Maester Llama

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  1. The citation for the claim goes to the Cory twitter account where he -- "he" presumably being Ty Franck, since Abraham has his own twitter handle -- says he and Weir did a signing together and "agreed our books are in the same continuity," so it sounds like the answer is yes so far as that goes. That said, while I could well be surmising wrongly, this sounds to me like a fun little spur of the moment thing rather than something that's thought through and planned out and will have consequences; I suspect the conversation amounted to something like: "Hey, how about our books are in the same continuity? There is nothing in either that specifically prevents it from working and it will never matter." "Sure dude." "Excellent!" The beauty of it is that fans who want the two stories to share a continuity can have it that way, while any who don't can easily read the ship name in The Expanse as an easter egg or simply evidence that the series takes place in a universe in which The Martian exists as a book -- there are numerous other references to sf works in ship names etc as I recall.
  2. I definitely recall Asher being a climate change denier the last time I looked in on him, though that was a while ago so he may have come round to the factual. No idea about the puppy thing. I suppose I should try some of his stuff one day. It just never struck me as appealing for some reason -- it looked like mostly kill machines fighting other kill machines, and while I love me some kill machines it ... I dunno, just didn't grab me or give me much to latch onto. Read Laurie Penny's short novella Everything Belongs to the Future, about a dystopic / if-this-goes-on Britain in which the rich have got anti-aging treatments and everybody else has got shit. Short, sharp, brutal but not showily nihilistic, really good. Felt like a quality episode of a freaky sf anthology series, like Black Mirror but with genetech instead of screens. Had this shown up on the Hugo shortlist I would not have thought people insane. It's Guy Gavriel Kay time now.
  3. Have had a lot of time to read the last couple days. Finished off Four Roads Cross, the fifth book in Max Gladstone's excellent Craft Sequence of fantasy novels that use magic as a lens to examine late capitalism. Loved it -- I always love these. Epic stakes sketched with gravity but also playfulness, gripping characters, mindbending magic. Lots of gargoyles in this one too. Moves the series forward in major ways and, while perhaps a less crisply-structured standalone than previous books, begins tying several things introduced in earlier books together very satisfyingly. Things feel both complete and as if they are just beginning at the end of it. Also finished Necessity, the third and last of Jo Walton's Just City books about a bunch of philosophers drawn together from throughout time to try and creat Plato's Republic. Very delightfully weird book, even moreso than the first two, based as it is largely on time travel antics. The plot manages to be simultaneously densely tangled / involving and almost nonexistent and mostly an excuse for people to talk. It's maybe less wholly successful for me than this series has been at its best -- at least on first reading, it's a complex book so I'll need to go through it again -- but it still renders philosophical questions and dialogue that I often find off-putting in a way I find compelling, and I still love the setting and the characters and think it wraps up their story quite well. Oh, and in March I finished Daniel Abraham's The Dagger and the Coin series with The Spider's War after putting it off for a long time. It feels great when an author sticks the landing. One of my very favourite recent series, and a mark of how interesting and enjoyable the traditional structures of epic fantasy can still be. Also in March: Indra Das' The Devourers, which I was hugely impressed by all of the time and loved some of the time.
  4. I am astonished, bewildered, terrified, disheartened. Might read Red Sister now though.
  5. I think this is an awesome list, at least in the categories in which I can have an opinion. The novel list is just great -- I'd have made a couple different choices, of course, but all of these are books for which I have seen a lot of genuine love and appreciation and the list contains no entry the presence of which is just fucking bullshit, in other words no entry that cannot be easily explained by smart engaged readers having different tastes. Too Like the Lightning! I did not expect that. Happiness! I am also surprised by how much I like the nominees for best series. I don't need to like the nominees for it to be a good category, of course, but the series that have ended up nominated make it feel to me like this could be a genuine way to recognize good work, rather than just a way for fans to hand out additional cookies to work that already sells incredibly well and is very popular. I hope this gets Gladstone's superb Craft Sequence another reader or two. The list's got a minor case of TB, yes, and the focus of his mischief this year means that his minions may be able to concentrate more on single nominees and increase the likelihood of a win, which sucks, but outside of that I think at the nomination stage this one feels like a success.
  6. Myshkin, I salute you. Your sacrifice is a noble one and it is very much appreciated. Hilarious recap -- though, as no doubt intended, very frightening, because oh god this book. You are an inspiration to us all. I can one-hundred percent confirm that Replacement Sex Ninja Cara dies a third of the way through Warheart. I know this for reasons that will, I hope, shortly become clear.
  7. The D&D and episodic television descriptions seem very apt. There's no plot throughline. It's just go here, go there, get-the-magic-thing. I know it's a failure of empathy and that people enjoy all kinds of shit -- I love some trash too, but I now really struggle with how people can read Goodkind for enjoyment, rather than for reasons of parody. Like ... how!? This is soooooo bad. There's this one time in Confessor, the last Goodkind book I read for reasons of self-hatred or something, where Terry straight-up skips the final fight with the crazy-ass beast that has been chasing Dick around for three full novels; like Dick goes to fight the creature, and in the next chapter he comes back and it's dead. It's like Terry just didn't write two full chapters of climactic fight because he wanted to get to the end and the book was due. Never underestimate our man's ability to rush an ending. Sounds like he's taking a more symmetrical approach to rushing in Death's Mistress, where we get the whole ending, just stupid fast.
