Wednesday, December 19, 2007
What should I do #4 - Homestar Runner and Friends.

Okay, forgive me if I'm a little brief here, but it's right at the end of the semester for me. I had a final yesterday, and I have one tomorrow. My end-of-semester grading looms on the horizon like a great looming damn squelchy thing. My Christmas shopping isn't done by half either, which means that the next handful of days are going to be rough...

There are still announcements on the horizon. But they'll have to wait until I have more time to type them up properly.

It's been a couple of weeks since I did an installment of "What should I do while I'm waiting for your next book to come out." Or, as I like to think of it, "Uncle Pat helps find things to read that aren't total crap."


First on the list:




The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher.

I first became aware of these books when my own book came out back in April, and I was obsessively watching my numbers on Amazon. Butcher's Ninth book had just come out in hardcover, and... well... It was kicking the ass off my book in the rankings. Even when my sales rank jumped up, his was always doing just a little bit better.

So I hated him. Not, y'know, a lot. Just in a kinda vague, grumbly, third-grader way. I'd see his book there, a few places above mine on Amazon's fantasy list. And I'd think things like, "Stupid urban fantasy bullshit. Stupid looking cowboy wizard. Ooohh.. Look who has a staff. How dumb. Grumble grumble."

Then I went out and bought a copy of the first book in the series, Storm Front. And it was REALLY GOOD.

Simply put, these books rocked my socks. I read all nine of them in less than three weeks.

And really, what's not to like? First person story about a clever magicy-type guy who leads a rough life. His magic is gritty and realistic. The author has a vast and eclectic knowledge base that adds nicely to the books. Honestly, I think Butcher might be my long lost twin. I'd love to meet him and talk shop some day.

Butcher writes great action scenes, and his characters change, grow, make mistakes, and reap the consequences of their own actions.

What I'm saying is that it's really good stuff, folks. Read it.


Second, I'd like to bring a book to your attention that probably has been under your radar....





The Secret History of Moscow, by Ekaterina Sedia.

I ran into this book way back I went to a convention in my hometown of Madison. My book had only come out a month or so beforehand, and nobody knew who I was. Or, if they did know, they didn't care much.

While wandering the dealer's room, I had picked up a little promo thing from the Prime Books table. It was one of those things where they print out the first chapter of the book as a teaser.

So I took one and read it at lunch. It hooked me in, and I went back to the table to buy the book. But... alas... the book wasn't going to be released for several months yet, not until November. Lifetimes away for someone with a memory like mine.

But then something magical happened. A person behind the table looked at my convention badge and said, "Wait, I've heard about you. You can have an early copy of the book if you want."

I tried to pay for the book, but they wouldn't let me. It took me a while to realize that they were just GIVING me a copy of the book because I was an author, and they were hoping, if I liked it, then maybe I would say nice things about it and help them spread the word to promote it.

Eventually I realized what was happening. It was like that scene from 2001 where the ape holds up the bone. Except I didn't club anyone to death with my free book. I pretty much just legged it away before anyone tried to take it away from me. It was my first, sweet taste of delicious authory fameperks.

Anyway, the end of the story is that I did read the book and I very much enjoyed it. It reminded me of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, but set in Moscow instead of London. And Sedia draws more on the Russian mythic tradition instead of the western stuff that Gaiman used. That was really interesting, and I learned some cool new stuff because of it.

And lastly: Homestar Runner.

I'm assuming most of you already know about it. But if you don't, then you're really missing out and I would be remiss in not bringing it to your attention.

You'll need to watch a little bit of it before it starts to make sense. After a while, it becomes like a new religion.

That's all for now folks. I've got to grab a little sleep before I head out to my final.


Much love,

pat

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