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Literature
Spaced
There was something eerily beautiful about the giant blue globe filling his field of vision. Dimmed somewhat by the helmet's polarizing filters, it was still bright and teeming with unseen activity, with the white swirls of clouds on their endless journey through the atmosphere, with large patches of green where the forests still bloomed, and the neverending expanses of blue ocean where all life came from; all as picture perfect as ever. Nothing could humble a man more than such a view, slowly growing to engulf his entire sight.
With great effort, and the last of his suit's propellant reserves, he turned his back to the globe as it rose to meet him. If his life were to end then, he preferred to be watching the stars that he tried so hard to reach, rather than his home that he would never embrace again.
"They shine so brightly…" he thought.
Life on the station never could be classified as uneventful or stagnant. Yet, nonetheless, he felt stuck in a rut. The space faring population
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Activity


Max Allan Collins - Killer Profile
Criminal Minds #2



Genre: Criminal mystery
Publishing year: 2008
An elite team of FBI profilers is called in to help Chicago detectives investigate a series of bizarre murders. Though all are violent and disturbing, the crimes seem unrelated until profiler David Rossi makes the connection. He recognizes each grisly tableau as one modeled on the crime scenes of three of the country's most notorious serial killers: David Berkowitz, Ted Bundy, and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Someone is taking the cult of true crime to terrifying extremes, and with so many killers left to emulate, Rossi wonders how he can possibly profile a killer who's hiding within the killer profiles of others.


I've started reading tie-in books a looong, long time ago. In a way, a very weird way, tie-in books have been my access key into reading, namely the X Files books by Kevin J. Anderson, two of which I actually hold in high regards. For those of you unfamiliar with this sort of books, let me summarize it for you: it's like watching an episode of the series, only that it takes 5 hours to get through it, instead of 40 minutes – I'm a slow reader, ok? -. There's nothing inherently bad about this sort of books, but there's nothing to write home about either in general, their only purpose sometimes being just to monetize a bit more of the show's success.

As such, Killer Profile by Max Allan Collins does not stray from this intended path. It is a simple novel that closely mimics the style of the show, without actually trying to tread any new ground or to chance upsetting anything from the show's chemistry. It is…and that's just all most people could say for it.

For my general surprise, this is the second book of the series and my research, at first, did not yield this. That is not a problem however, as the book focuses on the show's formula instead of building its own identity from it. Thus, characters that you may know from the series are here in all their glory, but they don't do anything particularly interesting.
If you have, or have not seen Criminal minds before, it's all the same here. The authors go to great lengths of introducing each character a number of times, describing their image and their behavioral habits, in absolute minute detail.
This is particularly grating each time agent Jareau gets to do anything: you will grow numb to how wonderfully she's presented. All that I felt that was missing from her description each single time was a comparison with an angel and it would've been the complete bouquet.

There are no major themes explored here, no greater plot than the mystery at hand, no great character moments that can actually be memorable, or even a very interesting villain.
How can a villain be truly interesting when the whole point of his crimes was that he was copying OTHER criminals that did things bigger and better and were more memorable at their time? For the longest time I couldn't help but think that "Yeah, good job asshole, but you'll still be remembered as a talentless freak that couldn't even copy the crimes right." For a "sophisticated and highly intelligent" criminal, his motivation was…well, very dopey in my opinion.

As I said in the beginning, there is nothing much to say about the book except that it would've been nice if it would've managed to do something more interesting than just rethread familiar stuff for the fans.
For the non-fans however, there is better police literature out there and I would urge you to head in that direction rather than this one.

Not bad, not good, not even malign in any way. Read it if you must, better yet skip it and get something better for your money.

3/5 stars
  • Listening to: Bon Jovi stuff
  • Reading: Robert Jordan - The dragon reborn
  • Watching: Some random anime
  • Playing: Perfect World International
  • Eating: Pringles
  • Drinking: Water!
Orson Scott Card - Wyrms



Genre: Fantasy, Philosophy, Obnoxious preaching
Publishing year: 1987
The sphere is alien in origin, but has been controlled by man for millennia. A legend as old as the stars rules this constructed world; When the seventh seventh seventh human Heptarch is crowned, he will be the Kristos and will bring eternal salvation . . . or the destruction of the cosmos.

Patience is the only daughter of the rightful Heptarch, but she, like her father before her, serves the usurper who has destroyed her family. For she has learned the true ruler's honor.

Duty to one's race is more important than duty to one's self. But the time for prudence has passed, and that which has slept for ages has awakened. And Patience must journey to the heartsoul of this planet to confront her destiny . . . and her world's


I and Orson Scott Card have a strange relationship, mainly on my side of the barricade – seeing as he probably can't give a toss about a random literature nut on some forum or another -. Mainly, I hate Orson Scott Card. Not because his work is bad – and boy, can it ever be BAD -, or because of his dubious agendas or even because he's gotten a name for himself by basically regurgitating the same thing over and over…nooo, dear reader, I hate Orson Scott Card for all the chances he's wasting in his work.

I have read the original Ender's Saga and came away feeling a lesser man. I had gone in with my head held high, my hopes all but soaring, my resolve untainted. By the end I felt I had lost the joy of reading, of discovery, of thought itself as I looked back…and trembled.
For the longest time I've avoided this author on merit of how hazardous his most well known saga proved to me, especially after the shining start it had. Unfortunately, before I had time to realize the depth of the horror of those books, I had already bought quite a number of his works on faith alone – and the back cover blurb -. In a way this is the author that has taught me NEVER to buy en masse based on just a few works. It has probably saved me a lot of money on Licia Troisi, Martin Page or others of the breed.
Things change…oh how they change.

Wyrms is one of the books that I have on my shelves, at which I had stared often and never worked the courage of attempting, visions of interminable, pointless philosophy and metaphors without any meaning swimming through my head. But, like with a band-aid, one must rip it out and just deal with the pain.
So here I am, at the end of said journey, dismayed once again by Card, regretting the time I invested and the money I will never again see back. This is a story I will hold in my personal collection for no other reason than because I can, because I need guidance tales of how NOT TO write, because I wish to have something to threaten my children with when they misbehave – "Calm down you little monster, or I'll have you read Wyrms by Orson Scott Card and we'll see who's a poopy head then."-.

I kid, of course. I would never inflict this on a child, of any age. Not only because of the disgusting rape at the end of the book – which may be the only thing I actually respect in this -, but mostly because it's gaggingly obnoxious as a read; which would actually make it great reading material for know-it-all teen hipsters. Huh.
The main idea of the story you can read above and so I won't bother regurgitating it. However, I will bother talking about what I hated in this book.
Ready?
Here we go.

I hated the names. Patince? Will? Reck? Ruin? ANGEL?! Really? – not a name, thank goodness-
I hated the world. There is nothing of any great interest in it as far as I am concerned.
I hated the philosophy, the endless, droning, mind tiring, senses numbing philosophy.
I hated the characters…most of the characters. Hefiji wasn't half bad…for a half-wit elf stand-in.
I hated the philosophy. I really did.
I hated the philosophy. I felt like killing characters with my mind, by sheer power of will.
I hated the philosophy.
I hated the story.
I hated the plot. It was so very, very boring, with climatic moments held back by terrible pacing and an audible, literally audible FASSSSSSSSSSSSSS! sound that came after each seemingly important moment.
I hated the obnoxious tone of the whole thing.
I hated the Mary Sues and Gary Sues of the story…and there was no shortage of them all. The main character is as close to perfection as God and it gets absolutely wretched after a while.

All in all, I hated this book. It wasn't unreadable by any stretch, just annoying and tedious.
The story is the standard fare of fantasy: main character embarks on an undesired journey, meets up with other interesting, quirky characters, forms a party, explores the world, reaches the destination, beats the big bad evil, and lives happily ever after. Thing is, how I just described the events is exactly as they happen, with almost no deviation, no grand surprises, no twists, not even a nuance of some sort of another. Everything is incredibly linear, point A to point B with a young girl mentally assaulted by lust from a monstrous worm that wants her to have his babies.

Oh, am I spoiling?
Consider it a favor then as I am protecting you, kind reader, from actually experiencing this dreg. There is almost no redeemable quality that I can recall…except for the rape. Which probably makes me sound like a horrifying person; but hear me out here, ok?
The book presents a situation that is quite hard to quantify as anything but horrifying. Most authors would usually shy away from stuff like this, especially when the whole plot point resembles a very bad Japanese horror-hentai manga. However, the author went ahead, horror and all and actually presented a story in which a young girl is drugged and then raped by what is described as a gruesome black warm. It's not something you read with any sort of enjoyment, but it is something worth respecting for the guts that were needed to put it all down in writing.
For that sheer audacity I have rated this book as 2 stars out of a maximum of 5.

Otherwise, what you're likely to get here amounts to talking monkeys, heads in jars, a smug and thoroughly annoying child-genius Mary Sue – Card's preferred protagonist trope - , a boring fantasy world that could have been so much better developed and a boring, predictable plot. I assure you there is better value somewhere else if you're looking for it.
If you're interested in some of the themes explored in this book I would highly recommend Card's much better later book, Speaker for the Dead, and Frank Herbert's first Dune book as there seems to be quite a lot of inspiration from that direction.

As for my impression of the author: "Meh". I've still got a few books of his that I need to read so I can air out my bookcase, but I doubt I'll ever again hold him in such high regards as I once did with Ender's Game or Speaker for the dead. With Wyrms there are now three books that have completely baffled me as to how they could come from the same mind that gave us Ender.

Keep well away; there is better literature out there.
2/5 Stars  
  • Listening to: Avantasia - The metal opera Pt. II
  • Reading: Max Allan Collins - Killer profile
  • Watching: House series finale
  • Playing: Perfect World International
  • Eating: Pizza
  • Drinking: Water!
Jonathan L. Howard - The Necromancer
Johannes Cabal #1


Genre: Fantasy, Humor
Publishing year: 2009

Johannes Cabal has never pretended to be a hero of any kind. There is, after all, little heroic about robbing graves, stealing occult volumes, and being on middling terms with demons.

His purpose, however, is noble. His researches are all directed to raising the dead. Not as monstrosities but as people, just as they were when they lived: physically, mentally, and spiritually. For such a prize, some sacrifices are necessary. One such sacrifice was his own soul, but he now sees that was a mistake - it's not just that he needs it for his research to have validity, but now he realises he needs it to be himself.

Unfortunately, his soul now rests within the festering bureaucracy of Hell. Satan may be cruel and capricious but, most dangerously, he is bored. It is Cabal's unhappy lot to provide him with amusement.

In short, a wager: in return for his own soul, Cabal must gather one hundred others. Placed in control of a diabolical carnival - created to tempt to contentiousness, to blasphemy, argumentation and murder, but one that may also win coconuts - and armed only with his intelligence, a very large handgun, and a total absence of whimsy, Cabal has one year.


I find myself reading quite a few debut novels in recent months. Years back, had you told me I would be doing such things when there's still a plethora of old works to be read, I would've called you soft in the head. Funny how things work out with our reading preferences, wouldn't you agree?

I found myself picking up this novel by mere accident, left with nothing else to read while I was waiting for my car to be fixed. "Stole" it off a shelf as it were, I was merely expecting it to provide a few pages of entertainment before I would cast it aside for something better. As with other authors, such as Scott Lynch (The lies of Locke Lamora) or Mark Hodder (The strange affair of Spring-heeled Jack), that proved far more difficult than I would've imagined, seeing as I was confronted with sharp wit, subtle dry humor, an unambiguously morally bankrupt protagonist and a sharp turn of the phrase. Well, color me surprised and post me for the crows.

