Saturday, December 15, 2007


Well things haven't been moving as smoothly as I'd like here in blogland. I haven't had nearly the amount of time I'd have liked to read this past month. In fact I've only been able to finish my audiobooks as of late. The good news is that I've had lots of extra time in the car lately so I finished the audio recording of Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon in record time. I'll post my review hopefully tomorrow or Monday. 'Til then...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Review - The Wishsong of Shannara by Terry Brooks

And so my foray into the early works of Terry Brooks comes to an end...

"The Wishsong of Shannara" is the third title in Terry Brooks' Shannara series and I think the best the three.

In "Wishsong" the druid Allanon once again drags the poor Ohmsford family out of the quiet hamlet of Shady Vale on a quest to save the four lands from utter destruction, this time brought about by a magical book.

The tone of Wishsong is decidedly darker than the first two books of the series and there is less of a feeling of the inevitable triumph of good. There is also slightly less of the pervasive self doubt that appears to be a genetic defect in the Ohmsford line. Don't get me wrong it is still there but it comes across less whiny this time. The story is fairly good, and seems pretty well paced. It is a little heavier in tone than the first two books and I might raise my parental warning to PG-13 (or 15).
As for the audio. I really do like Scott Brick reading this novels. He has a pleasant, easily understood voice, and doesn't overact when switching character voices. Let me clarify this last point. He does use different accents and voice timbre to signify changes in speaker giving each a unique voice. He doesn't however engage in my personal audiobook pet peeve and voice female characters in some ridiculous falsetto. Scott Brick is a 9+ in my book. Wishsong....
Rating: 7.9

Monday, November 12, 2007

Review - Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks

My audio catching up on old novels continues.

In Elfstones of Shannara we move forward about 50 years from the happenings of the Sword of Shannara. A new and greater threat looms over the four lands and once again the Ohmsford family is there to greet it. Demons, once banished from the world by ancient elven magic have started to break free from their eternal prison and are poised to destroy the races. The Ellcrys, an ancient and magical tree, which is the only thing holding back the Demons is dying. The only way to stop the ravaging Demons is to save the tree. It falls to Wil Ohmsford to help escort an elven girl named Amberle to bring about the rebirth of the tree and save the world. With the help of the magic elfstones and the Druid Allanon, well heck they might just make it.

I found "Elfstones" to be a decent novel but after finishing the second book and starting the third I'm starting to be annoyed with a few aspects of Terry Brooks' early writing. For one names are rarely used in dialogue. It's always "elven girl" or "valeman" or "elven king". The second is the self-doubting characters. Granted you want characters who have genuine human frailties and fear and self doubt are natural. That said, considering the Ohmsford line is the heroic protagonists in all of these tales you'd think they'd be a little less whiny and a little more capable. There are basically 2 chapters in this book (one with Wil and one with Amberle) where they do nothing but whine that they can't do what is needed to be done. (and then of course do it).

One other thing that always bothers me is that none of the Ohmsfords ever learns how to use a weapon of any sort they are always completely reliant on whoever is with them or the elfstones. I mean come on. Aragorn and Boromir taught the hobbits how to use swords can no one teach an Ohmsford?

The story here is decent, the setting is very good, but the characters are only ok. The parts of the tale revolving around the elven defense of their homeland are much more entertaining than the Wil/Amberle quest. That said I would recommend the book for younger fantasy fans it's a decent stroy, one I probably would have really enjoyed more at 15 -16 years old. Parental rating: PG

Rating: 7.0/10
Kendall makes a good point in the comments. I should have mentioned a little on the quality of the audio since I was listening to the book and not reading it. I'll do so here rather than bury it in the comments. The unabridged audiobook was produced by Books on Tape and is available for downloadable purchase at The story is read by Scott Brick who after listening to nearly 50 hours of his reading does an excellent job. He has a strong voice and uses subtle inflection changes when switching characters rather than a lot of contrived and fake sounding voices. The audio quality itself is excellent. Audible allows you to download in one of four audio quality formats. I would always choose four (the highest), I have no desire to listen to subpar audio and the only savings for listening to lower formats is bandwidth and disk space which is cheap.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Winner - Making Money Contest

The winner of the "Making Money" contest is....

Jason Baker of Austin, TX USA


Trip to the Market 10/28/07

Well since I enjoyed "Lies of Locke Lamora" so much it only makes since that this week I pick up, Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Review - Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

I must admit I found the experience of reading "The Lies of Locke Lamora" very disappointing. No, the book was great I was just having a tough time finding the necessary hours to read it. That all changed yesterday. I didn't intend to read the final 400 pages yesterday. I didn't even want to. I just couldn't help myself.

If "Lies" were a movie it would be a little "Oceans Eleven", with a bit of "The Talented Mr. Ripley", and just a pinch of "The Godfather". The tale follows the lives of a gang of thieves and conmen known collectively as the Gentlemen Bastards. Lead by orphan turned thief Locke Lamora the Bastards are no longer content with petty theft and pickpocketing they've set their sights on bigger fish, the noble houses of Comorra. Using lessons learned in their youth from their mentor Chains, lessons shown to the reader via multiple flashbacks, the Bastards become Comorra's worst nightmare. But then again they may also be its only hope.

I really enjoyed this novel. When I finally got a few free hours I flew through the pages. The book reads as a great fantasy novel, a great crime novel and a great mystery all rolled together. It's an interesting duality that the criminals are also the detectives in a way, both creating and solving mysteries. Watch for Scott Lynch in the coming years, this novel is amazing as a debut and I think we'll be seeing big things from him in the years to come.

I actually enjoyed this book so much I decided to buy a Limited Edition copy from Subterranean Press.

Rating 9.3/10

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Review - Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Yes I'm aware that I'm 31 years late reviewing this book. (Incidentally approximately the same amount of time I've been on this planet). Part of my goal of doing this blog was not only to read new fantasy but also to finally get to some of the classic series I missed along the way. You'll see from my "right now" listing I'm mainly reading new fantasy and listening to classic fantasy.

As I listened to the first few CD's of this audiobook I wasn't really sure I was going to like it. All I could think of the entire first quarter of the book was "This is just a copy of Lord of the Rings." It is very easy to just swap the names of the characters early on and you'll never know which books you're reading. Finally about halfway through the tale Brooks appears to find his own story and it picks up considerably from that point. The story is well paced, the world very detailed and the characters are your standard fantasy heroes, easily likable with above average depth of character.

There were a few things that bothered my, of course the parallels to Tolkien were annoying early. The number of times the druid Allanon appears as "mysterious figure shrouded in a dark cloak". After he makes his 15th appearance you'd think his companions would recognize him a little better. I mean he is seven feet tall. All said in the end I did enjoy the story and the characters. A sure sign of good storytelling is when a chase is happening in the book do I subconsciously accelerate my car while driving. Yes I did. (Luckily I didn't get pulled over. Try explaining this one to the police) . Final verdict: Enjoyed it but didn't fall in love with it. Though I'll bet I could have if I'd read it at a younger age.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Trip to the Market 10/15/07

This week just 2 books.

