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The DJ Navigator by Alex Clark-McGlenn

This is a recording of one of my story: The DJ Navigator.

I hope you enjoy it. If you want to hear more recordings like this please consider backing my projects on Patreon! Thanks.

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Book Review Conversation: Gardens of The Moon by Steven Erikson (SPOILERS)

So, a friend and I have been reading Gardens of The Moon by Steven Erikson, the first book of the Malazan series. Everyone says if you can get through that first book, the series (10 books) is amazing. Here’s the conversation my friend and I had the other.
AlexCM: So, jeez, where to begin? I’d liked to structure this a little bit, and wrote down some questions that I felt strongly about. Maybe I’ll bring that up and ask you some of them.

Figel 

That sounds like fun. I have a couple of things I’m curious about. I’ll try and think of some more as we go

AlexCM 

Okay, I guess first off, what did you think of the overall book. Like general impression, which seems like a big deal with a series of this magnitude.

Figel 

We are going the whole thing written? Or do you want to VOICE CHAT AS WE GO?
Either way is fine

AlexCM 

Naw written. I’m going to post this as a “review in conversation” on my blog–so sound smart.
pressure is on

Figel 

Aw crap, alright

AlexCM 

haha

Figel 

By the end of Gardens of the moon I ended up really liking it, and I was very surprised by how many characters I wasn’t initially excited about that ended up being my favorites. The first five parts started pretty slow, but I feel like Erickson stayed on each beat just long enough, and my excitement level slowly grew until I really needed to know what was about to happen.
(How spoilery should we be?)

AlexCM 

Whatever happens happens.

Figel 

I was also really intrigugued by how from the start you really buy in to the Malazan point of view, and feel like you are on their side, and several times I felt myself conflicted about who I was rooting for.
intrigued…

AlexCM 

I think that’s a fair assessment for sure. Sadly, for me, the only character I was overtly intrigued in was Anomander Rake, and even by the end of the book I only got through it by telling myself it will be worth it in later books.
I guess what I mean to say is. . .
This definitely feels like a trial by fire book that introduces you to something far larger.

Figel 

Yeah, I would agree with that. I also really liked Rake, and was especially excited when he stepped in as Rallicks second, even though that didn’t really lead to anything. I found Circlebreaker to be my favorite, and really loved the way his arc closed. I also found myself very interested in Paren, but only really after he died that first time.
I love how he, and several other of the main characters. just really have no idea what is going on.

AlexCM 

Wait, was Circle Breaker’s identity ever revealed? I know he works for Kruppe, but never understood who he was–or if he was someone else I already knew.
Because Kruppe is the Eel, right?

Figel 

He was just an agent of the Eel, who never knew his identity. He is introduced as a guardsman spying on Turban Orr, and constantly felt that he was going to die, but decided it was worth it.
He is just Circlebreaker, he isn’t another character that we know of.

AlexCM 

But I thought Kruppe was the Eel. No?

Figel 

Yeah Kruppe is. That was one of my bigger questions. I’m curious how you thought the whole Eel thing played out. I felt it was pretty obvious it was Kruppe, but he made it so clear I started to doubt a bit. I ended up being fine with that, but you also never really get a clear picture of how influential he is. As you only get a glimpe of the Eel’s effect. But most of his power in the story has to do with his dreams, and how central he is to everything.
I just meant that Circlebreaker never knows it’s Kruppe,

AlexCM 

I just don’t know. Kruppe puts a spell on. . .someone who figures it out, so maybe he’s overt because he can just make ppl forget anyway. :shrug:
But I actually didn’t make the connection until later. Probably because I was just trying to hold onto anything of note at all, and got lost a lot.
I am excited about the role Circlebreaker will play in subsequent books. It’s set up for him to take a more active role.

Figel 

Yeah he does make Murillio temporarily forget, but I think that was a device to make the reader get confirmation of what they had hopefully already figured out. As I was feeling like there were a lot of breadcrumbs. But I also felt just a bit like the Eel was the main mystery that never gets a lot of attention intentionally, but Kruppe certainly does.
Yeah, I’m definitely hoping that wasn’t the end of Circlebreaker. He is one of the only people that really doesn’t seem like a huge part of it all.

AlexCM 

Haha. I guess that scene with Murillo was for me. Because I was like, OOOOOHHHH>

Figel 

Hahaha
Maybe he intended it both ways

AlexCM 

Likely, if Erkison’s reputation is earned for being a master plotter.
Speaking of which….
Do you feel the reputation of this book as a “slog” yet essential gateway to this series is well earned? Every time I heard of this book it was with warnings of how “dense” it is. Did you find it so>

Figel 

I was surprised to find that I didn’t. Before either of us had read it we discussed that general opinion several times and it made me hesitant to bite in. But I think, while the main plot took a while for me to get interested in, many of the subplots really caught my interest. Paren working for Lorn, Crokus and Challice (even if the conclusion was a little quick) Hedge and his cards, and everyone trying to kill Crokus with Caladan Brood directly opposing Rake there.

AlexCM 

It’s clear to me that you see the plot points far more clear than I do, but similarly, I felt as though the reputation was a little harsh.

Figel 

I think I also was expecting worse. I had a really hard time getting through Ken Liu’s Grace Of Kings, and I will haven’t made it to the end of the first book of Janny Wurts’ giant series. I think it just felt like an introduction. It took a really long time to understand how the magic worked, and that the Malazan empire wasn’t just going to take over everything, but it all is very interesting. It did feel a little like several Novella’s getting us ready for the story, but I found it to be an exciting ride.
I think the last several years has been full of very complicated fantasy. With those two as well as another ten or fifteen that come to mind, and maybe it’s a matter of what we were used to when the first book was released.

