Oathbringer Reread: Interludes One, Two, and Three

Welcome back to the wide world of Roshar! As we examine the first set of Interludes, our scope once again widens to include parts of the world we haven’t observed, at least recently: the far eastern coast of New Natanatan, the western slopes of the Horneater Peaks, and a chasm near the center of the Shattered Plains. All three center on the aftereffects of the Everstorm.

Reminder: we’ll potentially be discussing spoilers for the ENTIRE NOVEL in each reread. There’s no specific Cosmere discussion in this week’s post, though we can’t promise what will be in the comments. But if you haven’t read ALL of Oathbringer, best to wait to join us until you’re done.

Chapter Recap

WHO: Puuli, Ellista, Venli
WHERE: Puuli—New Natanatan. Ellista—Jokasha Monastery, on the western slopes of the Horneater Peaks. Venli—The Shattered Plains.
WHEN: All of these interludes are flashbacks, in regards to the timeline ...

Bad Ways to Live Forever Part 397: H.P. Lovecraft and Henry Whitehead’s “The Trap”

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 reading H. P. Lovecraft and Henry Whitehead’s “The Trap,” written in 1931 and first published in the March 1932 issue of Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror. Spoilers ahead.

“And in some outrageous fashion Robert Grandison had passed out of our ken into the glass and was there immured, waiting for release.”

Summary

Narrator Canevin has traveled far afield, most recently in the Virgin Islands, where in the outbuilding of an abandoned estate-house he discovered a mirror dim with age but graceful of frame. Sojourning in Connecticut as tutor in a friend’s school, he finally has an opportunity to break the mirror out of storage and display it in his living room.

The ...

Oathbringer Reread: Chapters Thirty-One and Thirty-Two

Lyn: Well, here we are, fellow re-readers, finally at the end of Part One after four months! Seems like we’ve been doing this forever, but also strangely not nearly long enough to get as far through the book as we have. But of course, it’s not over! We’ve got four more parts and roughly NINE HUNDRED more pages to go!

Alice: And Interludes coming next week, for a change of pace.

Reminder: we’ll potentially be discussing spoilers for the ENTIRE NOVEL in each reread. No Cosmere connections or references to spoilers from other books in this reread, but if you haven’t read ALL of Oathbringer, best to wait to join us until you’re done.

Chapter Recap

WHO: Kaladin Stormblessed; Shallan Davar
WHERE: City of Revolar; Urithiru
WHEN: 1174.1.5.2 (five days after Kaladin’s last appearance in Chapter 23); a few hours after the battle against Re-Shephir.

Kaladin ...

Oathbringer Reread: Chapter Twenty-Eight

Lyn: Welcome back, intrepid re-readers, and an extra special welcome back to Alice! It was fun trading puns with Ross while you were gone, but no one’s better than you at reminding me of all the things I’ve forgotten about these books! (Let’s face it, I get way too caught up in character motivations to spend much time on Cosmere theorycrafting…)

Alice: I’m ba-ack! Thanks to you and Ross for doing a fantastic job while I was gone! But it’s also good to be back, and the end of this chapter was one of my fist-pump moments, so it’s a good time to be back. Dalinar has multiple frustrations, a couple of difficult conversations, and one shining light-bulb moment.

Reminder: we’ll potentially be discussing spoilers for the ENTIRE NOVEL in each reread. There are speculations regarding Adonalsium in the Cosmere Connections section this week; if you haven’t read anything outside ...

Tourist Traps: Shirley Jackson’s “The Summer People”

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 reading Shirley Jackson’s “The Summer People,” first published in 1948 in Come Along With Me. Spoilers ahead.

“I’d hate to leave myself,” Mr. Babcock said, after deliberation, and both he and Mrs. Allison smiled. “but I never heard of anyone ever staying out at the lake after Labor Day before.”

Summary

The Allisons’ country cottage stands on a grassy hill above a lake, seven miles from the nearest town. For seventeen summers now, Janet and Robert have happily endured its primitive accommodations—well water to be pumped, no electricity, that (for the neophyte city sojourner) unspeakable outhouse—for the sake of its rustic charms. And the locals are great people! The ones they’re acquainted with, you know, ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: The Green Man and Creation in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 19)

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Well this is it. Part 19 of Reading The Wheel of Time, covering Chapters 50 and 51. There will be a part 20 next week, but this is the section in which all the action goes down. I have to admit, I had a difficult time recapping this one; when a chapter is mostly action it just starts to feel like I’m just plagiarizing the actual narration, and there’s a lot, particularly in Chapter 51, that is both complicated and unexplained. Also, I went on a sidetrack thinking about the Green Man. His death made me so sad.

Everyone follows the Green Man, and Rand is in awe of him even as he wonders uneasily what the Green Man meant when he called him “Child of the Dragon.” He also notices Perrin walking as far away from the Green Man as possible.

Despite Rand’s uneasiness, however, the peace ...

Oathbringer Reread: Chapters Twenty-Six and Twenty-Seven

Lyn: Well… Ross and I are here again, brightlords and ladies, with—brace yourselves—another Dalinar flashback chapter. Strap yourselves in for a good Blackthorn-ing, because boy does Dalinar ever deliver on the death and destruction in this one (though not as much so, of course, as he will later on ::shudder::).

Ross: Yeah, I’d say things are smoldering right now, but later on, they really catch fire.

L: They sure do. A glorious, glorious dumpster fire.

I have to say, as much as I love this book in its entirety, I am so ready for Part One to be over. It drags a little for me, probably because of the lack of Kaladin and Bridge 4. (MAH BOYS)

R: Well, it’s going to end strong with B4. Including a certain scout…

L: True, I am a bit biased when it comes to Part Two. But overall I ...

The Most Scientifically Interesting Community in the U.S.: Welcome to Night Vale

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 the first episode of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast, created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor and voiced by Cecil Baldwin, first broadcast on March 15 2015 through Commonplace Books. Spoilers ahead.

“A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep.”

Anne’s Summary

Unlike Ruthanna, I was a Night Vale virgin, wandering innocent and vulnerable into its many-layered mysteries. So I took some friends with me. En route, we stopped at a cantina in the middle of nowhere (everything in the vicinity of Night Vale being in the middle of nowhere. Interesting phenomenon, this multiple-maybe-infinite middleness of ...

Reading V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic (Part 1)

Reading VE Schwab's Shades of Magic

Hello, friends, and welcome to Reading V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic! It is summer and I need a new series to dive into. I’ve been meaning to pick up V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic for ages, but life has continually intervened with my plans.

No. Longer. No longer, I say! (Sorry, getting overdramatic, time to pull back on the coffee consumption.)

I’ve never done a “read,” only rereads, so this should be an adventure. Let’s roll up our sleeves and dive right in.

The book begins with a quote from a character I assume I will learn about later on:

“Such is the quandary when is come to magic, that it is not an issue of strength but of balance. For too little power, and we becomes weak. Too much, and we become something else entirely.

—Tieren Serense
head priest of the London Sanctuary

Well, ...

Reading The Wheel of Time: When Need is Greatest in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 18)

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Welcome, welcome to Week 18! This week Reading The Wheel of Time covers Chapters 48 and 49. We ride with Lan into the Blight and we will see monsters and green men and trees that would put the ones in Oz to shame. At the edge of the climactic battle, our heroes are drawn together, to thoughts of how the future could be happier, and who they want near them. And the Green Man gives us hope in a decaying land.

 

A note about comments: Before we get started just a little info (in case anyone missed it last week) about what we’re doing vis-à-vis spoilers and comments for the Read. Comments pointing out things I may have missed in chapters are very welcome as long as your comment doesn’t give away future events that Jordan later explains clearly to the reader. I’d love to chat about important information ...

Oathbringer Reread: Chapter Twenty-Five

Lyn: Plays, pernicious polymorphs, and Patterns abound on this week’s installment of the Oathbringer reread! Ross is joining me again this week, as Alice is still on vacation.

Ross: Hi again, my Radiant friends! I’m glad I got to sit in on this chapter, as I feel it’s the hub about which the entirety of the Urithiru plot in Part One turns.

Reminder: we’ll potentially be discussing spoilers for the ENTIRE NOVEL in each reread. There are no spoilers for other Cosmere novels this week. But if you haven’t read ALL of Oathbringer, best to wait to join us until you’re done.

Chapter Recap

WHO: Shallan Davar
WHERE: Urithiru
WHEN: 1174.1.4.3

Shallan finds an old theater in her exploration of Urithiru, and proceeds to “create” a play for Pattern’s benefit. She tells a tale of a girl in ages past who ...

Lovecraft in the Funhouse Mirror: Joyce Carol Oates’s “Night-Gaunts”

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 Joyce Carol Oates’s “Night-Gaunts,” first published in the October 2017 issue of Yale Review. Spoilers ahead.

“On his father’s right cheek, a small coin-sized birthmark of the hue of dried blood, with a suggestion of miniature fingers, or tendrils. An opened hand? But very small.”

Summary

Horace Phineas Love, Jr., sees a face in the window of the (vacant) Cornish House atop Charity Hill in Providence, where (once) he lived. It’s gaunt, pale and impassive, eyes sunken yet alive and alert. Gleeful. But there can be no face in the empty house. Perhaps it’s the reflection of the quarter-moon, “paper-thin and elusive behind a bank of gauzy stratus clouds.” ...

Reading The Wheel of Time: The Beauty of Simplicity in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 17)

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My dear friends we are getting so close to the end! Only a few more posts until the conclusion of this book, and I. Cannot. Wait. It’s too much suspense for one poor reader.

This week in Reading The Wheel of Time we are going to cover Chapters 46 and 47, which are slower chapters after all the terrifying adventure in the Ways. But I found them a particular pleasure to read nonetheless; there’s some really tight and beautiful narration, we get some backstory for Lan, and most importantly: I was right about Padan Fain!

Leaving the Waygate, Rand and company find themselves in Shienar, in the Borderlands. There are rolling hills and mostly dead trees, a few of which are even split open as if struck by lightning. Lan explains that in the area, it can get so cold that the sap of the tree actually freezes, causing the ...

Oathbringer Reread: Chapters Twenty-Three and Twenty-Four

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

Lyn: Greetings and welcome back to another installment of the Oathbringer reread! Alice is taking a much-needed vacation, so I’ll be joined for a few weeks by our resident Stormwarden and Lift super-fan Ross Newberry! Hiya, Ross! Want to introduce yourself?

Ross: Hi, all! I’ve been a Sanderson beta reader for a couple of years, and Lyn’s calling me a Stormwarden because, during the Oathbringer beta process, I built a spreadsheet to help calculate Highstorm and Everstorm transit times across Roshar. That stuff got…

L: Complicated?

R: A bit. But what I was going to say was, it got me hung with the title of Stormwarden among the beta group, a title which I was secretly quite proud of and never argued against whatsoever. In addition to that stuff, I’m a sometimes author of Tor articles, pretty exclusively on Sanderson stuff, because Brandon is my jam.

The Lift thing ...

Dexter and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Real Estate Deal: Tim Pratt’s “Cinderlands”

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 Tim Pratt’s “Cinderlands,” first published in the Drabblecast podcast in August 2010. Spoilers ahead.

“The lemons were small, and while they were yellow, it was less the yellow of cartoon suns and more the yellow of jaundiced skin or nicotine-stained teeth.”

Summary

Close to the end:

Dexter West wakes to the sound of claws on the hardwood floor of the apartment above—no. He’s moved into a house of his own; the noise is coming from the heating duct in his walk-in closet. He presses an ear to the metal and listens to the scuttle of tiny claws. Rats. In the duct. Or in the walls? He should get a cat. Back ...

