Monthly Archives: March 2012

Luck of the Draw by Piers Anthony

A nice piece of cover art here from Julie Dillon, one of my favourite new artists. What’s worth noting, however, and the real reason I chose to post this cover, is that this is the first of Anthony’s Xanth series to be published since the death of Darrell K. Sweet, who had been with the series since the publication of its third volume, Castle Roogna, in 1979. This, of course, is of note to Wheel of Time fans who are eager to see the cover of the final volume, A Memory of Light, the first Wheel of Time novel to be released without a cover from Sweet. Dillon’s art captures Sweet’s style admirably while still having an identity of its own, which is great news for Xanth fans.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsTo follow up on my recent review of The Hunger Games, I wanted to point out a handful of articles that touch on some of the issues that I juggled about, concerning specifically the politics of the novel, Katniss’ place in society and her role in sparking political upheval, and the likelihood of an event like the Hunger Games ever becoming an reality.

The first of the articles is called “The Missing Hunger Games Line” and concerns a single line of dialogue that was left out of the film adaptation, a line that the author, Marcy Kennedy, feels is important to the overarching themes of the series:

Even though I loved The Hunger Games movie that released Friday, I couldn’t help but notice that the screenwriters left out one of the most important lines in the book.

The night before the Games begin, Katniss finds Peeta on the roof of their hotel, watching the Capitol celebrate.

Peeta tells her, “I keep wishing I could think of a way to…to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games.”

This makes no sense to Katniss.

[...]

Katniss didn’t set out to change the world. She just did what was right and change followed. She had no idea of the chain of events her seemingly small actions would cause.

It works the same way in real life.

When I was twelve, the boy who sat behind me in class would ask me to explain all our school work to him. I dreaded feeling that pesky tap-tap on my shoulder. When I finally lost my temper, he confessed—he couldn’t read. Somehow he’d slipped through the cracks, dismissed as either stupid or lazy, when he wasn’t either.

So I taught him (and felt guilty about snapping at him). At the time, I didn’t think it was anything important, but a couple years later, I overheard him telling a teacher how much I’d helped him and how much it meant to him.

I treasure that memory.

Kennedy examines what makes Katniss a catalyst for change in her world and has me thinking about some of my concerns regarding her passive role in the novel, and whether she’s not something of an unreliable narrator who unintentionally plays down her role in events or is just plainly blind to the effect she has on other people. The ideas presented by Kennedy have me reconsidering many of the opinions I originally formed after reading the novel.
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Beware, there are spoilers here for The First Law trilogy, specifically the ending of A Last Argument of Kings.

A Red Country is the next novel set in Joe Abercrombie’s popular fantasy world that readers first discovered in The First Law trilogy. With Abercrombie recently finishing a first draft of the novel, and some interesting news about the plot, I thought it would be a good time to go over the details of what we know about A Red Country.

First, we have this early synopsis from Abercrombie’s blog, from February 2012:

Shy South comes home to her farm to find a blackened shell, her brother and sister stolen, and knows she’ll have to go back to bad old ways if she’s ever to see them again. She sets off in pursuit with only her cowardly old step-father Lamb for company. But it turns out he’s hiding a bloody past of his own. None bloodier. Their journey will take them across the lawless plains, to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feuds, duels, and massacres, high into unmapped mountains to a reckoning with ancient enemies, and force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, a man no one should ever have to trust…

While the confirmed conclusion of Nicomo Cosca was pleasing (he’s one of Joe’s more convincing creations, if you ask me), the real discussion was centred around the few sentences describing Shy’s namless uncle: “She sets off in pursuit with only her cowardly old step-father Lamb for company. But it turns out he’s hiding a bloody past of his own. None bloodier.”
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Caliban's War by James S.A. CoreyDaniel Abraham revealed some exciting news today:

Your friends and mine at Orbit have signed on for the three more Expanse books that we’d hoped they’d take and surprised us by asking for five novellas (!!) in the same universe to go along with them. So the big arc story that we only hoped to tell when we started Leviathan Wakes is going to get told.

Good news for fans of “Corey’s” work, like me. From the sounds of it, the third book in the current series, now called Abaddon’s Gate, will conclude the general storyline started in Leviathan Wakes, and the following trilogy will pick up from there and continue on a larger story-arc. Yum. Five novellas is just icing on the cake.

Congrats to both Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, the two authors who, together, form Voltron James S.A. Corey.

Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

So, I’ve never read any of Elizabeth Bear’s long fiction, despite being aware of her strong and respected reputation within the SF/F fan community. I did, however, really enjoyed her short story “The Horrid Glory of Its Wings” (REVIEW) I’ve recently stumbled into several glowing reviews of her latest release, Range of Ghosts, which is the first volume of The Eternal Sky trilogy, and she’s now firmly back on my radar. Tell me you’re not intrigued:

Brit Mandelo, Tor.com:

Range of Ghosts is a strong beginning to a big story about fascinating, flawed, believable people. I closed the novel with a desperate curiosity about what comes next, for the characters and their world; I found the book itself to be a well-written, well-constructed read with precise prose dedicated to balancing fifty things at once in most scenes. All around a great piece from Elizabeth Bear, and I recommend it for readers who want stunning, crunchy world-building, complex conflicts, and women characters who aren’t just strong but are also powerful. It’s the “big, fat fantasy with maps” you’ve been waiting for, if you’re much like me.

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