Five Science Fiction Books Featuring Floating Habitats

The House of Styx was excellent. Great writing, wonderful characters, fun plot. Pretty much the whole package.

12 SFF Stories Told From Second-Person Perspective

It would land in the Honorable Mentions section, because it's mostly split between first- and third-person POV, but the second-person portions of The Acts of Caine are crazy. The way Stover wields POV in those books is fascinating.

Everything We Know About Worldhoppers on Roshar

@20 At some point in the past, definitely! Though technically...all humans on Roshar are descended from worldhoppers. The Iriali are just a different set of them.

Everything We Know About Worldhoppers on Roshar

@12 That's a cool theory, re: Vorin language! I'd be curious to get a WoB on that, though, since we already know that there are coincidences between the languages on Roshar and Nalthis (the letter shash on Nalthis and the glyph shash on Roshar are apparently not related in any substantial manner).

 

@14 Yes, I specifically mentioned the eyes burning out when they're killed. The point is that Azure's Blade turns the whole body grey, which is a nod to Nalthian magic. 

Everything We Know About Worldhoppers on Roshar

@5 When somebody is killed by a normal Shardblade, their eyes burn out but their body stays the same otherwise. Azure's Blade leeches all color out of them, leaving them grey. If you've read Warbreaker, that effect should be reminiscent of something.

Five Massive SFF Books to Read While You’re Social-Distancing

I mean, if we're gonna bring in the single-volume Malazan, we gotta bring in the single-volume Wheel of Time...

5 Books About War and Military Culture

Speaker For the Dead is probably the single finest SF novel I've ever read. It was so unexpected after Ender's Game, but so much deeper, so much more powerful. And that ending! Simply beautiful.

Five Wheel of Time Fan Podcasts to Plug Into

The Legendarium is great. In a little self-promotion, I'll mention that we just had Craig as a guest on our episodes covering The Dragon Reborn on the Inking Out Loud Podcast. We cover much more than just WoT, but we're in the middle of a big reread on that, with the first The Shadow Rising episode going up next weekend!

10 Expansive SFF Worlds We Want to Get Lost In

Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere is the obvious one here. But for such a short page count (relatively), Glen Cook's The Black Company provides a world rich for the imagination—and his penchant for only describing elements pertinent to the Company's current objective means we get lots of teasers and hints at a crazy, rich world waiting in the wings.

White Sand Is the Hidden Gem of Sanderson’s Cosmere

@3 Nothing official, though most indications I've heard point to late Nov/early Dec. Probably somewhere in the vicinity of the Starsight release. There have been lots of delays.

Introducing the Gene Wolfe Reread on Tor.com: The Reader in the Mist

I am very excited for this! Wolfe has been such an inspiration for not only my own writing but the way I read...it's a delight to see him getting the prominence he deserves here.

6 SFF Characters That Tend Towards Lawful Good

Definitely Galad, as @7 said. Another character who immediately leaps to mind is Min Donner from Donaldson's Gap Cycle. Probably Sixten Vertigus from the same, too (which is kinda hilarious, given how about 99% of characters in that series fall in one Evil alignment or another).

Fighter Pilots in Space: Star Wars: X-Wing: Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole

Oh fantastic! This series gets forgotten easily, I've found. While Stackpole's writing (and character treatment, especially with Corran) isn't as good as Allston's, both the Rogue and Wraith books are tons of fun.

Matthew Stover’s Heroes Die is a Grimdark Cult Classic

@12 Thanks, Rob! It's kinda funny, I've actually read your full-series writeup before. It's probably the most comprehensive review of the whole series out there. I loved (and agree with) your point about Gene Wolfe and unreliable narrators and how Caine shapes the story through his unique lens.

Matthew Stover’s Heroes Die is a Grimdark Cult Classic

@6 Sha-Rikkintaer is a famous dragon in the series, killed by the Actor Raymond Story in an epic three-day battle. Dragons are very much present in this world, even though they don't play a role in Heroes Die itself.

 

Spoilers for the end of the series: The Studio fortress in South Dakota, in which Caine is imprisoned for most of Caine's Law, is attacked by dragons right at the end.

 

The 10 Best Completed SF and Fantasy Series (According to Me)

@82 Nathan Lawless Talking books over some Odell's sounds like a fantastic time—let's do it!

The 10 Best Completed SF and Fantasy Series (According to Me)

@32 Yeah, that's definitely the case. The first Kushiel trilogy was a near-miss (I had some issues with the third book, but I loved the first two). I'm really enjoying the Lady Trent books, but haven't finished the series yet.

Another standalone that missed the requirement is The Mists of Avalon, but the big one (that I mentioned in the article) is Uprooted. I was blown away by that book. Even though I'm not much for alternate/fantasy history, I've been seriously considering putting Temeraire on my TBR list simply because Novik is such a fantastic storyteller.

 

The 10 Best Completed SF and Fantasy Series (According to Me)

@4 & 5 Kushiel is great! I seriously considered including that first trilogy here, along with Pern. It was tough to knock off Runelords or HP, though...

Oathbringer Reread: Chapters Twenty-One and Twenty-Two

@21 Yeah, Iyatil was born in Silverlight. The original WoB about her birthplace, at JordanCon 2016, was what gave us the info to speculate about Silverlight's existence in the first place:

Play/Pause   Questioner

Obviously the world covers different planets, but most people on all the individual planets don't know about the other planets. Is there a planet within the cosmere where worldhopping is common knowledge?

Brandon Sanderson

Is there a planet in the cosmere where worldhopping is common knowledge. Um… it's not a planet.

Bystander

It's a space station? *laughter* That's no moon!

Brandon Sanderson

That's not as far off as people laughing think that it is. *laughter* It's not a space station, it's not that futuristic, but there is a place in the cosmere where a lot of worldhoppers have settled, is where Iyatil is from, even though her ethnicity is not from there.

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson: Chapters 31-32

@48 Malata has a spren, and the Shin have all the Honorblades except for Jezrien's, Taln's, and Nale's.

Check Out the Stunning Endpapers in Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer

Well, the guy has the Bondsmiths' symbol on his robes. Ishar, perhaps?

Oathbringer Sweepstakes!

Yes please. I will never not leap at a chance to get more Cosmere earlier than normal. 

Working Around a Horse’s Death Wish, in Real Life and Fiction

Matthew Stover's Acts of Caine series actually deals quite a lot with how horses act and react, at least in the fourth book. It took some getting used to, at first, but by the end of the book it made for a unique perspective on horses in fantasy.

Five Books Set in the Remains of a Dead Civilization

Roadside Picnic is so great! I must say, though, my favorite "in the ruins of an old civilization" series has to be Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. It's so cool digging through and piecing together where and what everything is.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Classics That Would Make Great Video Games

Mistborn as an Assassin's Creed-type action RPG. Too easy? Also WoT as an RTS.

Arcanum Unbounded: “The Drominad System”

@13 It's gotta be Braize. Ahsyn is where The Silence Divine takes place, and there are people there (cuz apparently the magic there is based on people getting sick and gaining powers during their illness).

Arcanum Unbounded: “The Drominad System”

@7 It's written by Khriss, who also does the Ars Arcanum at the end of each book.

Arcanum Unbounded: “The Drominad System”

@4 Check out 17thshard dot com and the Coppermind. But really, just read all of his books. Things come together.

Arcanum Unbounded: “The Drominad System”

Silverlight is totally the Restaurant at the End of the Cosmere. It's gotta be the worldhopper's non-planet place that Iyatil was born on.

Find Out What’s Inside Brandon Sanderson’s New Cosmere Book Arcanum Unbounded

@2 It's the first 12 pages of the graphic novel, plus the prologue and first chapter from the unpublished prose.

 

And man, I cannot wait to get those Khriss intros...

Five Books About Kick-Ass Chicks in Space

@11 Nailed it. Morn Hyland in Donaldson's Gap Cycle is as strong and badass a female in space as I've ever read. 

