Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Night Spotlight - Neth Space

It seems only fitting that tonight's interview be with Ken of Neth Space. Guys like Adam, Ken and Larry (well known bloggers of sf&f) became well known for their contributions to conversations at wotmania. The wotmania forum site closed today, signaling the end of an era, at least in the online sf&f community. Though I never had any contributions to wotmania, I like to think I'm of the second generation of what bloggers like Pat, Ken, Adam, Larry and others started on that forum board. So, sit back, relax and enjoy a look into the sf&f community with Ken from Neth Space.

PW: Will you describe your best day ever at Neth Space?

Ken: This would be toss-up between a few events.

Just after starting I started Neth Space I installed a stat counter. It was a complete shock to discover that people were reading my blog and that these people were literally from all over the world. It was a moment when the academic knowledge of the ‘world wide web’ being a literal term became personal to my experience.

Similar to the moment above, there was a point when I realized that someone who posted a comment at my blog was a well-known and inspected editor. This led me to approaching him about receiving review copies – he was happy to set me up with his publicist. I’ve been a big fan of Pyr ever since (of course this is mostly due to the consistently high quality product they put out).

The other moment that comes to mind is my first true contact with a ‘rock-star’ of SFF. I emailed George RR Martin about doing a short interview. I got an email back from him in less than an hour (you can read the interview here). It was a sort of ‘wow’ moment – I had just gotten and email from George RR Martin. I’ve since gotten a bit used to this sort of thing, but it still brings a warm-fuzzy feeling.

PW: Will you describe your worst day ever at Neth Space?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Raven, II

First, I apologize for the dearth of content since interviewing Pat. I've been too lazy, honestly. As an excuse, I use the newborn (3 weeks old) and my new job (1 week old). Incidentally, I have two more interviews in the vault, one of which will be coming up this Sunday night. On to the review.

It's been a week, or so, since I finished James Barclay's Noonshade. The events of this book coming directly in the wake of the preceding book, Dawnthief.

The Bad: For what this particular story is, there is a lot of padding. The entire tale covers a two week period of time, give or take a day here and there. A lot of areas in it, particularly surrounding Julatsa, went over-long.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Night Spotlight - The Hotlist

Back on Friday, I wrote about wanting to highlight individuals surrounding the sf&f landscape. I've found, largely through the forums at sffworld (thanks to The Hobbit/Mark Yon), that interacting with the people who enjoy the genre as much as I do, to be nearly as much fun as reading tales from the genre. There is an energy to imagination that is self-perpetuating. Now if we could only find some way to bottle it.

The opening salvo of the Spotlight highlights someone any visitor here should already be well aware of: Pat St-Denis. The Fantasy Hotlist is a great place to find all kinds of your favorite tidbits regarding sf&f. Pat has book excerpts, interviews, book reviews, breaking news, regular NYT bestseller list updates, giveaways and much more.

It is said that, "you learn something new every day." In a fun Q&A session with Pat, he taught me something new about myself. I don't know how dangerous it is, or what the prognosis would be, but it would appear that I am a 'Lemming of Discord.' If you already know what that means, continue to read and chuckle on. If, like me, you don't, then read on and enjoy the phenomenon of discovery.

PW: At what moment did you realize the Hotlist was more than a hobby; that it was really going to be big?

Pat: Truth be told, I still look at the Hotlist as a hobby. A time-consuming hobby, certainly, but nevertheless something I do for the fun of it. I never, ever thought that this blog would become as big as it is now. After all, I was just a passionate genre reader with no contacts and no resources. I wasn’t exactly “dressed for success,” and yet, for reasons I cannot fathom, this thing took off and skyrocketed to become one of the most popular SFF book-reviewing blogs out there.

Friday, August 21, 2009

All available units, Stand-By!

Since I returned to reading sf&f on a regular basis, approximately four years ago, I've been using the internet a great deal. First, it was to find something that would grant me the kind of reading experience I had loved in my youth and young adulthood (e.g. LotR, MST, Thomas Covenant). After buying, and wishlisting, hundreds to thousands of titles, I am definitely back into sf&f. Then, I started using the internet to read sf&f blogs and join forum boards. Reading the various posts, blogs and forums, was as much fun as getting a top shelf book recommendation.

