Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Being Erica and life shit! :)

Yes. On a sci-fi/fantasy blog, I am going to discuss a regular TV drama! But it’s not a regular one, it’s a good one! ;) ... Being Erica! And you could argue it has sci-fi elements coz she travels back in time to fix past regrets as part of her therapy! :) But the main reason I love it coz it talks about some of the life shit angst some of us feel in our 30’s. (see my story Crossroads) And all the little issues you debate and wonder about. I’m prompted to write because of a couple of episodes I recently watched from season 2.

I was talking with a friend about an issue that came up in the episode Yes We Can (S02E05). She gets a "do-over" day where she gets to do her day a second time but no one involved will remember it. A day with no consequences so no reason to restrain yourself or hold back in any way! :) So she decides to speak her mind about her disapproval of her sister's marriage. And of course she ends up making everything worse, with her sister vowing never to talk to her again. And I guess the wisdom was that a lot of the "rules" holding us back from saying and doing anything we want are for the sake of not hurting others, not always fear of breaking some artificial societal conventions. Albert Camus' The Outsider comes to mind. We discussed it in class as if the character was just breaking free from these artificial rules imposed by us on society, but I'm sorry... he killed a guy! And whether that's morally wrong or not (coz the character didn't seem capable of grasping the morality of it), a group of people that decide to live together in whatever form (community, city, etc.) practically speaking have to agree not to kill each other! You just can't live together otherwise!

And the other episode I couldn't help think about was coz I was just reading a great article about pushing ourselves out of our boring routines to explore life (for so many good reasons) and he wrote: "Stretching in these small ways [by trying new things] prepares us to take wider leaps." and that "It also becomes easier to rise to our highest callings, most of which lie beyond the threshold of familiarity." And I couldn’t help but think how perfectly that was illustrated in the Being Erica episode Cultural Revolution (S02E04). She got given an amazing opportunity to write and publish her first book and going with our classic thinking of "no guts, no glory" she decides to do it despite the huge feelings of wariness, fear, and reluctance. But as is always the case with these episodes she learns a wiser attitude by the end. That although it is true great reward rarely comes without great risk, what's more important is "that you take the risks that are right for you." (as Erica put it ;) Which this article described perfectly. We take these small leaps so that we are ready for the big opportunity if it comes our way. Which means that it’s ok to say ‘no’ to great opportunities if we're not ready. That it actually makes sense to. But that ideally we use that to galvanize us, to re-motivate us to continue expanding and improving ourselves so that next time one comes we're ready! :) I myself keep thinking of one I had. I had the opportunity to produce a stage combat show, but once I started looking into it I was overwhelmed. I wanted to be in the show, but my skills were limited coz I had only recently completed Basic FDC level, I had no knowledge of suitable venues, and as well it would all be part of a party that had to be organized as well. I can't say I regret backing out, hindsight has at least made me sure there was no way I could've done it, but I do think about it a lot as a lost opportunity that unfortunately I wasn't ready for.

Oh! One more great point from the episode! That doing something different than we'd usually do, is the actual "risky" thing, not doing something that is perceived by others as risky!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why Erikson’s better than Martin

Wrote this a bit ago, but just thought I’d post this now as I’ve just finished Steven Erikson’s Deadhouse Gates two nights ago, and finished Game of Thrones last night, the TV show based on George R.R. Martin’s series. And boy oh boy was Deadhouse Gates as amazing as his other books!! Again that feeling at the end of “Oh my god!! Oh my god!!” as I read about the devastation outside the gates of Aren. Sigh. Definitely Duiker’s story line captivated me the most. Coz of Coltaine, coz of Duiker’s nameless marine :), coz of the Wickans and the Malazan 7th Army. Sigh. And I loved the battle scenes! I love strategy, so hearing in great detail what happened in each battle was thrilling!!

Also I want to write a bit about reading order for Erikson’s books. After reading Gardens of the Moon (Book 1) I wanted to carry on with those characters so after doing a bit of research I realized Memories of Ice (Book 3) continued most of them. So I read that before Deadhouse Gates (Book 2) and there was really no issues of timelines! I did miss out on the drama of Duiker’s last line in Memories of Ice but feel it’s an acceptable loss to get my “need to know what happens next in Genabackis” fix!! Haha! As well House of Chains (Book 4) continues what happened in Deadhouse Gates so I’m actually much happier with this read order!! ie. Now I can get my “need to know what happens next in Seven Cities” fix right away!! Haha!

Anyways, here’s the reasons I think Erikson’s better than Martin:

• In Erikson’s books female fighters are the norm, every army and group has some. Versus Martin who’s only female characters that carry a sword are a little girl and a woman who was only introduced in the 3rd book and killed off in the 4th book. (She may not have been but I refuse to read Dance with Dragons. :/ ... )
• He’s a way better storyteller!! Actually understands that there should be a climax and resolution, and knows how to use multiple plot lines and make them come together for one conclusive climax in each book!! And all his books are connected without having a single story arc that spans 7000 pages. No wonder we and Martin are all lost! I frankly doubt he’ll be able to tie in all the story lines into the final outcome.
• He’s not stingy with his use of magic!! It’s soooo refreshing!! But many fantasy books are? I think the last fantasy I read that used magic liberally was Mercedes Lackey’s Vows and Honor books! Martin I can’t even remember if there was any magic? Besides hint at the supernatural white walkers, and has dragons?!
• He doesn’t kill off everyone. He kills some when it adds to the story, but not to the point of making it a Shakespearean tragedy like Martin does. A comment I got on my previous Martin post made a good point, when the author goes on killing sprees it effectively negates his good characterization making me not care about the characters anymore, knowing they’re going to die.
• One thing Erikson’s not as good at is maybe characterization. They’re still great characters and have some depth, but maybe not enough. They become slightly one-dimensional or maybe two ;) at the most. This probably happens because he just has soooo many characters.
• BUT the majority of Erikson’s characters are likable unlike Martin’s!! I mentioned this in The Tudors post below, but both TV shows seem to think lack of likable characters can be made up for by sexy scenes with beautiful people. I think there’s more sex in the show then there was in the books? But it’s been ages since I read them so I’m not sure I remember correctly.
• He’s Canadian! ;)
• Erikson can pull off these beautifully written dramatic scenes or even sometimes single sentences! A lot like Guy Gavriel Kay, who is a master at that! Although Kay still does it a lot better. ;) As for Martin... I don’t remember any, but that could be just my shoddy memory! And I don’t mean the scene has lots of drama going on, but an event that has a huge impact, and is described wonderfully.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Tudors

I suspected this would be the case but wasn’t sure it would happen. Finishing The Tudors has swept me up emotionally to great sadness mixed with a myriad of other emotions. Pride? Nostalgia? Sympathy? Joy? So unusual to feel these when I think about this show. Pride at monarchs that had nothing to do with me. Nostalgia for lives I have not lived, just witnessed fictional accounts. Sympathy for the hardship they all went through. Joy... that one is harder to explain. This story has culminated in positive feelings but they are so hard to identify or interpret. There is simply a feeling of grandness.

It does stem from having spent 4 seasons with this story and characters. I was reluctant to watch oftentimes, most of the characters are hardly likable, always so busy scheming to further their own ambitions and status. Although at times their machinations were simply a defensive act. I also have realized while watching Game of Thrones recently and comparing it to The Tudors, both shows seem to think lack of likable characters can be made up for by sexy scenes with beautiful people. And it doesn’t, it really doesn’t. Up until now I would’ve said Rome was one of the best shows I’ve watched. Primarily in terms of greatness of story, a story well-organized and well-presented. I felt that way because if I can feel sorrow at the end for one of the characters that was a conniving, manipulative bitch much of the time, then they have done a good job. And that same measure applies here. At the end I feel such sorrow for King Henry, who much of his life was angry and capricious. Executing and ruining whoever displeased him. Even to his own regret at times. A character who was often not loving nor sympathetic. Yet I still felt for him.

