Sunday, February 14, 2010

Just finished two books via Kindle that are well worth a look:

Patrick Rothfuss The Name of the Wind

Recommended by the incomparable Syd Schwartz, “The Name of the Wind” took a couple of tries to get in to. Not sure why, but the prelude smacked of fantasy hackness, so despite Syd’s recommendation, I had shelves it.

Then I tumbled into Pat’s blog. Several hours of laughing later — do yourself a favor and read coolness — I realized that nobody who was a) this funny and b) from Wisconsin was going to write crap, so TNOTW got another shot.

And good thing it did, because to me it ranks up there with The Deed of Paksenarrion as one of the truly great modern fantasy epics. Wonderful characterization, believable tragedy, and evocative world building.

The only problem is the whole “Day 1” issue. I want the next part of the story now!

So, Pat, please limit the blogging — as brilliant as it is — and get back to Kvothe!

Daniel Suarez Freedom™

Freedom is the sequel to Daniel’s strong debut, Daemon. Daemon introduced us to the delightful power fantasy of a game developer using a virtual world and AI to take over the world. “Daemon” was a great read, it somewhat preposterous — it counted on bug-free code from a game developer, after all.

Freedom improved on Daemon quite a bit. Still fast moving and action packed, but more character development and even a pinch of redemption. Daniel plays with concepts familiar to most of you — using virtual worlds to coordinate activity, overlaying digital currencies on the real world, fabrication — and overlays them with a large dose of paranoia, corporate greed, and cynicism.

My only concern is that “Daemon” and “Freedom” are poised to become the Atlas Shrugged of the Web 2.0 digerati, credulous wanna be digerati, and geeks who think programming skills mean they are world experts on military history, sociobiology, evolutionary economics, philosophy, and thermodynamics. In other words, people who forget that it is fiction. People who think fMRI’s are truth machines., corporations need evil overlords to do wrongs, and alternative energy options are easy and just being ignored.

I hope that doesn’t happen, because “Daemon” and “Freedom” are too good to become religious texts.

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