Monday, June 29, 2015

Down the Stacks #7: The Banned and the Banished

This week’s selection for “Down the Stacks” is a high fantasy series I discovered years ago but only read part-way through until this past week.  It’s a relatively recent entry into the genre, published in the early 2000s, and thus mixes up the expected elements of Fantasy with contemporary styles and themes.  The series may be informally referred to as the “Wit’ch saga” after the naming pattern of the individual books, but author James Clemens called the five books as a whole “The Banned and the Banished.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Down the Stacks #6: Destiny's Road

This week on Down the Stacks, I’m looking at a lesser-known book by one of the biggest names in hard Science Fiction: Larry Niven.  Niven is best known for his Known Space universe, which includes the Ringworld series - an obvious inspiration for the setting of the first Halo game - and for the depth of research he puts into making his aliens as biologically plausible as possible.  In this week’s selection, Destiny’s Road, Niven’s world-building skills are put on full display on a planet populated by human colonists isolated from the rest of the universe.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Down the Stacks #5: Dark Lord of Derkholm

For this week’s Down the Stacks, I’ve dropped in to the Young Adult section of the library to pick out a Diana Wynne Jones novel I enjoyed reading some years back.  Dark Lord of Derkholm is a clever send-up of sword-and-sorcery fantasy that both satirizes the cliches and comes together as a great fantasy story in its own right.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Down the Stacks #4: The Taken Trilogy

This week on Down the Stacks, we’re moving away from Fantasy and into the realm of science fiction.  This week’s selection is a trilogy written by Alan Dean Foster, an author who has written a large number of science fiction stories with a wide range of themes.  Foster’s best works deal with humanity’s interactions with the galaxy at large, including first contact situations, interstellar war and politics, and discovering mind-screwing mysteries of the universe.  The Taken Trilogy, consisting of Lost and Found, The Light-years Beneath my Feet, and The Candle of Distant Earth, is a story of alien abduction that takes an atypical direction from the usual plots.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Down the Stacks #3: Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms

This week on “Down the Stacks” I’m looking at one of my all-time favorite authors, Mercedes Lackey.  Lackey is a prolific fantasy writer who has a knack for retelling old fairy tales and folklore in a variety of settings, combining said stories into single tales, and also works well with other authors in creating epic fantasy worlds.  There are a lot of books that bear Mercedes Lackey’s name, divided among enough separate series to fill a couple months of weekly reviews, but this week I’ll be looking at the newest of Lackey’s three major projects: Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms.