A new chapter

I posted a new chapter to my original sci-fi story, The Space Between the Stars.

I hope you enjoy it!

The Space Between the Stars By: osricpearl
Despite growing in separate parts of the country, orphans Artie and Laz shared a connection that neither could explain - a mysterious power that set them apart. Along with their explosive friend Hash and the silent but blunt Modi, they go on an adventure to discover the source of their powers the secret behind their birth.
Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 7
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Poem - Call me Cassandra

Call me Cassandra

Prophetess of Scorn

My beloveds cover their ears

With their hands

Don’t speak! Silent as you were!

Do not dare speak!

If the worlds burns

Then let us burn with it

My beloveds cover me with scorn

And shame me before their peers

Threaten to banish me

Seal my mouth with shame

Accuse me of their sins

Call me Cassandra

Prophetess of Scorn 
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Review: The Fallen Kings Cycle


                                 

The Fallen Kings Cycle is a series of two books written by Gaile Z Martin. The first is titled, Sworn, which sets up the

conflict and the second is Dread, which continues the story on to its resolution.

Before I begin the general review, I must mention that Fallen Kings is a sequel to a four part series, Chronicles of the Necromancer, which I haven't read.However, Fallen Kings, read well enough to stand alone, as the background of each of the characters is thoroughly explained and the events of the previous series are given a brief overview.

The genre is Fantasy. Although I wouldn't call them high fantasy in the tradition of Tolkien, but it is epic in scope and reminiscent of the Belgarion and Codex Alera. However, the word built by Martin differs sharply. There are no elves, dwarves, halflings, or living fauna. Instead, outside of humans the only magical creatures to be found are vampires, called vayash moru, and wearwolves, called vyrkin, who can switch forms at will. There are also ghosts and living gods, who play a very important role in the story.

The plot is simple enough. After a long struggle for the Crown (which is summarized in the beginning and detailed in the Chronicles), the new Summoner-King Martris Drayke and his bride Kiara (who is also the heir apparent of her own nation) must now rebuild a broken kingdom beset by war and famine. The other nations of the Five Winter Kingdoms, their neighboring countries and allies, are also facing various disasters. In that time of weakness, a mysterious nation from across the Northern Sea decides to take advantage of the situation and attack them all at once. They must band together and form alliances to beat back the aggressors and survive.

The pros: I liked the world she made. It was cohesive and real. The Winter Kingdoms are alive, with their own cultures and histories. Some of the history we get to learn about through the narrative, and spans thousands of years. The writing itself is sophisticated and to the point. It describes the world vividly without becoming labored in the narrative.

The cons: Some of the points of the plot seemed too thickly laid. There were certain conversations which went over points already covered by other people in the book several times. The entirety of the first book is spent going on about how something is coming but no one knows exactly what except that it is probably an attack from the North.  This particular plot point is rehashed at least three times, and it wasn't the only plot point that was repeated various times. I know that she had three countries with similar phenomena and people were trying to figure it out, but she could have cut the dialogue. After all, the reader already knows all of that and would like to move on with the story.

The villains were not unmasked until the middle of the second book. We never get to know them personally, or even a description, until the very last battle, and so the climax seems shallow. The enemy generals, one who is named, are never described. As a reader who likes a good villain, I found this deeply disappointing. Especially since the perspective was written in third person. Who commanded the fleet? Was the king or queen of the kingdom bullied by the Summoner into fighting, or was the Summoner hired by an ambitious monarch? We will never know.

And then there is the improbable fact that in a world where ghosts are commonplace and where mediums are hired as prostitutes, that zombies would be a bridge too far. I'm sorry, we know we can talk to grandma but her corpse walking? Now that's completely out of the question.

But besides those minor quibbles, I found the books very entertaining. If the library ever has the Chronicles available, I will definitely been picking them up.

4 out of 5 x's

~OP

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Feng Shen Ji is Boss

Feng Shen Ji: The Boss of Manhua

Ever want to read a manhua/manga that was unapologetically macho? Tired of the power of friendship? Tired of the pretty boys, the glasses girls, and the generic stupid, spiky haired hero?

If you answered yes to those questions, then I have the manhua (Chinese Comic) for you.



This manhua is so awesome, it blows nearly everything else out of the water in unapologetic testosterone fueled furry and over the top theatrics. Big dudes aren't afraid to be big dudes. Even pretty boys kick some ass. And when it is time to unfurl a special move, call it a gloriously long name and make it a full page splash.



Oh, and did I mention it was in color?

Plot? OH yes, plot...I was so entranced by its awesomeness that I forgot about plots.

