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Frost Giant

Werthead's page

2,094 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Necrothread! I am reading an ARC of the third book in the second series (which is now called THE GREAT ORDEAL, as it got too big and had to be split in half) and it reminded me of this thread, and a few questions I forgot last time around.

I meant those of the Inchoroi who died in space, who defines reality there?

How the metaphysics work beyond Earwa is unknown. The implication from THE WHITE-LUCK WARRIOR was that each world has its own belief/afterlife structure and system.

Don't the majority of people believe the Cishaurim are damned like all sorcerers, yet they aren't.

I think the previous books also provided an explanation for this as well (no spoilers from THE GREAT ORDEAL, just the earlier books):

The will of the belief of humanity is important, but so is the will of the gods - the Hundred - empowered by that belief. The Cishaurim have the favour of the Hundred so are not damned. It's implied that the mass-damnation of the other sorcerers comes from their actions during the First Apocalypse: as the Hundred cannot perceive the No-God, they blamed the sorcerers of the Ancient North and the Three Seas for the depredations of the No-God and the Consult, and the attempt to wipe out humanity (and thus source of the gods' power, and existence). The Cishaurim come from a different tradition so are not damned.

Or the number of sranc seems far greater than human, I guess they can't express belief.

The previous books imply that the sranc are not capable of human thought and thus belief in the same way.

Very minor spoiler from THE GREAT ORDEAL:

THE GREAT ORDEAL confirms this when one is subjected to a sort-of post mortem: the sran's high cognitive functions have been removed by the Consult to turn them into the rapacious slave-monsters we all know and love, so they are incapable of expressing belief. If they were, of course, they'd also be capable of free will and might turn on the Consult.

The Wolf in the Attic by Paul Kearney


Oxford, 1929. The Great Depression is looming. Anna Francis is a Greek refugee, one of many forced to flee the fighting between Turkey and Greece in the aftermath of the First World War. She lives with her father, who continues to campaign on behalf of his countrymen. Whilst Anna's father hosts meetings and writes to politicians, Anna explores Oxford and the surrounding countryside. One night she sees something in the fields that she wasn't supposed to, irrevocably changing her and the course of her life.

Paul Kearney is, very easily, the most underread author in modern fantasy. He has written epic fantasy with vast armies clashing, heroic fantasy about the tribulations of a flawed hero and several "slipstream" stories about people who cross from one world to another. He has also written a personal novel about the real world's intersection with the fantastic. He's even written a Warhammer 40,000 novel about Space Marines (although that's currently on hold due to legal issues). Kearney has an ability to switch gears and voices to tell many different kinds of story that is highly enviable.

The Wolf in the Attic represents another such gear shift. This is a story about a young woman coming of age in a country that treats her like a foreigner, despite her fluency in the language and her father's attempts to integrate. The notion of being a refugee and trying to find a home after your own is destroyed is a powerful one, and Kearney tells this part of the story extremely well. There is also an impressive mastery of POV and characterisation: Anna idolises her father whilst also being honest about his flaws, but even so the reader may pick up on things about him that Anna herself does not (or is in denial about).

These musings on identity, home and growth sit alongside a couple of scene-stealing cameos from C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis and Tolkien had met and become friends in the mid-1920s and would remain in contact for the rest of their life. They appear very briefly, but Kearney has clearly done his research about the two men, their characters and the times they lived in.

So richly and vividly drawn is 1929 Oxford that the reader may even forget they're reading a fantasy novel until the supernatural enters the fray. First slowly and then with a growing presence, Kearney presents a sort of magical shadow world intersecting with our own, with people and factions represented as one thing in our world but having another role in the other. A mid-novel twist brings the supernatural element much more to the fore and this transition is successful as the book becomes more of a quest or road trip that takes Anna from her comfortable life into something more mystical and primeval.

Kearney has always had an excellent grasp of character and no-nonsense writing, but his writing skills in this book reach new heights with easily the most accomplished prose of his career to date. He handles the transition from the earlier, more grounded chapters to the later, more fantastical ones very well and he makes Anna a compelling protagonist, young but not foolish, inexperienced but not naive. If there is a weakness it might be that some secondary characters are not developed as strongly (Luca most notably) but in a first-person narrative that may be expected.

Overall, The Wolf in the Attic is an unusual book. It has YA hallmarks but isn't really YA. It has elements of fantasy and mythology and history but is more than the some of those parts. The movement between realistic childhood issues and fantasy reminded me somewhat of Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but The Wolf in the Attic is an effortlessly superior novel which has more to say.

The year may only be half over, but The Wolf in the Attic (*****) makes a bold claim to be the best SFF novel released this year (contested, at least so far, only by Guy Gavriel Kay's Children of Earth and Sky). It is a rich and unputdownable read and increases its already-talented author's range and capabilities even further. The novel is available now in the UK and USA.

please don't let it become a portal fantasy with a group of gamers being put into the Forgotten Realms....

I can't find the quote now, but I think that someone from Hasbro said this wasn't the case.

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I think the decision not to do novels was down to Hasbro's insistence that the movie has to tie into the current books and help shift some more of them, so it'll probably be set in the "present day" of FR 5th Edition.

Apparently there was one comment from the studio that they saw the tone of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY was something they should aspire to: dramatic and serious (it's not an out-and-out comedy) but with a knowing, even slightly meta sense of humour.

Which is great if it works, but will be terrible if it doesn't.

MannyGoblin wrote:
I suspect that Yara is going to try to beat Euron to Dany and seduce her first. ;)

Try? Assuming they're being literal about needing to build their thousand ships from scratch, Yara and Theon will have had their feet up in Meereen for weeks before one of Euron's ships could set sail.

