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The idea behind this blog is to share my opinions about Post-Apocalyptic Literature, Films and Ephemera as well as my random nattering on a regular basis.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finished 'The Sword Of Forbearance'

(our story so far)
1) The Breaking of Northwall
2) The Ends Of The Circle
3) The Dome In The Forest
4) The Fall Of The Shell
5) An Ambush Of Shadows
6) The Song Of The Axe

'So everything comes full circle. And circles have ends after all'

I will only say the following about The Sword Of Forbearance: The last book of the Pelbar Cycle had a satisfying (albeit bittersweet) ending.

I read this book without looking at the blurb on the back, the teaser in front, nor a peek at the maps. All those would have tarnished the experience.

I avoided reading these books for years because I just tend to steer clear of 'series' type books. On the other hand when a book is super fantastic I never want it to end. The Pelbar Cycle was very nearly that. According to my Twitter Log, I started it all on 3:42 PM on February 6th. So it nearly lasted forever. So long in fact that when I get pissed at something I've been calling it 'harzas' or 'filthy' in my head.

I thoroughly enjoyed the books. Highest Recommendation.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Sword Of Forbearance

'The path again ascended and then suddenly met a set of crumbling stairs, of concrete, with a rusted iron handrail. This part of the cave was dry, and everything lay in powdery dust. The stairs curved up toward a squared doorway. Ahroe paused there, then entered a strange room.

Rows of circular tables, each with four chairs, occupied most of the room. One end was dominated by a long counter with stools in front of it and shelves of glasses and plates behind it. A sign above the counter read "Lunch at Smedley's Cave," and behind that faded, framed pictures dimly showed features of the cave below. Also on the wall hung a crumpled paper diagram with numbers on it. Ahroe read "November 2009" above the chart, and saw after the number 22, in fierce but clear handwriting, "And here it all ends, inside as well as out!" '

So now I know what happened and also when it happened ... pretty recently as it seems. Good stuff that.

More updates as events warrant.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Musical Interlude The Sixth

'Doomsday ... The Final Battle. Doomsday ... Armageddon. Doomsday ... The Final Battle. Doomsday ... Apocalypse'

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finished 'The Song Of The Axe'

Let me start off with a warning: DO NOT LOOK AT THE MAP AT THE FRONT OF THE BOOK! That was one spoilerific map. Reminded me of those Family Circus cartoons where the dotted line follow the kids and told the story. Wait until the end of the book and then read the map. This post as well is spoilerific. Feel free to stop reading now.

I predicted that An Ambush Of Shadows would be the epic journey north to suss out exactly what was doin there. At the end of The Dome In The Forest a band of Shumai appeared on the Isso River. They had been living in the 'Icelands' in the north. Seems they were hiding out there because their Axeman Uchman had 'accidentally' started a fire that killed a bunch of people. Apparently a millennium from now when you take it on the lam, you head for Canada where you'll freeze your ass off instead of going to Mexico. Anyway after the Axeman dies Disdan brings the remainder of the Band to Shumia Country. He finds no Shumia at all. He does find Stel who tells him that there are no more Running Bands. Disdan sorts of squints his eyes points his fingers at Stel and says 'I find you argument intriguing, but I don't believe you just yet' (may have paraphrased that last part).

He and his band continue to Pelbargian and find that it is indeeed true. Tells his tale to Tor. Remember this is just after he lost his arm in the battle to save the people of The Dome from their own stupidity. Tor becomes intrigued about this unknown territory. He is taking care of Tristal who was orphaned in a fire at the begining of 'Dome' and decides to take him with for some company/education.

At the very end of 'Dome' Tristal is spurned by Celeste who he thought he had a connection with. Part of the reason Tristal left with Tor was Celeste's rejection. He was so enamored with Celeste he ignores Fahna who is smokin hot apparently. She's used to guys falling all over themselves when she's around. Tristal doesn't. So Fahna decides to get him to promise her to marry. He does it then sets out promising to return within seven years.

All that happens in the final chapter of The Dome In The Forest. It has nothing much to do with the events of 'Dome' but rather was more of tease for the next book. In other words I haven't spoiled anything yet.

So that sets the scene for The Song Of The Axe. The timeline of this book spans more than seven years from start to finish. Tor and Tristal travel across Southern Canada together meeting people and enjoying good times/adventures.

First he meets a group of outcast Shumia. If I understand it properly they were forced out of their own bands because they were 'manlovers'. Does that mean they were gay homosexuals? I don't know. The Shumia seem like the descendants of American Indians, well to me anyway. I'm not exactly sure about this but I'm nearly certain gays were held in reverence. They were believed to have two spirits and mystic powers and things n' stuff n' junk. Unlike American Indians however, Shumia don't take too kindly to them and they are forced out. One of the cast outs is a Shumia Axeman. These are people who are not only highly skilled fighters but are psychic to a small extent. Tor and Tristal of course blunder right into he middle of their camp. Tristal is captured and tortured and Tor is there for the recourse.

They continue their travels and meet The Soarers. This group of people are held in trall by priests. The priests have some sort of mind control ability. They use the ability to rule. It took me five and half books but it looks like I've finally found the 'Super Science' that links this series of book to the Thundarr cartoon. The Priests are wizards of some type. Tor and Tristal don't stick around very long and make an escape over the ice.

After 50 days of travel on the ice they find a valley. It is being kept free of ice by some hot springs. Only problem is that once in the valley they have a very difficult time getting out. It takes five years and a bit of ingenious planning on Tor's part but they are finally free to continue the journey.

They don't have to go far until they reach the next group of people. These call themselves Carvers. They seem to be the descendants of Eskimos. Pretty generous group as well. They not only let a couple of fairly tough lookin guys live in their village awhile but carve them a canoe as well.

When the boat is done Tristal and Tor set out again. This where thier paths split. Tristal awakens one morning to find Tor gone and the axe in his pack. Tor goes north. Tristal continues back home to make good his promise to Fahna. Before he gets there he makes the acquaintance of one more group of people.

The Shagrock are slavers. They are as bad or worse than the Tantal. It is during this time that Tristal has an epiphany. After all the teaching of his uncle and all of his deny he's an axeman, he becomes one. A truly epic battle ensues. All the action of a Rambo movie.

So Tristal escapes. Goes back home. Fights the suitor of his bequeathed. That's it.

I have started the last of the Pelbar Books, The Sword of Forbearance. At the end of 'Ambush' the Pelbar are joining together to make a Heart River Federation. They send an ambassador to ask the people of the Eastern Cities and Innanigan in particular to either join or at least tell the Heart Federation the western boarder of their territory. The Innanigans tell the Pelbar to pound sand they have a better plan.

I have started The Sword of Forbearance. So for it looks as though the Pelbar are a bit pissed.

More updates as events warrant.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Musical Interlude The Fifth

In the exit of humanity, color our world blackened!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Song Of The Axe

'They what?'

'Run up the wall and then flip over. Landing on their feet. Astor tries it. But he fell and landed on his bloomin' back. Laid up a couple days. It's not hard though. I did it. Fell a few times.'

'Did they teach you, then?'

'No. They don't speak to me. Sir, I thought I aught to be let go. It's uncomfortable. They all know. Reese would have coshed me if they could. No fun being a slimer.'

'Well. You seem to have botched it. Perhaps so. You'll have to stay off the swigging. No more barley mash.'