Fatal Revenant (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant) by Stephen R. Donaldson

and another of those $1 hardcovers. This one a history of the year 1066 specific to the Norman invasion.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Interview with Patrick St-Denis of Pat's Fantasy Hotlist

I had the privilege of talking with Patrick about his travels, his blog and his writing. You can of course find Pat's blog (the best SFF site around in my opinion) at


When did your love affair with the fantasy genre begin. What authors were your early favorites?

Hmmm, this goes way back. . . It must have started when I was about 9 or 10 years old, with those fun Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson fantasy books where you role-played an adventure by deciding which page to turn to. At one point, I must have had nearly 100 French translations of those books.

During my first week of high school, I was introduced to D&D by some classmates. And the rest, as they say, is history! I wasn't a gamer for very long, however. Just about three years or so, and then I completely lost interest. But the first game module we ever played was the first Dragonlance one. When my DM told me that there were novels based on what we were role-playing, I immediately bought Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's the Dragonlance Chronicles. I guess it's safe to say that I never looked back after that!

I went through Dragons of Autumn Twilight and Dragons of Winter Night with the help of a French-English dictionary. By the time I finished Dragons of Spring Dawning, I didn't need the dictionary anymore. I was 12 years old back then, and from that moment on I never again read anything in French for pleasure. Which is why, though I'm a francophone, my whole literary culture has always been in English. Weird, I know. . .

The Dragonlance Chronicles hooked me up on the fantasy genre, and it wasn't long before I also had the Dragonlance Legends under my belt. Which were then followed by various Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and a panoply of other TSR titles. At that point, Weis and Hickman, as well as R. A. Salvatore, were among my favorite authors.

Becoming jaded with the TSR scene at some point, I elected to "graduate" and try some "more serious" stuff. Naturally, since they were the big guns of that era in the fantasy genre, I discovered the works of authors such as David Eddings, Terry Brooks and Raymond E. Feist. Those three reigned as my favorite writers for quite some time. Then I was introduced to authors like Stephen R. Donaldson, Frank Herbert, Melanie Rawn, Guy Gavriel Kay, Tad Williams, C. S. Friedman, and many, many more. I'm now 33 years of age, and I figure that most SFF fans in my age group probably followed a very similar road. . .

What made you decide to start publishing your Fantasy Hotlist? Was there anything specific you were hoping to get across to your audience? Did you think you'd even have an audience?

Well, the funny thing about my blog is that it was never meant to exist for more than a week or two. I have a very short attention span (whether it's with girls, tv shows, bands, etc), and unless I'm hooked from the very start I will lose interest fairly rapidly.

Truth be told, I had never before shown any interest whatsoever in creating a website, or in reviewing books per se. After all, I had never written a book review in my life. Hence, there was no urge within me to create what became Pat's Fantasy Hotlist.

If you want to blame someone for my polluting cyberspace since January of 2005, then your scapegoat should be my friend Pat. He created what became the most popular political blog in the province of Québec, and ranked as high as number 2 in Canada. One day at work, he was telling me that I should consider doing the same (in retrospect, he was probably hoping that I would join him in the political sphere). But even though I use a computer every day to accomplish an assortment of tasks, I'm a terrible computer-illiterate. Aware of that particular shortcoming of mine (he would in all likelihood point out several others, if given the chance!), he explained how easily a blog could be set up and then run. Claiming that even I could manage to get the hang of it was really saying something, so I decided to give this blog thing a shot!

Thus, on January 5th 2005 (if memory serves me right), bored out of my mind and for want of a better idea, I sat down in front of my computer. And instead of downloading porn or midget sex clips, I resolved to discover if creating a blog was as easy as my friend made it sound. To my dismay, it was. In the space of a few minutes, the whole thing was up and running. The problem was that I now needed to give the blog a name and a purpose in order to continue. Which threw me off-balance, for I simply wanted to see my template on my computer screen.

Racking my brain for inspiration, I suddenly remembered my friend John Fallon, the actor/producer/director/critic, who created what became the most popular horror website in the world ( We lost touch for a few years, but I recalled when he told me that he got into that because no mainstream critic reviewed horror movies seriously. A couple of years went by, and all of a sudden he found himself on top of the horror movie entourage. The studios now fly him on location to meet and interview actors and directors, etc. He attended two Playboy parties and countless film festivals around the globe. Note to all the editors and publicists who will read this interview: I am willing to forsake a year's worth of ARCs if you can get me into a single Playboy party!:p I mean, come on, throw me a bone here!

Back then I was still relying on reviews for the most part, which also featured brief PW and Kirkus pieces. But none of those reviews satisfied me, for none of them elaborated on facets that interested me. Most of the time, those reviews consisted of a short version of the cover blurb, with a few extra sentences thrown into the mix. I remember being irritated a whole lot by that sort of reviews at that particular time, which compelled me to turn this new blog into my own little fantasy book review site. Since nobody seemed willing to explore themes such as worldbuilding, characterization, pace, yada yada yada, I decided that I would give it a shot. In addition, with so many websites and blogs focusing on the negative back then, I wanted to share my love of the genre with fellow readers and raise awareness in all the good things fantasy and science fiction have to offer. This has remained the blog's objective since Day 1, and I would like to believe that I've achieved my goal.

As for the name, I know that Pat's Fantasy Hotlist sounds a lot like a porn-related site. This goes to prove that you should never try to come up with stuff like that late at night. But it was the best I could do on such short notice! Having said that, I feel bad for the sexually deprived men of all ages who end up on my blog everyday, courtesy of Google and other search engines, while looking for some naughty stuff! Man, it must be so damn disappointing to realize that I'm reviewing books!;-) Ah well, what can you do!?!

As for an audience, I never thought that more than maybe a dozen people would be interested in reading the drivel I would post. At the time, blogs were not the popular medium they have become nowadays. I didn't even bother with a counter at first, thinking that I could probably count the number of people who'd visit the Hotlist on the fingers of my hands. I abandoned my "lurker" status on many SFF websites, and started posting on message boards. Adding links to my blog in my posts, I guess I was able to, little by little, pique people's curiosity. When a web counter was added to the blog a few weeks later around Valentine's Day, I was shocked to discover that I was already attracting 350 to 400 visitors per week. You see, I was dreaming of reaching the 1000th-visitor threshold. Shit, it feels like so long ago. . .

