Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Fun Stuff... Bubonicon!!

I got three books signed: _A Shadow in Summer_ by Daniel Abraham. The second book (of a planned four) is out NOW and I want it *badly*. I highly recommend these. Jane Lindskold signed _Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls_ for me although it was signed when I bought it. I wanted to let her know that I particularly enjoyed it. She told me it was a reissue and the first book she'd sold. I had no idea. I also got _A Very Large Array_ signed by the editor, Melinda Snodgrass, which makes me very happy because the book was a gift to me.

Happy surprise, Mark Ferrari was there again this year. He's got his first novel out just this week, _The Book of Joby_. In his former life (when my daughter and I both met him) he was artist Guest of Honor and encouraged my daughter very much about her artwork. He was able to see the two drawings she had in the art show this weekend and talk to her about them. She was very excited about that, and so was I (because I'm a "scary art mom.") She *had* to get his book and get it signed... the only book purchased this weekend!... so I will borrow and read it and maybe get a review up.

I got to say hello to Vernor Vinge and shake his hand. I really should have got pictures but I didn't. My daughter even had the camera in her backpack this morning but I didn't know that! I've actually never read anything by Vinge but I think that I will.

I also finally got to meet S. M. Stirling. I have read one book of his before. It was one with Draka in it and more than a little bit disturbing. I went to a reading of his latest work and I think that I will start reading the series it is part of starting with _Dies the Fire_. No doubt it is disturbing as well, but I'm older now and maybe I've got a higher "disturbing" threshold.

Stephen R. Donaldson was there. Do you know that he smiles *constantly*? He seems like an excessively cheerful person. I can't say that I'm motivated to read the last four Thomas Covenant books, which is what he's working on now, but I will say that he seems like a really nice guy. Maybe it's getting all the bad stuff out on paper or something. You think?

This con is *tiny*... only one room for main programming, but I want to give an idea of just how *thick* the authors are on the ground here... the list of those *in the printed program*... Vernor Vinge (GOH), Jane Lindskold, Daniel Abraham, Doug Beason, Richard M. Berthold, S. C. Butler, Suzy McKee Charnas, Yvonne Coats, Stephen R. Donaldson, Terry England, Mark Ferrari, Steven Gould, Sally Gwylan, Warren Hammond (new author from Tor and I'm going to check out his book for sure), Betsy James, Matthew Jarpe (I need to get hold of his first novel too), Anne & Jeff Lambert, Victor Milan (another I *must* read and never have), John J. Miller, Laura J. Mixon, Pati Nagle, John Maddox Roberts, Melinda M. Snodgrass, S. M. Stirling, Ian Tregillis, Robert E. Vardeman, Carrie Vaughn, Sage Walker, Mel. White, Walter Jon Williams (I've got him on the side bar), and Connie Willis.

5 Comments:

Blogger Ymarsakar said...

And that may not be fair of me but it's not punitive of me either.

It is fair. They offer a product and it is your choice to acquire it or not.

Putting yourself into a heated debate by knowingly buying novels you expect to hate or disagree with, is perhaps not a Serenity model ; )

I got to say hello to Vernor Vinge and shake his hand. I really should have got pictures but I didn't. My daughter even had the camera in her backpack this morning but I didn't know that! I've actually never read anything by Vinge but I think that I will.

I would recommend The Peace War. The two science fiction novels, one with Pham Nuwen as a main character, the other with him as a secondary character.

Rainbow's End was also seductively modern and psychologically engaging. The main protagonist, Synova, is a narcissist. Ah, now you're wondering, aren't you?

Vernor Vinge combines subtle knowledge of psychological disorders with real human behavior, that does what even David Weber cannot. He creates even more intricately developed characters in his novels, than the best that I had ever read of.

I have read one book of his before.

Try and read SM Stirling's co-authored series with Pournelle. The General, I believe it was. It is essentially a 5 book or so series on the life and times of Raj Whitehall. Very epic, Synova. Much akin to the Belisarius series by Eric Flint and David Drake. Without the Eric Flint motiffs of course ; )

It was one with Draka in it and more than a little bit disturbing.

I would agree with you on that.

No doubt it is disturbing as well, but I'm older now and maybe I've got a higher "disturbing" threshold.

Don't count on it. This might not be true for Dies the Fire but no classical liberal would like reading Sm Stirling's Draka series. There are heroes and heroines in there to admire, but in the end, ultimate darkness wins out. I found the experience beneficial, but not pleasant. It was necessary to know what could happen in war and how it can happen, for such information was vital to me in the years between 2001 and 2005. I put off reading it for a year or so, because it was inherently depressing. Yet I was drawn in by the military aspects, the socio-political-historical aspects, and the well crafted characters. By well crafted, I mean "pathologically" insane. They were evil and evil with such seductive potential as well.

Stirling had to place some limits on the power of the Good guys to ensure that the Draka won out, especially after the Final War. His sequel to the Final War on Earth, disappointed me because the Good guys were not superior to the bad guys, which in my view, made them un-Good. I mean it in the sense that the Good purposefully limited themselves to methods that the Draka would not use, such as sentient computers and biological engineering. Anyone that would limit themselves in such a way when they are fighting the Draka, do not deserve the label of Goodness. They may have good intentions, but they are not fighting wholly on the side of the Light.

Maybe it's getting all the bad stuff out on paper or something. You think?

ying and yang I suppose. Shoot out the bad, hold in the good ; )

6:42 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I mean it in the sense that the Good purposefully limited themselves to methods that the Draka would not use, such as sentient computers and biological engineering.

Sorry, clarrification. What I mean is that the Good guys would not use biological engineering nor create sentient computers, even though they had the tech for it, because they didn't want to become "like" the Draka. Yet the Draka's supreme leader had most if not all the qualities of a Southern planation slave owner as well as being a military genius. By qualities I mean also virtues with few to none of the vices. The Draka became stronger by adopting such things as honor and what not. The US became weaker by exiling the population of the South.

Did you have a chance to read 1812, Eric Flint's novel in the free library? It was extremely good as a lesson on American history and culture.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Such stories as this were what I learned from stories by SM Stirling and others.

How humans interact in situations of war were very important to me, because I was reading and seeing it seemingly all the time between 2001 and 2005.

After 2005, I had enough of a base knowledge to actually start figuring stuff out for myself. Still learning though.

David's Honor Harrington books read like foreign language to me, when I first started reading them ; ) Specifically the description of combat, naval tactics, and overall grand strategy.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

With Vernor Vinge, I'm inclined to recommend starting at the beginning of his career and working your way through in chronological order. With the possible exception of Grimm's World, which is OK but not up to his later standards.

Don't neglect his short stories, which are good.

I still think his best achievements were The Peace War and Marooned in Real Time (collected in one volume as Across Realtime); but many others seem to prefer his subsequent books.

The only Stirling I've read so far is The Peshawar Lancers, which is a fine adventure story in a fascinating alternate world; highly recommended. I think you'd find it less disturbing than the one you read. My only reservation is that it contains rather a lot of combat scenes. Up to you whether you consider that a drawback.

2:55 AM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I would also recommend the Deathstalker series.

Link

8:09 PM  

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