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Alric Auditor | joined 04 August 2004 | 147 posts

Now Reading... posted 28 October 2004 in Off-Topic DiscussionNow Reading... by Alric, Auditor

At the moment, I'm reading The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien. The man was brilliant in his way. view post

Any horror fans here? posted 28 October 2004 in Literature DiscussionAny horror fans here? by Alric, Auditor

If I have to use the genre classifications, I will... I just don't like them much.

I haven't read much that would considered horror in today's standards. Oh, I've read some of the classics like Mary Shelly and Brom Stoker, plus some Lovecraft.

I've read one King horror book, which I don't count the Dark Tower series... epic quest in that regard. I've read some by Dan Simmons. Those would be it for pure horror.

Now, I've been reading a lot of the new generation books that are blending a great deal of these genre lines. One I can think of right off hand is China Mieville's Perdido Street Station, which blended a great many styles, including horror and supense. Alexander Irvine's A Scattering of Jades is another good example. The story has several classic horror elements, good enough to win a International Horror Guild Award, but I wouldn't classify it as a horror.

I enjoy the tendency of some authors today to thrill you with action and intrigue at one moment, and at the next frighten you silly with top-notch suspense and thriller. view post

Now Reading... posted 14 December 2004 in Off-Topic DiscussionNow Reading... by Alric, Auditor

Recently finished Gene Wolfe's latest... The Wizard... which was excellent. Currently, I'm reading Stephen Brust's Jhereg. view post

First Word that Comes to Mind posted 14 December 2004 in Off-Topic DiscussionFirst Word that Comes to Mind by Alric, Auditor

Celtics view post

Now listening to... posted 20 December 2004 in Off-Topic DiscussionNow listening to... by Alric, Auditor

Jethro Tull at the Isle of Wight music festival in 1970. view post

First Word that Comes to Mind posted 20 December 2004 in Off-Topic DiscussionFirst Word that Comes to Mind by Alric, Auditor

enemy view post

Wanna vote in this year's Awards? posted 20 December 2004 in Literature DiscussionWanna vote in this year's Awards? by Alric, Auditor

Quote: "Aldarion":382moedg
Hey, not only am I a semi-regular here, but I'm also the main moderator/administrator over at the Other Fantasy section of wotmania.[/quote:382moedg]

Ha! "... one of the..."

<!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> view post

Now Reading... posted 21 January 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionNow Reading... by Alric, Auditor

A Telling of Stars by Caitlin Sweet

I'm about 70 pages in and stuggling a little bit. Sweet writes beautifully, there is no denying that, but there are aspects that are a bit rough. The book is being told as a fable, which makes the feel of the story a bit odd. Also, this being a first book, the pacing and plotting don't work well together. The book feels rushed.

Still, there is enough real quality to drive me onwards. view post

Ilium posted 21 January 2005 in Literature DiscussionIlium by Alric, Auditor

Glad that you enjoyed the book, Sovin. It's one of my favorite novels published in the past decade. Ilium is definitely Simmons at his best... and that is saying much. view post

First Word that Comes to Mind posted 16 February 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionFirst Word that Comes to Mind by Alric, Auditor

Union view post

Good Book? posted 16 February 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionGood Book? by Alric, Auditor

I have to agree with Will on this one. There are some series that can be read out of sequence, though I'd never suggest it for the first time through. Erikson's Malazan series could be read, 1-3-2-4-5, with minimal spoilers for the out of sequence books.

In a series like Bakkers, it's a bad idea to read the books out of sequence. A great deal of the weight and power of later books comes from the character development and mystery of the earlier books. Sometimes, a story needs time to build, wrap a reader up, before it explodes. If you skip to the middle or last book, you miss the careful preparations of the author, you miss the depth, and power of the actions, revelations and decisions. view post

Now Reading... posted 16 February 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionNow Reading... by Alric, Auditor

I just finished Alexander Irvine's second book, One King, One Soldier, which is a combination tale dealing with the Fisher King myth, Egyptian mythology, Arthurian Lore, and Templar Mystery. The book wasn't brilliant, I enjoyed Tim Powers Fisher King novel, Last Call, more, but it was quite good. You get an alternative view of history between 1890 and 1950 or so.

