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Mark Chadbourn

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What to Read Next (April 2012 edition)

It is a good problem to have. What to read next?? Indulge in some recent SF/Fantasy? Read an old classic? Venture into my other fetish, historical non-fiction? Like most, I have a stack of books (well over 100 siting in my study) that I have collected to read. Yet different  influences always intrude to bring different tomes to the top of the stack.

Currently in the running:[amazon_carousel widget_type="ASINList" width="500" height="200" title="" market_place="US" shuffle_products="False" show_border="False" asin="0915368617, 1616146117, 1590202929, 0394746236, B000IOB9IU" /]

The Judging Eye by R. Scott Baker

This is the first book in the second trilogy (The Aspect-Emperor) that follows The Prince of Nothing Trilogy, which saw Kellhus become the first true Aspect-Emperor of this fictitious land in a thousand years. Since the second book is not out yet (at least in paperback) I may hold off on this one; it has lots of political machinations and multiple characters that would make it easier to remember if I read the entire trilogy back-to-back-to-back.

The Burning Man by Mark Chadbourn

Chadbourn’s Age of Misrule trilogy was one of the best at depicting a slow transition from a “normal” world into the chaos of a fantastical world (my review of World’s End at SFSignal). Jack Churchill is an enjoyable hero to observe, and Chadbourn sets up the battle between light and dark well, pulling in lots of different mythos to go along with the Pendragon spirit. Reading this one and the concluding one in the trilogy are high on the list. And, Chadbourn follows the memory rule: he puts a summary at the beginning, realizing that most of us don’t remember Jack of Ravens (the first in this trilogy, my notes here) since we read it long ago.

The Civil War: A Narrative–Fort Sumter to Perryville, Vol. 1¬†by Shelby Foote

At 840 pages, the first volume of Shelby Foote’s amazing Civil War narrative is the very definition of reader commitment. And I already did a preview of the first chapter, a narrative of Jefferson Davis resigning from Congress as secession nears. But I will wait until I have collected the last two in the trilogy, and read them all straight through.

At Dawn We Slept by Gordon Prange

Having recently completed Red Sun (an alternate history which assumes the Japanese invaded Oahu after Pearl Harbor, notes here) and Retribution by Max Hastings, which chronicles the end of World War II in the Pacific, I’d like to dive into Prange’s classic detailed history of Pearl (and follow that up with Miracle at Midway by Prange)

Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith

Norstrilia is Paul Linebarger’s (writing as Cordwainer Smith) only science fiction novel. I ordered both the novel and the full collection of short stories (The Rediscovery of Man) in the excellent NESFA Press hardbacks. I’ve read Atomsk (my notes here), Linebarger’s (writing as Carmichael Smith) post-World War II thriller, and I enjoyed the psychological warfare perspectives he threw in. As it is standalone, this novel will most likely be next in line.


Jack of Ravens by Mark Chadbourn

Jack of Ravens by Mark Chadbourn

At the beginning of the year, I devoured (pun intended, Mark might get it) Mr. Chadbourn’s Age of Misrule trilogy. It is only fitting that I end the year with the start of the following trilogy, Kingdom of the Serpent, and the enjoyable romp through history that is the first book, Jack of Ravens. This book is not only a good vs. evil fantasy tale that chronicles the fight through history, but it imagines a world outside of our world, a (dare I say it) “Matrix” like veil, leaving you wondering which is real and which is fantasy. Chadbourn does an excellent job of weaving in historical figures into a timeline that asks the participants to bend their minds and look behind the veil.

And dragons! What more do you need?

The Age of Misrule series started with the world as it is today, a world of reason. Jack Churchill and the rest of the five of the Pendragon Spirit, rode the wave of chaos that spread as technology failed and a battle began with Fragile Creatures (us humans) initially serving as collateral damage…but in the end being the weight that tipped the scale.

Some spoilers for that first series after the break.


Review on SFSignal.com of Chadbourn’s World’s End

My notes on Mark Chadbourn’s excellent first novel in his Age of Misrule trilogy, World’s End, has been published on SFSignal.com.

An excerpt:

There are almost as many end of world novels as there are authors (yes, guilty!) in both science fiction and fantasy. My last article on SFSignal talked about different types of technology changes that can be found in sci-fi novels; Chadbourn’s series features a gradual technology collapse in a fantasy novel, with technology slowly but surely being replaced by a sense of the Earth, nature and magic. Chadbourn handles this transition seamlessly, taking the characters (and the reader) from a modern London to using Stonehenge as a refuge from creatures so heinous they cannot look upon them without nausea. Even though it was originally released in the late 90s by Gollancz in the UK, World’s End has a very 2012ish “a new age is coming” feel to it.

Read the entire review here.

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

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Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo


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