Realizing that I now had an audience, regardless of the fact that it was about 50 visitors per day, I began to take this whole reviewing thing a bit more seriously, curious to see where it would take me. Truth to tell, I've been steering by those same stars since then, and one would think that things worked out well for me regarding this endeavor.

And as long as I'm having fun, I guess I'll continue to do it!:-)

Was there a specific point in time where you thought. "Wow, this is going way better than I thought. I've got something pretty exciting started here"

Well, these moments have been occurring sporadically since the very beginning. In terms of traffic, every time I believe the Hotlist to have peaked, things pick up even more, leaving me bewildered once again. The blog's popularity never ceases to astound me, and that's a fact.

Hitting the 100-hits per day average was a big thing for me. Then it was 200, 300, and then 500 visitors per day. Somehow, between January and March 2007 I doubled my traffic. I don't know what happened, but the Hotlist was now receiving about 20,000 visitors every month. And just when I thought that things couldn't possible get any crazier with about 1000 hits a day, George R. R. Martin came out and claimed that my little virtual sandbox should be considered for a Hugo Award next year. Believe it or not, this coming from someone like GRRM really puts asses in the seats!;-)

I don't know how it's even possible, yet my traffic has been increasing steadily ever since the Hotlist saw the light. By some unfathomable means, more and more people discover it and stick around. I'm at a total loss as to how this can be happening. . . But I'd be lying if I told you that it doesn't make me feel good!

Specific moments that made me realize that I had something good going on include securing interviews with authors like Tad Williams and Robin Hobb when the Hotlist was just a few weeks old, getting those first review copies, the first ARC, the first giveaways (for Hobb's Shaman's Crossing and Gaiman's Anansi Boys), getting that first Q&A with GRRM when the blog was barely one year old, reaching the 100,000th visitor mark, having my stuff translated into foreign languages, seeing quotes from my reviews in press releases and then in paperback editions of novels I had reviewed, being asked if my interviews could be used for promo purposes, etc.

Still, without the shadow of a doubt, the most satisfying pleasure I've derived from all this is the respect from the industry that I've slowly and laboriously earned over the last three years or so. Being told that the Hotlist forced many publishers to reconsider their position in regards to blogs proved that toiling in obscurity for so long paid off in the end. . .

The new generation of SFF bloggers have it so easy, and they don't even realize it!

You seem to have built a pretty solid network of relationships with publishers and authors alike. (As evidenced by your numerous interviews, books for your giveaways, and access to ARC's). How did you go about building those relationships? Did authors and publishers take your seriously at first or did they treat you (in your words) as a "punk with a blog"?

As I mentioned above, this was a painfully slow and frustrating process. What is now a solid network on relationships with publishers and authors alike was for many long months a work in progress, something that was built one brick at a time.

Early on, I realized that content was the most important aspect that was under my control. Hence, my striving to maintain the quality that has come to be associated with the Hotlist. That, and not taking myself too seriously. This is supposed to be a fun gig, after all.

The relationship between a reviewer and a reader is based on trust. This doesn't happen overnight, which is something many of the newer bloggers don't seem to understand. When people realize that you write fair, honest and insightful reviews, then it's a question of taste. The reviewers I trust when it comes to trying new novels don't necessarily write the best book reviews out there, and neither do I. Yet over the years I have come to rely on them because I know that we have similar tastes in books.

At the beginning, bloggers like me got absolutely no respect from the publishing world. Which, in the end, proved to be a good thing in disguise. Since there was no rewards to be had, no promise of glory, etc, we were just a bunch of people who had one thing in common -- our love for the genre. We didn't write with the publishers in mind, for we believed ourselves to be beneath their notice. We wrote book reviews for fellow SFF fans, and we didn't have to worry about ruffling any feathers along the way. I still maintain that it gave us a little edge over our counterparts in print reviews.

It's different with authors, because for them publicity is a precious commodity. If contacted directly, either via their website or on a message board, I have never encountered an author who refused an interview or something of the kind. Writers understand that opportunities to get their names out there are few and far between. Hence, never once have I been turned down by an author. Maybe it was just dumb luck, but this is how I secured an interview with Tad Williams when the Hotlist was about two months old. Same thing with L. E. Modesitt, jr. and Robin Hobb later that spring. Those interviews certainly helped the Hotlist get noticed, for vulgar blogs were not supposed to host such Q&As back then. I guess I pushed the boundaries of what vulgar blogs could do!:p

Since just about anyone can create a blog, editors and publicists were always more reticent to work with me. It took more than a year for some to finally give the Hotlist a chance. Although a major pain in the ass, I now see this as paying my due. Events needed to follow their course, and in the end things worked out rather well for me. And yet, those people could have saved us all a lot of time by sending me all the free stuff and letting me interview their writers right off the bat!;-)

Coming back from nearly 4 months spent backpacking around Europe in the summer of 2004, I was far behind in my reading when the Hotlist first saw the light. As a matter of course, I attempted to write reviews about new releases like Williams' Shadowmarch, Donaldson' The Runes of the Earth, Gaiman's Anansi Boys, and Bakker's The Thousandfold Thought. But I did review many "older" titles, such as Hobb's The Liveship Traders and The Tawny Man series, as well as Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver and The Confusion, Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt, and many other novels. The fact that all these books had been read by most people permitted them to compare their taste to mine, and analyze just how I broke down books when I review them. In the long run, I believe that this helped the Hotlist grow.

Little did I know, but at the end of 2005, with 46 reviews, 5 interviews, and a couple of giveaways under my belt, Pat's Fantasy Hotlist was about to take off. It took a long time, but publishers were finally realizing that a blog like mine could be a great asset, after all. No one in the industry was knocking on my door, mind you, but at least I had reached the point where most people actually returned my emails! A small victory, to be sure, and a sign of things to come. In the first few weeks of 2006, I did two interviews with Steven Erikson, one with David Eddings, and then I secured my first interview with George R. R. Martin. Looking back, I now realize that I needed to earn the publishing industry's respect, and a part of me will never cease to be amazed that I succeeded in this undertaking. Credibility has always been important to me, you see, even if I'm doing this for the fun of it. More reviews followed, as well as more interviews with the likes of Paul Kearney, Jacqueline Carey, Tracy Hickman, Naomi Novik, and all of a sudden I had contacts basically everywhere on both sides of the Atlantic. Finally, I would have the opportunity to turn Pat's Fantasy Hotlist into what I had always wanted it to be.

With the Hotlist being one of the very first blogs to review SFF titles regularly and seriously, slowly but surely it caught the attention of authors, agents, editors, and publicists. Though I've worked relatively hard to get where I'm at, I have to admit that I've been having a ball since the get-go. I have no delusions of grandeur, you know. While I'll concede that a lot of time and effort went into making the Hotlist what it is, along the way things often fell into place as if by magic. I don't believe I'm that great a reviewer, and even less of an interviewer. I just do things my way, and so far a growing number of fans have enjoyed what I've been posting. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this won't change any time soon!

