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Showing posts by: Jared Shurin click to see Jared Shurin's profile
May 1 2015 10:00am

The Dragonlance Chronicles Reread: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Chapters 13 and 14

Dragons of Autumn Twilight Dragonlance

Welcome back to the regularly scheduled Dragonlance Chronicles Reread! Last week Kamila Shamsie dropped by to chat about the impact of both Kitiara and the absence of Kitiara (think of it as Schrödinger’s Kitiara). But now we’re back with our intrepid party, and their quest to find the lost-ish city of Xak Tsaroth.

When we last saw them, they’d passed through the remains of Que-Shu, and were struggling to deal with what they’d seen... This week’s chapters are hopefully a little cheerier—for the heroes’ sake!

As always, we’re going to keep the reread post spoiler-free, but the comments are open to any and all discussion, so proceed with caution!

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Apr 17 2015 10:00am

The Dragonlance Chronicles Reread: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Chapters 11 and 12

Dragons of Autumn Twilight Dragonlance

Welcome back to the Dragonlance Chronicles Reread! Last week we ended on a cliffhanger. Or a forest-hanger: the party have been driven off the road, into the woods and along a magical path. There were deer, but also spectres.

This week’s chapters... do we have a turning point? Do we get to know what’s going on? Will we get a few more monsters? Where are our dragons?!

As always, we’re going to keep the reread post spoiler-free, but the comments are open to any and all discussion, so proceed with caution!

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Apr 10 2015 10:00am

The Dragonlance Chronicles Reread: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Chapters 9 and 10

Dragons of Autumn Twilight Dragonlance

Last week we fought lizard-monster things and the party demonstrated a—rather fabulous—lack of strategy. But hey, Raistlin blew things up, so who’s complaining?

Will this week see more fireworks? Or are we going to return to the “old ways” of getting lost in the woods? Maybe a bit of both...

As always, we’re going to keep the reread post spoiler-free, but the comments are open to any and all discussion, so proceed with caution!

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Apr 3 2015 10:00am

The Dragonlance Chronicles Reread: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Chapters 7 and 8

Dragons of Autumn Twilight Dragonlance

We’re back with another entry in our reread of the Dragonlance Chronicles! After last week’s spectacular non-spectacular, the Heroes of the Lance are still... well... lost in the woods.

Are we going to get porridge? Or action? Will they keep ambling around the Solace suburbs? Or finally get somewhere? Will there be introspection... or a bit of action?

Only time, and the recap below, will tell.

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Mar 27 2015 9:00am

The Dragonlance Chronicles Reread: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Chapters 5 and 6

Dragons of Autumn Twilight Dragonlance

We’re back! Before Sam Sykes’s minotaur-laden interlude, our Heroes of the Lance were sliding down ropes and making a hasty escape from Solace. In this week’s chapters, they’re doing... pretty much the same.

Please remember—although we’re keeping the content of these posts spoiler-free, the comments are fair game, and we encourage everyone to chip in with connections, stories and other fun facts from the 9,000+ Dragonlance materials out there.

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Mar 13 2015 10:00am

The Dragonlance Chronicles Reread: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Chapters 3 and 4

Dragons of Autumn Twilight Dragonlance

Welcome back to our reread of the Dragonlance Chronicles! This week’s chapters contain the last of the character introductions, and all the niceties aside, things fling into action!

As always, although the recaps themselves are spoiler free, the comments are open to Dragonlance readers of all experience levels.

Caution, this week’s recap contains math.

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Mar 6 2015 11:00am

The Dragonlance Chronicles Reread: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Chapters 1 and 2

Dragons of Autumn Twilight Dragonlance

Welcome back to our reread of the Dragonlance Chronicles. Last week we plodded about in the prelude; this week we get into the action! Well, mostly.

After much discussion, we’re going to keep our reread posts spoiler-free, but the comments won’t be. This way if you’re reading the series for the first time—or revisiting it after a long hiatus—you won’t have the adventure ruined. But also, these books are full of connections and tie-ins and spin-offs and foreshadowing and shadowforing, and we don’t want to stop people from chatting about those connections. This solution, like the world of Krynn itself, seems totally True Neutral.

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Feb 27 2015 11:00am

The Dragonlance Chronicles Reread: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Prelude

Dragonlance Reread

Welcome to the very first week of our reread of the Dragonlance Chronicles by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. The Chronicles—Dragons of Autumn Twilight (1984), Dragons of Winter Night (1985), Dragons of Spring Dawning (1985)—were originally published by TSR. They are tie-in fiction, but more than that—the Chronicles were written in parallel to, and by the same creative team as, a series of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure modules. They’re not novelisations of the adventure as much as they are the world bible and underpinning and overarching story.

