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Weekly Book Buzz: New Wheel of Time Novel (Article) - 11/1/2010 4:29:01 PM

I have to admit I'm curious about the series but 14 books or so and each book a monster novel....just don't have the time and too much else I want to read.

I am a fan, and even I will tell you to read the cliffs notes for books 7-11.  The books have really benefited from Sanderson because he picked up the pace by an order of magnitude, instead of introducing new subplots late in the series.

New TRON LEGACY Clip (Article) - 10/31/2010 8:15:31 AM

I know this is going to sound really weird, but...

Her handling of the steering wheel was one of the most fake things I have ever seen.  It was a serious immersion breaker.

First Look: Undead Nightmare Red Dead Redemption (Article) - 10/22/2010 7:09:59 AM

I still do not understand why the metacritic rating of this game is as high as it is.  While the gameplay is fine, the controls are horrible.  It is a running joke that if you hit a door on the edge, you will never make it into the building.  You have run back away from the building and then run back to the door.

13 Great Horror Films You May Not Have Heard Of (Article) - 10/22/2010 7:07:33 AM

Dog Soldiers is on continual rotation on SyFy.  How can it be on a list of horror films you may not have herad of?

Weekly Book Buzz: Stephen Donaldson%u2019s Latest Thomas Covenant Novel (Article) - 10/19/2010 1:31:50 PM

For me, Donaldson has always defined the "unreadable middle book of a trilogy".  The Illearth War is the most unbelievable slog of a book; to this day it is my yardstick for slow, unreadable fantasy (no matter what the Jordan haters may say).  The Power that Preserves is actually a pretty good book, but it is unclear whether it was worth going through The Illearth War to get there.  

The same is to be said of The One Tree (the middle book of the other trilogy).  Thomas Covenant is unconscious for most of the book, and we are left reading unlikable, flat characters.  In fact, the whole second trilogy is awful, and I only suffered it in hopes of recapturing some of the magic from The Power that Preserves.

I hadn't realized there was a new series, but my taste in fantasy has progressed since the 80s, and there are a lot more options.  No thanks.


The Fall: Book Two of The Strain Trilogy (Article) - 9/25/2010 2:25:15 PM

Is the writing any better in this book?  Because it was absolutely awful in the first.  It was as if Del Toro had made a great outline and passed it on to junior high school student to write it for him.

Don't believe me?  Just count the number of similes (like a, as a, etc...) that appear on a page.  The paragraph describing the eclipse had over 8 similes in it!  I suspect it is because there is not enough material here for a trilogy, and so the author had to pad with description the best that he could given his limited abilities.  But in the end, the results are unintentionally hilarious.

The other problem is that Setrakian is a buffoon.  He is an over-the-top Hammer-style character.  By itself, that is perfectly fine.  However, this completely undercuts the emotional weight of his Holocaust survivor past. The juxtaposition is jarring. 

If you want to read a good novel about a Holocaust-survivor vampire hunter, read Carrion Comfort.

TV Wasteland: Bang On (Article) - 9/20/2010 7:05:45 PM

 Wow, The Event was awful.  Horrible acting and unlikeable characters undermine the twist at the end. I guess it is a good thing that NBC starts sucking now, so that they do not put it on perpetual life support like Heroes.

Weekly Book Buzz: The Way of Kings (Article) - 9/3/2010 11:10:47 AM

 I had a long post to tjanson and do not see it.  Hopefully it has not been munched by the Tubes monster.

Weekly Book Buzz: The Way of Kings (Article) - 9/3/2010 11:07:18 AM


And that's a shame really. I love fantasy but today it seems all publishers want are these mega-epic series that go on for 10 books and 20 years.

The Way of Kings notwithstanding, that used to be true, but is less true now.  Indeed, the mega-epic movement nearly killed fantasy in the late 90s.  You have Jordan, Martin, and Goodkind, and who else? They are hard to pull off.

However, we are seeing a major revival in fantasy right now with a lot of new blood.  Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Pat Rothfuss, Peter Brett, and so on.  Many of these are trilogy focused (including Rothfuss, whom I think is the strongest of the bunch).  Indeed, Sanderson wrote entirely trilogies and stand-alones before starting WoK.  I think these books were very flawed (battles often had no emotional weight and came off as hollow action sequences), and that WoK is his best work.  But that is because he has grown as a writer and not because the series is Super Epic(TM).

The popularity of the epic was was due to a major reaction against the young coming-of-age tropes in fantasy that dominated during the 80s.  Particularly once YA started to adopt them in their works.  So there was this search for an "adult voice" in fantasy.  It was the epics that provided this.  In Jordan's case, he started off with very young characters, but the epic allows them to quickly grow beyond that point and begin dealing with adult issues (this is why the series really took off in the later books).  But an epic is not actually necessary -- it was just the way in which the writers in the 90s found their adult voice.

The rise of the new stars is because writers like Rothfuss have discovered how to capture that adult voice in a series of reasonable length.

And in case you think this is just my weird theories, just read Sanderson's or Rothfuss' blog.  A lot of what I am saying is conventional wisdom in the fantasy publishing industry these days.

Weekly Book Buzz: The Way of Kings (Article) - 9/1/2010 7:19:14 PM

 Hobbs:  If Brooks wrote Shannara today it would be classified as Young Adult.  Same with Eddings.  Young protagonists with coming of age themes.


Date Joined: December 21, 2007