Of course, once the powers that be in the SFF world realized just how great an asset the Hotlist could be, I was granted opportunities I would never have been accorded otherwise. Being the first person to review Steven Erikson's Reaper's Gale last winter was quite something, especially since there were no ARCs being distributed, and Erikson's editor was kind enough to have a set of page proofs printed just for me!;-) I'm hoping the same will happen for Martin's A Dance with Dragons!:p

Throughout the good times and the bad times, though, I never forgot that I was writing for the SFF readers out there, not for anyone in the industry. Which is why I call the shots as I see it, even if it might offend some people. I don't get those privileges like ARCs, prize copies, interviews, etc, because I have a blog. I get all that because I have an audience. And in order to keep that audience, honesty is the best policy. Thankfully, I haven't read too many turds since I began reviewing novels. When I do, however, I have no choice but to let everyone know about it. David Bilsborough's The Wanderer's Tale is the perfect example of that.

Needless to say, it's been a long and winding road. Looking back, I never would have envisioned, even in my wildest dreams, that Pat's Fantasy Hotlist would one day become one of the most popular SFF blogs on the planet. But as the old adage states: The journey is more important than the destination.

And believe me, it's been quite a journey. For some reason, it never fully dawned upon me until I went to New York City last summer. Sitting in a cab between Betsy Wollheim and Sheila Gilbert abruptly made me recognize the fact that I was perhaps a little more than a punk with a blog! Yep, I had indeed become a top punk! I figure that if one must remain a punk, holding a spot in the higher echelons of the punk hierarchy is as good as it gets!

Yes, quite a journey indeed!;-)

Considering the number of reviews you do, how much time do you spend reading in a week?

It depends on how my week is going and what I'm reading. I read during my breaks at work, which amounts to 5 to 6 hours a week. The amount of time spend reading at home depends on my private and social life. On a bad week, my reading will amount to maybe 5 hours or so. On a good week, or if I'm reading something I've really been looking forward to, the sky's the limit!

How did you become associated with Gryphonwood Publishing and has that association benefited your work with the Hotlist?

This one's easy. Dave, the editor, contacted me when the Hotlist wasn't even a month old. He was looking for a reviewer for Gryphonwood Magazine, and he wanted to know if I'd agree to let him print some of my reviews in each issue. I said yes, of course, and some of my interviews also appeared in the magazine.

It did benefit me, in the sense that working for a "real" magazine impressed publicists a hell of a lot more than saying that you had a blog. So yes, I believe it certainly made it a bit easier for me to get some publicity folks to work with me early on.

And it was kind of cool to receive my Gryphonwood issue and see my stuff within its pages!

You have done a number of interviews in the past 3 years. Who has been your favorite interview to date? Is there someone out there you'd like to talk to but haven't yet?

As I said earlier, I don't necessarily consider myself a proficient interviewer. Hence, my best interviews have more to do with the fact that the author took the ball and rolled with it. To all ends and purposes, my aim is to showcase the authors and their work, see what makes them tick, learn more about their thought processes, etc. It's never about trying to position myself in a manner that makes me look good. I guess that's why I'm always happy to invite fellow bloggers along for the ride when the time comes to do some interviews.

While it's impossible for me to select a single Q&A as my personal favorite, a few of my past interviews stand out from the rest: R. Scott Bakker (December 2005), Steven Erikson (January 2006), Ian McDonald (November 2006), Peter Watts (December 2006), Hal Duncan (March 2007), and Richard Morgan (April 2007). The three-way interview between Daniel Abraham, Gardner Dozois and GRRM turned out rather well. So much so that I've told Martin that there would be a nine-way interview to coincide with the release of the new Wild Card novel, Inside Straight. Yes, I am aware that this one could turn into a nuthouse!

Two interviews which I would love to do have eluded me so far, mainly because publicists won't be cajoled into giving me the chance, and because there is no way for me to get in direct contact with both Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Given their personalities, I believe that a Q&A with each could be something special!

If you follow the blog, you are aware that I'm a big Robert Jordan fan. Incidentally, a few weeks before he passed away, in collaboration with Orbit, RJ's UK publisher, we were trying to set up an email interview with Jordan. Man, I was so excited about the possibility to interview him!

It seems to me there has been a great batch of newcomers to the Fantasy genre in the last few years. Any predictions on someone who could be the next perennial New York Times Bestseller. (a la Brooks, Martin, Pratchett, Jordan).

Funny you should ask this question, as the bit I wrote on the subject a few weeks back created a bit of a stir!

As I mentioned then, I don't believe there has ever been such an emergence of new talent in the history of the genre. Hence, fantasy fans should rejoice, for we appear to be in very good hands. I don't believe anyone will come to replace Robert Jordan, though.

As for my predictions, I'm sticking to my guns and continue to say that Scott Lynch is probably the one who has all the right ingrediants to be "the next big thing." But only if they market him a bit more aggressively in North America, and if there is a bigger, more ambitious story arc behind the Gentlemen Bastards. Capers can be a lot of fun, yet the series needs much more than that if it's to take off and rise above the rest. According to Anne Groell, The Republic of Thieves should do just that, so I'm quite eager to get my hands on this upcoming Lynch book!

Based on recent sales, Patrick Rothfuss, whose The Name of the Wind could become one of the bestselling fantasy debuts of all time in hardcover, should create quite a few waves. I'm eager to read the sequel, which should give us a much better idea as to where the story is going. If Rothfuss goes 2-for-2, then we'll know he's truly something special and a bright new voice in the genre.

Another author whose name we should hear often in the next couple of years is Naomi Novik. With Del Rey publishing the fifth volume in the Temeraire series in hardcover next year, we'll see if Novik can join the genre's "top dogs."

You've mentioned more than once that you love to travel. What has been your favorite destination to date. Where haven't you been that you 'd really like to?

As crazy as it might sound, there's no way for me to put into words what traveling means to me. There's a part of me that only comes alive when I travel, a part of me I only discovered when I flew away for the first time. Nothing beats that feeling, that sense of wonder. Everyday is a new adventure, a blank slate on which everything -- and I mean everything -- can and usually will happen. Unfortunately, my bank account doesn't allow me to travel as much as I would like to -- which would be all the time!

In all honesty, I can't possibly come up with a favorite destination to date. I've found that most destinations have something to offer, even if some places are nicer than others. A trip can change you, if only you'll let it. But the best traveling experiences are based on a number of factors on which you have little or no control. Oft-times, it's not about the destination. It's about the people you meet. They can literally make or break the trip for you. So you can find yourself in the most beautiful city in the world, and still manage to bore yourself to death. On the other hand, you can end up in a dump and have the time of your life. Understandably, finding yourself in a dump with crappy people means that the shit has really hit the fan. . .

