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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 19 Apr, 2006 11:23 pm    Post subject: Two novels too good to miss         Reply with quote

DIES THE FIRE & the sequel THE PROTECTOR'S WAR by S.M. Sterling

Alternate history Sci. Fi. : Suddenly one day all technology ceases to work including some chemical reactions making firearms / gun powder incapable of driving projectile. ( Godlike space aliens having their sadistic fun with us, maybe: Not an important part of the story but the pretext to set up the starting conditions of the story. )

What makes these two books special is that many of the survivors are history buffs, living history, WMA practitioners, jousters whose skills and knowledge of ancient weapons gives them an enormous advantage as their hobby fighting skills become real practical skills.

It's almost as if these novels were written with our interests and fantasies in mind: What would we do if tomorrow our ancient weapons skills made the different between death or survival.

Not only fighting skills but all primitive technology skills from farming to hunting / tracking, forging and arms and armour, and all basic craft skills are also valuable survival skills.

Don't want to give away any plot lines but the writing was very good, at least for me. Big Grin

The first book begins when suddenly nothing works anymore and society collapses completely: The main characters have to cope with this and end up in various groups pooling their skills. The second book continues the story 9 years later as small communities have recreated various versions of Medieval culture, including nasty " Barons ", Highland type clans and even " Lord of the Rings " inspired Rangers. Too much good stuff and bad people to get into detail.

Oh, the weapons handling reads very " authentic " by the way as well as cavalry tactics etc ........

Just finished the second book and a third one, sequel, seems inevitable. Wink Laughing Out Loud

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
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PostPosted: Wed 19 Apr, 2006 11:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That sounds a bit like Dune, where personal shields rendered firearms ineffective and bladed weapons were brought back into service as the only reliable method of close combat. Good books.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 12:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Barris wrote:
That sounds a bit like Dune, where personal shields rendered firearms ineffective and bladed weapons were brought back into service as the only reliable method of close combat. Good books.


Interesting comparison but these are more like losing the last 500 to 1000 years of technology just because it just stops working as opposed to different tech. making old ways of fighting relevant again, It's back to a strong arm or a skilful arm being power. Oh, archery becomes very important also.

Also, not just an absence of tech. it's also become a barter society as money has no meaning, at least at first, so what has value is land, food, shelter and skills. The survivor tend to cluster around those who can fight and those who can fight barter their services for food etc ...... Oh, survivors also include gang members and such whose predisposition to violence give them an edge also, mostly as ennemies / opponents / bad guys !

Some become the equivalent of knights, others have ambitions to rule. Clans form up, society reorganizes in various society types of fighter, farmer, craftsmen, priest and with political organization going from Democracies, Tribe / Clan to despotic rule. Think a return of the Dark Ages with home grown barbarians and the need for a Feudal social structure.

In the early days society collapses completely and starvation leads to mass cannibalism and a degeneration to total savagery. Within months the numbers of survivors Worldwide goes down to only a few million.

Our main characters have to first fight off or hide from the hordes of the desperate: Almost but not quite dealing with Zombies Razz

But I'm not saying much here about plot lines or character development I'm only giving an idea of the conditions the survivors have to deal with initialy.

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Ken Rankin




Location: North Carolina
Joined: 12 Mar 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 6:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The plot sounds alot like that of, "Ariel: A Book of the Change" by Stephen Boyett, where all technology ceases and magic returns to the world. A very good book.

Ken
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Shawn Shaw




Location: Boston, MA USA
Joined: 07 Jan 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 6:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I guess the bummer is that those of us who use gas forges would be out of luck, too.


But at least if all that happened, my town fired department wouldn't be coming over to yell at me for running a coal forge.

:-) I guess there is an up-side after all!
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Ken Rankin




Location: North Carolina
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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 7:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeppers, in Ariel, the people who adapted the best were the SCA folks Big Grin I think someone like yourself would become rather important rather quickly Big Grin people were raiding museums for swords, the hero of the story had a katana he had picked up. A very good story.

Ken
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 10:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I hope their swords are harmonically balanced.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 4:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, just saw that the first book " Dies the Fire " is now in paperback. Got my copy awhile back in hardcover, couldn't wait for the paperback for the second book either.

Are Novels also available through the " myArmoury " bookstore ? Wink Wink

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Alexander Ren




Location: Florida
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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 5:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have read the first book but not the second one yet. Too much school work. It was quite good, granted I would prefer that it go to something more like "Mad Max" so that my shotgun would still work Big Grin (yes I know that's cheating Razz ). Seriously though, it definitely got me thinking about solutions to more realistic situations that I may have to deal with in the near future (ex: hurricanes, drought, power outage, etc.) It also made me realize the value of all of the different skills and abilities that my friends and family have.