AlexCM 

For sure. and wait. . . you understand how Warrens work? I found the magic rather arbitrary. I didn’t understand what the rules of the magic was at all.
It seemed like those who could use warrens did so. . .whenever, but there wasn’t much difference that I could tell between different warrens other than some were stronger than others–then the Ototaral (sic) powder was cool, and the sword.

Figel 

Haha I feel like the novice of novices, and that may have been an exaggeration. I know that there are tiers of warrens, with Elder warrens at the top, many of which no longer exist. You have to open your warren to use magic, and the kind depends on that, and your understanding of the Warren (s) is what dictates how strong you are. I.E a high mage. But what kind belongs where I have no idea. And while Tattersail seemed to tired out quickly using her magic, and it seemed to tax her, I agree that otherwise their use seems limitless.
Yeah I was very intrigued by Otateral. I’ll assume we will learn more about the warrens later. Hopefully.

AlexCM 

I hear the rules surrounding them does become clear later in the series.

Figel 

I look forward to that.

AlexCM 

Okay, I got one more question. . .

Figel 

Sure. I have one more as well if there is time and space in the article

AlexCM 

So, in a world in which gods are flitting about in mortal dealings and ppl are coming back to life, I had a difficult time understanding what the stakes were in the story. Like what is the consequence if the Empire takes Darujhistan? (sic). I.e. why does it matter?
I guess it’s hard to fear for the fate of the characters when a god might just bring them back to life.

Figel 

I’ve been wondering that too. I mean, we know that Darujhistan is really wealthy, and Laseen probably needs the money to pay her troops? Also if you look at the map, it gives a rather wide area of influence if Malazan were to take that area.
I feel like early on there is something about it being the last bastion of freedom. There aren’t a lot of cities further South, so I don’t know where Rake and Caladan Brood would go to defend next.

AlexCM 

I mean, why is Laseen such an asshole?

Figel 

But you’re right, I’m not sure why the book made it feel so important.
Haha right? From the point she takes power it’s somehow just known that the Malazan empire will spread indefinitely unless someone stops it, but I also don’t feel like it was very clear why she needs to conquer everywhere.

AlexCM 

Ya
What was your question?

Figel 

I mean, things are obviously coming to a head with the Seer, who is the new big baddy to fight against the Malazans. And it will be interesting to see where all of the characters who we have left decide to land.
I am wondering how you feel about the length and conclusion of the Tyrant arc. From the start of part six, I was feeling like the whole next book could be about stopping him, and then it became clear he really wasn’t that powerful without the seed. I was just a little surprised at how fast he was stopped, and by the several characters (dragons) that got thrown in and out of the story during that section.

AlexCM 

I see what you mean. I actually don’t think Raest is dead–but maybe he is, I don
don’t know.
It did seem like the buildup was huge for a relatively small payoff.
But the Galayn demon fight against Rake made up for that

Figel 

That’s how I felt too. And then him being eaten by that…Eldering thing that was never really explained but was obviously some kind of ancient power?
Yeah, that fight was awesomely agreed.

AlexCM 

wait, who got eaten?

Figel 

Raest

AlexCM 

Raest?
For some reason I can’t remember that now. . .
I just know he was defeated. lol

Figel 

Oooooh
He is imprisoned in the house
It didn’t kill him

AlexCM 

Ohhhhh
That’s right

Figel 

I was very confused about the Azath

AlexCM 

I started Deadhouse Gates last night.

Figel 

What do you think of the opening?

AlexCM 

It’s great. Much easier than GoTM

Figel 

Awesome! I’ll have to get going on it.

AlexCM 

I’m not far in but like it.

Figel 

I just want them to go to Otataral, I’m just really intrigued by the anti-magic stuff

AlexCM 

ya. same.
As of today, we have both taken a bite out of the book 2, Deadhouse Gates. I hope to post more conversations as we progress through this series. Cheers.

Best of 2018: by Alex Clark-McGlenn

 

Comic Books

 

Series of the Year: Isola

Isola #1

Isola gets a ton of acclaim. It’s not an accident. Brendan Fletcher (creator, writer) and Karl Kerschl (creator, writer, artist) have struck a chord with a piece that is adventurous, ambiguous, and moving all at once. As seems to be protocol at Image Comics these days, they’ve found another fantastic story. The first chapter of the series, 1-5, is over, but Isola is slated for a much-anticipated return in mid-January 2019. Readers are hoping for some flesh on the bones of a fantastical world we’ve barely come to know. It will be exciting to see how expansive the world, plot, and cast of characters becomes when this hit series continues.

Read the full post here.

Comic Review: Warning # 1

The Warning combines authentic military language with a classic science fiction plot. Published by Image Comics and written and drawn by Edward Laroche, The Warning offers fans of military science fiction a new series to be excited about.

Story:

Classic plots easily become cliches in a genre that is often as formulaic as military science fiction. However, The Warning treads a fine line between classic and cliche to offer up a visually stunning, if tried piece of work.

The plot begins with the observance of a honey bee landing on a flower. A caption graces each panel; the internal dialogue of a soldier. His thoughts are poetic, his musing existential in nature, setting a tone that readers can’t forget even after the panels pull back and show readers a scene of an airbase. Soldiers gear up for an airdrop.

A flashback ensues. A woman sleeps on a couch. She looks worse for wear. The phone call she answers gets her out of bed, however. The military program that Congress scrapped, it’s back on, and it’s time for her to get to work. She ups her self with some coke from a small bottle. In the final panel, she looks better, her eyes clear. She’s ready to work.

Read the full review at SequentialPlanet.com