Although I loved Prague, London, Copenhagen, Rome, Madrid and countless others, my favorite cities on the planet remain Paris and New York City. There is a vibe associated with both the City of Light and the Big Apple that you can't find anywhere else, I think.

As far as countries go, Italy was probably my favorite among the 25 I've visited so far. It has everything a traveler could hope for, and then some! And yes, every person or shop or restaurant or whatever affiliated with the country's tourist industry will try to screw you up the ass. Grind your teeth and take one for the team, as it's all part of that so-called Italian charm! When all is said and done, it's a small price to pay for experiencing the splendors of Italy. As my Contiki tour manager told us: "It's not wrong; it's different."

Frankly, I could talk about great cities and countries for hours, yet I doubt that most people would be interested in my ramblings!

Where would I like to go next!?! Everywhere, of course!;-) Insofar as I can tell right now, the frontrunners appear to be Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Poland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. But you just might see me in Southeast Asia instead, or hiking the Inca Trail in Peru for all I know. . . I wouldn't mind spending a few evenings at the beer academy in Bruges. Belgian beer permits you to have a blast while doing very little, did you not know!?! Drinking absinthe in Prague and a beer hall crawl in Munich can be cool, but you tend not to remember everything!

You've started to work from the other side of the typewriter. Can you tell us a little about what you are working on right now?

Well, I'm sort of working on a number of things, to tell the truth. . .

My fantasy debut, The Eye of the Serpent, has been submitted to a number of editors, and we are still waiting for an offer. Weighing in at more than 250,000 words, it's a big book, and we know that this can be an issue. Some editors have elected to pass on it, but we're still waiting to hear from others. And that, unfortunately, is all I am allowed to reveal.;-)

I receive emails from people every week or so, each one inquiring about the status of my manuscript. I have admit that I find this very flattering, the fact that a lot of people who follow the blog actually care about this. Fear not, all of you, for I'll post the news on the Hotlist as soon as I get the call that we've signed with a publisher! Many feel that it's taking a long time, and I guess it can appear to be the case. But Matt Bialer is one of the best agents in the business, so I'm not worried. Everything must follow its course, and people should remember that it took Matt about 2 years to find Patrick Rothfuss a home. It's only been 5 months for me, so there's no reason to get into panic mode just yet! Having said that, it does seem that publishers are not looking for epic fantasy as much as they used to. . .

After sitting on it for some time -- reticent because he and his colleagues were not quite certain in which publishing niche is belonged to -- Matt is now giving my non-fantasy manuscript, Time of your Life, a shot. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll be shopping this one around later this fall.

Other than that, I've spent a good chunk of the summer mapping out the sequel to The Eye of the Serpent, titled The Celestial Dragon. As things stand, I have detailed outlines for more than half the chapters, and there's little use in going further. Things have a way to not go according to plan, so it makes little sense to produce a detailed synopsis of something so far down the line that writing what comes before will likely alter it in the long run. Suffice to say that I know where I'm going, so everything should work out fine.

Last spring, I've accepted a gig for an anthology which has not been sold to any publishers yet, which means that I can't divulge anything on the subject. If the project sees the light, I'll be writing a short story, namely the back story of one of the main characters from The Eye of the Serpent. In all likelihood, I'll write that before plunging into the sequel.

I've put everything else on the backburner since August, though, because I've been working on another project. It's something I've been meaning to do for a couple of years, but somehow never got around to actually do it. Hence, I had to get these things out of my system, otherwise I never could never concentrate on my other writing endeavors. There are quite a few tv show proposals that have been drifting inside my brain, and I felt that now was the time to get them on paper. Though I have many more ideas in the pipeline, I have written 6 proposals, each for a show whose theme is traveling. They will be submitted to Canal Évasion (Québec), Voyage and Escales (France), Travel + Escape and the Outdoor Life Network (Canada), the Travel Channel (USA), and Discovery Networks International. The French submissions have already been sent to Canal Évasion, where they are now under consideration, and will be mailed to France in a few days. I'm translating the 6 projects in English as we speak, and they'll go through Matt before I forward them to the other networks. I'm not going to expose my ideas just yet, but it's been interesting to work on something for a different medium. We'll see how it goes. . .

As you can see, I've got quite a few marbles in the air. And like all aspiring writers, I have to make do with what spare time I have. I work and have a social life, so the writing must take place on my days off, or whenever I can sit down in front of the computer for a substantial amount of time.

I do envy those who have the opportunity to write full time!:-)

Who would you say has most influenced your writing?

When he read the manuscript for The Eye of the Serpent, my agent said that he saw some Tad Williams, some Robert Jordan, and some Steven Erikson in there. While I'll be the first to admit that both Jordan and Williams certainly inspired me in ways I can't even fathom, I had yet to read Erikson when I wrote the novel. And yet, since I'm big on worldbuilding, a trait I share with Steven Erikson, I can understand the comparison.

I remember asking Scott Lynch if Locke Lamora was in any shape or form some sort of homage to Raymond E. Feist's Jimmy the Hand. Lynch replied that he had never really thought about it, yet as a big Feist fan it could well be the case.

Since I've been a big fan of the genre for over two decades, I imagine that the simple fact that so many authors have inspired me over the years will result in their influence creeping up all over my fantasy tales. Personally, as far as The Eye of the Serpent is concerned, in addition to Williams and Jordan, I see some Raymond E. Feist, Katherine Kurtz, and Robin Hobb. Some test readers have mentioned discerning some George R. R. Martin and some Guy Gavriel Kay in there. One mentioned Stephen R. Donaldson. I'm convinced that others would see entirely different things. In the end, as long as they don't think I'm shit, I'm satisfied!;-)

As for Time of your Life, nothing I've ever read influenced me regarding this project. Since it's based on my traveling experiences, as well as those of my friends, it's more genuine than anything I have ever worked on. It's a blend of more humorous stuff like American Pie and Eurotrip, dosed with a measure of intelligence and seriousness and human touch that one can find in movies such as L'Auberge Espagnole and Les Poupées Russes. Fans will recognize Friends and Seinfeld as inspirations for my sense of humor, I'm sure.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Win a copy of Terry Pratchett's Making Money

Want a copy of Terry Pratchett's newest best-seller? Well here's your chance. I have a copy available to one of you lucky readers.

To enter please send an email with the subject "MONEY" to winfantasy@(removestuffbetweenparentheses)

You must include your name and address in the message so I can mail you your book should you win.

Duplicate entries will be disqualified so don't try.

Failure to follow instructions will label you as illiterate and not worthy of getting a free book.

If you want mention how you came across this little corner of the web I'd love to hear that too.