Alex

"The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle."
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 6:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

Are Novels also available through the " myArmoury " bookstore ? Wink Wink


I know you asked facetiously, but yes, they are. Amazon's entire inventory of books is available. Just use the search function in the bookstore. For instance: http://www.myArmoury.com/books/search.php?Sea....+Stirling

Happy

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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 6:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Jean Thibodeau wrote:

Are Novels also available through the " myArmoury " bookstore ? Wink Wink


I know you asked facetiously, but yes, they are. Amazon's entire inventory of books is available. Just use the search function in the bookstore. For instance: http://www.myArmoury.com/books/search.php?Sea....+Stirling


Facetiousl yes, because I have the books, but I asked because it might be good to tell everyone that they can get " any " books I assume through this site's bookshop and not only the books related to the primary focus here. ( Just doing my bit of amateur marketing. ) Oh, and I realized that if I never thought of this before many others may also never even thought about it.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 6:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Chad Arnow wrote:
Jean Thibodeau wrote:

Are Novels also available through the " myArmoury " bookstore ? Wink Wink


I know you asked facetiously, but yes, they are. Amazon's entire inventory of books is available. Just use the search function in the bookstore. For instance: http://www.myArmoury.com/books/search.php?Sea....+Stirling


Facetiousl yes, because I have the books, but I asked because it might be good to tell everyone that they can get " any " books I assume through this site's bookshop and not only the books related to the primary focus here. ( Just doing my bit of amateur marketing. ) Oh, and I realized that if I never thought of this before many others may also never even thought about it.

So, can we order anything available on Amazon ?


I don't think so. I looked to see if there was a way to order DVD's and I couldn't figure one out.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 6:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson Brown wrote:
I don't think so. I looked to see if there was a way to order DVD's and I couldn't figure one out.

You can. I just didn't include them in the online catalog because I made, well, a book store. You can enter Amazon through any book link from our site, add other products to your cart, and check out. We'll get referral credit on it all.

.:. Visit my Collection Gallery :: View my Reading List :: View my Wish List :: See Pages I Like :: Find me on Facebook .:.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 6:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson Brown wrote:
I don't think so. I looked to see if there was a way to order DVD's and I couldn't figure one out.

-Grey


The search function appears to be coded to only search the book inventory. Still, if you go to the Bookstore page and click the link to go to Amazon, I believe most purchases made during that visit to Amazon's site would be eligible to earn referral credit. Perhaps Nathan can chime in, though, with particulars.

Edit: Nathan chimed in as I replied, so nevermind. Happy

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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shucks, I wish I'd thought of doing that. I didn't make a huge purchase (just got two DVD's), but I still would have liked it to help myArmoury.com. Now that I think about it, that proccess might have been explained when it was first setup, and I just forgot. Sorry.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2006 6:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson Brown wrote:
Shucks, I wish I'd thought of doing that. I didn't make a huge purchase (just got two DVD's), but I still would have liked it to help myArmoury.com. Now that I think about it, that proccess might have been explained when it was first setup, and I just forgot. Sorry.

-Grey


Funny how we tend to assume limits that aren't actually stated and turn out to not exist: Sometimes we are all like chicken staring hypnotized by a strait line. Razz Laughing Out Loud

But, the bookstore may get more business. Cool Might be good to go back to the Bookstore and edit the text explaining how to use it so that it's clear that all this other stuff can be bought.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Carl Goff




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2006 9:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Greyson Brown wrote:
I don't think so. I looked to see if there was a way to order DVD's and I couldn't figure one out.

You can. I just didn't include them in the online catalog because I made, well, a book store. You can enter Amazon through any book link from our site, add other products to your cart, and check out. We'll get referral credit on it all.


Awesome. I'll have to remember that in the future. Might as well help you guys out.

As for the topic, I read Dies the Fire back when it came out-didn't think it was worth spending money on, though. Interesting concept, and some cool situational innovations (bicycle transport in the immediate aftermath, using spring steel off of cars to make swords) but Stirling's characters are a little too infallible and too perfect for my tastes. The "Christianity is EVIL, Wicca is the only true way!" message wasn't much to my liking either.

I like to look at Amazon reviews of books I've read to get another perspective on things, and I remember that someone commented (you'll have to forgive me for not being able to give an exact quote Wink ) "The characters seemed to have too many good coincidences going for them. For example the McKenzies' [wasn't that the name?] manage to miraculously find an ex-SAS operative whose hobby is making longbows?! How amazingly beneficial in their current situation!"