14 Reasons to Read Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon

I'm with @7. I've picked up GotM twice now, and neither time did I make it past 350 pages. There's no hook, no investment in the characters to drag me along. It really feels like the author is just assuming the reader will read on for the sake of reading on—there's no sense of earning my readership. I don't want to read a series that takes 1100 pages before I care about the characters.

Twitter Gives Us All the Feels Over Fictional Deaths

Mara Jade will always be up there for me. And kind of a strange one, but Willow Swan from The Black Company. He just had a certain kind of charm.

Creatures That May (or May Not) Exist in the Wheel of Time

There are definitely owls in the Westlands, as Verin has one in her room in the Tower. And there are mentions of large snakes (likely anacondas or pythons) in the Drowned Lands north of Mayene.

It’s really interesting to think about the potential geography of Shara. I love the idea that much of it is savanna, and that there could be a rain forest.

EDIT: Can't believe I forgot about it, but there's also a giraffe skeleton in the Panarch's Palace in TSR.

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Dragon Reborn, Part 27

Looking forward to the new format. I really like the idea of the spotlight essays!

Re: the cover art for TDR, I'm in 100% agreement with everything Leigh said. One additional thing, though: I love this Callandor. I really, really don't like that it's curved, in the books. It just feels wrong like that. I always picture the Sword in the Stone (as you do) as the basis for it in form, not just in legend.

The Cosmere Gets Graphic: Brandon Sanderson’s White Sand, Volume 1

@6 but that's not confirmation. If anything, that would be the start of a theory, with only very tenuous evidence.

My guess is it's referring to Baon or Khriss being properly introduced after showing up off-world, but that doesn't really seem "major" or even a theory.

The Cosmere Gets Graphic: Brandon Sanderson’s White Sand, Volume 1

I'm intrigued by which "massive Cosmere theory" you're referring to that got confirmed in this volume. There wasn't anything that stood out a lot to me (but maybe that's because I read the prose a while ago, so nothing was really new?).

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Dragon Reborn, Part 22

@3 The Wonder Girls are taken down by non-channelers just a couple chapters earlier. They'd be dead if the guys weren't trying to sell them. It's easy as long as it's ambush.

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Dragon Reborn, Part 22

The bit where Mat runs into Tallanvor has one of the all time best lines in WoT:

"That bloody garden wall again. It should be built three times so high."

 

*snort* Poor Tallanvor.

Five Books With Asexual Protagonists

The one that always comes to mind for me is Sleepy in The Black Company.

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Dragon Reborn, Part 15

Mat's luck is partly tied to his soul (The Gambler, as the Heroes called him), and partly it's his manifestation of being ta'veren. I know for sure Sanderson has said that that's what the notes indicated.

Words of Radiance Reread: Part 4 Epigraphs

@7 Yeah, Odium is scared of Harmony. He doesn't at ALL like that somebody has two Shards. However, the conflicting Intents of Ruin and Preservation make it difficult for Harmony to act.

Words of Radiance Reread: Part 4 Epigraphs

@1 The timeline of currently published books isn't perfectly known, but it's something like:

 

Elantris

(forward a thousand years or so)

Warbreaker

Mistborn Era 1

(forward 300 years)

Mistborn Era 2

Stormlight


As for the homeworlds of people, we do know that the 16, Hoid, and Frost are all from Yolen. Khriss is from Taldain, the world White Sand takes place on.

Here’s Your First Look at Brandon Sanderson’s White Sand Graphic Novel

CANNOT WAIT TO BE ABLE TO TALK ABOUT THIS BOOK. FINALLY.

(Also, the art in this looks gorgeous. The style they went with is gonna work really, really well with the cultures and environment, I think.)

Five Potentially Amazing SFF Adaptations That Need To Happen

I think Donaldson's Gap Cycle would make a fantastic miniseries, though it would have to be HBO and even then, might need to be toned down at points. Some of the stuff Angus and Nick do to Morn would be tough to stomach on screen; it's difficult enough reading about it.

