The Darkness That Comes After

Believe in me and I will give you eternal Salvation, said the Lord. “Can I have Might or Kings instead?” asked the tank.

Zomg! U has traffic?!!!one1oneone!!

Posted by senseichow on November 14, 2007

Months between updates and you guys still leave comments on this site?!!

Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I may well start blogging again…….

Posted in Misc, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

So this junior doctor lark….

Posted by senseichow on April 30, 2007

Is a bit busier than I expected, especially now that I’m an SHO in surgery and am expected to scrub into pretty much all my team’s theatre lists. Getting home late then having to read (medical textbooks unfortunately, damn my luck) is seriously cutting into my blogging time.

Apologies if updates have been few and far between. I’m working on it.

Posted in current events | 1 Comment »

Best. Dialogue. Ever.

Posted by senseichow on April 14, 2007

Once I would have said Erikson. Or Pratchett. Heck even Jordan has his good points.

But no longer.

Check this out.

A voice was heard to say, “Who dares disturb the crypt of the Immortal Space Bitches?”
“I am Grimm Shado,” said Grimm Shado, triple wand claws extending. “And I am here to take it to the limit.”

From page 179 of the author LH Franzibald’s seminal work, The Song Of The Sorcelator.

Here’s some more, in case you liked that last one. And how could you do anything but like that last one, given the sheer transcendent post-modern apocalyptic awesomeness of the writing?

Steadying himself atop the speeding Lamborghini, the Sorcelator drew his twin wands, Hurt and Burn. He was going to make damn sure the Pirate Assassins and their Metal Friends rued this day, and rued it hard.

The Ninja Shaman teetered awesomely at the edge of the rooftop; his motile lettuce Foodnillar likewise teetered. “Let’s take this to the limit,” he sneered at Grimm. “Let’s take this to the limit extreme.”

And here’s a brief excerpt from the second Tome of the series, Night After Dark;

“Come—taste the blade,” urged Seductryanyca, the words dripping awesomely from her well glossed cyberLips. Holding the Wandfyreblade lightly in one of her multi-faceted cyber-diamond circlets, she issued Grimm a challenge – one that he’d have to answer in the only way he knew how: immediately, and with awesomenity.”

This second Tome of the series (and I’m quoting shamelessly from the wiki here), “continues the way-rad adventures of Grimm Shado. While taking a brief respite at the Bangin’ Sexx Gardens of Landoramm-IV, Shado encounters a totally hot band of recently dismissed pole dancers. Their only crime: being too smokingly fine. Shado uncovers an intricate web of full-on evil, which he quickly spanks – and spanks hard.

If you want more, and after such a feast of literary extremeness, I see no reason why you shouldn’t; check out the Penny Arcade comic strip on The Song Of The Sorcelator – Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five.

If only a real publisher would take up this series… sigh.

Maybe its just too awesome for them.

Posted in books, comics, fantasy, Feature | 4 Comments »

Update – Confessor by Terry Goodkind (…I feel so dirty)

Posted by senseichow on April 14, 2007

Remember the opening scene of the 1997 movie Batman and Robin, when director Joel Schumacher took out his wang and personally urinated on every single member of the audience, thus preparing them for what was to follow?

Well, I just had a flashback to that scene. Yeah. You see, I checked out the TG website this morning. (shudder).

He’s hard at work on the next, and final, strictly no fantasy here, oh no, novel in the Sword of Truth series. Its called Confessor and is due for a November 2007 release date.

Here’s the preview blurb.

Descending into darkness, about to be overwhelmed by evil, those people still free are powerless to stop the coming dawn of a savage new world, while Richard faces the guilt of knowing that he must let it happen. Alone, he must bear the weight of a sin he dare not confess to the one person he loves…and has lost. Join Richard and Kahlan in the concluding novel of one of the most remarkable and memorable journeys ever written. It started with one rule, and will end with the rule of all rules, the rule unwritten, the rule unspoken since the dawn of history.

When next the sun rises, the world will be forever changed.

Unnamed sources say that theme and plot are expected to make an appearance in the book, with characterization possibly to follow.

