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  • gilwilson 2:55 PM on September 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , elves, , terry pratchett,   

    The Globe: The Science of Discworld II: A Novel 

    The Globe: The Science of Discworld II: A Novel
    By: Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen
    Narrated by: Steven Briggs, Michael Fenton Stevens
    Series: Science of Discworld, Book 2
    Length: 12 hrs and 46 mins
    Release date: 01-20-15

    I dabbled in fantasy fiction back in the 80s and part of the 90s. I became curious about the genre after getting addicted to playing the RPG “Dungeons & Dragons.” It seemed I should study the characters in the game, so a friend recommended to me the Discworld books by Sir Terry Pratchett. I immediately was sucked into this humorous romp through the fantasy genre that all happened on disc world which was sitting on top of 4 elephants which were forever fixed upon a turtle flying through space. Weird but fun.

    A few college degrees later I felt as if I grew out of the fantasy genre and became more interested in biographies and sci-fi. Well, the sci-fi was my return to fun and I remembered the Discworld. I thought, well, that’s sci-fi mixed with fantasy. So after a little justification I looked to see what I missed. I then found these Science of Discworld, in which Pratchett and friends started explaining science not just of Discworld but the real world. The lessons in physics and science from these books seemed to soak into my brain better than most of my college classes.

    In this book we return to to the library of the wizards in which they have “created” Roundworld, or rather Earth. This time the elves have discovered the roundworld and wish to make it their own. While the wizards were only interested in the science of such a world they forgot about the inhabitants (humans especially). The elves, not so much. The elves quickly learned how to take advantage of the superstitious creatures of Roundworld.

    The wizards soon have to travel through time to fix and get humans back on track. In doing so this book soon gives the reader an interesting insight to evolution, creativity and language development.

    It’s funny that a book such as this can entertain and educate in such a manner that makes learning fun and really, accidental.

    The audiobook performers are such great comedic actors that you forget your listening to an audiobook but rather travelling to discworld with the wizards. They make the book so much fun to hear.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Roundworld, aka Earth, is under siege. Are three wizards and an orangutan Librarian enough to thwart the Elvish threat?
    When the wizards of Unseen University first created Roundworld, they were so concerned with discovering the rules of this new universe that they overlooked its inhabitants entirely. Now, they have noticed humanity. And humanity has company. Arriving in Roundworld, the wizards find the situation is even worse than they’d expected. Under the elves’ influence, humans are superstitious, fearful, and fruitlessly trying to work magic in a world ruled by logic. Ridcully, Rincewind, Ponder Stibbons, and the orangutan Librarian must travel through time to get humanity back on track and out of the dark ages.
    The Globe goes beyond science to explore the development of the human mind. Terry Pratchett and his acclaimed co-authors Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen combine the tale of the wizards rewriting human history with discussions of the origins and evolution of culture, language, art, and science, offering a fascinating and brilliantly original view of the world we live in.

    ©2015 Terry Pratchett (P)2014 Random House Audio

    audible.com
     
  • gilwilson 10:24 PM on January 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , centaurs, , , , elves, , , , , ,   

    “Immortalis – Part 3 of 3” Book 7(of 7) of “The Demon Wars Saga” by R.A. Salvatore 

    “Immortalis – Part 3 of 3”
    Book 7(of 7) of “The Demon Wars Saga”
    by R.A. Salvatore
    Multicast Performance
    Produced by GraphicAudio
    Approx 6 hours.

    It is a bittersweet thing to come to an end of any good saga; When I finished the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien I was happy to come to an ending of an adventure but saddened that I was no longer hanging out with my hobbit friends.  When Jim Butcher finished his “Codex Alera” series It was cool to see how it all ended but again, sad that I was no longer hanging out with the fury masters.  The same goes for “The Demon Wars Saga,” by R.A. Salvatore.  Through seven books in the series, the adventures in the land of Corona, between the countries of Honce-the-Bear and Behren and all the surrounding areas, The Demon Dactyl, Bestesbulzibar, awoke, tainted the land of the elves, was destroyed, possessed the leader of the Abellican church, was defeated, and then possessed the body of a baby that became king.  It took 7 books to get through the adventure but was it ever worth it.

