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Wilbur

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About Wilbur

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    Scottsdale, AZ

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  1. Wilbur

    Raymond E. Feist’s The Riftwar Saga

    After reading the Empire Trilogy, I went looking for and read the Cycle of Fire books by Janny Wurts. My impressions of that set of books was much less positive, so much so that it was hard for my callow, youthful self to believe that this was one of the same authors of the Empire Trilogy. They had nice cover art, though.
  2. Wilbur

    Glen Cooks The Black Company series

    The abbreviation convention for PoS is quite unfortunate.
  3. Wilbur

    Raymond E. Feist’s The Riftwar Saga

    Maybe shorter, or maybe better and more carefully written and edited. Or he might have written something different. Feist has some real talent, as evidenced by the things he wrote prior to 1995, and it was a pity to lose out on what could have been.
  4. Wilbur

    Still Looking for a Good Space Opera Series

    He also wrote Three-Legged Joe and The Augmented Agent, in case you were wondering. For a guy as well-traveled and earthy a sailor as Jack Vance was, neither he nor his editor were on the cutting edge of the British slang and double-entendre game.
  5. Wilbur

    Still Looking for a Good Space Opera Series

    And if you choose Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga as your Space Opera du Jour, TOR.com is doing a re-read with discussion from the author right now. https://www.tor.com/series/rereading-the-vorkosigan-saga/ And hey, no one has mentioned Jack Vance yet! Let's not forget to include some style in our diet of Space Opera. Old Fashioned Space Opera like John W. Campbell meant you to read: The Demon Princes - murdered families, revenge, sexy ladies, planetary reconfigurations, space cops, planet-hopping prototype of James Bond! The Star King (1964) The Killing Machine (1964) The Palace of Love (1967) The Face (1979) The Book of Dreams (1981) Super-80s Space Opera, aka P.G. Wodehouse in Space: Cadwal Chronicles - environmental conservatism, murdered relatives, usurped birthrights, South Sea Islander villains, busty ladies with wigs, space ships, janitors who are legatees, mysterious conspiracies, plucky young women investigators, alien creatures hungry for human snacks, missing cash, gun battles, jokes! Araminta Station (1987) Ecce and Old Earth (1991) Throy (1992) The meme of Space Opera with the most satisfying ending of any series I have ever read: Planet of Adventure - crash-landing space explorers, ancient civilizations, hot ladies, treasure-hunting, wild-ass alien races that make Barsoom look sensible, laconic humor, sardonic side-kicks, enslaved humans rebelling against their alien masters, illicit construction of spaceships without a proper license, sea voyages, kidnapping, space voyages, sword-, gun-, spear-, and laser-fights, romance, cannibalism, epic greed, incredible hats, and redemption! City of the Chasch (also published as The Chasch, 1968) Servants of the Wankh (also published as The Wannek, 1969) The Dirdir (1969) The Pnume (1970) An Actual Space Opera, because Jack Vance: Space Opera (1965) - do I need to write anything about this, given the title? The added bonus, beyond the stylistic excellence inherent to almost everything Vance ever read, is that the folks who put together the VIE also helped build his widow's website, and you can buy almost everything he ever wrote in ebook form. https://www.jackvance.com/ebooks/shop/ Go buy one now, you won't regret it.
  6. Wilbur

    Raymond E. Feist’s The Riftwar Saga

    I share Derfel's views on Raymond E. Feist's work, who started off so well, and then during and after his divorce just cranked them out for money and apparently without the benefit of a sober editor. Magician is quite excellent, and the two books to close it out on the world of Midkemia, Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon, are also good work and entirely satisfying in their conclusions for the characters and their motivations. The Empire Trilogy he wrote with Janny Wurts are by far the best work either of them ever did. And for the time of their publishing, they were certainly ground-breaking with their focus on non-traditional fantasy settings and characters. These three books tell a separate story that happens concurrently with the three above, but set on the world of Kelawan rather than Midkemia. Eventually the events in both books dovetail, and continuity is fine within this set of stories. Daughter of the Empire Servant of the Empire Mistress of the Empire I recommend reading these six books even if you never see any films or shows based upon them.
  7. Wilbur

    Still Looking for a Good Space Opera Series

    In my opinion, the three legs of the "Armored Space Marine" architectures, tropes and philosophical considerations, taking three very different approaches to the idea and the social outcomes of such a society and military endeavor are: Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein (political effects) The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (sociological effects) Armor by John Steakely (psychological effects) Between the three of them, these authors covered just about all the different concepts that the idea of Armored Space Marines can generate. Written approximately one per decade, they provide the reader with anything and everything to consider on the subject.
  8. Wilbur