At least we can console ourselves with the news that its the last in the Sword of Truth series.

(And no links, I’ll be damned if I link to a TG book).

(And I mean that literally. There’s like, tiny demons… right here… waiting to damn me.)

UPDATE: It doesn’t feel right to end a post without links. So here’s some from Inchoatus, old, but still well worth reading, especially the first one;

Goodkind’s Rant: A rebuttal of the more prosperous utterances of this prolific author

The Leadership of Richard Rahl: or, Richard is always right 

Posted in books, fantasy, Goodkind | 6 Comments »

Kurt Vonnegut 2003 Interview

Posted by senseichow on April 13, 2007

Saw this up on Digg just now.

As everyone knows, Kurt Vonnegut passed away recently. InTheseTimes has an interview they did with him in 2003, focusing mainly on the Iraq War. He responds with his characteristic honesty, even back when almost everyone else was spinning the war in a positive light.

Check it out here.

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Feature – Da Vinci Automata

Posted by senseichow on April 13, 2007

Just a couple of days ago I received an e-mail from these guys asking me to check out a relatively new blog, all about the Clockpunk sub-genre of Science Fiction.

Until I read the e-mail I had no idea there even was a Clockpunk sub-genre of Science Fiction, but, my curiosity aroused, I went off to see what it was all about. Turns out its kinda like Steampunk but with less steam and more clocks 🙂

And you know what, the site itself is pretty cool! There’s up and coming news about Clockpunk, a chance to get involved in a Clockpunk Anthology Project (check out the cracking short story A Matter of Heart), and a link to a very intriguing novel on the front page (Mainspring by Jay Lake).

Check it all out here.

And if my humble words aren’t enough for you, how about this? They’ve been BoingBoinged! You can’t go wrong with an endorsement from the mighty Cory Doctorow himself 🙂

Posted in Feature, Sci-Fi | 2 Comments »

Review – The Summoner by Gail Z. Martin

Posted by senseichow on April 13, 2007

The Summoner is the first book in the Chronicles of the Necromancer series. It tells the story of Prince Martris Drayke, whose world is ‘thrown into suddThe Summoneren chaos’ when his older brother, with the aid of an evil sorcerer, murders his family and seizes the throne.

Martris, or Tris, as he prefers to be called, is forced to flee for his life. Luckily, he’s the grandson of the last great Summoner (think necromancer) in his world, and has inherited that Summoner’s powers. He also has a small but loyal band of companions to help out.

And this is where things start to go downhill. There’s the tough, reluctant loner guy with a mysterious and tragic background, who initially is all tough and reluctant to help out (because of his mysterious and tragic background), but then is won over by the casual camaraderie of the group and the potential love of a good woman (aah, isn’t that sweet). There’s the bard, who’s a bit of a happy go lucky fellow, good with women and also handy in a fight. Then there’s two soldiers, one old and one young, who despite being good friends with Tris come across as a bit bland and generic. Towards the last part of the book I’d stopped caring which of them was which. There’s a healer, who plays the good woman role for the tough reluctant loner guy. At the start the two are constantly fighting with each other, but there’s a certain frisson of sexual tension each time they clash, so you just know they’re gonna hook up soon. Later on there’s also the obligatory love interest for the main hero, a fiery warrior princess who’s actually betrothed to Tris’ evil brother (ah, warrior princesses, when will they learn?).

Whilst initially fleeing towards a neighbouring kingdom, the intervention of the Lady (the goddess of that world) sends them towards a great library, once thought destroyed in some cataclysmic Mage War. There Tris will learn to master his powers, Kiara (the warrior princess) will find out how to help her father and her kingdom, and the rest of the merry band learn various things. But time is short – because if they don’t get their act together by the Hawthorn Moon then the evil sorcerer, (who’s actually a vampire), will unleash a terrible evil known as the Obsidian King upon the world.

By the way, having a bad guy who plots from behind the throne – that’s kinda annoying. Having a bad guy who plots and also happens to be a mage – that’s pretty evil.