    I was introduced to this adventure through the excellent production of audiobooks from GraphicAudio.  GraphicAudio’s slogan is “A Movie in Your Mind” and do they ever deliver.  Every audiobook I’ve heard from GraphicAudio is phenomenal with excellent voice acting, super realistic sound effects and incidental music that moves you through the story while reflecting the emotion or action of the moment.

    The cast of actors not only bring the story to life through their craft of acting, but when an interesting accent is needed they deliver.  For example, what accent would you use for an Alpinadoran mountain man?  an elf from the Touel’alfar or  Doc’alfar? an Abellican Monk were-tiger?  There’s not really any manual for this but the cast in GraphicAudio’s production of this series may have created one.

    The special effects also push this story along with superb fluency.  The effects are just as difficult to create here, after all what is the sound of an elven arrow piercing the eye of a giant? what does a centaur sound like while running.  None of the effects were stock, or at least were produced to be original to the story.  Once again the movie in your mind is a reality through all these production elements.  When it comes to audiobooks GraphicAudio will put you in the story and you’ll never want to leave.

    One final aspect of the GraphicAudio production of this saga, is that they split up the seven books  to where they averaged three 6 hour parts per book.  This made the saga easier to digest in smaller lumps, although I’m looking at purchasing the entire series as a boxed set package for a gift for a friend

    Here’s how the final book plays out:

    Self-proclaimed King of Honce-the-Bear, Adryan, son of Elbryan the Ranger and Jilseponie the warrior/ranger/former Queen, has been sweeping the land conquering those that oppose his rule.  Adryan’s expertise at the magick of the gemstones of the Abellican church also puts him on to the path to destroying the church and placing the evil Marcalo De’Unnaro as leader of the church.  De’Unnaro is the one responsible for killing Adryan’s father.

    To the South of Honce-the-Bear, in the land of Behren, another Ranger has just won freedom for her people, the To’gai from years of slavery by the Behrenese.  The Behrenese church was destroyed in the process.  Adryan decides to use that turmoil to conquer Behren.  When his plans include conquering To’Gai, the ranger Brin Dahryelle, decides to join the battle defeating Adryan.

    So now the peoples up against Adryan include, his mother, another expert of the gemstone magicks, Brin and her Dragon, Agradeleus, the elves of the Touel’alfar and Doc’alfar, the mountain men of Alpinador and their ranger, and Prince Midalis, the rightful heir to the throne of Honce-the-Bear and his army.

    The battles all lead to the Abellican Church at the center of it all St. Mere Abell.  The battle ensues and Adryan ressurects his father to join with him against his mother.  The dragon, Agradeleus, recognizes the Demon Dactyl possessing Adryan’s body and alerts the others.  This could either mean the way to defeat Adryan or the hopelesness of the battle.  How the warriors look at it will change the outcome.

    The final battle and the epilogue to the story bring about a great close to the series with a bit of an opening in which R.A. Salvatore could write some more stories with some of the main characters.  A great adventure comes to a close but in a way that leaves the reader/listener wanting more yet happy if that is the end.

     
  • gilwilson 10:41 PM on September 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ascendance, , , , , , , , elves, , , , , , ,   

    “Ascendance – Part 1 of 2” book 5 of “The Demon Wars Saga” by R. A. Salvatore 

    “Ascendance – Part 1 of 2”
    book 5 of “The Demon Wars Saga”
    by R. A. Salvatore
    Multicast performance
    Produced by GraphicAudio
    approx 7 hours

    Being a big fan of science-fiction, fantasy and supernatural stories, I jumped at the chance to begin reading the “Demon Wars Saga” by R. A. Salvatore.  I first looked at this series and saw there were seven books in the series and knew it would be a fun adventure.  I then found out they were available as audiobooks from GraphicAudio and knew that was a convenient way to get into the saga.  When GraphicAudio first produced these I was so enthralled by the story that they couldn’t release them fast enough.  I then thought well, just go read the books.  That didn’t work because GraphicAudio had me addicted to their superb production quality and presentation that I just HAD to hear these masterpieces of audiobook production.

    You see, GraphicAudio has a slogan, “A Movie in Your Mind,” and they take it pretty seriously.  It shows from the first words spoken in these audiobooks.  The full cinematic feel of these stories is pushed along with superb voice acting and sound effects that come exploding out of whatever sound-system you hear these productions on.  They really know how to suck you into the story.  The storytelling prowess of R. A. Salvatore is enhanced a thousandfold through GraphicAudio’s production quality.  The nice thing is that GraphicAudio separates the books into 2 or 3 parts keeping each edition to about 6 or 7 hours in length.  This is nice in that the books can be absorbed in chunks and then give you time to recover from the experience before continuing.

    So let’s talk about this book.  This is book 5 of the 7 book saga that is “The Demon Wars,” years have passed since the “Miracle of Avelyn” occurred on Mount Aida healing the country of the Rosie Plague.  The Abellican Church is well on its way to canonizing Avelyn, even though he was once called a heretic.

    Jilseponie after losing her husband, the Ranger, Elbryan (Nightbird) Wyndon, has settled in to becoming Baroness of Palmaris and serving the people.  The Abellican church, who realize that with her talent of magic using the holy gemstones would better serve the Church and the folk of Palmaris by becoming a Bishop of Palmaris.  The Bishop being a representative of both secular and church interests.  At this same time King Danube Brock Ursal, king of Honce-the-bear wishes for her to become his wife and Queen.  The King is actually in love with Jilseponie, but the church seems to have a hidden agenda.

    The elves of Touel’alfar took Jilseponie’s unborn son (also son of Elbryan) and raised him to become a ranger even greater than his father and to, hopefully, be the salvation of the elves. The plans of the Touel’alfar go awry due to Aydrian’s own arrogance, cultivated by a dark force he encounters at Oracle.

    The focus of this book is on the development of Adryan and what could possibly be a dark future for all the residents of the land of Corona, elves and humans alike, and GraphicAudio delivers this story with a punch.

     
  • gilwilson 1:49 AM on February 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , elves, , , , , saphira   

    “Eldest” Inheritance, Book Two by Christopher Paolini 

    “Eldest”
    Inheritance, Book Two
    by Christopher Paolini
    Published 2005 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

    Christopher Paolini continues to amaze me.  After reading “Eragon,” the first book in what is book one of the Inheritance series (three books have been written and it is rumored there is a fourth book on the way.), I was totally sucked in to the fantasy world where dragons, elves, dwarves and magicians exist and an evil king has tried to destroy all Dragon Riders.  Now with book two I just couldn’t hardly put the book down.  When finishing the first book I looked up information on the author and found out the book was written when he was only 15 years old. An amazing feat in and of itself, but to be able to create this fantasy world with many depths that’s a serious job for any author,no matter what the age.  This second book was published when the author was in his early 20s so now that he’s got his style and his world created the books can only get better, as this one does.

    In book one, “Eragon,” the reader was taken on a quest in which Eragon and his Dragon, Saphira, learned of the reason behind their bonding and the development of their skills as Eragon sought revenge on the Ra’zac for the killing of his uncle.  He eventually was taken to the Varden, both to save Arya (the elf that sent the dragon’s egg to Eragon,  and to escape King Galbatorix’s wrath. Along the way Eragon learns his travelling companion, Brom, is a former rider.  They also are rescued at one point by Murtagh who joins them on their trip to the Varden, although he says he cannot complet they journey to Farthen Dûr, the home of the Varden. When they arrive in Farthen Dûr, Eragon is led to the leader of the Varden, Ajihad. Ajihad imprisons Murtagh after finding out that he is the son of Morzan, Galbatorix’s right hand man.