Right now, I just started Tim Powers The Anubis Gates, which is a time travel book combining Egyptian Mythology, 1800's England, and strange collection of characters. The Prologue was quite thrilling. view post

Now Reading... posted 23 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionNow Reading... by Alric, Auditor

I just finished Tim Powers' delightful time-travel novel, The Anubis Gates. Currenlty, I'm in the midst of K.J. Bishop's debut novel, The Etched City, which is quite interesting.

In the near future, I'm going to switch veins and hit up a few gritty action novels... Stover's Heroes Die is at the top of the pile. view post

Now listening to... posted 23 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionNow listening to... by Alric, Auditor

right at the moment...

Jerry Garcia and David Grisman's - Acoustic Disc acd-2 view post

First Word that Comes to Mind posted 23 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionFirst Word that Comes to Mind by Alric, Auditor

random view post

Stephen Erikson's Books posted 23 March 2005 in Literature DiscussionStephen Erikson's Books by Alric, Auditor

I've enjoyed my recent chance to reread Erikson's series books 1 through 5 and both of the novellas released to date. Right now, I'm trying to be content waiting for the soon to be released prequel novel by Esslemont, who is a close friend of Eriksons. I'm interested in the novel both in concept and in content as it will span only a single day, or approx., and cover the events around the assasination of Dancer and Kellenved.

Yes... patience.

Of course, you could also head over to to catch the Prologue to Bone Hunters.

[url:3pmi9i47]http&#58;//malazan&#46;com/eve/ubb&#46;x/a/tpc/f/930106197/m/352106879[/url:3pmi9i47] view post

Feast for Crows due this Summer posted 23 March 2005 in Literature DiscussionFeast for Crows due this Summer by Alric, Auditor

I've adopted this approach to Martin... I'll read it when I see it. When it comes to Martin, I'm fully confident that he'll deliver a very worthy book... in his own time. I'm more than happy to let him have all the time he needs. view post

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers posted 23 March 2005 in ReviewsThe Anubis Gates by Tim Powers by Alric, Auditor

I've finished another book that I thought worthy of a full review. This book isn't new, and it isn't specifically a classic. Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates, published in December 1983, winner of the 1984 Philip K. Dick award, is a book that crosses many genres blended together in a way only Powers could manage.

London, early 1800's, a mysterious duo with Egyptian ties attempt a desparate spell to reopen The Anubis Gates in order to strengthen magic and allow a flow across time. The spell goes amiss, but something happens. Holes have been punched through time.

Technically, this book is called a time travel novel, but it really is so much more. Powers, an early pioneer of the Steam Punk style, blends action, adventure, secret history, science, fantasy, mystery, suspense and horror to create a truly unique novel. The players are an Egyptian sorceror, a disfigured clown, a body-switching "werewolf", a brain-washed Lord Byron, Samuel Coleridge, a young woman thought to be a young man, and the primary hero, Professor Brendan Doyle.

The bulk of this story takes place in London of 1810/11, though parts take place in "modern" times. This is a quick-paced novel, that moves the reader into surprising directions. The writing is crisp, the ideas are creative and wonderfully realized. The characters are interesting and intriguing. This is a story of risks, mistakes, luck, terror and quick changes in fortune. Powers is truly gifted in the way he plots his novels, how the many different ideas, directions, characters blend together in an integrated whole.

The beauty of this novel is that no one is ever entirely certain of what is going on. The characters make incorrect judgements of situations and other characters that lead them to actions and reponses that are surprising and completely entertaining. As the reader, you're never entirely certain of what will happen next even as you're aware of the mistakes the characters are making.

While the novel was not exactly what I expected, I definitely recommend The Anubis Gates to anyone and everyone who might be interested in something different... even if you've sworn to never read a time travel novel. This book really has something for everyone... action, magic, suspense, tragedy, mystery, loss, love, secret history, humor, mythical characters, real characters. This novel, along with Powers later novel, Last Call, really need to make onto your "If I were stranded on a Desert Island" list. Thankfully, the book was rereleased in 1997 and should be generally available.

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers view post

One King, One Soldier by Alexander Irvine posted 23 March 2005 in ReviewsOne King, One Soldier by Alexander Irvine by Alric, Auditor

As I mentioned to a few people in passing, I've been reading Alexander Irvine's One King, One Soldier, on Locus' 2004 Suggested Reading List. Well, I finished the book a while back, and I've spent some time thinking it over. So, my review:

The elements are all here, the puzzle awaits. Magic and poetry are at once in tension and one the same. Irvine's novle tackles the myths, themes and mysteries that others have tackled, most notably Umberto Eco in Foucault's Pendulum and Tim Powers in Last Call. This is the story and secret history of the Fisher King (Osiris, Arthur, etc), and it blends african, egyptian, arthurian legend, as well as the grail, the ark of the covenant and the Knights of the Temple (templars). This mix is both familiar and suprisingly new and interesting.

The book is really found in the intersection of the stories of 3 different people, ranging from the late 1800s to the Korean War.

Lance Porter, a young American wounded while in combat in Korea, finds himself out of the army and adrift in San Francisco, with nothing but a few hundred dollars and a mysterious and disturbing letter from his girl friend... and a bunch of odd people seeking him out.

Arthur Rimbaud, a 30 something Frenchman, a one time solider, poet, explorer, is caught up in race to find the grail in imperial Africa in 1890. Following in his father's footsteps, he is about to play the game for himself, and cross both the templars and the heirs of King Soloman.

George Gibson, a young American baseball player barnstorming across Nova Scotia in 1890 waiting to be called to the professional league. In a small game on a farm, he decides to go treasure hunting, and finds something that will forever change his life and the entire world.

One King, One Soldier is Irvine's second novel, and he has shown growth in his style and voice from his first, A Scattering of Jades. However, where as this novel is better shaped, and paced, it lacks some of the vivid creativity of the first. Also, Irvine opted for an ending that did not bring complete resolution. In fact, the resolution of the book leaves room for a possible sequel... not that I've heard of anything being planned. What it does have is vision and character. While you're never on firm ground as to what is exactly going on behind the scenes, you are alway on the edge as the reader.

At 335 pages, Irvine manages to pack in a very dense and entertaining story in a relatively thin book. The climatic scene of each of the different stories, is powerful in an odd way, combining both belief and image into something that is compelling for both the characters and the readers. While the final resolution definitely is left in the air, Irvine does achieve a definite sense of completion and completeness.

If you enjoy a creative mix of world myth, mystery and conspiracy, as well as reading fantasy books that include real places and events... George follows the Stanley expedition across the Congo... this book is more than worth a read. As is the case in this style of book, be prepared for alternate reasons for Franklin D. Roosevelt's illness, Italian interest in Ethiopia, the design of the Chartes Cathedral, etc. Are gay men the greatest magicians? All in all, this was a fun read.

If you find yourself out on a desert island some time, One King, One Soldier by Alexander Irvine, would be a nice change of pace from a Martin, Erikson, Bakker, Simmons, Vance. It's not the perfect book, but it is something worth reading. view post

The Dragon Masters by Jack Vance posted 23 March 2005 in ReviewsThe Dragon Masters by Jack Vance by Alric, Auditor

Rounding out my recent focus of classic scifi novels, I finished reading, about a week ago, the hugo winning The Dragon Masters by Jack Vance.

As is the case with many classic scifi stories, this one isn't very long, about 150+ pages in trade form, and was package with another Vance story, the classic novella, "The Last Castle". However, for as short as the story was, Vance managed to capture a great deal of character, action and imagination. Of the few Vance novels I've read to this point, and that is admittedly few, this has been my favorite.

Humans live in vales and valleys of a rocky and harsh world lost somewhere in space. Millenia ago, the Old Human Empire stretched forth throughout the Universe, controlling and populating many planets around many suns. That empire collapsed in war and strife. Now, this lone planet might be the last human dwelling in a universe were the word "earth" only refers to the mythical home planet of the human race.

Joaz Banabek is the ruler of one of the more prosperous valleys. He is ambitious and eager to recapture some of the lost technology and knowledge from the past. He'd like to visit other worlds, find the lost human civilzation. His neighbor, Ervis Carcolo, is bent on domination of his own planet. Within the control of both men are powerful armies of dragons... itelligent, deadly and bred for specific duties.

However, looming over them, is the ever present threat, or myth, of a vagrant planet, home of the dragons ancestors, who have invaded in the past and may again, with their genetically enhanced and changed human warriors.

The writing is crisp, and the story flows quickly. There is an interweaving of PoVs and various plot elements that come together to create a rather fulfilling short novel. Vance is very good at capturing the imagination of his readers by linking strong images with interesting ideas and captivating action sequences.

My only complaint is that the book really deserved to be another 100 to 150 pages longer. I think Vance had the story and material to give the world more development, push the characters more and make for a more complete novel. As is, it seems just a bit chopped.

I've you're a scifi fan and are looking to read a classic, pick up Jack Vance's The Dragon Masters. view post

Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny posted 23 March 2005 in ReviewsLord of Light by Roger Zelazny by Alric, Auditor

I’ve been trying to incorporate a few Science Fiction classics into my reading schedule. My latest read turned out to be a truly enjoyable experience… scifi classic and Hugo award winner, Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny.

It is difficult to read a landmark work, such as Lord of Light, for the first time and not think of the many stories and plot elements that it holds in common with books that I’ve read previously. Once one fixes in on the fact that this book came first, this book set the mold the others have followed, the reading experience becomes all the more amazing. Lord of Light was published in 1967 and won the Hugo for best SciFi novel in 1968.

    His followers called him Mahasamataman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the –ataman, however, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god. But then, he never claimed not be a god.

Thus begins the tale of a man, a culture and an entire world. It is difficult to give a good description of the story without ruining some of the skill and beauty of Zelazny’s unveiling. However, there is much to tell.

The story takes place on another world far in the future. The culture/religion is Hindu in nature and takes a great deal of depth and feel from the Hindu cultures of South East Asia. This is a story of colonization, of Gods, of war and revenge. The Hindu God’s walk on this world and Sam is known as the Buddha, counter-influence to the Hindu religion. But who are they? What are they?

The time-line of Zelazny’s story movies along a bit unconventionally, and bit haphazardly, but this style allowed him to slowly unveil a greater feel and understanding for the history of the land, the people and the events being narrated. The depth and complexity of the story, the world building and the issues being portrayed are a perfect compliment to the intriguing and mysterious characters. The more we learn, the more we want to, and find we need to, know. The tone and style is at times serious, at times light, often tense and exciting.

You'll find yourself thinking about some of the characters, what you'd do if you'd be in their place. What would your aspect and your attribute be? Where would you stand on the issues? This is a story to feed the imagination.

I’ll offer only a few detractors, and those only in comparison to the real strengths of the novel. At first, the break in the initial timeline causes a good deal of confusion. It is set up, but the reality of the story shift is a bit difficult to follow. The good thing is that Zelazny continues to move his story and the readers follow along. You’ll fit the puzzle together when you need to. Secondly, and this is no fault of Zelazny’s, is that several aspects of the story are not that uncommon these days, though Lord of Light is responsible for starting some these trends and types. The ending, while completely satisfying and in keeping with the rest of the narrative, is more a leaving off than an actual ending, the reader is simply drifting out of the specifics of a story.

Read this book. If you’re looking for a classic scifi novel, this is a great one to start with. If you’re not too crazy about scifi but want to try one out, this is a perfect novel to read. While the events, action and implements of this story are science fiction, the novel reads and feels somehow equal parts fantasy. You especially want to read this novel if you’ve enjoyed Dan Simmons’ Ilium and Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars. LOL combines a lot of the themes and ideas, to different extentions and developments, that both those authors and texts have explored. Lord of Light is a fascinating, exciting, quick and completely rewarding novel. Read this book.

If you’re on that proverbial desert island, you’ll want Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light as a part of your supply! view post

I HATE PEOPLE... posted 23 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionI HATE PEOPLE... by Alric, Auditor

I get tired of the people who desparately cling to a certain, limited idea of what makes a story a fantasy. This is one of the reasons I'm not a fan of the genrefication of literature. Once you start classifying books by what things they have in common, it's too easy to lose originality and open expectations of quality. view post

First Word that Comes to Mind posted 24 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionFirst Word that Comes to Mind by Alric, Auditor

chaos view post

Connolly posted 24 March 2005 in Member Written WorksConnolly by Alric, Auditor

It was... good. I think I need to read that again, so as to get a better feel for it. view post

