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review 2018-12-12 00:51
Earth, Air, Fire, Water: Tales from the Eternal Archives #2
Earth, Air, Fire, Water (Tales from the Eternal Archives, #2) - Jane Lindskold,Linda P. Baker,Tanya Huff,Margaret Weis,Carrie Channell,Edward Carmien,Mark Garland,Nancy Varian Berberick,Robyn McGrew,Janet Pack,Jean-Francois Podevin,Bruce Holland Rogers,Nina Kiriki Hoffman,Donald J. Bingle,Kristine Kathryn Rusch,Lawren

The short story anthology Earth, Air, Fire, Water edited by Margaret Weis, the second and last collection of the Tales from the Eternal Archives, contains thirteen stories of varying quality loosely connected to one another through the titular mystical library.  But unlike the first collection all thirteen stories were all fantasy genre.

 

The best story of the collection was “Strange Creatures” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, which followed Chief Dan Retsler investigating the latest in a series of animal mutilations but suddenly finds out that the latest animal might be linked to mythical “selkies”.  The next two best stories were “How Golf Shaped Scotland” by Bruce Holland Rogers, a fun and good natured short story about how a game of golf created Scotland’s iconic coastline, and “An Elemental Conversation” by Donald J. Bingle, a conversation between a Reverend and his friend during their weekly chess game about how the news of non-human intelligent life affects religion with a twist ending.

 

The two worst stories of the collection were “Water Baby” by Michelle West, which followed the life of a young woman who is emotionally connected to the ocean and how it affects her and others, and “Sons of Thunder” by Edward Carmien, in which a djinn recounts his time as a follower of Jehua and how his brother and his tribe converted to the new faith leaving him alone.  These were the two “worst” examples of six stories that were not really good even though they had interesting concept, but just bad execution ruined them.  An interesting facet was the unevenness of the number of stories for each element covered in the book, with Air only have one while Earth had five and Water had four and Fire starting off the book with three.

 

The thirteen stories that make up Earth, Air, Fire, Water were a mixed bag of quality from the excellent to downright disappoint, just like every other anthology collection that has been published.  However I will be honest in how well I rated this book given how poorly it began and ended.

 

Individual Story Ratings

Burning Bright by Tanya Huff (2/5)

The Fire of the Found Heart by Linda P. Baker (2/5)

The Forge of Creation by Carrie Channell (2/5)

How Golf Shaped Scotland by Bruce Holland Rogers (4/5)

The Giant’s Love by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (3/5)

Family Secrets by Robyn McGrew (3.5/5)

Dvergertal by Nancy Vivian Berberick (2/5)

An Elemental Conversation by Donald J. Bingle (4/5)

Water Baby by Michelle West (1/5)

Only As Safe by Mark A. Garland and Lawrence Schimel (3/5)

Out of Hot Water by Jane Lindskold (3.5/5)

Strange Creatures by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (5/5)

Sons of Thunder by Edward Carmien (1/5)

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text 2018-09-03 21:26
Recommendation for the Cryptozoology square
The Enchantment Emporium - Tanya Huff

if you’re still looking for something for today’s square, I recommend The Gale Women series by Tanya Huff,.

 

The first one is The Enchantment Emporium and it’s a lot of fun,.

 

 

Hers my review if you fancy trying something light.

 

https://mikefinnsfiction.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/the-enchantment-emporium-the-gale-women-1-by-tanya-huff-fun-start-to-a-new-urban-fantasy-series-set-in-calgary/

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review 2018-07-26 13:02
"The Privilege Of Peace - Peacekeeper #3" by Tanya Huff - highly recommended
The Privilege Of Peace - Tanya Huff,Marguerite Gavin

 

Tanya Huff says that "The Privilege of Peace" will be the last Torin Kerr book, I've followed Torin Kerr through the five Confederation novels, which I think are some of the best and most innovative military SF novels ever written and then on to the three Peacekeeper novels, which show how Torin, having helped end a galactic war hundreds of years long, handles the peace.

 

"The Privilege of Peace" was the perfect goodbye to the series. It moved the story arc on, engaging most of my favourite characters but didn't make the mistake of tidying everything up.

 

As I left the book, I could see that Torin had grown and, in the process, had helped me understand how much more difficult the maintenance of peace can be than the fighting of a war.

