31 October, 2009

Bona Fide: Weekly Roundup #44

Hello and welcome to issue #44 of my Weekly Roundup. As promised I don't talk about time. But maybe you have been a bit surprised that we didn't post every day. The reason for that is simple: Alec was busy with other stuff and I don't have the capacity to write more. Yay! I didn't use the magic word t**e. Did you notice? In two months time is Christmas! I started to think about Christmas gifts, especially my own wishes. Beginning with this Roundup I will add a section where I will talk about possibly gifts and so on. And now enjoy reading.....

Bona Fide's Menu

  1. Shelf discovery of the week: Perdido Street Station by China Miéville
  2. Book trailer: Burn Me Deadly by Alex Bledsoe
  3. Jane Austen on a Sci-Fi Fantasy blog?
  4. Good news for steampunk fans from Lou Anders, Editorial Director of Pyr
  1. "The Kraken"
  2. New PAX BRITANNIA logo
  3. My tribute to Halloween
  1. Avatar - New International Trailer
  1. My first choice: Memory, Sorrow & Thorn by Tad Williams
  1. German proverbs and Halloween quotes


Shelf discovery of the week
I love steampunk. So I must ask myself why I didn't read my discovery of the week so far. I lost sight of it. I talk about a book which won several prices like The British Fantasy Society Award and The Arthur C. Clarke Award. It also has been nominated for the Hugo Award, Nebula Award and the World Fantasy Award. And the book is: Perdido Street Station (2000) [US][UK], by China Miéville.
"Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores. In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to none—not even to Isaac, a brilliant scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory. Isaac has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before fathomed. Though the Garuda's request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger. While Isaac's experiments for the Garuda turn into an obsession, one of his lab specimens demands attention: a brilliantly colored caterpillar that feeds on nothing but a hallucinatory drug and grows larger—and more consuming—by the day. What finally emerges from the silken cocoon will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon—and not even the Ambassador of Hell will challenge the malignant terror it invokes . . . A magnificent fantasy rife with scientific splendor, magical intrigue, and wonderfully realized characters, told in a storytelling style in which Charles Dickens meets Neal Stephenson, Perdido Street Station offers an eerie, voluptuously crafted world that will plumb the depths of every reader's imagination." [Source: From the back of my copy of the book]

Book trailer
I'm a big fan of sword-jockey Eddie LaCrosse. I reviewed The Sword-Edged Blonde and Burn Me Deadly. Both are awesome reads by Alex Bledsoe. Only a few days to go until Burn Me Deadly will hit the book stores. In the meantime enjoy the book trailer.

Jane Austen on a Sci-Fi/Fantasy blog?
Hope you don't think I'm going crazy. I never read a Jane Austen novel so far. It is not my taste. But maybe I will change my mind. You will understand why as soon as you have watched the following book trailer.

Good news for steampunk fans
Read the following lines...
"It is 1861, and the British Empire is in the grip of conflicting forces. Engineers transform the landscape with bigger, faster, noisier and dirtier technological wonders; Eugenicists develop specialist animals to provide unpaid labour; Libertines oppose restrictive and unjust laws and flood the country with propaganda demanding a society based on beauty and creativity; while The Rakes push the boundaries of human behaviour to the limits with magic, sexuality, drugs and anarchy.
Returning from his failed expedition to find the source of the Nile, explorer, linguist, scholar and swordsman Sir Richard Francis Burton finds himself sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum when the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, employs him as “King's Spy.” His first mission: to investigate the sexual assaults committed by a weird apparition known as Spring Heeled Jack; to find out why chimney sweeps are being kidnapped by half-man, half-dog creatures; and to discover the whereabouts of his badly injured ex-friend (and new enemy), John Hanning Speke.
Accompanied by the diminutive and pain-loving poet, Algernon Swinburne, Burton's investigations lead him back to one of the defining events of the age: the brutal assassination of Queen Victoria in 1840; and the terrifying possibility that the world he inhabits shouldn't exist at all!" [Source]
I got totally excited! This is the description of Mark Hodder's Burton & Swinburne in The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, the first of a planned new series. And Lou Anders aquired author and book for Pyr. But, but but there is one downer - the book is not scheduled yet!! Lou Anders expects the book in the US around fall 2010......


"The Kraken"
Do you believe in seamonsters like The Kraken? No? Maybe you need some more information and a bottle of "The Kraken Black Spiced Rum". Please don't get me wrong. The following videos are commercials. But they are worth to watch. You will get interesting information about the "Kraken". This is chapter one. For chapter two and three please follow the links.

Chapter Two and Chapter Three. Now you may ask where I found this stuff. I follow Steampunkopedia which is an extraordinary steampunk compendium.

After 18 months Jonathan Green decided that the time has come to change the logo of PAX BRITANNIA.
On the left side you see the new logo. What do you think about it? Is it the right one for a steampunk series?

Got to PAX BRITANNIA and leave your comment. Jonathan Green would like to know what you think about it. I left my comment.
For more information about the series read my post The World of PAX BRITANNIA. I also reviewed the latest book of the series: Evolution Expects.

My tribute to Halloween
I live in Germany and we don't have a real Halloween tradition. But I think I found my appropriate tribute to Halloween. The following three names should ring a bell in you: Tim Burton, Vincent Price, Edgar Allan Poe.

Let's start with Tim Burton's Vincent which is pays homage to Vincent Price and Edgar Allan Poe.

After this prelude watch the awesome Vincent Price giving The Raven

And finally enjoy the virtual Edgar Allan Poe reading his great poem "The Raven"


When I watched the first teaser trailer of Avatar - the forthcoming 3-D film by James Cameron - I have been a bit disappointed. But now the new international trailer is available. And it is much better. The movie will hit the cinemas on December 18th.


Twice a year I create a list of things I wish. My family appreciates to have a choice. Last Christmas I got all available books of the Malazan Empire. This year is a bit different. For the first time I want to reread a series:
Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams. The whole series (four books in paperback) has been reissued by Orbit UK. The US cover is different. Anyway all books are available. And this is book one: The Dragonbone Chair (2009) [US][UK]:
"THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR is the story of Simon, a young kitchen boy and magician's apprentice, whose dreams of great deeds and heroic wars come all too shockingly true when his world is torn apart by a terrifying civil war -- a war fueled by ancient hatreds, immortal enemies, and the dark powers of sorcery. In Osten Ard, a land once ruled by an elvishlike race known as the Sithi, the human High King is dying. And with his death, a long-dormant evil is unleashed on the land as the undead Sithi ruler, the Storm King, seeks to regain his lost realm through a pact with one of human royal blood. Driven by spell-inspired jealousy and fear, prince fights prince, while around them the very land begins to die, poisoned by a sorcerous force sworn to annihilate the humans whose ancestors had driven the Sithi from their rightful home long ages ago. Only a small, scattered group, the League of the Scroll, recognizes the true danger faced by Osten Ard, only they hold the knowledge of times past, of threats fulfilled, and of a riddle of swords, which holds out the one small hope of salvation. And to Simon -- unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League, and unwittingly touched by magic both good and ill -- will go the task of spearheading the search for the solution to this riddle of long-lost swords of power, a quest that will see him fleeing and facing enemies straight out of a legend-maker's worst nightmare"[Source]
And these are the sequels: The Stone of Farewell (2009) [US][UK], Siege (2009) [US][UK] and Storm (2009) [US][UK].


