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SubRosa
post Aug 27 2019, 09:47 PM
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I finished Margaret Killjoy's - The Barrow Will Send What It May. It was good, as was the first. More anarchist demon hunters. This time they got tangled up with an Endless Spirit called Barrow. Well really with one of its minions, a self-made necromancer. His wife died of cancer, and so he brought her back from the dead with a spell that uses the power of Barrow.

I really liked how she did Barrow. It is the guardian of the doors between life and death. Through Barrow, you can bring someone back. But it demands its books be in the black. So for every resurrection, someone else has to die. Furthermore, they come back, but not quite the same, something is lost, and something added. A little bit of Barrow comes with them. Once enough of Barrow comes through, it can fully form itself in the mortal world. Cue the Apocalypse. So every time a necromancer brings someone back, they are literally rolling the dice with the fate of the world.


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Kane
post Aug 28 2019, 01:42 PM
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Foundation by Isaac Asimov.
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SubRosa
post Aug 28 2019, 05:01 PM
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Love the new avatar!

I never did read Foundation, or any of Asimov's really famous stuff.


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ghastley
post Aug 28 2019, 05:51 PM
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I think I've read all twelve books of the Foundation trilogy. blink.gif

I haven't read all 273 of his non-fiction books, either.


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Kane
post Aug 29 2019, 02:35 PM
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QUOTE(ghastley @ Aug 28 2019, 12:51 PM) *
I think I've read all twelve books of the Foundation trilogy. blink.gif

Heh, I know what you mean. I looked into the series before reading and wasn't really sure where to start. Decided to just read the original three.


QUOTE(SubRosa @ Aug 28 2019, 12:01 PM) *
Love the new avatar!

I never did read Foundation, or any of Asimov's really famous stuff.

Thanks! biggrin.gif
This is my first foray into Asimov. Heard good things about his stuff.
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SubRosa
post Aug 31 2019, 08:16 PM
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I finished the novelette The Black God's Drums, by P. Djeli Clark. It was a really cool alternative history story set in late 19th Century New Orleans. It has some steampunk, but only a little bit. Not enough to become ridiculous. There is also a little magic, which was really well done.

The two protagonists are both black women. Well one is still a child. That was really nice to see. The grown up was the captain of an airship. That being the steam punk part. And she had a mechanical prosthetic leg. The bad guys are renegade Confederates who are trying to get their hands on a magical weapon that the Haitians once used to gain their independence from France - The Black God's Drums, named after Shango. It is so terrible that they never used it again.

It was a fun adventure through an alternate world of New Orleans. I really hope to see more like it from the author.


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Decrepit
post Sep 3 2019, 03:55 PM
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Almost forgot to mention that at 1032, 1 Sep this year, I finished my second read of Katharine Kerr's A Time of Exile, fifth entry in her Deverry series, and am now some pages into the next book, A Time of Omens. I feel the series is improving as it progresses, but for me remains standard fare.


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Decrepit
post Sep 8 2019, 02:01 AM
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At 1035 this morning I finished my second read of Katharine Kerr's A Time of Omens. She has yet again improved as a writer, but I still don't consider these books 'must reads.' I'm now a few pages into the next volume, Days of Blood and Fire.


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Decrepit
post Sep 13 2019, 02:31 PM
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At 1628 yesterday, during supper, I finished my second read of Kartharine Kerr's Days of Blood and Fire. I again found this an overall improvement over its predecessors, though the 'quest' she chose to end with was relatively lackluster. I'm now some pages into the next volume, Days of Air and Darkness.


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Decrepit
post Sep 21 2019, 03:05 AM
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At 2049 this evening I completed my second read of Katharine Kerr's Days of Air and Darkness. Like other recent series' entries it was a pleasant read. Beyond that I struggle to come up with anything worth saying. I'll begin the next volume, The Red Wyvern, upon retiring for the day, likely within an hour.


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SubRosa
post Sep 23 2019, 10:31 PM
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I just finished Ruthanna Emrys' Winter Tide. I enjoyed it immensely. It is Lovecraft without the racism, xenophobia, and sexism. The protagonist is a Deep One, who is still in the human half of her existence. She and her brother are the only two surviving members of Innsmouth, having finally been release from captivity after WWII, along with the Japanese-Americans they had been interred with. She is not the hottest chick to ever live, which is really nice to see in a story with a female lead. In fact, most humans consider her ugly (she is a Deep One before their change after all). I guess I point that out because she - Aphra - is a person, and stands and falls on her smarts and her will, not on her looks. It is sad to say that even in the 21st century, this is still a rare thing to see in print, and never in film or television.

Emry's completely reimagines the Deep Ones. They are not hybrids, they don't impregnate human women to breed. They are a branch of humanity that have always existed. Emrys has a neat prehistory that is alluded to in which humans divided into three distinct groups in the distant past to survive a catastrophe (Mythos originated of course). They became the People of the Air ('normal' humans living on the surface), the People of the Water, and the People of Earth.