 

I'd love there to be another Torin Kerr book, but if there isn't I'll look on this as nine great novels, set in a universe I believe in, with people I care about, which never took the most obvious path and always placed accountability above expedience. I real life was like that, I'd enjoy living there. It isn't, but at least I have Tanya Huff to show me that it could be.

 

Margurite Gavin's narration has always increased my enjoyment of the Torin Kerr books.   Her voices are so well thought through that I could immediately recognise who was speaking, regardless of sex or species.

 

If you haven't read this series yet, you have a lot of pleasure ahead of you. Take a look at my reviews below

confederation 1 - 3The first three books in the Confederation series were fast-moving, trope-twisting, emotionally taxing military SF novels that established the Confederation universe from Torin's point of view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

valor-s-trial"Valor's Trial"(every time I see these titles, I want to add a U) was the game changer for me. The universe expanded and Torin became someone even more interesting.Va

There's a lot of sadness and a lot of hope in this book. It's probably the most anti-war pro-soldier military SF book I've read.

 

 

 

 

 

the-truth-of-valor

"The Truth of Valor" brought the Confederation series to an end in an unexpected but enjoyable way and I thought it was the last I'd see of Torin Kerr.

 

What more could be asked of her?

 

Well, it turns out that she was going to be asked the question: "What do non-violent Elder Races do with the we've-been-fighting-a-war-for-so-long-it's-all-we-know Younger Races?"

 

 

 

 

 

An Ancient PeaceWhen Torin considered that question, she did what she always does. She set about bringing her people home. She also started to rethink what everyone thought the knew about the Elder Races.

 

"An Ancient Peace", the first Peacekeeper novel had Torin in transition, no longer in the Corps but not really equipped to be a civilian and kept me guessing all the way through to the surprising outcome. 

 

It reset the situation completely, especially with regard to the Elder Races

 

 

 

 

 

a peace divided

In "A Peace Divided" Torin leads a Peace Keeper Strike Force, dealing with violent people churning through civilian space in the wake of an unexpected peace. Torin’s not a soldier anymore. Winning now involved more than getting in, killing the enemy and getting her people home. Now she has to uphold the law and make sure as few people as possible, on either side, die while she’s doing it.

 

She also starts to question how the Confederacy she's always defended, works and whether she might have to find a way of changing it to protect her people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-05-20 23:53
A PEACE DIVIDED by TANYA HUFF
A Peace Divided - Tanya Huff

Wonderful book, wonderful series. You'd think I'd get a little tired of one bad situation averted after another but nope, love it. This series (part of an initial series) is the best by this author in my humble opinion.

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review 2018-02-05 22:18
"Third Time Lucky and other stories of the most powerful wizard in the world" by Tanya Huff
Third Time Lucky: And Other Stories of the Most Powerful Wizard in the World - Tanya Huff

Tanya Huff is one of my favourite SF/Fantasy writers.  I loved her trope-twisting "Blood" series with Detective Vicki Nelson encountering everything from Werewolves to Mummies, her "Confederation / Peacekeeper" series where Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr delivers military SF that isn't just about winning and her "Gale Women" series where the world is saved on a regular basis by women who know how to unleash magic.

 

Two of the things I like most about her writing is the way she uses humour and the way she subverts patriarchal power models. Her women are powerful but they use their power in very different ways than their male counterparts and they love pricking pomposity.

 

I jumped at the opportunity to go back to a collection of stories written at the start of her career and see how far these two elements were already present. What I found were some light, fun stories that made me smile both because they are witty in a relaxed, slightly bawdy sort of way and because they disassemble traditional power models with a wink and a cocky smile.

 

Magdelene, the central character of the seven stories in "Third Time Lucky", is the most powerful wizard in the world. Fortunately for everyone concerned, she is also the laziest wizard in the world. She is more interested in living in a climate that requires little by way of clothing and is populated by well-muscled men who know how to sing than she is in world domination.

 

I read the stories in the order they're published in the book, which is the order that Tanya Huff wrote them in, rather than the chronological order of the stories. This, together with the notes from the author at the start of each tale, let me watch how Tanya Huff's idea of Magdelene developed between the first story in 1985 and the last in 2001.

 

They all made me smile and they all made me look again at power models - the one where Magdelene encounters a wizard bureaucracy I found to be particularly cutting.

If you're a Tany Huff fan, take the time to read this collection.

 

If you're not a Tanya Huff fan yet, read this collection for a gentle introduction to someone who sees the world differently and makes you glad to be in her company.

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