I missed my quotes. Therefore I decided to present a few beside the presentation of German proverbs. And again I used wikiqoute as my main source.

" *Wie Pech und Schwefel.
Lit.: "Like pitch and sulphur."
Meaning: "E.g. good friends, who are inseparable or/and make all together, are like pitch and sulphur."

" * Wie man sich bettet, so liegt man.
Literally: "As you put yourself to bed, so you will lie."
Meaning: "You made your bed, now lie in it."
Meaning: Everyone makes his own fate."

" One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.
Emily Dickinson

" When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween.
~Author Unknown

" There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."
~George Carlin

30 October, 2009

How the Wheel of Time Wheels Us In [PUN!]

picture of a drug addictIn my review of The Gathering Storm I told you that I felt like an addict finally getting a fix, but without all the negative connotations… reading is good for you, right? Anyway, seeing as how this is Wheel of Time week, I thought I would take a look of how Robert Jordan’s, and now Brandon Sanderson’s, epic series sinks its hooks into us and then refuses to let go. This is my answer, there are many like it, but this one is mine.

The principal, and I might add unique reason the Wheel of Time draws me in so expertly is because of what it omits. Strange you say!? Indeed, Robert Jordan was known for his almost blindingly detailed descriptions, often taking pages to portray the silvered edge of a broom handle. But hidden among, and contrasted with, this amazing profusion of detail is a surprising lack of subjective interpretation. In other words, the precursor to action, generally subjective thought, is almost entirely absent. An obstacle presents itself and the character acts, often leaving the reader to fill the subjective vacuum between obstacle and action. Now, there’s some pop-psychology for you! In short, one cannot help but become attached to Robert Jordan’s characters, for they are us – our motivations, hopes, and dreams become theirs. While this is often the case with good epic fantasy, Robert Jordan’s deliberate and specific literary mechanics push subjective appropriation to the extreme, and thus turn enchanted readers into frenzied word-gobbling addicts. To make my point, did it take any of you more than 12 hours to finish the 700 plus pages that make up The Gathering Storm [US][UK]? I didn’t think so…

There is a second, and more generic aspect of the Wheel of Time that remorselessly sucks us in. I call it the reading shivers. The shivers come over a reader at moments of epic epicness. Not a word, I know, but it captures the feeling adequately. The shivers mark the point where the brain is unable to process the excitement generated by the scene you are reading – it is just that good – and forces your body to react physically. Think Dumai’s Wells or the Fall of Manetheren, probably my two favorite moments of the whole series. Regardless, I have been chasing the dragon since Moiraine first told that fateful story of a doomed people, and have yet to recapture that same high… did I mention I am an addict?

Theses are by no means the only aspects of the Wheel of Time and Robert Jordan’s skill that make the series so compelling, but they are those that jumped out at me when contrasted with The Gathering Storm, for they are elements the latest installment lacked. So, my fellow addict, why do you keep turning the pages?

29 October, 2009

Review: The Rats and the Ruling Sea by Robert V.S. Redick

"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before." [Source]
Oops! I am sorry. That belongs definitely to another adventurous journey.
"Alifros: Mysterious world. These are the voyages of the Imperial Merchant Ship Chathrand, her crew and her passengers . Its four books mission: to explore uncharted oceans, to seek out mysteries and secrets; to boldly save the world from a power never faced before." [Source: My brain]

Planet Earth,book shops on both sides of the Atlantic, October 29th 2009. Get your your copy of the next part of the Chathrand voyage log: The Rats and the Ruling Sea (2009) [US][UK]. Written down with lifeblood by the keeper of the log: Robert V S Redick. The log continues exactly at the point where the first part - The Red Wolf Conspiracy (2008) [US][UK], has ended.

The Setup

To my surprise I could use nearly the whole section I wrote for my review of The Red Wolf Conspiracy. I will do it partially because it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel.
The cover shows you the most important location of the story: Chathrand, an enormous, 600 hundred years old sailing vessel. Home for more than 800 souls. It is the dream of every tarboy - we would say shipboy - to sign up for the Chathrand. One of these tarboys is Pazel Pathkendle,who, due to his fortuitous relationship to several persons, as well as his hidden skill, gets enmeshed in a dark conspiracy. As far as we know the conspiracy is driven by Arunis Wytterscorm, a 3000-year-old sorcerer. But there are lot more beings involved on each side. And some play their one game....
At the end of The Red Wolf Conspiracy we left Pazel and Thasha Isiq, the young woman he loves on the island of Simja. Thasha is a few hours away from a wedding she does't want but has to fulfil the promise of a mad god's return. Without a break the story continues in The Rats and the Ruling Sea. Follow the events of the wedding and the incredible journey to and through the uncharted Ruling Sea on board the Chathrand, the swimming melting pot of magic, curses, corruption, politics, betrayal, fidelity, faith, trust, hate, friendship, intrigue, epiphany and love.

My Take in Brief

I loved The Red Wolf Conspiracy and was anxious to read The Rats and the Ruling Sea. And I'm relieved. Mr. Redick's writing is still highly original and he still has a knack for drawing you into the story. By using Captain Rose's letters to his father, Editor's footnotes and journal entries by quartermaster Fiffengurt the book breaks the third person narration from several character's point of view. This is highly welcomed and provides even more the variety of this epic (reviewer copy stands at 634 pages) adventure. I have been more than impressed by chapter 38 Holy War. With a length of 40 pages it is like a short story. It is full of action and emotion. And it is the chapter of awakened animals....
Mr. Redick continues the development of his characters. We learn more about their past and their inner conflicts. The main story has its twists and turns. He continues to add non-human species - in this case the so called dlömu - to the existing murths, augrongs, flikkermen, nunekkam and ixchel. He dives into the habits of the Ixchel. the non-human species from the first book. Not to forget the introduction of new characters. And again there are some sub plots where several characters do their own thing. I know that some people found the plot not very complex. But I tell you the devil is in the detail. For me the plot is like the skin layers of an onion.
So far I didn't talk much about my secret star of the series: The Chathrand. Mr. Redick's depiction of the sailing vessel and the life on board is most imposing. I got nearly seasick on the sofa when I read the novel.
With this book Mr. Redick continues on a high level with his a mouth-watering universe full of mystery and wonder . This is one of my fantasy reads of 2009.

