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 Post subject: October Meeting
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 2:17 pm 
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G'day all

The October meeting will be on the 18th at 6.30pm.

The books will be
Dhampir by Barb and JC Hendee
http://www.infinitas.com.au/Product.php?bar=9781841493640

and
The Fear Principle by B.A. Chepaitis

Keep smiling :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:32 am 
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I am not going to get to The Fear Principle, lack of time, and thanks to someone buying the last copy available of this out of print novel.
Dhamphir, I am half way through. It rollicks along as an enjoyable story, but the details in the story make me cringe. There are so many illogical/unlikely side details. I find myself comparing it to the other books I have recently read, and compare unfavourably.


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 Post subject: The Fear Principle
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:25 pm 
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Tim

Well, if you spoke to the member who currently has the book, and the owner of the book (that's being lent to other members) and promised not to bend the book in half, fold the pages over or damage the book in anyway, she may just consent to lending it to you... :P

I have read The Fear Principle, but I haven't read much of Dhamphire yet. Something to do with my studies getting in the way of my book reading!

Keep smiling

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:08 am 
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Another enjoyable Review Group meeting last night. I was a bit distracted by the other goings on in the shop but I do look forward this every month. Thank you to Jay for the bottle of wine.


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 Post subject: October Meeting
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 12:32 am 
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Tim

My pleasure for the wine. As always, the meeting was a lot of fun... even if you were distracted during the first 1/2 of it. Lucky we talked about the book you hadn't read first! :D

Keep smiling

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 Post subject: Garry's notes
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:12 pm 
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Garry's notes from the Infinitas SF and Fantasy Book Review meeting of Thursday October 18, 2007

Present were:
April, Garry Dalrymple, Julianne, Mark, Tim Martin and someone who will remain nameless (or be referred to in future as 'Daryl') to attribute all the unkind comments about 'Dhampir' to.

Fear Principal by B. A. Chepaitis
and
Dhampir by Barb & J. L. Hendee

The wine served was a pleasant James Hardy Shiraz. Mark, was introduced as a new comer to Infinitas SF&F discussion meetings. Tim told some Submarine and Pyrites (geological) stories. Infinitas has a new staff member in training? Garry has exchanged emails with Karen Miller, the Author of 'Empress of Mijack', who is intrigued to know what we thought of her book. Today was the opening for screenings of the Russian Fantasy movie 'Day Watch', the sequel to 'Night Watch', which is a book to be discussed at a future meeting.

Fear Principal by B. A. Chepaitis
The set up of this story takes a fair amount of suspension of disbelief, in common with most Techno thriller conspiracy stories these days given that details of CSI-like and standard police procedural stories are so familiar to most people these days. Firstly it is set in a world (an America actually) after lots of people have gone nuts and serial killings became so common that bodies on the streets were as common as fag butts - Only in America, right! The solution to this problem is to build prison Satellites (cue Ensign Chekov, 'Oh No, The Botany Bay') with places for all your felons, oh dear, no prospect of salvation, redemption and reform in Christian America! Consequently you have to get these people to live with each other, as they will be incarcerated in their Cities in Space for life with no right of return to Earth, so you have to cure them of their psychopathy. Fortunately you have to hand 'Empath' therapists who can 'share their pain' and help the felons to face their demons. The book's point of view character, Jaguar Adams, is such a therapist, who has just been assigned a new subject. The subject is an assassin whose work was undetected, but who has chosen to confess all and be imprisoned, she was an instrument of a secretive agency called D.I.E. A La Femme Nikita perfecto, because DIE doesn?t have agents, it manipulates unaffiliated people to do its dirty work, as one off incidental and untraceable agents. The idea is 'serve or die', 'stuff up and die' or just do it for us or else. This serves to explain why this undetected criminal with 'hundreds' of kills to her name has come forward and confessed. In this world, the only safe place for her is among the un-influence able reformed felons of the prison Satellites? . The assassin's last big job was the (undetected) assassination of a State Governor. Part of the reason for the Assassin going undetected for so long is that she possesses some empathic talents herself. Just so that you will know, part of her 'treatment' usually involves shagging her clients. In taking down these notes, a point was reached when I couldn't tell if we were talking about the Therapist or the Assassin. This is a fair comment on the nature and consequences of Empath therapy, as the therapist takes on board a lot of the client's condition, in order to find the way to make the client face their fears for the 'cure'.

