The last time I read The Wheel of Time was in anticipation of A Memory of Light. The culmination of the series was a big deal for me. I discovered The Wheel of Time shortly after The Shadow Rising (book 4) was released, which means I waited over twenty years for the series to finish. I was a kid when I started reading it and a man when the series concluded. In the interim I lost two immediate family members, graduated from high school, college, grad school, and law school, got my first job, got my first real job, got my first promotion, changed careers twice, lived in four states. The Wheel of Time was a constant through all of that. It may be the only reason I read fantasy today—for the better part of a decade I would not have read any fantasy but for a new Wheel of Time book every two or three years. It was the excitement that the book would be finished that turned me back toward fantasy permanently.
As a kid, I reread the books obsessively, rereading each at least once in anticipation of the next book. Later I would read the newly published book once and leave it at that. Once I even *gas* went months after publication before buying the newest book. A hectic life since A Memory of Light kept me from a full reread. I got married, became a father, changed careers again, and lived in two more states. Oh, and started two blogs. My desire to write reread posts here was part of the delay. Rereading four million words and writing about them is a much bigger commitment.
After five months locked down, I spent more time around people and out in public in August than I did in those five prior months combined. Masked up, but I am still not thrilled about that. I started the new job, and things are going well, but we are still trying to sell our house in the Rust Belt, which means I am spending 44 hours a month on the road. After getting my oil changed for the first time in almost a year last month, I need to get it changed before I head back up those hillbilly highways for my next trip.
The work-housing situation means spending a lot of time away from the wife and kid, but we did all get to go the zoo on my first long weekend trip back.
If you read yesterday’s post over at Hillbilly Highways, you know that I took a new job. I will be commuting across the country nine hours each way every couple weeks until we sell our house. Even then, I will probably be looking at somewhere from a half hour to an hour-plus commute (which isn’t quite as bad as it sounds since I usually only go to campus on days I teach). That is a lot of time that could be spent reading that I will instead spend in the car!
The obvious solution is audiobooks and podcasts.
In which Nynaeve takes the test to become an Accepted, Egwene meets Elayne for the first time and Min again, Rand arrives in Carhien and promptly dives headfirst into the Game of Houses after running into an old friend, Rand makes fireworks with Selene, and Perrin meets (another) Aielman,
These are good chapters, but they are very much setup chapters. One of Jordan’s great Talents is writing engaging, interesting setup chapters.
Given that I am still effectively trapped at home, you would think I would be able to keep up with my blogging. But it was not to be. I didn’t post anything here in the second half of July and only one post at Hillbilly Highways. I had my reasons, though. Big things are afoot in meatspace. Big things that I unfortunately cannot divulge at this time. A lot will have changed by the time I write another one of these missives.
In which Egwene and Nynaeve arrive at the White Tower, Rand lends Selene a shirt, Rand earns the moniker “Shadowkiller,” we are given a slight introduction to the Choedan Kal, Moiraine and Lan reminisce over their meet-cute, Moiraine tells Lan their bond will be passed, and Lan saves Moiraine from a Draghkar.
I loved the “Shadowkiller” set piece as a kid and still love it (although the moniker isn’t given until later). I like Selene’s role in these chapters a lot more than her role in the last tranche. There are a couple big introductions—the Choedan Kal! Sheriam!—but the heart of these chapters is the exploration of the relationship between Moiraine and Lan.
It has been a spell since a Throwback SF Thursday post! A while back I won a complete set of hardcover Barsoom/John Carter omnibuses through a giveaway hosted by the inestimable Bookstooge. I have been using the Barsoom books as one of my main comfort reads in these trying times (lately as a palate cleanser between Wheel of Time books). Under the Moons of Mars collects the first three Barsoom novels, A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, and The Warlords of Mars (overall, the last of the individual novels I finished was Thuvia, Maid of Mars).
This is my first time digging into an ERB series. I previously picked up the first Pellucidar and Carson of Venus books but haven’t continued with either series. Based on four Barsoom books and the first book in those two series, Barsoom is definitely my favorite, although the quality of the individual books varies.
In which Rand wakes up someplace very strange but also the same, Ingtar discovers his disappearance, the Hunt continues in both universes nonetheless, Perrin comes out as a sniffer, Verin arrives unexpectedly, Rand picks up his first heron brand, his small party learns the horrid truth of the university they are in, Rand finds a suspiciously beautiful woman under very suspicious circumstances and gets to show off his archer skills on grolm(!), and Rand returns to Earth-Prime . . . now well ahead of Ingtar AND the Horn.
I love the introduction of Portal Stones and a multiverse. They overshadow the introduction of Lanfear by a great deal for me, I am afraid. And it is in these chapters that we see both Rand and Perrin really step up to the plate as leaders in response to the call of duty.
In which everyone prepares to leave Fal Dara, Lan delivers some foreshadowing about “allow[ing] the sword to be sheathed in your own body, the true Great Hunt begins, we meet a sniffer, Bayle Domon jumps out of the frying pan into the fire, Rand gets stuck in a flytrap, Egwene and Nynaeve travel to Tar Valon, Anaiya suspects Egwene may be a dreamer, and Rand goes sleep somewhere other than where he will wake up.
I don’t have a lot to say about it, but I love these early chapters with the Shienarans riding south (zigzags to the north notwithstanding). Jordan does a great job at showing that they are great soldiers, not just great fighters.
“When we Shienarans ride, every man knows who is next in line if the man in command falls. A chain unbroken right down to the last man left, even if he’s nothing but a horseholder. That way, you see, even if he is the last man, he is not just a straggler running and trying to stay alive. He has the command, and duty calls him to do what must be done.”
Duty is a major theme in the series and something Rand will struggle with throughout. He is first asked to do his duty here. That will become real in the chapters covered in my next post.
June was the month the lockdowns started to slowly ease. We took our daughter to the beach (a half-day trip and we didn’t get within 100 feet of anyone else). My wife and I had our first date in months. We wore masks except when actively drinking and stuck to sitting outside. (How long has it been? We went back to the same brewery where we had our last date night. That time we sat in an igloo.) After hitting the “publish” button I am going to go browse a bookstore for the first time in months.