
  51. Robert A Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
  52. Frank Herbert: Dune (1965)
  53. Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game (1943)
  54. Russell Hoban: Riddley Walker (1980)
  55. James Hogg: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824)
  56. Michel Houellebecq: Atomised (1998)
  57. Aldous Huxley: Brave New World (1932)
  58. Kazuo Ishiguro: The Unconsoled (1995)
  59. Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
  60. Henry James: The Turn of the Screw (1898)
  61. PD James: The Children of Men (1992)
  62. Richard Jefferies: After London; Or, Wild England (1885)
  63. Gwyneth Jones: Bold as Love (2001)
  64. Franz Kafka: The Trial (1925)
  65. Daniel Keyes: Flowers for Algernon (1966)
  66. Stephen King: The Shining (1977)
  67. Marghanita Laski: The Victorian Chaise-longue (1953)
  68. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu: Uncle Silas (1864)
  69. Stanislaw Lem: Solaris (1961)
  70. Doris Lessing: Memoirs of a Survivor (1974)
  71. David Lindsay: A Voyage to Arcturus (1920)
  72. Ken MacLeod: The Night Sessions (2008)
  73. C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia (1950-56)
  74. Hilary Mantel: Beyond Black (2005)
  75. Michael Marshall Smith: Only Forward (1994)
  76. Richard Matheson: I Am Legend (1954)
  77. Charles Maturin: Melmoth the Wanderer (1820)
  78. Patrick McCabe: The Butcher Boy (1992)
  79. Cormac McCarthy: The Road (2006)
  80. Jed Mercurio: Ascent (2007)
  81. China Miéville: The Scar (2002)
  82. Andrew Miller: Ingenious Pain (1997)
  83. Walter M Miller Jr: A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960)
  84. David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas (2004)
  85. Michael Moorcock: Mother London (1988)
  86. William Morris: News From Nowhere (1890)
  87. Toni Morrison: Beloved (1987)
  88. Haruki Murakami: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (1995)
  89. Vladimir Nabokov: Ada or Ardor (1969)
  90. Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler's Wife (2003)
  91. Larry Niven: Ringworld (1970)
  92. Jeff Noon: Vurt (1993)
  93. Flann O'Brien: The Third Policeman (1967)
  94. Ben Okri: The Famished Road (1991)
  95. Chuck Palahniuk: Fight Club (1996)
  96. Thomas Love Peacock: Nightmare Abbey (1818)
  97. Mervyn Peake: Titus Groan (1946)
  98. John Cowper Powys: A Glastonbury Romance (1932)
  99. Terry Pratchett: The Discworld Series (1983- )
  100. Christopher Priest: The Prestige (1995)
  101. Phillip Pullman: His Dark Materials (1995-2000)
  102. François Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532-34)
  103. Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)
  104. Alastair Reynolds: Revelation Space (2000)
  105. Kim Stanley Robinson: The Years of Rice and Salt (2002)
  106. JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997)
  107. Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses (1988)
  108. Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry: The Little Prince (1943)
  109. José Saramago: Blindness (1995)
  110. Will Self: How the Dead Live (2000)
  111. Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (1818)
  112. Dan Simmons: Hyperion (1989)
  113. Olaf Stapledon: Star Maker (1937)
  114. Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash (1992)
  115. Robert Louis Stevenson: The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
  116. Bram Stoker: Dracula (1897)
  117. Rupert Thomson: The Insult (1996)
  118. JRR Tolkien: The Hobbit (1937)
  119. JRR Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings (1954-55)
  120. Mark Twain: A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court (1889)
  121. Kurt Vonnegut: Sirens of Titan (1959)
  122. Robert Walser: Institute Benjamenta (1909)
  123. Sylvia Townsend Warner: Lolly Willowes (1926)
  124. Sarah Waters: Affinity (1999)
  125. HG Wells: The Time Machine (1895)
  126. HG Wells: The War of the Worlds (1898)
  127. TH White: The Sword in the Stone (1938)
  128. Gene Wolfe: The Book of the New Sun (1980-83)
  129. John Wyndham: Day of the Triffids (1951)
  130. John Wyndham: The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)
  131. Yevgeny Zamyatin: We (1924)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural Links

Happy Inauguration Day! Here are a few links of interest that actually have nothing to do with the inauguration. Enjoy!

  • BookSpot Central has a new feature – Synergy – that is essentially another version of SF Signal’s Mind Meld. The inaugural question is long, complex and difficult to answer – so the answers are very interesting. Hopefully my answer can at least hold its own with the likes of Jay (The Bodhisattva), Tobias Buckell, Felix Gilman, K.J. Bishop, Matt Staggs, and slew of other authors, editors, reviewers and such.

  • Hal Duncan has been more active over at his blog lately. There are some interesting (and very long) posts up that discuss profanity.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Review: The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

The completed epic fantasy series is a wonderful thing – and all too often lost in the internet world where the focus so quickly jumps to the next big thing. Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy is one such gem – a completed fantasy series and a series that I very much enjoyed. The series begins with Mistborn: The Final Empire (US, UK, Canada, my review), continues with The Well of Ascension (US, UK, Canada, my review), and concludes with The Hero of Ages (US, UK, Canada, my review).

Mistborn begins by both challenging and embracing fantasy conventions. In Sanderson’s world, the Dark Lord (referred to as the Lord Ruler) triumphed 1000 years ago and ushered in tyrannical rule with an oppressive society dependent upon slave (skaa) labor and setting himself up as a living god. A group of specialized criminals (think Ocean’s 11) have grand ambitions at the behest of their charismatic leader, Kelsior – they intend to overthrow the Lord Ruler. The key member of this crew is newly recruited Vin – a young skaa thief struggling to survive in the brutal underworld of the Empire’s greatest city. Vin turns out to be mistborn – capable of tapping into the magic of Sanderson’s world – and she is the star of the Mistborn Trilogy.

Now this is a bit of spoiler for the first book, but the crew triumphs and the Lord Ruler is killed. The question quickly becomes ‘now what’ as the Lord Ruler’s death brings about the realization of just how bad things can be. The rest of the trilogy follows these struggles as a greater ‘evil’ emerges to threaten the very survival of the world itself.

Sanderson starts with an interesting premise – a world where the bad guy won. The prophesized hero failed to do the job and the world fell into 1000 years of rule by the Lord Ruler. On top of this backdrop, Sanderson uses a fairly standard caper plot with the charismatic leader as the introduction to his world. These elements make Mistborn both fun and unique while setting up the anticipation of a series that plays the conventions of epic fantasy.

But (there’s always a but), Sanderson also embraces the standard hero rising from obscurity and strife – Vin is an orphan, a slave, and she possesses huge magical prowess as she rises to become the hero of the story. Along the way she falls in love with a noble heir and struggles with her identity as a hero and potentially the world’s prophesized savior. While Mistborn jumps off to something of an unconventional beginning, these conventions of epic fantasy quickly overwhelm the rest of the series.

Of course whether you want to see conventions thwarted or embraced, neither can work in the vacuum of good writing – and Sanderson brings good writing. The prose isn’t really all that remarkable – it simply gets lost in the story. And this is a great thing in my opinion. Both terrible and wonderful prose have the potential to rip the reader right out of a story – but when middle-of-the-road prose allows for the story to dominate and the reader to be completely sucked into the story, it excels. As I was reading Mistborn, I’d often look up at the clock to find that I’d been reading much longer than I intended – that I’d completely lost track of the world around me. This is the sign of a great story.

I’d be remiss to leave out some of the other noteworthy aspects of Mistborn – particularly the magic system – allomancy. Simply put, allomancy is the utilization of metals for magical powers. A misting is a person who can ‘burn’ one of certain metals or a metallic alloys to gain a super-human ability – such as increased strength and endurance, increased senses (seeing, hearing, etc.), increased speed, the ability to push and pull off of metals, and several more. A mistborn is someone who can ‘burn’ all the metals and their alloys – a mistborn is a very powerful (and deadly) person. Other related powers become recognized as the series progresses. Not only is this magic system refreshing, but while retaining its clear magical feel, it does adhere to a set of internal rules that are mostly logical. On a personal level, as a geologist, I find it extra refreshing that the magic system has geologic origins.

Of even greater interest is the thematic use of religion through the series. One of the main characters, Sazed, is part of a secret order of scholars who search out and archive lost information from the time before the Lord Ruler. Sazed’s specialty is collecting lost religions. In the first two books, this thematic element is under-utilized – I really wanted more. However, I was rewarded in the third book when the religion them set-up in the previous two volumes takes center stage. Dead religions are re-visited, new religion questioned as Sazed searches for truth in religion and battles faith. While there are certainly strong Judeo-Christian aspects to the struggles of Sazed and the fate of the world, the real success comes with the universality of the human condition and the internal struggles of us all. What is explored lies at the root of humanity and all its religions, giving the exploration both depth and credibility.

Somewhat tangential to religion themes delved into are the interesting portrayals of good and evil, preservation and ruin, balance, and the (unintended) consequences of one’s actions. While I would hesitate to consider Mistborn a strong thematic work – it does provide a satisfying thematic depth.

With Mistborn, Sanderson shows he belongs in the VIP section of SFF authors. This trilogy offers a range of embracing and subverting fantasy traditions while providing a very entertaining experience. Highly recommended for fans of epic fantasy – 8/10.

