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Alric Auditor | joined 04 August 2004 | 147 posts

What's up with Terry Goodkind... posted 30 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionWhat's up with Terry Goodkind... by Alric, Auditor

That's a very good question. It even has some very specific answers.

Goodkind is a mediocre author. He is capable, if he's willing to put the time and effort into a book, to write a decent enough fantasy novel. He's also proven that he can and will gladly write very bad fantasy. His plots are terribly derivative... even of each other. Nearly every book is a repeat of 2 or 3 primary plot points. Books 1 and 2, along with Faith of the Fallen show what Goodkind can do. Books like Blood of the Fold and Pillars of Creation show just how bad he can be. He writes very pointed political and philosophical opinions into his novels, which I don't agree with though some may.

Still, that isn't the primary reason why people dislike Goodkind. He is generally reviled because of his attitude, ego and the way he interacts with people. He quite vocally claims to be the best author working in fantasy. He claims that every one of his novels creates new levels of thought and understanding for his readers. He scorns the rest of the genre, including Tolkien and other foundational authors. He claims to never read fantasy while his stories clearly bear the evidence of that lie. He is rude and insulting to those who have questions about his politics, philosophy or writing style.

Goodkind is a mediocre writer with a few pretty decent books, along with a few pretty terrible books. It's his attitude and interactions with other people that make him generally disliked. view post

First Word that Comes to Mind posted 30 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionFirst Word that Comes to Mind by Alric, Auditor

obscure view post

What introduced you to philosophy? posted 30 March 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat introduced you to philosophy? by Alric, Auditor

I think everyone who has ever been encouraged to think for themselves has been submerged in philosophy from that point on. However, there are always way points along our journey.

My first formal introduction came by way of a discussion of Jung and eventually to the archetypes of human thought and expression as expressed in mythology. My first focused experience in philosophy was my first college course... an honors philosophy class for freshmen. I studied primarily Thomas Hume and Plato... an odd combination for a class. But, it was the nature of thought, self-knowledge and intelligence. It was quite difficult. view post

AMERICAN POLITICS... posted 30 March 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionAMERICAN POLITICS... by Alric, Auditor

Quote: "Cu'jara Cinmoi":1ps540mp
This comes back to my original question of what the purpose of an economy is. I think it's clear that if it isn't working for everyone's benefit then it isn't working.

Think about it. Anything with the word 'public' attached to it is in some state of fiscal crisis, and yet as a society, we're twice as wealthy as we were 30 years ago.[/quote:1ps540mp]

Scott, can something as nebulous as "economy" have a true purpose? I think that organizations, institutions, individuals, etc. can take part in the economy for a desired and specific purpuse. In the same way, I think that those same entities can enter into the economy with intent to create some sort of purpose for it. Still, it seems to be a highly fractured purpose.

I would venture as far as to say that the economy works exactly to the purpose of those who have the ability and desire to make it work for them, either the money, resources, ideas or ability to craft benefit out of the exchange of goods, services, capital, etc.

I think it is more human failure that that system is manipulated for the good of the very few instead of a more inclusive, good of the whole. I live in an area that has been quite seduced my the "no new taxes, efficient government, cut-backs" type of platform being upheld by most conservatives. Year after year, I see the people who vote on that platform get exactly what they want. They don't get new state or federal taxes. But, they are losing public transportation, health care, affordable housing, pristine environment, quality education, adequate social services.

It seems that a majority of people, even though they are not specifically getting richer, are happy with the illusion that they are better off because they don't have to pay an extra $100 a year in taxes. Of course, that doesn't stop people from complaining about health insurance or the quality of education in public schools. It's a frustrating mess. view post

First Word that Comes to Mind posted 30 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionFirst Word that Comes to Mind by Alric, Auditor

occult view post

First Word that Comes to Mind posted 30 March 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionFirst Word that Comes to Mind by Alric, Auditor

Gunslinger view post

First Word that Comes to Mind posted 04 April 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionFirst Word that Comes to Mind by Alric, Auditor

terminus view post

New Author Web Site posted 21 April 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionNew Author Web Site by Alric, Auditor


I thought I'd share with all of you the opening of a new author web site. Caitlin Sweet, A Telling of Stars and The Silences of Home, started a web site exactly one week ago. Caitlin and Scott share publishers, and maybe even agents if I'm not mistaken. Anyway, Caitlin's book A Telling of Stars is a mavel in the creative and expert use of the English Langauge. The writing is almost lyrical, the scenes are vivid and sense-laden. From what I'm hearing from friends and critics, her second book, Silences, is even better.