Johannes Cabal, our necromancer, is as far removed from the general mold of novel heroes as you would be likely to find in this solar system. His morals are all but absent, his wit is sharp and poignant and his manner of self makes loving him almost an instant act. This is not someone who would pull a rabbit out of a hat at the end and prove to be uncharacteristically just and heroic…no, kind reader, this is a character that would shoot on sight and never bother with the implications, as long as his purpose is served.
In a way, Johannes is incredibly refreshing as a maniacal character. His quest for his soul back only cements his nature, the author playing an apt game of smoke and mirrors in everything regarding his own character's evolution and development.

And the plot offers ample opportunity for Cabal to shine.
Halfway through the book I found myself slightly tired, after an extended reading session. It wasn't that the book was failing to keep my interest; it was just how it presented the sequence of events, almost ruthlessly going from one scene to another, without a moment to allow the character –and the reader- to take everything in. And then, Jonathan L. Howard proves he has writing chops: he devotes an entire chapter to a well deserved break, to fleshing out the world that Johannes inhabits and his own character, allowing us a much desired glimpse into the core of this very flawed, very enigmatic necromancer.
And such breaks appear again, mixing up the flow of the narrative and offering us a very good view into the heart of the Carnival, front row seats to the madness and, to my surprise, the methodology of the whole thing.

This is a tightly constructed, tightly held together book. The characters offer surprised –few, but they are there –, the story is held together marvelously and ties up nicely and the rules, and I stress this, the rules never go amiss. There is a lot of restraint shown here as things are worked into shapes, plot points are driven home and Cabal is at the center, cane in hand, scalpel ready at the moment to slice and dice – metaphorically speaking, of course -.

The Necromanceris a wonderful start for a series, offering enough to keep you entertained and amazed, just like the Carnival itself. But peer too deeply into the darkest recesses and you may catch a glimpse of the monsters that lurk there, of men and demons alike, ready to pounce on any fear you may secretly harbor. This is not a work for those that require a morally just character, nor is it one for the pure sadist of heart as there is little blood here and little horror for those seeking easy thrills, easily stomached gore and everything as childish as that.
The Necromancer is a book for those willing to accept a few flaws and embrace a dark protagonist in his quest not for redemption of his soul, but mere ownership.

There is room for growth here and there is talent to fuel said growth. Give it a try if you like your humor dry, you story tight and your characters intelligent.

4/5 Stars
  • Listening to: Paganini Caprice No. 24
  • Reading: Orson Scott Card - Wyrms
  • Watching: Big Bang Theory Season 3
  • Playing: Mass Effect 3
  • Eating: Sandwiches in drowes

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Claudiu88
Claudiu
Romania
Robotics student with a knack for fantastic worlds and a passion for photography. I write and I take photos, some better than others, but I'm learning and variation is expected I assume.
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Sergiba Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014
Thanks for the fav! :D
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Claudiu88 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014
My pleasure.
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MarcoK74 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012   Photographer
Thanks for fav :)
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Claudiu88 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012
My pleasure.
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Fujisuzu Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012  Student Artist
:iconbummy1::iconbummy2::iconbummy3::iconthnxplz::iconbummy1::iconbummy2::iconbummy3:
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Claudiu88 Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012
My pleasure.
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leoatelier Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012   Photographer
Multumesc [link]
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Sk1zzo Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012  Student Photographer
Multumesc pentru fav! :D
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Claudiu88 Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012
Placerea a fost a mea.
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wagn18 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for the fav on “Sunset in FryeBurg"

I’m glad you liked it! :dance:

If you have time, check out the rest of my gallery and let me know what you think. Comments, favs, and watches are always appreciated.

Peace and thanks again! :wave:
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