What Would I Rather Be Reading? Part VII: Digger (and others)

digger cover

This is coming later than I anticipated, but I expected that. While WordPress will list this as posted on Monday, it’s still Sunday where I live. So I win! Now. Has everyone gone and read Digger? No?

No problem, you can still go do that now.

….What, still not going? You’re only hurting yourself, you know.

So you’re probably wondering why I seem so insistent that you check this one out. Well, it is excellent in many ways. The art is good, the story is fantastic, and the characters are…well. You know the usual moral relativism, grey vs. grey morality, right? Basically, everyone has a dark side, no one is pure, that sort of thing? That is very much not in evidence in Digger; instead, if I were to say that everyone is a good person, I would be exaggerating only slightly. Every character has reasons for their actions and stances, and though some parties are more reasonable than others, there is almost no malice between characters. Which is not to say there isn’t conflict; there is a lot of conflict, but it is almost always generated from the clash of different cultures and worldviews, and once common ground is found the characters get along reasonably well. (There is, of course, one major exception, behind the majority of the plot. But the narrative to reach that point is so well constructed, I would never dream of spoiling it for you.) Continue reading

Wait, what day is it today?

Soooo….

Yeah…

I think I was supposed to put up a ‘What Would I Rather…” this weekend.

Sorry.

OK, next weekend, definitely. But for now, go read this webcomic.

It’s called Digger. It’s about a wombat. It’s pretty awesome.

It’s free, so you really don’t have an excuse not to read it. It’s complete, too, so you won’t have to worry about catching up with the latest strip.

Seriously, you’d be missing out if you don’t give it a try. Go read Digger.

You’ll be glad you did. And I’ll mention some other works by Ursula Vernon, which are also pretty cool, next weekend. I promise.

I won’t spend the entire weekend reading web novels. That would be wrong.

Normal LRAGOT on Wednesday. See ya then.

What Would I Rather Be Reading? Part VI: Journey to Chaos

A Mage's Power

When I refer to a Fantasy Kitchen Sink, does everyone know what I am talking about?

For those who fear the gravimetric horror of TVTropes, it refers to a setting where everything can exist, even if they have wildly different origins: aliens, gods, wizards, vampires, management consultants, hillbillies, etc., etc. Anything and everything is thrown together, and mixed thoroughly. And Brian Wilkerson has done just that, in his Journey to Chaos series: he has taken everything that he likes (with a strong lean toward Japanese anime and video games), thrown it into a giant blender, and hit ‘liquify’, resulting in a jumbled but delicious mess.

Um. I feel my metaphor is getting away from me, so let’s move on. Continue reading

What Would I Rather Be Reading? Part V: Japanese Light Novels

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So. Once upon a time, there was a time where I really enjoyed Japanese animation a.k.a anime. (That time is now.) From watching anime, I grew interested in Japanese manga, basically graphic novels by western standards. (Still interested.) From manga, I became aware of light novels, and from there I learned about web novels. Thus, I traced a backwards arc of media development; as series become popular, they can evolve from web novels into light novels, and from there into manga or anime. So yes, IPs in Japan are exactly like Pokemon. I am sure this is not a coincidence.

Setting all that aside, I have mostly been reading light novels recently. So, what is a light novel? Continue reading

What Would I Rather Be Reading? III: The Chronicles of Elantra

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Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was growing up in a slum inside, but separate from, the city of Elantra. But that was a long time ago, and now that little girl is a young woman now, living in the city itself, working as one of its guards. But her past still haunts her in many ways, for she has a special power, coveted by many, including the ruler of the slum of her birth, and by a being living in the lost heart of the city…

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Last week, I stated that I prefered the world-building of Michelle Sagara to that of Brandon Sanderson. I would like to clarify: Sanderson is definitely the most original writer of the two, or rather, his worlds are more original than the one presented in the Chronicles of Elantra. (I have read another series by Michelle, The Sun Sword, in which the world is more original. A good series, but not today’s focus.) But despite being somewhat more common, albeit with a few good twists, I like the Elantra books for one specific reason: the world-building, from the perspective of the reader, is the most organic possible. Continue reading

What Would I Rather Be Reading? II: Mistborn

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In the beginning, there was Adonalsium, who exploded. Sixteen shards of his power fell into the hands of other people, who used them to make different worlds singly and together. Since each shard was different, the worlds they created had different magical systems, with a few common themes. Then, because With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, the shard bearers were corrupted by their shards and eventually became caricatures of their own power. So it goes.

And the best part is? You don’t need to know any of that to enjoy any of the books in the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson.

AlloyOfLaw2

Yeah, like this one.


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What Would I Rather Be Reading? I: The Aeronaut’s Windlass

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So once upon a time, a man wrote a book about a wizard. This wizard was both powerful and irascible, as professional wizards traditionally are. However, this wizard differed from the traditions in a couple notable respects: he was young, for one thing; for another, he lived in modern Chicago. The man wrote a number of books about the young, modern wizard, and they became staggeringly popular. Full disclosure: I like it.

Somewhat later, the man decided to write a new series, set in a pseudo-Roman fantasy world, of a people granted magical elemental powers, and the one boy growing up among them without magical elemental power — what we would call an ordinary person. These books were in a completely different style from the books about the wizard, and really demonstrated the breadth of talent in their writer. They were also not nearly as popular as the wizard. Such is life.

Now that same writer has taken a stab at a new genre: Skypunk.

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This is Jim Butcher’s newest novel, The Aeronaut’s Windlass (FIRST IN A NEW SERIES, declares the cover.) Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Well, he admits to liking The Dresden Files, and he seemed quite impressed by The Codex Alera, so he’s probably going to like this one too.” And you’d be correct. This is a good book. Let me explain why, in a spoiler-free sort of way.


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