Bona Fide's Book Oracle

I'm just the keeper of the minutes. Where are Edi and Bona? My fingers are getting cold....
Edi: "Ahoi! Are you still seasick Bona? Don't clog my brain with your vomited thoughts!" Bona (croaking): "I'm a doctor,not a sailor!" Edi: "The Chathrand is nor starship. And you are Bona and not Bones. Turn the corner!" Bona: "Now I understand why nobody knows Dr. McCoy." Edi: "We survived more than 600 pages full of magic, curses, corruption, politics, betrayal, fidelity, faith, trust, hate, friendship, intrigue, epiphany and love." Bona: "You survived but I enjoyed." Edi: "Don't tell me you liked to be on topgallant, more than 100 feet above the deck." Bona: "I was beyond description. Except when we have been chased by the White Reaper:" Edi: "I can't wait to continue the travel." Bona: "I know you can't withstand to walk Thasha's dogs. It is too funny when you try afterwards to gather the dog dirts by rough sea." Edi: "Bastard! Dou you want me to to tell about how you made avances to Lady Oggosk?" Bona: "Nooooooooo! You know it ain't true. I just tried to spy out her secrets." Edi: "Shall we tell the readers something about the book?" Bona: "No! No! No! Definitely NO! I don't want to share this exuberant adventure with other people. Robert should write for us only." Edi: "I fully agree! We shall tell them instead that this is a poor peace of workmanship. Lousy prose, boring characters, humdrum story, insubstantial world building. Your fingers will rot off because the paper is poisoned by this abysmal stringing together of words". Bona: "Hey keeper of the notes. Write down every single syllable of our extraordinary well done judgment. And then send a mail to Robert V.S. Redick that we need immediately the next book of the series." Edi: "He is too stupid to do it. Let's make it simple for him: Book is bad don't read it!" Bona: "And add the wise words of the eguar:"

Dear readers I present you the minutes of Edi and Bona:
"Book is bad; don't read it!" ******
The wise words of the eguar:
"Acceptance is agony denial is death." [p. 381]

******Attention! Attention! Attention! Attention!
Clarification by the keeper of the minutes: That is an ugly Edi and Bona joke!!!

More Chathrand Voyage and More Robert V.S. Redick

For more information about the world and their ships sail to the official home of the Chathrand Voyage series - The Red Wolf Conspiracy.
For all readers of the books Robert V.S. Redick keeps a journal - Letters from Alifros.
Information about the author himself you find at Robert V.S. Redick and on facebook.
There is also a map of Northwest Alifros available - either online or for download.

And not to forget : There will be finally four books! Concerning title of book three I have two different information. When I follow the hint in the reviewer copy it will be The Night of the Swarm. But Robert V.S. Redick wrote me that it will be The River of Shadows. I need to clarify this.
Update: Robert Redick told me that The River of Shadows is the title of book three and The Night of the Swarm is the title of book four.

Origin of the copy

Through the kindness of Mr. Robert V.S. Redick I received a reviewer copy of The Rats and the Ruling Sea which I read and used for this review.

Do you live in UK? Would you like to get a copy of The Rats and the Ruling Sea?
Then enter Competition: The Rats and the Ruling Sea.
Closing Date: Friday 6th November 2009

27 October, 2009

Almost as Awesome as The Gathering Storm

scooby doo zombies post-apocalyptic awesomeness
(thank you Boing Boing)

There is just something so brilliant about rebooting one of your childhood cartoons as a post-apocalyptic zombie thriller. Almost as good as my Gathering Storm review... kinda.

Review: The Gathering Storm, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

This review of The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson is aimed at readers who have followed The Wheel of Time but who are by no means experts on the series, or theory junkies for that matter. In short, if you can quote line and verse and have endlessly debated the “who killed Asmodean” question, then I kindly direct you towards Dragonmount and Theoryland, where I am sure you will feel more at home. On the other hand, if you want an uncomplicated and honest take on the novel from someone who has been a silent fan of the Wheel of Time for a surprisingly long time, then you will want to continue reading. I should also mention two very articulate reviews of The Gathering Storm which just came out over at Nethspace and Grasping for the Wind, both of which are well worth your time.

My Take in Brief

As I finished the last page, bleary eyed and sleepy, the only thought that came to mind was “thank you, thank you”. I have been involved with Rand, Mat, and Perrin for longer than I care to think, and finally getting the ball rolling on the end of their epic adventure let me breath a great, and much needed sigh of relief – something akin to a junky finally getting a fix, but without all the negative connotations. In short, that is exactly what The Gathering Storm sought to achieve, to get the ball rolling, to get the story moving, to bring it towards a much-anticipated culmination, and most importantly, to give fans of the Wheel of Time much needed closure. Now ware readers, for the review that follows is steeped in spoilers.

There are two very strong impressions that you will have after finishing The Gathering Storm. The first of these is that Brandon is, admittedly, not Robert Jordan. I won’t argue grammar or syntax to make my point – the simple fact of the matter is that Robert Jordan gave us epic events while Brandon Sanderson gives us epically emotional events – anyone familiar with Brandon’s Mistborn trilogy will know exactly what I am referring to. The contrast is marked by the unprecedented access that we are granted to the thoughts of characters, especially Rand and The Daughter of the Nine Moons. Robert Jordan inferred and hinted, masterfully meshing physicality and dialogue to give his characters unprecedented depth and appeal. Brandon, on the other hand, cuts straight to the chase, removing, in my opinion, that amazing sense of uncertainty that was always characteristic of Jordan’s writing.

The second and slightly less obvious difference between pure Jordan and the Jordan Sanderson hybrid that is The Gathering Storm is the structure of the novel. The characteristic focus on a handful of characters carried on for a number of chapters is abandoned in favor of a panoply of perspectives, numbering somewhere around thirty two points of view, give or take a couple. Now, in my estimation, the last couple installments in the Wheel of Time were somewhat verbose and tended towards stretching out story arcs that would better have been wrapped up in a timelier manner. As such, I can’t imagine the structure of the novel being any different given the need to get the story up to pace and rolling along at a comfortable clip. As much as books are considered static and timeless, unless you have recently reread the whole series (as I am sure a number of you have), the different perspectives are just what the doctor ordered to reboot The Wheel of Time.

All in all, I could not have been more pleased with The Gathering Storm. It wasn’t Robert Jordan, but his hand and that of his team was clear throughout. Brandon dispatched his duty with remarkable skill and an almost reverent understanding of the series and its numerous characters. Those of you at all familiar with the massive pile of notes left by Robert Jordan and all the feedback Brandon was force fed during the writing process from Team Jordan will find the scene where Mat struggles with assigning fictitious roles to his soldiers quite hilarious - I know I did.


