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About Wilbur

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  1. The Secret of Terror Castle by Robert Arthur, Jr. - The first of the Three Investigators books. It was scary and exciting and set in an exotic locale (California!) and had three interesting characters who formed a cool club and solved tremendous mysteries. Also, who can resist the free use of a gold-plated Rolls Royce chauffeured by the stalwart Worthington?
  2. The Malazan troopers certainly reflect the Black Company in tone and style.
  3. SRD has a couple of novellas called The King's Justice that came out in 2015. I just finished it, and he certainly hasn't lost his ability to portray wounded characters or moral ambiguities. This is an author that could make me feel disquiet while reading the phone book to me.
  4. Here is an excellent graphic that best illustrates how Tolkien should have done a better job of incorporating more non-patriarchial, non-racial characters and plot situations into his work. http://static.boredpanda.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/58d8c66761316_nd4UQsfr__880.jpg
  5. Fragile Bird, will you take up the Gene Wolfe re-read again some time in the future?  Without your impetus, the rest of us won't move it along.

  6. Fragile Bird, where art thou? This series is a central, foundational touch point to literary 80s science fiction or fantasy - we need to finish it off, like a spoonful of castor oil or sugar, depending upon your taste.
  7. Based on your criteria, may I suggest some of the following authors' works? While not all of the books listed fall directly within the specific time period you indicated, the authors were all formed by the society you describe, and the Austerity Britain of the 1950s is much more closely linked to the post-Victorians than the 1980's, despite the similar distances in time. Some light, humorous works include the following. George & Weedon Grossmith: The Diary of a Nobody Jerome K. Jerome: Three Men in a Boat Maybe you want a little Great Game espionage, or British Socialist professionals thrown into Middle European intrigue? W. Somerset Maugham: Ashenden: Or the British Agent Eric Ambler: Film - Journey into Fear and novel of the same name. Graham Greene: Stamboul Train Enjoy some black British humour? Evelyn Waugh: Black Mischief R.S. Surtees: Mr Sponge's Sporting Tour Kingsley Amis: Lucky Jim How about some other mysteries? R. Austin Freeman: The Eye of Osiris Margery Allingham: Police at the Funeral G.D.H. and M.I. Cole: Mrs. Warrender's Profession Emma Orczy: The Old Man in the Corner Victorian Science Fiction? G.K. Chesterton: The Napoleon of Notting Hill Adventure stories! John Buchan: The Thirty-Nine Steps E.W. Hornung: The Amateur Cracksman Edgar Wallace: The Four Just Men Manning Cole: Drink to Yesterday Sax Rohmer: The Quest of the Sacred Slipper http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2126 Geoffrey Household: Rogue Male Nicholas Blake: Head of a Traveller (Adventure / mystery story written by the British poet Laureate) Dornford Yates: Blind Corner Novels made into many different versions of films and plays? P.C. Wren: Beau Geste Ouida: Under Two Flags Authors born too late, but writing about that period of time: Antonia Fraser: Quiet as a Nun Timothy Findley: The Wars
  8. Paula Volsky! I thought she had passed away until her story in the Songs of the Dying Earth Jack Vance tribute collection, called "The Traditions of Karzh" came out. It was a pretty good story, but seriously, I didn't know she was still writing. For some reason the library in the Seoul Grand Hyatt club level had a large number of her 80's or 90's novels, and I used to pick them out and read them when I was there over a weekend. I literally never saw her books anywhere else.
  9. I agree, and as you mentioned, Preston Jacobs' finest analysis is in his 1000 Worlds reviews. Actually, until Preston Jacobs' videos came out, I had not previously understood that much of GRRM's science fiction was set in a common universe with a shared history. And he particularly points out the thematic positions that GRRM has taken in his work over time, and how those same themes show up in ASOIAF. Once you see the same set of issues crop up in story after story, and then think about the plot of ASOIAF, the probable outcomes or meanings of some of the episodes in the book change pretty significantly - or, they did for me, anyway. His 1000 World videos to date are in this playlist: Most of the videos include links to either the electronic text or the audio of the book under discussion. For example, he provides links to "Frank Decker", whose audio book versions of GRRM works are pretty good: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG4e_b4DwFxnL4cnV6-N97g He also includes some other neat sessions, such as: A hilarious short summary showing that George's work is incredibly freaky: He reads the awesome prelude to Tuf Voyaging: (This prologue never made any sense to me until the 1000 Worlds review came out. Now it is seriously frightening, given what we know about the rest of the universe, and what is probably happening to the POV character. George's horror work is a delicious seasoning within his science fiction.) ASOIAF is a work of Science Fiction: Good stuff.
