Good day, everyone. Today, I wanted to share with all of you a picture of a recently completed treasure: I’ve finally tracked down older editions of all of Frank Herbert’s original Dune novels! I know for a lot of people the story begins and ends only with Dune, but I have enough faith in great authors to give more of their work a shot. If they have more of a story to tell with great characters and a well-crafted setting, then I say let them.
It’s up to each of us what we support by buying it, and I choose to side with the artists, regardless of precisely why they create their art. That, and I love big stories–long movies, huge series of novels, you name it. If a setting is good, it needs to be exploited for all it’s worth. And I believe that if characters are worth creating, they’re worth keeping around.
I’ve read part of Dune before, but I need to restart it. I hope I can begin reading through this series this summer around everything else I mean to read. I’ll be sure to convey my thoughts here on each individual novel as I complete it. I promise to be a fair reviewer with an absolute minimum of cynicism.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Also, on a side note, if you are ever in Crestview, Florida, visit Emerald Coast Book Haven. It is seriously the best used book store I’ve ever been in.
Happy new book day, everyone! I’m taking a break from looking at real people through the lens of Batman for a couple of posts. Instead, I want to lay out some of my notes and thoughts on the 1989 Batman and 1992 Batman Returns films, which I recently reacquired and watched again for the first time in nearly a decade. This week, I’ll look at 1989’s Batman, directed by Tim Burton and starring Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton, and Kim Basinger.
For many fans in my generation, this film was our first exposure to the character and world of Batman. I’m pleased to say I don’t feel as negatively toward this movie as I did just a few years ago (for whatever reasons). Some aspects of it have not aged well, but it is not a bad film. I could do with a little less Prince, though.
Happy new book day, everyone! I thought for today we could look at another one of the heirs to the Batman mantle. Pretty much everyone who read comics in the 90s knows (and likely loathes) the character I want to focus on today—Jean-Paul Valley, better known as Azrael.
The 90s were a dark and twisted time in comics. Books like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns had been released just a few short years earlier and the industry was still reeling in their wake. However else fans chose to read these books, their dark turn is what stuck around the longest; death, violence, distrust of authority, and loss of identity became some of the most recognizable tropes of the decade’s superhero stories. This is the era that saw the founding of Image Comics, but that also saw many established characters in Marvel and DC broken in various…
Apologies for my absence. I had a pretty awesome weekend with my girlfriend and the kids down in Florida. Unfortunately, I did not get to try much in the way of craft beer, but cold cheap stuff on the beach is heavenly. Look for more content as the week goes on, and don’t forget this week marks the six month anniversary of my Batman column at Sourcerer. Go give it a look.
Hello, everyone. For my last thought of this week, I thought I’d just leave all of you with a big picture of a lot of the science fiction novels I still mean to read. As with my fantasy books, my “to be read” pile is huge and rarely gets smaller.
What do you all think of it? See any of your own favorites or books you mean to read included here? Let me know your thoughts below. (And pardon the relative low quality of the image. You guys know how cell phones can be.)
I am just about done with having my honor and integrity questioned by people who are little more than snakes and rats. I definitely need this mini vacation. Here’s to the weekend. And here’s to honor mattering again.
“Every ounce of my cynicism is supported by historical precedent.” — Croaker, Shadow Games
I’m over halfway through the Black Company books by Glen Cook now and I wanted to state a few general thoughts on the primary narrator of the early books and my favorite character, Croaker. It may be a bit of a cop out to attach oneself as a reader to the narrator, especially when there is such a large and varied cast of misfits to pick from, but Croaker strikes me as being relatively unique among fantasy protagonists–at least insofar as I have seen.
Very little about Croaker’s early life is ever revealed, save that he came from the slums of a faraway city, and his true name has not been revealed as far as I have read. I doubt it ever will be. When we first meet Croaker way back in The Black Company, he is the outfit’s physician and annalist. It is through his eyes and his voice that we witness the events unfolding in Cook’s epic. Needless to say, Croaker is a common soldier and no knight.
Croaker isn’t really that bad of a guy for coming from a world where nearly all power is evil and common people basically have to constantly choose the smallest evil to side with. He is kind but not foolish about it, and he cares a great deal about his fellow brothers in the Company. He has also helped the less fortunate at many points in his career, which causes him to stand out quite a bit.
Another trait that makes Croaker unique is his mind; in a setting where few commoners can write their own names, Croaker is fully literate and conversational in several languages and (as I mentioned earlier) a capable medical doctor. In point of fact, he possesses some medical knowledge and a few beliefs that are anachronistically modern in comparison to the humours and leeches of many of his contemporaries. Perhaps battlefield necessity has made him more competent than most.
All of this is not to say Croaker isn’t competent as a soldier as well; his oaths and position require that of him. While he favors a bow in most encounters, Croaker is shown to be experienced in all manner of tactics and proficient with several weapons. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), though, he possesses no skill at magic, which makes him an even more attractive character for me.
I enjoy fantasy that downplays its magic, like Cook and George R. R. Martin’s works. Having a protagonist in The Black Company who is unskilled with, and suspicious of, magic is a breath of fresh air compared with the number of fantasy series that figuratively force their magical systems down your throat from page 1. And this is not to say that magic is absent from Croaker’s tale–far from it. Magic is power and power is evil, of one sort or another.
I hope that these words reach fantasy fans that think the way I do and share my tastes. I also hope that those of you unfamiliar with Glen Cook’s work and Croaker’s adventures may now be a bit more curious about all of it and give it a look. Trust me; you will not be disappointed. I wish there were more characters like Croaker out there in all the manifold fantasy worlds being published.
Hmm… I may have given myself an idea. Let me know your thoughts below.
Everyone, I’m heading to Florida for a long weekend with my lady and the kids. I plan on living it up a tiny bit while there, and given the mission of this blog, it’s about time I started some beer blogging as well. So, that said, anyone want to recommend some brews I should try while I’m down there? Something I can only get in Florida and/or up north, perhaps? Bear in mind, I’m pretty well versed in beer for a Mississippian, so don’t go thinking I’m new to all this.