Wheel of Time TV Series Pre-Hype Thoughts

I have not been paying attention to the developments and under-current of hype surrounding Amazon Prime’s The Wheel of Time series. I sort of forgot that it was coming out this year until I saw the below trailer. I haven’t looked at casting choices (although I recognize a few faces), I haven’t read any theory-blogs about how they’re going to tell this massive, sweeping story on-screen, and I have no idea if it will be any good.

And I’m slowly getting more and more excited for this series to debut.

I think that’s largely because I know so little about The Wheel of Time show. I’ve read exactly one piece about this show over on MLS Weech’s blog, which got me excited and inspired me to write this post. I have no pre-conceived notions of what this show should be. I just want it to be good.

I also don’t want them to speed-run to the series finale in 20 hours. This is the type of series that deserves several seasons of earnest plot- and character-building before they streamline the ending. However, unless Amazon is planning to do this for 25 seasons, this series just feels too massive to be done faithfully on TV. (If any streamer could commit to a 25-year plan for a series, it’s probably Amazon.) I’m honestly excited to see how they fit that much plot into a television format. I’m currently on book 11 out of 14 in the book series, so as long as I can finish the series before the show ends, I’d be satisfied.

To me, the story is pretty straightforward through book three, The Dragon Reborn, but once the two primary groups of main characters splinter into their own individual narratives, the storylines become more complicated, so many more characters are introduced, and the sub-plots-within-sub-plots become more convoluted.

Somehow, Brandon Sanderson was able to corral all of that narrative bloat into a three-book finale really well, so I’m hoping the showrunners for the TV show take a few pages from his book on telling a sprawling story in a concise form, without losing the flavor.

The one other thing I’d like to see with this show is a serialized release. Rather than dropping X episodes on their platform at once, I’d like to see Amazon release the show one episode at a time, similar to what Disney+ has done with its Star Wars and Marvel shows. The Wheel of Time deserves to be “event TV”, and releasing it per episode will help make each new installment feel like an event.

Two of my cousins-in-law are also eager to watch the show, so I’m hoping we can all experience it together — at least virtually.

Okay, now I’m getting a little hyped. Let’s check back after the first couple episodes, shall we?

Steve D

Book Review: CROSSROADS OF TWILIGHT, and middle-book syndrome

I just finished reading Crossroads of Twilight, the tenth book in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. I’ve already mentioned this book a couple times in recent posts, mostly because it took me longer than I expected to get through it. And not in a good way.

Ten books into this series, I’ve run into more than a couple of stretches where there doesn’t seem to be any real narrative movement, and the characters’ insistence on running in place when there’s a path laid out for them has been frustrating.

This book, however, was the hardest installment of this series for me to get through. Rather than running in place, or even building up to something, the characters in this book just did nothing.

There were a lot of conversations, a lot of plans being made without any details as to what they were, or even what they were aiming to achieve, and a lot of schemes.

Always with the schemes in these books.

Schemes within schemes that are so convoluted, so tepidly hinted at by the POV character of the moment, that the reader can’t possibly have any real clue of what’s really happening. There are so many characters now in this series, and they all have their perfect little plans laid out and ready to spring, except the reader has no idea what any of them are, and there are 200 of them!

Ugh.

So, yeah, this book took me some time to get through. I was simply not interested in most of what was happening. I read the last third of this book in fits and starts just trying to get to the end.

The structure of the chapters was at first intriguing to me. The book is structured in such a way that you follow one particular character or set of characters for several chapters in a row before abruptly pivoting to another character. I think this would have been an effective mechanism to develop specific character arcs if most of the chapters didn’t feel like filler content.

Without getting into details, I was particularly interested in both Elayne’s and Mat’s narratives in this book, but I haven’t heard from Elayne since the first third, and Mat’s story took an unexpected if interesting turn at the end.

All of this is to say that I’m happy to be done with this book, and I’m taking a break before getting into book 11.

Jordan has always toed the line between being just vague enough while building suspense. This story did not build anything. The last few chapters are interesting and definitely set up for book 11, but they do not make up for the 700+ pages of what felt like filler content.

Steve D

#AmConsuming: No Time for Binging

My lack of real consuming time continues, but there are a few interesting things I’ve picked up over the last month or so.

No more procrastinating!

