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Subject: The Truly Amazing Writing Skills of Matthew Woodring Stover rss

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steve mizuno
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Those of you who haven't read anything by this guy, with even a modicum of interest in Science Fiction or Fantasy, are really missing an incredible talent.

I first read his book Heroes Die! after it was handed to me by the friendly Del Rey representative at a San Diego Comic Con several years ago.

(Warning: Stover's books, aside from the Star Wars stuff he's produced, are EXTREMELY ADULT. Please don't think you can hand one of his novels to your 11 year old like a copy of the Hobbit.)

Heroes Die grabbed me by my danglies, and raced me through a fascinating and action packed world. Along the way, Stover stopped to provide some very interesting life philosophy and political analysis.

I know, I don't write like him, so I am doing his word slinging skills an injustice. But this guy can flat out WRITE.

I read this book, and was stunned. I read it again, and was stunned again. I bought both previous books (Iron Dawn and Jericho Moon), and they were good, but not on the same level as Heroes Die!

He then wrote two Star Wars novels (I know, you're thinking the same thing I'm thinking... but these are different. They are very, very well written, and explore darker portions of the universe, without assaulting the existing history and environment.

I was able to meet him in person at a later SD Comic Con, where he was appearing with a group of other fantasy writers, including Salvatore. I dug all my books off the shelves (at this point, that was all he had written), and went to meet him. I got there a few minutes late, fully expecting to run into a line waiting for him, but there were only two other people there when I arrived, along with the panel of authors.

I asked where everybody was, and apparently, Salvatore wasn't able to make it, so everyone left.

To which I replied, "Salvatore? He can't write. This guy can WRITE." (pointing at Stover, who I recognized form a publicity photo.)

Well, I got to spend a few minutes talking to him, learned that there was a sequel coming out to Heroes Die that he was then working on, and got autographs for all my well worn books.

(By the way, he's a big dude... tall and very strong. Handshake crushed me, and I'm not a wimp.)

Stover went on to write Blade of Tyshalle (the sequel to Heroes Die!), and just released the third in the series, Caine Black Knife. He also has a new Star Wars novel coming out in the next month or so, and I have his book waiting in the on deck circle.

(I'm a litle odd with books that I really really want to read. I read so darn fast that the experience never seems to last long enough, even when the book is pretty thick and involved. So I tend to save the book for a little while, thinking about what it might be like, teasing myself with anticipation of the enjoyment I will be having.)

I can honestly say that in the last 10 years, I have not had the same enjoyment reading anyone's books, be they historical novels, science fiction, fantasy, literature, or horror, as I have with Stover. He is a superb novelist, and he is no one trick pony. The Star Wars novels are easily the third or fourth best books I've read in the last 10 years (and I read anywhere from 2 to 5 books a week. Yes, a week.)

If you're looking for a throat-grabbing, fast paced, completely engrossing fantasy novel, pick up a copy of Heroes Die! You'll be reaching for your credit card to pick up Blade Of Tyshalle and Caine Black Knife 5 minutes after you finish Heroes.
 
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steve mizuno
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I'm still learning about this website, and I was stunned that wehn I selected my favorite novel, Heroes Die, I only found it on two other people's list of favorites. Seems a crying shame to have such a truly supervior novel so seemingly underexposed....
 
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J C Lawrence
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The author that has impressed me most recently is Stephen Baxter and in particular his two novels Manifold: Space and Manifold: Time. Both books were eye-openers and left me reeling, left my head spinning and reconsidering the universe for weeks afterward. His approach is simple: take a trivial relationship or hypothesis and make in big, very very big, possibly entire-life-cycle-of-the-universe-big, and then take a cannily subjective and objective look at it. I've not read Manifold: Origins or any of his other books yet, but those two did it for me. I'm looking forward to the next one.
 
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