- Conservation Between Judge Morton and Some Random Dude of the Ice Valley

I have been waiting for it awhile and it has yet to happen. Until today that is. Tor and Tristal have blundered into a group of people who ferment a beverage they call 'barley mash'. Finally a group who likes to punish their liver. They even blame their more ill advised actions on it. Like me!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Finished 'An Ambush Of Shadows'

I may have been a bit premature on the whole 'barnburner' forecast. 'Ambush' was good but not 'Fall Of The Shell' good. The book mainly focused on familial relationships. Seems all is not well in the world of Stel and Ahroe and they are working through some marital strife. Stel has his life Ahroe has her own. The real trouble is that Ahroe's life includes another guy named Desdaan and also an attempt to bring all the peoples of Heart River together under a single banner, while Stel's life is all about the rediscovery of the steam engine. They end up going their separate ways (not in terms of a separation mind you just in distance).

Most of the real action takes place around Stel and Ahroe gets bogged down in politics. Ahroe reminds me a little of Johnny 'Goodboy' Tyler from Battlefield Earth. The part in the last quarter where they are attempting a galactic alliance.

So Stel sees all the action. He takes his newly reinvented steam boat (paddle wheel driven?) up the Heart River to a new Pelbar settlement. The Tantal don't take too kindly to this action and being a bunch of filthy friggin' swamp donkeys attack the Pelbar. The Pelbar seem to have gotten the upper hand because Stel also reinvents the IED. Or so it seems. The pig snouts kidnap his daughter and IT'S ON! Stel kicks names and takes ass.

Most of the action takes place as Stel takes on the Tantal. There's even a bit of action on the high seas. I looked around a bit and I think just maybe I've found the Tantal's god. They describe him as recumbent with a hand out. Also that he's made of bronze. Best match I could find is this guy. I think this is the Tantal god Blan. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Jussayin.

Also as of now I am about seven chapters into 'The Song Of the Axe' the events of this book follow Tristal and Tor on their journey to the north. This tale takes place at the same time as the events of 'The Fall Of The Shell'. Right after the events of 'The Dome in The Forest' in other words. This will be an account of a very long journey. I have only just started but I have looked at the map at the front of the book. Tristal and Tor travel up the Mississippi to the Canadian border and then head west from there. If the map holds true (and they all have so far) then the journey will take them all the way to the west coast of what used to be Canada and then south through the Pacific Northwest. My part of the county. Super Sweet! Hope there's some description my stompin' grounds a millennium hence.

More updates as events warrant.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Look for another post tomorrow ...

Last night I officially submitted my thesis proposal. Working title is Writing Improvement Through Reading. So this it folks, I have the rest of this week and then next week to finish The Pelbar Cycle. After that, The Time Of The Great Buckling Down will be upon us all.

And a cruel twist of irony today saw me assigned as a sub as the librarian at a local high school. I had to deal with looking at The Forest Of Hands and Teeth as well as both 'Hunger Games' books. And yes it was with malice aforethought that I moved 'The Long Walk' over next to The Hunger Games ... I only wish that the Battle Royale series was there for me to move as well. Nothing new under the sun and stuff... Stupid kids and their stupid new books with very old ideas. Rapscallions.

Not to worry though I stuck my thumb in irony's eye. I began to read the next book in the Pelbar Cycle, The Song Of The Axe. And I am two glorious chapter in.

Three words for you ... Tristal is back.

I'll post about An Ambush Of Shadows tomorrow. Liver punishment not withstanding.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Musical Interlude The Forth

Thursday, March 11, 2010

An Ambush Of Shadows

So today at my sub-job I read quite a bit, as is my want. However today's assignment was in a humanities class. Cool thing was in the teacher's plans 20 minutes of good ol' silent reading was in the offing. Love it. I asked the kids to think about a passage that they either liked a lot or that was important.

I even decided to share a passage from An Ambush Of Shadows to get one class of surly sophomores to buy in. I told them the book was the fifth in a larger series. And that it was set in a sort of Thundarr the Barbarian type world. One student even knew who Thundarr is. Sweet!

I read them this:

"We all have our weaknesses. Ahroe has had her loneliness in her new
role, Stel in his new one. You have had frustration of watching them
both, especially your anger at your father for not growing into a parallel, a viable role. And I have had my wish for a family - now scattered like leaves in the wind."

