Oathbringer Reread: Chapter Seven

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

Hello, and welcome back to the Oathbringer Reread! In this week’s chapter, we continue on with Kaladin’s heart-wrenching homecoming before he heads off in search of Wascally Woidbringers.

Reminder: we’ll potentially be discussing spoilers for the ENTIRE NOVEL in each reread. There are no Cosmere connections in this chapter, so read on with no fear of spoilers from non-Stormlight novels. But if you haven’t read ALL of Oathbringer, best to wait to join us until you’re done.

Chapter Recap

WHO: Kaladin Stormblessed
WHERE: Hearthstone, Alethkar
WHEN: 1174.1.2.2

After Kaladin’s (totally deserved) decking of Roshone, he summons Syl to prove his rank and takes a report from the guards about the transformed parshmen, who left the town in peace. He gives Roshone a brief pep talk about leading his people, then Laral arrives. She sets him up with the things he’s requested—a spanreed to report in to ...

Finding Faith in All the Wrong Places: John Connolly’s “Mr. Pettinger’s Daemon”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at John Connolly’s “Mr. Pettinger’s Daemon,” first published in his 2004 Nocturnes collection. Spoilers ahead.

“The moisture tasted like blood upon my tongue.”


Army chaplain and WWI veteran Mr. Pettinger is summoned to his bishop’s palatial library. Pettinger thinks the bishop, with his tapered bald head and flowing crimson robes, looks like a bloody dagger; his skeletal fingers move like spider legs. Pettinger dislikes the bishop’s fingers. But then, he dislikes the bishop.

He dislikes more his current post at an army hospital. It’s hard to soothe shattered minds and shore up shaken souls when his own sanity and faith are so fragile. In dreams, he still hears shells explode and rats scurry ...

The Culture Reread: No More Mr. Nice Guy (Consider Phlebas, Part 3)

Welcome back to the Culture reread! Today in chapters 5 and 6 of Consider Phlebas, Kraiklyn continues to prove himself an absolutely terrible captain, another heist goes dreadfully wrong, and Horza is captured by a cult. This entire sequence is one of the most revolting things I’ve read in almost any book anywhere. Don’t read this section while you’re eating, and don’t count on having an appetite for a while after.

Chapter 5: Megaship

As the Clear Air Turbulence makes its way to Vavatch, Yalson offers her theory of why they’re headed that way to Horza: there’s going to be a game of Damage played there. To the reader at this point, the nature of this game is obscure, though both Horza and Yalson seem concerned. It seems that games are rare and played for very high stakes (supposedly Kraiklyn won the CAT in a Damage game), and Kraiklyn ...

Reading The Wheel of Time: Dreams and Prophecy in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 4)

Reading The Wheel of Time series banner

The use of prophecy and fated destinies is pretty intrinsic in epic fantasy. The tradition of prophecy as a plot device in western storytelling goes back at least to the Greek epics, if not farther, and although different authors have different approaches, the theme of characters having a glimpse of the future and choosing if and how to be motivated by it runs through many of today’s great fantasy tales. But the idea of time and existence as a turning wheel adds a specific flavor to Jordan’s universe, and it’s one I’m very interested to see play out.

Welcome back to week four of Reading The Wheel of Time! I’d like to do something a little different this week; I won’t be covering any new chapters, instead I’d like to look at the dreams Rand has had so far, as well as exploring what we know of the prophecy of ...

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: A Civil Campaign, Cover Comparison and Chapter 1

A Civil Campaign was first published in 1999. In the great epic that is the Vorkosigan Saga, this is a “coming home” section. It has a number of science fictional elements—more than one planet, space travel, butter bugs—but the central narrative is the love story between Ekaterin and Miles. This is the most romantic of the books since Shards of Honor, which was comparatively very grim. This puts book publishers in a bit of a bind. A cover needs to sell the book—do they play up the SF and make sure the SF fans pick it up, or do they emphasize the romance and grab some new readers? What if readers think the book has girl cooties?

Some of the translated editions chose to err on the side of SF. Some of these errors were smidge egregious for my taste.

The Italian edition features a group of people carrying ...

Oathbringer Reread: Chapters Five and Six

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

Alice: Welcome back to the Oathbringer Reread, as we finally rejoin our favorite (only?) Windrunner and his lovely spren. In keeping with the writer’s adage that “long journeys are usually boring to read”—

Lyn: Except in Lord of the Rings.

A: —we haven’t seen Kaladin since he left Urithiru, on his way to Hearthstone with a pocketful of Stormlight, to protect his family from the Everstorm. This week, we’ll walk the last few miles with him, and discuss what he finds there in the first half-hour or so. (Also, how does that adage fit with “journey before destination”? Generalizations sometimes fail.)

If you’re interested in going back to review the discussion when this was previewed, you can check it out here.

Reminder: we’ll potentially be discussing spoilers for the ENTIRE NOVEL in each reread. This week’s Cosmere references are small, and aren’t spoilers unless you’ve never looked at ...

Oathbringer map of Alethkar Brandon Sanderson

Honor Thy Oozy, Headless Ancestor: Clark Ashton Smith’s “Ubbo-Sathla”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Clark Ashton Smith’s “Ubbo-Sathla,” first published in the July 1933 issue of Weird Tales. Spoilers ahead.

“Moment by moment, the flowing vision in the crystal became more definite and distinct, and the orb itself deepened till he grew giddy, as if he were peering from an insecure height into some never-fathomed abyss.”


The Book of Eibon supplies our epigraph: a description of Ubbo-Sathla, the featureless demiurge that dwelt upon Earth before even the Great Old Ones arrived. It spawned “the grey, formless efts…and the grisly prototypes of terrene life” which must one day return to it through the “great circle of time.”

A few years along that great circle, ...