Related Posts: Review of Mistborn: The Final Empire, Review of The Well of Ascension, Review of The Hero of Ages.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hal Duncan Answers Questions Five

Hal Duncan arrived on the SFF scene a few years back with Vellum (US, UK, Canada, my review) and its sequel, Ink (US, UK, Canada). These books were much discussed, often critically acclaimed and lampooned and Vellum was nominated for the World Fantasy Award. Hal has also become known for his long and thoughtful posts/rants at his blog (did I mention that these can be long). He is certainly a vocal guy at times – so I was very happy when he agreed to participate in my Questions Five interview series. His latest book is a novella called Escape From Hell! (US, UK, Canada, my review) – a book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Thanks again Hal and on to the questions.*

1. Hal, as a Scot, I can only assume that you eat haggis 3 or 4 times in the average day. How do you think haggis is best served?

HD: Forget all the Burns shite. Haggis with tatties and neeps (mashed potatoes and turnips -- or swedes or rutabagas, depending on where you're from) is OK, but the correct way to eat haggis is coated in batter and deep-fried as part of a haggis supper (that's haggis with chips -- or french fries, or freedom fries, depending on where you're from). Bought from a fish-n-chip shop, your haggis supper should be smothered in ketchup and eaten with your fingers straight out of the brown parcel paper it's served in. But then that's the best way to serve anything, as any Glaswegian will tell you -- coated in batter and deep-fried. If you can eat it, you can batter it and deep-fry it. Mmmm, taste that cholesterol! Feel those arteries hardening! We're the heart disease capitol of Europe, you know? And proud of it.

Oh, and you really need a glass bottle of Irn Bru to wash it down. Irn Bru is Scotland's _other_ national drink, in case you don't know; a fizzy soft drink that's got enough sugar in one can to kill five diabetics and enough caffeine in it to raise them from the dead. But it has to be a glass bottle; a can is too small, and the stuff in the plastic litre bottles just doesn't taste the same.

2. If I were passing through Glasgow on holiday and I could only visit one pub, which pub do you recommend and why?

HD: Easy one. It has to be Stravaigin, on Gibson Street, in the West End. Funny enough, they have the_second_best_ way to serve haggis, because they're basically a gastro pub with a restaurant in the basement, and haggis is one of the staples of their menu. They tend to do a sort of Scottish fusion cuisine -- lots of game and seafood but influenced by recipes from around the world. As pub food goes, you can't beat it -- top-quality grub but in a really informal atmosphere. Also their cocktails are to die for. And I mean proper cocktails -- Bloody Mary, White Russian, Dry Gin Martini, Mojito and suchlike. None of those crappy 80s cocktails with nudge-nudge wink-wink sexy names, mixed by the pitcher from a couple of random spirits, a splash of Cointreau and a half bottle of Bailley's. No, we're talking cocktails for the committed lush. Martinis so dry you know the vermouth pretty much just got _shown_ to the gin: look, gin! Meet Mr Vermouth. Oh, dear, looks like Mr Vermouth can't stay. Bye, Mr Vermouth.

Also Stravaigin is within staggering distance of my house. And I'm a very good native guide, you know. I'll show you round _all_ the best seats in the pub, for payment in the form of booze.

3. If Escape From Hell! were a fortune cookie, what would its fortune be?

HD: "Heaven is watching over you."

4. How would you interpret this fortune if it were your own?

HD: As an indication that I should take up Kung Fu and learn how to shoot a gun. And when I say "gun" I mean "assault rifle". Cause if those metaphysical motherfuckers are for real, I'm clearly in a whole heap of trouble come Judgement Day.

5. Why should Escape From Hell! be the next book that everyone reads?

HD: Because "everyone" would include Samuel L. Jackson and Laurence Fishburne, and they _really_ need to read it. This would make a fucking awesome movie with those two as the hitman and the hobo (as I say at every opportunity, in the vain hope that one or other of them will come across it in a random vanity Google). And has there ever been a movie with the two of them together? No. And should there be? Hell, yeah! That would be awesome. In fact, "everyone" would also include Sam Raimi, who should be directing _this_ instead of that Terry Goodkind TV adaptation. Hell, there's even a reporter that Bruce Campbell could play to perfection. So absolutely, this should be the next book that everyone reads.

Wait. Do you mean, like, why should they _want_ to read it? Well, just imagine how cool a balls-to-the-wall pulp action/adventure flick about a bust-out from Hell would be, especially if it were starring Samuel L. Jackson and Laurence Fishburne. That's the level of awesome I'm aiming for. Plus it's really short. You can read it in an evening, man. Piece of piss. And you _know_ you don't have time for all those weighty 500 page tomes. No, you want some good old honest-to-god pulp, just like they used to make it -- 150 pages max of pure, plot-driven, high-octane ass-kicking. You know, the title has that exclamation mark for a reason.