But inevitably you look back at what they all went through in their lifetimes and it is tremendous. And well shown by flashbacks during the last episode. But even before that I couldn’t help but remember Henry and Charles as young men in the beginning of Henry’s reign in the first season. And how much they changed. I think that is what strikes me at the end of some of these shows, how much the characters have grown and changed. Dollhouse I especially noticed that. And with The Tudors it was definitely the case as we covered their whole adult lives. How do you not change over that long a period, or in the case of Dollhouse, over such major events?!

Overall a very fantastic show and a good jumping point to learn more of the history of that period. Almost after every episode I found myself going online to read more about the people and events portrayed. The biggest negative of this series is perhaps its historical inaccuracy. But from whatever I’ve read of actual events, I personally find they were acceptable digressions from reality to make the story more interesting or easier to follow considering how long a time period they had to cover. As the creator Michael Hirst put it in one article, and I wholeheartedly agree, “Mr. Hirst decided that any confusion created by the changes is outweighed by the interest the series may inspire in the period and its figures.” Which is what I believe historical dramas should be: interest-inspiring first, accurate second. Because after watching them you still have learnt the essence of what happened but fleshed out with feelings and people.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Women, Agression & Boxing :)

As an actress hoping to perform fights in film/TV/stage, as an actress who boxes recreationally, and as an actress who grew up on fantasy books about female warriors, I feel this is a worthwhile topic to discuss here on this blog! :) Mainly triggered by a most awesome book I just finished written by Rene Denfeld and called Kill The Body The Head Will Fall. Self-described as “A closer look at women, violence, and aggression.” The writer started boxing just as women were finally allowed to compete at the amateur level in the U.S. in 1993. (I find it weird professional was allowed first?) As she boxed, she started to question her assumptions about women and violence, did a bunch of research, and out came this book!

In it Denfeld tackles a variety of topics related to this issue. She starts with examining whether women are actually weaker than men. She wrote that generally women are about 2/3 as strong as men, but that's mostly due to size difference and when comparing men and women of the same height and weight, the differences become substantially less. And with many differences being due to a lifetime of dissimilar activities. She mentioned one U.S. Army study that found with adequate training average women are totally capable of performing all the military tasks required of soldiers. So not only does training (or lack of it) affect women’s strength, but also psychological expectation plays a part as one study showed. The study used just one instance of suggestion, but can you imagine what a lifetime of being told you’re the weaker sex could do to you!?

As well Denfeld looks at aggression differences and of course has no easy conclusion. There are examples of both sexes having aggression, and then discussions ensue about biological vs. socialized differences which are almost impossible to unravel. Needless to say the author wholeheartedly believes women should be able to compete against men, and could one day compete on the professional level. Hmmm... boxing is an interesting sport... it’s one of the only ones where you’re matched by weight with your competitor. Making it possibly the first sport to feasibly introduce professional competition of men vs. women?

And to answer the strength issue, I’m reminded of a piece of information a female boxer at my gym mentioned, that Lucia Rijker (a pro female boxer), hits stronger than a male boxer of her own size! 900 lbs of force vs. 700 lbs.!! Substantially harder! So not wanting to share false information ;) I double-checked it and it was evaluated on a Discovery Channel show! Check it out here. Upon hearing that the first time, I thought about it and realized as women we know we don’t have the upper body strength, so our arms alone will never have much power. In knowing that I think we focus more on technique, and technique in any sport is where you get your power! :) I think the first time I was taught that was in dragonboat racing in high school. Use your back they said! Not your arms! Coz your back is way stronger than your arms. :) I am proud to say I try and make sure I use every ounce of strength I can gather from my pivoted foot, through my legs, through the twist of my hips and core, through my back and chest, and into my punch... WHAM!

Denfeld then looks at stereotypes of women’s anger, maternal instinct, and violence. She looks at stats and studies of women in crime, in military, and sports. I think the most important reason to fight the stereotype of women as non-aggressive, nonviolent people is for the sake of their victims. The author shows tons of stats about substantial number of child abuse, child murder and spousal abuse is done by women. When it’s reported, police doubt it and do nothing about it, leaving victims unaided.

The chapter that struck me the most was the one about fear. It really identified some of mine and how socialized these fears have been. Studies have evaluated what women are most scared of. And usually it was in proportion to the likelihood of it occurring. For example living in North America we’ll be more scared of getting mugged than let’s say getting shot by a sniper. The one that is completely out of proportion is rape. I’d wondered about this myself, I constantly think about how to avoid getting raped and worrying about it as I walk alone at night, yet no one I knew had ever been raped. Not to say it doesn’t happen but what were the actual chances of it happening?! And I think back and ever since I was a teenager I was told to be wary of getting raped, from parents, to articles in community papers or girls teen magazines, to stories in books and movies. It’s really great to make people aware and be careful but I can’t help but feel it was taken too far. I envision fighting a male, never a female coz of that fear. And not winning but hoping to at least to cause some damage. As Denfeld describes in the book, many women “find little comfort in being physically fit or being aware of their surroundings.” She writes that our media shows women when raped, fighting back pathetically, uselessly, and never shows a woman successfully defending herself. She suggests that maybe the reason rape is so scary because we are taught there is nothing we can do about it.

Denfeld also makes the great point that one self-defense course can’t make up for a lifetime of physical self-doubt. How true! She says self-defense requires proactive aggression. That since we can’t imagine or believe that we could fight back, we can’t. “What’s more, everyone else knows it.” she writes. That is the scariest thought to me.

A great example she has of this disproportionate fear is how parents check their kids Halloween candy for razor blades, etc. So parents end up conveying a distrust in the world based more on urban myth than real facts, leaving their kids fearful for no real reason.

And finally she writes how this fear will make women lash out and turn into angry, judgmental, aggressively afraid people. One example being KKK women actively sowing racism and bigotry. This isn’t good for anyone involved.

The stereotypical views of men and women’s aggression has led women to “end up fearing men as we diminish our own ability to defend ourselves from them. Our one-sided assumptions of aggression forget that women can – and need to be able to – fight back.”

This book was amazing to read. I motored through it devouring every page. Denfeld is an amazing writer and her descriptions of her scenes at the gym were beautiful and captivating to read!! The scene she describes on the last page of her book was so perfect and moving I even had tears in my eyes up while reading it! :) sigh. :) I loved this book coz it dealt with boxing which I love, which inevitably leads to discussion of aggression which I enjoy. Friends wondered why I would want to do something as aggressive as boxing, which made me realize many people have outlets for their aggression. For me it used to be spiking a volleyball for most of my life, then realizing I didn’t have to wait to hit things and could hit them all the time in boxing! :) So for me it’s hitting, for others it may be the jostling in a basketball game, or playing a video game. Then there are the less benign methods of letting it out in conversation and behaviour and picking verbal fights, or even trolling on the internet. Aggression is a part of us and can’t be ignored.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Defying Gravity

What a show. Really, really amazing. I am overwhelmed yet again by a finale and so am finding it hard to write. Sigh. And how appropriately commemorative that I write this on the day of the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight!!! :)

Now the worst motherfucking part is that this show like soooo many other great sci-fi shows got fucking canceled after the first season. Actually it got canceled mid-fucking season. Way to give it a fucking chance guys. Flashbacks of Firefly... grrrrr. Another great, felled before its time. Sigh. :( When will they realize the higher budget of sci-fi is worth it?!?! It provides so much more interesting and captivating story lines!! Nothing in our present day is going to feel as exciting as a manned crew touring our solar system! As exciting as having the first human walk on Venus! I didn’t live through humanity’s first walk on the Moon. But now I can begin to imagine how it captivated everyone on Earth. As well some stories, even emotional stories, need a different setting to be explored and told. They simply can’t happen in our world!