- Sagan, Protector of Pelbarign

By the purest chance the following quote was on the board:

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which
is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by
experience, which is the most bitter.”

- Kong Ch'iu (Confucius)

I got a bit choked up when a student pointed out that the two quotes almost said the same thing. Sometimes kids really do surprise you.

And in other news: Those filthy, friggin' fish suckers, the Tantal have made another epic appearance. RIGHTEOUS!

More updates as events warrant.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The World of the Pelbar

Just a map scan so's you can all follow the nattering.

Finished 'The Fall Of The Shell'

I figured it out. 'The Dome' was lackluster for a very good reason. I noticed it as I finished up The Fall Of The Shell. Also I noticed a pattern that is emerging. In The Breaking Of Northwall Jestak is just getting back from a journey. He had been sent on a mission to go to The Eastern Cities to learn law and to open trade between them and the Pelbar. Along the way he runs afoul of the Pestak who enslave him. It takes some doin' but he eventually maneges to escape. He arrives at Innanigan but finds it pretty disagreeable. He again flees. This time he goes to the Eastern Islands. He stays there for awhile and then starts home and has many and varied adventures as he travels home.

Next in The Ends Of The Circle Stel finds he can't accept the constraints of the Dahmen family (that and he also would like to live) and promptly takes his leave. Along the way he meets some pretty nutty Roti, interesting Ozar, has a frightening encounter at Scule the outcast Pelbar's Place and then has a pretty epic visit at Cull. The entire time he is on the journey unbeknownst to him Ahroe is following him. She runs into many of the groups the Stel did but her journey splits at Scule's Place. She ends up at Jave and then they both end up with The Commuters before turning around and going home.

In The Dome In The Forest the travel a bit past Three Rivers to The Dome that's it Lots of political intrigue but not any travels to distant lands to meet new and interesting people. All the stuff that happens happens right there.

Alright, I am very sorry about the long winded and somewhat rambling nature of this post but it had to done to properly build up my assertion about the pattern of these first four Pelbar books and to attempt to predict the nature of the fifth book.

The Fall Of The Shell again falls into the 'two part journey' scenario like what went on in 'The Ends Of The Circle'. This is a journey down the Heart River (The Mississippi River in our time). Once again it's the extremely harsh ways of the Pelbar women that drive him out.

The action of this tale begins when an old Sentani trader named Ravell escapes from the Tusco slavers with a very unique old shell. He brings it to Three Rivers knowing that Bival would pay a premium for it since she is always on the lookout for old interesting artifacts. The price Bival is more than she has so she takes most if not all the cost from her husband Warret. She's on the way to show the shell to the Protector when the twins Gamwyn and Brudoer are getting up to some shenanigans and the shell gets broken. Bival freaks out and beats Gamwyn. Brudoer loses his shit and beats Bival with a belt.

In the ensuing confusion a series of events begin to unfold. First Gamwyn is sent to Pelbarigan because they lack the technology to heal him properly. Bival's husband Warret is super pissed because he wanted to buy a Pellute so he leaves her. Then Brudoer is locked in the basement jail.

This all happens in just the first few chapters. So just in a) you read this blog and b) want to read the book I have spoiled nothing for and feel free to read on. Gamwyn stays at Pelparigan when he recuperates he pulls a Stel and runs away. He goes on a journey to find a replacement shell. It's his journey that makes The Fall Of The Shell so great. The reader is introduced the slaving Tusco and the peaceful Atlats as well as the unfortunate Siveri. Gamwyn has dealings with all these groups.

Gamwyn's twin Brudoer has a Indiana Jonesian adventure of his own while in the jail cells at Thee Rivers.

I have indeed started the fifth book is the series 'An Ambush Of Shadows'. What made The 'Breaking of Northwall' so great was Jestak' s journey ... to The East. What made 'The Ends of the Circle' great was Stel and Ahroe's journey ... to The West. Finally,what made 'The Fall of the Shell' great was Brudoer's journey ... to The South (and Gamwyn's adventure in Three Rivers added a bold flavor to the mix). As I read 'An Ambush Of Shadows' I am noticing a trend. Stel is off on another journey ... this time to The North. Looks like I may have another barnbuner on my hands.

