The same but different

After reading the Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks wrote The Sword of Shannara. The story follows Shea Ohmsford's adventures to recover the Sword of Shannara and defeat the evil Warlock Lord. The story shares many elements of Middle Earth, but takes place on a alternate world in the distant future, after the downfall of the high tech society. Published in 1977, this was the fantasy novel to ever to appear on the New York Times bestseller list.

Alternate Histories

Thanks to Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey–Maturin series, and Bernard Cornwell, Sharpe series, my interest has been piqued regarding the Napoleonic Wars. One of my coworkers suggested Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and His Majesty's Dragon to me as great fantasy stories set in the same time period. In one, England uses magic to help defeat Napoleon and his armies. In the other, it's dragons.

I must say, I loved one of the books and really hated the other. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was boring. It started boring and didn't get any better. The only reason I finished the book was that I hoped it would get better. It didn't. Oh well.

Making Money

While perusing the blog I noticed that, while there are two posts concerning the news about Terry Pratchett's health, there are none with a full review featuring his latest book. So I've decided to remedy this by providing one myself.

Making Money continues the adventures of Moist Von Lipwig and his lady friend Adora Belle Dearheart from their introduction in Going Postal. Moist, who is currently the Postmaster General, has managed to make the City of Ankh-Morpork's once ruined Post Office into a well-run machine. Unfortunately, this makes his life horribly hum-drum. In the absence of the sobering Adora Belle (don't let the name fool you, she's quite formidable), Vetinari, the City's Patrician (aka. Tyrant), convinces Moist to take on the job as master of the Royal Bank and Mint. Danger, intrigue, and hilarity ensue in this witty satire of how money and banking really work.

Oh, and there's little dog named Mr. Fusspot. He's very important. But you'll have to read it to find out why.

A MEMORY OF LIGHT, the final novel in the Wheel of Time

Since the death of Robert Jordan (Wheel of time author) in September fans have been left wondering if the final book of the wheel of time series would remain unfinished and unpublished.

Late last week Tor the publisher of the wheel of light gave a press release that that have signed a deal to have Brandon Sanderson finish the final book "A MEMORY OF LIGHT" with scheduled delivery of the manuscript in December 2008 and a planned publication date of Fall 2009.

Brandon Sanderson is best known for his Alcatraz books Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians being the first book.

Books to Films - December Blockbusters

Ian McEwan’s Atonement on which the film is based recounts events in the unusually hot summer of 1935, when a privileged young woman’s vivid imagination and recklessness forever alters her life and lives of those she loves. Film critics are loving “the stunning landscapes and gorgeous camerawork”.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman is part of a trilogy called “His Dark Material”, set in a parallel universe. The series has often been compared to the Harry Potter novels. The movie is churning up some controversy on both sides of the border for its anti-Catholic bias. Be your own judge and check out the New York Times Review. Better yet, go see the movie.

At long last - the much-anticipated The Kite Runner is here. It's based on Khaled Hosseini’s popular novel that traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant's son, in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy through the atrocities of the present day. Read the latest news on what is happen with the young actors.

Grand Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy

I love a good classic. If you've read any of my other blogs, you've probably guessed that already. Here's another great series by the Grand Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Andre Norton. As a matter of fact, I just started readingf Lords of Thunder, the second book in the Beast Master Series. If you'd like to read the series, start with Beast Master's Planet, which contains both Beast Master & Lord of Thunder. The third story is Beast Master's Ark followed by Beast Master Circus, and lastely Beast Master's Quest.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #91 (Small Gems #2)

Mr. Thundermug is the "inventive and poignant story of a baboon who acquires the ability to eloquently speak human language".

As squatters in a condemned apartment building in a fictional city (think London), Mr. Thundermug and his family face eviction. His trouble escalates when he is arrested for, of all things - cruelty to animals! "The amusing and frustrating transactions between baboon and society attain urban-legend status".

This little fable-like tale is enchanced by moody, sepia-toned photographs throughout. A noteworthy debut for British Cornelius Medvei.

Out of This World: Great Sci-Fi and Fantasy (Nancy Pearl's Picks)

Nancy PearlNancy Pearl

"I don't consider myself at all a science fiction/fantasy fanatic, I must say that selecting the books for this topic was harder than any of the others that I've done. There is simply so much excellent stuff out there — both new and old — that I know people would enjoy, that the list could have been at least four times as long.

Did she pick any of your favorites?

In the Beginning...

There was the Dragons of Autumn Twilight. It's hard to believe the entire Dragonlance series started over 20 years ago. Written by Margaret_Weis and Tracey_Hickman to support Advance Dungeons and Dragons, the Dragonlance series has grown to include over 90 novels and 16 adventures for the game. I remember as a teenage rpg junkie when I first read the book. I just had to get the corresponding modules, which I never did play. So, if you love the Dragonlance series or fantasy in general, be sure to read the first book and see where it all started.

The "Other" Coraline and More Spooky Books to Come

Neil Gaiman already does pretty well for himself with popular works like the Sandman, American Gods, and Stardust which is now a major motion picture (and a really good one at that, if you missed it in the theatre, you definitely need to see it on DVD.) But I predict that in another year he'll be getting more recognition for his children's books, particularly Coraline, which is slated to be a stop-motion film in 2009 by Henry Selick who did The Nightmare Before Christmas (I know Tim Burton's famous for that but Selick directed it).

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