Oct
09
2017
3

In the Mail: The Sea Peoples.

SM Stirling’s The Sea Peoples is a day early, because Amazon works when the Post Office doesn’t. I can’t help but think that the Post Office should worry about that more. Or that I think that Amazon’s more reliable about things, too.

Anyway…

Sep
06
2016
1

In the Mail: S.M. Stirling’s Prince of Outcasts.

Prince of Outcasts is part of S.M. Stirling’s Emberverse low-fantasy series; it’s partially about the South Seas, partially about the looming trans-Pacific war that’s about to erupt there (in a world where gunpowder and steam engines are being flat-out magically suppressed via a worldwide Change, no less) – and more than a little about the no-fooling Cthulhu Mythos (Carcosa edition), only nobody knows that because apparently the Lovecraft enthusiasts largely did not survive the Change. I’ve been looking forward to reading it, particularly because of the Mythos link; it’s going to be interesting when the people in that series really understand just how problematical their life has just become.

Now I just have to wait for another year for the next one to come out. Yay…

Sep
01
2015
12

In the Mail: The Desert and the Blade.

The Change series is lots of fun, if you like post-apocalyptic fiction where technology above a certain level abruptly no longer works and the return of magic really doesn’t make up for it at all.  Which, yeah, led to billions of people dying.  But the survivors are having plenty of adventures! …Which, as S.M. Stirling himself noted elsewhere, means ‘somebody else in deep trouble, far away.’

Ahem. The Desert and the Blade: A Novel of the Change (Change Series) is a fun read so far; I’m enjoying it.  But you definitely should start with Dies the Fire, which is the first book in this series. Or maybe Island in the Sea of Time, which is kind of in the same universe but is a good deal more chipper. Assuming you haven’t read any of these before

May
25
2015
3

Book of the Week: “Conquistador.”

Conquistador by S.M. Stirling is an… interesting book. The premise is classic Golden Age science fiction: a H. Beam Piper*-esque hero creates a stable dimensional portal to an alternate California that Europeans have never colonized, or even visited.  And so, in classic Golden Age style, the aforementioned Great Man of history goes and carves out a nice little kingdom for himself and his fellow freebooters… and that’s where the book gets a little enjoyably awkward, because S.M. Stirling quite enjoys reminding us that our grandparents and great-grandparents were from a completely different people.  The book is not precisely a dystopia, but the society it describes is perhaps not somewhere you’d want to live.  Read about? Sure.  Live? …Not so much.  But it is indeed a page-turner.  Especially if you like your adventure fiction to come with appendices, and who among us does not?

And so, adieu to Digital Divide.

Moe Lane

*This was so totally a homage to H. Beam Piper.  Stirling made it pretty explicit, in fact.

Dec
29
2014
5

Book of the Week: ‘The Sky People.’

The Sky People is the first book of a two-book series (plus novella) that asks the question, Hey! Wouldn’t it have been great if Mars and Venus was actually as inhabitable as the Golden Age of SF assumed that they were? – only it’s hard science fiction.  It more or less assumes no change to our timeline until the 1940s or so, but after that the changes start to accumulate. In the meantime you get giant Venusian dinosaurs in this one (and Martian rapier fights in the sequel), which is really the important thing here.  Extra points for a universe where Edgar Rice Burroughs is the unchallenged greatest literary figure of the Twentieth Century…

And so, adieu to Blood Maidens.

Nov
16
2014
2

Book of the Week: “The Peshawar Lancers.”

S.M. Stirling’s standalone book The Peshawar Lancers (there is a short story set in the same universe, mind) is an alternate history novel that asks What would happen if you dropped a comet or an asteroid into the Atlantic Ocean during the height of the Victorian era?  One answer apparently would be Eventually, Rudyard Kipling’s dream world.  It’s all very steampunk, in the brass-and-gears sense: but it’s also very deliberately evocative of Haggard and Kipling and Fraser (to give an idea, the Flashman novels are not so much evoked in this book as they were slipped a Mickey Finn and shanghaied to it).  I enjoyed it greatly, not least because Stirling is always good at showing the world-building.  Lots of fun and it’s a shame there hasn’t been a true sequel.

Adieu, The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government Is Up for Grabs – and Who Will Take It. We’ll have need of your services again soon enough, I fear.

Moe Lane

Sep
15
2012
8

SM Stirling, check with your attorney?

…I mean, I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen this “Revolution" thing before - only it was called Dies the Fire and was the start of a fairly involved, fairly well-known book series.  One hopes that NBC isn’t simply planning to file off the serial numbers and pass off Mr. Stirling’s work as their own…

Written by in: Uncategorized | Tags: ,
Mar
25
2012
1

#rsrh QotD, Avoid The Luxury of Self-Righteousness Edition.

From SM Stirling’s alternate history The Tears of the Sun. Background: …too long to explain; suffice it to say that the heroes are being a bit standoffish towards someone who was until-quite-recently an ally of one of the major villains. And the attitude of said heroes is not really flying with the local holy man:

The lama sighed and looked around at the others; the firelight picked out his wrinkles, like the hills and valleys of a mysterious country. Beyond gleamed the peaks of mountains where bear and cougar and tiger roamed, and men as savage as either.

“My friends,” he said gently, “self-righteousness is the fumes of decomposing vanity; it is the means the Devil’s Guard use to cloud the vision of those who truly love virtue. If someone is far along a journey to destruction, shall you hate them for waking to their situation, and turning about, and taking even a single halting half step back? Will that encourage them to take a second step, and a third? Or will it minister only to the darkness in our own souls?”

I know, I know: but nobody ever said being good was easy.

Moe Lane

Aug
29
2010
4

Book of the Week: The High King of Montival.

And it’s about time, too. Unfair, no doubt: The High King of Montival is part of a series (the Emberverse*), which means delays. Still: out in a week.

And so Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game: An Essential D&D Starter (4th Edition D&D) is out this week. Err, it’s being switched out. You know what I mean.

Moe lane

*Short version: gunpowder, electricity, and most high-energy chemistry stops working one day – while at the same time not affecting actual people. This would drive scientists and engineers mad, except that most of them lived in areas which promptly started in on starving to death and the survivors had more important things to worry about. Essentially, adventure with a steadily-increasing fantasy quotient.

Oct
01
2009
--

So, Chapter Six of ‘A Taint in the Blood’ is up.

S.M. Stirling puts up the first chapters of whatever book he’s working on at the moment at his website, in the fully-justified belief that this will keep me sufficiently interested to buy the book as soon as it hits hardcover. It’s interesting to see the differences that occur between these drafts and the finished product, too.

The latest one is A Taint in the Blood, and it looks to be urban fantasy… only not, unless you consider psionics ‘fantasy,’ which they are and are not, depending on how rigorous the science is otherwise, so it’s more like urban horror, except that makes no sense… oh, just read it. It’s turning out pretty good so far.

Jul
26
2009
--

Book of the Week: The Sword of the Lady.

It being Sunday, we remove Harry Turtledove’s Hitler’s War – which I will figure out how to acquire in a week or so; and bring in S.M. Stirling’s The Sword of the Lady, which I have an entire month to figure out how to acquire. It’s good for me, really. Teaches me resourcefulness.

Really.

Moe Lane

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