January 12 2011

Stonewielder

Stonewielder is Ian C. Esslemont’s newest entry into the Malazan universe. His first two books (Night of Knives and Return of the Crimson Guard) were both at least partially written some time ago and then set aside before being published. Stonewielder is thus the first completely new and recent work of his.
Esslemont co-created the Malazan universe with Steven Erikson. I’ll be writing more about all of that later, but for now, I’ll assume some familiarity with the universe. This review is fairly spoiler free.
I enjoyed Stonewielder and thought that it showed a decent improvement in style over both Night of Knives and Return of the Crimson Guard. There are still a few too many characters with similar names (Bakune, Barune, …) but that’s fairly minor.
I probably enjoyed the continuation of the Kiska storyline the most. The use of Warran was amusing.
For further amusement, the Manask character is well done and quite funny.
I also really liked the naval battle between the forces of Malaz and Mare. The solution to the problem brought back some echos of Roman history for me. Nok (the Malazan admiral) needs to read about a corvus, though.
We find out quite a bit more about the Koreli and the Stormwall. The motivation of the Stormguard is more clear now. The motivations of the Stormriders is still hazy.
All in all, well done. I’m looking forward to going back to Darujhistan in Esslemont’s next book.

January 10 2011

Fencing

I’ve been fencing since 1982. That’s when I wandered over to the fencing club at Iowa State University. Gary Hayenga gave me a nice introduction to the fundamentals of fencing. If you can consistently do parry-riposte and keep distance, you’ll do OK.
For the last 21 years, I’ve been in the Rochester Minnesota Fencing Club. We try to have some fun and get people involved.
I went to a tournament this weekend for the first time in about 10 years. My first bout went pretty well. I lost 5-3, but it was against the guy who eventually won the tournament. In my second bout I strained my hamstring. Not being able to lunge or move forward or backwards will put a serious cramp in your style.

January 7 2011

The Cubs

I’ve been a fan of the Chicago Cubs pretty much as long as I can remember. I grew up in Iowa and one of the local stations would broadcast the cubs on an irregular basis. Then, in college the magic of cable let me watch them on WGN all of the time.

January 5 2011

Gilded Latten Bones

Gilded Latten Bones is the 13th entry in the Garrett, P.I. series by Glen Cook.
While the Garrett series hasn’t received as much attention as his Black Company series, it is well worth reading. There are true moments of magic. For those who haven’t read along, Garrett is a private detective in the city-state of Tunfaire. Magic exists in this world, along with elves and dwarves and many other fantasy creatures. Cook does a wonderful spin by placing all these disparate pieces into a tight packed city situation full of simmering racial and political tension. Amid this mix. we have Garrett. Garrett is an ex-marine (there was a war going on at the start of the series) who has become a private investigator. A PI isn’t particularly a normal occupation in the world of Tunfaire but Garrett is persistent.
The current volume begins with Garrett being attacked while in bed with Tinnie Tate. This is nothing out of the ordinary for Garrett. What is out of the ordinary is that he is not in his usual house on Macanudo Street. We then find out that Garrett’s friend Morley (a dark elf sometime gangster, sometime restaurateur) has been wounded and Garrett is summoned off to help guard him in his recovery.
We find out that Garrett has moved in with Tinny and it seems some time has passed since we last saw him (I would guess around a year and a half).
Many things ensue in the investigation of Morley’s injury and the appearance of strange sorceries. Along the way, Garrett has to deal with the deterioration of his and Tinnie’s relationship and possibly steps towards growing up.
I really enjoyed this book. Cook delivers freshness and fun twists into his already interesting series.

December 17 2010

Malazan reread on Tor.com

I’ve been involved quite a lot in the reread of The Malazan Book of the Fallen(TMBotF) that is being done on Tor.com.
I’ve really enjoyed this series by Steven Erikson. When I saw that the reread was being done, I decided to give it a try and participate. So far, it has been a hoot. It’s kind of like a giant interactive con panel.
If you haven’t read TMBotF, give it a try. If it seems daunting, give the reread a try to help undaunt it.

December 17 2010

Deolalikar’s P vs NP paper

I found the internet reaction to Deolalikar’s proposed proof that P<>NP (
Deolalikar’s P vs NP paper)
fascinating. The paper is interesting in and of itself (if you like computational theory).
The massive number of notes and proof examination that the internet allowed was, to put it succinctly, really cool.

Edit:8/9/2012:
There hasn’t been much activity on this paper for quite some time. It would appear that it was a nice try, but contained several key errors. See the above link to a number of references.

Edit:7/16/2013:
Here is a link for the latest discussions on this. Essentially, there continue to be deep questions about the viability of the proof but there are many interesting areas that may be exposed.

November 18 2010

Starting post

So, I’ve decided to start a blog. The blog will be about things that I find of interest. This is a pretty wide range of things, but not infinite. I’ll be playing around with the theme of the site and we’ll just have to see where the content takes us.