roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Viva! La Revolution!)
Man, you guys, this series is seriously scratching my every narrative itch. It's also kind of driving me nuts. What the hell happened with the Aelin? What's going on with the variant circles? Who else is a Gardier sleeper agent? Who made the ruined cities in the staging world? Who the hell is Castines? What is Balin hiding? I MUST KNOW.

What's keeping it from being intolerable is that Wells' pacing is out of this world, and her characters are not stupid, so they tend to ask the questions you're yelling at them to ask.

Maybe that's what's gotten me so worked up about these books -- I can holler at the screen and it actually works.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Mischief brewin'!)
Swear to god, Battlestar Galactica with magic users and a stolen ocean-liner. Wow.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Mischief brewin'!)
Oh, so I finished The Wizard Hunters last night, and started in on The Ships of Air. These books are... Um, how do I say it? They're kind of everything I want in a fantasy novel.

The main plot engine is that you've got three different worlds colliding, all of which have different levels of technology and magic. One of them has technology equivalent to somewhere between Earth's 1910's and 1940's, and a highly-developed tradition of scholarly and applied sorcery, which is very math-heavy. They've also had occasional nasty run-ins with the fayre (faerie) realms. Another world has technology more around the Conan the Barbarian level, and suffers occasional outbreaks of Lord Voldemort-style evil wizardry / mad pseudoscience. (They also have benevolent godlike entities that occasionally take up residence in heroic types and render them immune to curses.) Your third world, which is all set to obliterate all of the above, has a massive military-industrial complex, plus magic-driven superweapons that can instantly demolish any of the first world's electrical, petrol-driven, or mechanical devices and nullify all of their magical assaults and wards.

So it's two worlds outnumbered against one, except that these otherwise-unlucky sods happen to be armed with a hack playwright who is belatedly starting to realize what a ruthless bastard she can be ("You know, we could solve this problem with eleven bullets..."), a semi-autonomous device that seems able to counter all of the enemy's superweapons, and a pack of sword-slingers, calculator-punchers, soldiers and spies just motley enough to make an evil overlord wonder if maybe he should have checked his horoscope before leaving the house.

The first book was like Blitz-era England meets Star Wars meets selected scenes from Harry Potter, except they happened to build the Death Star on the Island of Doctor Moreau. The second one has suddenly turned into Battlestar Galactica. This series is kind of the best thing ever.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Default)
You know, Wells actually kind of reminds me of Brahms. They both work in established forms, and aren't really trying to revolutionize or re-invent anything; they just step up and rock as hard as they can within the form they've chosen. (And as you can see, I've been indulging in both of them simultaneously.)

Also? The things she's been doing with the Gardier here in the beginning of the book are a lot like what I'm doing with the Flock, and I'm finding it really reassuring. It's like, "Thank GOD, that trick actually does work." Or can work. You know. Of course, now I'll have to steer out of my way to not rip off her implementation.

(Also! Am I just trippin' in thinking that "Gardier" sounds way too much like "Grandier" to be a coincidence?)
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Default)
1. Huh... I didn't realize before that Metro Transit busses have big huge numbers on their tops. Was that really the first time I'd spent long enough in Central Library 4F North to watch them?

2. Holy freaking balls, The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells. Remember when I wouldn't shut the hell up about Wells' The Element of Fire because it ruled too damn hard? Brace for a redux of that. (Emm's read this one, so she already knows what I'm talking about.) I'm only like six chapters in, but:
  • Electropunk technofantasy!
  • Witty barbarians!
  • The same area that EoF took place in, except it's all been bombed to shit!
  • The Blitz, except worse!
  • Airships!
ANYWAY: Never mind that the scenario is eerily similar to the start of that one C-Average song,* this series is already 1000% awesome.

_____
* "...Now are patrolled by a legion of darkness!" "BOOOOOOOO!"
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Default)
Unplanned fringe benefit of writing my major projects in plain text and keeping them in an SVN repository: I can work on them from multiple computers at once with no real penalty. Fuckin' sweet.

Yeah, context, right. The (radiant? sardonic?) Crow doesn't have a case yet, and until then, I'm a little loath to take it out on the town. Which is kind of irritating, since I enjoy typing in cafés around the neighborhood. However, I happen to have been wrangling my Cheaters files using tools that were designed to let several dozen people work on the same files at once, and which have built-in allowances to handle conflicting changes and out-of-sync versions. So I get the ability to keep writing on the Albatross without worrying about keeping track of what I took with me, and I get it for free.

Not that I actually wrote anything yesterday afternoon. I'm kind of neck-deep in The Element of Fire. Hot damn is it good. I've been warned by people in the know that, partway through your first novel (maybe earlier, maybe later), you lose the ability to read fiction for pleasure, and won't get it back for a year or three. It's one of those situations where your brain is recompiling itself, and one of the symptoms is hyper-awareness of what other writers are doing craftwise coupled with an obnoxious predilection for backseat driving. I think I may be starting to get that; ask me again in three months. If that's what's going on, though, this is exactly the novel I need to be reading right now, because it's like riding behind James Bond: all hazards to navigation are being met with proper action and massive flair. If you're not reading it yet, climb on, man.

Bits and chunks: )
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Default)
This is really good. Solid characters, totally sweet action, and nice, swift plotting. (I am just endlessly impressed and amused by the way that first chapter push-starts itself down a hill and ramps up to 90 in like eight seconds. Bonus points for making the hostile magic actually creep my shit out. It's like the first ten minutes of a really good medieval espionage video game.)

Looks like she's just going to serialize the whole thing on her LJ (4 chapters so far), and I'm fascinated for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because this is a totally new to me way to bring a popular yet out-of-print book back into circulation. Secondly, because she's taking the opportunity to remaster the thing, doing a bit of a 15-year checkup on the prose. I probably have heard of authors doing that, but can't think of any right off the top of my head.

(Link probably ganked from [livejournal.com profile] matociquala.)

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