Tag: david gemmell

Recent reads

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(well, OK, not so recent. Catching up on my summer of sloth)
A Tangle of Magicks/Renegade Magick by Stephanie Burgis: the sequel to A Most Improper Magick/Kat, Incorrigible, which finds teenage witch Kat Stephenson in Bath, trying to shepherd her sister into marital happiness, prevent her older brother from gambling the family fortunes away–all the while struggling with her Guardian powers, and a dastardly plot to use the power of the Roman Baths for nefarious ends. Kat’s voice is as delightful as always, and this is a very nice, punchy mix of comedy of errors and adventure book. Very much looking forward to book 3!

-David Gemmell: hum, a lot of books? Finished the Drenai books, and found one I hadn’t read (the very last one, Swords of Night and Day). The earlier ones are still those that carry the most punch for me; I suspect partly because of nostalgia. Also read Lion of Macedon/Dark Prince, which is basically Greek legends on crack (I exaggerate a bit, since Gemmell obviously documented himself well and has always had a fondness for Antiquity settings in his books; but not by much. The entire many-worlds experience, and the Source vs Spirit of Chaos thing are very entertaining, but I very much doubt that they have anything of “authentic” Ancient Greece about them. Still, what I very much enjoyed about them is their scope: the books take place over decades, and it’s refreshing to see alliances form and break as time passes. It also allows the author space to show the characters grow and age, which isn’t often found in genre fiction–especially in epic fantasy–and this gives a gravitas to the books which prevents them from tipping into outright silliness. Not by much, admittedly).

My Vietnamese progresses; I can now get *some* words recognised by my mother when I say them (don’t laugh. The potential for screwing up words in this language is oh-so-boundless). And this weekend is going to be busy busy, as I’ll be at Rencontres de L’Imaginaire in Sèvres with the H, hopefully signing a number of books greater than zero…

Also, this: awesome xkcd comic. I want to go back in time and build one of those in high school.

Quick update

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So, the weekend… part of it was spent looking for a crockery dresser, not entirely successfully (the H loved the place we dropped by first, but the prices are about 75% above what we’d be ready to pay for such a piece of furniture). Part of it was spent sorting out papers, using ye old method of “trash most of them, they’re not useful anymore”. I hadn’t realised until I got rid of stuff from my old workplace how liberating the entire process was 🙂 (I loved my old workplace–it had a great atmosphere–; but moving on did me a world of good).

And part of it was spent revising a short story that I wrote over a year ago, “Starsong”. I think I’m done now, though I managed to crash Scrivener rather badly and had to reinstall from scratch. Currently brainstorming for a new project I pitched to my agent–urban fantasy set in Paris, but which has a gaping hole where the words “magic system” should be.

Oh, and we also got a headstart on Xmas shopping–ordered present for 3 people (out of the 7 we have to deal with), checked out stuff for a fourth, and I made my mind about a fifth (the H).

Recent reads: working my way through David Gemmell. I read those when I was a teenager in London, and I was rather afraid that they would not hold up to another reading. But actually, they’re pretty good. I’m really glad that although they feature strong stereotyping (Chiatze=China, Gothir=Persia, Drenai=Greece or somewhere thereabouts, Nadir=Mongols), the author never takes swipes at the various nations: people come in all colours and alignments, and we have as many Nadir madmen as Drenai ones. Also, they’re fairly gender-typed (though there are a few women fighters), but Gemmell never denigrates what women do, and indeed his fighters often find themselves envying women, knowing that the greater courage is on their side. And his heroes are just impressive and memorable, and he never hides that they have terrible flaws, but can rise above them (it’s been rather a lot of years, but I can remember Tenaka and Druss and Ananais quite clearly). All in all, very entertaining and satisfying, and I’m glad I had those around when I was ~16. I’m really sorry I never got to meet Gemmell in person, and tell him how much his books meant to me when I was growing up.