It was… eventful. Rand goes to the edge of madness and beyond, which culminates in a long awaited and speculated upon confrontation/heart-to-heart with Tam. We discover the scary depths of the Seachan worldview and witness its brutal personification in a daring assault on the White Tower, followed by the quick and brutal extermination of the Black Ajah thanks to an unexpected yet hinted at traitor from within their ranks, and, finally, a unified White Tower under a single Amyrlin. Mat and Perrin, on the other hand, achieve little in their journey beyond struggling to define their roles as leaders, with maybe a tangential adventure or two thrown in to keep things interesting. That is by no means the extent of what happens in The Gathering Storm; in point of fact there is so much that takes places that any reviewer will find it a challenge to adequately sumarzie the action. To the fans who screamed at there being three books to conclude the series (Towers of Midnight and A Memory of Light) instead of one, well, tell me what you think after finishing The Gathering Storm, because in my estimation there is not a chance in hell the series could have been finished in one book.

Brandon's epically emotional style, which I mentioned before, showcases his formidable use of introspection and brings to the novel a dark sense of foreboding. The physical confrontations which take place throughout take second stage to the battle within Rand himself - his struggle with both his sanity and his destiny. The most shocking scene, by far, is the one in which Rand is collared and forced to strangle Min to death -- paling even in comparison to Rand going off the depend of sanity and coming within a hairsbreadth of destroying the world. Anyone who has made it this far in The Wheel of Time cannot remain unemotional when faced with the events Brandon throws at us... and if you can, well then, my hat is off to you.

All in all, the action packed pace and relative lack of descriptive filler more than make up for, regrettably, loosing Jordan's artistic touch. Battle scenes, for instance, have lost much of their sucking-you-into-the-page luster, but one cannot expect miracles. Neverthless, theroller coaster ride of enjoyment, frustration, love, hate, surprise, and anger is much the same. I can only say "thank you" to everyone involved for continuing the series with the full measure of your devotion.... and if you don't have the next book out within a year, well, ware my wrath.

So, why do you love The Wheel of Time?

24 October, 2009

Bona Fide: Weekly Roundup #43

Hello and welcome to issue #43 of my Weekly Roundup. As promised I don't talk about time. But maybe you have been a bit surprised that we didn't post every day. The reason for that is simple: Alec is busy with other stuff and I don't have the capacity to write more. Yay! I didn't use the magic word t**e. Did you notice? In two months time is Christmas! I started to think about Christmas gifts, especially my own wishes. Beginning with next Roundup I will add a section where I will talk about possibly gifts and so on. And now enjoy reading.....

Bona Fide's Menu

  1. Shelf discovery of the week: Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
  2. Good news for all Eddie LaCrosse fans
  3. Lord Kelvin's Machine by James T. Blaylock - free audio download
  1. Steampunk Art @ Oxford
  2. Staircases, Spiral Staircases, Unbelievable Spiral Staircases
  3. Steampunk Month on Tor.com - what you maybe missed
  4. Unusual competition
  1. The Wolfman - New trailer
  1. Second round of German proverbs


The book I discovered this week is a real gem. Written in 1983, the book had neither nominated nor won any important literary prize. But got several votes in New York Times survey "What is the Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years?" in 2006 [Sources 1, 2]. I feel a bit ashamed that I haven't read Winter's Tale (1983) [US][UK], by Mark Helprin so far. Is there anybody out there who read this juwel?
Winter's TalePlease apologize, that I did not write a own summary but I think the following text from Mr. Helprin's website is far better then my possible humble words:
"Set in New York at the beginning and the end of the twentieth century, Winter´s Tale unfolds with such great narrative force and beauty that a reader can feel that its world is more real than his own. Standing alone on the page before the book begins are the words, I have been to another world, and come back. Listen to me. In that world, both winter and the city of New York (old and new) have the strength and character of protagonists, and the protagonists themselves move as if in a vivid dream. Though immensely complicated, the story is centered upon Peter Lake, a turn-of-the-century Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young heiress whom he encounters in robbing her house, and who eventually will die young and in his arms. His love for her, and a gift of grace, will allow him after the most extraordinary and painful explorations and discoveries to stop time and bring back the dead. To follow him, his predecessors, his inheritors, and his companions is to experience one of the great stories of American literature." [Source]
And the more I have been impressed by Mark Helprin's statements about Mark Helprin about writing Winter's Tale
" . . . When writing Winter's Tale, I lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn and was obsessed with every aspect of the city, to the point of walking, wandering really, ten to twenty miles a day to gather sight, sound, and incident, as if every view, every ray of light that would come from the west at sunset from beneath a lid of black cloud and turn the city gold, every face, and every snatch of overheard conversation, were a diamond that I would put in my pocket. Often I would go for days at a time to the New York Historical Society, the books and paintings there drawing me so deeply into the city's past that I lost track of where I was. I had wanted to catch a fleeting presence that I was afraid would soon vanish completely, but then discovered that this presence, as if in a parallel dimension, was throbbing with a vitality that threatened to overflow its banks. It seemed as if everyone and every thing that had come before had left a mark, and that each mark and trace, when recognized and honored, would rise in a great commotion like a flight of many angels. It was as if every day I would have to say to myself, ‘Oh God, what a magnificent city, and how lucky I am to have seen it’ . . . . " [Source]
I must think again of my reading order......

As you may know I'm a big fan of sword-jockey Eddie LaCrosse, made alive by Alex Bledsoe. I reviewed both novels - the available The Sword-Edged Blonde (2007) [review] and the upcoming Burn Me Deadly [US, 10th November 2009][UK, 2nd November 2009] [review]. Within this week Alex Bledsoe made a big announcement: There will be definitely two more Eddie LaCrosse novels!! In winter 2011 Eddie will return in DARK JENNY . And in summer 2012 we will meet him again in a currently untitled adventure. And Alex Bledsoe is working on a brand new world. First book - THE HUM AND THE SHIVER - will be released in fall 2011. All books will be published by Tor.

There was following announcement over at Subterranean Press:
"As we’ve recently published a brand new Langdon St. Ives adventure, The Ebb Tide, we thought it the perfect time to revisit one of the gentleman scientist’s other adventures, in a captivating audio read by Sam Mowry. Keep your lanterns, heavy winter jackets, and a firearm or two handy as you hear “Lord Kelvin’s Machine”."
So far I didn't read a book by James P Blaylock. But as far as I know you find steampunk elements in his Langdon St. Ives books. Now download and listen..... Let me know what you think about it.


The Museum of the History of Science, Oxford University, UKThe Museum of the History of Science, Oxford University, UK, presents from 13 October 2009 to 21 February 2010 Steampunk Art. Unfortunately I can't visit because I don't live in UK. But like you I can have a look at the pictures shown over at Steampunk Art @ Oxford. Hopy you enjoy!

Every now and then spiral staircases appear in books and movies. Normally we don't think about them. I promise you that will change as soon as you have viewed an read Spiraling Out of Control: The Greatest Spiral Stairs in the World. Highly recommended!