Spoiler alert! They’re coming up! :)

Right from the first couple of episodes I was intrigued. Story was interesting, acting was great, production value was high! :) The flashbacks to their training programs 5 years earlier served as really great juxtapositions to some climactic scenes! Sometimes flashbacks were too quick and short and felt waaaaayyy too much back and forth but oh well. Also I thought it would be more of a straight-shooting, near future, heavier on the science, type of show so was a bit disappointed when I found out about Beta and all the almost magical type stuff it could do. I groaned and thought ‘Oh god no! Please don’t muck about with that!’ ... Coz there’s various ways to do sci-fi. You could just assume science is advanced enough to fly us through space, give us better technology and leave it at that. The Star Trek’s mostly do it that way. But then ones like Deep Space Nine get more magicky/ supernaturally, and some books like Anne McCaffrey’s Rowan book series throw in telepathy and telekinesis as huge spaceship-moving-capable forces. I love fantasy more but still usually prefer my sci-fi to be more science-based. But I gotta admit often throwing in some magic-type elements can do wonders for storytelling. Lets you ignore reality to create a more interesting plot or world. ie. Think of Avatar without that magic bond/ connection thing that happened with the Tree of Souls and without the wildlife fighting back.

I found this show coz one of my favourite actresses Christina Cox was in it. I think I first noticed her as the female mercenary in Chronicles of Riddick... she was soooo kick-ass!! Then watched Better Than Chocolate which she was great in! And ever since have been kinda following her and watching her stuff whenever I can. I was thrilled to see her in an episode of Dexter too! She was perfect! I’ve mentioned this in a facebook post but I really feel a lot of the guests on that show do some of their best acting there! Then I watched a Mutant X and First Wave episodes she was in and recently the tv series Blood Ties which I hope to write a blog post about soon! Coz it was awesome! :)

And all the other actors were amazing too! Seeing Ron Livingston in such a serious role after only knowing him from Office Space was weird, but he was totally great! Actually the whole cast were!! Loved them all! And at least it was more multi-cultural than most shows with more visible minorities.

Anyway... just thinking about which other genre shows were great and got canceled prematurely? At the forefront Firefly comes to mind of course. That will be the biggest tragedy of television for a long time!! And Dollhouse. Legend of the Seeker. Rome. I haven’t watched The Cape, but saw parts of it while my boyfriend watched it and it looked quite good, definitely too good to be canceled after only 9 episodes?!?! Also Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was great and should’ve gone past 2 seasons too! Any others?!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Great original vampire short story!

i've just read a most awesome awesome short story!! loved it! it's called Though Smoke Shall Hide the Sun and you can check it out at a scifi/fantasy publisher that has made a most interesting and interacitve webspace!! :) i posted this comment at the story but wanted to share it here too! :)

"i have often avoided reading short stories over the years coz didnt feel enough of a world could be conveyed, nor could depth of story and characters, but you did it beautifully!!! :) and like everyone mentioned above... i too am heartily sick of vamp stories, and even *more* sick of human chick-male vamp combos, so this was nice and refreshing! and it made me realize why vamp (and supernatural) stories are getting infinitely boring is coz they're always set in our world. and i realized a big reason i read scifi/fantasy is for the interesting worlds and settings created! and the world you have here is incredibly intriguing!!! i would die to read more about these two and the world they inhabit!!! and funny part is i had a dream of a very similar world/character/situation that i thought would make a great story! guess so! :)

also like the others i loved the description of what dawn is like for vamps! also liked the idea of a supernatural being turned into a vamp! dont think i've read that before! :) and its not something that crossed my mind (i think coz i was too into the story :) but Lightbringer's comment above was a good point... why wouldnt she take over if she has that kind of power? but i'm assuming there must be limits to her power?

in any case thanks for the awesome read!!! :))))"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

