Following the recent massacre at a US Army base in Texas by a psychologist gone crazy, (emphasis mine)

The Pentagon has responded… by deciding to screen all United States defence services for staff who are unstable and potentially violent.

Pause for effect.

You’re looking for people who are potentially violent… in the Army.


pushing the sky

WPtouch plugin installed

Bit of administrivia – I’ve installed the WPtouch plugin here, which ensures the site looks fancy and iPhone-app like on your “iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Opera Mini mobile, Palm Pre [or] BlackBerry Storm” device – now while I suspect it’ll be a while before I have any significant audience on that, it certainly does tidy up nicely, and if you’ve got one of the aforementioned devices, it’s worth checking out & probably installing on your site.

In some respects this now makes the site look much like any WordPress site on the iPhone, especially since has this plugin installed & enabled by default, but the benefit of the design and additional functionality is well worth the trade-off of appearance.

the daily column

The Gathering Storm, Part 4

Ok, ok, no mucking around with an introduction for real this time. (and in case you’re coming here out of order, here’s part 1, and part 2, and part 3)

But before I do that… I have finished reading the book. And it is good. Later parts – indeed, parts that start to get discussed here – of the book are a… little more gripping, shall we say, and the idea of stopping after 6 chapters was blown out of the water. So here’s a few extra chapters of action from Randland…

the daily column

The Gathering Storm, Part 3

There’s nothing more fun than reading an 800-page novel on the way down from level 21 in the lift – when the lift comes to a stop on an interim floor, the look on the face of the person entering gives away so much, primary amongst which has been something akin to “Wait, if he’s reading that book in the elevator, how long could the lift have possibly taken that it’s like a commute to this guy?!” Of course, they don’t know that I could read while walking through bushland by the light of the pale moon, but that aside…!

Anyway, the looks on people’s faces when they see me reading is priceless.

Also one particular advantage of having such a large book is that others who are also interested can spot it a mile away. Already I’ve found someone at work interest, someone at a random food court, etc – and it’s always fun to discuss the series and see everyone’s take on things.

Enough blathering! Onwards!

the daily column

The Gathering Storm, Part 2

Well, after Part 1’s overly extended meandering get-nowhere introduction, I really shouldn’t be attempting a second round of introduction. So if I said here that I wanted to go through and try to introduce the Wheel of Time series to those who hadn’t read it, you wouldn’t like that, right?

Thought so. So for those who haven’t read the Wheel of Time, you … might not want to read the next, oh, 6 or 7 posts about this. On the other hand, if you’re looking to draw yourself into an epic fantasy series, you might want to go down to the library and borrow The Eye of the World.  (or if you’re looking to get into an epic fantasy series that’s not endless, go borrow Magician by Raymond E. Feist. And stop reading after Shards of a Broken Crown.)

Side note: so, so very glad we don’t get the American cover for The Gathering Storm in Australia. That just looks awful.

Ahem. Enough of the chitter-chatter. More below the cut!

the daily column

The Gathering Storm, Part 1

A Prelude, or What on Earth is The Gathering Storm?

When I heard Robert Jordan had died, I gave up on the idea of ever getting a satisfying conclusion to the Wheel of Time series. Here was an author who had stretched and stretched a story over 11 meaty volumes, one which apparently at the start had only been destined for 3 books, but due to burgeoning sales managed to get extended. Every book introduced new characters, new plot threads, and somewhere around book 7, I found myself thinking I should only ever pick up new series when they’ve already been finished or the author is dead and I know there’s no more coming.

Jordan promised the readers a conclusion in one book, A Memory of Light, and he said he was damned if he wouldn’t deliver. Well, fate caught up with him first and so his series was doomed to be left with an unfinished story, the remainder of his notes locked away for all we knew. So now we find ourselves with an author who has passed away, and yet the series continues… because there’s a demand out there for this damn story to be finished.

Naturally, with sales to be had, the publishers hired on another author, and so Brian Sanderson was picked to fill the shoes of the indomitable Jordan. Sanderson got to writing… and writing… and writing. It turns out he’s either even worse than Jordan at concocting a quick conclusion, his editor is just as bad at chopping unnecessary bits (not surprising given it’s Jordan’s editor, his wife), or they’re all out for a quick buck.

Maybe all of the above, because what we have now is not one final volume, which would end the series on an appropriate 12 book note, but rather 3 final “volumes” of A Memory of Light, the first of which is The Gathering Storm. I don’t want to complain at the prospect of having more reading material, but lordy, this thing is heavy enough already. Coming 4 years after Knife of Dreams, tGS isn’t so much a book as an old-fashioned tome. I can only imagine what this will be like when bound in smaller paperback format. And what has me worried is that this is only volume 1 of 3 of the final book – and by gods, will it be hefty when finished.

So, it is with this trepidation… that I rushed down to the book store and picked it up, and have been reluctant to put down since yesterday. And it is with some assumed knowledge that I assume you are coming into this, because I know for sure it’ll make little enough sense to anyone else. And if you really do care, there’s a jump to click through: