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Messages - Wilshire

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News/Announcements / Blog Post from Bryan Bakker (03 June 2022)
« on: June 24, 2022, 01:53:28 pm »
See link:

What's Going On With Scott Now?

For those interested in the now, some have commented on the fact that Scott has been quiet online in recent years. Suffice it to say he has gone through a lot. His singular focus right now is raising his daughter and building his family's future.

As for the future of the series, I've heard him say two things, over the years, about how the Second Apocalypse should end:

    One was that there would be a third trilogy outlining the blow by blow of 'you know who's' rise. I know outlines exist for such a story, but just outlines.

    The other is that the story is finished. That 'The Unholy Consult', is a fitting way to end a sprawling epic about the death of meaning.

For my part, I can't help but to think that this massive story was where Scott's creative life began and, it would not surprise me if, after his real life trials are complete, he doesn't return to it, before the end.

Like a favourite old coat - warm and comfortable - and smelling of sulfur (:

Sometimes, life does come full circle.

Thanks for reading.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: June 18, 2022, 08:47:19 pm »
Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C Clark (9)

Surprisingly good. A lot of old scifi seems to miss that having an actual story makes for a better book. It didn't knock my socks off or anything, but it reasonably earn its accolades as a hugo/nebula winner. The characters are mediocre, but the plot is interesting enough and Clark does a good job weaving in past/present/future stories into a cohesive whole.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: June 13, 2022, 07:20:34 pm »
The Wisdom of Crowds Joe Abercrombie (8 )

I liked this series. Abercrombie actually did a good job not falling into his own standard format, which was refreshing. Its a fun series, with predictably a bunch of easy to love and hate characters. Overall the story wasn't your typical fantasy revolution story, and the industrialization setting was also pretty unique. As The P mentioned above, the last 10%ish of the book is a bit odd. It just takes way too long to finish after the plot climax. This doesn't ruin the book, but its a clumsy finish.

Overall it was good, but I still enjoyed First Law better.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: May 13, 2022, 12:12:08 pm »
The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie (7)

Gratifyingly, this was better than A Little Hatred. The trouble with the first book, in comparison to Blade Itself, is that it spent a tremendous amount of time being an introductory novel (which Blade Itself never did). This one felt like it flowed a lot better, and was more of what I expected from Abercrombie. He continues to be a great writer, writing characters that you really want to succeed or fail depending on who they are, and then smacking you in the face with those wants as he turns things upside down. Where I was uninterested in continuing the story after A Little Hatred, here I am definitely excited to start The Wisdom of Crowds right away.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: May 05, 2022, 02:43:31 pm »
Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood (6)

This book was... not good. My primary dislike is that there's nothing exceptional about it. Its bland and generic throughout, making it difficult to read. All the characters are flat and have little to no growth, the prose style is very bland and uninteresting which makes the book feel like it goes on forever, and there's little to no descriptions of the apparently complex/intricate worlds/religions/gods/politics/etc. so everything feels dead and lifeless (and leaves the impression of being under construction, with strings and scaffolding still visible). Beyond that, the book is split into 3 parts, which combined make the book take much too long, but individually are too short to tell a reasonable story. There's really just no reason to read this.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: April 13, 2022, 04:51:01 pm »
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (5)
A fun quick read. Weir went back to where he's comfortable - which is writing about a lonely, or at least solitary, male scientist solving problems. While this sounds like a boring plot, as with Martian, Weir does a great job making it fun. While its definitely on the more Fiction side of Science Fiction, the writing and plot are entertaining and focused enough to make it entertaining throughout. Worth the read if you want a light scifi novel.

The Builders by Daniel Polansky (11)
It sounds to me like the author either didn't like, or didn't feel comfortable, writing human characters, but that's just a guess. I dislike fantasy being set in half built worlds with lazy worldbuilding stapled onto real world places/histories. Making up lore is one of the prime factors that set Fantasy apart, so doing a bad job at it ruins the book, at least imo.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: April 07, 2022, 01:02:50 pm »
The Fall of Dragons by Miles Cameron (4)

Finished! Feel like it took forever, but despite that I think the series is very good. The plot doesn't devolve too much in the direction I was afraid of (a contest between gods), which kept most of the stories feeling very relevant. There are a few nice emotional high moments throughout, and especially near the end, but it is very predictable. A large part of the final book, and the series, revolves around movements of troops. This creates pacing issues, but I now think its a feature of the story. Things move a lot more slowly when you are attempting to moving 50k troops vs. 500. The entire story really feels like a  vehicle for explaining how troop movement and placement works, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it also holds this story back from being great. Ultimately too much time in later books is spent describing logistics, which makes it feel like a grind. But getting through that, most of the characters are entertaining and the plot is satisfying to resolve.