So, check out this new web site, along with the forum. The site design is very nice, with beautiful artistic work. Click the link. <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D -->

[url:5eqmd335]http&#58;//www&#46;caitlinsweet&#46;com/[/url:5eqmd335] view post

A Telling of Stars by Caitlin Sweet posted 02 June 2005 in ReviewsA Telling of Stars by Caitlin Sweet by Alric, Auditor

I just recently finished a complete re-read of Caitlin Sweet's debut novel, A Telling of Stars, and felt compelled to share with you my thoughts and opinions. Still, it is difficult to know exactly how to start and what to say about this novel.

The novel follows the story of a young woman, Jaele, on a continent-spanning journey. It is a journey of revenge after witnessing her family brutally murdered by a band of Sea Raiders, an event like what happened in her favorite childhood stories. We follow Jaele as she follows in ancient footsteps and as she adds a new chapter to an already ancient story of loss, war and revenge.

As in all stories of journeys, this one is not simply a physical moving from one place to another. Sweet has created a moving and compelling story of discovery, both of self and the external world, as well as it is an emotional journey through every imaginable human condition. We see Jaele change with each new experience she has and with each person she meets. Sweet somehow manages to reach through the page and change us a little along the way.

This is not a novel of high action and adventure, nor is this a gritty epic. The story is written in the form of a fable, a tale that intends to take its readers from one understanding to another along with the main character. The power of the book is from the magic of its language. Caitlin Sweet has written one of the most beautiful books that I've read in a very long time. The language is enthralling, poetic, lyrical. It is as if the book has been written as a verbal performance by a master storyteller.

A Telling of Stars was Caitlin Sweet's first novel, and it does show some of the expected shortcomings of a first novel. The novel's pace is very uneven, and while some of this is intentional, an aspect of this style of story, some of the pacing issues seem to be a result of storytelling difficulties. The first 40 pages are where it is most noticeable, and there are occasional times during the next 70 pages where pacing is uneven. The only other aspect of the novel that I felt a little troublesome was some of the ease of meetings and findings during the first half of the book.

For a long while, especially after my first reading, I was certain that the novel's characterizations were also uneven and incomplete. However, I now hold the opinion that the characterization is as much a part of Jaele's overall journey of discovery as the rest of the novel. There are only a few characters that we see real completeness too, though all characters have a kind of depth and completeness when they are on the page with Jaele. In the end, I think this was more a victory for Caitlin than the weakness I originally, and mistakenly, assumed. I have to ask her forgiveness for early comments in this area.

Ultimately, A Telling of Stars is a novel that tells its story through a complex weave of stories, of other Tellings. In this way also, along with beauty of language and vividness of image, does Sweet belong to a writting heritage that includes Gene Wolfe. The story is Jaele's telling, but her story is found in the intersection of the tales and stories of other people, history, unknowns. This is a story that depends on the power of the word, of memory, and understanding the connection between the two.

I highly recommend this novel to those fans of storytellers such as Guy Gavriel Kay, Tad Williams, and Gene Wolfe. Caitlin Sweet has a style very much her own, but she certainly can stand with that company in her ability to weave together a compelling, complete story.

For those of you interested in finding either of Caitlin's two published novels, A Telling of Stars and The Silences of Home, the easiest and most direct way is to order from Amazon Canada. The price for the mass market paperback copy of Telling is $11 canadian, roughly $7 US, with a very reasonable shipping and handling, with no import fees. I got my book in just 3 days, so shipping is quite quick.

Another option is to buy the book through the Used &amp; New section of

Caitlin Sweet's A Telling of Stars is certainly worth a place in most collections. The last 70 pages are amongst the most beautiful that I've ever read, in fantasy or anywhere. view post

Now listening to... posted 02 June 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionNow listening to... by Alric, Auditor

Cold Play ~ A Rush of Blood to the Head

Can certainly see why they are being compared to U2... it's a quality album. view post

More about Erikson books... posted 02 June 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionMore about Erikson books... by Alric, Auditor

Midnight Tides acts almost as a stand alone novel, set in the same world and fitting into the overall plot arc, though set quite a few years before the start of GotM, having only one character in common with the rest of the series... of course, the novel is the story told by a character that is set up at the very end of HoC. So, you could read and completely enjoy the novel without real fear of spoilers. However, for the overall feel and flow of the series, I also suggest that you wait.

