Robin Hobb, Fool’s Assassin: Book One of the Fitz and Fool Trilogy (2014)

Fool's AssassinIt was to be expected; more, it was inevitable. After reviewing the two previous multi-novel sequences focused on FitzChivalry and Fool characters, the Farseer Trilogy and the Tawny Man Trilogy, there had to come a review of the newest works by Robin Hobb – the first installment in the Fitz and Fool Trilogy. From the muddy sentence above it would appear that Hobb writes nothing but trilogies; not true. She did write a tetralogy once – the Rain Wilds Chronicles :P. Continue reading

My haul from the 19th International Book Fair in Krakow

19th International Book Fair in Krakow just ended and, as usual, I spent there a few hours and way too much money. Sure, it’s 1/10 of exhibitors and 1/5 of visitors of the one in Frankfurt, and I’m sure there are many other way bigger fairs – but it’s the one I can get to by tram 😉

So, there is that, and an important family event also, so no review as such today, but a look at my haul – and some reviews may follow later.

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Stanisław Lem (1921 – 2006), part 2

First, a picture of Stanisław Lem:

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The second part of my list of favorite novels by Lem seems more lightweight – and indeed, the books listed below are definitely easier to read than those described previously. That said, these novels and short stories compilations still tackle all of the principal themes in Lem’s work: ideas of consciousness, identity and intelligence, human morality, philosophical problems of life and death and all that is in between. Continue reading

Bill Willingham, 1001 Nights of Snowfall (2006) and Fables in general

I love Fables by Bill Willingham. It’s one of my favourite comics ever and the only multi-volume comic book series I own a complete set of – although I’m almost there with Thorgal (3 volumes missing from the main story, spin-offs aren’t that good so they don’t count), and I will own entire Sandman one day, it’s just that this version is too expensive…

Anyway, I love Fables and (almost) all of its various extras (with exception of Jack of the Fables, main character’s a dick). The main story has 150 issues/22 volumes and I haven’t read the final one yet – I plan a great re-read before that, any time now. Then, apart from Jack of the Fables, there is Fairest, short series focused on female characters, two-volume spy thriller Cinderella and stand-alones 1001 Nights of Snowfall and Werewolves of the Heartland. Also, an album of selected covers, encyclopaedia, novel and computer game. I have it all. both Continue reading

Stanisław Lem (1921 – 2006), part 1

A most famous Polish sf writer, author of philosophical tractates, a planetoid no. 3836, a Polish satellite, and a committee of sf writers working under orders from the Communist Party to gain control over the society (at least according to Philip K. Dick) – Stanisław Lem was all of those and many more.

His works have been translated to many languages, adapted to film and television (Lem’s most famous novel, Solaris, was filmed three times already), and sold in millions of copies worldwide.

His impact on science fiction is undeniable – not only because of what Lem wrote and predicted (e-paper, for example), but also due to how he wrote it. His prose is very precise, carefully planned, seemingly concise and distant, only to reveal at a second glance an incredible depth of emotions, breathtaking imagination, painful questions and even more harrowing answers about human nature and the Universe. It’s paradoxical, at times absurdly funny, at times depressing, almost always unsettingly convincing. And in many cases, it’s just utterly brilliant. I won’t hesitate to put many of his novels among the best of the best in sf, ever. Mulling over Lem’s more difficult novels takes as much time – or more – as reading them; and they stay with the reader for a long time afterwards. But Lem also wrote wonderfully funny, witty satires, little morality plays dressed up as fables, hilarious accounts of interstellar travelers, and twisted crime novels with no perpetrators. During his later years he turned toward philosophical essays, analyzing the significance of nanotechnology, AI, and virtual reality – but his most influential, and the best in my opinion, are his science fiction novels.

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Silva rerum (2)

The idea for today was to write a post about webcomics. And it stands, but that’s not all. It’s more. Thus the title, silva rerum.

Fantasy TV shows.

Two trailers were released recently, for very different TV shows. MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles is one, the other – The Magicians. Both are adaptations of acknowledged books, and it happens that I’ve read both Shannara (two books, but no the one that inspired this show) and The Magicians Trilogy. Shannara I’ve seen as a kind of a failed Tolkien fanfic, Magicians I consider great, despite certain flows, but both shows are highly anticipated by me. Why? See the trailers, they are both good. Shannara seems to aim for a cheaper, lighter version of GoT, and if that is the standard for cheaper fantasy tv, I’m al excited (if the show will keep the quality of the trailer). What made a boring book might be condensed into fine tv, I’ll give it a try.

The Magicians is a very ambitious, sophisticated work. If done right – and trailer promises good times – it might be great on tv. Harry Potter in college, Narnia grim and dark, lost love, betrayal, redemption and more. I like the actors, I like what we’ve been shown of the sets and cgi… Production quality looks great, if the screenplay is good – wow.

Both shows will start in January 2016, and maybe GoT and Jonathan Strange won’t be the only good fantasy out there anymore 🙂 Before that, Jessica Jones arrives, not fantasy, yet another Marvel show, but based on great, unique comic.

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