Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today marks the one year anniversary of Ubiquitous Absence. I would not have bet on it surviving this long. It is the sort of endeavor that I could have easily dismissed due to lack of substantive yield. However, it has been more fun than I would have imagined, and that is the only real goal.

Coincidentally, cousin Harry published a post reviewing us today over at Temple Library Reviews.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review - Conqueror's Moon

Conqueror’s Moon
by Julian May
Ace, 2004
copy provided by me (♫ a name I call myself, fah – a long, long way to run♫)

ISBN-10: 0-441-01132-2

I am rather surprised that this book, and series, has as low a profile as it seems to. I picked up on this series through sheer happenstance while reading an old post, in an obscure thread, from years ago, on SFFWorld. As you can see, the book has rather fine cover art. The dust cover bears testimonials from Jean Auel (on front) and Fritz Lieber (on back). Given the date of copyright and printing, to give nothing of the story away, it would be fair to say it was influenced by Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy. In fact, if Conqueror’s Moon is any indicator of the remainder of the series, May’s Boreal Moon trilogy may be every bit as good as the Farseer trilogy.

My Summary: Centuries ago, Bazekoy, Emperor of the World, sailed north from the continent, across the Boreal Sea, to High Blenholme Isle. There, to tame and conquer its wildness. Replete with fae creatures (including spunkies, green men, salka, etc.) and different forces of magic, it can only be conquered in the basest sense. Down through the ages, fae creatures and ethereal forces survive and remain bound to, or by, none. As with all empires, Bazekoy’s slowly withered and failed. Now, the Prince Heritor of Cathra, Conrig Wincantor, seeks to revive Bazekoy’s empire. First, by uniting the four separate kingdoms of Blenholme Isle under the Act of Sovereignty, ruled by Cathra.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Review - Demonstorm

by James Barclay
Gollancz, 2008
copy provided by the son of my son's grandfather

ISBN-13: 978-0-575-08276-2

I was very excited to get through Demonstorm. The setting and characters are all familiar to readers of Barclay’s Raven series. The story was the best yet.

My Summary: Xetesk has perpetrated the unpardonable by implementing their ‘nuclear option.’ Unfortunately for Xetesk, and everyone else in their dimension, the dragon dimension of Beshara and the dimension inhabited by the peacefully resting dead, it backfires. Badly. Colleges of magic come under constant siege. The remaining population of eastern Balaia is ranched by the invaders. The Raven, and friends, devise a strategy to defeat this enemy. A strategy that involves the highest sacrifice.

My Take: The Raven discover that all of life, as they are aware of it, faces two possible outcomes: 1) victory and survival or, 2) defeat, followed by enslavement and extinction. The enemy involved in this fight unites every faction, as they each face their collective end. It’s barely enough.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ooh, another one

For the Blogroll, I picked up The James Review. I collect stuff like a wayward crow homing in on the shiny object. The Blogroll is no exception I suppose, but I have to have it. I need it.

James M. Toburen does book reviews rather well. James is also reviewing a lot of newer releases, particularly the ones we all hear about, but may not yet have. Definitely a site to watch for.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Review - Shadowheart

by James Barclay
Gollancz, 2003
copy provided by your friendly neighborhood El Guapissimmo (i.e. me)

ISBN-13: 978-0-575-08280-9

I was concerned with Elfsorrow being a step up from the previous three Raven books. My concern centered on Shadowheart being able to follow in the path of Elfsorrow and being, inevitably, compared to it. I can safely say that I had nothing to worry about. Shadowheart is as good as Elfsorrow, and even goes one better.

Story Summary: The underlying tension between the four colleges of magic finally reaches critical mass and the intrigue goes overt, spilling out into total war. Xetesk, in its bid for continental, if not total, dominion sees its first order of business as being the destruction of Julatsa, a college of magic left all but desolate in the wake of the Wesmen wars. Julatsa, already severely diminished, must survive Xeteskian aggression, as well as raising the buried Heart of Julatsan magic.

