Tag Archives: recommended authors

Because Dragons

My son is reading, because of dragons.

I’m very happy that my eldest son is into reading fiction now. It was very difficult to get him to get away from computer and TV screens. I’ll admit that getting him to read segued from the kiddlywinks watching a movie then finding out that the movies were books first.

That, and the long periods of time when they couldn’t play video games because we couldn’t afford to fix computers/replace expensive parts. For years we didn’t have TV (it wasn’t plugged into the antenna) and they’d run out of DVDs to watch. “I’m bored,” holds no water when the parental response in the household is to brush a finger down the spines of several books, select one and hand it to the kidlet, “you can’t be bored, you haven’t read all the books in the house yet!”

So the trick to get him to read was to give him books that he liked. In this case he was very much into dragons, so I got him dragon-centric fantasy books and fantasy adventure books that I felt were straightforward engrossing stories that any of the children could read. Wings of Fire was obtained, along with some volumes of Brotherband (we’ll really have to try get him a boxed set at some point, because we fell behind, in favor of Wings) and then for his combined Christmas and birthday money, we went digging through Book Depository for books he wanted.

 

To my delight there’d be times where he would opt to read instead of watching TV or playing video games. In the morning after breakfast and before going to school he’d be curled up on the couch, reading. At first he rehashed all the ones he’d already read, and then I pointed out that he had unread books on his shelves waiting from his last book buy binge. It took some doing, but we got him Dave Freer’s Dragon’s Ring and Dog and Dragon, which he enjoyed.

Recently, I handed him Matthew Reilly’s Troll Mountain. He liked it a lot as he finished it the same day, and remarked about how the cure for the disease turned out to be such a simple thing. I told him that the disease in the book was actually a disease that exists in the real world and it used to kill people very regularly. Right now, he’s working on The Great Zoo of China. He got through the first three chapters bam like that. Continue reading

Because it is worth relinking and rereading.

thatswhatseparatecountriesarefor

 

Jim Butcher has this to say about the Charlie Hebdo atrocity

Freedom v Fear

It needs requoting, but you should also read the original post on his LJ.

“Still mortified about our fallen cartoonist colleagues, but free speech will always win.”

No.

No it won’t.

The history of the human race demonstrates /very/ convincingly that free speech is the /exception/ to the human condition, not the rule. For millennia, those who spoke out were imprisoned or killed. Hell, you could say something that wasn’t even subversive, just inept and stupid, and be destroyed for committing the crime of lese majeste.

Make no mistake. What we have today is a level of freedom and self-determination on a scale unparalleled in the history of our species. We live in what is, in many ways, a golden age. So much so that we give tremendous credit to the adage, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

But everyone always forgets the first half of that quote:

“Under the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword.”

I’m not sure I know of anyplace that’s ruled by anyone “entirely great.” That adage wasn’t a statement of philosophy, as it was originally used: it was a statement of irony.

Don’t believe me? Look around. Notice that everywhere you go in the world, whoever happens to be ruling seems to have a great many swords.

Still, the idea contained within the quote is a powerful one–that intangible ideas, thoughts, and beliefs can have tremendous power. And that’s why we should be paying close attention.

After all, intangible fear can be mightier than the sword, too. Hell, it has been for quite a while now. Don’t believe me? Try getting on an airplane without taking your shoes off in the security line. While you’re doing that, try cracking a joke about having a knife.

That’s the power of fear, guys.

We. Are. In. Danger.

The threat isn’t aimed at our government or our borders or our resources. It’s targeting something far more precious–our identity. It’s changing us, who we are, how we live, and not for the better.

The Western world has got the biggest and sharpest sword the planet has ever known, yes. But the extremists are armed with a weapon just as powerful: Fear. And these nuts are really good at using it.

There is /one/ way that freedom, freedom to speak, to choose, to grow, to believe, to improve, survives in the face of violent attack.

Free men and women defend it, violently if necessary–or it dies.

It’s that simple. It really is.

If we forget that, if we forget that there are predators in the world who very much want to destroy those freedoms in the name of their god, their philosophy, their politics, if we forget that our freedoms /can/ and /will/ be taken away if we sit staring and do nothing, they are as good as gone.

Freedom doesn’t defend itself.

We have to do it.

That said…

Good question.

That’s a huge contrast to Scalzi apologizing to Muslims for what happened over in France. Hat tip to Vox Day on that one, since I don’t keep track of Scalzi.

Respect for Butcher, Correia, Hoyt, and so many others +++++++ infinity. This is a freedom of speech issue. This is a Western Civilization issue. It needs defending, or we lose everything.

Enjoyable reads must be accompanied by good eats

some of the best things in life...!

That’s today’s lunch. And Rhys got me that book, because it was less than A$20 in Kmart, which we were lucky to get. They didn’t have any more left on the shelves and luckily there was some in the back. Interestingly enough, Reilly’s book was the ONLY one who was ‘out of stock’ from what we could tell.

I am eagerly awaiting the release of the next Jack Ryan Jr. book.

(reposting this comment I made over here)

Matthew Reilly is my favorite recommend for thrillers / technothrillers. He cheerfully admits that he’s not out to write deep, meaningful stories, but fun, action-packed ones. Reading his books is like reading something that I’d expect to happen if Michael Bay and John Woo put their heads together and decided to write a book instead of make a movie.

He has a number of stand-alone books as well as a couple of series. His attempt at a historical mystery, The Tournament had me intrigued because it revolved around the game of chess of all things.

He has a fondness for unlikely heroes. His first book, Contest has a single dad with his kid as the hero. The latest book, The Great Zoo of China has a traumatized herpetologist. Reilly also isn’t one I’d accuse of making weak female characters – and he uses all sorts of definitions for ‘strength’ to help build his characters to be more than ‘tick box feminism.’

Oh and he has fun with playing with cryptozoology. He’s very clearly inspired by Indiana Jones, and has no problems whatsoever with being so.

The other one I’d recommend, but he’s really hard to get outside of – and inside of – Australia is Greig Beck. Much like Reilly in thriller style, but with more horror-feel than Reilly’s ‘lots and lots of things explode and get destroyed.’

I also find myself enjoying Mark Greaney’s continuation of the Jack Ryan novels. He isn’t afraid of dropping the characters into ‘oh shit’ situations and occasionally, and realistically, ‘I hate my life that was retarded’ moments – it’s quite clear that he DID write with Clancy, not ghost-wrote for him. The styles are quite distinct, and I think they worked well together.

In fact, I enjoyed pretty much everything in the Jack Ryan Jr. set of stories, but I guess for some that would be a Mileage May Vary sort of thing. But Greaney’s style is fun and fast and I wouldn’t mind trying out his own books outside of the Ryanverse as a result.