The Culture Reread: Prosthetic Conscience (Consider Phlebas Part 7)

Welcome back to the Culture reread! Apologies for the gap in posting; things have not quite gone according to plan, but I’m back now to finish off Consider Phlebas, with this and one more post to follow shortly. After these last posts, I’ll be taking a few weeks off to get rolling on The Player of Games.

Today, though, it’s time for the last act of Bora Horza Gobuchul and his quest for the Culture’s lost Mind. 

Chapter 13: The Command System: Terminus
Chapter 14: Consider Phlebas

While Xoxarle regales Aviger with old war stories (the Idiran idea of a good war story, apparently, involves telling about why a particular species’ religious beliefs meant that they deserved the wholesale annihilation coming to them at Idiran hands), Horza, Yalson, and Balveda continue to search Station Seven and the train parked there. Their engineer, Wubslin, is trying to start the ...

Oathbringer Reread: Chapters Twenty-One and Twenty-Two

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

Lyn: Greetings, brightlords and ladies! Welcome back to yet another installment of the Oathbringer reread—which, judging by how “swiftly” my bookmark is creeping through the book, will be running well into the next year. But hey, that just means more time to spend analyzing theories and arcs, swooning over characters, or facepalming over their actions, and of course hanging out with all of you in the comments section! (I promise we’ve been reading your comments, even if we haven’t been contributing too much lately.) And, of course… waiting for Sanderson to begin writing book 4, so we can all obsessively start watching that little meter start going up on his website.

Oh. Is that just me?

Alice: ::ahem:: ::shifty-eyes::

L: ::cough:: Anyway! This week’s chapters are both featuring Shallan, which means lots of snark, adorable conversations with Adolin, and mysterious machinations being played ...

Wolverine vs. Sabertooth vs. Dracula: John Langan’s “Wide Carnivorous Sky”

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 Langan’s “Wide Carnivorous Sky,” first published in John Joseph Adams’s By Blood We Live anthology in 2009. Spoilers ahead.

“Even the soldiers who’d returned from Afghanistan talked about vast forms they’d seen hunched at the crests of mountains; the street in Kabul that usually ended in a blank wall, except when it didn’t; the pale shapes you might glimpse darting into the mouth of the cave you were about to search.”

Summary

So, is it a vampire?

That’s the burning question four Iraq War veterans ask each other over a campfire deep in the Catskills. Narrator Davis, along with Lee, Han and the Lieutenant survived a particularly bloody confrontation in Fallujah, but ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Almost Everything Finally Gets Explained in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 15)

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And so we arrive at Week 15 of Reading The Wheel of Time! It’s a wordy one this week, lots of exposition, and my fingers are tired from typing it all out! Still, despite these chapters being a bit of an info dump, it’s been really nice to get some clarity on certain events, and I am quite happy to see the gang all back together again.

Rand runs all the way back to the inn, and goes straight to the library to find Master Gill, who is playing stones with Loial. He tells them everything, except what Elaida whispered to him and the fact that Gawyn thought that he looked like an Aielman. After hearing everything, Gill tells Rand that he can no longer sit in Caemlyn waiting for his friends: if Elaida decides to search for him it won’t take longer than two days for the Queen’s Guards ...

Oathbringer Reread: Chapters Nineteen and Twenty

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

Welcome back to the Oathbringer Reread, loyal Knights, Ardents, or whatever else you are! This week we’ll be covering two chapters, in which we see a bit more of Dalinar’s past (and his first meeting with Evi!) and get a little glimpse of Kaladin’s continued journey with the parshmen. Questions abound in these chapters… how crazy was young!Dalinar for walking around in a highstorm? Who sent that assassin after Gavilar? What makes an enemy, and who deserves to die in a war? And just what the heck are those spindly light-things that are walking around in the highstorms, anyway?

Reminder: we’ll potentially be discussing spoilers for the ENTIRE NOVEL in each reread. If you haven’t read ALL of Oathbringer, best to wait to join us until you’re done, but we don’t have any broader Cosmere speculation this time around, so if you haven’t read the rest of ...