Thursday, October 22, 2009

Check It Out: A guide to joining the forces of evil

Posted by Simcha 4:04 AM, under | 1 comment

Yesterday I joined StubleUpon, as a way to help drive traffic to my website and blog, and now I have a nifty little Stumble button on my toolbar that chooses random websites for me to look at. And now I also have something new to distract me and keep from getting any work done. And I thought Twitter was bad.

My new favorite StubleUpon discovery is this awesome website

A Step-by-Step Guide to joining the Forces of Darkness

Congratulations on your decision to join the forces of darkness! Evil always needs more tools... I mean... agents... for its unholy army of the night, and by joining now you can rest assured that your remaining years will be spent pursuing the 'good' things of life: lust, greed, debauchery, the slaughter of hapless innocents... Your favorite hobby can become a lifelong career! Thus, this handy guide has been created to nurture any potential lunatic into a lifetime of evil and destruction.

They offer a quiz to help you determine your evil potential, a guide for choosing the best villainous career for you, assistance in pinpointing your objectives as an evil doer, suggestions for good lair locations, a guide to finding good evil henchmen and much more deliciously fun advice on how to pursue a career as an evil guy (or gal)

Here is a sample from their Careers For Evil Doers page:

The career of necromancer is an excellent choice for evil-doers who are not a "people person." Though some might say there is not much point to turning the earth into one gigantic graveyard, these people are fools and will never understand anyway. Good career entry points for becoming a necromancer include occultists, dabblers in voodoo, grave diggers, morticians, possessed eight-year-old girls, and inheritors of scary books wrapped in human flesh.

So if you have ever contemplated joining to forces of evil, or simply want a good laugh, check out

Now back to work...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Currently reading Or Challenges of finding a good book

Posted by Simcha 11:45 AM, under | 2 comments

I finished Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker, last night, and I am prepared to declare it the best fantasy book I have read all year. Lately I've been reading a lot of urban and contemporary fantasy and I forgot how great a real fantasy book can be; the kind that skillfully creates whole new worlds, religions and systems of magic. It's been a long time since a fantasy book has engaged me as wholly as Warbreaker has and I loved every minute of it.
After finishing Warbreaker I was feeling a little bereft that the book was now over and its characters have all gone on their own way. So I was delighted to receive The Unit, by Ninni Holmqvist, in the mail today, a book I have been eager to read for a while now.

But before jumping from one book to the other, I wanted something lighthearted and fun to serve as a sort of "palate cleanser" between books.
I thought it would be easy to find some kind of paranormal romance or urban fantasy to provide a quick enjoyable read before I move on to The Unit, which I expect to be somewhat dark and heavy, as many dystopic novels are.

But quick enjoyable reads seem to be hard to come by. I started Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for. The introduction, where October gets turned into a fish, forcing her to abandon her partner and daughter for fourteen years, depressed me. I don't like stories that involve abandonment of children. And then when she returns to human form and her boyfriend and daughter refuse to even meet with her, I just couldn't suspend my disbelief. I mean, even if they were upset at October's disappearance, they had no reason to think that it purposefully done. They should have been overjoyed to have October back when they thought she was dead. The idea that they wouldn't even meet with her to find out what happened was too implausible for me and made it difficult for me to continue the book.

So I moved on to Ravenous, by Sharon Ashwood which wasn't too bad except that it reminded me of so many other vampire books that I have already read that I just wasn't compelled to continue after the first few chapters.

Next, I decided to give Some Girls Bite, by Chlo Neill, a try. I've seen this book recommended by a few blogs so far but I haven't been tempted to read it mostly because I don't like the title or cover (yes, I do judge books by such things). But after so many other books have failed to interest me I'm feeling determined to find one that I can full-heartedly enjoy. But a few chapters in, and I don't think this book is the one for me either. I thought it was strange that Marit was so unaffected after her transformation into a vampire, other then being a little woozy. Most vampire books go into great detail as to the physical challenges and intense blood lust a vampire experiences after being newly turned but Marit is just dropped off at home where she behaves in a disappointingly human manner; having a good cry with her roommate and then going off to break the news to her parents about her new undead status. I just thought that it was rather unbelievable, or as unbelievable as a book about vampires can be.

Am I being too picky here?

I think I'm going to give up on trying to find a PNR or urban fantasy for now and tomorrow I will start on The Unit. I believe my palate has been cleansed enough for today.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Apex Book of World SF: An eclectic assortment of science fiction, fantasy and horror

Posted by Simcha 5:25 PM, under | 1 comment

The Apex Book of World SF is an eclectic assortment of science fiction, fantasy and horror stories, collected by Lavie Tidhar from authors across the globe. Some of the out-of-the- way places where these stories originated include Malaysia, China, The Philippines and Croatia. Though the stories in the collection run the gamut from science fiction to horror to surrealism, Tidhar definitely shows his affection for the weird.

The writers of this collection, though writing primarily in English, come from different backgrounds, and this creeps into their style and the individual voices in which they write The unique nature of this collection is found most exquisitely in the story, The Kite of the Stars, by Dean Francis Alfar, from the Philippians. In this gem, Alfar uses his unique voice to profound effect as he weaves a wild dream and a jumble of ideas and facts into an amazing unforgettable journey.

Maria Isabella decides to catch the eye of an astronomer - But the butcher's boy sadly informs her, "He only has eyes for the stars." And so Maria devises a wild plan; She will sail to the stars in a kite to catch his eye! She meets with the world’s greatest artisan and he draws up a fantastic list of impossible items necessary to create a design found only in dreams. Maria then sets out on a great journey, accompanied by the faithful butcher's boy, to collect the list of items

"It may take a lifetime to gather everything, " the artisan warns her.

"A lifetime is all I have," Maria Isabella replies.
It took almost sixty years.
Read More

Read an Interview with author, Lavie Tidhar

The final contest winners

Posted by Simcha 2:50 PM, under | 2 comments

This is a bit belated, but congratulations to the two final contest winners of the Book-A-Day Giveaway.

Li-Or, from Hadera, will be receiving Brandon Sanderson's new book Warbreaker (I'm actually reading this now [my own copy] and it is AWESOME!)

Itai, from Ashdod, has been sent a copy of The Apex Book of World SF, compiled by Lavie Tidhar.

I hope all of the contest winners enjoy their new books and I'd love to hear what you thought of them, after you finish.

I had a great time giving away with this contest; giving away books was really a lot of fun. I'll definitely try to do it again sometime soon.


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