  10. The comments from the forum participants were also great in the Tor re-read, as well as the Q&A from ICE and SE. The whole re-read forum helped me improve my reading experience by 94.1%.
  11. I don't think of M.R. James as a conveyor of cosmic horror, and Old Man Willow fits in to a James piece very nicely. The artifacts of doom in a James story are very specific in their being and application. If you become a bishop of the haunted church, the statues will be creepy. If you purchased the haunted book, the hairy man will be attracted to you. If you buy the haunted picture, you will be able to see a terrible historical deed. If you find the Roman coin, you will end up in a haunted well. If you drink from the five jars, you will be able to talk to the owls. If you sleep in the bedroom with the haunted ash tree at the window, spiders will bite you. If you go stay with your weird cousin, he will try to cut your heart out because reasons. If you try to find the Hebrew will, a smelly man will show up. If you read books about alchemy, your name will appear in lights. If you inherit a haunted mansion, best not explore the spooky garden maze at night. Etc. These aren't cosmic horror, they are more like the Home Depot of Horror, selling you the specific tools you need to do the job. I think Tolkien uses the same sort of Implement of Doom in his stories, with Swords of Destiny that will either be re-made or slay an important bad guy; and Cursed Rings that will control all or slay the important bad guy (and leads to a ride on some eagles); and the Crystal Ball of Despondency that makes people depressed when they look into it and leads to the self-slaying of an important bad guy; and the Jewel of Stupid Decisions that makes people greedy and leads to the slaying of an important bad dragon (and a ride on some eagles); and the Diamond of Horny Mortals that makes people wrestle with werewolves and leads to the slaying of an important bad guy (and a ride on some eagles).
  12. To Wert's point, today you can read them in an order that follows the internal story chronology beginning with Falling Free and running through Gentleman Jole, and as a result the flow of the narrative in totality is probably better. For readers that picked up her books and stories as they were either published as books or in Analog, it was a much more mysterious discovery of what went where in terms of the individual stories. You don't need to read them according to the overall chronology - each of the stories stands on its own, and indeed some of her books had portions published in Analog or FSF or whatever long before an actual book showed up. Today readers have the ability to be much more completist and comprehensive in their approach to books, just because the Internet gives us a depth of knowledge that we didn't have in 1989 or whenever. Remembering an author's name, finding another work by that author, trying to recall if you liked anything by that author previously, and figuring out if or where the new work fit in the author's world building was pretty hit and miss back then. I literally carried a ragged, much-thumbed 3x5 card picked out with authors' names in the tiniest print I could write, and when I would visit a new bookstore in a new city, I would carefully work my way through the stacks checking for anything I didn't recognize by said authors. What a troglodyte. But back to Bujold. Although a reader who reads Shards of Honor and then immediately reads Diplomatic Immunity will be able to spot her growth and professionalism as a technician and writer, as an artist or writer her strong sense of story and empathy is pretty consistent, and if you skip a book or two and come back at it later, you probably won't be greatly jarred by the differences in her craft.
  13. An author of some truly other-worldly books. I remember finding and buying the first of his works that I ever read along with a nice hardback by Mary Renault in the attic book sale of a foundation down the street from my college. Two stories by very different authors, but both were good choices. Shardik has a similar feel to something written by the combination of Ursula LeGuin and Steven Erikson. The Plague Dogs is like The Rats of NIMH channeled by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  14. Is that the one co-written by Ursula LeGuin and David Drake?
  15. I enjoyed Penric's Demon - thank you for the recommendation!