I hadn't thought about that when I read the book, but that was really stretching things. Bad form on Mr. Stirling's part. I'd love to see George R.R. Martin tackle this concept, though-I guarantee you there wouldn't be any freak coincidences then. Big Grin

Oh, East of sands and sunlit gulf, your blood is thin, your gods are few;
You could not break the Northern wolf and now the wolf has turned on you.
The fires that light the coasts of Spain fling shadows on the Eastern strand.
Master, your slave has come again with torch and axe in his right hand!
-Robert E. Howard
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Jeff Hsieh





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PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2006 3:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's an appealing idea, but it wouldn't turn out that way. If society collapsed, it wouldn't be medieval hobbyists, martial arts and reenactors who came out on top... it would be the same kind of people who always come out on top when the rules break down. Criminals, cold-hearted killers, people who have no qualms taking whatever they want from others. How long does it really take to learn how to kill with a sword or other primitive weapon? And just because someone hits people with sticks on the weekends doesn't give them the mindset needed to actually take a life. All my Liechtenauer longsword training and/or prowess with the longbow will do no good when a gang of murderers closes in with bats and chains.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2006 4:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeff Hsieh wrote:
It's an appealing idea, but it wouldn't turn out that way. If society collapsed, it wouldn't be medieval hobbyists, martial arts and reenactors who came out on top... it would be the same kind of people who always come out on top when the rules break down. Criminals, cold-hearted killers, people who have no qualms taking whatever they want from others. How long does it really take to learn how to kill with a sword or other primitive weapon? And just because someone hits people with sticks on the weekends doesn't give them the mindset needed to actually take a life. All my Liechtenauer longsword training and/or prowess with the longbow will do no good when a gang of murderers closes in with bats and chains.


I would think that someone skilled at a high level in swordsmanship and archery would have a big advantage over someone picking a sword up for the first time no matter how savage that person might be. The cold-hearted killers might have an advantage not having any inhibitions using violence. If some of your characters have actual military experience they have both skills and the experience to not freeze up or hesitate to act quickly enough.

Now, the book has quite a few of those " natural " evil survivor types and it's one of the main things the good guys in the story have to deal with.

To address some other issues raised by other posts: The Wicca thing doesn't bother me personally and the story is told in large part from the perspective of someone who does believe in it. The story hints to Wicca seeming to be legitimate i.e. some level of magic working as in prayers answered. At the same time nothing in the two books indicate any overt and clear magical powers. The Wicca side is very tolerant of other beliefs and there are situations where Christians are shown in some cases to be intolerant, but nothing saying that they are evil. I think one shouldn't approach a book like this as being good only if it fits in to one's personal religious belief or that the book is making a case for the validity of Wicca and the invalidity of any other religion. I don't want this to become an argument about religion as this could easily go way off track.

As to the coincidences of people with useful skills meeting and forming groups in the novel: If only average people met and only the probable was allowed there wouldn't be very many interesting novels, movies or T.V. series to read or watch. Eek! Oh, one could say those average clueless people are in the book and can be found among the vast majority of Non-survivors in the background: The unlucky people eaten by the literal cannibals or the ones becoming the serfs and slaves of the bikers gangs / criminals / power mad psychopaths later in the story as these become the evil lords and enemies of the good guys.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Carl Goff




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Apr, 2006 8:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

To address some other issues raised by other posts:

Meaning mine. Wink

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

I think one shouldn't approach a book like this as being good only if it fits in to one's personal religious belief.

I'm not. I can see how you might have misinterpreted that Worried , but I'm not.

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

As to the coincidences of people with useful skills meeting and forming groups in the novel: If only average people met and only the probable was allowed there wouldn't be very many interesting novels, movies or T.V. series to read or watch. :eek


I'm not saying it has to be only average people, or only the most likely probabilities, but there's a point at which one must throw up one's hands in disgust, and Stirling hits it a couple times. Let me give you a non-Stirling example. I saw this comment on a LiveJournal from someone discussing a crap fantasy novel they'd read:

"So apparently, the pretty little delicate princess who's never done a day's work or held a weapon in her life was able to pick up a longbow with an 80-pound draw weight, distinguish her lover from the guy he was fighting 300 feet away by a yellow scarf around his arm, nock and fire two arrows in rapid succession, and both of them not only hit the bad guy, but managed to get him right through the eyes."

Jean, do you see how absolutely unlikely that is? Big Grin It's about the same odds as Stirling's McKenzies finding their SAS longbow dude (Sam somebody, wasn't it?).

Cool, semi-topical note about me: You can tell how much I liked or disliked a book by how many names stick in my memory.

Oh, East of sands and sunlit gulf, your blood is thin, your gods are few;
You could not break the Northern wolf and now the wolf has turned on you.
The fires that light the coasts of Spain fling shadows on the Eastern strand.
Master, your slave has come again with torch and axe in his right hand!
-Robert E. Howard
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