Drawings will take place 2 weeks after original post date or until I have 50 entries which ever happens last.

Good Luck

Joe Abercrombie Interview on FBC

There is a nice interview with Joe Abercrombie at Fantasy Book Critic. The more I hear about him the more I like. He has an irreverent wit that really draws you into who he is as a person.

Read the interview here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Trip to the Market 9/8/07

I managed a modicum of fiscal responsibility this week (but not too much). What found it it's way into my basket?

The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay

City of Golden Shadow (Otherland, Volume 1) by Tad Williams

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Shopping list hiatus

I'm not happy with the way my "shopping list" posts were going so I'm going to send them on vacation for a while. I found I was missing a lot of books that were being released because the list I was using was not all inclusive (Actually it was pretty good, but poorly sorted). I'm going to talk to some local booksellers and if I can get a better list I'll start the shopping list posts again.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Michael Moorcock Podcast

Just listened to a podcast interview with author Michael Moorcock from "Adventures in Science Fiction Publishing". Some of the highlights include his early influences and favorites, (favorite scifi novel "The Stars My Destination" by Alfred Bester"), a nice discussion of his time editing "New Worlds" magazine, and a really interesting commentary on publishing, critics, and book sales.

I found the last part especially interesting. Most of this line of thought revolved around how a very few critical reviewers of science fiction and fantasy influence the awards circuit but have little actual effect on sales. Paraphrasing Moorcock "I'd rather have dedicated readers who by all my books and recommend them to their friends than a good review by a well known critic. I like to think that myself and other online reviewers are sort of like the latter. We don't always get the audience and level of respect that the classic print reviewers get but what we do talk about what we read and what we like and I like to think influence at least a little what our friends and readers go out and buy.

To listen to the full interview go to Adventures in SciFi Publishing

Friday, October 5, 2007

Trip to the Market 9/24/07

I'm a little late in getting this posted. OK I'm 4 days late but hey it's been a busy week. So this weeks purchases.

Making Money (Discworld Novels) by Terry Pratchett
Crossroads Of Twilight - by Robert Jordan
Crystal Gorge (The Dreamers, Book 3) by David Eddings and Leigh Eddings

I already own copies of both Crossroads and Crystal but they were both hardcovers and 75% off the bargain book rate so they we're approximately $1.50. I'll almost never pass up that deal.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Terry Brooks Interview at Del Ray

Today's Del Ray newsletter features an interview with Terry Brooks. Link to to the full interview here

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Trip to the Market 9/24/07

After just a few of these trip to the market posts I'm sure it's become quite obvious I buy more books than I can possibly sit and read right now. Someday I hope to get to them all but I know that's probably not possible until I'm independently wealthy and can retire. (This is not likely to happen soon considering my current age and line of work). At worst I hope someday my collection will be part of the library's collection so even if I don't read them all someday someone will. So what was added this week?

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Destiny by Paul B Thompson and Tanya C. Cook
Voyage of Jerle Shannara Boxed Set by Terry Brooks

So why these three (5)?

Assassin's Apprentice because I meant to buy it two weeks ago.
Jerle Shannara because I own two Brooks novels so I might as well own all of them.
Destiny just to keep my collection current.

You can see from the above statements that I'm an unrepentant collector of stuff. It can can be a bit obsessive but once I have one part of a set of things, assuming I enjoy them, I want the complete set. I think it all started with baseball cards when I was a kid but it has grown into other things as I've gotten older. Now before you start to worry about me, I'm not crazy pack rat guy who has no clean floor space and an entire room dedicated to newspapers and pocket lint. In fact I'd wager my house is as neat as any house inhabited by a two year old boy can be. Besides fantasy novels I also have a growing collection of toy soldiers, specifically medieval knights. Perhaps if you ask nice I'll show you all some pictures some day. Well until next installment of "This Week in Impulse Buying"


(I promise honey we can buy groceries next week)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Review: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

Warning this is not your father's fantasy novel.

In "The Blade Itself" Joe Abercrombie has created a cast of characters so flawed that it's hardly possible to like them. And yet you'll love them. A crippled torturer, an arrogant nobleman , and a runaway slave whose only thought is vengeance, are just a sampling of what you'll get. The setting is as gritty and violent as the characters and that's saying something.

A word of advice for future readers. Before you pick this book up make sure you find a clear a weekend when you will have time to read in large chunks. The book moves very fast and has a lot of points of view and can be a little tough to follow if read in very small chunks. Well that and you won't want to stop reading once you get rolling so find a quiet spot and enjoy.

The end of the story while climactic definitely comes too soon. I'd really have liked some of the threads to have been woven just a little longer before stopping, but that might just be jealousy for having to wait for the next installment.

Great characters, good setting, some good (and some spectacular) fight scenes, fast paced and sarcastically funny. I recommend it highly.

Rating: 8.8/10

You can find out more about Joe Abercrombie and his First Law Trilogy at his website.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Shopping List 9/23/07 - 9/29/07

Here's this weeks list of SFF books and audiobooks as taken from Barnes & Noble's coming soon list.

Making Money Terry Pratchett / Compact Disc / HarperCollins Publishers / September 25, 2007

Lyra's Oxford Philip Pullman / Paperback / Random House Children's Books / September 25, 2007

Making Money Terry Pratchett / Paperback / HarperCollins Publishers / September 25, 2007

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West Gregory Maguire / Mass Market Paperback / HarperCollins Publishers / September 25, 2007

The Horror in the Museum H. P. Lovecraft / Paperback / Random House Publishing Group / September 25, 2007

Blood Engines T. A. Pratt / Mass Market Paperback / Bantam Books / September 25, 2007

The Diamond Isle: Book Three of The Dreamtime Stan Nicholls / Mass Market Paperback / HarperCollins Publishers / September 25, 2007

Beowulf Caitlin Kiernan / Mass Market Paperback / HarperCollins Publishers / September 25, 2007

Metal Swarm Kevin J. Anderson / Compact Disc / Brilliance Audio / September 28, 2007

Metal Swarm Kevin J. Anderson / Compact Disc / Brilliance Audio / September 28, 2007

Incredible Aberration? Robert E. Bonson / Paperback / Xlibris Corporation / September 28, 2007

Incredible Aberration? Robert E. Bonson / Hardcover / Xlibris Corporation / September 28, 2007

Predator: Flesh and Blood Michael Friedman / Paperback / Dark Horse Comics / September 28, 2007

Metal Swarm, Vol. 2 Kevin J. Anderson / MP3 on CD / Brilliance Audio / September 28, 2007

Richard Matheson Companion Richard Matheson / Hardcover / Gauntlet, Incorporated PA / September 28, 2007

Wysard Carolyn Kephart / Paperback / Cambrian House / September 28, 2007

Strange Candy Laurell K. Hamilton / Compact Disc / Brilliance Audio / September 28, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Del Ray to publish "Heroes" Novel

Del Ray books announced "officially" yesterday it plans to release a novel based on the hit television show Heroes. This old news to those who were at ComicCon in San Diego but here is an excerpt from Del Ray's press release.

