Sunday, July 11, 2010

Out of Print. Out of this world? Why, yes.

So, as I mentioned on vacation, Piers Anthony wrote a sci-fi series in the early 1980's that was not only a grand solar system epic but also very... adult, enough to shock most Xanth saga fans. But that 's what Bio of a Space Tyrant, a five volume series now out of print, is: grand sci-fi with adult themes- lots of politics, lots of planets, lots of space sex. What's not to like?

Used copies are worth tracking down. I'm leaving this set unrated since I read it over 20 years ago, but I remember liking it a great deal- and not just for the naughty bits. You can read a nice wiki entry about it here.

Warded Man, Desert Spear.

I walked past the book The Warded Man at least six different occasions, and each time thought "enh, maybe next time I'm at the library." Finally, I grabbed it. Peter V. Brett's book is called "The Painted Man" outside the US for some reason, but regardless of which version, it's a solid fantasy novel. Always key with good fantasy is a magical system that can be followed, but is not completely revealed (keeping it magical, if you will). Both the sequel, The Desert Spear, and the first book have such a system and the many other qualities needed in a good fantasy. Almost epic, the first book really has three stages, feeling a bit like YA reading at first, like solid YA fantasy in the middle, and shifting to an almost "Tarran Wanderer" feel for the end. The second book lags a bit when working through its secondary plot line, and the anti-hero aspects of the hero are a bit annoying, but even with those problems the book is a page-turner with plenty of oomph.

Rating for "The Warded Man" and its sequel: 33/42 and 29/42Richmans. Solid!

Well now, this sounds like fun.

I know you've read Scalzi's "Whatever" blog now and then, and his "Big Idea" posts are a real kindness to both readers (ooooh! something new!) and authors (oooooh! read my book!). Not everything posted there grabs my attention, but Discord's Apple, by Carrie Vaughn, seems to be a solid work just waiting to be consumed.

Scalzi's entry is here. The first chapter of the book is here.