Monthly Archives: February 2012

#CBR4 Maneuver #8 – The Hero of Ages

Target: Brandon Sanderson’s The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3)

Profile: Epic Fantasy

Summary: From the Back Cover, “Killing the Lord Ruler to end the Final Empire was obviously the right thing to do, wasn’t it?  With the return of the lethal form of the ubiquitous mists, increasingly heavy ashfalls, and ever more powerful earthquakes, Vin and Elend are no longer so sure.  Long ago, Ruin – one of the primal beings who created the world – was promised the eventual right to destroy all things.  Now that Vin has been tricked into releasing him from the Well of Ascension, Ruin apparently intends to collect.”

Some series spoilers below.

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#CBR4 Maneuver #7 – Dragonfly Falling

Target: Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Dragonfly Falling (Shadows of the Apt #2)

Profile: Alternative Fantasy, Steampunk, Military Fiction

Summary: From the Back Cover, “The armies of the Wasp Empire are on the march, and first to feel their might will be the city of Tark, which is even now preparing for siege.  Within its walls, Salma and Totho must weather the storm, as the Ant-kinden take a stand, against numbers and weaponry such as the Lowlands have never seen.

After his earlier victory against them, the Empire’s secret service has decided that veteran artificer Stenwold Maker is too dangerous to live.  So disgraced Major Thalric is dispatched on a desperate mission, not only to eliminate Stenwold himself, but to bring about the destruction of his beloved city of Collegium, and thus end all hope of intelligent resistance to remorseless imperial advance.

While the Empire’s troops are laying waste to all in their way, the young Emperor himself is treading a different path.  His thoughts are on darker things than a mere conquest, however, and if he attains his goal he will precipitate a reign of blood that will last a thousand years.” Read the rest of this entry

A few thoughts on Mass Effect and Space Operas

First, read this.  Or skim it.  Or take in the title.  Whatever.

I caught wind of this via (here).

Now, I’ll start out by saying that, yes, for all the reasons above and a few more, Mass Effect is a compelling and fascinating piece of sci-fi literature.  At its core, it is the natural progression, and the shiniest of the new-series space operas.

However, (and here comes the kicker) anyone who is foolish enough to hail Mass Effect as the most important SF Setting of our generation hasn’t been getting out enough.  Mass Effect is fundamentally built upon the foundations laid by the current generation of Space Opera writers.  Authors like Iain M. Banks, Alistair Reynolds, and to lesser extents, Peter F. Hamilton and Ken MacLeod have been toying with the ideas present in Mass Effect for more than two decades.  But if Mass Effect was simply reaching great heights by standing on the shoulders of giants, I wouldn’t have a problem.  The flaw of any media is that in order for it to be successful, it must appeal to its audience.  Mass Effect has had to dull the edges of its social commentary, its science, it’s very philosophical message in order to be a marketable version of its predecessors.  It may hold up to the even more popularized television and film worlds, but to hold it up as superior, simply because it is closer to the goal than its ugly cousins is an affront to the literature and to our intelligence. Read the rest of this entry

#CBR4 Maneuver #6 – Imager’s Intrigue

Target: L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s Imager’s Intrigue (Imager Portfolio #3)

Profile: Fantasy, Political/Spy Fiction

Summary: From the Back Cover, “In Imager, the first book of the Imager Portfolio, we met Rhennthyl, an apprentice portrait artist whose life was changed by a disastrous fire.  But the blaze that took his master’s life and destroyed his livelihood revealed a secret power previously dormant in Rhenn: the power of Imaging, the ability to shape matter using thought.  With some trouble, he adapted to the controlled life of an imager.

By Imager’s Challenge, Rhenn had become a liaison to the local and law forces.  He found himself in direct conflict with both authorities and national politics as he tried to uphold the law and do his best by the people of his home.

Now, in Imager’s Intrigue, Rhenn has come into his own.  He has a wife and a young child, and a solid career as an imager.  But he has made more than one enemy during his journey from apprentice painter to master imager, and even his great powers won’t allow him to escape his past.” Read the rest of this entry

#CBR4 Maneuver #5 – Pirate Sun

Target: Karl Schroeder’s Pirate Sun (Virga #3)

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, Military Fiction

Summary: From the Back Cover,

“Chaison Fanning, the admiral of a fleet of warships introduced in the first book, has been captured and imprisoned by his enemies but is now rescued and set free.  He must flee to his home city to confront the ruler who betrayed him.  Perhaps while there, he will also regain his lovely, powerful, and subversive wife, Venera.  He has not seen her since she fled, careening off into the air of Virga before he was captured, with the key to the artificial sun, Candesce, at the center of Virga” Read the rest of this entry