October 2009 is the steampunk month of Tor.com. Until 22nd of October they published 52 posts - all related to steampunk! Essays, giveaways, art and more. You should have a look if you are interested in steampunk. Fortunately there is an index of all the posts. Just follow the link: Steampunk Month on Tor.com.

I like book competitions and giveaways. So I take part very often. In the first part of 2009 I won several books. And now my question: Would you write a write 4 line poem about a publisher, it's authors or its books in order to get the opportunity to win nine books at once? I couldn't withstand and took part. In case you would like to take part you have to switch to My Favourite Books where awesome Liz manages this cool competition. Good Luck to all participants.


In Roundup #35 I showed you the first trailer of The Wolfman (2010) which is a remake of The Wolf Man (1941) [trailer]. Now the second trailer is available and I don't want to keep it back:


As promised this week I continue with the presentation of German proverbs. And again I used wikiqoute as my main source.
" * Morgen, morgen, nur nicht heute, sagen alle faulen Leute.
Translation: Tomorrow, tomorrow, just not today, all the lazy people say.
Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today."

" * Neue Besen kehren gut ... (Part 1 often used without part 2)
Translation: New brooms clean well...
Meaning: New things may look good on the first glimpse...
or: A change may be an improvement...

...aber der Alte kennt die Ecken. (Part 2)
Translation: ...but the old one knows the corners.
Meaning: ...but old things can still be better on the second look.”

" Wer rastet, der rostet.
Translation: "He who rests, will be rusting."
Meaning: "If you stop moving (in both a physical and an intellectual meaning) it gets harder to start moving again."
English proverb: "A rolling stone gathers no moss."

23 October, 2009

Review: Evolution Expects by Jonathan Green

Evolution ExpectsUlysses Quicksilver, the debonair dandy adventurer and freelance agent of the Throne is back with a new challenge: Evolution Expects (2009) [US][UK] by Jonathan Green. This is the fourth adventure of Ulysses within the PAX BRITANNIA series:
"In the closing years of the 20th century the British Empire's rule is still going strong. Queen Victoria is about to celebrate her 160th jubilee, kept alive by advanced steam technology. London is a fantastical sprawling metropolis where dirigibles roam the skies, robot bobbies enforce the law and dinosaurs are on display in London Zoo. Welcome to Magna Britannia, a steam driven world full of fantastical creations and shady villains. Here dashing dandies and mustachioed villains battle for supremacy while below the city strange things stir in the flooded tunnels of the old London Underground." [Source] Read The World of PAX BRITANNIA for detailed information.
And again Jonathan Green delivers an additional short story: Conqueror Worm. Maybe you have heard or read this title before? Then I must say: You are right. It is also the title of a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. With this novella, we jump back into 1797 and get to know Cassandra Tyrrell, a the female secret agent. She rescues Sir George Sackville from highwaymen but to at what price...

The Setup

We are back in Londinium Maximum, the heart of the British Empire. But the heart is aching under a carpet of noxious smog. Beside its toxicity the smog is depressing the inhabitants. The people need a man who promise a bright future. And the new Prime Minister Devlin Valentine needs an impressive debut. All hope concentrates on the new Jupiter Station which shall blow away the smog after the launch. The town is preparing for the great day. But there are far more perils blaze the trail. The city's underworld is in uproar. Which gang will control the town? Who controls the Golem which is terrorizing the East End? Why are people changing into insects? Who his the man flying across London whom people take for the incarnation of Spring-Heel Jack? And what is going on in the Bethlem Royal Hospital, also known as Bedlam? A lot of lose ends and it is up to Ulysses Quicksilver, his manservant Nimrod and a few other supportes to clear the situation.
This is the fourth Ulysses Quicksilver adventure. I need to emphasize this because events of the past stories have an impact on this story. For example Ulysses has to cope with his left arm which is different from the right one. What happened with his left arm is part of Human Nature (2007) [US][UK] and to tell more would be a spoiler.

My Take in Brief

Before I start with my take I would like to present you the aspirations of Jonathan Green and the scope of the PAX BRITANNIA series. In June 2008 Graeme interviewed Jonathan Green and this is the last qustion plus answer:
" 10) Finally, why should everyone be reading your ‘Pax Britannia’ books?
Because they’re great fun reads and an entertaining way to take yourself out of the world for a few hours. Also, there’s a big story in there that’s steadily beginning to take shape (and which I had planned from day one), so you want to be there for the ride and the dramatic denouement in about… twelve books time (or thereabouts)."
So I think this should be the base on which this book and the rest of the series has to be reviewed. That means: Is it a great fun read and is it an entertaining way to take yourself out of the world for a few hours?
My simple and plain answer is: YES!

Jonathan Green has the gift to fill his alternate world with a bunch of suitable ingredients which work together very well. Letus start with the the debonair dandy adventurer and freelance agent of the Throne, Ulysses Quicksilver. He says about himself:
"I am only a hero of the empire." [page 219]
For me he is a mix of Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Indiana Jones and Alain Quartermain. And I promise Ulysses is as entertaining as the mentioned gentlemen.
But he has not to face the enemies of the British Empire alone. Nimrod, his manservant is a stalwart character and he can not deny traces of a British butler.
They both are the linchpin of all the stories. And as in the previous adventures unexpected persons take side of Ulysses and Nimrod. In Evolution Expects we meet the arcane Spring-Heel Jack and Eliza, who is more than a whore.
This takes me immediately to another important point of entertainment. If you have an eye for sometimes obvious and sometimes in a roundabout way placed allusions from daily life via fiction up to history you get doubled entertainment. I often reread passages in order to detect all allusions. But I am sure I miss a lot.
Let me give you some examples in order to express what I mean.
"Keep moving and don't look back." [p. 169] Remember the bible when Lot and his family flee from Sodom and Gomorrha.
A crewman welcomes the passengers on board the Jupiter Station with the words: "Enjoy the ride." [p. 172]
If you have ever taken a ride on the London Eye you know what I'm talking about.
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" [p. 169]
Did you read the graphic novel Watchmen or watched the movie?
Then we have links to myths like the Golem and the Spring-Heel Jack which acts in several cases like Batman.
And finally I like the naming of characters. There is a doctor with Name Seziermesser. It is a German word. Translated it means scalpel. There is another doctor who is not the youngest. His name is Methusaleh.
Jupiter Station should solve the London toxic air problem. The station has been invented by Halcyon Beaufort-Monsoon. You see the relation to weather. There is the LCAL = London Clean Air League. In real life you have the CCAL = Campaign for Clean Air in London.
But Jonathan Green has more to offer. I Every book offers new technical ingredients (weapons, apparatuses, mechanical devices).
And the author takes care of readers which have missed one of the previous books. He integrates short flashbacks whenever it is necessary.
Evolution Expects differs in in several aspects from the previous books. For me it is more fidgety which - I assume - is a result of two things: On one hand to write a cracking adventure and on the other hand to build the foundation for the powerful background story which will be unfolded in the following books.
And it the story is more darker than the last one which I appreciate. The introduction of the sidekick Eliza gave more zest to the relation between Ulysses and Nimrod.

