Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

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Brandon Sanderson

August 14, 2009

November 3rd, 2009 is the day the book 12 of the Wheel of Time series is scheduled to be released. This will be the first book of the series featuring Brandon Sanderson as a co-author.

As you know the original author, Robert Jordan, passed away on September 16th, 2007. Before he died, he had completed the ending and other parts of the final book. Since then, Brandon Sanderson has been selected to finish the series – AND – Tor Books has decided to split the last book into 3 separate books.

A lot of Wheel of Time fans were so excited that the series was going to be complete that they didn’t care who was going to be the new author. I wasn’t one of them. I wanted to know who this mysterious author that Tor Books chose.

So who is Brandon Sanderson? Is he a good author? We he be able to live up to the massive expectations that come with finishing this series? I wanted to know so I went out about and bought three of his books:

  1. Elantris – Brandon’s first book.
  2. Warbreaker – Brandon’s most recent novel.
  3. Mistborn – Book 1 of Brandon’s first series.

I read Elantris first. For a first novel, this book was great. I have some issues with the dialog; It seemed a little unrealistic, almost like a Quentin Tarantino movie. Despite the dialog, it was a great story with a simple but interesting magic system. Some people may think it’s a little slow in certain areas. I think the pace is just fine. The ending is one of the best endings I’ve read in awhile.

Elantris is a stand-alone novel but it could easily be the first book of a series. Brandon has talked about someday writing a sequel. There are a couple of subtle story arcs that could easily be exploited to continue the story.

I read Warbreaker 2nd for two reasons. First, I didn’t want to start a series (Mistborn) and follow it with a stand-alone. Second, I wanted to see how much Brandon had progressed between his first novel and his most recent.

I could see the difference right away. The diaglog was so much better – Smart, witty, real. The magic system, however, was a little cheesy; It uses breath and colors. The story more than made up for the magic system. The ending wasn’t as good as Elantris but it still had the same tension and suspence.

One thing I really liked about this book was one of his main characters, Lightsong. He’s a God who doesn’t believe in his own religion. His bad attitude towards his extremely pampered life is a source for endless comedy.

Warbreaker and Elantris compliment each other well. Elantris is about an abandoned city that used to be home of the Gods. Warbreaker is about a city that is still home of the Gods.

Mistborn is the best book I’ve read in a long time. After finishing a chapter, I wanted to start another. The pace is perfect. Every single point of view was interesting. The magic system is the most creative I’ve ever seen. The story is great and the ending is spectacular.

Mistborn is book 1 of 3 of the Mistborn series but this book could easily be a stand alone. I haven’t read book two or three but I plan to in the next couple of weeks. If book two and three are anywhere close to as good as the first one, this could end up being my favorite series of all time.

One thing I noticed about all three books… When I started geting close to the end, I had no idea if the “good guy” or the “bad guy” was going to win – and I’m not going to tell you who does. Just know that Sanderson ain’t no Jordan. He has no problem killing off a character or two.

After reading these three books, I know Sanderson is up to the task regarding the Wheel of Time series. He’s got a great voice and a knack for suspence and tension. My only hope is that he gets this Wheel of Time gig overwith quickly so he can get back to writing his own novels.

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SHARE WITH A SHIPMATE

June 2, 2009

The Navy is great! I know they make you work a crap-ton of hours. I know you hardly get any sleep, standing watch most of the night. I know they like to send you out to sea for months at a time, sometimes evading ports like the plague. All that aside, they have these book racks throughout the ship. Free Books!!! That more than makes up for everything else.

I guess I should incorporate the title of this blog post… each free book had a stamp on the side that said “SHARE WITH A SHIPMATE”. Now that that’s out of the way, here are a couple of books I found on the USS John C. Stennis.

This Alien Shore – C. S. Friedman

There are no aliens in this book unless you consider the hundreds of genetic mutations/mutilations that occurred to Mankind during the 1st space age.

