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Messages - Wilshire

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Introduce Yourself / Re: Greetings Zaudunyani
« on: January 30, 2024, 03:32:51 pm »
Welcome, stranger! Feel free to toss some breadcrumbs around and see if the vultures still circle.

Literature / Yearly Reading Targets 2024
« on: January 11, 2024, 08:00:43 pm »
Another year. Since this is the place i most consistently write down my book notes I will keep the annual post going.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2023
« on: November 14, 2023, 06:52:29 pm »
Blade of Tyshalle by Matthew Stover (2)
Caine Black Knife by Matthew Stover (3)
Caine's Law by Matthew Stover (4)

Acts of Caine, on a reread, is very good. Its been a few years, I have forgotten many things, and so was still surprised by some things that happened. Each book does a great job at being different than the others, which makes it very readable. Its definitely one of my favorite series. Even the last book, which seems kind of bizarre the first time, stood out as more entertaining than it felt initially.

Sleight of Shadows by Kat Howard (5)
Not great. The first book was an entertaining read by a new author, but I felt like this sequel didn't hold up. The writing is mostly lackluster, and the pacing is completely wrong, with too much happening in too short a time to be believable. Howard writes some really fun Magic though, mysterious and magical  in the style of McKillip, which was enough to carry the first book but not enough for the sequel. I hope she writes more, she could be really fun to read if she learns to write better.

Bloodline by Will Wight (6)
Reaper by Will Wight (7)
Dreadgod by Will Wight ( 8 )
Waybound by Will Wight (9)

Welp, I finished Cradle. I reread Bloodline and then moved on to Reaper, Dreadgod, and Waybound all in a row. It was ... fine. I feel like Wight's writing skills are definitely maxed out with this series. He tries to do some things in these latter books that just don't really work great. The core cast that was around from the start had satisfactory, if entirely predictable, story arcs. The characters added later on in the series are just kind of goofy, with abrupt starts/stops before disappearing.
I preferred the first several books I think, up through the Uncrowned King tournament, which is like 6 books in or something? It kind of stagnates after that.
But its entertaining enough for what it is.

Eragon (10)

I'm rereading Inheritance by Paolini, because a new book was published. I'm primarily interested to see if the writing is improved after the huge gap, presumably after some actual writing classes, and secondly I'm wondering if its generally as bad as the internet says it is. Finished Eragon so far. Its... fine? Feels like pretty standard YA fiction. The writing is pretty basic, buts I've absolutely read worse books. Names, places, and plots are borrowed very heavily from the usual suspects, but I dont find it offensive. I like the depiction of dragons, and hopefully nostalgia will carry me through the rest.

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by V. S. Villoso (11)

Unremarkable. Not much else to say. Prose is bland, plot is simple, characters are flat, world building is uninspired. It's probably supposed to be about love and betrayal, coming of age and truth bleeding the wonder of youth from the world. Maybe it is, but there's no reason to spend any time reading it as you can get the same story in about any other fantasy book you could pick off the shelf.

The Thousandfold Thought / Re: TTT - First US Overlook Edition
« on: August 14, 2023, 07:22:45 pm »
That is correct. In classic Overlook fashion, they were inconsistent. TTT does not have "First Edition" printed on the publisher page, unlike the others. Also, AFAIK Overlook only ever did 1 printing of TTT in hardback.

General Earwa / Re: How do the Sranc reproduce?
« on: June 07, 2023, 06:12:15 pm »
Yeah check the Appendix for some of the information gaps there. They appear to be gendered, though androgynous other than sex organs. Pregnant sranc on the fields of battle.

TUC also implies evolution for the millions of sranc that come from the coasts to overwhlem TGO near the end of TUC, which basically demands more/less traditional sexual reproduction... insofar as "IRL genetics" apply  at all in Earwaverse.

There should be plenty of sranc without actual/direct/first-person knowledge of the Inchoroi. However there does seem to be some kind of instinctual knowledge, or memetic mechanism, that at the very least elicits predictable responses... ie despite having no information about the inchoroi, they still react in ways that suggest they do whenever the wild sranc happen to run into their creators.

The Unholy Consult / Re: How big is the Heron Spear?
« on: June 07, 2023, 06:06:51 pm »
But why is Sil's shield so big? Are you suggesting that the shield is a relic from the days when the Inchoroi were huge, but the Heron Spear is more recent (or was shrunk down from a previously bigger weapon)?
That still doesn't explain how Aurang was able to wrestle the Tall and win.
Maybe just that the Tall have grown, substantially, by the time we see them? A Tall at Arkfall was 2-3 meters, whereas in TUC they are like 5?

I don't think anything in the text contradicts the idea that it is a lot larger than we assume: it was stolen by Seswatha and Nau-Cayûti together -- perhaps this is the reason Seswatha needed Nau-Cayûti to come with him -- and was transported in Anaxophus' chariot, so it could actually be ~20 ft long.
The exact dimensions are never really given, so yes it could be any/all explanations.

Then again there is nothing to contradict the idea of the spear being like a laser pointer, other than the fact that it is a silly image.
This provides the primary drawback of the type of obfuscation Bakker loves - you can end up in weird places, like a fearsome weapon being a toothpick.

Yes! I sent you a link. Let me know if you still need access (the link expires eventually).

