C.T. Phipps

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About C.T. Phipps

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    Council Member
  • Birthday 12/19/1980

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    Ashland, Ky
  • Interests
    Being married to my beautiful wife. Writing. Urban Fantasy. Horror. Sci-fi. Epic Fantasy. Horror. Zombies. You know, the usual.

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  1. Tolkien loved the dwarves. He just didn't make them as awesome as elves.
  2. Am reading the ANGEL IN THE WHIRLWIND series by Christopher G. Nutall, which I really enjoyed the first book of. There's some problems I have with the book like the fact it's basically the War on Terror IN SPACE but they portray it as one of Good vs. Evil. Which...problematic. I may be ditching the series after the second one, though, because the second book is one about how religion is a source of so many wars and suffering in the universe. Which...fair point, there are a lot of religious wars. However, she works for a transparent stand-in for the British Empire and a corporatocracy who are the Ultra Pure Good Guys. Yeah...no.
  3. Interestingly, I was just about to check that out.
  4. Thankfully, we don't sweat the details too much there. Grimdark is anything suitably gritty and dark among fantasy and sci-fi. https://www.facebook.com/groups/grimdarkfiction/ To also give a sense where its politics lay, the group is celebrating Gay Pride right now.
  5. I finished reading OLD MAN'S WAR up to the HUMAN DIVISION. I think ZOE'S TALE was the last good one as I just didn't enjoy the whole conspiracy angle. It didn't make much sense and I also felt the series lost of what made it unique when it made the Colonial Union something not necessary to human civilization. I think the series should have ended at THE LAST COLONY personally. I also have finished the HARD LUCK HANK series up to ROBOT FARTS and I love the story. Not every book is a complete winner and they need a larger cast and less time skips but the protagonist is such a lovable thug, it's hard not to really enjoy it.
  6. If you belong to the Grimdark Reader List on Facebook, we have like seven or eight female authors. All of which are awesome. Deborah Anne Wolf (Dragon's Legacy) Anne Smith (Godblind) Anna Smith Sparks (Court of Broken Knives) M.L. Spencer (Rhenwars) Great bunch and environment too.
  7. I should point out, in real life, I have had numerous people chew me out for the fact my response to really trying situations and tragedies is to become extremely sarcastic and make jokes. As Ms. Scarlet says, "It's my defense mechanism." "Some defense, if I was the killer I would kill you next."
  8. Yeah, Old Man's War is MUCH more serious than The Collapsing Empire and Old Man's War is often ridiculous.
  9. I think the average reader will pick up on the fact it's not a story to be taken seriously when they read the first chapter about the community college professor's daughter who is about to become Emperor of the universe. Also the ludicrous mutiny. It's about as much an epic as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  10. Yes, when the protagonists are all selfish ******s. Which they explicitly are. This is not a story meant to be taken seriously but is a little less serious than Guardians of the Galaxy.
  11. I really enjoyed this book and think it worked extremely well for 2/3rds of the book. The book is always at its best when it's about a bunch of rock stars who just so happened to be mercenaries who don't play music. I got a lot of the jokes which others might not have by having seen "This is Spinal Tap" but the actual plot involving Lastleaf and saving Rosie didn't do anything for me. I also felt the Daeva bounty huntress was a flat character I wanted to see die horribly. It's got a lot of funny quirky bits but it's not meant to be a COMEDY so I think that's where some tonal issues are being hit. But yes, all the best bits are lost whenever it shifts to a more straight D&D-esque world.
  12. Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames I really enjoyed this book and think it worked extremely well for 2/3rds of the book. The book is always at its best when it's about a bunch of rock stars who just so happened to be mercenaries who don't play music. I got a lot of the jokes which others might not have by having seen "This is Spinal Tap" but the actual plot involving Lastleaf and saving Rosie didn't do anything for me. I also felt the Daeva bounty huntress was a flat character I wanted to see die horribly. The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French (I bought my copy before he took him down to re-publish them). A really excellent fantasy novel from the perspective of the half-orcs. Unfortunately, it kind of drenches itself in language of misogyny due to the fact the orcs can't really speak without throwing nasty slang throughout their vocabulary, much of which has to do with women or harlots. Still, there's some genuine surprises spread through the novel.