  8. Oh my god, that's disgusting. I mean, the tree thing is the crown jewel of nope, for sure, but everything in this section is crazy misogynist. We've always known Goodkind is gross about this stuff, but as you say this is a new low. The whole recap has been mad funny, and I thank and salute you; you are doing noble work. But I am legitimately concerned both for and about this man now. Is this person well?
  9. Yep, he is indeed. Torture-bishop Hannis Arc uses dickblood to reanimate Sulachan and then Sulachan brings along his "legions of half-people," who are people from beyond the very tall wall-like object who are only half alive and carry the "taint of death," so shamble around the countryside constantly looking for souls to steal and also smell bad -- so they're zombies. It seems as though Terry is really embracing the whole zombie thing, what with the half people and now the jerky people -- love "jerky people" by the way, a wonderful addition to the lexicon of yeardly terms.
  10. Yep, we know Sulachan from previous books. He's an ancient emperor guy who was bound or locked or just somehow ended up -- I am hazy at this point -- on the northerly side of a very tall non-legally-actionable wall-like structure in the "Darklands," a part of Dickland that spontaneously appeared right around 2012 after the first season of Game of Thrones had aired on HBO. I don't normally like to throw shade in this way, since fantasy tropes are fair game and etc, but this is like some absolutely e-fucking-normous wall and it had never been mentioned previously, never, not one time. Some evil torture-bishop dude used Dick's special wizard blood to resurrect / free him and together they led an army south into the heart of Dickland and fucked shit up there for a while. He is dead now or something. One day I will finish Warheart and find out. But yeah, he's definitely a known figure.
  11. I bless you. This is a good and noble thing you do and your sacrifice will not go unremembered. Speaking as a former would-be Goodkind recapper it was the incredible unrelenting boredom of latterday Terry that got me. I mean, I'm not trying to shift blame; I am super lazy. But if Goodkind had managed to muster the same unintentional golden nuggets he used to in his campy prime I am pretty sure I'd have made it. Not a jaw-kick or rising thing to be seen in the hundred pages I got through though, not even so much as a raptor gaze. I recall thinking that Nicci's scenes contained the only faint flickers of the old trash fire, however, so we can but hope that Terry will be back in the sucktastic swing of things in the adventure you are about to embark on for our benefit.
  12. Unnecessary extra confirmation: Yep, Lawrence's Prince of Thorns was 2011, not 2009, in both the US and UK, and I know absolutely it was 2011 in the UK because I recall hearing that a bookseller ... it was Waterstone's, I think, was giving people free Prince of Thorns arcs in exchange for ADWD preorders, and ADWD came out in 2011 -- Martin and Lawrence share a UK publisher, though not a US one. I'd say the term epic fantasy gets a little slippery when you start talking about authors like Gladstone and Jemisin, who may not have some of the furniture but have broad-canvas worldshaking storytelling -- gods, huge magic, earthshattering stakes -- aplenty. I'd count them. Perhaps there have not been any debuts to match the overwhelming greatness of something like Lynch, but I'd call several debuts this decade that I've read very very strong -- Jemisin, Gladstone, Wexler. And then there's work by writers who have really leveled up -- having either debuted this decade or previously -- and are now on the absolute wave crest of the genre in my opinion -- again Gladstone and Jemisin, also Robert Jackson Bennett, Elizabeth Bear, maybe Brad Beaulieu. Kate Elliott has leveled up again this decade. If you like ya there are authors like Bardugo and Hartman doing big stuff in secondary world fantasy. I can't say it's never been better, certainly, both because I don't quite know that I think so and because I haven't been reading that long, but it's a golden age for sure. Great, great stuff.
  13. Oh, huh, oops. I ... had embarrassingly totally forgotten the term worldbreaker appeared in Second Apocalypse, and I've read up to White-Luck Warrior. Yep, is good joke.
  14. Wait, ... maybe I'm missing something hugely obvious, but what has Hurley's Worldbreaker got in common with Bakker beyond an otherworldly invasion trope or two? I read The Mirror Empire a couple years back when it came out and the world is fascinating, but I regret to say my enthusiasm faded in memory. I just ... I just don't need to spend more time with these people. There's "flawed human being" and then there's some of the stuff that goes on here, and the book is so bent on plotting efficiently that I felt I was never given a chance to sit with the characters and understand why they did some of the attention-grabbingly awful things they did. Lilia is also a bit of a plot pingpong ball early on as I recall; she gets captured a lot. The world and the cultures really are fascinating, but I never felt the book in my gut.
  15. Yeah, everyone's going to have a thing or two that they feel should really have appeared on any awards list, since there are so many worthy stories and so few slots. That's totally reasonable. I am very puzzled by the absence of Palmer's Too Like the Lightning from the Locus recommended reading, though. It's outstanding. Not even in first novel? Have all the reviewers got collective amnesia? It's an unusual book, certainly, but are those of us who like it really that weird? That's bananas. Apart from that I think the only thing I've read so far from last year that I'd really whine about is Frances Hardinge's The Lie Tree, which should absolutely appear in young adult and does strike me as an omission. It's very possible that was originally published in the UK in 2015 though and that's why it is not here. I'd probably include Paul Kearney's The Wolf in the Attic in fantasy, too, but that falls into my "different strokes / only so many slots on an award shortlist" box. I like the Nebula list a lot. I'm not one-hundred percent on the All the Birds in the Sky train, but I like it much more than several people here. I'm part-way through Ninefox Gambit and I'm not sure it's my thing, but it's very intriguing and well done. Also really has this novella thing locked down don't they?