I think too much. And I feel too much. The latter is a problem when watching and reading stuff. As exemplified by my reaction to finishing Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (TSCC) tv show just now. I cried, but not out of sadness, just a profound overwhelmingness. (this is a word! I just looked it up!) I’m gonna discuss spoiler type stuff here, so be warned. I have to discuss spoilers coz I have to discuss it all! This show was amazing. Joss Whedon-level amazing. I felt the same overwhelmingness (my new favourite word ;) after finishing Dollhouse. And definitely did not feel it with Battlestar. God, when I compare Battlestar to these two amazing shows, holy fuck does it suck! It wasn’t bad, but so... hmm... messy is the first and only word coming to mind. Messy story that let go of you too often. Didn’t keep you in and involved. Got too mean-spirited in moments for you to stay captivated. I doubt I’d say it was more realistic coz of that, coz TSCC was also gritty, also had human-looking machines that also felt and loved, but... hmm... this time I’m gonna use the word cohesive... that TSCC had a much more cohesive story line. Maybe coz TSCC’s existence wasn’t so stop-and-go with threats of cancellation all the time. (they just got canceled, no threats. :((( which really fucking sucks) Maybe coz the Terminator story lines have so much time-travel, and so many movie installments, that you have to be much more careful with how you write the story? My god, the Terminator stories has sooooo captivated me!! There’s not a single other movie series where I find myself constantly thinking back and referencing the previous movies. Which means every new movie or tv show I watch from that world, I review, and even relive a bit, the previous ones!! That might simply be coz with all that time travel the story line gets complex and you’re just trying to figure it out. But I feel it’s more than that... just a truly great, great story!!! Thank god there’s been so many movies and this tv show to explore it as much as we have!!!! :)))))

The ending... I was overwhelmed at seeing John reach the future, a point in the future before he’s the celebrated saviour of humanity. Where Derek and Kyle and Allison don’t know him yet, but he knows them. It especially felt overwhelming coz he lost them in his present... and god what a loss.... but here they are and he can be with them again. And it was overwhelming that Sarah chose to stay behind. But made sense. But how sad. :( And him jumping into the future to become the John Connor at age 16 makes a lot of sense. To lead, he has to be different, and this way one massive, huge way that he’s different is that he didn’t live through Judgment Day. And can retain hope and optimism and courage coz it wasn’t squashed by years of fighting and simply surviving. This obviously doesn't work with T3 but that movie can most gratefully ignored! ;) Although not a bad movie considering. Loved the female Terminator! The rest kinda sucked. And now I have to re-watch all of them and I’m looking forward to it!!! :))) I posted this on my Lady Knight Facebook page, but I’ll repeat it here, one of my most very fervent movie wishes is that if they make a 5th Terminator movie continuing the story of the 4th, that they pleeease not use Christian Bale for John Connor! When asked why I explained I am really sick of Christian Bale... he's just played his Psycho character in every role since! Emotionless and expressionless!!! More robot-like than the Terminator in the movie! And as a friend of mine put it: “Ya he's like Keanu Reeves without all the emotion.” !! Which cracked me up coz sooo accurate!! Hahahaha!! You know your acting sucks when it fails in a comparison to Keanu!! Haha!

So all round most amazing show!!! And I love all the actors and characters! Although I had misgivings about the tiny Summer Glau as a Terminator but she’s really good as an emotionless machine that is a bit more than the sum of its parts. And Lena Headey simply rocks and KICKS ASS!!!! And who would’ve thought someone from 90210 could act?! In a sci-fi no less?!?! Haha! Kudos to Brian Austin Green! :) And Shirley Manson!! Lead singer of Garbage was terrific!! Her first acting role and amazing! And wardrobe must’ve had her outfits designed! They were super unique and cool!

So this show was great, so was Dollhouse. One show I’d also say is objectively great was Rome. All three had cohesive, point-full, story lines which is what I think made them a million times better than something like Battlestar. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the show, but objectively don’t think it was as good as these. One thought is coz these three were all 2 seasons long only, and that it might be much harder to maintain a cohesive story line over more than 2 years? But no... Babylon 5 managed coz it had only J. Michael Straczynski writing it and he had a 5-season story arc in mind from the beginning which is a great way to do it. And Buffy and Angel stayed on track, although there were tons of filler episodes, but even those still advanced the characters which is as important. Signing off! Adios! :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