But having a bad guy who plots, happens to be a mage, and is also a vampire – now that’s just plain awesome.

Now lets recap – young prince with destiny – check, the trusty band of companions – check, fiery love interest – check, evil wizard with plan to unleash evil – check. I know what you’re thinking; hey senseichow, this is just bog standard fantasy, lifted straight out of the 1980s. Am I right?

Well, great job you! You’re absolutely right. It is just bog standard fantasy, lifted straight out of the 1980s.

The hero being able to talk to, and summon, the dead, that’s something new (kind of). Pretty much everything else though, is old. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in itself – both Brian Ruckley and Joe Abercrombie have written books recently that have taken fantasy stereotypes and turned them on their head by the strength of their writing, but unfortunately you won’t find much of that strength here. The dialogue feels stilted and awkward; near the end one character actually says, “on the morrow, we will talk,” and the combat scenes lack any real sense of danger – in one particularly absurd fight against slavers in the forest, the characters were swapping witty quips whilst being gradually outnumbered and outfought.

To make matters worse, near the beginning of the book we see the Lady intervening on Tris’ behalf to heal a potentially fatal wound. She then tells him that for the duration of the crisis, she would make him effectively unkillable (!) thus casually neutering the threat from any of Tris’ subsequent fight scenes. Its a far cry from the likes of A Song Of Ice And Fire, where half the time you’re not even sure if a character is going to live to the end of the sentence, let alone the entire novel.

The deus ex machina pops up several more times through the book – the Lady sends her vampire servants to help Tris when he’s in trouble, sends her sorcerers to teach him once he reaches the Library, and even sends a mage to help out Kiara (remember, the fiery warrior princess, stay with me now) when she runs into a spot of bother. You have to wonder, for a goddess who likes to play such an active part in things, why she doesn’t just strike down the evil sorcerer herself.

Even the worldbuilding consists of little more than your standard fantasy kingdoms, with generic cities and taverns a plenty.

So in summary – bland, formulaic fantasy that earns a thumbs down from me.

(For further information on Gail Z. Martin you can check out the official website here, and it also has a link to the first chapter of The Summoner online.)

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Update – Its Friday the 13th!! Oh teh noes!!

Posted by senseichow on April 13, 2007

Finally finished Gail Z. Martin’s The Summoner – review will be up shortly.

I received a very intriguing ARC from Solaris Books yesterday. A book called Set The Seas On Fire, by Chris Roberson. The blurb on the front page describes it as “Horatio Hornblower meets HP Lovecraft!” which suggests a level of bad-assedness which is truly… badass. Read a few pages already, and it looks promising so far.

For one reason or another, I’ve been a bit lax with my reading of Brian Lumley’s Necroscope: The Touch. Now that The Summoner and I Am Legend are out of the way, I should be able to make further headway into the novel.

I’ve also got hold of a copy of Daniel Abraham’s A Shadow In Summer, based on reading an interview he did over at Fantasy Book Critic. Also halfway through Scott Marlowe’s Hall Of The Wood (released online by the author, for free), and just received Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 (another cheap buy from eBay). Sigh… just gotta find the time to read all them too.

Speaking of Fantasy Book Critic, he’s got a great interview with Richard K. Morgan, of Takeshi Kovacs fame. Its been up for a couple of weeks, check it out. And while we’re talking about interviews, Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist has an interview with Ian Cameron Esslemont. You know… the guy who co-created that funny little Malazan world. There’s some good info about Return Of The Crimson Guard in there too.

In other news, various sites are reporting the sad delaying of Mac OS 10.5, aka Leopard, till October 😦

They were originally planning to launch Leopard in June, but apparently they had to pull people from the development team to get the iPhone ready for its own June launch. No doubt the news will have millions of Mac fanboys sobbing tears of heartfelt sorrow into their mocha lattes this morning while cradling their MacBooks and listening to Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan on iTunes. Hell, I know I was.

The onus is on Apple now, with all the extra months they’ve bought themselves, to ship a truly great OS. I don’t mean just a snazzy new interface with eye popping graphics which is safe, secure, and stable while using up half the system resources of Windows Vista; no, no, we’ll take that for granted. This is Apple after all.