    “Eldest”  begins three days after the events of the preceding novel, “Eragon,” in the dwarf city of Tronjheim, inside of a hollowed mountain of Farthen Dûr. Farthen Dûr is in the southeastern part of Alagaësia, the continent in Paolini’s world where all this action takes place.  Eragon must complete his mission and be trained as a dragon rider, to do so he must journey to Ellesméra, the elven capital city located in the forest Du Weldenvarden, on the northern portion of Alagaësia. Before he leaves,Eragon must attend the funeral for the fallen leader of the Varden,  Ajihad. Ajihad is ambushed and killed, with Murtagh while Ajihad’s other guards are assumed dead. At his funeral, Ajihad’s daughter Nasuada is elected to command the Varden. Eragon travels to Ellesméra where he meets Oromis and his dragon Glaedr, the only dragon and Rider secretly alive besides the Eragon and Saphira and Galbatorix. Oromis and Glaedr, however, are both crippled, and so cannot fight Galbatorix and must hide instead to avoid Galbatorix hunting them down. Eragon and Saphira are taught the use of logic, magic theory, scholarship, and combat, among other things.

    Back in Farthen Dûr, Nasuada chooses to move the Varden from Tronjheim to Surda, to mount an attack on the Empire. The Varden suffers financial troubles, so Nasuada decides to fund the Varden and the war with Lace.  The lace is magically produced and they can sell it cheap. One night when Nasuada is in her room, Elva saves her from an assassination attempt. Elva is the child which Eragon and Saphira blessed, the problem is that this was before Eragon was adept at the ancient language used in magic and accidentally curses her to BE a shield rather than TO BE shielded. Elva locates the assailant, who is killed after unwillingly surrendering information to Varden magicians about a subversive group based in Surda called the Black Hand, who is plotting to kill Nasuada. Nasuada later attends a meeting with key figures in Surda’s government to discuss a potential upcoming battle against the Empire. They learn that the conflict is coming sooner than they initially suspected, and mobilize forces to attack, as well as sending for help from the dwarves.

    Eragon continues his training, but is discouraged when the scar on his back, caused by the Shade he killed, causes him to have seizures. At the ancient elven ceremony, the Agaetí Blödhren, Eragon is altered by a spectral dragon. The changes alter his senses, and enhance his abilities, as well as healing all of his wounds. Reinvigorated, Eragon continues training until he learns that the Empire will soon attack the Varden in Surda. He leaves without completing his training, to aid the Varden in battle, much like Luke Skywalker left Yoda before his training was finished.  I just found this a very neat similarity.

    Meanwhile, Roran, Eragon’s cousin, is hunted by the Ra’zac in Carvahall. He eventually persuades the entire village to attack the Ra’zac in the night, and succeeds in driving them off. After more conflicts with the village, the Ra’zac manage to kidnap Katrina, Roran’s fiancée. Roran then stirs the village to mobilize, departing on a journey to join the Varden in Surda. He leads them to Narda, and then by sea to Teirm. In Teirm, they meet Jeod, who helps them pirate a new vessel from Teirm. Pursued by sloops from the Empire, the vessel manages to escape through a whirlpool, and eventually makes it to Surda, arriving just as the Battle of the Burning Plains is about to begin between Surda and its allies, and the Empire.

    When conflict begins, Eragon is able to repel the opposing army using magic. Eventually, a Dragon Rider appears in favor of the Empire. The hostile Dragon Rider kills the dwarf king Hrothgar, and soon begins to fight with Eragon. The Dragon Rider is soon unmasked by Eragon and is revealed to be Murtagh. Murtagh tells Eragon that he was kidnapped and forced into loyalty by Galbatorix after a dragon hatched for him. Murtagh outmatches Eragon, but shows mercy due to their old friendship. Before leaving, Murtagh reveals that Eragon is his brother, and takes Eragon’s sword as well. Ultimately, Galbatorix’s army is forced to retreat after the arrival of the dwarves and the departure of Murtagh and Thorn. In the end, Eragon and Roran decide that they will seek out Katrina together.

    Lots of adventure, lots of excitement all very well portrayed and with some magical storytelling that will suck you into this alternate world.

     
    • theothergardener 2:01 AM on February 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      “Eragon” still sits on my “waiting to be read” pile. The movie impressed me, although fans seemed upset with it. I liked the simplicity, the clean lines, so to speak, of the story.
      TOG

      Like

    • Spring 3:50 AM on February 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The Eragon books are amazing. In Brisingr Eragon gets his own sword and names it [Brisingr] and Brisingr catches fire every time he says it although he didn’t cast magic.

      Like

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