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...but what exactly is the movie going to be about?

DL? FR? Greyhawk?

Rob Letterman isn't a stellar director but apparently his D&D Movie Franchise pitch swayed the WB execs making this decision.

So many ways this movie can be botched. Is there any real hope?

It's set in the Forgotten Realms and will involve the Yawning Portal Inn, so at least part of the film will be set in Waterdeep.

They're also looking at the shared universe possibilities, so we may see DRAGONLANCE, DARK SUN, PLANESCAPE etc as future ideas. But right now it's going to be FORGOTTEN REALMS.

THE CITY AND THE CITY is being adapted as a TV series. I'm really interested to see how the hell they're going to pull it off. But at least it's doable, unlike some of his other books (PERDIDO STREET STATION would take a budget of about half a billion and would need to be 12 hours long).

Of Mieville's novels, I think the best, most coherent and the most memorable is THE SCAR. Armada is a brilliant creation and the way the story unfolds is really well-handled, plus the ending is pretty cool.

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So instead of Cersei having CGI nudity, it is Dany having it. Drat no nudity clause.

Nope, that was her.

Emilia Clarke: "But this is all me, all proud, all strong. I’m just feeling genuinely happy I said ‘Yes.’ That ain’t no body double!"

It hasn't been confirmed, just rumours:

One is that Vader dispatches the Grand Admiral bad guy to take down the Rebel spies, and periodically talks to him by holo-communicator, but he doesn't show up in the flesh.

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WILD CARDS was optioned by SyFy, but then all the interested people at SyFy left. The rights are due to revert to GRRM any day now.

When they do, I suspect we could see interest from HBO.

Lord Snow wrote:
** spoiler omitted **


And Shaidar Haran apparently raped both Moghedien and Graendal and possibly Cyndane.

So based on that assumption, I conclude that it's pretty hard to do convincing monstrous humanoid races with actual humans. Might be a challenge for a TV show if it was for a movie.

I think the gist from Jackson was that he thought the actors in prosthetics were fine for quite small roles, but that they couldn't emote fully with a massive amount of rubber on their face. Because he wanted to have Azog and Bolg play big roles in THE HOBBIT, it'd be easier to do them with CG faces. I think that was wrong.

Considering that no Trolloc - apart from the Mighty Narg (who will of course by played by Daniel Day Lewis) - ever speaks in all 11,000 pages of the books, I think it'd be fine to go with prosthetics.

Something that might happen considering the season 6 preview. Around the :47 mark there is Littlefinger standing in a Snowy forest. He might appear to Sansa and her group and attempt to take her away by reasoning that Ramsey will be beelining for Castle Black.

I'm not a fan of Teleporting Littlefinger and this really would be preposterous. He'd have no way of finding them in the wilderness.

Based on the images from the set:

Sansa is at the Battle of Winterfell with Jon and the Stark banners. My guess is that Sansa and Jon join forces, rally as much of the North as possible and win the battle. It is also possible they are defeated, but are then relieved by the Vale army led by Littlefinger (which he was gathering up in Season 5 to invade the North). I can then see an alliance between them designed to bring down the Lannisters, possibly just in time for Dany to arrive and they can thrash things out between them. Of course, with the White Walkers invading, this may all become academic.

rape is going to become a major theme

There is one quite prominent example of sexual assault in the series, and it's by a female character on a male one. RJ didn't handle it the best, but he did at least make an interesting point through the role-reversal. It's the sort of thing I suspect HBO would either eject or play for comedy (RJ did a bit, which was probably the wrong approach, but it did at least start a debate in the fandom).

I honestly think HBO is incapable of doing a Wheel Of Time show that wouldn't just be a miserable attempt to up the ante on Game Of Thrones, which would be totally inappropriate for the style of the series.

This, this and a thousand times this.

Kryzbyn wrote:
According to his website:

As of yesterday, STORMLIGHT #3 is at 53% on his website. I think Brandon's current plan is to have the book edited and turned in by the end of this year and out in early 2017.


Wait, I thought that the Stormlight Archive is a five book series, to be followed by another five book "sequel series" - but that the five books should be readable as a complete series of their own.


Sort of. The two halves will be more closely connected than, say the three MISTBORN trilogies (and especially between the three trilogies and the Wax & Wayne side-quartet), but they won't necessarily need to be read straight though. I think he's indicated that Book 5 won't end on a massive cliffhanger that leaves you hanging for years whilst he works on the second MISTBORN trilogy.

However, it is roughly 1.5-3 years between every individual installment of most series', since with the exception of Mistborn I believe, almost all of his books are doorstoppers.

STORMLIGHT (900-1100 pages in hardcover) are the really massive books. The core MISTBORN trilogies will be long (500-600 pages in hardcover) but still quite a bit shorter than STORMLIGHT, and everything else should be a lot shorter. His YA and children's books are very short and he can churn them out in a couple of months each.

With the rotation he does it's very easy for delays to cascade into other delays, and he keeps adding new projects onto the pile, that's it's very possible a lot of series' could be unfinished.

More to the point is the fact that his adult fantasy novels are all set in the same universe and all telling the same story, and that story will risk being unfinished unless he gets a handle on how he's going to do it. The Cosmere mega-series (incorporating STORMLIGHT, MISTBORN, ELANTRIS, WARBREAKER, DRAGONSTEEL and a number of other works) is planned to be something like 45 books in length and so far we've only had 10 of them in 11 years. I mean, that's still awesome given he's also written another 14 novels outside the Cosmere in the same period, but if he wants to get the Cosmere wrapped up in a reasonable timeframe he needs to maybe have another thing about this, especially if he slows down as he gets older.