NEW YORK, NY - September 18, 2007 - Del Rey, an imprint of Ballantine Books at the Random House Publishing Group, announced plans to publish a novel based on NBC's Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominated Heroes. HEROES: SAVING CHARLIE (Del Rey Hardcover; $23.95; on sale December 26, 2007) by Aury Wallington will be an original novel based on the characters Hiro Nakamura (Emmy and Golden Globe Award-nominated Masi Oka) and Charlie (Jayma Mays), created by executive producer/creator Tim Kring. It is developed through a licensing agreement with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group.

"One of the more memorable relationships in Season One was Hiro's first love, the waitress Charlie. We were as smitten as Hiro by that story and seized the chance to tell the full adventure of Hiro's six months in the past. Aury Wallington was hand picked by the writers of the show for her brilliant voice for these characters. The novel is a welcome addition to the Heroes family," said Tim Kring, creator-executive producer, "Heroes."

The novel--written with the full cooperation and consultation of the show's creators--will tell the story of Japanese office worker Hiro, who, through the use of his ability to pierce the space-time continuum and manipulate time, bravely catapults himself into the past to save Charlie, a small-town Texas waitress with an extraordinary memory, from being brutally murdered by super-powered serial killer Sylar (Zachary Quinto). Fans of the television series were given only a brief glimpse into Hiro and Charlie's relationship as it grew into love over six time-changing months, but their history is told here with the depth and insight that only a novel will allow."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Trip to the Market 9/17/07

I made the mistake of carrying more cash than usual to my local Barnes and Nobles. The proverbial hole was burned through my pocket and I left with quite a number more books than I had planned. I suspect if my wife ever reads this she'll not be as happy as I am with my purchases. So tonight's additions to the library.

The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
The Elves of Cintra by Terry Brooks
His Majesty's Dragons by Naomi Novik
Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
Sinner by Sara Douglass
Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey

I'm listening to Sword of Shannara in my car right now so that was an obvious add and since Elves of Cintra was just released I figure it was a good time to pick it up as well. I've wanted to read Naomi Novik's Temeraire series for a while so I picked it up in a paperback boxed set. Sinner and Banewreaker I know nothing about really but they we're hardcover books that seemed to fit the genre and were only $2 in a super bargain bin. You'll notice I completely forgot to pick up the Robin Hobb book I wanted from last week. Oh well there is always next Monday.

Robert Jordan 1948-2007

I'm sad to report that esteemed author Robert Jordan passed away yesterday after an extended illness. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends.
Additional details can be found on his blog. Be forewarned that his server is having trouble handling all the traffic today as one would expect.

The Last Battle has been fought, rest easy now. You were a dragon amongst men.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Shopping List - 9/16/07 - 9/22/07

Another feature I'd like to bring you is a list of what's hitting stores each week. It will probably not be an exhaustive list but I'll do my best to hit the highlights. I thought of doing a "What's Hot" list as well but Pat's Fantasy Hotlist does a great job of that already so why duplicate. So what can you spend your money on this week.

Natural Ordermage (Recluce Series #14) L. E. Modesitt, Jr. / Hardcover / Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC / September 18, 2007

Making Money Terry Pratchett / Hardcover / HarperCollins Publishers / September 18, 2007

Tales of H. P. Lovecraft H. P. Lovecraft / Paperback / HarperCollins Publishers / September 18, 2007

Axis Robert Charles Wilson / Hardcover / Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC / September 18, 2007

The Cymry Ring Michael Allen Dymmoch / Paperback / Thomson Gale / September 19, 2007

Seven Songs of Merlin T. A. Barron / Hardcover / Penguin Young Readers Group / September 2007

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll / Hardcover / Penguin Young Readers Group / September 20, 2007

Mirror of Merlin T. A. Barron / Hardcover / Penguin Young Readers Group / September 20, 2007

Lost Years of Merlin T. A. Barron / Hardcover / Penguin Young Readers Group / September 20, 2007

Fires of Merlin T. A. Barron / Hardcover / Penguin Young Readers Group / September 20, 2007

Wings of Merlin T. A. Barron / Hardcover / Penguin Young Readers Group / September 20, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

New Jack Vance Tribute Anthology Announced

George R.R. Martin announced on his news site that he will editing a new Jack Vance tribute anthology alongside co-editor Gardner Dozois. The anthology titled Songs of the Dying Earth will be published by Tor Books. In addition to Tor's mass-market release Subterranean Press will be producing not one but two limited edition runs for collectors.

Quoting GRRM

"We've assembled an all-star lineup of contributors for the book, we think. Songs of the Dying Earth will feature original stories from Dan Simmons, Robert Silverberg, Michael Moorcock, Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Hand, John C. Wright, Glen Cook, Jeff Vandermeer, Neil Gaiman, Paula Volsky, Tad Williams, Howard Waldrop, Michael Shea, Mike Resnick, and a host of other terrific writers and hardcore Jack Vance junkies, some of whom offered us their firstborn children for the chance to be a part of this project. And yes, I plan on doing a story for the book myself (after I finish A Dance With Dragons). Jack Vance and his representatives have been so kind as to give us permission to use Jack's characters as well, so longtime fans can expect to appearances from Cugel the Clever, Chun the Unavoidable, T'sain and T'sais, and other favorites."

Comment Contest

I wanted to get some contests going so you all had a chance to win some small prizes. Mostly books and the such. So todays contest is the simplest of all. The first person to post a comment to this post wins. Good Luck.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Review - Dragonvarld Trilogy by Margaret Weis

Set in a world known as Dragonvarld, well that's what the dragons call it, the trilogy follows the lives of both humans and dragons as they fight for survival and dominance.

Setting: In the stories we only see a small portion of the whole of Dragonvarld. The story takes place primarily in three nations of a presumably larger world. As is the case with most short trilogies the world itself is not fully fleshed out. It is not a world building series and it doesn't need to be. One trend in fantasy has been huge world building epics involves thousands of pages of text and decades of time to create. I still find books in the 300-400 page range to be just as enjoyable. In fact *gasp* I even enjoy short stories and novellas. We see enough of the world to make the story work and that's all that is needed. Some parts of the of the setting I found a bit too modern, or too real for a good fantasy setting. The religion of the human nation comes to mind.

Characters: The main characters were well developed in my mind though many were not particularly likable. There is an attempt at moral ambiguity in a lot of the characters, but it seemed to miss the mark in some cases. I found myself not liking a lot of characters in the story and at least one I kept hoping would somehow get killed off.