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2023
« on: February 27, 2023, 02:18:45 pm »
I think I am starting the year off with rereading Acts of Caine. I'm hoping is pretty interesting on a re-read given how the series ends, and also its been a few years so I forget most of the details. Its something of a blessing for having a shit memory, rereads are more fun!
Heroes Die (1)
This is really a great book. It couches some thought-provoking topics inside over-the-top action, which makes it fun to read both on a surface level and at a bit of a deeper level. It also has a delightful ending that I had largely forgotten about. Sure its a bit contrived, but it all fits together in a very satisfying way. This satisfaction is only enhanced by how the next book starts, almost making me wish the first Caine chapter of book 2 could have been shoved into the end of Book 1 (though I don't think that really works from a publishing or story telling perspective). Its not a masterclass tale of foreshadowing, like TDTCB for example, but its still great to reread (and more interesting on a first read than TDTCB).

Witness for the Dead was good.  Addison must get enjoyment out of using as many unpronounceable proper names as she can.  This elf-goblin society she's made is also very proper and there are titles and forms of address further muddling everything up, but it makes for a very atmospheric read.  It's not terribly long and doesn't have a typical narrative structure.  It is just several weeks in the life of a Witness for the Dead, which is kind of a half priest half detective government position.  The book has very loose ties to Goblin Emperor, and is a quicker read if you just want to taste what Addison offers.

Lora Selezh is just a short story prelude of sorts to Witness.  It gives an outisder perspective to the Witness 1st person narrator, which was interesting.  That character's view of himself seems to be at odds to how others in Witness see him, but we never get outside his pov within that book.  It's a nice little story, and yes, i'm padding my numbers.  These Addison books all have a very wholesome feel to them that is absent from much of modern fantasy.
That's interesting. I like Goblin Emperor but I didnt feel compelled to read the other books, maybe because reading another full book seemed a bit tiresome. Something with an atypical narrative, and/or closer to novella size, sounds like something I might consider for some future day.

For posterity, yes its still active as of today :)

Author Q&A / Re: The Rape of Omindalea
« on: February 04, 2023, 03:04:39 am »
Hold up, did this entry exist in the published books? I can't find it in any of my Kindle copies.
That seems like something that could be updated. I certainly would like to know more about this considering the implications of potential Nonman/Human mixing going on.
IIRC you can do a search for the names and one or two appear in the series, as an individual entry in a glossary it never made it into the series...

This is indeed not in the books and never was in any published versions, at least to my knowledge, so the canonicity of the event is moot.
Not really moot:
I had no idea it was removed! I'll have to investigate...

News/Announcements / Re: Any news or updates from Bakker?
« on: February 04, 2023, 03:03:11 am »
Yup, no news since then.

Literature / Yearly Reading Targets 2023
« on: January 02, 2023, 01:32:23 am »
2023... Go read a book or something.  ;)

16 last year, seems low and I'm not really sure what to do about it. Motivation to read has not been high but hopefully I'll find something that catches my eye.

Holdouts from last year:
Startide Rising by David Brin
Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
Dune by Herbert

Someone mentioned  Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Heroes Die by Matthew Stover (1)
Blade of Tyshalle by Matthew Stover (2)
Caine Black Knife by Matthew Stover (3)
Caine's Law by Matthew Stover (4)
Sleight of Shadows by Kat Howard (5)
Bloodline by Will Wight (6)
Reaper by Will Wight (7)
Dreadgod by Will Wight ( 8 )
Waybound by Will Wight (9)
Eragon (10)
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by V. S. Villoso (11)

General Q&A / Re: Second Apocalypse and Philosophy
« on: December 18, 2022, 06:01:22 pm »
People do still read things here, if less frequently than a few years ago. Unfortunately I'm not much of a philosophy buff so I can't really direct the conversation further. I do appreciate the words, nice to read you.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: December 11, 2022, 11:04:51 pm »
That's a fair assessment. The barbarians definitely had magic but it was tangential to the story and didn't really affect anything. A Brightness Long Ago was the same (though better written). Certainly Tigana was the only one of the three that had magic which was central to the plot.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: December 06, 2022, 01:57:04 pm »
I missed a few

1) Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Great book. I enjoy Muir's prose and story telling. Its often silly,  and in places overwrought, but that's really just part of the charm. A definite must read if you're following along in Locked Tomb.

2) Among Others by Jo Walton
This was just OK. It follows the pattern of all the Huge+Nebula winners, which is that it is quite political and generally well written but being on that shortlist is hardly enough reason for one to pick up a book. Its well written surely, but just not that entertaining. Turns out the life and times of a 14 year old welsh girl in the 70s just isn't that interesting to me. At least there are fairies, magic, and a witch, though all three are very limited.

x) Malice by John Gwynne DNF
No thanks. I got through about half but its too much a generic fantasy story without anything interesting to make it worth finishing.

Oct (15)
1) The Torch that Ignites the Stars by Andrew Rowe
Mentioned in an earlier post

2) Against All Gods by Miles Cameron
Not Cameron's best work. I like his writing, Red Knight remains a favorite, but Against All Gods just didn't work. Too many protagonists with too much plot armor to make it a compelling read.

3) The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Fantasy of Manners, which I probably wouldn't have picked up if I knew that going in, and I'm glad I read it. Addison wrote a great book here, with prose dripping in courtly etiquette which helps set the scene. I will probably look for something else from her in the future.

Nov (16)
1) Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
Not as good as A Brightness Long Ago, but a marked improvement in writing from Tigana, though I  prefer Tigana over this (probably due to the setting and themes).

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