But if they could pull off the full series...man. Some of the later plot arcs would be true edge-of-your-seat viewing.

What To Expect (So Far) From Brandon Sanderson’s Third Stormlight Archive Book

@8 Oh, I'm not disputing that his current blade used to belong to an Edgedancer. Just that I don't see him becoming an Edgedancer in the future.

What To Expect (So Far) From Brandon Sanderson’s Third Stormlight Archive Book

@6 Really. Hmmm. That's...odd, considering his personality. He seems like a very different person from the other person we know from that order.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I want him to be a Dustbringer. Their surges are Division and Abrasion, and I'd certainly call Adolin abrasive. And probably divisive, considering the likely fallout of his whole eye surgery deal in WoR.

What To Expect (So Far) From Brandon Sanderson’s Third Stormlight Archive Book

"Sanderson has vaguely mentioned the class of Radiant that Adolin’s blade used to belong to, and there have been hints that Adolin may soon join their ranks."

 

Apparently I missed a very, very interesting WoB. Anyone know which order this is? Just from Adolin's personality, I could see him being a Stoneward or a Dustbringer...interestingly enough, on opposite sides of the Radiant chart.

Moving On: The Bands of Mourning Spoiler Review

@24 Elend is the Final Emperor, and as 25 said, Spook is the LM.

Moving On: The Bands of Mourning Spoiler Review

@19 And REDACTED! I'm just bubbling with excitement right now. Even if Brandon is still teasing us about what Shard it actually is that Sazed is holding back from Scadrial...

Mistborn: Who the Hell is Trell?

@8 Definitely some truth to that. And Odium's current limitations may prevent him from communication across worlds. But we do know that Bavadin was, to some extent, working with Rayse, per The Letter. 

Either way, it seems pretty clear that this whole Trell thing is some kind of plot involving Trell, Autonomy, and Taldain. It would make even more sense, considering that this is the era in which Nazh started making maps of Scadrial, and he works for Khriss...who's also from Taldain.

On top of that, there's the fact that the first White Sand graphic novel is slated for release soon, so it just makes sense for Brandon to start weaving that element into the greater Cosmere.

Mistborn: Who the Hell is Trell?

@6 It definitely does. The day/night aspect of Trelagism is very evocative of Taldain's two sides, and the twisting of Trelagism into Trellism certainly seems indicative of a transformation or manipulation by an outside force. From asking Brandon a few questions on the SoS tour, my current theory is that Trell is a worldhopper who founded Trelagism, and Autonomy (Bavadin, who's in cahoots with Odium/Rayse) is now acting on Scadrial to twist the Taldain connection there and undermine Harmony at Odium's command.

Mistborn: Who the Hell is Trell?

@4 Not really supposed to talk about details online. But I can confirm that the Trell in White Sand is connected to Trell in  Mistborn, per Brandon on the Shadows of Self tour.

Mistborn: Who the Hell is Trell?

Trell is almost definitely working for Autonomy/Bavadin. Just gonna leave it at that for now.

Sleeps With Monsters: Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Hollywood’s Problem With Really Low Bars

@34 So you want to contend that her rampant drug use didn't take a toll on her body? Carrie Fisher went off the deep end for a while. She sounds awful. Her voice is just like that of my chain-smoking great aunt. She looks about 20 years older than she is. And she most definitely lost that gravitas that made Leia in the OT such a presence.

Mistborn: What is the Extent of Harmony’s Knowledge?

Harmony almost definitely has foresight ability. Preservation had it, after all.

 

I do think the other continent is more technologically advanced. I know Brandon has talked about how they have integrated the Metallic Arts into technology more readily than did the culture around Elendel. On a related note, I think this other culture will be where the seeds are planted for Allomantically-fueled FTL travel.

Sleeps With Monsters: Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Hollywood’s Problem With Really Low Bars

@1 Also the fact that the Empire (and, though apparently less so, the First Order) is blatantly xenophobic and sexist, and that fact is one of the things that makes them bad. It wouldn't make any kind of sense for a woman to be the supreme leader or military commander.