#AmFinished

The Path of Daggers, Robert Jordan

I finished the eighth book of The Wheel of Time last week, and overall, it was alright. I gave it a 3-star review on Goodreads, because the ending I thought was coming was sort of punted into the next book (or three). Jordan also yadda-yadda’d what probably should have been a pivotal battle sequence in the epilogue.

I’m definitely going to keep reading this series, but I’m taking a break with some other things for now.

#AmReading

The Horse, The Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern Worldby David W. Anthony (Audible)

I’m still plugging away at this extremely long audiobook, but I’ve largely enjoyed it. The main reason I haven’t finished it is because by the time I get into my car for my evening commute, my phone is nearly dead and I need to charge it. In short: I need to have a phone charger at work.

Click., by Luther M. Siler

This is the next book I started as a break from Jordan. I won this book from the author’s blog by being the first to respond to one of his posts. It is otherwise only available from his Patreon site, or directly from him at conventions. Considering he’s based in northern Indiana (and I haven’t yet delved into Patreon), I jumped at the chance to pick up a copy.

Like his other writing I’ve read, this book is quirky, sarcastic, and a little bit goofy–and I’m enjoying the heel out of it. I’m a measly 20 pages in, but I know I’ll like it. His writing style is infectious.

City of Bridges, by Stace Dumoski (Wattpad)

I am also still picking away at this one, and enjoying it very much. Some of the more fantastical and world-building elements of the story are starting to poke through, so I’m looking forward to continuing this one.

#AmWatching

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hulu

I started watching season 7 episode to episode on Hulu, and it’s been alright. This show has recycled previous plot devices and characters in interesting ways for a few seasons, but this season feels a bit more redundant than before. I get the feeling were nearing the end of this show’s lifespan, unless Disney gives it new life on their streaming service.

Still, I’ve enjoyed spending time with Daisy, Fitz, Simmons, and various versions of Clark Gregg this long, and I see no reason to stop now.

That’s It!

Told you I have little time for binge-watching/reading.

On a side note, my wife and I “inherited” her brother’s PS2 recently, and I started playing through Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I’ve never played any GTA game except to wreak havoc on my friend’s versions, so this is a new experience for me. I also haven’t had time to sit down more than once, so I didn’t add this to the list yet. My wife, however, is really enjoying Ratchet and Klank, so there’s that.

Steve D

#AmConsuming: Super Heroes are Super Distracting

April has been a weird month so far, hence me posting this almost halfway into it. I’ve been binge-watching Supergirl on Netflix the last few weeks, and I really can’t get enough of this show.

It’s basically taken over my life, and with Avengers: Endgame coming out in a couple weeks, the super hero hype train is real.

#AmFinished

The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future, Joseph E. Stiglitz, (audiobook)

I reviewed this here.

A Crown of Swords, Robert Jordan

I ended up really enjoying this book, the seventh in The Wheel of Time series. Despite the sometimes sluggishness of the plot, there were some truly surprising and exciting moments, especially near the end.

Parador, Peter A. Dixon

Yes, I finally finished this book on Wattpad. Overall, it’s good.

#AmReading

The Path of Daggers, Robert Jordan

I jumped right into the next book in this series for the first time since… I started reading it. I’m not really far enough into it to comment yet.

Everything Trump Touches Dies, Rick Wilson (Audible)

This book is more cathartic than informative. Wilson is a GOP strategist and one of the founding members of the Never Trump movement. His rants against the president and his cohorts are unforgiving, and he manages to provide a lot of intriguing insight into how political strategists think and operate.

Although his audience is definitely other opponents of Trump (including those on the left), this book is not for the faint of heart. He has more than a few sharp words for Democratic leaders who have failed to evolve their campaign strategy in over a decade and effectively lost their base. (I basically agree with him on that point, but that’s for another time.)

Something on Wattpad

I haven’t chosen my next Wattpad book, but I have a handful of interesting fantasy and sci-fi stories on my reading list.

#AmWatching

Supergirl, Netflix

I’m on season three of the CW’s Supergirl show, and I love it. Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood are charming, and their on-screen chemistry is entirely authentic (which makes sense, because the two actors are now engaged).

This show has a great cast with compelling character arcs. Most of the villain showdowns are a little predictable, but those usually tend to be beside the point. Thanks to some crossover events with other DC hero shows, I’ve gotten glimpses of ArrowThe Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow.

