Friday, December 30, 2016

Raven's Shadow : Patricia Briggs

In a world where magic is fading the Travelers have learned to hide. Seraph is one of the last of the Raven mages, a line of witches that carry magics borne to animal names, labeling their powers. People fear what they don't know and hate what they cannot possess and the witches have been decimated and driven into hiding. Seraph is too powerful to hide, her magics show through and commoners are beginning to close around her when she's rescued by a soldier named Tier.

Together they keep the old ways strong, bearing each of her bloodlines forward into their children, except for one, a child who was lost. The missing link can destroy the world, or save it. But Tier goes missing, and Seraph has to take up his role of protector to find him and finish the weave. A place as beautiful as it is terrible hangs in the balance and the temptation to let it slide into mythology sings a siren's song.

Should she save the world of magic? Or let it take its place in history and live as a commoner? For him the choice is easy to make, but for her, it means the lives of her children...



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Monday, December 26, 2016

Chapter 15 : We could always just kill them

I was already getting twitchy, and the sun hadn't even gone down yet. Timmy sure was taking his sweet time infiltrating the little bird, the kettle had already gone off twice with another brewing. I wanted to shoot it, before it started to scream for the third time. The odds of anyone being at that warehouse? Decent. The odds of us ever figuring out what fucking warehouse it was? Poor.

Timmy walked back out into the living room and scooped up Danielle from where she was leaning against the wall. I resisted the urge to shoot the both of them, making a mental wager that he'd be more horrified at seeing Danielle shot. CO or not, that one might get me one of our shiny white medals. He nodded at me as he carried her over to the couch. Not surprisingly, Danny and Ricky scooted over to make a space for him.

"Anything on the warehouse," I asked him softly, crossing the room despite Danny kicking up the ball game a couple clicks.

"Ayeah, Sarge," Timmy drawled, an odd, closed look on his face, "I checked about that real thorough."

I waited, leaning against the doorway to the hall while he looked over the map I'd brought from the table. His face didn't move a muscle as he scanned the streets and alleys. Finally he tapped on a section of largish buildings.

"She said he had a friend over here, in the Dorsai district. They'll meet up in on of these storage houses to see if we'll show."

I nodded and dropped a hand on his shoulder, then walked over to the kitchen table and pointedly began sorting matchsticks between myself and the boys. He almost cracked a smile. Little fucker just figured out why I'd sent him in instead of myself. I don't play would you rather with assassins...




Robin Hobb: Ship of Magic

Wander from normal into  a world where a pirate fights to become king, where sea monsters seek their lost secrets in their own legends and where ships speak through the magic of the coffins from which they are made. The seasons of mystery have stopped turning and the wheel struggles to move, and a rich merchant house is about to see its fortunes turn in time with the workings of a new world.

Bingtown is the home of liveships and the center of all commerce as a result. Each of it's ruling class owns a ship and trades in the magical items that are brought out of the rain wilds by the cursed people who lived within. They always appeared veiled and clothed from head to foot, but rumor precedes them and everyone knew they became hideously disfigured as they unearthed the objects they sold.

The Vestrit family was the oldest in Bingtown and its children were spoiled beyond belief. Their oldest daughter began accepting courting gifts from the Rain Wilds when she was denied a place on their new liveship, Vivacia. Her brother, a priest, was forced to serve in her place and the ship was stolen. The Vestrits were to big to fall, but their children were bringing the world down upon them, and all of its miseries with it.

Magic was a toy to the people outside of the Wilds, and they felt it could fix anything- it was something to be played with and then ignored- wasn't it?

One spoiled little girl, her clueless mother, and a sheltered son were about to find out.


Curious? Buy it Here.


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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Il Nom De Rosa- Name of the Rose: Let's Read (and Question)

Incredible book and movie (with Sean Connery) by Umberto Eco, an equally incredible Italian philosopher who studied semiotics. Name of the Rose explores medieval Italy during the Inquisition, as a monk serves his order by exploring a series of murders that no one wants solved...