  13. Just finished my own review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2002479653 "We're getting the (mercenary) band back together." KINGS OF THE WYLD is a book which I have to give extremely high marks because it's a story I haven't read before. This is kind of a weird thing to say but it fits with something that exists as a major problem of fantasy. Specifically, it's very rare we get anything resembling new stories in fantasy. The actual premise isn't all that original ("going to rescue a mercenary's daughter from a siege") but the handling of the story is done entirely with the iconography and theme of aging rock stars getting together to do one last tour. Clay is living a blandly pleasant life as a farmer with his wife and daughter when his old partner Gabriel comes to him with a request. Gabriel's daughter, Rose, has become a mercenary and gotten herself caught in a siege by a horde of monsters. Clay doesn't want to help Gabriel since this requires traveling across the entirety of the known world, abandoning his family (for a few months at least), and unimaginable danger for a man in his late middle-years. Still, you just don't break some bonds. The book follows the assembling of "Saga" (which even sounds like a band's name) for one last adventure, dealing with their crooked former manager, getting their instruments back (by which I mean weapons), and a more traditional road trip to their destination. There's some truly hilarious bits scattered throughout, usually directly proportional to how awkward a member's retirement is. My favorite character, Matrik, has gotten himself a position as king but his wife is cuckholding him even worse than Robert Baratheon. Fortunately, Matrik is both far more aware than Robert and also a genuinely better person--sort of. The book is full of anachronisms ranging from using modern slang to the fact Nicholas Eames even uses the infamous Portal meme, "The cake is a lie." I didn't have any problems with that, though, and it fit with the general feel of the place. Hell, the band's inability to keep a bard alive strikes me as a direct homage to Spinal Tap's trouble keeping their drummer alive. Mercenaries in this world are famous people who are drenched in wine, women, wealth, and fame but who often either burn out or go through their fortunes quickly. I loved Clay's reaction to younger bands who have been reduced to fighting in arenas because older mercs have exterminated most of the local monsters. The real heart of the book, for me, is the fact it's based around the relationship of the main characters. Every one of the band members has an individual story and all of them are interesting. Representation fans will note the wizard Moog is a rare gay main character and he's also one who was both old and happily married. His quest to find a cure for the "Rot" was also something I found deeply touching since it's the disease which claimed his husband's life. A lot of the book reads like an old school Dungeons and Dragons (1E D&D, not your silly 5th edition stuff!) quest with lots of focus on the conflicts between men versus monsters. The mercenaries don't make any pretensions what they did was noble or good (indeed, they are uncomfortably aware a lot of what they did was murder for gold--especially when some trolls host them in their lair) but that just adds to the book's hardcore feeling. Some encounters do feel truly random and I'm not particularly fond of a certain bounty hunter character who seems flatter than a pancake in terms of characterization but the variety of weird things our heroes run into felt like a random encounter chart brought to life. I, especially, loved how the characters got robbed by the same lovely bandits twice. Does the book have flaws? I'm going to say yeah. The villain, Lastleaf, is adequate but the confrontation with him feels like it belongs to a more traditional fantasy story while I was much more interested in the band's enemies Kallorec (the manager) and Lilith (Matrick's wife). Indeed, the final of the book does feel a good deal too removed from the rock band mythos to be as enjoyable as it could be. I also felt disappointed the book didn't end with them deciding to do smaller tours for the rest of their life. So, do I recommend Kings of the Wyld? You bet your magic sword I do. It's a great book for those who want some easy light fantasy reading which is full of horrible monsters out to murder you. The book is surprisingly moving at times, often contemplating the kind of legacy you've left behind. 9/10
  14. Grimdark Magazine just did a review of this one. http://www.grimdarkmagazine.com/review-game-of-thrones-2014-video-game/ What did you guys think of it? I really liked it despite most of the continuity errors as well as Ramsey's invincibility.
  15. Well, in stories about freedom vs. security, it's kind of a neat callback but sure whatever.