Ursula LeGuin reviews the Sci-Fi channel's EarthSea miniseries

On Tuesday night, the Sci Fi Channel aired its final installment of Legend of Earthsea, the miniseries based?loosely, as it turns out?on my Earthsea books. The books, A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan, which were published more than 30 years ago, are about two young people finding out what their power, their freedom, and their responsibilities are. I don't know what the film is about. It's full of scenes from the story, arranged differently, in an entirely different plot, so that they make no sense.

... and, surprisingly enough, doesn't like it. Didn't she have some editorial control over this? Apparantly not; she was a "consultant", which in Hollywood means they are free to ignore you.

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Thu Dec 16 21:49:23 CST 2004 by Matthew. Comments

The Killing Dance

In The Killing Dance, Anita faces a new and unusual threat: a human assassin seeking to collect a cool half-million in return for her untimely demise. But assassins are only the beginning; the problems that Richard has created within his pack by trying to encourage a non-violent exchange of power are growing, and Jean-Claude's "more photogenic, less monstrous" vampire regime is less than stable at the present.

In that context, the obligatory murder mystery is almost anticlimatic.

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Wed Dec 15 05:37:31 CST 2004 by Matthew. Comments

The Book of Night with Moon

Book of Night with Moon is a cat book for those who grew up with Diane Duane's So you want to be a wizard series. It is somewhat dependent on the earlier works, even though it is not explicitly a part of the same series (and the plot itself stands alone).

Those with cats as pets will delight in the detailed and surprisingly well rendered view into the mind of a cat, where playfulness and feline politics vie with the weighty concerns of world-saving. Those without cats will be lost and confused, which is perhaps typical human behavior from the perspective of a cat anyway..

Unfortunately, this book isn't as good as those that came before. The cat angle is a saving grace that will provide ample amusement well worth the purchase price for those who like that sort of thing. Those who don't should pass.

Wed Dec 15 05:36:41 CST 2004 by Matthew. Comments

Sword of Shannara

Sword of Shannara has a well-deserved reputation for being a near-total imitation of Tolkein's Lord of the Rings, with only the serial numbers filed off to aid the deception. It's not even told particularly well. Readers are advised to skip it.

Wed Dec 15 05:36:19 CST 2004 by Matthew. Comments

Kushiel's Dart

Kushiel's Dart bites deep, a bitter scarlet blemish in the iris of those blessed, or cursed, to experience both pain and pleasure as one. Phedre bears that mark, defining both her nature and her destiny, but an equal part of the shaping of her life is claimed by Anafiel Delaunay; Anafiel who recognizes the mark of Kushiel and determines to turn the vocation of a unique courtesan into a tool for intrigue. For who better to withstand torture than one who craves it -- and what better temptation for the torturer?

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Wed Dec 15 05:36:13 CST 2004 by Matthew. Comments


I picked up this collection because it has an 80-page novella from Laurell K Hamilton, who has been doing fairly well with her Anita Blake series (although recent entries have not been up to the usual standard). I haven't read the other stories in it, but I figure that most people will be buying it for the Blake short anyway, so I'll review that (and update later with the other stories, if they are at all worth commenting on). I should note at this point that the "novella" is apparently more along the lines of an excerpt (chapters 11-13 of Incubus Dreams) than a standalone story. It does successfully stand alone, at least to readers already familiar with the series, but if you plan to buy the book there's probably no point in buying the short story collection. Had I realized this ahead of time, I wouldn't have bought it. Oh well. You, dear reader, can profit from my impulse purchase.

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Wed Dec 15 05:35:06 CST 2004 by Matthew. Comments

A Talent for War

A Talent for War is McDevitt's latest novel, this one beginning a new series. The main character, a dealer in antiquities, is bequeathed a large inheritance when his uncle, an amateur archeologist, passes away. Along with the inheritance comes a lead on a discovery of great significance. The trail leads straight to the legend of Christopher Sim, a legendary commander whose guerilla tactics bought time to unify the planetary Confederation into a single force to oppose encroaching aliens.

Buf if the evidence is true, Christopher Sim was a fraud.

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Wed Dec 15 05:35:05 CST 2004 by Matthew. Comments

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