Shadows of the Apt. Visionary, masterful, sometimes annoying.

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Spoiler alert! Unless you’ve read till the end of book 8, don’t go further 😉

Adrian Tchaikovsky is one of our favourite modern genre authors. There are several proper reviews and many favourable mentions here. I’ve just finished volume 8 in his 10 book long Shadows of the Apt series, I’ve read Spiderlands, and a few doorstopers patiently wait on my shelves for the right time. I trust this author, and I don’t feel the need to read everything at once. I know I won’t be disappointed, so I can wait. Although, if he keeps publishing two books a year, I might speed it up a bit, there seems to be quite a few stories left in him.

Shadows of the Apt are becoming one of my all-time favourite series, and  two final instalments would have to be really terrible to change that. I essentially agree with everything Ola wrote in her review, but I would like to share a few thoughts about one topic, something important for genre literature in general, and here presented with art and vision, in my opinion, unparalleled. Czajkowski makes the clash of magic and technology one of the central issues here.

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When genre meets history and theory of warfare – a few links.

A short text, just to share some great links. Not random links, mind you. There is a recurring theme in my posts, and that is historical realism. And there is something many of the books reviewed here share – war as a topic.

People I admire enough to recommend their creations today, approach the crossroads of genre fiction and history/theory of warfare from two different angles. The first one is more serious, and fairly common. History buffs judging the realism of various novels or movies are using tools like YouTube to spread the good word. Some of them are really good, and entertaining. The other one… here represented by one blog I lately read religiously, is even more entertaining, gives the appearance of fanfiction, but for an attentive reader provides a great learning opportunity.

So lets start with The Angry Staff Officer, a blog by a genuine active duty officer (US Army) with a penchant for history. And genre fiction. He wrote a series of Star Wars posts, but does not limit himself to science fiction. He retells our beloved stories as Stormtrooper’s officer’s reports, or describes the action of Wind in the Willows as an example of small unit warfare as seen by US Army doctrine. Sweet. It’s a joy for people like me, who know a little about it, but for newcomers it’s also a very educational. I wonder, how many of us thought about the logistic and maintenance problems of space warfare?  Very cool stuff.

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A few thoughts for the New Year.

Oh, it seems we had quite a break, after last New Year’s Eve post. Some of our authors are skiing, me… I’m reading non-genre lately and none of the earlier reads comes to my mind strongly enough to warrant a review.

There isn’t even any new loot to share, I have three books ordered back in November from Amazon Marketplace I’m still waiting for. I blame post office being overloaded in the Christmas season, but if they don’t arrive next week I’m filing formal complaints.

So, for lack of better things to write about, I’ll make some commitments. With TBR list measured in hundreds, I don’t make very specific reading plans. For 2017 I have two main ideas: more non-fiction, and more classics. I’m stocked up already, I just need to read. For starters – collection of lesser known Kafka, Gravity’s Rainbow, Joseph Campbell, some history…

But one serious, no, three serious series watch me from my bookshelves:

They mock me a little, while I read pulpy classics, and so I swear to read two out of three before the year ends. Starting with Cook, but then… I’ll see. That way, when the world deteriorates even further into chaos, I’ll still have something good going on.

Volume won’t change much, for the last few years I get about 30K pages of reading done each year, and I hope to keep it up for the rest of my life, there is no need to go beyond that.

And since in 2016 I bought almost exactly twice as many books as I’ve read, I’ll try to limit my purchases. Although I will continue completing my Robin Hobb collection… and now I’m screwed, because writing this post made me buy another one.

Well, it’s the first one this year, so I’m still ahead. And it was a bargain.

Happy 2017 🙂 May GRRM finally finish WoW 😉 And may Trump continue be a reliable source of inspiration for comedians, and not future archaeologists investigating the fall of our civilization…

Gods & Kings

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Tad Williams, The Dragonbone Chair

It seems to be a sentiment commonly held by history’s prominent rulers. Half the great churches, mosques and other temples were build to bribe gods, and great kings were convinced that common transgressions against morality will be forgiven in return for all they’ve done to further their deities earthly power.

Yes, I’m reading Memory, Sorrow and Thorne, series I’ve had on my shelves for six years. And I like it a lot, safely predictable, but great fun. Oldschool fantasy they don’t write any more. A caveat – I can’t guarantee I won’t change my mind, I’m only 50 pages in…

Latest loot

Just a few pictures 🙂

When I bought a beautiful one-volume edition of Le Guin’s Hain cycle, to put next to an equally pretty  Earthsea volume, I expressed hope that this selected works of Le Guin will become collected works. And it seems we’re slowly getting there:

A selection of short stories this time and I hope it’s not the end. One time Polish edition beats all the other’s I’ve ever seen. Well, maybe not Folio’s Earthsea, but that one is only the first volume.

Also, said Folio Society printed some more of their excellent Asimovs:

Life is good today, but there will be hell to pay (next time my bank sends me monthly credit card statement 😉 )