Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Gathering Storm

Delivered Tuesday afternoon, courtesy of Amazon, and read Tuesday evening (Mrs S-E being out). Boy, is it long. 750 pages of actual story. I suspect Jordan would have chopped out some of the less significant narrative but I can understand Sanderson felt he shouldn't and couldn't. There isn't much, if any, dross in there. And I can see now why we are going to have to put up with 3 volumes instead of one to finish it.

So, without plot spoilers, where are we now? Well, we don't hear anything about Andor (either the Lion Throne or the Black Tower). We don't actually get that much further with any of the plot lines, except one - the split White Tower. None of the principles gets an overt bonk, although Min is still with Rand and Siuan and Bryne do end up grinning. We do get a partial denouement regarding the Black Ajah and a couple of significant surprises (at least to me, and I have re-read all of the books this year).

It is, largely, a book about Egwene, with a strong second line about the Seanchen (although there is nothing here that has not been foretold, shadowed or actually done - Tuon was Empress in all but name at the end of Knife of Dreams and, not startlingly, peace and harmony does not magically break out in the West of the world - remember that the Prophecies of the Dragon are different in Seanchan) and enough about the other characters (nothing about Lan, though) there to keep you interested. Travelling does seem to make things much more disjointed.

Markedly, this is very similar to the easy-to-disregard middle volume of many good trilogies - they had too much plot for 2 books but not enough action for a proper threesome. Still, I have certainly read far, far worse and anybody who has got this far, having hacked their way through 11 previous volumes and the prequel is unlikely to stop now. And I am looking forward to Audible having it available.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Black allowed by the BNP!

Humour, that is. Black shirts being de rigueur (in private at least) and black people still being banned (until next month's AGM).

Would it be black humour if I was to suggest the Kenny Everett solution to the BNP? That's the "round 'em up, put 'em in a field and bomb the bastards!" one, for those wondering?

Monday, October 12, 2009

An "Opinion" Piece is not a "Stupidity Licence"

Lesley Riddoch, in today's Scotsman (partial article & comments here) maintains:

Scotland is moving naturally toward the same general policy of neutrality observed by all modern Scandinavian nations.

So she clearly hasn't heard of the NATO membership of Norway and Denmark - and Iceland, I forgot Iceland - (all considered both considered Scandinavian and members of the Nordic Council - the point of her article) or the recent death of a Danish soldier in Afghanistan. There was a Danish battalion as part of the British-led Division in Basrah for a number of years, as well.

Just to make a political point ... Words fail me.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Unseen Academicals

I laughed until I wheezed until I got embarrassing.

The second verse of the Ankh-Morpork national anthem.

Yes, YES, YES


The rest of the book is quite good too. Although it starts a bit slowly compared to others of his oeuvre.

Update: Now on Youtube!
 
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