Derik Badman's Journal

2020-08-18 08:13

Read an entertaining novella by Lois McMaster Bujold last night called Penric's Demon. It's a medieval style fantasy about a youngest son of a small noble who is accidentally (or fated depending) possessed by a demon. The world of the fantasy treats demon possession as a kind of cross between what one would first think of given such a term and something like the Trill in Star Trek, an entity that carries across knowledge and abilities from one host to the next. It's an interesting enough concept in a story that is light without being silly. McMaster Bujold is clearly a skillful plotter and writer, not particularly stylistically unusual, but also not prone to over description, excess (or maybe any) neologisms, or any of the things that often annoy me in fantasy novels. I've not read any of her work before, though I've certainly heard the name over the years, but I will be looking up more of this series (there are 7 or 8 novellas about these characters) as it was a quick enjoyable read.

On the other hand, I didn't even get through the first chapter of Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon (another libary book), which I read a positive review of in one of the RPG blogs I read. Chabon writes with an excessive number of phrases and descriptions in way that I found completely and utterly annoying, something like: "Looking back slowly at his hat, black with a wide brim that, before it had been forcable removed by the knife thrown across the room, shadowed his face almost completely, the man stood unfurling all four of his sticklike limbs to stand like a stork on thin legs, dressed all in clothes of black silk that stood out more than not in the caravan of brightly colored travellers who were now watching the unfolding drama to see if they might expect some form of violence that would lead to the man's death as a result of the insult that was so recently hurled at the large African who had gone back to his bowl of chickpeas stewed in tomato and okra which he ate slowly with a wide wooden spoon that he must have brought with him from some far-off land he visited in his travels because that was not at all the type of spoon that was given out at the caravan's dining tent from which the bowl of stew had not 15 minutes earlier been carried." That's parody, but pretty much how it read to me.

On a whim, looking for something to look at over breakfast, I watched The Beastmaster the past couple days. Somehow I never saw that... classic... of 80s sword and sorcery. It is about what you expect from such a movie, though in many ways at least a bit more logically plotted than some. Limitations in special effects and fight scenes make it often pretty silly looking, though I couldn't help but be impressed by the use of trained ferrets in the movie, can't say I've ever seen that before. Surely a movie that plays better in the nostalgic tv of the mind for someone who watched it as a child.