The Return of the Black Company   1 comment

I have a tendency to start these blogs by cheering for someone–someone whose innate generosity or desperate business decisions causes good things to happen to me.  Today’s cheer is for Tor Books, who have retained me on their review list even though I’m not on the Nebula committee any longer, and haven’t been for a long ,  long time.  You just keep sending me free books, Tor, and I’ll keep taking them.

Yesterday Tor sent me THE RETURN OF THE BLACK COMPANY.  It is a large trade paperback that contains two Black Company novels: Bleak Seasons and She is the Darkness.  These are books one and two of GLITTERING STONE, and they originally came out in 1997.  They’re not eligible for any awards, or even nominations, but I’m happy because my old friends of the Black Company have sought me out once again.  I probably read these books 12 years ago.  It’s hard to remember, and I’m in no position to seek out my book diaries of the 90s, but I won’t mind reading them again, because Glen Cook is just so damn good as a writer. 

This seems like a good place to stop and take note of what I’m reading right now.  One of my main jobs here at the library is to weed the collection–especially fiction.  I’m doing Mysteries right now, and I’m almost finished.  Two Rex Stout books didn’t make the cut recently: Black Orchids and Before Midnight.  These are both Nero Wolfe books.  I have read a few Nero Wolfe mysteries, and enjoyed them.  Archie Goodwin, narrator, private eye, and all-around right hand man tells the stories.  Nero Wolfe solves the crimes.  It’s a sort of Holmes and Watson arrangement, although Wolfe is a good deal lazier than Holmes ever was.  Sherlock, at least, used to like to get out to the scene of the crime.  Wolfe makes the crime come to him.  Anyway, these two books will be leaving the Century collection, from sheer lack of appreciation.  Before they vanish into the Friends book sale, however, I will read them.  I can take as long as I want, because  they’re not in the collection any longer.  That’s just another undocumented benefit of being a librarian.

Also here waiting to be read are LADY OF SHERWOOD by Jennifer Roberson and PRIESTESS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  Jennifer is an acquaintance of mine. I’d like to say she’s a friend, but the truth is, fate never put us together enough for me to claim her friendship.  I know her; she knows me.  She is a fabulous writer.  I’ve read most of her books, but missed this one, so now it has appeared before me, and it’s on the list of things I must read.  It’s pretty much the same story with PRIESTESS OF AVALON.  I was acquainted with MZB also back in the day.  She lived in Berkley, and I lived in Phoenix, and we both attended lots of western states science fiction conventions.  Our paths would cross on panels from time to time.  We both loved fantasy, and our mutual interests and acquaintances would draw us together, even though we really had nothing in common and no reason to associate.  I read THE MISTS OF AVALON when it first came out–I am a big student of Arthuriana.  Missed PRIESTESS.  I will correct that oversight.

Books in progress: I have finished THE CITY DESTROYER by Norvell Page.  It is a Spider novel, and now that I’m done with it, I’m suprised at how bad it was.  The characters have no depth at all–so many cardboard characters running through their paces.  The time period of the novel seems to be the mid-1920s–character still recognize the protagonist as a war hero from World War I.  I have 2 more novels included in this Spider omnibus from Baen, but it has definitely slipped to the bottom of my reading list.

I am also about 3/4 of the way through THE STONEHOLDING.  The writing is competent and pleasant, and the characters grow as you read their story, but it’s all taking too darn long.  I have read 75% of the book, and we’re still on the first day of action.  What a long and crowded day it has been, but hundreds of pages to describe the events of a single day–seems a bit much to me.

In the Tunnels and Trolls world I have started a new online game for members of Trollhalla.  Anyone can join it at any time.  This is a game for mega-characters.  The smallest monster likely to be seen will have a monster rating of 100.  The dragons that they are going after will have monster ratings in the thousands.  Anyone know of a good online dice roller?

And I didn’t get to watch Ranma last night.  The rest of the family wanted the television for other purposes.  I know they watched Sherlock Holmes on tv while I played Runescape and finished the latest quest there.  It was pretty easy.  I like that.  God grant that whatever quests I make for my own players be that simple and clear.


Posted September 11, 2009 by atroll in Uncategorized

One response to “The Return of the Black Company

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  1. The Black Company books, under any other author, would be a horrible depressing drag to read. Glen Cook is an awesome writer.

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