All in all it was a great fun to read. You will be surprised how time passes.

Anyway I recommend to buy the books, read them, and have fun with an awesome hero in a gorgeous steampunk world...
Viva La Steampunk!

Bona Fide's Book Oracle

What is Bona Fide's Book Oracle? To keep it short. It is a palaver about the reviewed book held by ediFanoB and his alter ego Bona Fide. And I am the keeper of the minutes. Now read my minutes.

Edi: "Hey Bona, we have to squash again our brain. A rhyme, a rhyme! Shall I write a poem?" Bona: "Numbskull! Shut up or I will send you to Londinium Maximum...." Edi: "OK, OK. That was a fast paced story. So much action. I would like to fly across London like this Spring-Heel Jack." Bona: "I didn't know that roly-poly can fly that high!" Edi: "Come on. Insults are not helpful. Maybe I should send you to Bedlam." Bona: "You are not a cent better as me. My English is getting worse. Maybe you are right." Edi: "Did you enjoy this fast paced,with breathtaking action mixed, riddled with allusions - Batman, Ozymandias, Golem, Watchmen, The Bible - just to name a few, enriched with eccentric characters where the name is a play on profession - the Jupiter Station has been invented by Halcyon Beaufort-Monsoon, peace of prose?" Bona: "Yes!" Edi: "Yes? That is your whole answer?" Bona: "Long question, short answer. But let me add following. This book is the prelude to something great. What is the Star Chamber? Who are the members? Which plans do they have? And not to forget the Crucible!" Edi: "That means you recommend to read this book and the prequels and the sequels?" Bona: "Of course! It is like a TV series. Do you watch just one episode in the middle? And do you know another sassy, cracking, rollicking and entertaining steampunk series? A series where each book enlightens grey autumn days." Edi: "To be honest, NO!" Bona: "Hey taker of the minutes. I hope for your life that you didn't miss a single word. Go, write it down in your strange babbage box." Edi: "Nothing to add from my side. Take your papers and go!"

More Jonathan Green and PAX BRITANNIA

For more information about the author you can use following links: Jonathan Green blog, Jonathan Green on Twitter, Another Jonathan Green blog.
For more information about the PAX BRITANNIA series: Official PAX BRITANNIA blog, The World of PAX BRITANNIA post, PAX BRITANNIA publisher Abaddon Books.

Origin of the copy

The copy of Evolution Expects which I read and used for this review has been purchased by me.

21 October, 2009

Review: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

BoneshakerThis is the prelude to my steampunk review days. That sounds pretentious because I will present you two reviews related to steampunk within this week.

A new voice entered the world of steampunk novels like a hurricane: Cherie Priest and her Boneshaker (2009) [US][UK]. You may know her Eden Moore series, which has been classified as Southern Gothic.
Normally I don't talk about the getup of the book but in this case it is necessary to do it. There are some things to mention beside the stunning cover. The paper used has a touch of yellowish tint. You will recognize it when you compare Boneshaker with other books. Even more remarkable is the color of the font. It is not black as usual. It is brown and fits perfectly to the paper.
All together the book looks a bit like a kind of diary which you sometimes find on attics in old houses.
That means the regalement starts in the moment you take the book in your hands.....

The Setup

Before we dive in the story it is necessary and worth to make some words about the world where Boneshaker is settled in. A lot of steampunk stories are settled in an alternate version of Victorian London. Cherie Priest left the old world and created a new world based on her native country but back in time. I think I can't top the depiction of Cherie Priest. So let her explain the basics of her world:

"Stonewall Jackson survived Chancellorsville. England broke the Union’s naval blockade, and formally recognized the Confederate States of America. Atlanta never burned. It is 1880. The American Civil War has raged for nearly two decades, driving technology in strange and terrible directions. Combat dirigibles skulk across the sky and armored vehicles crawl along the land. Military scientists twist the laws of man and nature, and barter their souls for weapons powered by light, fire, and steam.

But life struggles forward for soldiers and ordinary citizens. The fractured nation is dotted with stricken towns and epic scenes of devastation—some man made, and some more mysterious. In the western territories cities are swallowed by gas and walled away to rot while the frontiers are strip-mined for resources. On the borders between North and South, spies scour and scheme, and smugglers build economies more stable than their governments.

This is the Clockwork Century. It is dark here, and different."[Source]

And now to the premises of Boneshaker. This will be a rough introduction because you get everything delivered in the superb prologue in form of an excerpt from a history work in progress.

1850, Klondike, Goldrush. Russia supposed more Gold in the depths of the ice in Alaska. 1860, Russia started a contest for the invention of a machine that could mine through ice. Dr. Leviticus Blue, resided in a house on Denny Hill, Seattle, takes part. In six months he build his Incredible Bone-shaking Drill Engine. In the afternoon of January 2, 1863, Dr. Blue drilled through the earth from his home to central business district and back. Beside other buildings four banks are destroyed and people died. But the worst has been the release of a toxic gas called blight. This gas turned everyone who inhaled it into a rotter - a being which we would call a zombie. In order to secure the rest of the town, two square miles of the city have been surrounded by a two hundred feet high wall.
Sixteen years later, Briar Wilkes, widow of Leviticus Blue and her son Ezekiel - alias Zeke - barely manage their lives outside the wall. 15-year-old Ezekiel wants to know the truth about his father. Therefore he must visit their old house on Denny Hill inside the wall.

My Take in Brief

On one hand this is is the story of - Zeke's search of the truth about his father, - Briar's search of Zeke, - a other/son relationship, - their experiences inside the walled city.
On the other hand this is - a cracking, devastating adventure settled in a well created world mixed with history of our world, - it is a steampunk adventure with wacky gadgets and dirigibles which doesn't take place in London which is one of the most used locations for steampunk, - zombies (in the story named as "rotters") who inhabit an eerie part of Seattle.
That sounds impressive. Does this work together? Is the result readable? My answer is a simply YES!

Let me explain why.
Cherie Priest has the knack to throw all these ingredients plus some more spices into her writing melting pot and to mold a story that hooks you from the first page. Within a few pages she depicts all the premises which need to get a basic understanding of her world - The Clockwork Century.