As for Leia's decreased role, it probably has a lot to do with Carrie Fisher's less-than-graceful aging. Even just listening to her voice, she lost a lot of oomph from her screen presence. Harrison Ford aged pretty dang well, and shows it in his performance.

The Bands of Mourning: Chapter Six

@10 can't really say too much due to constraints, but there are clues to Trell's homeworld in the original Mistborn trilogy. Take a look at the themes in Trelagism, as Sazed teaches, and consider them in the context of the other worlds we know of.

(Of course, the transformation into Trellism and subsequent change in belief system raises questions that, hopefully, we'll get answered in Bands.)

The Bands of Mourning: Chapter Six

@ 5-7 Take a look at the newspaper in Shadows of Self. It’s definitely a worldhopper.

Let’s Talk About Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere

Such an awesome undertaking. Brandon's got a stranglehold on the epic fantasy genre right now.

Also, I'm pretty sure it's all one galaxy. I don't remember where I saw it (probably theoryland, let's be honest), but I recall Brandon saying that the Cosmere is a dwarf galaxy.

Pure Primal Joy: Crying As Han Solo Flies Out of the Sun

I know this feeling all too well. Without fail, the one that gets me every time is Soldiers Live by Glen Cook.

“Soldiers live. And wonder why.”

 

Oh, and Ender's Shadow, when Bean speaks to the pilots as they sacrifice themselves to use Dr. Device.

The Winds of Winter Will Not Be Published Before Game of Thrones Season 6

@32 I haven’t read Dragonsteel, but I’ve read a synopsis of it, and I have read the Liar of Partinel chapters floating around. They’re very, very different stories.

 

There's a little more information on them on Coppermind: http://coppermind.net/wiki/Unpublished_works

The Winds of Winter Will Not Be Published Before Game of Thrones Season 6

@27 Two books. Liar of Partinel is Hoid's origin story. You can find a few chapters of the draft floating around the internet. Dragonsteel (as it exists now; it will definitely change before publication, since large parts of it were used in Way of Kings) has different main characters.

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Dragon Reborn, Part 2

One interesting thing is that Cadsuane and Egwene are polar opposites in how they treat Rand. Cadsuane forces him to the be savior he needs to be, playing mental games with him and minimizing his humanity, while Egwene constantly attributes (mostly incorrect) motivations and actions to him, as if she is trying to force him to stay inside the box of the shepherd that she knew (apparently not that well, since she's constantly wrong about him).

Real Talk: You Should Just Ignore the Star Wars Prequels and Read the Episode III Novelization

YES. Stover is simply the best writer among the many EU authors. I recently did a top 10 EU books post on my blog, and I had Stover twice in the top 5. You're just spot on by saying that this novelization does everything the prequel trilogy should and could have.

As far as the narrative devices go, I fully agree with the second. His omniscient narrator is perfect for this, and he uses it to great effect in Traitor (which, IMO, is the single best EU book out there) during Ganner Rhysode's stand. The whole sequence is great, but it's the last line which really hits home:

Ganner Rhysode builds a fortress of the dead.

Stover is just an excellent writer. I recently picked up Heroes Die, which I've heard is an SF classic. I'm excited to read some of his original stuff.

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Great Hunt, Part 22

"why can’t you just once get yourself into some kind of trouble that doesn’t force me to act like the heroine in a story?"

 

Ah, Egwene. Always acting like you're saving Rand's hide when it never actually happens that way. And generally causes more mayhem for him, in the end.

The Wheel of Time Companion: Strength Chart of Major Channelers

@17 Aginor was definitely stronger than Lanfear. He was noted as being the second strongest Forsaken, after Ishamael, and that he "met Lews Therin blow for blow". He's just easy to forget because he got offed so quickly and returned as a bumbling idiot.

Spoiler Playground for Brandon Sanderson’s Shadows of Self

@49 Didn't Wax mention in Shadows of Self that he lived among the koloss out in the Roughs for a little while? It sounds like they have a separate culture/clans or something.

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