On Writing: The Problem of Series, OR Why Isn’t This As AWESOME As The Last One?

It's happened to all of us: we find the first book in a new series and it's awesome – it's filled to bursting with cool imagery and characters and concepts, and we race through the book and then come to the end, saying "what? But I want MORE!". And then we get the sequel, and that's … a good book. I mean, maybe it's a really good book. But somehow there seems to be something missing, it's just not quite the slam-bang awesome you remember from the first book. But hey, authors can have off days, right, and this was still pretty good. So you [ Continue reading... ]

Just For Fun: My Top Ten Heroes

         For long-term readers of mine, this list may be as notable for who isn't on it as for who is. The decisionmaking process on this was… difficult, to say the least. In the end, I had to go with my immediate gut reactions and leave out many, many heroes who certainly rank high in my personal pantheon. Do not take the absence of a character to mean I don't appreciate them as a great hero and example; there are many such who simply don't quite reach this top ten… or who might reach it on a different day.   #10: [ Continue reading... ]

Under The Influence: The Chronicles of Amber

       Roger Zelazny was one of the true masters of fantasy writing. At least one of his works is included in most people's lists of "best ever fantasy" -- and sometimes, people argue, science fiction, as he did very much like to bend the definitions and skewer them. Zelazny produced a number of top-notch books and short stories, but two of them consistently outpace the others in mentions: Lord of Light, and the Chronicles of Amber (especially the original five-book Amber sequence).        While Lord of Light is indeed an excellent [ Continue reading... ]