Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files

Before I did my removal I had started reading the Dresden Files books.

I like the writing, the books are page turners, but with an escalating story. I have finished book 9 “White Knight”, and I will continue, slowly over the months/years. I may, at some point, be in the same position as others who had read all the books out, waiting for more.
At least, Jim Butcher writes faster than some authors, so the waiting is not that long 😉

It has been good to see the growth of Harry Dresden’s character, from a “simple” detective wizard to a rather powerful one.

In the mean time I will read some other stuff, my list is quite long.

Dresden Files – Books and TV series.

A while ago I started to read the Dresden Files series of books by Jim Butcher.

At present I have read the first 3 books of the series, and enjoyed them thoroughly. I surely intend to read further in the series, and there is no lack of material. The series has, at present 16 books out, and the total series is expected to be around 25 books. Nor these books are not the massive tomes, such as the “Song of Ice and Fire” books, so reading a book at a time, mixed with other books, will be manageable. I have the first 12 books on the Kindle, so I don’t even need to buy them before I can read them 😉

Jim Butcher is the Guest of Honour at the Eastercon in Heathrow next year, and I am considering going there if time allows.

There is a TV series that ran for a single season, 12 episodes a few years ago. I found the DVD set and watched it the past week end.
Paul Blackthorne, also known from “Arrow” plays Harry Dresden, and I like his acting in this one, but I think he is better in “Arrow”.

I found the TV series quite entertaining, after a few episodes it started to find its feet. Harry Dresden is the only person in Chicago having his occupation in the phonebook stated as “Wizard”. He helps the local police out in the strangest cases that would normally have gone unsolved.
He is a rather powerful wizard, but has dabbled in black magic which was not too popular with “The Council”. He is under essentially constant surveillance and invariably accused of the worst of intentions.

The series follows him in a series of cases, the pilot episode “Storm Front” is relatively true to the first book in the series with the same title.

The TV series is “based on” the books, but after the pilot it deviates considerably from the books, so I should be relatively spoiler safe when I resume reading the book series.

I would rate the series at an enjoyable, slightly above average 7.5/10.

I rate the first 3 books a bit higher, at a solid above average 8/10

More Audio Books : Tolkien

During some more long rides to Denmark I started listening to “The Hobbit” and got through the first volume of The Lord of the Rings trilogy “The Fellowship of the Ring”.

All read by Rob Ingliss, I find him an excellent reader who renders voices and accents for the characters very nicely. I find his reading gives me the feeling of an epic story – well, I already know the epic scope of the story having read it several times. Very enjoyable, rendering the poetic parts as well as the terror parts of the story very well. Powerful reading.

Tolkiens reinvention of the mythical story is, of course, another part of the attraction for me. In my view he is one of the great story tellers of the 20th century.

On later travels, I look forward to listening to the two final volumes – again. Oh, the joys of having an MP3 player in the car, since I find the radio channels on the way either boring or unnerving.

Hugo 2010 Novelette : “One of our Bastards is Missing” by Paul Cornell

I have mainly known Paul Cornell from his stories in the Doctor Who universe (“Father’s Day” and “Human Nature/Family of Blood”). his is my first Cornell story outside that.

Nice to see that he is nominated in two categories this story is best Novelette and also in the graphic story category – mor about the graphic story later.

This one starts nicely out, the protagonist, a security officer is confronted with a mystery at the wedding of the princess.

The story has a slight surreal feel, but at the end it is quite consistent. So we have got mystery, betrayal and a good wrap-up.

Two more novelettes to go, and for now my choice is between this one and the Eugie Foster one

8/10

Hugo Awards 2010 Fan Art

Finally I decided to become a “supporting member” of Worldcon2010 (Aussiecon).

This means that I have been downloading the “Hugo Voter Package” with the majority of the material nominated for the Hugo Awards. When unpacked this amounts to a whopping 700MB, including 5-6 each of Novels, Novellettes, Novellas and Short Stories, as well as a fair bit of Fan and pro magazines, fan and pro artworks.

Last year I started out with reading the novels ( the short stories had already been listened to as podcasts ) and I think that was somewhat of a mistake, since I never got to anything shorter than the novels (apart from the short stories) before the time to vote had come.

This year the plan is to go the opposite way, so I started looking at the:

Fan Artist category in the package :

Brad W. Foster,
David Howell,
Steve Stiles and
Taral Wayne

All were nominated for graphics art in different styles, except David Howell who designed the base for the 2009 Hugo award.

David Howell will be my choice of Fan Artist for the Hugo Awards 2010. I like the design a lot and I think he deserves to be recognized for the work he did.

Will I be disappointed if someone else wins ? Not at all, this just reflects my preference.

Hugo award voting and material, an overview

As a preparation for the voting for the Hugo Awards 2009 I downloaded the package of material from their website, and listened to some the short stories on a variety of podcasts, and watched what I could easily get hold of.

There was not enough time to read the rest of the material.