As well as (many) modules in (many) editions of Dungeons & Dragons, the Dragonlance setting grew to inspire computer games, board games, card games, and a movie that is better left unmentioned. And, of course, almost 200 novels, written by Weis, Hickman, and dozens of others. Not only is Dragonlance one of the most successful shared worlds in fantasy, it is also one of the most popular—influencing generations of fans and writers alike.

Over the next... counts on fingers... million weeks, we are going to poke and prod at these three fascinating, important, influential and really, really fun books, one chapter at a time. We’ll also take a few side-quests to talk about the history of these books, have chats with contemporary authors about Dragonlance, watch that terrible movie (argh) and maybe even play a game or two. Stick with us—Krynn won’t save itself!


Dec 16 2014 12:00pm

Under the Radar: The Books That Pinged

Under the Radar best of 2014

Throughout the year, we’ve been taking turns with the Under the Radar column—looking at recent works that, despite being awesome, may have gone unnoticed by many readers (including us!). As we’re at the end of the year—and the end of our first year (woohoo!)—this seems the perfect occasion to kick back and think about what we’ve learned.

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Oct 16 2014 9:00am

The Best of the West: Jawin’ with Nunslinger Author Stark Holborn

Nunslinger Stark Holborn

Nunslinger, penned by Stark Holborn, has been the best combination of contemporary and classic publishing: a terrific novel from a major publisher, but published as a series of serialised ebook adventures. Perhaps best of all, Nunslinger is a classic Western—no Weirdest, no Lovecraftian horrors, no post-apocalyptic metaphors—just a nun, some guns, and all the adventure that the 1860s had to offer. On December 5th, a year from our first introduction to Sister Thomas Josephine and her penchant for mayhem, Nunslinger is finally coming out as a single volume.

One of the great mysteries is the identity of Stark Holborn—the garrulous pseudonym selected by Nunslinger’s author. To celebrate the final instalment in this fantastic Western, Holborn agreed to grant an interview.

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Oct 14 2014 12:00pm

A Category Unto Himself: The Works of China Miéville

China Mieville

China Miéville’s presence looms over genre fiction. Over the course of a dozen books, Miéville has ranged freely across categories and classifications—epic and urban fantasy, social and hard science fiction, crime, horror and more. And in each case, he addresses, dances with, pokes at and, ultimately, departs from, the traditions and expectations therein. Although many thousands of words have been written trying to put Miéville’s work into neat buckets (“New Weird!” “Fantastika!” “Literary Speculation!” “Hauntological Slipstream!” “Tentacular Metafusion!”), time has proven that a China Miéville book is ultimately, well—Miévillian. The man is a category unto himself.

And what is Miévillian? I’m tempted to use words like “tremendous,” “mind-blowing,” “amazeballs,” and “unmitigated brilliance,” but that doesn’t help especially. As each book is wildly different from its predecessor, the trick is to look at the qualities instead—a Miévillian book is packed with glorious entertainment, epic scale, powerful themes, intellectual depth, creativity of language, subversive approaches and, with a few rare exceptions, monsters.

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Aug 7 2014 9:00am

Second Annual Nine Worlds Convention Feautres Zombies, Cheese, and Saucy Poetry!

Nine Worlds 2014 convention Despite its youth (this is only the second year!), Nine Worlds already has a well-deserved reputation as one of the UK’s best SF/F conventions. This is a testament to con’s commitment to accessibility and inclusivity, multimedia approach and rampant enthusiasm.

All of which is pretty awesome. And most important of all? Nine Worlds is a ridiculous amount of fun. Whatever you’re into—be it reading, writing, gaming, crafting, learning, arguing or eating—Nine Worlds has something for you.

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Jun 5 2014 11:00am

Under the Radar: (Even More) South African Genre Fiction

Jungle Jim

With the release of Sarah Lotz’s The Three, the US, UK, and a few dozen other countries have all been exposed to another—if you’ll excuse the cross-media metaphor—big budget blockbuster from South Africa’s genre scene. I say “another” because the first was Lauren Beukes’ The Shining Girls.

If your response at this point is “What is The Three?” or “What is a shining girl?” feel free to bookmark this post and come back later—those two books might not be “Under the Radar,” but I have no reservation about recommending them with every fiber of my being.

[Unless you hate brilliant contemporary science fictional horror. In which case... I got nothing for you.]

May 1 2014 10:00am

Under the Radar: Ibn-e-Safi’s The House of Fear

The House of Fear

Unless you can read Urdu, Ibn-e-Safi is probably the best-selling author you’ve never heard of—and certainly one of the most prolific. From 1948 until his death in 1980, Ibn-e-Safi wrote, quite literally, hundreds of books. Two of his series—Colonel Faridi and Ali Imran—had over 100 books each. At times, he wrote up to three or four novels a month, and then there’s still his satires and poetry to consider.

The latter character, Ali Imran, is introduced in The House of Fear. First published in 1955, it has, as of 2010, finally been translated into English. Imran is an absolute hoot—imagine a combination of Danny Kaye and Sherlock Holmes—intelligent, unstoppable and yet, to all outward appearances, an amiable fop.

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Dec 5 2013 12:00pm

Under the Radar: Jesse Bullington’s The Folly of the World

The Folly of the World Jesse Bullington

The Under the Radar series is our chance to highlight books that we believe have gone unjustly unnoticed—recent books that, through quirks of time and space, have somehow slipped through the cracks.

Jesse Bullington’s The Folly of the World (2012) is almost wholly indescribably, so, be warned, although I’m approaching this with great enthusiasm, there’s not a lot of detail involved. At the highest, most hand-wavey conceptual level, Folly is about, I suppose, quirks. And also time. And hey, even a bit of space. And it is definitely about slipping through the cracks—physically, in society and in reality itself.

Is that a little too vague? I’ll start over.

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Oct 17 2013 2:00pm

Under the Radar: We See a Different Frontier

We See a Different Frontier

Justin Landon introduced the concept of “Under the Radar” two weeks ago with his inaugural post—the goal is to give a helping hand (or, at least, a waving one) to recent books that, in our personal opinion, deserve more attention than they’re currently getting.

When we started bandying around the idea, I was midway through my first pick—and, to me, there couldn’t be a book that’s a better contender for this category: We See a Different Frontier, edited by Fabio Fernandes and Djibril al-Ayad—one of the best speculative fiction anthologies I’ve read this year.

Sep 6 2013 10:00am

So You Want to Be a Book Collector...

library ...and why wouldn’t you? Book collecting is one of the greatest hobbies there is. It combines beautiful, interesting objects with the excitement of the hunt and, who knows, maybe even the possibility of making some money! Worst case scenario—you wind up with a lot of books. There’s no way to lose.

Still, this is a decision. Collecting isn’t just hoarding—randomly accumulating lots of books is no bad thing, but collecting requires a slightly more strategic approach. You need to figure out what you want, why you want it and, perhaps most importantly, what you’ll do to get it...

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Jul 26 2013 9:00am

The Folding Knife Reread: Conclusion

The Folding Knife KJ Parker

Welcome back to the final entry in our reread of K.J. Parker’s The Folding Knife. I’m going to use this final week to give all the final and definite answers to the book.

Ok, just kidding. But I thought I’d try to end with five extremely big thoughts, wrapping up the themes of the book and my own personal conclusions. Of course, by “wrap up,” I only mean the structured part of the reread. Please continue the discussion in the comments—the fun never needs to end!

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Jul 19 2013 9:00am

The Folding Knife Reread: Chapter Seventeen

The Folding Knife KJ Parker

Well, that was messy, wasn’t it? The last chapter gave us a moment of brilliant hope—Bassano as hero! The Vesani win the war!—then took it all away from us in the final, agonising lines. Bassano’s dead, and three-quarters of the army are gone with him.

What happens next?

Chapter Seventeen is a classic denouement—it isn’t just the final resolution of the plot, it also neatly tidies up all of the character arcs. Well, maybe not too neatly...

Oh, and, hey. Spoilers.

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Jul 12 2013 9:00am

The Folding Knife Reread: Chapter Sixteen

The Folding Knife

Last chapter was all about raising the stakes. Bassano and Aelius are wandering around the woods of Mavortis with the entire Vesani army. If they win, all is well. If they lose, Basso’s a ruined man—emotionally, politically, financially… and the repercussions could bring down the entire Republic.

Chapter Fifteen treated us to an endless procession of Basso’s “band-aids,” as he kept everything together whilst waiting for the news. And the end of the chapter? News!

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