Barbarian Book Club: 11 May 2017

April was a slow month for reading. I turned 34 in the middle of another beautiful Japanese Spring. When your whole world explodes with beautiful cherry blossoms, light rains, amazing greenery, the last thing you do is sit around and read all day.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. I discovered Mark Lawrence throughRedSister one of his short stories in Grimdark #1. It was a raw, brutal tale about a farmer who avenges himself on a band of thugs that murdered his family. On the strength of that story, I bought his entire Broken Empire trilogy and continued to read all the way through the Red Queen’s War series. So when Red Sister, a brand new standalone was announced, I was excited and preordered. Sadly it was a total let down; stupid, silly, filled with cliche, and downright boring. Lawrence stuffed everything I hate about modern fantasy into one book. It was such a boring chore to get through that I would make excuses to myself and ended up taking over two weeks to read a novel that I would usually finish in a day or two.

The Green Pearl by Jack Vance. To get the bad taste out of my mouth and break my reading slump that started to overtake me I went back to a master. The Green Pearl is the second book in the Lyonesse Trilogy. Wow… I loved Suldrun’s Garden but this one solidifies Lyonesse as one of my favorite fantasy TheGreenPearlseries ever. This novel is pure fantasy,  beauty, and magic mixed with sorrow and darkness. The story continues where the last one left off and it is full of battles, truly magical magicians, multiple worlds, sinister creatures, and everything that is missing from modern fantasy. Vance is a master and this trilogy has to be one of the most underappreciated pieces of fantasy written in the last thirty years.  Do yourself a favor and pick this up.

Soto recap, a disappointing attempt at reading modern Fantasy left me dejected so I turned to a classic master to rejuvenate me. I enjoyed The Green Pearl so much that I jumped right into the final book in the series, Maudoc and looking forward to finishing it as soon as I publish this post.

 

The First Week

It’s Sunday here in Japan and the first week of the new year is coming to a close. I went back to work, caught up with my massive pile of tasks, and got assigned a few new projects.fuji-clear

On the physical fitness front, I kicked ass. I made sure to make time for plenty of lifting and running. I even went on a great morning hike with my wife yesterday. Unfortunately, my writing did not start off with the same level of enthusiastic success.

When I get home from work, I have dinner, then I try to sit down and write for at least one hour. This whole week I pushed myself to write. I was mentally exhausted from work but  I wrote and wrote, and managed to complete a 5,000-word short story.  But, upon reading the thing I realized it was a complete turd. I was actually bored of it by the third paragraph. The first scene was basically three people riding horses through a forest and an exposition dump. No action, no drama, nothing. Right into the recycle bin!

hiketemple.jpgSo yesterday I decided to clear my head and go on a hike. My wife motivated me like she always does to get up out of bed. I swear if I didn’t have her I would be a 500 pound Baron Harkonnen living in my own filth. We hiked our favorite local trail and due to the crisp weather got gifted with a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji in the distance.

Spending time with my wife and being surrounded by such awesome beauty makes it hard even for a morose bastard like me to stay negative. So here I am back to writing. Smacking away at the damn keyboard. I reviewed the story I wrote and realized I completely ignored every piece of advice from Swain. So, time to go back and rewrite the damn thing.

In other news, I have been following a lot of great discussion on the pulp revival and the state of SFF in general. One of my favorite bloggers of late is Rawle Nyanzi, his latest post Modern Action’s Fundamental Problem, is spot on and a good example of his style of commentary.

Reading wise I’m entering a non-fiction phase. I’m currently enjoying Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War That Won It. Next up is a big ass kicker of a work on the French and Indian War. I am feeling a Musket and Magic story in the near future for sure.