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41 years old
January 22, 1979

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  1. In Topic: The Worldbreaker Saga by Kameron Hurley

    05 April 2020 - 02:12 PM

    Book 3: The Broken Heavens


    The Tai Mora, invaders from a parallel universe, have overrun and conquered much of the island-continent of Grania. Their ruler plans to activate the five great temples and use their power to seal the ways between the worlds shut, ending the chaos that has engulfed every world and every timeline. For Lilia, the former scullery maid turned military leader, an opportunity to strike back at the Tai Mora is approaching, one that may hold the key to saving the world, but she must first persuade her reluctant allies (who prefer the idea of flight) to stand with her.

    The Broken Heavens is the concluding volume of The Worldbreaker Saga, Kameron Hurley's epic fantasy trilogy set in a world that is being invaded by mirror versions of itself. Following on from The Mirror Empire and Empire Ascendant, the book chronicles the adventures of a number of core characters scattered across Grania as events begin to converge.

    The Worldbreaker Saga is, as with much of Hurley's fiction, offbeat and weird but is anchored in believable human characters. The book plays with the "chosen one" trope by pitting these as the people who happen to be in the right place at the right time to deal with the crisis, and they succeed or fail, live or die based on their own strengths and weaknesses, and isn't afraid to have them mess up, sometimes catastrophically. It's unusual for an epic fantasy following a standard three-act trilogy structure (albeit in an original and unusual world) to be so inventive in how it handles its characters and plot.

    Particularly interesting, and something much more strongly focused on here than previously, is the idea of the mirror characters being not just different characters with the same face, but different versions of the actual same character: the pacifist in one world and the war-mongering dictator in another could have been the same person if it were not for circumstance. Thematic ideas of nature/nurture, environment and desperation are woven intriguingly into the story and developed as it continues.

    Some of the weaknesses of the first two books remain: there are occasional moments of obtuseness and the limits of the magic-wielding characters' powers are not always clear. There's also the feeling of events sometimes being a little rushed. There's easily a more sedate thousand-page story which could have explained things a bit better lying within these sometimes compressed-feeling five hundred pages. On the plus side, it does mean that the book moves like it's on fire, with little time or pages wasted.

    The setting, with its living killer trees and seething organic temples, is vividly drawn and Hurley's formidable powers of characterisation are at their peak here, not just in depicting different characters but different versions of the same character, which requires a great deal more nuance. Overall, The Broken Heavens (****½) is a worthy conclusion to an often engrossing and original work of fantasy. The novel is available now in the UK and USA.
  2. In Topic: Final Fantasy Series

    05 April 2020 - 01:25 PM

    View PostBriar King, on 04 April 2020 - 08:43 PM, said:

    I still want the timeline. Iím sure itís going to the PS5 obviously but really donít feel like waiting years between this first release and the last. Maybe as small a chance as it is they will surprise us with the info that the entire thing is complete and here is the schedule. Then I will get.

    I imagine the spoiler is probably

    I would just rather FF16 honestly.

    Er, no. Well, maybe, but we won't find out until the end of Part II I'd imagine.

    The spoilers from Part I's ending are much, much more bananas.


  3. In Topic: Leviathan Wakes by S.A. Corey (Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck)

    05 April 2020 - 01:21 PM

    The Expanse #8: Tiamat's Wrath


    The Laconian Empire has conquered the Solar system and most of the colony worlds established through the ring space. A resistance movement led by the crewmembers of the Rocinante is hoping to win back the freedom of the individual worlds, but High Consul Winston Duarte has taken James Holden captive. As tensions rise, Duarte makes the bold decision to declare war on the unknown, possibly unknowable aliens that killed the creators of the protomolecule, a war that will have unforeseen consequences.

    Tiamat's Wrath is the eighth and penultimate novel in The Expanse, moving the series decisively towards its endgame with the conflict against the unknown aliens beginning in force. This is the moment that The Expanse has been building towards for a decade, with the true conflict finally getting underway.

    It's a shame, then, that it feels anti-climactic. Part of the problem in this latter part of the series is that it feels like it is trying to do too much in too little space: the conquest of the Solar system by the Laconians happened very rapidly (and mostly off-screen) in the previous book and in this book the resistance movement forms and takes action with almost indecent haste. Persepolis Rising did at least benefit from the tight focus on the Rocinante crew trying to escape Medina Station and using that as a lens through which other events unfolded. Tiamat's Wrath is a much more epic, widescreen book which tries to tell the story across a number of fast-moving fronts, but in almost exactly the same page count. This results in a much faster-paced story where events happen quickly and sometimes without enough setup.

    We've been here before, and in fact Tiamat's Wrath forms the second half of a duology that began with Persepolis Rising, and in doing so comes across as a near beat-for-beat retread of the previous duology (Nemesis Games and Babylon's Ashes): in the first book a huge, epic, game-changing event takes place with apparently massive ramifications for the series, and in the second it is wrapped up with almost indecent haste, both times relying on an important female character in the enemy camp deciding to swap sides. The structural similarities between the two duologies can leave the reader with a nagging sense of deja vu. The pieces are different but the game is being played the same way.

    There is also the problem that we still know very little about the extradimensional alien threat. We know they're bad news, but their motivations, capabilities and real level of threat remain unclear after eight books out of nine in the series. It does feel a little like the situation with the Others in A Song of Ice and Fire, where we're supposed to be wary of this species but we don't really know what they want so it means their level of threat remains vague. The stakes, rather than being made clear or raised, are instead simply left undefined.

    As usual, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (who together make up the gestalt entity known as James S.A. Corey) deliver a fast-paced, moderately well-written space opera yarn with some exciting battles, interesting plot twists and some decent characterisation, but also one that feels like it is repeating earlier beats from the series and still leaving a lot of information undisclosed before heading into the final volume of the series. Tiamat's Wrath (***) is solid but occasionally feels like a detailed plot summary of a novel rather than a novel in its own right. The book is available now in the UK and USA.
  4. In Topic: Final Fantasy Series

    04 April 2020 - 07:47 PM

    View PostBriar King, on 11 March 2020 - 07:39 PM, said:

    Yes but WHAT is the ultimate plan for the total project? I need to know before

    I believe it's 3 to 4 parts they are aiming for.

    Also (MAJOR spoiler):

  5. In Topic: The Almost Final, Quasi-Definitive Malazan World Map

    14 March 2020 - 01:13 PM

    View PostBeaver Killia, on 13 March 2020 - 04:39 AM, said:

    If Genabackis is in the N Hemisphere and Lether is in the S Hemisphere how can both locations see the same green slashes in the sky?

    A question better directed at Steven Erikson, but my sense was that there was absolutely tons of the green slashes spread out over a wide expanse of the sky, or in several different clusters which could be visible at different times.

    Lether is located fairly north in the southern hemisphere, which does help with that.



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    05 Mar 2020 - 09:29
    Sorry, missed your birthday this year. Hope it was a good one.
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    22 Jan 2019 - 11:51
    Dun dun dunnnnn ...
    Have a good one.
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    22 Jan 2018 - 08:24
    Same as below. Better make it a good one because it's 40 next year.
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    22 Jan 2010 - 15:32
    Happy Birthday, now go out and get wrecked :)
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