Since it was only the first 6 books which Jordan really churned out I always just assumed that he had at least written rough versions of them before the first was published, since the first several came out basically yearly. (Generally publishers don't like authors to put out more than 1/yr as they start to cannibalize their own sales. I know that some authors actually write nonfiction on the side during their downtime because it doesn't take them a full year to write a novel.)

THE EYE OF THE WORLD was finished in 1988 but not published until 1990. He had finished THE GREAT HUNT and was into THE DRAGON REBORN by the time the first book came out. He just stayed ahead of the train by writing non-stop until Book 7, when he was told by his doctor and family to take the pedal off the metal somewhat.

People that are clutching their pearls over the possibility of HBO producing this for fear of 'blood and sex' do realize that WoT had plenty of both, right? I think HBO could do a fantastic adaptation of the series personally. I'll agree that GoT sometimes goes overboard but in general the show has been great and I'm glad we got to see it.

But absolutely nowhere near as much as GoT, and no on-screen sex at all, although there's a fair bit of nudity.

According to those in the know, HBO weren't interested in the rights when they were being shopped around and aren't the studio that's paid for them. The deal has actually been done, we're just waiting for the official announcement to come through.

Because Sansa is such an interesting, captivating character....

Not necessarily captivating, but interesting, certainly. She betrayed her father (without meaning to), suffered the loss of her Stark identity after losing her wolf and then had to learn to play the game of thrones to survive Joffrey and then learn from Littlefinger, the guy who basically turned her life into total misery.

The problem with the TV show is that it's kind of interrupted that arc with this story in Winterfell, and it's quite unclear how Sansa's arc is going to unfold now. I think the TV show and books are going to end up in the same place with Sansa, but the way the TV show is doing it may have more action and jeopardy, but it's not really furthering Sansa's character development and has pushed her back into the victim role too readily.

I just wouldn't want you to miss the stuff in this book simply to wait till the series is finished. I feel I'd be doing you a disservice not asking you to reconsider. It's pretty amazing.

I think Brandon's encountered a big problem with this series in that it's all taking much longer than he expected. The delay between the first two volumes was down to him having to finish WHEEL OF TIME, so fair enough, but the gap between Books 2 and 3 was supposed to be maybe 18 months and now it's looking like closer to 3 years. And if that continues for the remaining seven volumes of the series after Book 3 then it will not be finished until close to 2040 (!). And that's not including the fact that he'll be rolling the second MISTBORN trilogy into the mix and he's still got the seven-volume DRAGONSTEEL series and then the final MISTBORN trilogy and the HOID wrapping-up book/series after that point, and that's not even including WARBREAKER II and ELANTRIS II and III.

I think Brandon might be having to have a rethink about how he's going to handle things going forwards, including just making the books a lot shorter, otherwise the project isn't really going to be practical.

Lemmy wrote:


** spoiler omitted **

That really isn't how George rolls.

Decisions like that will have been made and committed to a long time ago. So yup, unless George has gone bonkers or decides to dramatically streamline the story and abandon entire plot threads in the last two volumes, Sandor is pretty definitely alive in the books.

In the books, yes. In the show, Kevan isn't even alive anymore, IIRC.

As said above, yes he is. We saw him in the final episode of Season 5 in KL and as far as we know he's still there.

Yeah, SPACE MARINE was fun. I hated the QTE-reliant final battle, but the rest of the game was enjoyable.

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Kate Griffin/Claire North/Catherine Webb (her real name) is a pretty good writer. I'd be interested in seeing her stuff on screen. It's like a more literary version of Neil Gaiman's NEVERWHERE.

I think THOMAS COVENANT really is unfilmable. You can't not have him carry out the sexual assault he does in the books as that torpedoes the entire story (which is all about his redemption from that act), but it will also revolt and turn off viewers in droves (the same way it puts off enormous numbers of readers).

Tad Williams has indicated that there is renewed interest in MEMORY, SORROW AND THORN, especially since he has revealed that there will befive new novels in that world coming out in the next few years.

I did a list a couple of months back of all the books/series headed to the screen. In brief, it's a good time to be a Neil Gaiman fan:

Filming/In post-production
ANNIHILATION by Jeff VanderMeer (film)
LIKELY STORIES by Neil Gaiman (TV series)
AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman (TV series)
SHE WHO BRINGS GIFTS by Mike Carey (film)
STORY OF YOUR LIFE by Ted Chiang (film)
THE DARK TOWER by Stephen King (film)
MIDNIGHT, TEXAS by Charlaine Harris (TV series)
READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline (film)
LUKE CAGE (TV series)
IRON FIST (TV series)
PREACHER (TV series)

FORTUNATELY, THE MILK by Neil Gaiman (film)
WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams (TV series)

100 BULLETS by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (film)
ALTERED CARBON by Richard Morgan (TV series)
THE CITY AND THE CITY by China Mieville (TV series)
HIS DARK MATERIALS by Philip Pullman (TV series)
RED MARKS by Kim Stanley Robinson (TV series, recently delayed by still going forwards)
THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood (TV series)

ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie (film)
ANANSI BOYS by Neil Gaiman (TV series, possibly cancelled and folded into AMERICAN GODS)
SANDMAN by Neil Gaiman (film)
GOOD OMENS by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (TV series)
DISCWORLD: THE CITY WATCH by Terry Pratchett (TV series)
DARKOVER by Marion Zimmer Bradley (TV series)
THE FOREVER WAR by Joe Haldeman (film)
FOUNDATION by Isaac Asimov (TV series, on the backburner at HBO)
GATEWAY by Frederik Pohl (TV series)
HORRORSTOR by Grady Hendrix (TV series)
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN THE WALLS by Jonathan Bellairs (film)
HYPERION by Dan Simmons (TV series)
IN THE LOST LANDS by George R.R. Martin (film)
THE SKIN TRADE by George R.R. Martin (TV series)
THE KINGKILLER CHRONICLE by Patrick Rothfuss (film and TV series, somehow)
THE LAST POLICEMAN by Ben H. Winters (TV series)
LOCK IN by John Scalzi (TV series)
LUNA by Ian McDonald (TV series)
MADADDAM by Margaret Atwood (TV series)
MAGIC KINGDOM OF LANDOVER by Terry Brooks (film)
THE MORGAINE CYCLE by CJ Cherryh (film)
THE GHOST BRIGADES by John Scalzi (TV series)
OTHERLAND by Tad Williams (film)
RED RISING by Pierce Brown (film)
REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi (TV series)
RIVERS OF LONDON by Ben Aaronovitch (TV series)
ROBOPOCALYPSE by Daniel H. Wilson (film)
SIX MONTHS, THREE DAYS by Charlie Jane Anders (TV series)
SPIN by Robert Charles Wilson (TV series)
THE STAND by Stephen King (film, TV series or some mix of the two)
TEMERAIRE by Naomi Novik (TV series)
UPROOTED by Naomi Novik (film)
TIME SALVAGER by Wesley Chu (film)
VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab (film)
THE WARLORD CHRONICLES by Bernard Cornwell (TV series)
WATCHMEN by Alan Moore (TV series)
Y: THE LAST MAN by Bryan Vaughan (TV series)
THE WHEEL OF TIME by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (TV series)

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Temeraire should be good if they can make that into a movie/series. Napoleonic war, with dragons!

Peter Jackson has the rights (seriously) and has been working on a TV adaptation for a few years, since he became too busy to work on it as a movie. I think it'd be a great hook-up with HBO for a post-GoT fantasy series, and would keep the CGI dragon people happy.

Am I the only one here that think Michael Moorcock and/or Elric Saga is great literature?

It's certainly in the canon of influential and important fantasy series, but it hasn't aged very well. Elric always felt like more of an interesting potential character but the execution made him often come off as a prototypical Drizzt. I think Steven Erikson nailed that archetype more successfully with Anomander Rake.


There's no weirwood Trunk.

Bet you the roots go that far.

In the TV show that's a possible explanation. But in the books the greenseers need the actual eyes of the weirdwood face to see through. They can't seen anything that happens outside that radius.

Hama wrote:
Hound is dead. Also, he wouldn't stand a chance against frankengregor

"The Hound" is certainly dead.

But, as shown in A FEAST FOR CROWS, Sandor lives.

The show skipped the whole Sept commune from the books that people think the Hound lives from. I don't think they'll pull a thread from season 4 that they didn't touch on all last season or in the previews. I mean, Brienne and Pod could still stumble across it on their way back south, but i see that as a stretch. I think it will be confessed and repented Knight of Flowers vs Strong. Loras beat real Gregor way back in the Hand's Tourney, and it will be a neat circle of closure on the stories.

Nope, it's all in this season. They even got Ian McShane to play Septon Meribald, or an amalgamation of him and the First Brother from the septry on Quiet Isle.

The Tyranids are front-and-centre in the recent Space Hulk game and will be again in the upcoming Deathwing, so I wouldn't be surprised if they were rested for this DoW.

The Necrons I can see them doing more with. They were quite popular in Soulstorm, but a story that puts them up as the main threat rather than just one race would be interesting.

I would like to see more done with the Imperial Guard and the Inquisition. I'm surprised no-one's done an RPG in the vein of the Eisenhorn novels. That'd be quite cool, and I think the video games need more of a grunt-level look at the world. It'd also be nice to see more being done with the Sisters of Battle.

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Charles Scholz wrote:

Man! First there was "Wizard's First Rule", then "Game of Thrones", and now "Wheel of Time". Three awful book series of which I could only complete reading the first book of one of them.

All of these get made into TV Series, while the "Dragonriders of Pern" series got shelved.

Just goes to show that the public cares more about watching people killing other people than seeing a good story about people struggling to overcome adversity.

Dragonriders of Pern is certainly far superior to fricking Terry Goodkind (one of the worst authors of epic fantasy to ever put pen to paper), but it's a bit of a stretch to say it's so much better than the other two. Dragonflight and maybe the next couple of books were decent, but Anne & Todd did ride that horse into the ground, flog it thoroughly after death, set fire to it and then tried to sell the ashes.

Funny think is that MacCaffrey has a cover blurb on all three of those other books saying how much she enjoyed them.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Its entirely possible that its the honor of the nights watch that fuels the magic of the wall, in which case re assembling them would be a bad thing.

I don't think that's ever really been suggested. If that was true, the Wall would have started crumbling as the numbers of the Night's Watch came down (the NW has lost 90% of its numbers in just 300 years). The magic of the Wall is inherent to the structure itself and whatever the children of the forest did to it.

Anyone else expect to see some of Bran's time-travel visions provide some clarity on the issue? When he looked back into the past, the first thing I thought was that he'd see the truth of Jon's birth as a means of revealing it to the audience, but not be able to tell anyone else cause he's alone north of the Wall.


The trailer for next week's episode suggests we might even see it then.