Brace yourself for some hardcore philosophia- I pulled this from one of my old discussions at partiallyexaminedlife.com so it's the world's best way to get the most out of the book (adventure meets understanding :)

I’m not terribly far in, but a good chunk of philosophy is covered in the first few chapters. So far some cool things I’ve found (most points were found in the paper Murder and Mayhem in a Medieval Abbey: The Philosophy of the Name of the Rose -David G. Baxter):

First off the preface is a fake. Eco wrote it to situate the novel in a historical context. The fact that it is also fictional was, I felt, an excellent lead in to a book about understanding signs and significance. The very fact that it is fictional is alluded to when the author states “In short, I am full of doubts. I really don’t know why I have decided to pluck up my courage and present, as if it were authentic, the manuscript of Adso of Melk,” and again on the first page, “now repeating verbatim all I saw and heard without venturing to seek a design, as if to leave to those who will come after… signs of signs, so that the prayer of deciphering may exercised on them.” Also of note in the last quote is a reference to the idea found frequently in Apologetics that all true knowledge is a priori, not deriven from facts and deductive logic.
The theory of interpreting signs in order to acquire knowledge of things (concrete in the world) was systematized by William of Occam, who is mentioned several times in conjunction with Plato’s ideals. Plato held the opinion that all of the things of the world had an ideal form from which they derove their existence. It’s also interesting to note that Occam was decried for heresy over an interpretation of Apostilic poverty- it conflicted with the notions held by Pope John XXII as it dictated that the church and its servants should live in poverty (the only property belonging to them would belong only in the sense of being used by them). This is the subject of the conference which is called at the Abbey which is the setting of our novel.
The protagonist lends himself to a comparison with Sherlock Holmes, not the least because he is from Baskerville. This, in turn, moves to a study of deductive logic, which William freely admits he does not practice (nor does Holmes, truly).
Deductive logic is unveiling a truth by following definitions back to their source. For instance given the statements, “All men are mortal,” and “Socrates is a man,” we may understand that Socrates is a mortal. In contrast, William (of Baskerville) uses Abductive logic. The process of using signs to build a hypothesis which is then forwarded for the purpose of eliciting more signs.
There are four steps to Abductive Reasoning, which can be illustrated in following the dialogue of the first chapter with regards to the Abbot’s horse, Brunellus.
1)Overcoded Abduction- This is the observation of the everyday. The collection of all data, all symptoms and clues. Symptoms are changes that have a cause. Clues are objects left by an agent.
“[the universe] speaks not only of the ultimate things (which it does always in an obscure fashion) but also of closer things, and then it speaks quite clearly”
“…a horse’s hoofprints stood out….heading for the path on our left. Neatly spaced, those marks said that the hoof was small and round, and the gallop quite regular…not running wildly like a crazed animal… some twigs had been freshly broken off at the height of five feet… the blackberry bushes where the animal must have turned to take the path to his right…. still held some long black horsehairs…when he wants to use a horse in one of his logical examples,always calls it Brunellus…”
2)Undercoded Abduction- Constructing a coherent relationship to explain the imprints, symptoms, clues. This is then presented in order to accrue more data.
“It is obvious you are hunting for Brunellus, the abbot’s favorite horse, fifteen hands, the fastest in your stables, with a dark coat, a full tail, small round hoofs, but a very steady gait; small head, sharp ears, big eyes.”
To which the monks offer confirmation.
3)Creative Abduction- in cases where a larger picture is painted, or an initial hypothesis is found to be unsound, or additional data is encountered, the detective refines the rules/storyline.
4)Meta Abduction- the internal storyline is checked against reality.
This acknowledges the potential for the internal storyline to bear no concrete connection with the real world.
Also, in passing, I’d like to mention the use of a mentonym- “But resume your course, O my Story,” references the events as only their one part- his recounting of them. This is a common use of signs to draw an individual into a storyline which then subjugates the individual to that particular chronotope. While not precisely philosophical in nature, it was a point of interest.


Dying to get into semiotics (Get it? Murder myster...nevermind), Buy it Here

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey - Fantasy Takes Wing

Lessa was a slave in her own hold, the dragoncousin watchweyr her only friend. Every day she plotted to overthrow the man who subjugated her and every night she slept, hidden with the other servants. Finally a rightful heir was born, but her plans to take over the hold were interrupted by F'lar, the dragonrider from the Benden weyr that ruled over their district.

With her by his side he was convinced he could restore the dragonriders to their former glory and ready Pern to protect itself from the legendary thread- a storm that ate every living thing. The threadfalls hadn't appeared for five hundred years, and everyone thought the threat had past, but the old writings detailed the signs of each fall with painful accuracy and F'lar had spent most of his young life trying to convince the few remaining dragonriders that the thread was coming back, within their generation.

Resentful of the burden that the dragonriders presented, most Holders used his predictions to turn the people further away from the traditional fealty that bound them to the weyrs, and only his certainty that Pern would be threatened again kept him from declaring war on the Holds and enforcing the rule that was their right.

No one knew what a threadfall would bring, and he needed a partner to help him prepare...



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