I just found out today that my copy of Ian Cameran Esslemont's Night of Knives, the novel that depicts the day Emperor Kellenved and Dancer are killed, is shipping today. I'm rather excited about that. view post

It's true! posted 02 June 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionIt's true! by Alric, Auditor

It'll probably be 3 months in copy edit and final edit stage and then another month or so for production. So, I think the September/October call is a good one.

I'm interested to see where some of those transitioning characters will fall... like Tyrion, where is that guy. I hope that Tyrion is in this novel. If he's not, then all I'm really interested in will be Jaime. view post

Gates of Fire posted 02 June 2005 in Literature DiscussionGates of Fire by Alric, Auditor

It is an excellently written novel. As a historian and historical fiction writer, I have to say that Pressfield managed a true gem with this novel. The characters and action really manage to draw the readers in, as well as giving them just a small feel of what it would have been like to stand that narrow strip of land at Thermopylae. view post

Olympos by Dan Simmons... posted 02 June 2005 in Literature DiscussionOlympos by Dan Simmons... by Alric, Auditor

So, I managed to get sent an advanced review copy of Dan Simmons forthcoming Olympos. I'm about 200 pages in on the almost 700 page trade paperback. It is quite good. So far, the first section focuses primarily on the war around Ilium and Mount Olympus. The narrative has just switched to earth and the old-style humans.

I'll post a full review when I finish up... probably by early next week. view post

Olympos by Dan Simmons... posted 03 June 2005 in Literature DiscussionOlympos by Dan Simmons... by Alric, Auditor

You're a lucky man, Neil. I'm trying to get onto Advance Copy lists purely through my involvement in multiple web sites and a genre Blog. So far, I've managed a couple copies.

Yes, Simmons can write a very good book. view post

More about Erikson books... posted 03 June 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionMore about Erikson books... by Alric, Auditor

I'll certainly post a reply as soon as I get through Night of Knives, which is currently only available through PS Publishing, the British company that put out the limited release, and through speciality stores like Clarkesworld.

As the others have summed up, and the interview goes a long way in explaining, Esslemont and Erikson came up with the world and many of the characters together. Erikson put in a lot of work to finally get GotM published and get picked up by a major label. Esslemont's live went in other directions, moving around the world. Apparantly, Night of Knives was written sometime after GotM but before Deadhouse Gates. Esslemont is only now getting it published.

If things work out, there are 5 full novels planned by Esslemont, based on how he and Erikson originally split up the world and the characters.

You should definitely check out the interview. view post

More about Erikson books... posted 06 June 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionMore about Erikson books... by Alric, Auditor

Quote: &quot;Kidruhil Lancer&quot;:38zisef6
Obviously this guy hasn't read any of Scott's books. While the Malazen books are unquestionably more complex and on a larger scale than PoN, Mr Bakker is still a better writer than Mr. Erikson. Granted I haven't read books 3 and 4 of Erikson's series... but so far Deadhouse Gates is the only one that can compare to TDtCB or WP for style, ability, and pacing.[/quote:38zisef6]

It's certain that Scott and Steve Erikson have different writing styles. TDtCB is certainly a more polished novel, in the sense of prose and style, than GotM. However, Erikson did write GotM nearly 6 years prior to writing Deadhouse Gates. I would certainly suggest holding open your opinion of Erikson until you get a chance to at least read book 3. Book 5 of his series is a very strongly written novel, his best written to date.

Thankfully, it's possible to be fans of both, and enjoy their strengths and styles. view post

Olympos by Dan Simmons posted 17 June 2005 in ReviewsOlympos by Dan Simmons by Alric, Auditor

At long last, I've finished Dan Simmons' yet to be released Olympos, the conclusion to 2003's Ilium. Heck, I've been setting myself up to be a book reviewer simply to be able to get this book early, which it turned out to be my first Advanced Review Edition. So, here it goes:

Olympos by Dan Simmons is a massive book, both in size and scope. At the end of Ilium, war had truly been joined, war between the Gods and the Greek and Trojan heroes. War was coming to the old-style humans, or so promised Odysseus.

