Friday, January 22, 2010


Today is the natal anniversary of Robert E. Howard (1906-1936), creator of Conan (the Barbarian), Kull, Solomon Kane, Cormac Mac Art, et al.

A toast to your shade, sir!

I spent last week dealing with a virus on our main home computer. They suck, and the people who create them (whether for 'fun' or 'profit') suck. Pox on them. I finally recovered the machine a few nights ago. I think my next desktop will be an iMac. I've had it with Windows clunkiness. (and if needed, you can run Windows right on the Intel Macs now, with the right software purchases.)

I finished my first Kindle read, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The White Company. The story revolved around a young English man's entry into the Medieval world after being cloistered in a monastery. After various incidents, he ends up with a mercenary archery company fighting in France/Spain. I found the book to be .. well, of its time. Slow to start, lots of talk and people traveling from one place to the next. Frankly, I was bored. I guess it's really more of a Romance (not romance) novel. Some humorous stuff, but very little action on the whole. And when the action comes, it is over very quickly. Also some very poor "telling, not showing" where entire dialog passages describe off-page action, like watching a stage play.

On the plus side, lots of historical detail (maybe too much, like Doyle was showing off all his research.) Good source for Medieval clothing, armor, weaponry (though, most weapons are cited, and not described being used!)

On writing, I signed on for a(nother) slot in an anthology (where I have already contributed one tale.) I started working on that this week. It's sword-n-planet, and I have a rough outline. I will enjoy visiting the exotic vistas and running the characters through their paces.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Last reads of 2009

My last reads of 2009 were...

Brother Berserker by Fred Saberhagen.

Another entry in Saberhagen's long Berserker series. This story featured time travel, as the Berserkers attempt to change the history of a world. Nice touches, interesting time combat, and Saberhagen just has a knack for storytelling that I really enjoy. An enjoyable, if short, entry in the series.

(note: this novel is more commonly known as Brother Assassin - I think I read the British edition/title)

The Sun Over Breda by Arturo Perez-Reverte

The third adventure in the Captain Alatriste series. I liked it but the constant asides and poetry quotations disrupted the narrative. It does have sharp characters that pop off the page and some memorable combats scenes.

I think without the asides, it might have been better served as a novella.