The portrayal of Green Arrow comes off as flat to me, and I couldn’t really get past the first couple episodes when I tried to watch it. But Flash seems like an engaging, likable character. That may just be my next show. I don’t really know anything about the Legends of Tomorrow, and their minor appearance in Supergirl didn’t really sway me one way or the other.

The point is, Supergirl  is fun, funny, emotionally poignant without being cheesy, and extremely well acted from top to bottom.

Short List

That should give you a good idea of what I’ve been up to recently. With a new round of job applications going out this week, I’ve been otherwise occupied, mentally. Supergirl and my readings have provided some much needed escapes.

Speaking of escapes, we’re visiting some family coming up, so I’ll be posting more traveler’s haiku from the road, with pictures!

Steve D

#AmConsuming: Too Much Streaming Content = No Streaming, Plus Audible!

Now that you all know that I haven’t been writing much for the last month, I think it’s only fair that I shed some light on what I have been doing.

Welcome to #AmConsuming January. Like my new writing updates, I’m going to try this as a monthly series. Continue reading “#AmConsuming: Too Much Streaming Content = No Streaming, Plus Audible!”

Steve’s To Be Read List!

My reading has been slow this year, but I’ve made a concerted effort o branch out of my fantasy and/or history realms. After finishing Skylights a few weeks ago, I had to think about what I would read next.

Currently Reading…

The Long Patrol, by Brian Jacques

Image result for the long patrolI’ve talked about the Redwall  series a bit in this space. After spotlighting this very book as one of my all-time favorites last year, I decided I needed to go back and read it as an adult.

I probably read The Long Patrol three or four times before I was 16, but it has been a long time since my last venture into Jacques’s playful, but dangerous world. Forty-some pages in and I love it!

To Be Read… hopefully this year…

Lord of Chaos, by Robert Jordan

WoT06 LordOfChaos.jpgThis is book six of the Wheel of Time series. It has been several months since I read book five, so I feel like I need to read this before I forget everything. Entering book six of a 14-book series is a bit daunting, since the middle part of any series tends to drag a bit.

All the same, this one is shipping to my house as we speak (along with book seven, for good measure).

Caught, by M.L.S. Weech

Image result for caught mls weechShout-out to my blogging friend and fellow Marylander! I picked up Caught when I attended Weech’s launch event at a comic book shop in Glen Burnie.

This has been on my TBR shelf since then, and I swear I’m going to read it this year.

Caught happens to be a different flavor of book than I’m used to — speculative fiction — so I’m excited to dive into uncharted genre territory with an author I actually know (like, in real life). I trust that Weech will be an excellent guide.

Oriental Mythology, by Joseph Campbell

Image result for oriental mythology joseph campbellI need to mix up my reading list a bit with some more academically tinged writing. I started reading Volume II of Campbell’s four-volume series, The Masks of God some time ago.

I just never finished it. I read the first few chapters on the beach, and it was beautiful and poignant and eye-opening. I’m hoping to capture that feeling again when I go to OBX next month.

A Crown of Swords, by Robert Jordan

Image result for crown of swordsLet’s face it, I may just need to dive back into book seven of this mega-series to keep myself sated. I’d like to limit the number of books I read between each installment to less than five.

If I get through this novel relatively quickly, I’ll be halfway through the series, and it only would have taken me… three years!

Steve D

Friday Write-Day: Top 5 Favorite Books!

fwd-top-5-favorite-books

I was prompted earlier this week to post my top five favorite books of all time by Mr. MLS Weech, a real-live published author and blogger-buddy. So props to you sir, for making me want to write about my favorite books! (His blog is full of insightful pieces on the writing and publishing process – check it out.)

Now then, thinking about my favorite books was surprisingly difficult, because my reading preferences tend to fall into three broad and diverse categories: Continue reading “Friday Write-Day: Top 5 Favorite Books!”

Friday Write-Day: Revisions Abound

fwd-revisions-abound

Revising 12 pages minimum per day has been… more work than I had imagined. So far, I’ve done all right in revising The Warden of Everfeld: Memento — 98 pages in and about a day behind my pace to finish September 23, as planned. I hope to catch up and build a nice cushion for myself this weekend.

I suppose it should not be too surprising that revising a novel actually takes longer than just reading it. Continue reading “Friday Write-Day: Revisions Abound”