*this interview in comparison to
Brian Ruckley’s makes me question if Scottish writers give the best interviews – it seems it may be so.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tasteless Article

There is a new article up over at BookSpot Central that examines the ‘best looking women on fantasy and science fiction book covers’. I am literally at a loss of words to describe how tasteless and offensive I find this article. Doesn’t the world exploit women enough without this kind of help? Shame on BookSpot Central.

Disclosure: I am an Associate Reviewer at BookSpot Central and I know the author of this article in that capacity. We’ve had countless exchanges over about 3 years now and I generally like him.

Update: BookSpot Central has pulled the article in question.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Review: The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

The end of a series is both a wonderful and terrible thing. The story is complete, the ending known, and another series is conquered. Yet the story is over, characters that you’ve come to love are finished and won’t be visited again. It really is bitter-sweet.

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson (US, UK, Canada) completes the Mistborn Trilogy with a level of success that few conclusions provide. Essentially, every outstanding question gets answered, there are twists that are both easily anticipated and that come out of nowhere, bad things and death happen, yet the end is sufficiently happy to satisfy that innate need.

The Hero of Ages begins after a bit of time has passed since the events in The Well of Ascension. Without going into details that would spoil earlier books, things are bad – worse than they have ever been. Mists engulf the land, killing people, plants and animals. Volcanic ash covers the land deeper than ever before. The end of the very world is at hand and it looks like it cannot be stopped.

In my previous reviews of Mistborn: The Final Empire and The Well of Ascension I noted how interested I was in the religious aspect primarily present in the character of Sazad. I felt this plot was sadly underdeveloped. In The Hero of Ages, Sanderson finally lets loose and lets it dominate much of the book. Dead religions are re-visited, new religion questioned and Sazed searches for truth in religion and battles faith. While there are certainly strong Judeo-Christian aspects to the struggles of Sazad and the fate of the world, the real success comes with the universality of the human condition and the internal struggles of us all. What is explored lies at the root of humanity and all its religions, giving the exploration both depth and credibility.

As I indicated above, it’s not easy to end a series well, and The Hero of Ages ends better than most. Sanderson keeps it relatively simple with only 2 main story arcs – this brings about a strong focus that is lacking in many epic fantasy series these days. At the beginning of each chapter we see a short excerpt clearly written after events of the trilogy by an unnamed narrator – while the other two books of the series contained similar excerpts, these are more focused, more revealing and ultimately serve further closure of outstanding issues. In combination with the religious themes discussed above, the end of this series is as near to flawless as I’ve seen.

As with the previous books in the series, things like prose and characterization simply didn’t matter. I was totally sucked into the world and couldn’t put the book down. While The Hero of Ages started out a bit slowly, I had to keep going – as I read I would become totally oblivious to the world around me. This is what makes these books so good.

While part of me triumphs over completing another series, I also lament the passing of a great story. The Hero of Ages shows how well a series can end and has left me greatly satisfied. 9/10

Related Posts: Review of Mistborn: The Final Empire, Review of The Well of Ascension, Review of The Mistborn Trilogy

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Dragon Federation - A new forum for SFF book bloggers, authors, and others

Well, a couple of SFF book bloggers took an exchange on Twitter and turned it into a new forum dedicated to SFF book bloggers, authors and anyone else who is interested.

The Dragon Federation

Welcome to The Dragon Federation where SFF book bloggers and the fans that love them gather to talk, discuss and intermingle with the book blogging community.

Each blog, whose owner/author is a member of this forum, gets its own spot (if they want one) where you can meet the authors, discuss their posts and keep up to date with what is going on.

There are two restricted sections. Sword and Spacecraft Tavern for blog owners only and The Ink-Stained SFF Authors where the blog owners and SFF authors can get together and chat. Sorry, no general members allowed. We want our plans for world domination to remain secret!

There is also a chat room! You have 2 options. Click on join chat at the bottom of the forum (Home) page and it will open into a full page chatroom or you can use the smaller version on the portal page.
Neth Space has it's own space over there - so come along and help make a great idea succeed.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The House of the Stag by Kage Baker

My review of The House of the Stag by Kage Baker (US, UK, Canada) is up over at BookSpotCentral, where I'm an Associate Reviewer (I review 4 or 5 books a year over there). While flawed, it is a fun deconstruction of Dark Lord fantasy trope.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Somewere Near Chicken Springs Road

Well, the holiday break for me is looking to be a bit more extended. I returned from a nice break to a hectic work schedule, so I'll likely be quite around here for at least a week more. I've finished The House of the Stag by Kage Baker and will write up a review soon-ish and I'm mostly through The Hero of Ages by Sanderson. I plan to start Brent Weeks' debut next, but who knows if I'll still be in the mood for that when I get to it.

After today's twelve-hour day in BFE Arizona, I'm about ready to pass out. Barring any major snow storms or work trips, I should be back in force (though probably not full force) sometime next week.

-signing off from a hotel off Route 66 in Kingman, AZ


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