Also, the trees can only remember what one of the god-trees saw, IIRC.

In the books, yes. Clearly not in the TV series, as there is no weirwood in Winterfell's courtyard.

I just wonder how the hell or even if the Freys are going to enter into this?

There's a storyline at the Twins later this season. You can see it in some of the full-season previews. It's got some people curious about what's going on there.

Ha. This game has only confirmed the Space Marines, Orks and Eldar, and they will be using at least Knight battle walkers, if not Titans, in some fashion.

The original DoW 3 announced in 2011 was a MP-only game, but it sounds like they've completely reconceptualised the game, there'll be a SP campaign and the gameplay will be closer to DoW I (with some limited base building) than DoW II.

Ooh, that's some nice rules lawyering, BNW! :)

People forget the rest:

I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.

That's a pledge to eternity ("all the nights to come"), not just the person's lifespan.

That's not to say that's how they'll get out of it, but it's certainly questionable if it's a correct interpretation of the oath.

Other possibilities:

With Robb dead and Bran and Rickon believed dead, Sansa is the publicly-acknowledged heir to Robb Stark, and technically the Queen in the North. So she could legitimate Jon herself when she gets to Castle Black.

Alternatively there could be a ground-up reconstitution of the Night's Watch following Alliser's betrayal and a whole new system is put into place.

Either way, I think Jon would accept that him continuing in the role of Lord Commander is going to be untenable due to the division he caused, so him stepping aside in favour of someone else is probably a good idea. Both the books and TV show seem to be suggesting that it might Dolorous Edd who takes over :)

Christopher Priest's novels don't really have unreliable narrators, more like unreliable universes (although THE PRESTIGE is probably the most straightforward book he's ever written) :)

There is a slight element of hyperbole to that statement. "Crazy hysterical beasts" is overselling it just a bit.

Basically, Jordan imagined the world of gender relations like it was in a pre-modern period at maybe age 16-17, but applied it to everyone, even people in their forties and older. That was silly, but it also wasn't a complete catastrophe (it also becomes less pravalent as the series goes on). You can easily ignore it and focus on the actual story about the Dragon Reborn realising his destiny and uniting the nations to face the Last Battle.

The gender relations thing is a key theme which Jordan didn't sell as well as he could: a major problem being that Egwene is actually the second-most-important character but this doesn't become apparent until a good 6 books in, during which time her development is secondary to the likes of Mat and Perrin, who was less important in the endgame.

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THE BANNER SAGA 2 came out last week.

I though it was excellent, a huge improvement on the first game - which was great but had a number of issues throughout. Combat is much better and the way the story unfolds and the characters develop is remarkable.

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Women in the world of the Wheel of Time are superior to men in just about every culture apart from Amadicia and Tear (where they're more equal), based on the notion that since only women can use magic that acts as a more-than-force-equaliser and spills over into the non-magical world as well. It's an interesting approach and I think was handled quite well in the meta, but in the close-up-and-personal execution was flawed. But that's something that can be fixed fairly straightforwardly in an adaptation.

The Age of Legends probably lasted for between ten and twenty thousand years. The Aes Sedai, who came into existence at the end of the First Age (our Age), possibly through genetic engineering, spanned that entire period of time and from the off could live for 700 years, so it had to be quite a few generations for them. War had become a forgotten concept during that time, only existing in history books at best. Non-channellers could still live between 200 and 300 years. So the span of time involved had to be pretty big.

Book 1: Cold Magic


The nations of Europa are struggling with threats from within and without. Vast ice sheets cover the north of the world and everyday survival can be a challenge. Technology is advancing, with the invention of airships and firearms, but the Mage Houses despise these developments and actively fight them. A would-be emperor, Camjiata, has been defeated but political turmoil has been left in his wake.

Cat Barahal, a young orphan growing up in the city of Adurnam with her aunt, uncle and cousin, is about to reach her majority when she discovers that a pact was made when she was younger. This pact means she must marry one of the feared Cold Mages. As she reluctantly goes along with this arrangement, she discovers secrets about her past, her family and her culture, and what this means for the future of Europa as a whole.

Kate Elliott has consistently been one of the most interesting fantasy authors working over the last twenty years. Her seven-volume Crown of Stars series, set in an alternate history version of Europe, was fascinating, well-characterised and offered fascinating commentary on religion and society. The Crossroads trilogy was much more complex and original, whilst also being tighter, and featured similar musings on both the individual and the larger scale of cultures and ideologies clashing across a continent, not to mention featuring one hell of a twist ending. Cold Magic is the opening volume of the Spiritwalker Trilogy and does some similar things but also brings some new ideas to the table.

The setting is vivid and fascinating, a steampunk/icepunk Europe where the sea levels never rose after the last Ice Age (because the Ice Age is still going on). Much of this book actually takes place in lands that were destroyed by floods tens of thousands of years ago, forming the English Channel. There is lots of detail on how people survive in a land where even the hottest summer days can still be chilly, most of it done organically. There's also a rich, unusual but convincing cultural backdrop, particularly the idea that the Mali Empire (one of the wealthiest in history before European colonisation) has been overrun by a plague, sending its incredibly wealthy upper classes to become refugees in Europa where they join forces with the Celts. But if Elliott is one of the best worldbuilders working in epic fantasy, she is also one of the best handlers of character. Cat, our central character, is a strong and confident woman but whose outer confidence and mastery of etiquette hides inner doubts, especially given her lack of knowledge about her parents and real family backstory. A major subplot of the novel is Cat piecing together her history from documents and accounts of the fate that befell her parents, rolling the story back even as it moves forward. Andevai, the Cold Mage that Cat is forced to marry, is painted in similar depths. Initially he appears unrelatable, remote, arrogant and selfish, but considerably more interesting nuances about him emerge as the story unfolds.