I really enjoyed the inclusion of the latter, whom I correctly guessed were the people from K'n-yan. They are also referred to as "The Mad Ones". If you have read The Mound, you know why. One of the characters in the novel turns out to be descended from the Mad Ones, which I found really interesting.

The Deep Ones are really fun too. Without all the fears of miscegenation, they become an intriguing near-human race. While their goals and interests are not the same as the People of the Air, they are not cardboard cutout evil either. They are just people. Different, but people. In fact, they are no less monstrous than the 'normal' humans. That was something Emry's really hammers home. The real villains of the tale are all human, driven by nationalism, paranoia, bigotry, lust for power, and just plain foolishness.

I really enjoy her depiction of magic, which is as much mathematics as it is incantation. Rituals and spellcraft take up a large part of the book. They are the largest source of danger in the novel in fact. While Emry's puts a friendlier face on the People of Water, she does not shy away from the cold, empty indifference of the Cosmos. Nor of its cold cruelty. There are still things just beyond our perception, waiting for their chance to get in, that are utterly inimical to life. One plays a key role in the latter half of the novel. In true Weird fiction style, we never learn its name, or what it exactly is, or if it even has any real set goals. It is simply there, and killing the characters by existing.

It is the first novel of her Innsmouth Legacy series. I will be starting on the second book - Deep Roots - next, and sort of the 0 book, a short story called The Litany of Earth that seems to have kicked the whole series off.


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Decrepit
post Sep 28 2019, 05:03 PM
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At 2237 last night I completed my second read of Katharine Kerr's The Red Wyvern, book one of The Dragon Mage, a series within her many Deverry novels. As with previous entries, there's not much to say about 'em. Decent reads, nothing overly special. Finishing Wyvern when I did, I read only a few pages of its followup, The Black Raven, before falling asleep.


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Dark Reaper
post Sep 28 2019, 10:54 PM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ Aug 27 2019, 03:47 PM) *

I finished Margaret Killjoy's...


Isn't that Buzz Killington's wife?


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Decrepit
post Oct 9 2019, 12:19 PM
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At 0056, 7 Oct 2019, I finished a second read of Katharine Kerr's The Black Raven, a novel in her Dragon Mage series, which itself is a component of her extensive Deverry writings. More so than its predecessor I find much of interest within its pages, especially near the end. What's more, either Ms Kerr (or her editors) has at last rid herself of far too frequent unnecessary usage of the word 'that,' or narrative was so engrossing I subconsciously overlooked it. An irony. Its followup appears to be my last owned series entry. Had you asked prior to Dragon Mage if I planned to purchase lacking books, I'd have responded with a resounding no. That is now modified to a hesitant no. Speaking of which, I m now some pages into that followup, The Fire Dragon.


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SubRosa
post Oct 9 2019, 01:50 PM
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In finished Ruthanna Emrys' Deep Roots and Litany of Earth. I really should have started with Litany, as it chronologically comes first, and really does a lot to create the setting. It is not a novel, just a short story. But like Emry's other work, well done.

Deep Roots continues on from Winter Tide, taking place six months later. In it the protagonists are trying to find 'Mist Born' - Deep Ones from families who had left Innsmouth before the raid, and probably do not even know their true heritage. Their goal is to try to bring them back to restart Innsmouth.

In the process they go to New York, and stumble upon an enclave of Mi-Go. I enjoyed how she portrays the Fungi from Yuggoth. They match up with Lovecraft's writings. From a certain point of view. One lacking xenophobia. Emrys' Mi-Go are more like Vulcans or the Federation than monsters. They travel the stars, and bring people with them from a dizzying number of races. They recognize that the Earth has entered a precarious time where humans might annihilate themselves in nuclear war (It is set in 1949, just before the Russians detonated their first fission bomb). They want to save humanity, but are divided over how.

The Scooby Gang is caught up in the internal conflict between the Mi-Go. Some Ghouls get drawn in. The shining trapezohedron even makes an appearance. While the story is filled win conflict, it is not the punching and shooting kind, which was nice to see. Like the Deep Ones, her portrayal of the Mi-Go is interesting and multi-layered, emphasizing the Otherness of their nature (they are not from this dimension), but also showing them as being people, rather than simply monsters.

All in all another good story. I really like how the author took HPL's monsters and told stories from their point of view. In fact, she really turns HPL's writing on its head, all without really contradicting any of it at the same time. I look forward to more.


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Decrepit
post Oct 16 2019, 12:09 AM
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At 1643 this afternoon I concluded my second read of Katharine Kerr's The Fire Dragon, book three of her Dragon Mage trilogy, a component of her many Deverry writings. Though the series continues on, it is my last owned entry. So far as I know, there are at least four more published novels, and possibly more to come. Up until re-reading this book's immediate predecessor I did not plan to acquire remaining entries. That decision is being re-accessed. Be that as it may, I still don't consider these prime recommendations.

For the time being I've begun another re-read of the trilogy that hooked me on fantasy, Stephen Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, though it's been only five and a half years since its last read.


