Fall is fading into Winter, and I've been busy.
The Sci-Fi and Fantasy
I read Jack Vance's Tales of the Dying Earth from cover to cover. Good stuff. Not for everyone, and it certainly had its annoying moments, but there were some gems in there . . . and it had some charms that are hard to explain. For instance, his character Cugel the Clever was just not likable for most of the story The Eyes of the Overworld. However, in Cugel's Saga, he became more likable (and funnier), despite keeping most of his bad character traits. Maybe the fact that the character grew in the second story made him likable. I'm a sucker for epiphanies and character growth and all that.
Also, if you're a Gene Wolfe fan like me, it's worth reading just to see where Wolfe got some of his inspiration for his Solar Cycle books. Beware the vocabulary, though, unless you like learning lots of new, strange words (My personal favorite: animalcule).
Continuing on the books I've been reading, this last week I started Mister Troll's recommendation, The Anvil of Ice. Holy crap. Beautiful. It hits all my soft spots: Archaic magic, forbidden knowledge, desolate world, troubled hero, intricate plot, and lovely magical artifacts both new and old. Rohan describes a world that is dark and mesmerizing. I hope it keeps up. Reading books like this is what makes me glad I joined Mister Troll in this project. Sure, I might have otherwise read it on his recommendation, but then I wouldn't have the pleasure of gushing about it to you.
The Romance Experiment
One of the blogs I visit on occasion is Avid Book Reader, a blog that focuses primarily on reviewing romance novels. I chatted with the owner of the site, and she recommended to me some romance novels to try out. Luckily, I found some of them at a local library book sale, so I've been expanding my horizons with them. In the past I've often looked down on the genre, and it's easy to see the stigma that's attached to it. For instance, some of my friends had a good chuckle when they found out what I was reading. Furthermore, Mrs. Gruff expressed that she was a little embarrassed for me that I carried my new romance novel around so openly. I've heard that Sci-Fi and Fantasy have a similar stigma attached to them, but I've been so immersed in those genres and surrounded by fellow readers, that I've mostly forgotten about it (I vaguely remember being embarrassed about the books as a kid). Not that I care about such stigmas. Just something to think about.
Reading romance has had some benefits as well. For one, it gave me an opportunity to bond with my mother on her latest visit. From talking to her, it seems almost like she has read every romance novel in the universe. There's much more to write about here, but I'll hold off on it for now. I hope to write an expanded article on my forays into the romance genre in the near future.
The Secret Project
Mister Troll and I have also been working on another project. I can't say how close to launch it is yet, but it has both of us excited. Let's just say it's of a creative nature, and it's going to push us in some new and exciting directions. I'll let you know when there's news to be had on it.