In an attempt to relieve the strains of an overpopulated system, Earth sent out hundreds of ships to colonize far away systems. The ships used a brand new propulsion technology which allowed fast travel over great distances. The use of this technology caused disturbing transformations resulting in human “Variations”. These Variants were not only drastically different that the Terrans of Earth, they were also different from each other – you might call them Alien.

The fear that resulted from these events forced Earth to cease all interstellar travel. A period of Isolation immediately followed. Earth did not attempt to contact the Variant colonies. The Variant colonies did not contact each other. Colonies that had just begun and still required assistance from Earth fell into dark ages.

Fast forward a bit into the future, a Variant race known as Guerans has discovered a new method of travel. This launches the 2nd space age. Contact is made and interstellar travels resumes. The Guerans protect the secret of this new method of space travel and form a Spacing Guild which is very similar to the Spacing Guild of the Dune universe.

Believe it or not, this marks the beginning of the story. The beginning of two story arcs.

1 – A virus surfaces which threatens this new method of space travel. The virus has the capability to send the Humans into a new era of Isolation. An extraordinary programmer is hired to hunt the creator and attempt to deactivate the virus before permanent damage results. The programmer fights his own fears of unfamiliar environments and enlists the help of a couple of hackers to get the job done.

2 – A beautiful 20 somethings woman flees an Earth space station after it comes under attack. She leaves Earth space and travels to Variant space, not knowing who is chasing her… or why.

Are the story arcs related or not? I’ll leave that for you. It’s a great story that explores some of the details that SciFi fans loves: Space travel, Alien races (Variants), Cyberspace battles, and an super inflated, out of control OuterNet.

A Deepness in the Sky – Vernor Vinge

This is the future of humanity. Well established colonies though out the galaxy rise and fall in a cycle of around 500 years. Fleets of trading vessels travels between these colonies, immune from the static conditions that would lead to a collapse of civilization. The human universe is large, but defined.

The primary motivation of these trading fleets is to trade technological advancements between the colonies. The secondary, and less profitable motivation is to search for Alien races. The search for Alien races has yet to yield anything.

Until now.

The story begins with the discovery of an anomaly. A star in some far off system that turns on and off over a 250 year cycle. The star is aptly named OnOff Star. Interest in the star is amplified with the discovery of radio frequency communications. The communications are alien. The world is not known to be human colonized. It must be another race.

Two fleets converge on the star system. The Queng Ho, a fleet of traders that have been around of 1000 years, and the Emergents, a strange civilization based on human slavery and dominance.

This book is my favorite of the two. It features a vast and believable universe with technological wonders that make you think, that could really exist. What really blows my mind is the authors achievement in making the Alien race feel real. About half of the book is written in their POVs.

Too be honest, I think both books are definitely worth picking up. After finishing them, I found myself wanting more from these universes. Fortunately, Vernor Vinge does have another title, “A Fire Upon the Deep”, which takes place about 20,000 years in the future. There isn’t anything is the works yet for a sequel to “The Alien Shore”. Doesn’t matter. These books are great. If you’re a SciFi fan, pick them up.

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The Gathering Storm…

May 26, 2009

Tor books has released the cover art for book 12 of the Wheel of Time series. Just like all previous cover art, this was done by Darryl K. Sweet. Just like all previous cover art, it sucks. But that’s just my opinion.

What do you think?

My guess is if you’re a fan, you are pretty disappointed with this highly anticipated book’s cover art. But at the same time, you’re not going to care much. Who cares what the cover looks like. All that’s important to the average fan is how good the story is.

There is a good chance that if you are not a fan, you’re probably not going to buy this book without reading the first 11 installments. However, if you’re at the book store and you see this hardcover next to the paperback versions of all the previous books, I’m thinking you’ll be put off from picking up book 1.

If I had never heard of the Wheel of Time and I saw this at Border’s Books, I definitely wouldn’t buy it. Who wants to read a story about a cross-dressing Bret Michaels who travels back in time to Little House on the Prairie and spends time with some firefighter with dragon tattoos who just lost his hand in a fire?
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a’dam 3d render…

November 30, 2008

This is an a’dam from the Wheel of Time series. I rendered it with 3ds Max. This scene is made up of 1 light, 1 camera, 8 materials, 38 objects and 195,140 polygons. It took about 10 hours to make.

