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Review Draft for Tim
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Author:  davidbofinger [ Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Review Draft for Tim


This is a first draft. I'll probably edit it a bit, but tell
me if I need to make it shorter or whether this length is OK.

| David Bofinger |

Series: The Wizard Lord: Volume One of the The Annals of the Chosen
Author: Lawrence Watt-Evans
Imprint: Tor (Tom Doherty Associates)
Published: 2006 (2007 in paperback)

Dark wizards. Chosen heroes. The greatest swordsman in the world. The most beautiful woman in the world. And a constitutional system of checks and balances intended to rein in excesses of the executive branch of government. Hey what?

Lawrence Watt-Evans writes unpretentious interesting fiction. He’s best known for his Ethshar books, particularly The Misenchanted Sword (though for my money the Lords of Dûs series is even better). If he’d focused on the military he might have been a Baen writer before there was Baen.

The Wizard Lord (you may cringe at the title now) is about ordinary people, made extraordinary but still ordinary underneath, put in extraordinary situations. The central character takes the simple farm boy trope to a new level: for instance, deliberately causing someone else an injury is pretty much a new idea to him. Despite being the greatest swordsman in the world.

Most of all it’s about a fantasy world ruled by laws rather than men (or women, elves or whatever). One that thinks even good people shouldn’t be trusted with untrammeled power. And that someone must watch the watchers.

It’s a refreshing change from fantasy’s usual paradigm of revealed truth, where an authority explains that Faction A is good, Faction B is evil, and if we just help Faction A kill all of Faction B the world will become a very nice place. (Traditionally the authority was a wizard in a pointy hat, but the recent trend is to do away with the wizard and just use the hat.)

It isn’t the best book Watt-Evan’s has written. It starts slowly and the plot is nothing special. But the core idea is innovative, the setting is interesting and the characters are both well-conceived and very human. More power to you, Lawrence.

Author:  Tim [ Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

If you want to edit it, that's OK, but I think it is fine as it is. Tomorrow (Saturday) I will copy from here.
Users may edit their own posts, so you should be able to edit it directly.

Author:  Tim [ Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:58 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for writing a review. I have now entered in into the database and it appears online at the book's page as well as via the menu left under Book Reviews.
I will also include it in a future newsletter.

Do you want the credit to be your full name?

Author:  davidbofinger [ Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:45 am ]
Post subject:  Review of John Nance's _Orbit_

title: Orbit
author: John J. Nance
reviewer: David Bofinger
imprint: Pocket Star Books
publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN-13: 978-0-7434-7662-1

In most science fiction stories the spaceship is a plot device, taking the characters from A to B and keeping its mouth shut about the details of its job. This isn't one of those stories. The detailed description of space travel procedures bears witness to Nance's background as air force pilot and aviation analyst. (His political leanings are fairly visible too.) There's a realistic space travel tradition stretching back through Clarke to Verne, and this is a fairly standard addition to it.
And then, two-fifths of the way in, it isn't.
I found the change in tone a pleasant surprise. It can be a pleasant surprise for you, too, as long as you don't do something foolish like read the back cover. There's still space travel stuff, but mostly it's character-driven and emotional.
From the preface it seems like Nance usually just does the aviation stuff and is trying something new with _Orbit_. If so, it's an encouraging evolution in his writing. I wouldn't want to read a novel like this every week, but I liked reading this one.

Author:  Tim [ Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:47 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for another book review. I have put it up on the book's page.
However, I see I forgot to edit it yet.

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