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Beech27

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Beech27 last won the day on August 10 2018

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About Beech27

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    Reigning Knight of Georgia
  • Birthday 05/17/1988

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  1. Per his dad--I can't confirm on any of the usual sites--they offered Mahomes as a safety too. (To be fair, he didn't start at QB until his JR year of HS, and a lot of schools thought he'd play baseball instead.) The newsworthy Chiefs/college related item is that Eric Bieniemy is "doing his due diligence" regarding the Colorado job.
  2. Relevant, then, that this lecture from Sanderson on plotting was just posted: Whatever else might be said about him--and posters here, myself included, aren't always overwhelmingly positive--Sanderson really, really knows what he's doing. He rewards paying attention, as you note, and is very mindful to make the right promises, and keep them. The result is a massive epic fantasy series that doesn't feel bloated, because basically always going somewhere.
  3. I almost always feel too much second-hand awkwardness to enjoy exchanges like this, but this Sapkowski interview is hilarious, and the interviewer seems happy enough with the result: https://io9.gizmodo.com/i-do-not-like-working-too-hard-or-too-long-a-refreshin-1841209529 io9: What was your reaction to learning your books were getting 500,000 reprints after the release of the Netflix show? Sapkowski: How do you expect I answer this question? That I despaired? Shed tears? Considered suicide? No sir. My feelings were rather obvious and not excessively complex.
  4. An appropriate question for the day, then: For someone who has read Howard here and there, is there a worthy omnibus (or something close) of his original work, untouched by de Camp et al?
  5. I don't think anyone could have had a more diligent and spirited literary executor.
  6. I didn't know there was a Star Wars radio drama, but someone on Youtube has uploaded all three. (Hamill still playing Luke feels funny, and entirely appropriate.)
  7. Reading has a way of making happy accidents, and I think reading Lord Foul's Bane after Three Hearts and Three Lions is one. The former was known--and avoided--by me for the reasons everyone knows, and yes that scene is revolting, but I don't remotely get the impression it's supposed to be anything but. It is also, I think crucially, the only instance where the narration slips from Covenant's POV. It's a monstrous act; the perspective of the victim is emphasized; and no one pretends it's ok. It's also a strange book for other reasons: the language is deliberately archaic at times, and the metaphors are rampant. Sometimes they're brilliant, sometimes they're cringe-inducing. But while it's slow and a bit messy, it still seems, reading it decades later, incredibly unique, and really brilliant. But, as I said, I think my timing was good too. From one classic portal fantasy, in which a perfectly good man lands in a falling world, and is precisely the savior it needs, to a total inversion, in which a wretched man lands in a beautiful, idyllic world, that deserves a better savior than he could hope to be. (And I couldn't help but notice, the protagonist in Three Hearts has a young girl repeatedly throw herself at him, towards whom he is entirely chivalrous. Covenant, faced with a young girl in a similar role... behaves worse.) Anyway, the Covenant books have been featured in more essays than any fantasy this side of Tolkien, so I'm not saying anything new here. And I'm not entirely sure I'll finish the trilogy, much less embark on the long ten-book journey. But it's a very memorable read I'm glad to have undertaken.
  8. I'm lucky that my tastes run towards the dingy mass market editions of LOTR one finds easily and cheaply in any used bookstore. These are my favorite, if I had to choose this morning. Anyway, my dad read them all to me before I could read, and I'm still reading them in bits and pieces nearly every day, listening to podcasts, etc. To quote the man himself: "Things could have been different, but they could not have been better."
  9. It's a nasty, messy, incredibly well-crafted book that was done a bit of a disservice by its marketing. It got both "The African Game of Thrones!" push and the "literary author swoops in to dignify fantasy!" pitch, neither of which the author seemed especially thrilled with in interviews. It is its own thing, and very unique. But I mean, Marlon James does have a Man Booker Prize, and a knack for gory and tangled plots.
  10. Related: We have, indeed, had this conversation a few times before. Sanderson is a hyper-competent creator of fiction products that I happily consume, and yet never quite love. But I'll be buying Book Four in hardback anyway, and the sales all count the same. Some other big fantasy/sci-fi books I've read recently: A Memory Called Empire: Space opera/political thriller, a much-hyped debut that I felt deserved the praise. The POV character is an ambassador, so the tension and conflict is basically all in things said or unsaid, verb conjugations, poetic structures, etc. "People go to different offices and talk" doesn't sound captivating, but it really worked on me. Gideon the Ninth: Speaking of hyped debuts... This, in some ways, is the opposite of what I said about Sanderson. The world building and systems are fantastical, implausible, and often a bit shallow. But this book has style and voice to the nth degree, and that carries it. There are structural faults I could pick at for an hour, but I loved the book, and then immediately read it a second time. The Name of All Things: A tasty bowl of epic fantasy trail mix. There's a chained dark ubergod and dragons and demons and named weapons and wizards who were behind everything all along. The novelty is in taking these old structures and updating for certain