I mean an OS which redefines the word awesomeness, taking it the limit time and again. I expect Leopard to not just provide a… beyond awesome? ‘bawesome’? computing experience, but to bring about World Peace, whilst solving the AIDS crisis and ending our dependence on fossil fuels. All the while relentlessly hunting for Sarah Connor.

Hasta la Vista baby? F**ck yes.

Posted in books, current events, fantasy, Mac | Leave a Comment »

Review – I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Posted by senseichow on April 12, 2007

(I know, I know, I’m supposed to be reading a bunch of other stuff right now, but I saw this baby going cheap on eBay and I couldn’t resist. I have to say, this book just gets better every time you read itI Am Legend.)

Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend is probably his best known work. First published in 1954, it tells the story of Robert Neville, the last man alive. A strange plague has turned every other person on Earth into a vampire and Neville must learn to survive in this strange new world.

Holed up in his heavily fortified house, Neville hunts the vampires by day, and by night the vampires hunt him. Or rather, they surround his house and watch and wait for him to make a mistake that would allow them access to the house. In the meantime Neville attempts to investigate the vampire plague and its origins in the hope of finding a cure.

The story is revealed in brief flashback segments. We learn how the dust storms helped spread the vampire plague, how Neville’s wife and child slowly became ill, and then died. We experience Neville’s slow, creeping sense of despair as his wife comes back from the dead and he has to kill her.

The writing is excellent throughout – Matheson does a superb job of conveying the horror of the world Neville lives in, as well as his isolation and the pressure that he’s under. Neville’s day time travels from the house (limited as he needs to be back inside before sunset) are always presented with a real sense of urgency. The clock is ticking, and if Neville is still outside when night comes, the vampires will have him. At one point in the story, while visiting the grave of his dead wife, Neville’s watch stops without him realising, and the feeling of terror and desperation he experiences comes across as very real, and very vivid. His subsequent struggle to get back to the house is easily one of the most gripping segments of the book.

Given his enforced loneliness, a central theme of the book is Neville’s mental state – for the first half of the book he comes across as dangerously unstable, almost snapping several times. He eventually learns to cope with his isolation, and channels his energies towards determining the source of the plague. Disdaining a supernatural explanation as the cause, Neville shows his resourcefulness by turning to science, reading Medical textbooks on Bacteriology and Haematology, and experimenting on the vampires he finds. He realizes the entire plague is bacterial in origin, and discovers logical (within reason, this is SF after all) reasons for a vampire’s aversion to sunlight and garlic, and their vulnerability to being staked. Their aversion to crosses is explained in a slightly tongue in cheek way, as this is put down to purely psychological conditioning amongst Christian vampires. The one Jewish vamp he get to experiment on is unaffected by the Cross, but does react to a copy of the Torah.

The title of the book, I Am Legend, refers to the fact that once, vampires themselves were legends, but no longer. Neville, the last surviving human, has become that legend. Many of the vampires have never seen Neville, and are only aware of him from the corpses of vampires executed by him every day. Despite hunting him, they live in constant terror of him.

In all, this is a superb book which, in its day, set the standards for vampires for a long time to come. It was the inspiration for a whole genre (George Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead was initially based on this book) and thoroughly deserves its place in the SF Masterworks imprint.

And for you lazy bastards out there who can’t be bothered reading it, there’s a film adaptation (the third so far), I Am Legend, starring Will Smith, that’s due out later this year 🙂

Posted in books, reviews, Sci-Fi | Leave a Comment »

New Iron Man Armor Pics!!

Posted by senseichow on April 12, 2007

Quite possibly even sweeter than the Transformers pics.

Ain’t It Cool News has a picture of the grey Iron Man armor (the prototype armor Stark makes before he decides that red and yellow is much more badass) from the upcoming movie.

Check it out.

(You’ll have to scroll down the page a fair bit before getting to the armor)

Posted in comics, movies, Sci-Fi | Leave a Comment »