Andrzej Sapkowski, Witcher (1986-2013), Part One

Piotrek: Wiedźmin. THE Polish fantasy series, the only one famous enough to break from the genre ghetto and into genuine literature. Well, for the most part, hardcore old-timers refused to acknowledge that anything genre can be worth their attention… losers. Anyway, wiedźmin (“Witcher” in Polish) Geralt of Rivia became famous soon after the first short story was published, and kept the attention of domestic fantasy enthusiast until the final instalment of the saga arrived in Polish bookshops in 1999. It was translated into several, mostly central-European, languages and became quite popular throughout the region. Wiedźmin inspired a disastrous cinematic adaptation, a slightly better (as some people claim, myself I don’t like it at all) comic and, finally, a video game. One of the best video games ever, but let’s concentrate on the books for now.

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Ola: Yeah, let’s ;). I haven’t played a single minute in any of them, and though all I hear around is praise, I’m just… not into computer games, I guess. That’s probably a serious blow to my nerdy cred, but heck. The only computer game I ever enjoyed was Worms… Oh, and that one where with the use of a mouse, a piece of line, a bottle and a plank you had to build a working machine ;).

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The Dumbest Country Contest, 2016 edition

I’m actually pretty sure Poland won in 2015 by electing our current Law & (In)justice majority…

io9 prepared a nice presentation for the only contender capable of beating the UK this year…

Or, in the liberal media version:

And Nerdwriter1, showing how crafty – in his stupidity – Trump gets:

(BTW, Nerdwriter1 has many great non-political videos on his channel)

Maybe the wave of stupidity will stop tomorrow? In Poland, L&J could get all the dumb votes, in the US, broad categories of people are highly resistant to Trump’s appeal, by the virtue of not being white middle-aged men…

I’m living in Greenwich +1 time zone and I will probably spend most of the night watching the spectacle.

Lets face it, with Sanders out of the race there is just no alternative to Clinton. Not a single one. John Oliver checked.


On the more serious, post election note… is this the book for our times?

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I did not like it as a piece of literature, but it’s about the kind of America that showed it’s disgusting face, not for the first time, but this time – to win. The consequences are hard to imagine.

It’s also the end of America’s soft power. Just the laughingstock of the world from now on.

I hope that people to suffer the most from that catastrophic choice will be Trump’s voters and that they will find themselves even worse off four years from now. But I’m afraid we’re all loosers here.

Sad, sad times.

Tanith Lee, Night’s Master (1978)

Tanith Lee has been on my radar for quite some time. A British writer, famous first for her Birthgrave Trilogy, I was introduced to her by Andrzej Sapkowski, author of literary background of famous video game franchise, whose Manuscript Discovered in a Dragon’s Cave (nonfic never translated into English) is a nice journey through genre’s history and tropes.

I started with something else though, first volume in Tales from the Flat Earth series. Short collection of interconnected stories went into my Audible wishlist after someone recommended it on r/fantasy. I was happy to listen to it and will read the rest, sooner or later.

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 What do we get? A few stories set in a world where the Earth is flat and populated by people with their medieval/fantasy civilizations, beautiful, but indifferent gods above and passionate, but evil demons below. First among them, Azhrarn, is cruel, whimsical, but has a certain roguish appeal, of a kind I usually don’t understand but many modern readers enjoy 😉

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Jeff Salyards, Chains of the Heretic (2016)

The final book of trilogy I really enjoyed. It’s sad the story is concluded, but better to be left craving for more than finish a veery long series out of sheer tenacity, plagued by boredom and embarrassment. Fantasy should probably be written in trilogies or series of trilogies 😉

Spoiler alert! This book is very good 🙂

Four years since the publication of Bloodsounder’s Arc’s first instalment, Scourge of the Betrayer in 2012 we got a 509-page final story.

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(I like the matte dust jacket a lot, and it’s easier to photograph than glossy jackets of volumes one and two…)

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House of Cards

No, not that:house-of-cards-kevin-spaceyAlthough I’m very happy that I could binge-watch it now, in Poland, on the day of release, on Netflix, like a normal human being, not one episode a week on… what was it called, television?

Not even that:

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Although I believe it’s a superior product. Kevin Spacey is excellent, but Ian Richardson is great. Shakespearean villain, veteran of political system even more ruthless than the one we know from the American version, Francis Urquhart would outmanoeuvre Frank Underwood before breakfast. And then Underwood would remind him that UK is a pygmy next to the world’s biggest superpower. Realpolitik is a tough business.

Actually I’d love to see a series where Urquhart/Underwood had to cooperate, sort of evil version of Roosevelt/Churchill duo. Magnificent bastards both of them…

Anyway.

Ladies and gentlemen, today I give you this:

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Michel Dobbs, House of Cards (1989)

or

the book that wasn’t better

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No time for writing, Santa came to town…

Ola: We wish you a very bookish Christmas! 🙂 It’s a family time in Poland, but there’s to hope you’ll also find some time to rest, read and enjoy the spring weather! 🙂 If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then happy Sol Invictus, or any other great festival on the occasion of the season change!

Piotrek: Merry Christmas to everyone it applies to 😉 Have fun, be with your family, enjoy some books and/or other genre media. To everyone else – all the best for your seasonal occasions. The crucial thing is – share the spirit of goodwill, don’t take anything too seriously, if liberal atheists like us can enjoy traditional Christmas, I hope everyone else can at least benevolently ignore it…

There is some Christmas cheer in everybody:

Video-quote from excellent Batman: The Animated Series, Christmas is a great time for a sentimental re-watch, and this is a great series!

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