Tuesday, May 3, 2016

GoT 6 - Episodes I & II - A few quick thoughts

"Bran, this will begin to make things right."
All right, wow and stuff.
My initial misgivings about watching Game of Thrones Season 6 have totally vaporized in the heat of Melisandre’s fires.
Not knowing the details of what’s to come made watching these two new episodes so much more exciting than I thought would be possible. During episode 2, Home, last night I was literally jumping a few times. And I’m telling myself, don’t worry, you read the first three books ten times each and loved it every time, it isn’t that crucial to be unspoiled before The Winds of Winter is published in 2019.
So now I feel free to enjoy the TV series, and yeah, it became a very different experience for me, stepping into the post-Dance world. Although there are bits going all the way back to A Storm of Swords…and even further back. Lots of surprises, then, excitement, shock, and also a few moments where I’m like, /facepalm.
Let’s delve into The Red Woman (okay that sounds weird) first, and then Home.

Monday, May 2, 2016

...And Here We Go

Yeah, even though I did my best avoiding any Ice and Fire-related websites I soon enough found myself knowing basically every scene in Episode 1: The Red Woman, and so I succumbed to the Dark Side (and Full of Terrors) and watched it. 

For Episode 2, whose title I don't know, I'm completely unspoiled, though. But I know there's no point in resisting the call, and so I am going to watch it. 

I'll do a post on both episodes soon, and will most likely be following season six all the way through, dammit. Mostly because it's fun reading people's tweets. 

Obviously I'm also going to continue A Feast with Dragons. I've cleared my plate, and I don't have as many deadlines as I used to, which feels good. Listen to me sounding like GRRM himself ^^ (My deadlines, except for some reviews, the odd article, and some flash fiction, are mostly of the "correcting term papers" type, and they just have to go first in the queue).

A question which has occupied my mind this week is whether GRRM will be able to finish The Winds of Winter before the next season of Game of Thrones. I'm beginning to doubt it, but there's still time for a surprise (which would be a good title for the book by now. A Time for Surprise. If there's anything left to surprise us with after what GoT did to us).

Monday, April 25, 2016

Voices in my Head

Wow, I stumbled upon the Internet only to find it abuzz with the season six premiere, now my resolve will be tested. Can I avoid it? Will I succumb to the lure of temptation? There's a voice inside telling me that "Man, just watch it, better to get some kind of continuation than nothing". But there's also a competing voice saying, "Man, save it for the book, for the vision you first invested in sixteen years ago."

I grrumble.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Geekery & Predictions for Season VI

What times, what times, what times.
April 2016 is going down as one of the ├╝ber-geek-months.

Monday, April 11, 2016

[Re-read] The Return of Mercantile Action and ADVENTURE

Well, wow. It's been the busiest few months since forever, and Quentyn had to take a backseat to, well, everything. I can't even begin to summarize what life's been like, and I won't, because that's fricking boring. It's been...complicated. Difficult. I haven't had the time to read anything, in fact, so I'm still stuck with Wexler's The Thousand Names, and I will have to start Dancer's Lament anew as I had to completely drop that read, too. Oh well. 

It's April 11th already, and Game of Thrones season six is looming closer, and I suppose the world is waiting with baited breath, asking questions like, WILL Quentyn Martell appear? but I really ain't feeling it. Not just because I am frustrated by getting the story's continuation through the television medium as opposed to the real thing - which is the book - but also because the world outside Martin's towers is moving on: Not one, but two new Malazan books, one penned by the inimitable, amazing Erikson. Abercrombie is throwing us a collection of short stories and is writing the next trilogy in that black comedy fantasy world of his. Star Wars is making me excited again, begging me to forgive the prequel trilogy and join back in on the fun with not only a sequel trilogy but standalone "A Star Wars Story" (the trailer for Rogue One is blowing my mind) and then there have been some new stars on the fantasy horizon that beg to be checked out, as always. Exploring Quentyn's story becomes more a chore compared to all this mind-bending fantasy entertainment available, but a man must persevere, and so here I at long last return with the second half of my re-read of Quentyn's first chapter, "The Merchant's Man". The time it has taken just to get through this one chapter is oddly how I feel time flows when reading "The Merchant's Man": Excruciatingly slow. Now, before you accuse me of being a dumbass who only wants action11!!!!1 and that I can't appreciate the finer arts of a more relaxed story-telling....I'm fine with experimental approaches, but this is A Song of Icy Cold Deathly Ice and Flaming Smoldering Burning Roaring Fire and I came aboard for the excellent, dare I say unique, combination of action, intrigue, medieval fantasy, well-written characters and the sense that anything could happen, not dwarf elephant cabs. Why, oh why, couldn't Martin rein in the exposition and give us the neatly trimmed excellence of the first books? (I know the answer. The story got away from him. He is more interested in worldbuilding than story writing now. Etc etc.) What I'm trying to say is that perhaps Martin should've taken more care of making books 4 and 5 stylistically similar to I-III. Or at least tried to smooth the transition. And now I'm going to shut up and actually get this over and done with. See you after the break.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Distracted by Everything Else

So much going on. No time for Quentyn just yet. Will be back, harder and stronger.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Distracted by Dancer

Yeah so I had to stop midway through Quentyn's quest and out of the blue Ian C. Esslemont released a new Malazan novel, Dancer's Lament.
Somehow I didn't know it would be out already. And when I say "already" it's still been the longest period without Malazan goodness since I discovered the series back toward the end of 2009. Since then, main man Erikson published the tenth and final novel of the main saga, The Crippled God, which he followed up with some absolutely fantastic novellas and the first in a prequel series, while Esslemont continued the tales of the Malazan Empire in no less than four novels (Stonewielder, Orb, Sceptre, Throne, Blood and Bone, and Assail), which admittedly are inferior to the Erikson experience, but still solid enough reads if you're into the setting - and here we go again, with Dancer's Lament.

There are really only a few authors who make me stop doing whatever I'm doing to read what goodness they have concocted - Martin, obviously, Erikson, absolutely, Esslemont, by default since I enjoy the setting, and Abercrombie - and so Quentyn has to wait a little longer, but at least he gets to live a little while longer. Whoops, spoiler! Did I mention that in the same period that spawned so much Malazan goodness we only got one novel from Martin (I'm not counting the novella-length history lessons as stories)?  Malazan: The gift that keeps on giving, at least if you can manage to hang in there through the first five hundred thousand or so pages.

Dancer's Lament, then, is so far a great read, probably the best I've seen from Esslemont; the prose is clearer, less dense; there are fewer characters and situations making it almost feel like a YA novel in comparison to such unwieldy beasts as Return of the Crimson Guard. And it helps a lot, of course, that the main characters in this story (which takes place before Erikson's first novel, Gardens of the Moon) are two absolutely delightful and interesting characters who are very much vital to the overall story line. So far, so good; I found Assail a bit of a letdown, Dancer's Lament so far is the opposite. I have no idea whatsoever if this book is readable for someone who doesn't know the setting and characters, so I feel I can't recommend it. I can of course, for the umpteenth time, recommend giving Steven Erikson's work a chance. He is so underrated it goes beyond criminal; this coming from a guy who gave up on Gardens of the Moon twice before persevering. Now I own three copies of it; two of them signed. If you're curious about the series, check out TOR.com's re-read archives and take note of the passionate reader responses and the above-and-beyond interaction with Mr. Erikson. If only more authors were like him.

And now I hear rumblings that Abercrombie is returning to the Circle of the World (i.e., the setting of his First Law trilogy, as well as the amazing stand-alones The Heroes, Best Served Cold and Red Country).

An announcement featuring The Winds of Winter would make the icing on the cake and this fantasy fanboi would be very very happy ever after. Please?