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About Wilbur

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    Landed Knight

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    Scottsdale, AZ

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  1. Wilbur

    The Earthsea Series by Ursula K. Le Guin

    I suggest that some 12-year-olds will enjoy the first three books, while others may not. There is nothing objectionable in them, certainly.
  2. Wilbur

    Cartoons you'd like to see remade?

    Thundarr the Barbarian - Jack Vance's setting, Ruby-Spears realization. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thundarr_the_Barbarian
  3. Wilbur

    The Earthsea Series by Ursula K. Le Guin

    Ah, yes, I wasn't clear in expressing myself. I meant that fantasy between LOTR and the 1970s hadn't had a major work that included this idea. Subsequent to these two authors, it became a trope used with greater regularity, and thus in this one area did fantasy finally make the turn that science fiction had in the 1960s and 1970s with the New Wave writers.
  4. Wilbur

    The Earthsea Series by Ursula K. Le Guin

    I always thought it interesting that as the New Wave science fiction came to a close, two major fantasy novels, The Furthest Shore and subsequently the first of the Stephen R. Donaldson's Unbeliever books, both arrived and dealt with an antagonist that was effectively "the enemy within". Since Le Guin was also part of the New Wave, it isn't surprising that her antagonists have a morally defined inner component driven from the protagonist's attitudes or actions, I suppose, but I am not aware of any other major fantasy works having this element since the LOTR.
  5. Wilbur

    Malazan: High House Shadow edition

    From a personal perspective, I found NoK to be one of the better books from ICE. Although many of the "big events" from the overall Malazan plot may have happened out of sight of the main characters of this book, these characters had relatively clear motivations and a plot that I could follow throughout the book. This made it a better reading experience than some of his later works in which I could not follow the plot or the players' motivations without help. Furthermore, this book also had a better sense of scene or location than most of his other books. The city and island and the environs that the characters inhabit were well-described and had a hand in propelling the storyline. Some of his other books include a storyline that kind of hovers gently over a nebulous landscape, rarely giving me that sense of where the book plot takes place. Wert is spot on when he calls this book as best read later in the process of working through the Malazan story. It gives a little depth to the books set later in the world events, and it provides depth for some of the characters that step to the front in later books as well.
  6. Wilbur

    Raymond E. Feist’s The Riftwar Saga

    Just to close the loop, this afternoon I finished Jimmy the Hand, read by Peter Joyce. Of the three in this collection, this one seemed to be the weakest, although it wasn't a bad experience. I don't remember Jimmy the Hand's appearances in the original trilogy, so I can't comment on an continuity issues. The storylines overall were fine, and the writing was competent throughout. The aspect that detracted from my enjoyment the most was the uneven tone of the book, or perhaps the ragged transitions from the tragedy of the love triangle to the humorous parts to the adventure storyline. The experience was a little bit of a whipsaw from scene to scene. Also, the tone moved in and out of focus between realism and fantasy. In a realistic tone, one of the narrators was unreliable but strongly based in real-world emotions and concerns. On the other hand, in a fantasy tone, young kids could accomplish the objectives they wanted to in spite of common sense telling me there was no way.
  7. Wilbur

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

    Manchester United's problem is probably larger than just hiring a DOF and a manager to stabilize them in their role as a mid-table club. The entire ownership structure of the club is rotten, and has been since the Glazers decided to monetize football. "...most of the blame for the club’s persistent failure rests with the behind-the-scenes leadership. It’s been five years since Sir Alex stepped down, and it’s hard to think of a single decision, big or small, the club has gotten right since. Every managerial hire has been bad. Almost every cent of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of pounds the club has spent on players has been spent either poorly or without vision. A club that was once at the very top of the world, one that had gotten so obscenely rich that it was almost literally too big to fail, is now comfortably the fifth- or sixth-best team in England..." https://deadspin.com/jose-mourinhos-failed-tenure-at-manchester-united-is-fi-1831170461 "United’s pursuit of Pochettino fits the same pattern of way too much of United’s thinking over the past few years: the delusional chase for a someone almost certainly outside their grasp in hopes that this person can serve as a cure-all for the deep rot the club’s decision-makers behave as if they are oblivious to..."
  8. Wilbur

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

    In five months David Moyes' initial contract as Manchester United manager will run out.
  9. Wilbur

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

  10. Wilbur

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

    Rangers have an excellent, young manager that the board could consider as the successor. He has his teams playing attractive, attacking football and a history of scoring key goals as a player in Manchester United matches.
  11. Wilbur

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

    Please let Manchester United fulfill their destiny and hire Sam Allardyce or Steve Bruce. Most savage comment so far is from TristerLookan: "United become everything they laughed once. Spending money like City, talking about history like Liverpool, aiming 4th place like Arsenal and changing managers like Chelsea." https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2018/dec/18/manchester-united-sack-jose-mourinho-michael-carrick-interim-charge-reaction-and-analysis-live#comment-123888694 The theme song is also good: https://twitter.com/swedemason/status/1074977641999097856/video/1
  12. Wilbur