Further updates as events warrant.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Fall Of The Shell

"Brudoer found living quarters, the remains of an ancient mushroom farm, fish holding tanks, even a slaughterhouse with an icehouse adjacent to it.

One of the rooms contained a large stock of Sentani weapons and some dried clothing of the Sentani type. Brudoer puzzled on this a long time, finally realising that the early city had fed itself in part by having its hunters masquerade as a Sentani band. It seemed hardly possible. Yet he could see no other explanation, unless some Sentani had allied themselves secretly to the Pelbar."

I can think of another, more sinister reason. Is it possible that the early Pelbar in their desperation to feed themselves kept a human larder? Were the early Pelbar in fact cannibals?

More updates as events warrant.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Musical Interlude the Third

'Prime directive, exterminate the whole fuckin' race' indeed ...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Finished 'The Dome In The Forest'

This book wasn't a giant ball of unput-downable excitement like the other books have been. I was happy to see many old characters make an appearance and get up to new and bold hijinks. I just couldn't get into it so well. The pace of this book seemed a bit slow, I kept waiting for something big to happen and not much really did.

As it starts off all the Sentani are all exited about a rod that comes out of a building at the Spring Equinox. Apparently a random group of them had seem it and then went back the next year. So now it seems to be a ritual. This time is different though because after the rod goes up and most of the Sentani have left a girl comes out and meets a Sentani straggler.

This is when Stel makes the realization that there must be loads of people inside. He decides that a rescue operation to save the rest of the people who live in 'The Dome' should be mounted. They need to be saved because well the residents of The Dome don't know that the hill is eroding under them and will soon fall and kill them all.

The first bit exciting hijinks takes place during the rescue. It's pretty goddamn sweet too.

It doesn't take long for the residents of The Dome to deem the Pelbar a bunch of savages and promptly take off and get themselves in trouble. The Pelbar and Sentani not being savages after all mount a second rescue effort. This one is both better and worse than the original rescue at The Dome.

Also if I didn't know that the Pelbar Cycle went on for another four books I would have been certain that the end of Book Three was the real end. It would have been a pretty satisfying conclusion too.

Final thought: even though the book was a bit lack luster I enjoyed the reveal of 'The End'. Made it completely worthwhile. The Dome scientists explaining all the ancient technology was fantastic too.

I'm two chapters into 'The Fall of the Shell'. Jestak has had a mention and Stel's mother Sagen has played an important role. That aside, I bet this book won't have very much to do with the main storyline of the first three books. More updates as events warrant.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Almost time for a blog hiatus...

... and also one from almost everything 'fun'. No more reading from the 'bookshelves of doom' or punishing the liver. Not even anymore reading while punishing my liver. The time of The Great Buckling Down is nearly at hand. I am only one day away from formally submitting my thesis proposal. I will be spending nearly all of my time researching and collecting data about 'The Effects of a 15 -20 Minute Silent Reading Session on the Writing Scores of Fifth Grade Students'. Anyhow what this means is that I am going to do my damnedest to finish reading and reviewing/responding to The Pelbar Cycle before my obligations catch up to me.

All that means in a very short amount of time I will shutter this blog until the summer (worst case scenario) or will perhaps only post once or twice as I give myself a reward/break (best case scenario). It won't be an easy thing either. The bookshelves of doom are in the office here and the temptation to procrastinate will always be there. So four more books and then it's nose to the grindstone.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Dome in the Forest

"Apparently, it began with a catastrophic shower of meteors, not only as large or larger than the biggest in ancient record, those that landed in Arizona and Siberia, but these came in large numbers, accompanied by innumerable small ones. Their sudden arrival convinced some nations that they were under nuclear attack."

- Thorton Cohen-Davies of The Dome