Archive for March 27th, 2011
Geraldine Ferraro, the first female major political party candidate for Vice President, died March 26. As much as any woman until Hilary Clinton, she made the idea of a woman president possible.
Her candidacy also forecast some of the unthinking irrationality that confronts President Obama. She looked different, she wasn’t a white Anglo-Saxon male, and was pilloried for it.
Sarah Palin is her evil younger sister. While Alaska’s Shame frequently refers to Ferraro, in fact The Quitter is her antithesis in every meaningful way.
Rest in peace, Congresswoman Ferraro. And thank you for all you did for your country.
Several readers of WC’s blog have complained that WC rants.
They are wrong.
This is a rant.
March 2011 is unusual because four different titles by four of WC’s favorite authors are being released. If you like fantasy literature, it’s a remarkable feast. If the frequency of WC’s posts falls off, you’ll know why.
Patrick Rothfuss published a debut novel back in 2007, The Name of the Wind (Amazon link). In WC’s review of Name, WC said, “It’s the kind of novel would-be writers dream of writing. Excellent writing, deeply complex characters, careful revelations and wonderful plot twists.” The first of a three part series, Rothfuss promised readers the rest of the novels were already written. Four years later, on March 1, 2011, the second book, Wise Man’s Fear (Amazon link), was finally released. It is equally good, perhaps even more polished, and a real pleasure to read. But Lord, it’s been a long time acoming. WC sincerely hopes we don’t have to wait as long for the conclusion. If you decide to read it, be sure to read Wind first. Highly recommended, but be aware you may be a long while waiting to find out What Happens Next.
L. E. Modessit is sometimes criticized, fairly WC thinks, for writing the same story over and over. The locations change, and the names of the characters differ, but the plots are distressingly the same. Still, few fantasy writers do a better job creating complex, political and economic worlds for their stories than does Modessit. His Corean Chronicles – now eight novels long – is a good read. Lady Protector (Amazon link) released on March 15, 2011, falls chronologically somewhere in the middle of the novels. Unlike other series writers, Modessit doesn’t set his stories in chronological order. Modessit is as prolific as Rothfuss is slow, but has greatly improved over the course of his work. He’s doing much better with female protagonists, but he remains purely incapable of writing a romantic scene. Recommended, although not as enthusiastically as Rothfuss’s work.
Elizabeth Moon broke into fantasy literature with 1992′s The Deed of Paksennarion (Amazon link), an extremely impressive three novel series. The series is on a lot of critics’ top ten fantasy lists. She did a subsequent pair of prequel novels set in the same world, but they were dark and less effective. She then abandoned Paksennarion and her world for 20 years, until she resumed the tale last year with Oath of Fealty (Amazon link). Oath revealed quite literally What Happened Next, picking up events from the last day of Deed. Oath was originally projected as the first novel of a trilogy, but that’s now expanded to a five novel series. The second volume was released March 22, 2011, Kings of the North (Amazon link), and if the cover is a bit Harlequin romance, the writing is not. Moon is a much better writer than she was at the time of Deed, and the new series is excellent. Moon’s characterization and plotting, in particular, are greatly improved. And unlike Rothfuss, Moon produces at a reliable novel a year rate. Very highly recommended.
Steven Brust launched his Vlad Taltos series back in 1987 with Jhereg. Set in a complex world, the protagonist is a member of a despised minority, a criminal and an assassin. The society in which Vlad lives is deeply dysfunctional, and rich in magic. Best of all Vlad grows and changes through the series (to some extent, reflecting the real-life experiences of Brust). Vlad is complex, moody and utterly realistic. The 18th novel set in this world, Tiassa (Amazon link), will be released on March 28, 2011. Brust has experimented with points of view, narrators, interwoven stories and a writer’s manual of other techniques, all of which has kept the series fresh and interesting. Read the Vlad Taltos books in publication order. WC will buy any Brust novel. He’s that good.
And now, if you’ll excuse WC, he’s headed back to a stack of books.