Plot: The story itself I found pretty enjoyable. It moved at a good pace , and was not so overly complicated that I thought I was missing stuff by listening to it in small sessions in the car as opposed to longer stretches which I generally do when reading a novel. There were at least a few times when I sat in my car for a few extra minutes because I really wanted to know how a scene ended.

Other: This is not necessarily a book for younger readers. There is a certain amount of sexuality involved and at least one rape. While none of it is overly gratuitous and some is essential to the plot it is something that may make some readers (or their parents) uncomfortable. The ending also seems as though it may leave itself open to a sequel (almost demands one). I'll try and ask Margaret Weis and see what she says about follow ups.

Overall: Overall I generally enjoyed the story. I would recommend it to others, especially those who I already know enjoy the genre. That said it is not for everyone and there are others I would recommend before this one.

Rating: 7.2/10

My Review System

Since this is my first review here let me layout my rating system. I use a standard 1-10 scale. Anything 9 or above is something I consider a must read for fans of the genre. A 7 or 8 generally means I thought the books lacked a few things or could have done some things better but that I still enjoyed the book and would recommend it to others. A 5 or a 6 generally means I found the book to be just "OK". It was enjoyable in parts but there were some things about the book that either failed to draw me in or I found severely lacking. Like the numbers imply it's a 50-50 book. A for or 5 is something I'd recommend to hardcore fans but not for those who don't read a lot of of SFF. Lower than a 5 is basically a book I found so uninteresting and and so lacking that I had trouble finishing it.

Just as there are very few books that will get above a 9 from me. There are even fewer that will get less than 5. Some of that has to do with my being a fan of the genre that I'll find enough redeeming qualities to finish it. Or that I have enough respect for the craft of writing that I appreciate the authors attempts flawed as they may as been. Some of it has to do with limited time and budgets. Unless I can get to a point where I am reading advanced copies from the publisher the books I will read and review are books that have positive reviews from others. I'm not a masochist or independently wealthy. Like almost all readers I spend my time and money on those books I have expectations of enjoying. That said let's review some books.

Books on CD.

Sometimes I find it hard to fit in time to read all the books I want to. In fact with job, wife, child, and a zillion hobbies I've found it impossible to keep up with even half the books I want to read. Thankfully more and more books are being released as unabridged audiobooks. It is important to me at least to have unabridged versions to listen to. I'm sure the abridged or dramatized versions are good too but I want to hear every word of the book to judge it on it's original writing not on the interpretation of an editor.

I've found my public library a great source for titles and they have the added bonus of being free. The only downsides of the library is the short time frame in which you have to listen. Usually 2 weeks to a month depending on their lending and renewal policies. For shorter series or stand alone novels I tend to borrow from the library. But for longer and especially on going long series, (yeah I'm looking at you "A Song of Ice and Fire") I like to own the set on CD. The one thing both the "Wheel of Time" series and "A Song of Ice and Fire" taught me is that I will want to reread them prior to the newest title being released and that I will not have time to read 5,000-11,000 pages of novels more than once. So owning these longer titles on CD has always helped me. I can continue to read new novels while catching up on a reread in the car. has been great in this regard. by buying a membership I was able to use my credits and their member discount to get some $60-$80 retail audiobooks for $22 bucks.

Next post will be a review of the books I just finished listening to. Margret Weis' Dragonvald trilogy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Trip to the market 9/10/07

I play Scrabble once a week at a local bookstore and nearly everytime I'm there I end up leaving with a book or three. I'll update what books were added to my collection each week .

This week, I went a little overboard and picked up three different titles from authors who have been highly recommended to me but I have yet to read.

1) The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
2) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
3) Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

Of course I realized when I got home I should have bought Assassin's Apprentice first. Well I'm pretty sure you can guess what I'll be putting in my basket next week. Now which book to read first I'm inclined towards The Blade Itself but who knows. Another good poll question I should really set one up.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What's in a name?

So why did I call this blog Fantasy Library Online?

The answer is two-fold. The first is Id like to create a repository of fantasy information here. An online "reference library" for all things Fantasy (and Science Fiction). But I have a larger goal, a dream if you will. I want to start an actual library specifically for Fantasy and Science fiction related material for both public and academic consumption. In my vision there is a library within a library, a public library of materials that are lendable inside an academic library of materials (rare books, draft manuscripts, etc..) that may only be viewed inside the library. I also have some ideas on where I'd like it to be located and a university I'd like it to be related to but that is all in the future.

You'll notice I added advertising to the site. This was not an easy decision as I don't care much for advertising on blogs but for the physical library to have any chance of becoming a reality some sort of revenue will need to be generated. My pledge is to put 100% of any money generated through this site into the founding of a Fantasy and Science fiction library. The very first funds will be used for legal fees to get the Library set up as a non-profit organization. After that we'll be able to accept donations of money and books towards building the Library and the library collection. Pretty ambitious for this humble blog, eh? Well nothing great ever happens unless people dream big. That said if you wish to donate money or books to the project email me. Also if you are a business lawyer and wish to donate some time to help us get the paperwork filed with the government that would be great too.

Here's hoping big dreams come true.

And they're off...

Since I attended a horse race for the first time this week the title seemed appropriate.

Let me start off by giving you some thoughts on what I want to do here.

I'm a fan of Fantasy literature. I read my first fantasy novel at age 8 (the Hobbit) and have never looked back. I wonder how many others from the pre-Harry Potter generations were first introduced to fantasy by Tolkien or C.S. Lewis. I expect it is a pretty high percentage. (I smell a future poll question).

As I mentioned I am a lover of Fantasy literature and Science Fiction as well though I favor swords, knights and dragons over laser cannons, time travellers and aliens. Over the next days, months, and years I hope to share a little of my passion with you as well. I will try my best to make this space as active as possible though I also don't want to get in the (bad) habit of posting just for postings sake. If I have reviews or news to share I'll post. If nothing more exciting than I woke up, went to work, and came home happens, I'll spare you the eye strain of reading it.

Let me also say up front I am a reader not a writer. My grammar and spelling are far from perfect though I try to make things readable. Despite 25 years at a keyboard I never learned to properly type and so my typing tends to lag way behind my thoughts leading to errors. One you'll see frequently I'm sure is with homophones. While I fully understand the differences between their, they're and there I will assuredly type the wrong one. My mind knows what it wants but the lagging fingers sometimes just type the first one they think of. So please bear with me. (I also like to misuse and abuse parenthesis, accept my flaws and love me for them).

Since I have a lot of initial things I want to say this will likely be a rare multi-post day.

Let's enjoy this journey together and hope it leads to something wonderful in the end.

Einroy (no I won't sign all my posts, yes I will continue to use the afore mentioned parenthesis)