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Awesome Book + A TV Series I Won't Be Watching Anymore - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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June 16th, 2015

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05:27 pm - Awesome Book + A TV Series I Won't Be Watching Anymore
Last year, I read and wrote about Graydon Saunder's excellent novel The March North (which was also and also excellently reviewed by James Nicoll). A few days ago, I was very pleased to recently discover that Graydon Saunders had written a second novel in the same setting, A Succession of Bad Days (available DRM free from Google Play Books).

It's in the same setting, and features some of the same characters, but can definitely be read independently. Also, it's difficult for me to say, since I read The March North first, but A Succession of Bad Days might be a somewhat better introduction to the setting. I also think the writing was slightly more polished (although The March North was quite well written).

The biggest difference for me, and why I enjoyed it more was simply that The Marsh North was one of a very few fantasy novels that was primarily (although far from exclusively about a military campaign) that I've enjoyed, and A Succession of Bad Days was about a group of people training to become powerful magicians. I love such books when they are well done, and this one was exceedingly well done. It also included fascinating and well-considered details about how to handle powerful magic in a civilized setting that is specifically designed to prevent magicians from controlling ordinary people. I'm fairly certain I've never read a scene where magicians had to discuss their plans with an ethics committee until this novel. The characters were interesting, the setting was both fascinating and very well done and I highly recommend it, especially if you prefer fiction that isn't all about gloom and brutality.

Speaking of gloom and brutality, with great anticipation teaotter, amberite, and I started watching the 2 hour premier of the 3rd season of Defiance (on SyFy). Season 1 took a while to get good, but it did and Season 2 was excellent from beginning to end. Becca stopped watching after 10 minutes saying that it was a little too grim for her, Alice and I watched the entire first hour and then we stopped. By the end of the first hour, one of the best major characters from last season was off-screen and might well not return, two other major characters had been brutally killed, and the show had introduced three new major characters: a new villain for the season, who is a murderous psychopath that drives around in a car decorated with the severed heads of his enemies, and a pair of what can best be described as vampiric drow. Also, the show killed off the last remaining non-white human characters.

I get that a fair number of people really enjoy shows like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, but I very much do not, and I an exceedingly unpleased to see a who that was an excellent noir story become a cheezy mad-max rip off. Perhaps it will get better, but we've decided to read summaries of the episodes and if this tone doesn't drastically change, we're all done with the show. I'm really looking forward to when shows which are not all about grim brutality become more popular.

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