Cold Magic's greatest success is how it handles a striking tonal shift. The opening chapters are fairly grounded. Magic exists, but it is not prevalent and the world is dominated more by industry and the move to a steampunk(ish) existence. Then, about a third of the way into the book, Elliott hits the "Let's weird this stuff up" button and we have an explosion of otherworldly creatures, dalliances into the spirit world, animal spirits taking human form, dinosaur lawyers and prophetic dreams. Elliott foreshadows this quite nicely in the opening chapters so the shift is not jarring. There's also moments when the characters become aware of the existence of other worlds (possibly other timelines) and the world seems to teeter on the brink of fragility, recalling (if briefly) the malleable realities of Mary Gentle's Ash: A Secret History.

Cold Magic (****) is an imaginative, well-written and different kind of epic fantasy. There are some complaints possible about pacing (not a colossal amount happens in its 500 pages) but the slower pace actually allows the reader to take in the vividly-drawn setting and atmosphere more completely. Those looking for a pedal-to-the-metal action novel may want to look elsewhere, but for those who like imagination and immersion in their fantasy, Cold Magic is a very good read. The book is available now in the UK and USA.

Seanchan is a massive, massive continent (far vaster than the "main" continent of the Westlands) with numerous races and cultures living under the overlaying yoke of the Empire. Tuon (and therefore presumably the Empress and their ancestors for at least a few generations) is certainly central African in appearance, but Turak and Suroth are lighter-skinned so it varies a lot over there.

The Sea Folk tend to be darker-skinned, but living on the equator for three thousand years means that make sense.

I agree if you go by the book, then the entire cast will be white for quite some time (secondary characters like Bayle Domon would be more Mediterranean in appearance but that'd be about it). However, unlike with ASoIaF/GoT, the worldbuilding in WoT does not *require* it absolutely and you should be able to mix things up if you want (within certain limitations) and it really shouldn't be a problem.

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Donnie Yen?

Exceedingly unlikely, but not a bad idea.

The WHEEL OF TIME is our world in the future. Not just that, but it's in the future of a time when people can travel across the planet in just hours (or instantly, via Aes Sedai gateways). Cultural and ethnic differences became utterly irrelevant during the Age of Legends. During the Breaking of the World that followed people were thrown together, scattered and mixed up all over the place. During the 3,000 years since the Breaking some re-homegenisation has taken place, but along cultural lines rather than skin colour or appearance.

Whilst going strictly by the books the entire main cast would be white and Caucasian until Tuon showed up, there's actually no real or dramatic reason why that needs to be the case. You could quite easily cast Nynaeve (who's always felt an outsider in the Two Rivers anyway) with an actress of colour with no bearing on the narrative at all. Or Lan, with more textual support as the Borderlands do seem to have attracted a lot of people in the WoT world of Asian descent.

The only people who do really need to be distinctive are the Aiel, who were actually the only race of people to retain their own appearance and culture even during the Age of Legends.

Why Not? The Hugos award Science Fiction, regardless of media. Video games are just as valid, and to many people are more valid, a media for telling a story as movies or books.

True, but video game storytelling has always been patchy. It's definitely gotten better recently, and I just finished BANNER SAGA 2 which had an absolutely superb story set in a memorable, fantastically-realised fantasy world. It would definitely deserve an award.

I think the objection is that including video games would "risk" turning WorldCon into a big media con (I'm unconvinced, as the TV and movie categories have not done that), and there's plenty of those around already. WorldCon is mean to celebrate novels and short stories above anything else and the long-term Hugo voters and fans are wary of it turning into something else.

The counter-argument is that the Hugo and regular WorldCon crowd is aging and more stuff needs to be done to bring on board young talent. GRRM and Gaiman have done a good job of that and the London WorldCon was hugely successful in attracting a lot of younger SFF fans whilst retaining the focus on the literary side of things.

Apparently, those in the know have said that HBO is "the least likely" network to be involved. Apparently the deal was for "eight figures" which means that whoever has gotten the rights was extremely serious about it.

On the casting front, I wonder if they are going to keep the characters as young as they are in the books.

Rand, Mat and Perrin are 19 in the first book whilst Egwene and Elayne are 16 or 17. I don't think that's a problem at all. It would have been if they were younger. Nynaeve is 26, so no issue there and Moiraine and Lan are in their forties.

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The previous legal difficulties have been resolved, and a major TV studio has optioned the WHEEL OF TIME rights. We should know who in the near future.

Prior to the legal kerfuffle between the Jordan Estate and Red Eagle, Sony TV was interested and based on the short period of time that's elapsed since the legal problem was resolved (last August), it seems unlikely someone else will have had time to have done anything. But never underestimate the ability of Netflix or Amazon to make things happen with mountains of cash. If it is Sony, I would be surprised if they didn't join forces with AMC again (like they did on BREAKING BAD), since their own epic fantasy show would augment AMC's enviable line-up of genre programming (alongside THE WALKING DEAD and PREACHER). But that's all speculation. We know it won't be HBO (they've never double-dipped in the same genre at the same time) but beyond that the field is wide open.

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MannyGoblin wrote:
we just need the Snakes in King's Landing to strip down, grease up and start stabbing people. Maybe have a lesbian-incest angle where they end up straddling each other.

Snakes on an Ilyn Payne?

The Kingkiller Chronicles. There's hints throughout the first two books that Kvothe is basically making half this stuff up, which is why he tends to focus on mundane things in his detailed recollecting and the heroic, big stuff he's famous more he skates over more quickly (as if being embarassed by it).

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I thinks this is more going off the rails and screaming out of control into the side of a nuclear power plant. Which is being attacked by zombies.

The poor handling of the Dornish storyline has even made headlines. It's quite something when you have both the Hollywood Reporter and Vulture pointing out the storyline has gone off the rails.

Er, not so "totally unrelated".

A LAND FIT FOR HEROES is set in the far, far future of the TAKESHIA KOVACS SF trilogy. Some of the KOVACS characters show up as gods - or more likely, posthuman transcendant entities - in A LAND FIT FOR HEROES.

However, it's more of an easter egg thing. You don't need to have read the SF novels first.

Matt Stover wrote the best-ever STAR WARS novels - TRAITOR and the Ep 3 novelisation - but his masterwork is the ACTS OF CAINE series: HEROES DIE, BLADE OF TYSHALLE, CAINE BLACK KNIFE and CAINE'S LAW. Mind-melting fusion of SF and fantasy. Really worth reading.

Excellent series. They've done a good job of doing a soft reboot at the end of S3/start of S4, dropping a lot of the more complicated storytelling and some of the unnecessary extra factions and streaming stuff back to a more relatable and straightforward conflict.

Who do you think you saw on a boat? Ellaria and one of the snakes killed Prince Doran, while the other two killed Doran's son Trystane. This was all in Dorne.

Trystane was on the boat in King's Landing harbour. He was painting the eye stones for Myrcella's funeral. Then the Sand Snakes came on board and killed him, so they're all at King's Landing.

I assume the Sand Snakes got on a smaller boat and tailed them up the coast to King's Landing, but that seems a bit unconvincing.

New STAR TREK series to film in Toronto in September

That seems to make the January airdate much more certain.

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Watch the original series, read some of the very good expanded universe novels with him as a central character, and you'd understand.

None of the STAR TREK novels have ever been canon, so that's not really something you can use. Although it is annoying, given that Peter David's splendid Borg novel VENDETTA was vastly superior to FIRST CONTACT or anything they did with the Borg later on.

1) Some admiral took command of the Enterprise while Picard was on some other mission, and as one of the ways they showed that he was an unreasonable jerk is that he had the nerve to order Troi to actually put on a uniform that conformed to the uniform standards.

Jericho in "Chain of Command"? I actually really liked that writing choice. He was unlikable and abrasive but he also handled the mission well, fulfilled his mission objectives and tightened up the Enterprise crew. It was a good example of the "this person doesn't need to be cuddly to be good" attitude that Ronald D. Moore in particular was keen to bring to the show (he made it a maxim on DS9 and BSG in particular).

Troi in the uniform was also something Moore made a mission from when he got on the show, and it was ridiculous it took three years. Marina Sirtis also really appreciated it, as she hated the stupid costumes they made her wear.

Anybody have thoughts on David Farland's Runelord series? That popped in my head earlier. I remember enjoying it but associating it somehow with Robert Jordan's sort of oeuvre.

Dave Wolverton - Farland is a pen name - is okay. The first RUNELORDS book is decent, the second one is weaker but readable and it just falls off a cliff after that.

Also, Sara Douglass? I know I read her first Axis/Wayfarer book (that cover art, be still my heart) and enjoyed it, but something tells me that might be barking up the wrong tree, at this point in my life.

The late Sara Douglass wrote entertaining fantasy with a different kind of spin to it, but the stories ended up being pretty standard and her prose is nothing special. Fun, for a book or two, but I couldn't read more than that.

Ian Irvine's View from the Mirror quartet. I picked the first up because the cover art wowed me so (I am, or at least can be, pretty fickle). Actually really enjoyed those, though, as I recall. Believe he continued that series quite a bit but never read past those first four.

I also read and enjoyed the first four, but I had some issues with it (it could have been a trilogy easily) and the reviews seem to generally agree that the later series are weaker.

And still, not a lot (anything?) in the more explicitly "D&D" mode, but I guess that's okay.

For "Literary D&D" I would recommend the following two series. Both are controversial and "Marmitey", in that people either love them with the heat of ten thousand burning suns or despise them totally and utterly.

1) The Second Apocalypse by R. Scott Bakker.
This series consists of three interlinked sub-series, with the first two completed. The first three books form The Prince of Nothing trilogy (The Darkness That Comes Before, The Warrior-Prophet, The Thousandfold Thought), and the next four form The Aspect-Emperor series (The Judging Eye, The White-Luck Warrior, The Great Ordeal, The Unholy Consult, the latter two completed and being published next month and then in early 2017).

This series is effectively D&D by way of Tolkien after reading DUNE a few too many times and then setting the whole thing in Greece and Persia during the time of Alexander the Great, except that the war that is going on is actually the First Crusade. All written by Nietzsche.

It's literary in the sense that Bakker is writing to pursue themes about the nature of humanity, questioning how human volition works and studying how easily people can be manipulated, either by their own desires, by religion or by charismatic leaders. But it's still a fantasy series with incredibly powerful magic, horrific, generally-engineered enemy races and barbarian warriors of dubious morality. I recently did a write-up on it here, including a video trailer that was put together about it. The books are not the easiest of reads and at times get so dark that they make GAME OF THRONES read like David Eddings, but definitely sound more like what you're looking for.

2) The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson & Ian Cameron Esslemont
This is less of a series and more of a world created by two Canadian writers, who have together now written nineteen novels set in it. It was originally created as a homebrew D&D world and then spiralled into new and fresh areas later on.

What is interesting about this series is that Erikson (the superior of the two authors) starts off writing more pulpy fantasy and then develops it into a more literary style later on. The first novel in the series - GARDENS OF THE MOON - is extremely atypical of the series as a whole, with a much clunkier prose style compared to the rest of the series (it was written nine years earlier). There is a massive improvement in the second book, DEADHOUSE GATES, however, and helpfully you can start with the second book as it features a different cast, setting and story. Later books expand the literary side of things massively, with much more experimental and shifting prose styles and significant thematic exploration (sometimes at the expense of the actual pulp fantasy story he started with).

For "literary D&D" it's really only those two series and possibly some of the later Terry Pratchett DISCWORLD books that are on the table. BOOK OF THE NEW SUN is DYING EARTH-esque, far-future "rationalised fantasy" more than D&D-influenced. THE BLACK COMPANY by Glen Cook may be of interest (it heavily inspired the MALAZAN novels). Guy Gavriel Kay as well, although his books are less D&D-influenced and more like fantasised retellings of moments from real history.

My own History of Fantasy series explores the entire history of the genre and you may find a few other things of interest in there, but it is a warts and all look that takes in the good, bad and mediocre as well.

It will be back. In fact it hasn't gone anywhere(pun not intended).

This depends on what's going on with the new movie. Paramount have done next to zero promotion for it (a movie out in three months) and there were very strong rumours of it being pushed back until the end of the year, although now it's apparently locked for the summer. The trailer got a negative reception, extra scenes featuring a whole new major protagonist were filmed long after principal photography was completed (which is extremely unusual) and the film had a significant budget cut from the previous one, due to perceived underperformance by Paramount.

If BEYOND does as well as INTO DARKNESS, then there'll be a fourth film (which they already have pencilled in for 2019). If it does much less, the current film incarnation will certainly be terminated and the future of TREK on film becomes questionable.

The only thing that pleases me about CBS right now is their decision to toss away the poorly made Abramsverse. May it rest in peace.

Well, they didn't have the rights to use it in the first place, so I don't think it was ever really an issue :) The Abramsverse will continue to exist in the new movie and possibly further ones, unless they underperform.

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You're right, PC gaming as it was in the past (PC games made and played specifically for and on the PC) for all intents and purposes IS dead overall in the West (US, Canada and Europe).

I suspect Paradox, Firaxis, Roberts Space Industries, Creative Assembly, Larian Studios, Obsidian, Blizzard, Valve and CD Projekt Red, amongst several dozen others, might disagree with you. We've also seen the first few PC-exclusives in a while recently that really got attention from console gamers as well, most notably XCOM 2.

AAA gaming across the board is right down. EA recently pointed out that at the height of the PS2 era they would release maybe 80 games a year, maybe 10-15 of which would be marketed as AAA. Last year they released 12 overall, only a couple of which they marketed as AAA. The economics of making a AAA game no longer make a huge amount of sense, and will not until the workload and expense of making games drops significantly. If it doesn't, then we will likely see even fewer and fewer AAA games in the future. In fact, some recent AAA games have had to seriously sacrifice gameplay, content and options in order to have the expected level of shiny graphics (STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT being a prime example, looking great but having barely any of the same amount of content that BATTLEFRONT 2 had a decade earlier). This is a huge problem for the industry, one that has been solved by the rise of Kickstarter and indie gaming, and of course those things benefit PC more than console.

As for tablets and mobile saving PC gaming, that is actually, bizarrely, having a positive impact on core PC gaming. Stoic ported THE BANNER SAGA to tablet and had a really good impact, which has fed back and allowed them to put more money into THE BANNER SAGA 2 (out this week!) and 3, which benefits PC. The same for other companies. In fact (circling back on-topic) we wouldn't have FINAL FANTASY IX or the upcoming X and X-II ports on PC without the need for a mobile version. That's a win-win for everyone.

The biggest discussion going on right now at Sony and Microsoft is what the hell they are going to do for PS5/XB2. Because the current paradigm of designing ever more expensive systems to throw ever more polygons around is clearly unworkable without games costing over £100 and taking over five years each to develop.

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Being pre-TNG pretty much guarantees no Romulans though, as there had been no contact with the Romulan Star Empire with a Federation Vessel for 50 years before the Season 1 TNG episode The Neutral Zone.

I think ST:TNG did overstate that in the first season. The Battle of Narendra III referenced in "Yesterday's Enterprise" seems to be the last major contact between the Federation and Klingson and the Romulans, and that was 20 years before ST:TNG rather than 50. The fact that the Federation goes from having 0 information on the Romulans in Season 1 to having detailed biographies of the Romulan government in Season 5 also seems rather unlikely. I think the "No contact" thing may have been retconned a bit even before TNG was over.

After this season, GAME OF THRONES has only 13 episodes left.

Producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have proposed to HBO that Season 7 should consist of only seven episodes, and Season 8 of six episodes. HBO are apparently considering this plan. This would allow more time for writing and more budget, production and post-production time on each episode. Apparently Seasons 4 and 5 pushed the show's production time to breaking point, and Season 6 pushed it over breaking point with the now-standard late-season large battle/vfx sequences (they had to draft in a lot of extra resources to get it down, taking the season budget to over $100 million).

It sounds like HBO will 100% renew the show for its final two seasons in a couple of weeks, but are still negotiating how many episodes are left. It might end up being more (maybe 7 & 7 or 7 & 8). But it looks definite that we're not going to get two more 10-episode seasons.

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