Category Archives: 2012 Reading Challenge

The Key to Creation by Kevin J. Anderson (Book Review)

After reading the massive first two Terra Incognita novels back to back, I was almost burned out, but I went on with The Key To Creation, the third novel, nonetheless. I wanted to complete the experience while the events of the first two novels were still largely fresh in my mind, while I still could recall all the intricate connections that Kevin was setting up and exploring. And thankfully, The Key To Creation delivered on most of my expectations, and ended up being the best of the trilogy by a decent margin.

In light of The Founding Fields currently suffering some major site issues, I’m going to be reposting my reviews from the site to the blog, so enjoy away!

The original review can be found here.

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The Map of All Things by Kevin J. Anderson (Book Review)

Once I got started on my reading of the Terra Incognita novels, I didn’t stop, I just plowed straight on, finishing the trilogy in about a week I think, or maybe an extra day or two at most. The experience was an intense one and I definitely immersed myself in the tales of dogmatic religious crusades, tragedies, adventures on the high seas and doomed romances. In many ways The Map of All Things was a better novel than its predecessor, The Edge of The World, and I loved that the series got better as it went on.

In light of The Founding Fields currently suffering some major site issues, I’m going to be reposting my reviews from the site to the blog, so enjoy away!

The original review can be found here.

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The Edge of The World by Kevin J. Anderson (Book Review)

Back in 2012 I was offered a chance to review a copy of Kevin J. Anderson’s third and final Terra Incognita novel, The Key To Creation, as part of a massive reviews-promotion event by the David Gemmell Legend Awards organizers. As I hadn’t read the previous books, and this was one of only two books on the list that piqued my interest, I accepted with the self-imposed caveat of going back to read the previous books. Daunting challenge that, because these novels are massive in true Kevin J. Anderson fashion. Fortunately, the experience was positive enough, and here we are now.

In light of The Founding Fields currently suffering some major site issues, I’m going to be reposting my reviews from the site to the blog, so enjoy away!

The original review can be found here.

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Legends of Dune by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert (Book Review)

Frank Herbert’s Dune is for me one of the best space opera stories told, ever. It has had a great influence on me, as both a reader and a writer, and it really opened up the world of grand space opera for me, a world of rich, detailed settings and fantastic characters. Since Frank Herbert’s death, his son Brian and noted SFF author Kevin J. Anderson have taken up the master’s mantle and they’ve delivered a number of novels in the Dune-verse, continuing the original Dune Chronicles series and also going back to flesh out tons of prequel stories hinted at in the original series.

Legends of Dune is one such trilogy, which focuses on the fabled years of the Butlerian Jihad. The trilogy goes into detail about how the Jihad started and how it ended, presenting some truly great moments. If you are a fan of Dune and Dune Chronicles, then Legends of Dune is well worth a read for sure.

In light of The Founding Fields currently suffering some major site issues, I’m going to be reposting my reviews from the site to the blog, so enjoy away!

The original review can be found here.

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Hammer of Angels by G. T. Almasi (Book Review)

G.T. Almasi’s debut to his smash-read Blades of Winter arrived in February 2014, but thanks to reviewer privileges I got to read the novel much earlier, in December 2012 itself. I didn’t like the sequel as much as I’d liked the debut, but it proved to be a good enough read in the end and I loved getting back with the protagonist Alix Nico on her globe-trotting adventures.

In light of The Founding Fields currently suffering some major site issues, I’m going to be reposting my reviews from the site to the blog, so enjoy away!

The original review can be found here.

Read the rest of this entry

Batgirl #23 by Gail Simone (Comics Review)

So, I just finished reading the new issue of Batgirl by Gail Simone. For the fourth time. I’ve never done that before, ever. There hasn’t been a comic yet that has gotten to me like this one has. Through all the ups and down this title has seen since launch, I’ve stuck with it. Well, technically, I only started reading sometime in August last year, or thereabouts, so I haven’t been reading long, but I’ve stuck with each issue. Gail Simone is one of my favourite writers in the industry right now and a big reason for that is this book.

As someone who was never interested in the character before, much like with Aquaman, Gail got me invested in the character. She got me to vividly experience all the ups and down that Barbara Gordon, formerly Oracle and wheelchair-bound, experienced in the New 52. And with this issue, she’s hit everything home in the worst way possible. And I mean that in a good way.

Note: spoilers for the previous story arcs now follow, so best be aware of that.