The story revolves around a young, spoiled prince (Wu Geng) whose world is turned upside down one day when his father dies in a futile battle with the gods and his mother self-immolates herself (and his body) in an elaborate funeral pyre. Lucky for him, his mother turns out to be a god as well, making him a demigod. She may have killed his body in a fire, but gifts his soul short term autonomy allowing his soul to switch bodies, saving him. He chooses the body of another boy, (Ah Gou) recently killed but otherwise intact. Provided with a new name and face, the gods believe that he died in the fire along with his mother. Believing their victory over the rebellious immortal and her mortal husband are complete, the gods forget him.

Wu Geng, in his new body, picks up a fiancee (Bai Cai - who was betrothed to Ah Gou) along with it and they both are sold into slavery, doomed to mine until they die. But he does not give up. There, he meets some friends, a renegade god, and a few villains that become important later on. He also becomes increasingly bad ass, so when he finally is able to meet the gods to get his revenge, he triumphs (at least initially).

He is also very selfish and craven and likes doing things on his own. He does have spiky hair though.



I suppose the hair can't be helped.

But his story doesn't end there, which is fortunate for us who enjoy a good drag down, beat up manhua in all its glory. The wiki is here for those who want more details. Since it's not been picked up for publication in the US, one can go to any scanlation site and read it without feeling an ounce of guilt. But, if it is ever licensed this one of those series that is definitely worth the buy!

littl3x gives this manhua
XXXXX out of 5.

The Space Between the Stars - Original SciFi

I am in the process of writing a story, The Space Between the Stars.

The first three chapters have been posted up on Fictionpress and can ben found here:
https://www.fictionpress.com/s/3238554/1/The-Space-Between-the-Stars

The synopsis:
Despite growing in separate parts of the country, orphans Artie and Laz shared a connection that neither could explain - a mysterious power that set them apart. Along with their explosive friend Hash and the silent but blunt Modi, they go on an adventure to discover the source of their powers the secret behind their birth.

Rated "T" for language, mild violence, and adult themes.

The story was conceived about ten years ago, but due to my lack of experience and motivation,  it never took off. I don't expect this to be a classic, and I have no illusions of getting it published (self or otherwise), as it is still a "practice" story. Most authors write a great deal that never sees the light of day.

However, the creative process cannot be stopped, and I wish to share my first long forey into original fiction to receive constructive critisism and improve my craft.

I hope you enjoy it,

~OP

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A Tale of Two Cities - Thoughts

Originally posted by littl3x at A Tale of Two Cities - Thoughts
There are some books that stay with you long after they've been read, like a delicious meal savored hours after its been savored and its plates washed. The feelings and ideas invoked in the story linger on long after they've been fully digested by the mind. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens is such a book.

Despite the fact that it has many Dickensian elements that are quite easy to spot, such as contrived coincidences, the book has a great deal more depth and nuance than any of his other works.

First of all, the characters are not completely one dimensional walking ideals. The true hero of the story, Sydney Carton, is an anti-hero, who doesn't realize his true potential until the end. The villain of the story, Madame Defarge, is also a somewhat sympathetic creature. She was made the ruthless tigress, as she is described, by circumstances.

This is a little different from some of the other, earlier tales, in which characters were either totally good, to exemplify everything that is good in the world, or utterly corrupt, to exemplify that which is evil. I don't fault him for this. It was a literary device that he used at the time in order to explore issues of the age, but it is refreshing to see something a little different.

Second of all, the themes he uses of duality and redemption are multifaceted. Charles Darney was willing to redeem the sins of his fathers, despite the fact that he was not responsible for them. This noble act of redemption, which meant facing the guillotine, was foiled by Sydney Carton, who died in Darney's place. This act served a dual redemptive quality. In it, not only did he redeem himself, but also the name of a family he had absolutely no connection to.

Some have likened his act of redemption to Jesus, but I think that there is a problem with that analogy because he was not just dying for the sake of another, but also for the sake of himself. It is an imperfect allegory. This was done purposely to humanize the redemptive act. In short, the final famous phrase has more impact because it he is it is done by someone who is so fallen, that losing his life is his only salvation.

Dickens is, despite his revulsion for the baser acts of the revolution, sympathetic to it and it shows. One of my favorite scenes is when Dr. Manette's testimony, written during his time at Bastille, is read. In it, he gives an account of the events that led him to be falsely imprisoned in the first place. The description of the treatment of the serfs is pretty bleak, and surprisingly explicit considering the time period in which it was written. But, my favorite line in the whole book can be found in it, as Dr. Manette leans over to treat a young man who is mortally wounded.

The young boy tells Manette, "We common dogs are proud too, sometimes."

It contains some powerful imagery and interesting characters. His wordy, overly descriptive Victorian style, which is sometimes a hindrance, works very well giving us a sense of the period through language. The dialogue was impressively handled, nuanced and consistent with the individual's characterization. Darney, for example, is properly reserved and aristocratic, despite his humility, while Carton is properly roguish and snide.

