Barbarian Book Club: 10 October 2018 Operational Report

  • img_20181007_162836_808956119070.jpgLife has been a whirlwind of activity. Taking care of a newborn is a lot more difficult than I expected. I figured that after a bit of holding and talking to she would gracefully recline in her baby seat and relax politely while I kept busy reading and writing. Unfortunately, she would rather do her best imitation of a Stuka dive bomber every single time she gets put down. So, I’ve managed to get very little done in the writing department.
  • My goal was to submit a story to Cirsova on the 1st but that didn’t happen. Between the baby, visitors from the U.S. I’m escorting around, and a hectic work schedule that had me pulling 6 day work weeks, my writing has trickled down to almost nothing. I’m usually so tired at night that I can barely focus on reading.
  • I’m working on re-evaluating my daily routine, my procrastination level, cutting out distractions, etc. so I can focus on reading and writing in my spare time. I’m also going to up the writing on here. I’ve done most of my updates and discussions over on G+ but with that platform disintegrating I’m going to bring back a lot of my writing to a more personal level.
  • I’m doing a lot of history reading specifically military history, both for personal enjoyment and for my future long-term writing project I plan on starting soon.
  • Still hitting the Iron Temple, lifting several times per week.

Some Books Read

SolomonKaneThe Savage Tales of Solomon Kane by Robert Howard collects all of Howard’s Solomon Kane tales. I’m really like the idea of a Puritan Paladin going around righting wrongs and slaying evil creatures. The stories themselves are a lot more rough around the edges compared to his later Conan tales but are still fantastic. I prefer the stories that take place in Europe over the longer African jungle ones. I like the rapier fiction reminiscent of The Three Musketeers. Inferior to the fantastic Horror Tales of Robert Howard, but worth the read.

Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb. I’ve mentioned here numerous times that I think Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series is hands down the best modern fantasy out there. She’s a master of characterization, writing slow, thoughtful novels that I enjoy on an emotional level unmatched by a lot of fiction I read. Fool’s Errand is the first book in the third trilogy, and it returns to the life of Fitzchivalry Farseer fifteen years after the end of the first trilogy. It’s a dark, sorrowful, and touching return to the characters I loved. I’m currently on book two and have to take it one chapter at a time because it tends to leave me sentimental due to the themes of friendship, aging, and parenthood. targetrichenviroment

Target Rich Environment by Larry Correia I like short story collections and I enjoy some of Larry Correia’s writing but this one was a bit of a disappointment. With one or two exceptions I just found these dull and uninspired.

 

 

Larry Correia Writing Advice

Correia just posted about dialog and audiobooks. Worth the read and so is going back through his older posts on writing.

The Ask Correia posts come about because people would ask me writing related questions, and my answers wound up big enough to turn into blog posts. This one was a little different because it came from a conversation I was having with one of the directors at Audible. He was teaching a seminar about how…

via Ask Correia #17: Writing for the Ear, Tweaking Your Writing To Work Better in Audiobook Form — Monster Hunter Nation

Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia

Son of the Black Sword (Saga of the Forgotten Warrior book #1)

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I don’t write reviews for all the books I read mostly due to my lack of time and the fact that most of the books I read have been written about and reviewed by people that consider themselves pro reviewers.

But I really liked this one. It surprised me by going beyond every expectation I had and by being a downright badass, action packed, thoughtful, and fun novel. I picked it up expecting a quick forgetful read and it became my favorite new fantasy of the year.

I became a fan of Larry Correia through his blog. I enjoy reading his advice to writers that strips away the mysticism of art and the artist and focuses on facts and business. I enjoy a lot of his ideas that sometimes science fiction and fantasy can be about guns, swords, and rocketships and focus on fun and action over deep socio-political introspection.

Due to reading the Monster Hunter Nation blog I picked up his first book, Monster Hunter International. While I enjoyed it, check out my review, it didn’t blow me away. I’m not a huge urban fantasy fan, I enjoy it but wont go out of my way to read more. I even lost interest in Harry Dresden after the third book.

When I read that Larry was writing a new book, the first in what will be a fantasy trilogy, I didn’t really pay much attention. I have so many books that need to be read that I rarely ever read newly written stuff, especially unfinished series.

But, while sailing the internet I noticed that Larry was on a book tour and that he will be stopping by the coolest bookstore in San Diego, Mysterious Galaxy.

I decided to go because I wanted to get the chance to meet Larry and hear him speak. I wanted to see for myself if he is really the evilest, vilest, sort of conservative racist his detractors accuse him of. Reading some comments on him and his fans you would not be wrong to expect walking into some mix of a NO MA’AM and gun fetish anonymous meeting. I had to go and get the real truth.

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Seems like a nice guy.

 

Well the truth is Larry seems like a super nice guy and his fans seem like really dedicated, fun, geeks that love reading fantasy and science fiction. Everybody was awesome. Standing in line waiting to get my book signed I listened to all of the enthusiastic conversations between strangers about their favorite books and favorite characters. It was a great experience.

So I picked up the book, met Larry, had it signed, and went home to read. I expected a fun action packed fantasy novel similar to Monster Hunter International. While it was fun and action packed, it went well beyond that with a original and intriguing setting, interesting magic and monsters, and a surprising plot with a lot of tragedy and pathos.

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Quinn liked it a lot.

 

Son of the Black Sword follows Ashok, a ferocious warrior part of a guild of warriors called Protectors. Ashok lives in a land that takes inspiration from South Eastern Asian culture, specifically India’s strict cast system. The people of Ashok’s world are divided into casts, with 1st people on top, followed by warriors, workers, and finally the untouchables worth less than livestock.

The land is a troubled one. Powerful demons rule the seas and often come ashore to raid and slaughter. The society is tethering on the brink of collapse and revolt. Religion is banned, history is erased and strictly controlled, and corrupt inquisitors and politicians scheme and maneuver in the capitol.

In this setting Ashok, a feared warrior wielding a black magical sword imbued with the memories of its past wielders travels the land doing the bidding of his guild and the nations rulers by upholding the Law.

Yet his world unravels as conspiracies, betrayals, long suppressed secrets, come to the surface and the land is thrown into chaos and revolt.

Son of the Black Sword is Larry’s best book. Comparing it his first book his writing has improved and his pacing is fantastic. He writes detailed, action packed battles so well that I couldn’t stop reading. Hands down out of all the fantasy writers out there Larry is the best when it comes to action. If you want to write a good battle, read his stuff.

My favorite element of the book was the plot and subject focusing on the nature of man and humanity. I was surprised that a book I expected to be sword and sorcery light fantasy tackled such thoughtful heavy subject matter yet managed to avoid being preachy.

I can’t wait for the next one in the series to come out. Take my word for it, go and pick this one up. If you like action packed fantasy in a new and unique world and culture you will enjoy this one.