    Still Looking for a Good Space Opera Series

    Every once in a while I get the craving to eat a hot chocolate cake with hot fudge topping and chocolate ice cream and some fudge pudding. And also read PFH's stories about guys with golden skin who are friends with stellar hippies who control multi-world economic empires.
  9. Wilbur

    Still Looking for a Good Space Opera Series

    Consider Walter Jon Williams' Dread Empire's Fall series if you want a classic Space Opera setting, including war, romance, aliens, space battles, rebellions, ship's captains, and assumed identities. The Praxis (2002) The Sundering (2003) Conventions of War (2005) And apparently some other related short works and a new novel set in the Dread Empire: Investments (2005) Impersonations (2016) The Accidental War (2018) Or if you want the real high-octane stuff, Peter F. Hamilton is your man. Space wars, aliens, nanorobotics, weirder aliens, trans-dimensional passages, world-trees, sentient ships, mercenary fleets, civilizations living in fantasy settings in interstellar colonies, a syphilitic Al Capone returned from the dead to rule a planetary colony, and any other high-concept ideas you want in your Space Opera Fruit Salad. Look at these titles! Use responsibly, do not operate heavy machinery while consuming, etc.
  10. Wilbur

    The Acts of Caine, Matthew Stover

    The subject matter of Blade of Tyshalle might also have been a problem for the publishers. Not just the economic rapine, mental and physical rape and physical violence, but the ethical and moral themes. Consider the criticism that George Orwell had for C.S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength, arguing that the spiritual or supernatural elements weakened the story. Given that both BoT and THS contain manifestations of spiritual evil through technological or computerized forms, a lot of readers may have objected to the ideas in today's materialistic world. A fair number of contemporary people won't consider a world, even a well-written one such as Stover has given us, where Evil uses applied science to become fully realized in daily life.
  11. Wilbur

    The Acts of Caine, Matthew Stover

    Which begs the question of the publishers' rectal-cranial inversion ailments: If the used books are selling for a Benjamin a pop, why not reprint the book and simultaneously allow the author to make a little money?
  12. Wilbur

    The Acts of Caine, Matthew Stover

    Even the audio of The Blade of Tyshalle is more expensive - it usually retails for about $40, while Caine's Law is about $25. And finding it and then gaining access to a copy in the library system is quite challenging compared to a lot of other works. ILL, for instance, has never been the same flowing process that contributes to the dissemination of information since the Disney copyright laws came into effect, and if there is one other culprit to the relative scarcity of Stover's original works (beyond lack of publisher marketing support), it is the knock-on effects of the Disney laws. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/07/the-hole-in-our-collective-memory-how-copyright-made-mid-century-books-vanish/278209/ The suppression of supply would appear to damage the author's interests if he or she is a "little guy", as the current copyright regulatory environment favors the larger players who can work the system's levers of power. Of course, the audio file is also twice as long, so I guess you also have to pay the reader by the hour.
  13. Wilbur

    Authors who vanished from the face of the planet

    I just discovered that Yoji Kondo, who wrote as "Eric Kotani", died at about this same time last year. https://locusmag.com/2017/10/yoji-kondo-aka-eric-kotani-1933-2017/ His science-based writing collaborations with John Maddox Roberts were published by Baen, of all places, but between the excellence of the ideas in the work and the craftmanship of the writing, his books all stood well out from some of the rest of the offerings from that publisher. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoji_Kondo As a dedicated consumer of the tacky-covers-hiding-neat-stories Baen products in the 1980s, his books always stood well out from the mainstream of shelf offerings at the local bookstore. http://www.sfwa.org/members/kotani/
  14. Wilbur

    The Acts of Caine, Matthew Stover

    I'm on to your sinister plot, Wert! But seriously, the original post compared Matthew Stover's excellent Acts of Caine with some other works that used the movie studio or game studio milieu to make social commentary, provide humor, etc. Some of those authors and works included: Walter John Williams' series featuring Dagmar Shaw and the virtual game industry for social commentary: This Is Not a Game (2009) Deep State (2011) The Fourth Wall (2012) "Diamonds from Tequila" (2014) John Scalzi's Agent to the Stars (1999, 2005) for humor. The social commentary in the trilogy of Michael Shea that was truncated by his untimely passing: The Extra (2010) Assault on Sunrise (2013) And a brief comment on the excellent match on the audiobook reading of The Acts of Caine by Stefan Rudnicki between the reader's voice and the content. Finally, I wanted to point out the connection between all of these works and the Earth of Stover's universe and their use of low-status individuals as meat puppets, similar to the ideas in GRRM's Nobody Leaves New Pittsburgh, Override, Meathouse Man or in William Gibson's Neuromancer.
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