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TheCheshireKhajiit
post Yesterday, 02:32 AM
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Hey Subbie. I found this Lovecraftian horror compilation, have you read it?

Dreams from the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror https://www.amazon.com/dp/1626411077/ref=cm...i_Qp8PDbW1X9D2S

This post has been edited by TheCheshireKhajiit: Yesterday, 02:41 AM


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Decrepit
post Today, 11:01 AM
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After earlier swearing I had no plans to acquire remaining Katharine Kerr Deverry novels, yesterday evening I ordered her four-book Silver Wyrm series from Amazon. (In the UK they are titled as books 4-7 of her Dragon Mage series.) What's more, the first volume in a new Deverry series is scheduled for publication next year (2020). There must be enough of a market for these books to warrant continued publication. Yet no one seems to cover/discuss them. Leastwise I've seen no such discussions. Might check it out at YouTube after breakfast, which fast approaches.

Am still reading the first Thomas Covenant book, but will likely abandon it when the Deverry books arrive next week. Problem with the Covenant books is that I remember too much of them. Need to wait longer before my next read.


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SubRosa
post Today, 01:19 PM
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QUOTE(TheCheshireKhajiit @ Oct 16 2019, 09:32 PM) *

Hey Subbie. I found this Lovecraftian horror compilation, have you read it?

Dreams from the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror https://www.amazon.com/dp/1626411077/ref=cm...i_Qp8PDbW1X9D2S

I have not seen that one before. I might try that for my next read, after the book I am currently on.

Speaking of which, DC recently put out some novels about their most iconic characters - Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Catwoman. I read Wonder Woman: Warbringer, by Leigh Bardugo. It was outstanding. For starters, she brings the best description of Themiskyra I have seen yet in the comics: that it was created by a group of goddesses as a refuge. The Amazons who populate it are all female warriors who died with a prayer to one of the goddesses on their lips. They are then reborn in Themiskyra.

Diana is of course different in that she is Hippolyta's daughter. She is still made from clay. But Zeus is out of the picture (unlike in the regular comics). That was so much better, given that Zeus never met a woman he did not rape. That especially jarred me in the Wonder Woman movie from a few years back.

Because she was made of clay, some of the other Amazons call Diana Pyxis: a hollow clay pot that is easily breakable. In this story she is the least of the Amazons. She has never been tested. Never proven herself, or her worthiness to be on the island. That is always nagging at Diana, and is one of the things that drives her to the adventure that takes up the book. She needs to prove not only to the others, but more importantly to herself, that she is good enough to be counted among the others.

I think we all know that she is. But by taking things back to this early stage, the author gives a look at a Diana we are not used to seeing. One not yet sure of herself. One with doubts, and a lot to prove. It is very refreshing, and really goes a long way to humanize a character that can otherwise seem so awesome as to be unapproachable and unrelatable.

The rest of the characters are good. I liked how Hippolyta herself appears to have been a Sarmatian or Scythian in her original life. A nice nod to the reality of female warriors on the steppe, and the belief that the Greek myths of Amazons were probably inspired by the reality of Scythian and Sarmatian women.

While the characters are definitely multi-cultural (another thing I liked), the plot is deeply immersed in Greek mythology. The Warbringer is a direct descendant of Helen of Troy, the latest in a long line of such women. Her mere existence causes strife and war. Diana is protecting her, and racing to find a way to exorcise her from the curse, and break the chain of Warbringers forever. Others who know of the Warbringer are trying to kill her, to prevent another world war. And still others want to protect her, to start that war.

It is a good book all around. Good characters, good story, good settings, inspired ideas. I highly recommend it.


Based on Warbringer, I decided to try to the Catwoman book, Soulstealer, by Sarah J Maas. I am a quarter of the way into it. So far I am liking it, though not as much as I did Warbringer. In this one Selina is a street rat who was taken in by Talia Al'Ghul, and trained by the League of Assassins. That was good in that it explains why she can be such a badass. But it does leave me kind of scratching my head as well. I mean, Catwoman is a well, cat-burglar, not an assassin. So I am wondering how her being in the League is going to play out.

The plot has her returning to Gotham after several years away training in the League of Assassins. I am not quite sure what her goals are just yet. Just that she is back on a mission for the League, and it somehow involves bringing Gotham to its knees. Not the best story really.

One of the other main characters is Batwing, and we see a lot written from his pov. I was delighted at that. I liked him in the few appearances I have seen of him in the animated movies. It is nice to see a bat that can actually fly! He has been really well done as a Marine wounded by an IED in the middle east. Now out of the service, he has returned home to Gotham, and is suffering from PTSD. The latter was a good touch. As with the WW book, it humanizes him.

Batman himself has not made any appearances yet. In the book they say he is out of town on some secret mission. That is fine by me. I am tired of Batman. Just like I am tired of the Joker. I would much rather see stories about newer characters like Batwing and Batwoman. TBH, I wish they did not have the Bat part in their names and histories at all. They are good characters in their own rights, and to me the Bat association feels more like an albatross holding them down than anything else.


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