First of all there are two main characters with whom you can easily connect and you feel with.
There is the tough and strong Briar Wilkes who has to copy with the hostilities against her dead husband husband and steeled in the daily battle of existence.
And there is her 15-year-old son Ezekiel, affected by the rough environment and in search of the truth about his father. And he will take riks for getting answers. Don't expect an average teen.
The characterization of Briar and Zeke and their conflict is vivid. You take part. It is worthy of believe.
But she also takes care on the supporting cast. You will be fascinated - I don't say you will love them - by the mysterious and accurate Dr Minnericht, the leader of the walled part of Seattle. What is his secret?
The warmhearted Lucy O'Gunning, a barkeeper with a very special arm. Not to forget the mercenary and user of wacky gadgets: Jeremiah Swakhammer. And finally Captain Cly who takes us with him in his dirigible.
The description of the world which is detailed where needed is impressive.
You will get goose bumps when you follow Briar and Zeke into the walled city. You will check your gas mask constantly which is mandatory. Or do you want to turn into a rotter?
I must admit I don't like zombies. Kudos! Cherie Priest. The integration of the zombies is marvelous. I can't imagine Boneshaker without zombies.
If you like dirigibles you will enjoy what will happen around and inside the airships. Not to forget the other technical ingredients (weapons, apparatuses, mechanical devices).
The story is narrated in third person and alternates between Ezekiel and Briar. You can't wait for the next chapter because you gasp for the next part of the straightforward going story which is full of action. The dialogues are crackling and the prose is skillful and fresh.
The getup of the book and the compelling content build a strong unit. I could not find a thing which troubled me.

I was a steampunk fan before. But now I'm a steampunk fan AND a Cherie Priest fan. From my point of view she found her calling.

Viva La Steampunk! Viva Cherie Priest!

Bona Fide's Book Oracle

What is Bona Fide's Book Oracle? To keep it short. It is a palaver about the reviewed book held by ediFanoB and his alter ego Bona Fide. And I am the keeper of the minutes. Now read my minutes.

Bona: "You are back. Got more lemon sap for me?" Edi: "You know it will kill your brain." Bona: "Yep. But it is definitely good stuff." Edi: " If you don't stop consuming lemon sap we can not talk about books any longer." Bona: "OK. Just one more sip. Yum yum! Excellent. So you survived the last rotter attack." Edi: "I got help from Jeremiah Swakhammer. The effect of Boneshaker for the brain is incredible. I have been inside the wall. What an eerie ambience. The elastics of the mask chafed my skin. And these rotters are terribly fast. Jeremiah showed me the way to Dr. Blue's Incredible Bone-shaking Drill Engine which is still in good order. I was tempted to start the engine..." Bona: "Blast you! You didn't do that! You would stop the blight and no blight means no lemon sap!" Edi: "You addict!" Bona: "My sap addiction is nothing compared to you Boneshaker addiction." Edi: "But how can I escape such a compelling story? And don't forget as soon as I leave the story the effect of lemon sap will disappear immediately!" Bona: "OK. Stop it. We need to tell our impressions to the reader." Edi: "OK. Three, two, one, snap ...!" Bona: "Eeek! There is a laptop in front of us. We must be back in reality." Edi: "And Bona, what shall we write?" Bona: "The truth!" Edi: "Remember what Rudy said?"
"Life's hard. Death's easy." [Page 160]
Bona: "Ask them why they don't want to read a cracking, devastating adventure mixed with a sense of history and a knack for details, with vivid characters and even spunkier rotters (zombies), eerie ambience inside the wall, anxieties causing masks, mysterious weapons, wacky gadgets and steamy dirigibles, written down in a fluently prose."

Edi: "Hey, you are still reading? Yes, I mean you, the being (are there similarities to rotter?) in front of the screen. Why don't you follow Bona's recommendation? Bona, I think they don't believe us."

Bona: "OK, our last try. Together, one, two three:
Believe it, believe it,
you must read it, you must read it,
if you don't do, if you don't do,
rotters eat you, rotters eat you ..."

More Cherie Priest

For more information about the author you can use following links: Cherie Priest website, Cherie Priest LiveJournal, Cherry Priest twitter, Cherie Priest facebook, Cherie Priest YouTube channel, Cherie Priest flickr.

More Cherie Priest steampunk

For more and detailed information about the world created by Cherie Priest visit the official website of The Clockwork Century.

And of course I like to make your mouth water:. There will be more stories settled in The Clockwork Century:
Tanglewood – Available now, for free, at Subterranean Press Online.
Clementine – Coming in 2010 from Subterranean Press.
Dreadnought – Coming from Tor in the fall of 2010
For more information about each story click here.

Origin of the copy

The copy of Boneshaker which I read and used for this review has been purchased by me.

17 October, 2009

Bona Fide: Weekly Roundup #42

Hello and welcome to issue #42 of my Weekly Roundup. I can't believe that another week is coming to the end. One thing I know for sure: I definitely slept not enough (between four and five hours per night). I needed more time for blogging - this is the third post for this week - and more time for reading - read one book and started the next. No, I won't tell you. But expect reviews within this month. Not to forget the time I spent for reviews. This is no complain. It is my own decision. Do you spend more time for reading books or for reading blogs? I'm really interested in your answers. And now enjoy reading.....

Bona Fide's Menu

  1. Delivery of the week: Reviewer copy of The Rats and the Ruling Sea by Robert V.S. Redick
  2. Shelf discovery of the week: The Fool's Gold Trilogy by Jude Fisher
  1. Steampunk reading list by Jessica Strider
  2. Astronomical Clocks: so many gears.....
  3. British Pubs: Sign of the Times, Part Two
  4. A reading bait for kids
  1. Riese - The Series
  1. This week German proverbs instead of quotes

The Rats and the Ruling SeaThis week I received my second reviewer copy in trade paperback format and "only" 634 pages. I read around 30 pages per hours. That would mean theoretically I can read the book within one day. Did you ever read 24 hours at a stretch? Oops, I forgot to tell you the title and the author: It is The Rats and the Ruling Sea (2009) [US][UK], which will hit stores on both sides of the Atlantic on 29th of October. It is the second book of the Chatrand Voayge series. When everything goes well I will start reading on upcoming Sunday. So hopefully I can offer you my review before October 29th. In case you missed it, read my post The World of Robert V.S. Redick with more information about the author and his books. is the second book of the Chatrand Voyage series.

Surprise, suprise. I found a whole unread trilogy in the depths of my bookshelf! I must admit I can't remember when and why I bought these books. After reading the blurb I remembered one reason: A heroine.As mentioned in the menu I talk about the Fool's Gold trilogy by Jude Fisher which is the pseudonym for Jane Johnson, who is the Publisher of HarperCollins' science fiction and fantasy list, Voyager. For more information visit Jude Fisher's website. The site has been update last in 2007. Jane Johnson decided to write and publish the next books under own name. Let's come back to the books. As I didn't read them I just can offer you the paperback covers and blurbs and a review for each book. There are different covers for the UK and the US edition. I own the US edition. Therefore I show you the US covers.

The series starts with Sorcery Rising (2003, pb) [US][UK].Sorcery Rising
"From the barren isles of the North come the Eyrans. Hardy seafaring folk. From the South come their old enemies, the Istrians. Slave-owners, who drove the Eyrans from their lands. And from all over Elda come the nomadic peoples - the Footloose - purveyors of charms and (untilnow) harmless potions.
But whence comes the sorcery that disrupts the annual Allfair at which they all gather?
Katla Aransen and her family have sailed to the fair to trade their goods. The Vingo clan have travelled from Istria to purchase a bride for their appaling eldest son. Tycho Issian has come to sell his daughter to the highest bidder. King Ravn Asharson, Stallion of the North, seeks a political alliance; while others seek his downfall.
For centuries, Elda has been bereft of magic; but this year something has changed. A mysterious force is abroad once more, and it will change the world forever..." [Source]
For more information read Victoria Strauss's review of Sorcery Rising.

Wild MagicThe story continues in Wild Magic (2004, pb) [US][UK].
"Magic has returned to Elda, creating all manner of wonders and terrors.
None yet know that the source of this magic is the legendary Rosa Eldi, restored to the world, but not yet restored to herself. Unaware of her true nature, she has married King Ravn Asharson of the North, and now with usurpers and assassins circling she must conceive a child to establish the succession.
In the Southern Empire, the fire of holy war is smouldering and violence is everywhere, fuelled by fundamentalist hatred and bigotry. Caught up in these machinations, peace-loving Saro Vingo is forced to take up arms against the North; and Virelai, apprentice sorcerer, finds himself chained to the murderous plans of his master, Tycho Issian.
Ignoring his king's call to arms, Aran Aranson, chief of the Rockfall clan, is in the grip of a mad obsession borne of a magical map and dreams of sailing the frozen seas to Sanctuary, island of legend, to find a fortune. His daughter, Katla, dreams of sailing with him; but her fate lies elsewhere.
All over Elda, forces are aligning themselves for good or for evil. There is magic in the world again, but it is wild and unpredictable, and few will count its touch a blessing." [Source]
For more information read Victoria Strauss's review of Wild Magic.

The story ends with The Rose of the World (2006, pb) [US][UK].The Rose of the World
"The Goddess of Elda - the Rose of the World - is now free and married to King Ravn of the Northern Isles. But the ships of the Southern Empire, under the fanatical leadership of Lord Tycho Issian, are bringing holy war to the North; and she may soon become a prize of combat.
Meanwhile, Katla Aransen has been abducted by Istrian raiders and finds herself in the harem of Rui Finco, Lord of Forent. There she will learn for herself the hardship suffered by the women of the South.
And Saro Vingo is imprisoned beneath the Eternal City, listening to the cries of those tortured by his mad brother, Tanto, Tycho Issian's henchman. Can he escape and put an end to his brother's atrocities?
North will fight South and all those caught in the vice of their passage will be crushed - unless guardianship of Elda is taken from the bloody hands of the warmongers and returned to those who truly care for it. " [Source]
For more information read Victoria Strauss's review of The Rose of the World.

On Thursday I posted about The World of PAX BRITANNIA. In case you like the series as much as I do you will be as happy as I am about the following news posted by Jonathan Green himself:
"Following on from Blood Royal [US, Apr 2010][UK, Dec 2009], and the second book in the new Ulysses Quicksilver story arc, is Dark Side...
"Escape the rat race of the human race and
Start a new life on the Moon!
You'll find incredible opportunities awaiting industrious individuals in the off-world colonies on Earth's most popular emigration destination.
And if you're simply looking to get away from it all at the Empire's most exclusive holiday resort, with weekly flights departing from the London spaceports, let us bring you the Moon in style!
From the architectural splendour of Luna Prime to the unrivalled calm of Tranquility and Serenity City, there really is something for everyone on Earth's favourite satellite.
See your world as never before when you experience Earthriseover the Caucasus Mountains. Visit the Island of the Winds and wonder at the Peaks of Eternal Light. Marvel at the magnificence of the Moon massifs and charter a solar yacht to voyage across the mysterious Sea of Dreams.
Or if it's adventure you're looking for, why not seek out old enemies and win new allies as you hunt for the killer of your nearest and dearest? While you're at it, investigate industrial espionage undertaken on an audacious scale. Partake in a breathless race against time across the dust deserts of the Ocean of Storms and witness the breaching of Man's final frontier firsthand.
So what are you waiting for? Murder and mayhem await you on the dark side of the Moon. But remember, in space no one can hear you hullabaloo.[Source]
Viva La Steampunk!


Jessica Strider over at Sci-Fi Fan Letter started to create a steampunk reading list. I know this is not the first try. But it seems the people who would like to enter the world of steampunk novels is growing. Maybe you find some interesting books over there or you can add books to the list.

Steampunk is an ongoing theme for me. And when I think of gears pictures of astronomical clocks pop up in my mind. If you want to see good collection of this kind of clocks then head over to Incredible Astronomical Clocks. So many gears.....

In summer I posted about British pub signs because you find pub signs from time to time in fantasy books. Now the wonderful people from Dark Roasted Blend posted British Pubs: Signs of the Times, Part Two. And again the found splendid and weird pub signs.

You have children or you know children who like to play but not to read?
Maybe this is the solution for you: Read Fantasy books coming to the Nintendo DS this Christmas by Fantasy Book Reviews.


With the last Roundup I discovered web comics for me. This week a web series arouse my interest:
Riese, a steampunk inspired series. It is about a female traveller named Riese. She has to flee across the lands of Eleysia. Her compagnion is Fenrir, a wolf. The Sect, a mysterious and brutal religious group is hunting Riese. Assassins are on her track and she has to discover her own secret. Watch the trailer:


So this week I present you some German proverbs. As there was not much time to work on this within this week, I use wikiqoute as my main source.

" * Wein auf Bier, das rat' ich dir. Bier auf Wein, das lass sein. (humorous)
Translation: "Wine on beer, I recommend to you. Beer on wine, leave alone."
Meaning: "Cider on beer, never fear; beer upon cider, makes a bad rider."
Alternate: "Liquor before beer, all is clear; beer before liquor, get sicker and sicker."
American: "Beer on whiskey, pretty risky; Whiskey on beer, have no fear." or "Liquor before beer, you're in the clear; beer before liquor, never been sicker."

" * Bei Nacht sind alle Katzen grau
Translation: In the night all cats are gray
Meaning: Human vision switches to monochrome mode in the dark.
Meaning: Used when explaining why you could not discern one thing from the other, either literally or as a metaphor. (Polite)
other Meaning: If it is late enough and I am drunk enough I don´t care what my one-night-stand looks like. (Vulgar)

" * Du siehst den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht.
Translation: You fail to see the forest because of all the trees.
Said when somebody fails to see the obvious solution to a problem.
Equivalent: You can't see the wood for the trees.
Equivalent: You can't see the forest for the trees.
Meaning: You only see the details, but not the big picture.