    The Earthsea Series by Ursula K. Le Guin

    "Claustrophobic" is an excellent summary of the second book. Le Guin's changes in setting and point of view were very jarring for a young reader who had been challenged but ultimately enjoyed the first book. Why would the author write this second book and not show us Ged, Ged, and more Ged? Also, this book is the first time my 13-year-old self realized that Ged and the people of his home region were dark-skinned, and that Tenar and the rest of the barbarians were white. Between the underground setting, the female protagonist, and the inversion of my own perceptions of what Ged looked like, I remember being quite flummoxed by this story. In the end, I decided that I liked it well enough to immediately re-read it with my new knowledge and understanding, and the next time I picked up a Le Guin story, The Left Hand of Darkness, the unusual characters were something that my mind was almost ready to grasp.
  13. Wilbur

    Football: Attempting to stay ahead (in your) City.

    Some thoughts on Manchester United: First, Mourinho is a grumpy dwarf now, rather than the Shiny New Thing that he was a decade ago. Few players have a strong appetite to play under his current brand of leadership, eg. P Pogba as a current player, or bIg NaMeS that have signed elsewhere in recent times. Moreover, Mourinho is risk-averse, and would be very unlikely to play promising youth as the more-successful Ferguson did, and his safety-first style is dull and unattractive. Thus the teams that the Red Devils field just aren't as good as some of the other squads in the league who do possession charismatic managers and exciting playing styles, eg. Manchester City. Second, twenty years ago Manchester United had monetized the advent of the Premier League and escape from the old Football League First Division to an extent that the wealth gap is only now being matched by other teams such as Chel$ki and Manchester City. By 2001, every single major Asian capital had a sucker store called the "Manchester United Mega Store" selling poorly-made memorabilia, and they were packed with ignorant band-wagon fans slurping it up and funding the player-buying machine. Their advantage in money, combined with tricky Scots leadership meant that they could afford to buy better players faster than the rest of the league, and if the bought players meshed poorly with their own home-grown talent, they could afford to jettison them quickly, eg. Popular Argentine Pirate Cosplayer JS Veron. Look at the distance that Manchester United put between themselves and other successful teams of the old First Division with as good or better European pedigrees such as Leeds and Aston Villa, who failed to capitalize on the Premiere League's riches. Third, speaking of tricky Scots leadership, no manager since his departure has managed the trick of match official intimidation in the manner of Ferguson. Think back to the many, many matches that he turned from the sideline with the Hairdryer Treatment on the officials or consider Fergie Time. Subsequent managers also haven't had a cadre of fellow-managers who would willingly roll over for their Manchester United ties on the schedule in the hope of someday winning the job of succeeding Ferguson, eg. Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce. Finally, the descent down the table has meant that Manchester United can no longer count on wins against mid-table teams just by showing up to be the flat-track bully. Remember how Manchester United tried (and mainly succeeded) in taking the naming convention of "United" and making it refer only to them, rather than Newcastle, or Sheffield, or Leeds, or West Ham, etc.? That sort of self-aggrandisement is largely missing from their psyche today. Bandwagon fans who came to see and be seen eating prawn sandwiches don't make for great support, but they probably were less painful to play in front of than the current group of disillusioned seat license holders. Other teams make the trip to Stretford expecting to win, not to be shafted by the referees in the 95th minute, eg. the all-conquering Saints last week. Certain teams come into happy scenarios where the stars align, and they can leverage it to their advantage, eg. Liverpool's Boot Room with its European-conquering leadership (Shankly-Paisley-Fagan-Dalglish) combined with attractive playing style that drew the best players in the British Isles, along with incredible supporters. Manchester United's dominance of the past twenty years was happenstance - the combination of a ruthless manager and an overwhelming superiority of funding. Those two drivers are gone, and no one should expect Manchester United to be similarly dominant again.
  14. Wilbur

    The Earthsea Series by Ursula K. Le Guin

    Very nice! I also agree that while a lot of books written in the last fifty years have aged poorly, A Wizard of Earthsea probably stands up better for a young reader of today than many other works. Le Guin was very good at writing in such a way that minimizes references to her contemporary lifestyle, politics, technology, etc. while still being relevant and commenting upon the problems of the day.
  15. Wilbur

    Raymond E. Feist’s The Riftwar Saga

    I guess that makes Mikemia-Kelewan a shared universe sort of book setting? Which is perfectly fine, it is just sad that Feist had so many bad experiences in life that kept him from writing the things he wanted to write, or rather, forced him to write stuff he wasn't very interested in. So this morning's ride found me completing Murder in LaMut by Joel Rosenberg (thank you, Wert), and it was perfectly fine as a murder mystery set in Midkemia. Sort of a larger English Country House murder mystery, as written to feature characters from a Glen Cook novel. Easy to read, reasonable characterization, good plot, one terrible joke name, would recommend to anyone wanting some light reading in the genre.