The book starts 8 months after the previous book ends. Changes have come to the characters and the settings. Simmons adds new PoVs from characters we're already familiar with, and he adds, or increases roles of, several other characters. War has come, has been earnestly joined by all levels of people and beings. Fighting between man and man has grown to all out warfare between the powers behind the gods.

Simmons has delivered a novel with an even larger scope, more action and entertaining developments than his previous novel. The story interesting and complex, and there are stories and histories behind the obvious. In these ways, Olympos is a glorious success of a novel and conclusion to an excellent beginning.

If you are at all familiar with Simmons' other works, Olympos reminds me most closely of The Fall of Hyperion in the style and tone of the narration. This is the book where the deeper issues and questions come more to the forefront. As usual, Simmons' is writing a tale about self-discover, or rediscovery, a what is it to be human story. He once again uses Shakespeare, Homer, Proust, Keats, Milton, as well as a host of other literary influences and direct involvements to work through his themes of art, genius, self-determination, self-destruction, and life.

The scenes, emotions, characters and constructs are for the most part excellent. The book will have readers at the edge of their seats, flipping pages late into the night... and feeling good about it.

Olympos isn't perfect though. I trust that some of the textual errors will be cleaned up as I was reading an uncorrected proof, a text that hasn't passed final edit yet. However, I think the story in Olympos was too big at times for what Simmons' was attempting to tell. I think the result is a few superfluous and wasted PoVs, a further fragmentation of some plot elements and climatic scenes, and a few too obvious places where Simmons', as the storyteller, editorializes on politics, philosophy and current trends. Oh, there is also somewhat more sex and sexuality at display here, which sometimes is more than fitting and sometimes... somewhat odd. If you're reading closely, these things occasionally stick out.

Olympos also managed to surprise me in good ways. Simmons' depth and scope of creative imagination, as well as his ability to pull and combine elements of literature and philsophy, rise to an entirely new level in this novel, in this two book series as a whole. Some of the characterization, especially in scenes of extreme suspense or action, is truly amazing. I also rather enjoyed his envisioning of earth and humanity millenia in the future in a way that had both aspects of plausibility as well and meaningful and somewhat understandible aspects of creative history, growth, war, etc. Another aspect that I enjoyed was the way that Simmons plays and harnesses different narrative styles and PoV approaches to give readers a different relationship to different story arcs and characters.

The ending... well the ending is interesting. Simmons' leaves the story like he leaves most stories, still in progress. He certainly ties up a great many of the plot elements, satisfactorily too, but not all of them. There is still some doubt, life continues and so does the eternal struggle. You'll just have to read it to find out.

All in all, I certainly recommend this novel, and Ilium before it, as a must read for any speculative fiction fan. Personally, I don't think the book is as strong as Ilium, either in total plotting or some specific characterization, but i think the two book combination is the best that Simmons has published to date. However, I'm fairly certain that some people will claim this novel to be Simmons' best, and I think they'd be justified in that opinion.

Olympos by Dan Simmons view post

Olympos by Dan Simmons... posted 17 June 2005 in Literature DiscussionOlympos by Dan Simmons... by Alric, Auditor

Well, I finally finished the book... posted a full review in the reviews section if you'd like to read my thoughts on the book.

All in all, it was a pretty great book. I don't think that it's quite as good Ilium, but it's still a very satisfying read. All you Simmons fans should be happy. For those of you thinking about trying a new author... I'd certainly recommend Dan Simmons. If you're a scifi fan, start with Hyperion (followed by The Fall of Hyperion) or Ilium (followed by Olympos). If you're not a fan of scifi... Ilium is a book that has been enjoyed by a great many people who are not fans of scifi. So, there you go. view post

Erikson? posted 22 June 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionErikson? by Alric, Auditor

Quote: &quot;Edge&quot;:33h2f47t
The Malazan Book of Ice and Darkness <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: -->[/quote:33h2f47t]

Ha! I like that title. view post

New Malazan Novel: Night of Knives by Ian Cameron Esslemont posted 22 June 2005 in Literature DiscussionNew Malazan Novel: Night of Knives by Ian Cameron Esslemont by Alric, Auditor

So, have any of you been lucky enough to pick this book up yet? I finished reading it over the weekend, and I have to say that I was quite happy in my decision to shell out some money for it.

As some of you know, Ian Cameron Esslemont is a friend of Erikson and is the co-creater of the Malazan world, along with some characters and story plotting. Years ago, Steve and Ian split up the world and the history. Steve got his 10 book arc and is writing a few novellas. Ian has 5 books planned. From the intro to the book written by Steve, he says that we should all know now why he hasn't written anything focused on the Crimson Guard. So, you can call me excited.

The novella, or short novel really, weighs in at 284 pages, and covers about 12 hours of the day that Kellenved and Dancer are assassinated in Malaz City, the night Surly takes the imperial throne as Laseen... and a night where all hell breaks loose. The events take place several months after the very beginning of GotM, Paran's meeting Whiskeyjack atop Mock's Hold.

The book is a quite and entertaining read, filled with action, interesting character, some insights and that truly great Malazan feel, which is an accomplishment since we're talking about a different author here.

For a full review, click the link to my review at
[url:23kvh2zm]http&#58;//www&#46;wotmania&#46;com/fantasymessageboardshowmessage&#46;asp?MessageID=130573[/url:23kvh2zm] view post

New Malazan Novel: Night of Knives by Ian Cameron Esslemont posted 28 June 2005 in Literature DiscussionNew Malazan Novel: Night of Knives by Ian Cameron Esslemont by Alric, Auditor

It was quite expensive, especially for a 284 page book, but I get to have an impulse buy every once and a while.

I'm sure the book will be published again, and not in a limited edition format just like Steven Erikson's novellas have. Of course, it might be a while before they are available again.

I'm happy I spent the money because the story was a fun read. view post

Crusader posted 26 July 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionCrusader by Alric, Auditor

That's a rather good catch, and I'd imagine if you looked at some of the commentary in the Prince of Nothing sections you'll probably find some discussion around the 1st Crusade and the shaping of this series. It is rather obvious that the 1st Crusade is a model that Scott looked to when crafting the depth and polictical climate of his story.

I have a degree in history, double focus of classic (Rome) and the medieval period (primarily pre-Norman England), I find novels that make an effort to incorporate the feel and complexity of history, from any period, tend to have a far richer and complete background for their stories. view post

Now Reading... posted 26 July 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionNow Reading... by Alric, Auditor

at the moment...

Caitlin Sweet's The Silences of Home

after that... Peace by Gene Wolfe view post

Eddings posted 26 July 2005 in Literature DiscussionEddings by Alric, Auditor

You might actually be the first person I've ever "met" who has claimed to actually enjoy, let alone prefer, The Redemption of Athulus.

I read the Eddings series quite a while ago... 15 years ago or so. At the time, I quite enjoyed the Belgariad and The Mallorean. My favorite Eddings character is still Sparhawk from El and Tam. I've always characterized Eddings books as light, easy and entertaining. A friend of mine calls them cotton candy... meaning that they are enjoyable but very light and will leave you looking for something a bit more substantial. Great summer reads, I think. view post

What is your favorite sport? posted 17 August 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionWhat is your favorite sport? by Alric, Auditor

To steal from the old EA Sports ads... sport is when you can say, "I am better than you, and I can prove it."

I think "sport" can be defined differently by just about anyone who you'd ask. I prefer a more general definition myself. Sport is where through physical skill, a person or team, is competing against other persons or teams. These might be decided by judges rewarding performance, by scores achieved directly against another. Now, this definition leaves a certain grey margin in the middle where people can certainly argue. Is darts a sport or a bar room entertainment? Why the heck does ESPN carry poker tournaments? What was that trampoline competition at the last olympics?

For me, figure skating is a sport. Anything that is that physically demanding, precise and requires that much time and talent to perfect is a sport. The wonderful thing, you don't have to agree with me because there are plenty of sports out there for everyone. Heck, follow the wonderful Ashes this summer. view post

First Word that Comes to Mind posted 17 August 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionFirst Word that Comes to Mind by Alric, Auditor

guffaw view post


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