Thursday, July 29, 2010

High Operatic Adventure From Michael Flynn, And More Imager Intrigues From L. E. Modesitt Jr.

Continuing with some of the intriguing characters from January Dancer, Michael Flynn has put together another enjoyable intergalactic search.  Most interesting to me in Up Jim River is one of the two main protagonists, Donovan (the scarred man). This guy is troubling in spades.  Earlier in his life he was a spy for the bad guys, but they did an experiment to improve his usefulness and failed miserably. Donovan was given five and possibly eight other selves, personalities, in hopes they would integrate into a super spy. What remains is a guy constantly arguing with himselves and living a very messy life. Along comes the daughter of a former lover, spy, antagonist, in search of her mother. The race is on. Enjoy!

I'm in the middle of the third Imager Portfolio book by L. E. Modesitt and am regretting not telling you about this series before.  It is becoming one of my favorite fantasy series in the library.  Imager, the first book, knocked me off my chair.  The characters and story are both strong and well developed. The plotting has grown deeper and broader as the protagonist ages. If you'd like a little magic in your life, I can't recommend anything better.

Music of the moment
Farewell, So Long, Goodbye 
Track 12 on American Myth by Jackie Greene 


Monday, July 19, 2010

The Boy Can't Spell, Spell Casting Fraught With Problems

The first thing I do when starting a new post is open another tab or window with a dictionary, or two dictionaries, depending on what vocabulary gear my brain is in.  I could easily relate the the young man in this story.  He can not spell and casting spells for him can be very dangerous and or very destructive.

He was not born or educated poorly, he was messed with by the bad guys at an early age.  The oh so interesting spell casting alone in this absorbing read is built solidly around the caster's ability to spell in one or more of the languages of spells.

Of course, the world as they know it is in grave peril and Nicodemus Weal, just might be the only man who can save it. The story is much more complicated than your average neophyte "wizard in training" story. Social and political environments are dynamic and complex.

I love first novels and the author, Blake Charlton, has opened his writing career with a great story, Spellwright. I eagerly anticipate the forthcoming sequel to this engaging story.  Booklist gave Spellwright a starred review, I can't agree more, it shines brightly

I could also identify with the author's back story.  Severely dyslexic through the seventh grade where his intense interest in fantasy helped him beat the problem.  The books of Robert A. Heinlein, E. E."Doc" Smith and Ayn Rand brought me into the light about that same time in my life.

 Music in my head today
Real Animal by Alejandro Escovedo 
Alejandro is his own genre, he crosses all trails
and blazes trails where others have not gone.

Regards,
Richard

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Post Apocalyptic Bliss

I have always had a perverse fascination with what comes after, and the different possibilities of what causes the end of life as we pretend to know it.  Elegy Beach : a book of the Change by Steven R. Boyett has a novel precept. The laws of Physics have changed.  Magic, what people can figure out about it, rules the day.  Most things mechanical just don't work anymore.  The story begins a full generation after the change.  The truly horrific stuff, is for the most part over, though there remain plenty of bad guys making mayhem, as bad guys are wont to do.  There are some interesting folks in this story, a unicorn, Ariel, who has spent entirely too much time with humans. A father, Peter, who walked through Hell for years before landing in a, somewhat safe, beach community on the California coast and stopping there to raise his son Fred in a community.  Ariel ©1983 is the story of Ariel and Peter's journey in the early years after the change.

The story is, at it's heart, a coming of age story, Fred's, and an exemplary one at that.  It has all the makings of a good heroic myth and the final pages, oh the final pages, be still my heart. The final pages are capable of calming the disturbed (I feel much better).  Both books are standing alone stories in their own right, but, I am now going to read Ariel and get the back story for Elegy Beach the writing is just too good to leave it unread.  The writer knows prose and has a human heart.

Enjoy,
Richard

Music in my life at the moment.
Gretchen Peter's wonderful song, Revival.
Covered on Jimmy LaFave's CD Blue Nightfall Track #1
and
Brother Paul Thorn's Mission Temple Fireworks Stand by Paul Thorn.
The title cut Mission Temple Fireworks Stand
has one of my all time favorite song quotes I paraphrase often.
"...bottle rockets, two for a dollar, salvation is free."
Paul Thorn started out as a boxer but retired the effort after
spending six rounds in the ring with Roberto Duran, hence
the title of his first CD Hammer & Nail, he seemed not
to want to be the nail anymore.