The Veil War

"and then I was like, 'Holy crap, goblins!'"

Behold the Orc

Here is an interesting, if annoying article: Ecce Orcus! An Argument for Humanizing the Orc. Hidden behind a morass of politically-correct fog, there is there a good point. Orcs shouldn’t be nothing more than evil minions.

In Tolkien, Orcs were perversions of the elves and inherently evil – or at least thoroughly predisposed to violence and badness and therefore easily harnessed by evil. In most fantasy literature that orcs or goblins appear in, they tend to follow Tolkien’s pattern as they do in most other ways even as they fail to give them as much personality as Tolkien did.


What I did on my summer vacation

Among other things, I read a few books – the first books I’ve read since last Fall.

  • The Oilman’s Daughter – by Ian Healy and Alison Dickson – I got an advance copy of this, and it’s great fun from two of our Really Big Idea authors. Loved it. Not available yet, but you’ll want to read it when it comes out. Atomic space trains. Pirates. Need I say more?
  • The Mongoliad – by Neal Stephenson and others – Not up to normal standards of Stephensonian verbosity, but a fun read with lots of swords.
  • Ashes of Candesce by Karl Schroeder – Fifth and concluding book of the Virga series. Virga is a world of air, a bubble in space heated by a fusion sun. Steampunk and singularities, a great conclusion to a great and richly imagined series.
  • Through Struggle, the Stars by John Lumpkin –  another Really Big Idea alum. This book has some of the best hard sf space battles I’ve ever read. Well thought out, well written, and an interesting universe.
  • Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez – I loved Freedom(tm) and Daemon, and was not disappointed with this one. Drones using algorithms derived from aggressive ant species – great read, and really creepy in places.
  • The Apocalypse Codex by Charles Stross – I have loved the Laundry series, but although I did enjoy this one, it felt like it was treading familiar ground. Hopefully, now that Howard is getting promoted, we can get to the excitement of Case Nightmare Green in the next book.
  • The Devil in the Dollhouse by Richard Kadrey – only 99 cents! Read this because the previous several books in the Sandman Slim series are pure adrenaline awesomeness, and I couldn’t wait two more weeks until Devil Said Bang comes out. Fantastic books, all well worth your time.

Right now, I’m reading Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis, and next up is Liminal States by Jack Parsons and The Thousand Hour Club by George O’Har.

Update: Well, Devil Said Bang came out, so I read that. Pure awesome. I have rarely had as much fun with a series as this one, and the level of quality has, if anything, gone up with time not down. Finished Bitter Seeds, which is grim but fascinating. An alternate WWII with British sorcerers and Nazi cyborgs. Will have to read the sequel. Liminal States is loaded up on the Kindle, and that means I need to buy George’s book.

Maps Update

In the comments to my crude, hand-drawn map DMRGrimes asked where exactly this so-called “real terrain” actually was.

It’s right here.

You’ll have to scroll out a bit, but all the key locations are there.

I am back

I have been less than communicative lately, if by less than communicative you mean dropping off the face of the Earth. I’ve been traveling and working and taking care of family, all of which militate against writing productivity, to be sure. But the honest truth (as opposed to sneaky dishonest truths) is that I was a little burnt out there. Trying to manage all the mundane aspects of my life and produce decentish fantastical prose was getting to be a little much. So I took a break.

And I have to say, it was nice. I didn’t think about the Veil War at all for most of two weeks. And when I did resume thinking about it, there was no longer the pall of dread that had attended such thoughts back in June and July. A whole bunch of things that I had been hung up on are now no longer hangups, and for the last couple days I’ve been happily typing.

Regular chapter postings will resume next Thursday, and I’ve already got that chapter in the bag. I hope to push out another chunk of the sword story this weekend, but no promises on that one. I also have some posts cued up, and I’ll be looking for some feedback from you, the long-suffering reader.

Thanks for hanging in there!