Do you believe a God exists? posted 24 March 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by Alric, Auditor

Quote: &quot;tellner&quot;:cl6jo7im
There's a G-d. I ain't Him.[/quote:cl6jo7im]

That is one of the fundamental realizations in philosophy and self-awareness. Of course, it only creates more questions, but they certainly are interesting questions. view post

What is your favorite sport? posted 24 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionWhat is your favorite sport? by Alric, Auditor

I'm just curious which sports people enjoy around these parts. It's always fun to know who you can talk with about certain things. You know, it's a community building thing. <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: -->

My favorite sport is American Football, which I played for several years. I don't so much have a favorite team as I'm a hard-luck supporter for my local team, the Minnesota Vikings. They've managed to lose the championship game 4 times in their history while never winning.

Secondly, I'd say ice hockey. It was my favorite sport to play, though I ended up being a goalie. While I was a good goalie, it was not nearly as fun as skating out. My favorite team... well since the NHL is canceled, I'll have to say my state's college squad... The Minnesota Golden Gophers.

My third favorite sport... Football (soccer). I'm one of those odd Americans who enjoy the sport and follow the European Leagues. I'm a Liverpool supporter.

So... anyone else? Or, do you quite dislike sports all together? view post

What is your favorite sport? posted 28 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionWhat is your favorite sport? by Alric, Auditor

Well, CFL is more of a sport than Arena League Football.

As for March Madness, the weekend's games were quite good. I've never seen as many close, overtime games. It was very entertaining. Of course, my bracket is completely shot now. view post

Erikson? posted 28 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionErikson? by Alric, Auditor

I can't recommend Erikson enough. As the others have mentioned, there are currently 5 books published in Canada and the UK, though only 2 have been published so far in the US.

Gardens of the Moon:

Picks up 10 years into a war pitting the Malazan Empire with the free cities on the continent of Genebackis. Only 2 cities remain free from the Empire's control. The story is one of intrigue, betrayal, wonderful world building and excellent action. Who can be trusted? What is the mission?

Deadhouse Gates:

The story follows a few of the characters from GotM a few months after the end of book 1. They have sailed to a land on the brink of a Holy War/rebellion against the Malazan Empire which had conquered the land a decade or so prior. New characters and setting are extremely well done. The action is intense, the plotting is amazing and the story is truly excellent. One of the better epic fantasy reads of recent memory.

Memory of Ice:

Runs concurrent with Deadhouse Gates and picks up the story of the other main characters in GotM. Once again, the world building in this story is simply amazing. The action, plotting and pacing of this novel is again truly excellent. The characters, old and new, are thrilling. The armies of Malazan face a new and mysterious foe on the continenant of Genebackis. This book might even be better than Deadhouse Gates.

House of Chains:

This novel switches styles, a little, from the previous two. The first section exists almost as a novella about a savage character named Karsa Orlong. The remainder of the book picks up the story left off by Deadhouse Gates. The story is more character and overall plot driven, but it is still quite interesting. This is the story of the final clashes of the Holy War pitting the rebellion against the tattered and young Malazan army.

Midnight Tides:

This novel is interesting in that it takes place a couple decades prior to Gardens of the Moon and the other novels. It explains the prologue of book 4 as it is the story of one of the characters in HoC. This is probably Erikson's best written book, showing his range of excellent humor, engaging action, detailed characterization and world building. The story builds and enhances the readers overall understanding of the greater struggle that ties all the novels together.

Bonehunters should be released toward the end of this year to early next year. There are also 2 novellas out, Blood Follows and Healthy Dead, which are prequel stories about a few minor characters that appear in MoI.

Some of the other aspects of Erikson's books that make them worthwhile is that each stands as a lone novel. That isn't to say that you can read them in any order. I mean that each book is written in a way that it has a clear beginning, clear direction and a definite ending. The series is tied together, but each book doesn't have a complete cliff hanger at the end. The result is that the series is very satisfying to readers. view post

First Word that Comes to Mind posted 29 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionFirst Word that Comes to Mind by Alric, Auditor

mystery view post

Erikson? posted 30 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionErikson? by Alric, Auditor

Well, enjoy it! GotM is a slow build, but a good book. view post


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