George R.R. Martin sucks

Haha! Yessss! I chose a dramatic title to this post!! :) Also just a warning, there’s a bit of spoilers! But I just can’t bitch enough about him and Kate Elliot. I think I’m very bitter about them. They’re like ex-boyfriends from relationships that ended badly. As a reader, I feel these two authors disappointed and betrayed me. And hence now, years after we ‘broke up’ ;) I still feel that bitterness and disappointment. :( For George R.R. Martin it happened in reading Feast of Crows (which was now 4 years ago and still no new books!). I think the final straw was the killing off of Brienne, the only character I could find to identify with and relate to, and the bringing back of Catelyn Stark as some kind of vengeful undead creature?! What the fuck!? But many straws went into breaking this camel’s back. Despite all my feelings for Martin and his series, I will admit I am ecstatic at the thought of the Game of Thrones TV series they’re making out of his books!!! Because, despite my disappointment, it is still absolutely fantastic fantasy!! Which is probably why I’m so bitter now... only great love can lead to great bitterness I suppose?! Haha! :)

So after completing Feast of Crows, I realized it was over between me and George R.R. Martin. *insert melodramatic music here* ;) And in my desolation, I wrote him an email at the time, which I’m including here.

From: Ida
Date: February 1, 2007 7:57:14 PM EST (CA)
Subject: devastated

Dear Mr. Martin,

Not sure if you actually read this email or not or whether this email is just for the Ring of Ice and Fire but I really feel a need to email and this was the only contact info I could find. I guess I will start with the fact that I absolutely love your series of A Song of Ice and Fire. Absolutely amazing series and one that is classic fantasy/medieval which seems to be rare these days as more and more authors add twists and interesting ideas to classic fantasy/medieval world which are great but not the same. The series is very captivating, enthralling, engaging and I find it hard to put the books down once I start! Great story-telling, great characterization, great setting.

But...... sigh..... I am nearing the end of Feast of Crows.... and I am simply devastated. I was seeing the trend of your books and I've come to the point where I give up. I cannot read any more, they are just becoming too disappointing. What I'm bothered by is the lack of a solid storyline. A good story has a beginning, a climax, an end. This is feeling like its becoming like a soap opera.... where the writer has no interest in concluding, just continuing the story for ever and ever. Characters are killed off, new characters introduced, the story is not advanced. Or if it is the overall storyline is advancing soooo slowly as all the minor ones are being advanced but those minor ones feel so pointless. They might not be but they feel it because as a reader I'm not understanding where they tie in. Or using a story/character for chapters and chapters just to add one point to the main storyline is sooo distracting. Granted its an immensely enjoyable distraction but it doesn't feel like its going anywhere. Now I could maybe ignore the lack of a main storyline if you weren't constantly killing off characters. I'm at the point where I don't want to read because your characterization is so good I care about the characters but what's the point when they're just going to be killed off?! The majority of the characters from the first book are dead, right there is a lack of cohesion through the books! So every book seems like an overlap of some new, some old characters, and it almost feels like the new ones are brought it in to replace the old ones!

I know this style of writing will make more money as readers get hooked into never-ending series and eagerly await the latest volume but it's not very fulfilling. And you lose buyers like me as I won't be buying or reading any more after I finish Feast of Crows. All the big fantasy authors are like this... Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind.... 1000+ pages/volume and they go to like 6-10 volume series, which means you need 6000-10000 pages to tell a story!?!? Well I give up, I want a story, not a TV show. I want to anticipate a climax and reach an end in a story. As of now you're planning for 3 more volumes? 3000+ pages!? What's the incentive to keep reading? Do you have a plan as to how you're gonna conclude this!? Any thought given to this at all? If you have a conclusion, do all the side stories and characters really further the story and help it reach that conclusion? Sigh.... it sucks.... I was willing to read your books endlessly, more so then any other long-winded author, coz they are absolutely amazing pieces of writing but lack of a main storyline is killing my enjoyment of them. I am now going to stick to series of max 3 volumes, or another great method that some authors do is trilogies where each volume is its own story with a conclusion, but the series is tied together by having the same characters and chronology. Just as good at hooking readers! You are the 2nd author I find myself giving up on that I absolutely loved and adored their first books. Ramblings that don't tie in are just a waste coz you can't care what happens to 20 characters.... you can only probably care for like 3-4 max.

Sigh..... sorry.... I had to rant. You have absolutely great books and great writing I'm just soooooooooo vastly disappointed that a plot tying all the books together is mostly ignored and for me that just ruins it.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

Your most devastated ex-fan,