So what’s an a’dam?

“An a’dam is a ter’angreal designed to hold a female channeler captive. It takes the form of a flexible silver collar and bracelet, usually joined by a long “leash” although that convention is not strictly necessary to its functioning. They form a basis for the “leashed channeler” social status in the Seanchan Empire; the leashed woman is called a damane (“Leashed one”), and the women who holds the bracelet a sul’dam (“Leash holder”).”

a’dam. WoT.wikia.com. Retrieved November 29, 2008, from WoT.wikia.com website: http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/A%27dam

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WoT Movie…

November 14, 2008

Just a couple of days ago, Dragonmount.com announced that Red Eagle Entertainment was going to produce a movie based on the Eye of the World, book 1 of the Wheel of Time series.

Exciting…

That got me thinking a lot about who would be cast as some of the main characters. Here is a list of some actors/actesses that I think would be a good idea. You can reference a post by seamas without pants , which shows artistic renditions of various characters. Keep in mind, I only name these people based on their appearance, not their acting talent.

Rand al’Thor – Christian Bale
Perrin Aybara – Jake Hager
Mat Cauthon – Seann William Scott
Morraine Damodred – Kate Beckensale
Lan Mandragoran – Vigo Mortenson
Nynaeve al’Meara – Summer Glau
Egwene al’Vere – Vanessa Hudgens
Wil al’Seen – Zach Efron
Padan Fain – Jeff Goldblum
Min Farshaw – Jewel Staite
Loial – Rosie O’Donnell
Bayle Domon – Robin Williams
Logain Ablar – Hugh Jackman
Ba’alzammon – Peter Stormare
Morgasse Trakand – Angelina Jolie
Gareth Bryne – Clive Owen
Elayne Trakrand – Taylor Swift
Siuan Sanche – Catherine Zeta Jones
Elaida a’Roihan – Sigorney Weaver

From later books:

Aviendha – Alicia Keys
Faile Aybara – Carrie-Anne Moss
Tuon – Sophie Okonedo
Berelain Sur Paendrag – Jessica Alba

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Wheel of Time…

October 8, 2008

It’s been a little over a year since Robert Jordan died. There was a lot of anxiety in his fan base on whether or not he would finish the series. As of now, the series is still not finished.

There is hope for WoT fans, however because author Brandon Sanderson is hard at work with the final book. It is scheduled for publication in Fall of 2009.

In preparation for the release of the last installment, I have begun rereading the series. I just finished book 2 – the Great Hunt. Even though I remember just about everything about the books, I still find it a great read. My perspective is different now that I’ve read all 11 books so the first couple of books are a little different.

For example, the first time I read these books, I had no idea what the Emond’s Fielders meant when they talked about “false dragons” and “Aes Sedai”. Moiraine mentioning “the ways” meant nothing to me the first time either. When Min describes the auras she sees on Rand, Egwene, Matt and Perin, I understand what the auras mean.

I don’t normally reread books. In this case, I decided to reread more for proficiency than for enjoyment. I want to be ready for book 12 when it comes out. As it turns out, I am really enjoying this series. Robert Jordan is a great writer. His description of environments and action/battle scenes are detailed and interesting. His characters are fun and memorable.

I can easily see myself rereading this series for a 3rd or 4th time. For those of you who have not read it once, I highly recommend you pick up book 1 – The Eye of the World. Even if you are not an Epic Fantasy reader, you will enjoy this series.

On a side note…

I was supposed to start reading book 3 yesterday. The problem is I’m depending on my buddy to let me borrow it. He keeps forgetting to bring it when we hang out. So instead of reading book 3, I find myself scouring the internet for discussions, articles, and artwork inspired by the Wheel of Time series. I found some gems and I’d like to share.

My two favorite Wheel of Time concept artists host blogs here on blogger.com – Jeremy Saliba and Seamas Gallagher. Check out their artwork when you have the time.