social mores; there are trans characters, ace characters, bi characters, no evil races or glorified colonialism. It's fun, and I'll keep going, but the "this plus that" shows. A Little Hatred: Joe Abercrombie returns to do... exactly what you'd expect. He plays the hits, and he plays them with more wit and verve than anyone. Still, it feels too familiar for me. Holy Sister: The weakest of the trilogy, but a good conclusion nonetheless. For a so-called grimdark series, it ends on a very hopeful, romantic note--but not cloying--and the sci-fi twist to the fantasy setting pays off. I'm also halfway through The Expanse novels, aiming to catch up in time for the final book's release. It's really good! You probably know that. A fair bit of this year was also spent filling in the gaps in the "canon" college didn't cover, and reading newer westerns. There's probably an essay to be written about how the eternal quest for "the American Tolkien" is doomed to fail, since we keep looking at quasi-European fantasies, rather than westerns, but I don't have that in me. (But Lonesome Dove is really good.)
  11. I think that’s a perfectly valid reading, and one I like; but I don’t suspect it’s what the movie meant, or what future movies will depict. I suspect it just meant “kill Palpatine like I did”. TLJ’s visual dictionary explains Snoke this way: "Snoke is powerful in the dark side of the Force, but he is no Sith. That thousand-year lineage stretching from Darth Bane to the last Sith Lord, Darth Vader, was undone when Vader died destroying his mentor, Darth Sidious. The fulfillment of an ancient prophecy foretold the end of the Sith, but it never predicted the end of darkness." So if that’s still true—and who knows, now that Snoke is a Sith puppet—then killing the last(?) Sith Lord is restoring the balance Anakin briefly created. (Although did he really, if Snoke and then Kylo were so quickly ascendant?) I do like Rey using the force lightning—though I’m choosing to believe she can just do it because, not due to a specific grandpa—because I’d like to see light/dark power dichotomy broken down a bit. The force is the force; people are good or evil as they choose to act.
  12. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Luke’s exile wasn’t actually self-imposed so he could suppress Palpatine’s power and influence via force projection, or something equally noble and woo. There were still small jabs regarding Rose, Holdo, Luke’s lightsaber toss, etc. Of course both Kylo and Rey take action and make choices, but I felt that both moving forward—and even looking back, like when Kylo killed Snoke—their agency is undermined for the sake of grand spiritual/magical orchestrations. The biggest disagreement, I think, is on the nature of conflict and resolution. In the end of ROS, all the Jedi kill all the Sith, and so the problem is solved. TLJ, I think, posited that the conflict was more human and complicated than that. I’m not in this case arguing that one approach is better broadly or specifically to Star Wars, but I think there’s some intentional friction.
  13. To be fair, the EU had plenty of duds, inconsistencies, and outright contradictions. And the original trilogy had its share, which were then added to by the prequels. A Star Wars that's entirely internally consistent has never existed--see the story Hamill tells about the scene after escaping the trash compactor, where he worries they aren't wet and disgusting, and Ford simply assures him that "Kid, it ain't that kind of movie"--and maybe, to properly feel like received far away fairy tales in the pulp serial tradition, it shouldn't. But it's never felt so self reverential while self combating either. Star Wars was about the movies and mythic structures Lucas loved, but JJ made Star Wars about the movie Star Wars, as if he'd never seen or loved anything else, and Rian wanted to interrogate that, and then JJ wanted his rebuke. (I'm on Rian's side here, admittedly, and I think TLJ is additionally a beautifully made movie.) This is all messy, of course, as everyone has noted. And catastrophically bad management and optics where you'd least expect it. But I hope the course correction isn't in making things increasingly same-y. Star Wars was, first of all, eclectic as hell. I'm not sure it's possible to hit that note again, since it now is the myth on which other things--including itself--are based, not to mention a product, but I'd like to see people try.
  14. Vader-as-slasher-villain was thrilling, but you do see the limitations of a footsoldier who can't move faster than the speed of handoffs and people who are capable of jogging. Star Wars has always required viewers to inflate the importance of individuals who are really good at killing other individuals in a world where lasers can explode planets and kill billions; it's fun, though, so we go along happily. The necessary trade-off with new canon expanding materials is that the possibilities were perhaps cooler all along. I mean, if the ability to explode planets really is insignificant compared to the force... well, the imagination can't help but run with the implications, and that running is ecstatic. It's harder to come up with concrete powers that live up to that, though it is interesting (though I'd argue not especially good) that ROS probably gets us closer than before.
  15. Oscar Isaac realizing he can't be fired now and apparently not keen on big franchise pictures going forward, insisting that Finn and Poe were in love, that it should have been depicted, only Disney "overlords" wouldn't go there, is my favorite petty thing at the moment. A thing I don't much like is the relative certainty that Ben's hand being on Rey's stomach when he gives his life force to her at least suggests he could have created a new life in the process (grandpa was a force baby), and the Skywalker saga isn't done. It's Schrodinger's Gun, both fired and not, until the relevant sequel is commissioned.
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