This is what I got to see or read before voting :

Dramatic presentations, short form :

Doctor Who : ‘Turn Left’
Doctor Who : ‘Silence in the Library’/’Forest of the Dead’
Battlestar Galactica : ‘Revelations’
I would have liked to see more, especially ‘Doctor Horrible’s Sing Along Blog’ . I was not aware that the DVD version from the US was Region Free, so missed out on that one. I will have to get it some time

Dramatic presentations, long form :

‘The Dark Knight’
‘Iron Man’

Novels :

Charles Stross : Saturns Children
Neil Gaiman : Graveyard Book
Cory Doctorow : Little Brother
John Scalzi : Zoe’s Tale

Short stories (audio podcast format) :

Ted Chiang : ‘Exhalation’
Michael Swanwick : ‘From Babel’s Fall’n Glory We Fled’
Mike Resnick : ‘Article of Faith’
Kij Johnson : ’26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss’

A bit of info on my preferences will follow when I get to the different categories.

I still have some novellettes and novellas on my reader that I will want to read, but at the moment I am busy reading a much older Science Fiction story, EE ‘Doc’ Smith’s ‘Lensman’ Series

More details when I get to watch/read more of the stuff, and a few more thoughts on the stuff I am reading/watching

Podcast : Dragonpage Cover to Cover

A weekly podcast all about the written word in SciFi, Fantasy etc.

Most of the weeks this show is hosted by Mike Mennenga and Mike Stackpole. Both have written books, Stackpole just “a few” more, including some New York Times bestsellers.

For now I have read just one of his books (Star Wars: “I, Jedi”) and two short stories. I like them, but more about that later.

General discussions about books and publishing can often, to me at least, be quite interesting. It looks like we are going to see a shift in publishing the written word similar to what we have seen in the music industry. Actually it has already started. Ebooks are becoming common, and ebook readers are seriously coming now. Amazon has the Kindle, Sony has a reader, and the iPod Touch has a set of ebook reader packages available, some are free, some not. On the other hand, paper books are not going to disappear overnight, there is something about having a *real paper* book in your hands.

I do have an iPod Touch, more about that at a later stage

Every week has an interview with an author, publisher etc.

Finally, the library segment, where they talk briefly about books that have been sent to the studio, and an occasional book review.

In the last episode I listened to there was an invitation to submit content about book publishing, more reviews etc, so I expect to listen to a more varied podcast in the future.

This is one podcast I expect to stay in my iTunes subscription, I particular like that Mike and Mike sound like they are really enjoying doing the show, apart from it being informative and entertaining.

To read or not to read …

That is the question.

Since the job requires a lot of reading, mainly technical, I have been reading less than I did when I was growing up. At thet time I was considered a “book worm” – eating stories by the page …. most of it science fiction. The first major fantasy work I read was the classic “Lord of the Rings” (no introduction necessary).

After moving to The Netherlands and having my present job I got to read less, but found more science fiction on video/TV, in the beginning Star Trek TNG, later much more.

I did read the occasional Star Trek and Star Wars book, but not much more, and sometimes had a series of books.

The first series I “discovered” was Raymond E. Feist’s “Riftwar Saga” which I loved. After one or two more sequel series the interest waned, and I have not read the later ones.

About 5 years ago a friend in Denmark introduced me to Anne McCaffrey’s writing. As a birthday present I received “Dragonflight”, “Dragonquest” of the “Dragonriders of Pern” series and the first of the “Acorna” series. Out of those I like the “Pern” series the best, but the other one is not bad at all. This lead to another bout of reading for me, then another hiatus.

In between all this came the “Harry Potter” series and I found that it appeals to the child in me as well as the more grown-up.

About a year ago I was talking to a friend I had not seen for a while. When I mentioned the blog and he heard the keyword “science fiction” he interrupted me and asked “You interested in books ?” well – yes, a few days later he arrived with 5 shopping bags full of books in the scifi and fantasy genre. I ended up with about 70 new titles – a considerable increase of my sf/fantasy book collection, some of which I may never get to read.

It looks like I am going to take a bit more time to do some reading, probably some short stories and an occasional novel. (Remember what I said the other day – time is a limited resource). Actually I have started this, having read a few novels lately. Some of the podcasts I am listening to are scifi/fantasy stories/plays, so I do get some fiction “reading” done. Listening to a podcast while walking to and from work sure beats trying to read a book in the traffic 😉 .

My early Christmas.

Count me lucky.I just got a really good early Christmas present.

I talked to a friend of mine on the phone the other day and mentioned my interest in scifi, and he promptly said he probably had something for me. He had collected a pile of books for an English speaking lady in Denmark, but it turned out most of it was SciFi, and she was not really interested. But they both thought that the books should find a home and not simply be dumped. So I received 4 shopping bags full of SciFi/Fantasy books, about 100 books by authors like::

Tad Williams, William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Asimov, Heinlein, Alfred Bester, Stanislaw Lem, Michael Stackpole (Fortress Draconis), Frederik Pohl, Joe Haldeman, Robert Jordan, Larry Niven, Greg Bear, David Brin, Philip K. Dick, George R.R. Martin, Kim Stanley Robinson (the full Mars Trilogy) and more …

Most of the books I did not have already, so a very neat addition to my collection. Many of the books were even unread.

Another bag had some “normal” classic stories from Alexander Dumas and others.

Wow for an early Christmas gift! Now for finding some new shelf space.

I wonder when I get the time to read all this …

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and a Happy New Year 2008.