Dave Duncan is a good, reliable storyteller. I'd be hard put to winnow his 34 books and come up with a Top, All-Time Favorite. Last January I was having a turbulent time, so to coddle myself I sat down and re-read the King's Blades and the King's Daggers.
Wheel of Time
isn't Immortal Literature, but in spite of the Cast of Thousands (challenging to keep track of from volume to volume) it is good swashbuckling adventure. There are at least two Labor Of Love Fan Sites to keep track of the multiple minor characters. There are times when repeated character quirks become character tics. Every so often the six young leading characters seem a bit adolescent. All the same, if you read for diversion WoT
Unfortunately, Jordan's health is not good:
From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jordan:
On March 23, 2006, Jordan disclosed in a statement in a firm and optimistic tone that he has been diagnosed with primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy, and that, with treatment, his median life expectancy is four years, though he says he intends to beat the statistics. He later posted on his Dragonmount blog to encourage his fans not to worry about him and that he intends to have a long and fully creative life, working for another 30 years.
He began chemotherapy treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in early April 2006. Mr. Jordan is currently enrolled in a study using a drug just approved for multiple myeloma but not yet tested on primary amyloidosis. On September 15, 2006, he added a post to his blog noting good news concerning his condition (though he has not yet gone into remission).
On November 8, Jordan confirmed the report of his progress in a post on the Dragonmount blog, stating that he had experienced a 25% reduction in Lambda light chain levels. The wider results of his test group, studying treatment under the drug Revlimid, is inconclusive showing (according to Jordan) numbers that are "all over the place". The reduction is in spite of the fact that Jordan was taken off the Revlimid due to some kidney troubles believed linked to the treatment. However, with this situation stabilized he is back on the drug and is enjoying the freedom of home-care; sending self-collected blood samples in monthly, receiving medications by mail, and returning to the Mayo Clinic in three month intervals.
On December 22, Jordan announced that his Lambda light chain levels had gone down to a rating of 3.14 (with 1 to 3 being considered normal / healthy). This level refers to the amount of amyloid like material found on examination, and gives prognostic information to physicians.
On January 22, Jordan's blog announced that the Lambda light chain levels had dropped to a rating of 2.70. This reduction was sustained throughout another break in Jordan's use of Revlimid, which he briefly came off again due to side effects attributed to the drug. It should be noted that for the first time since his diagnosis in March 2006 Mr. Jordan's Lambda light chains are within the normal limits
I give him extra points for courage and optimism. He was diagnosed in 2005 with an "average" life expectancy of 4 years, but hopes to have the last volume of WoT
published in 2009.
I've been racking my brains for the First Person Hero who died. Please, please jog my memory.
Azimov was one of the first science fiction writers I discovered. I think The Foundation Trilogy
was expanded a little too far, but the original three volumes gave me a glimpse of history as more than a series of dates and factoids.
Both Bester and Van Vogt are authors of the Golden Age. I don't know about you, but I expect some of their luster in my mind is due to my youth when bookshelves were full of glorious discoveries as well as to their genius.
Those of us who read speculative fiction now have to admit that modern authors stand on the shoulders of giants.
I read the third volume of Peter David's Sir Apropos of Nothing
series, Tong Lashing
. Sir Apropos started as a rather shallow anti-hero, but in this latest installment he's developing some depth while displaying David's mordant wit. ("He was a dark and stormy knight....")
Perhaps this is the final volume...perhaps there will be more.