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Publishing and Marketing 04: Women in SFF Part 2

About a week or so ago, I posted a list of some of my favourite female authors in SFF, past and present (that is, some of the women on the list are now sadly deceased). For the follow-up, I wanted to focus on some of my favorite female characters in SFF, irrespective of genre. Until March last year, I didn’t really have such a list in my mind. Even though I had read a few books by then that had female protagonists or supporting characters, I’d never really considered if any of them were my “favourites”. But that changed around quickly when I read Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar, and all of a sudden, I realised that there were so many female characters I’d read of over the years that I would put on a list of favourites.

It was a really interesting revelation, and it led to me paying much more attention to such characters in the books I was reading, or had read, or would read. One thing that I noticed while compiling this list was that for the most part my favourite female characters fall into the role of the “warrior”, which is another subconscious thing I never really paid attention to.

Really weird how these things work out.

Once again, as caveat for this list, this is by no means comprehensive, just a small selection of a much wider range. And in this list, I’m not limiting myself to just novels and the like, I’m extending it to comics and movies as well, given that I am much more familiar with these media in terms of the content, rather than with the creators. Feel free to check out my reviews (books and comics) of the various novels I’ve read in the last two years for a bigger interest list.

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Publishing and Marketing 03: Women in SFF Part 1

One question that is being asked by many in the wake of the recent SFWA controversy, and all the commentary it has spawned in various places about misogyny and sexism within the publishing industry is: “If I want to read more books by female authors, where do I start?”

Often times, I think it is rather disheartening to hear such a question. Women have been writing books for a long, long time. And for people to not even be aware of that, or for that matter, be able to perform a basic google search about who are the big names right now? Doesn’t speak so well for us as a community. Speaking of the industry in the broadest sense, we are all very close-ranked, and to break out of the apparent restrictions is not easy. Sure its “easy” to get published as a woman, but to receive recognition? That’s an uphill battle.

It all comes down to respect. And when it comes to respect within the publishing industry (or even just in general in daily life), never ever use the word “political correctness”. That’s a dirty word to use, and it betrays a lack of ability to engage, and wilful dismissal of a very serious and ongoing issue that affects us all. Just look at the entire entertainment industry as a whole, whether its novels or comics or movies or even news.

In such a state, it is absolutely essential that we willingly look to broaden our horizons. We should take chances and read outside of our comfort zones, because otherwise we don’t challenge ourselves and we just propagate the “like begets like” scenario and we cannot grow as an individual.

Which is what this editorial, the third in my Publishing and Marketing series, is about: stepping out of your comfort zone. If you’ve never read a book by a female author before, then my suggestions herein are an excellent place to start.

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2013 – What Now? Some Resolutions Maybe?

So the New Year has come and gone. The end of the second week is almost upon us. And so far, it’s been a somewhat lazy, yet productive month. Also one that has been spectacular in a few ways. It’s also time to make some new resolutions and challenges. So let’s get to it.

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2012 – A Bloody Fantastic Year Ends

So, the year 2012 ended a few days ago, and it’s been an absolute blast, to say the least.

Anyways, to do a small recap of my goals for the year,

  1. Write ~420,000 words of both fiction (various submissions and novel projects) and non-fiction (reviews and blogposts).
  2. Read 400 novels, comics, novellas, stand-alone short stories (still not sure if these SHOULD be included) and listen to some audio dramas and audiobooks.

At the end of October, I was very close to both of those goals, having crossed the ~472,000-word mark, and was still ahead on the reading goals, as I was at 352/400 on September 30th. You can find the November report here.

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Best of the Best Part 2

I last did something like this in July for the six months from January 1st all the way to June 30th. This list is for July 1st and all the way through to December 30th (the last day doesn’t count!). As I mentioned at the end of that list, this isn’t going to be regurgitation of my “Reading Awards” page, but something more varied. The list takes into account everything I’ve read in the last six months.

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!

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Advent Reviews Day 24: Not Really A Review, Something Different

As the title says, I was conflicted about what to post for today’s Advent Reviews. I didn’t want to do any negative reviews, for an obvious reason: today is Christmas Eve after all and it’s time for good cheer, not for me to rain down on someone’s parade! Doing negative reviews before was fine, kind of. I didn’t want to do a positive review either, since I do so damn many of them anyway. I often take a lot of flak for being that positive, especially when it comes to Black Library publications, so I wasn’t really on the mind for any of that either. Just thinking of any possible backlash rains down on my parade, you know? In short, I didn’t want to do a review period. What follows is a stream-of-consciousness post. Apologies for any incoherency.

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