New Blog Contributor

DominicWilliam explaining the finer points of the illustration art in his latest ARC. How in the world does a six-month old receive more ARCs than I do? This is sick.

Extra contributors on a blog? There's been talk about the topic, and other associated generalities, around the sf&f blogosphere. Only the Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy, ahead of the discussion curve, merely picked up Bryce Lee (masterfully done). Gav, at NextRead, considers the matter. Larry, over at OF Blog of the Fallen, decided to take the matter in the direction of community-based, geometric asexuality...or something to that effect.

My take on the issue? As they say in that region south of Canada, and between the Champlain and Connecticut River valleys, "Hard sayin', not knowin'." No, I definitely have something relevant on that topic, but...not...just...yet. Sooner rather than later, I should think.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blogroll expands

Found some additional sf&f blogs that I wanted to follow and list. They are:

Travels Through Iest
Some Damn Fool Idealistic Crusade

Head on over and get some good 'ole sf&f on.

For Seak's Sake

Does that guy ever come up with a bad idea? Seriously, after checking his most recent post re: messy index sidebars, I stopped to take a look. Ok, kinda messy. So, here it is - reviews filed by author name.

ETA: 02/17/2010 - I change/revise ratings as I feel like it. I'm capricious, whimsical and reserve the right to be inconsistent as all hell. I am an empire of one!

ETA: 02/18/2010 - I've created a separate page (top of left column) for the Reviews' File.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Review - The Price of Spring

The Price of Spring
by Daniel Abraham
Tor, 2009
copy provided by my gainful employment

ISBN: 978-0-7653-1343-0

It is with a heavy heart I wander in here to make this review. Daniel Abraham is a great storyteller and author. The first three books of the Long Price Quartet illustrate this. In fact, I had all but crowned Abraham’s series into my own ‘all-time’ favorites (i.e. LotR, Silmarillion, First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and Memory, Sorrow & Thorn). I’m not sure you can possibly imagine how crushed I was when The Price of Spring bombed.

In The Price of Spring, we return to several characters we’ve seen before, notably Otah Machi and Maati Vaupathai. In the final book of this series, Galt and the cities of the Khaiate (now the Third Empire), will suffer the loss of their entire cultures if they can’t set aside their differences, make concessions and unite, as two dying peoples. The women of the Third Empire, and the men of Galt, are relegated to a fate of living historical monuments; the last of their kind. Worse yet, unknown to the emperor, there are clandestine plans to, once more, bind an andat. In this day and age, there is no Dai-kvo, no authority to guide and govern the binding, or use of, an andat. Since the emperor turned his back on tradition, and his people, a new poet is likely to indulge vengeance against Galt and let the emperor be damned.

To be sure, my opinion of this work is a minority, dissenting opinion. And so, I run the risk of being marginalized as a result. I suppose I can only hope that a portion of those criticizing other bloggers for never posting a negative review will stand in for my defense. My criticism of this book, as a stink-bomb, has to do with how it ends and the road it takes to get there. Therefore, my elaboration upon those points will, unavoidably, contain spoilers. If you’re considering reading the series or have read some of the series and wish to continue DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER AS THE TALE WILL BE SPOILED FOR YOU.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What's goin' down in PW-town

There are some very interesting things afoot.

First, Bryce Lee, AKA Seak of The Stamp, will be contributing on a weekly basis over at Only the Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Bryce is remarkably friendly, funny and upbeat. All of which are personality traits that are difficult to display on the internet. Congratulations to OtB SF&F and Bryce.

Second, Magemanda, of Floor to Ceiling Books, has a riotous interview with Sam Sykes, debut author of Tome of the Undergates.

Third, I'm procrastinating. I've finished Daniel Abraham's Long Price Quartet. I've even mentally composed the interview of the final installment, The Price of Spring. I just can't bring myself to type it up yet. I'm in completely uncharted territory with my view of this book, and the entire series as a result. Not necessarily a good thing.

If I can face the task tomorrow, I'll see you then. I'm off to hit up the DVR for the two hours worth of season premiere I have waiting for me from Lost.