I'd recommend it, especially to anyone who thinks "I wish someone would write a book about mundane XYZ". Not because there isn't any great evil to vanquish (there is), or because there is an absence of magic (a tremendous amount of the later books revolve around magic), but because none of that stuff supersedes the hours it takes 10k troops to wheel about into a battle formation from a marching line, or a lack of arrows collapsing an army.  If logistics don't sound very interesting, its hard to recommend this too highly as a series, though the first one or two books is probably worth reading. I'm glad I read it, and might seek out some more Cameron in a few years to see how his writing develops.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: March 11, 2022, 02:30:53 pm »
The Plague of Swords by Miles Cameron (3)
Pretty good. More of what I'd call standard Cameron at this point. The point feels a bit belabored, but the characters are worth reading about and the increase in scope continues to be logical. The tightest book of the series was definitely the first one, but I'm enjoying it enough to really want to finish it out. I dont expect any shocking plot twists or revelations - the destination become clear since around the end of book 2 - but the investment in time is definitely worth it for me.

The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie (10)
This could easily top The First Law trilogy.  It probably will; Abercrombie has improved over the years.
Well its definitely on my list this year, maybe even up next after I finish Traitor Son.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: March 01, 2022, 10:19:05 pm »
I am considering grabbing The Trouble With Peace since its on sale. A Little Hatred did grab me as much as I remember Blade Itself, but that was literally hundreds of books ago. Abercrombie is still very good and, of course, if you're looking for good characters/development then look no further.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: February 22, 2022, 03:32:41 pm »
As a trade for TDTCB, seems fair. I wont be reading it, but good for you for giving it a shot!

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: February 01, 2022, 03:37:07 pm »
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker (1)
Hey this was a fun book. My first KJP and well worth it. Light hearted (generally) and funny, KJP spins a nice story without spoiling it by going into too many details. I'll definitely be wanted to read more from him.

The Dread Wyrm by Miles Cameron (2)
I continue to enjoy Cameron. His books feel weighty and crunchy. This can be detrimental at times, when too much time is spent on inconsequential topics/plots, since they quickly feel overbearing and slow. But when Cameron focuses on the things that you care about, it makes an impact. As always the physical conflicts feel powerful - knights dueling, cavalry charges, man at arms taking the hill, the clash of monsters and men. These things have a visceral feel because of Cameron's talent.

The worldbuilding is  nice, driven largely by the plot and revealed at a pace that is acceptable. Enough mystery to go around but with enough explanation to keep the reader up to speed.

Character relationships are a mixed bag. Some feel forced and or contrived, but at the end of the day when someone not wearing plot armor dies horribly you feel sad about it.

The series as a whole is working for me. The path Cameron is taking is circuitous, and mostly this is fun. A few times there is a bog of details that are just not necessary, with characters and plots that end suddenly and/or obviously in a way that makes me wonder why the details were necessary at all. But largely the efforts made to bring the world and its characters to life are well worth the time to read. I feel compelled to read on, and so I will!

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: January 24, 2022, 01:13:45 pm »
I enjoyed Senlin Ascends but the subsequent book wasn't enough for me to want to finish.

Literature / Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: January 04, 2022, 07:01:07 pm »
New year, new books! Or trying to finish old ones. Or rereads. Or...

This year I'm going to try to read more consistently. Despite reading 27 books, I didn't complete any books after August last year, which feels bad. Plenty of things I still want to read.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
Startide Rising by David Brin
The Torch that Ignites the Stars by Andrew Rowe
Among Others by Jo Walton
Malice by John Gwynne
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
Dune by Herbert
Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood
Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker
The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie
The Wisdom of Crowds Joe Abercrombie
The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

January (1)
1) Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker

February (2)
1) The Dread Wyrm by Miles Cameron

March (3)
1) The Plague of Swords by Miles Cameron

April (6)
1) The Fall of Dragons by Miles Cameron
2) Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
3) Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood

May (7)
1) The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie

June (9)
1) The Wisdom of Crowds Joe Abercrombie
2) The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: January 04, 2022, 06:54:59 pm »
I finally finished Pandora's star. I'm going to count it for 2021 because I only had like 20 minutes left on the audiobook.

It was tough to finish. Not because it was bad, but I just lost interest in the story. I admit at least partial fault since it took so long. But I do still blame Hamilton. Its just too long, too many individual characters and plots spread over too many ideas.  Its a good Space Opera, but so long that you will really need to be in the mood for it.

The Unholy Consult / Re: Rereading again, new insights again
« on: December 13, 2021, 03:41:47 pm »
One of the best things about TSA is the foreshadowing. Whether intentional or not by Bakker, its these little moments, like those you highlighted, that make the entire series feel like it was fully developed prior to being written. There are discontinuities and/or reversals that prove this isn't the case, but at the very least many specific events past/future are linked together beautifully.

Saubon selling his soul to be king for a day is fantastic, especially because its so literal. He is hardly a sovereign King for more than a few days before becoming part of Kellhus' Empire, and he does end up damned (though this is a fate that basically everyone shares). Fantastic stuff like this is what makes the series worth reading and rereading, over and over.

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