This isn't a real review, because I am not qualified enough for such a task. But I hope that my thoughts on the subject will encourage someone to pick up the book and read it. It really does deserves the title as one of the great English classics, but that has already been determined by those much greater than I.

~OP
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How not to ruin a character: Naruto edition

One of my favorite characters in Naruto became Sakura because I liked that she was flawed but was trying to better herself. This is a bit of fresh air when it comes to heroines, who are oftentimes portrayed as nearly perfect but with a few quirks.
However, I have to admit that the way that Kishimoto has treated her has made it difficult for me to continue to like her now that the series is about done.

This should also be titled, "What not to do with romance."

So, on to my rant.

  1. If Sakura is supposed to be the main character's romantic interest, which she has been since the first chapter, then why is she portrayed constantly fawning over some guy who doesn't care about her?

  2. If Sakura is supposed to grow throughout the series, why is she still pining for a guy who doesn't care about her and has treated her like garbage throughout the series?

  3. Why did he have to write the fake confession? That is one of the most character and pairing damaging scenes I have ever read. The scene made her appear callous and conniving I noticed that there was a sharp increase in Sakura hate after that and NaruHina love. Is there any question why? The same scene could have been done if she had spoken to him in private instead of in front of everyone, and without a fake confession.

  4. Why, only four chapters ago, did Sakura have to cry and beg Sasuke not to go using almost the exact same wording she used at the end of part 1.

  5. If she is supposed to end up with Naruto, why have her confess her love once again right before the series ends?!

  6. If she is supposed to end up with Sasuke, why did she end up getting rejected so nastily? Why has there been no real indication that Sasuke loves her back? There have been no flashbacks of any kind that imply that he cares about her more than Kakashi, i.e. an extension of his new familial ties.


The whole thing has just been completely bungled starting with the fake confession on. I am still confident that the end pairings will be NaruSaku/SasuKarin, but it's not been a good ride. If I am right, it will just be an empty "victory" for me. It will not even be a victory, but rather just an indication that I know how to read through a narrative, no matter how badly it may be.

Although other elements of the story remain pretty good, and I am glad to have started the series and I will miss it now that it is over, overall Sakura's character has been demolished. Kishi has taught me what not to do with a character or romantic subplot. It has been an very instructive lesson indeed.

~OP 
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Naruto: The Last thoughts on Hinata

I have a few thoughts about the movie that is coming out. Although I am not as invested in the manga as I used to be, I am a little excited about the movie coming out because it will serve as the epilogue to the series that will end in about five weeks.

During the past several months, we have been getting teasers about the upcoming movie. The latest one has me a little worried for reasons that some may not have noticed.

As many have pointed out, we haven't gotten Hinata's new design until now and even that is vague. This has lead many to wonder if she's somehow crucial to the plot and even a love interest. I don't know about that, but I was a little concerned when I finally got to see how she was portrayed in the poster.

At any rate, I just noticed something that I'd like to point out:

the-last-movie-hrjcjuz

While everyone pictured -Sai, Shikamaru, Sakura, Kakashi, and Sasuke- face forward, looking determined, Hinata's entire demeanor is the opposite. Everyone is facing the future, ready to fight, while her eyes are downcast and sad. She is looking into the distance but also inside herself. Her focus is entirely inward. The wind which ruffles her hair is blowing from the right, as it is with everyone, indicating that she is facing away from them.

This is even starker when you see the entire poster:

the-last-naruto-movie-16yejkr

The scarf, which everyone's making a big deal about, is blowing in the exact same direction. The implication could be that they are all standing in the same area, at least metaphorically speaking. This means that she is facing away from Naruto.

Now why does Hinata look so downcast? Why is she sad? Why is she facing away from Naruto?

This worries me about Hinata's character because this looks like the standard "tragic Heroine" look I've seen in anime/manga posters before. To give an example, here is one from the Kenshin OVA.


216177

Although not downcast, Tomoe's face has that same faraway, introspective look as Hinata's. She's also facing away from Kenshin, who is looking directly at the audience.

Inuyasha's official art is also littered with a similar theme. Although not always portrayed the same, Kikyo is generally modeled in similar fashion. She is almost always facing away from everyone, looking up with a faraway, sad expression.

08hvjsjocyzekhr-jpgInuYasha-Poster-C10285334inuyasha01_a

This is also true of Sesshomaru, but rarely ever of the heroes (and at times the villain, but that seems to depend on the poster), who all face forward with determination.

At any rate, looking away from the audience and the main characters, while the wind blows her hair, is standard fare for tragic heroines. I don't think that Hinata will die, since this is supposed to be for kids, but it does have me somewhat concerned and may reveal hints concerning the plot and why she has not been shown until now. Perhaps she will have a very important role to fulfill in the movie, but not one that most people are expecting.

At any rate, that's my .02.

~OP
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