Early on, I recognized that the blogs and forums had remarkably distinct personalities on them. Read an Adam Whitehead rant, view a riotous computer generated photo pinned up by James Long or take in the endless and inexhaustible reviews of Liviu Suciu. We are a community, perhaps a family even, based upon the tenor of some of the exchanges (i.e. pissing, moaning, bitching). Even though there is no such thing as a consensus in sf&f fandom, I love it, perhaps because of that. I don't mind the opposing opinions, if only because sf&f fandom has become nearly as interesting as sf&f itself. Hmm, is this an argument for art generating life, if only in a communal sense? Well, don't know, I don't do philosophy.

What I do want to do, however, is a regular spotlight on the recognizable personalities of the vast and broad sf&f community. Starting this weekend, I will begin a post called Sunday Night Spotlight. With the cooperation of bloggers and forum board members all across the internet, I hope to bring to you the personalities that have helped shape the landscape surrounding our favorite genre. The post won't necessarily be a weekly one, but will come in on Sunday nights whenever I've a new interview to post.

In case I don't see you until then, see you Sunday.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Poli. Sci-fi

I don't intend to post movie reviews, but saw a movie that provoked such a reaction, I had to write it off my chest.

Last night, I went and saw District 9, directed by Peter Jackson. With the internet buzz surrounding it, my expectations were primed. Unfortunately, I was the victim of over-hype. That alone would be nothing noteworthy, as this happens to movies, books and games all the time. No, what got me going was something else entirely.

Perhaps one of the largest disservices I have ever done to myself, was to minor in Political Science while attending the University of [state in which I attended]. At the time, the topic was new and interesting to me, and seemed to mesh well with the history degree I was pursuing and eventually earned. It was, in essence, a glimpse behind the curtain. We covered everything from our own (American) political history, through Constitutional procedures, elections and even the appropriate construction and analysis of a political poll. With a newly heightened awareness of all things political, I began to see the subtle and not-so-subtle political underpinnings throughout various elements of daily life. My wife, an executive chef, rarely enjoys eating out, because she understands what a professional kitchen and it's staff are like vis-a-vis the food. Similarly, had I known more, I would not have bothered with District 9.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Present, ARMS!!!

Here is DominicWilliam (also, and affectionately, known as, Milk-Beard the Pirate).

All Hail, Milk-Beard!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


In the past, I have read and reviewed The Ascendants duology, by James Barclay. As of last week, I've returned to Barclay and enjoined his Raven series. As of minutes ago, I finished the Raven series premiere: Dawnthief.

The Bad: The dialogue, as pertaining to plot development, in the initial phase of the book. Without using quotes or spoilers, there were times when I, as the reader, wanted to smack either Hirad, Sirendor, Ilkar or Talan for stating something that was, partially, incongruous. That is to say that I understood precisely what the conversation was meant to achieve, but was shaking my head at a nonsensical statement or a painfully obvious observation.

Advancement of the plot, at times in the early phase, felt forced or artificial. The dialogue problems previously mentioned, are symptomatic of this condition. Thankfully, for both author and reader, it is brief and temporary.

Friday, August 7, 2009


While I am currently reading James Barclay's Dawnthief, I'm not setting any speed records. I should have it finished this weekend and be moving onward from there. This brings me to the real reason for my lull in activity: DominicWilliam.

That's right, there's a new addition. At merely 3 days old, he continues to develop unbelievable levels of charm. I'm already polishing off Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles for Dominic, in order to begin his own various literary adventures.

I've now spent countless hours staring at a sleeping face, entranced and utterly speechless. You go, 'lil Dominic.

pictures coming soon....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Rai-kirah finale

Finishing this series is somewhat bittersweet. I will truly miss the characters. In another sense, I definitely need a break from them. This series has, in it’s own way, worn me out. The Rai-kirah series takes it’s reader and drags them up and down the range of human emotion.

The Bad: Hard to say. I wouldn’t call it bad, but I will leave advance warning for those considering reading this book/series. That warning being an ending that some may classify as the “happy ending.” Some fantasy fiction readers loathe anything approaching the happy ending. I could care less what type of ending the author uses, as long as it is well done.