It was noted that the story has multiple levels. There is a sub plot, on the need for Empaths to be properly trained, and their need to wash off the bad feelings they pick up in their work. There is 'Toronto Above', a fake city modeled on Toronto where Jaguar Adams works as a Jazz Singer, the resolution of the character's demons, 'office' politics among the Empaths, and an investigation of a right-to-the-top national conspiracy and a bit more. Quite a lot to keep you occupied as you read through this relatively slender book, and enough to encourage you to consider reading the two sequels, Fear of God and Learning Fear.

Woo Woo New Age North American Indian mysticism appears in the book at some stage, as yes Jaguar Adams is 'part Indian'. Why anything that is claimed to be North American Indian mysticism should be more 'provable' than any other sort of superstition is a question that only North Americans can answer, but the validity of these Woo Woo powers are essential for this SF story to work. The central mystery, the Governor's Murder hinges on a land deal and mining access to a national park for the ingredients (pyrites) needed for a mind control chip. This chip is used to re-animate the dead, into flesh and blood robots to do the will of D.I.E. unpleasant things that they cannot force living people to do. Was the Governor's death ordered because he was being a good guy in trying to stop the Zombie chip project, or was he just holding out for more payola? A final revelation of the book is that the Chipped Zombies are souls in torment, a torment that the Empaths can pick up. The unresolved Mystery of the book is Who is behind D.I.E. and Why?

In conclusion, a good quick and easy read that pulls you in before you have the time to have misgivings about some of the Woo Woo stuff.


Dhampir by Barb & J. L. Hendee
Umm, if you are related to, or if you are friends of the above two writers, we do get such people logging in occasionally, then you might not want to read much further. 'Daryl' had some rather unkind things to say about this book. But before I list what I was told about this book that would convince most people NOT to read this book, I'll briefly list some of reasons that were discussed why some people might enjoy reading this book.

If you want a quick throwaway escapist 'just another vampire read', like a Mills and Boone with blood and teeth, then this book might be for you. An enjoyable quick read, as long as you do not stop and think about what is going on, then it becomes really annoying (not 'Daryl's opinion).

The point of view character is a 'Dhampir' (a half Vampire or something to do with plumbing magic?) who has recently turned to killing Vampires, having inherited a sword, after a career of being a con artist specializing in ripping off struggling rural communities. Her companion is a half-elf (which half, pointy ears or pointy elsewhere?) ex-assassin.
Not as good as 'Blade'. The book is a shocker. 'Daryll' says that reader fatigue set in real early, by page 20. Clanger after plot jarring clanger occur repeatedly, the Authors showing no understanding of Architecture, Rural Community Life, bulk wheat storage issues, life with Children and repeatedly descriptive images that just do not work! You should see my notes on this, all Bad, Bad, Bad.

This reference to Vampires and architecture now allows me to tell a joke, 'Did you hear about the new style of 'McMansion'? It's designed by team of Vampire Architects, every Full Moon it turns into a 'Were-house'.

The Plot reads like someone did a cut and paste from a D&D gaming reference book. The main characters seem not to have any idea of what might happen next, with only a move by move perspective on the events of the story. The writers do improbable battle scenes and seem to have a thing about fire. At times you can practically see the green baize gaming table cloth around where the authors have plonked down community which is the scene of this story.

The heroine survives on luck time and time again in her confrontations and is na?ve beyond any expectation of long term survival. She does however have a magic dog (possibly a Basenjis?, and what would be the odds of that happening?). This dog, given to her by chance, can bite and wound Vampires, with injuries that do not heal! Which annoys the Undead greatly!

The Cover illustration caused some comment, Red and Black, silhouette of a 'Chick in chain mail' against medieval ruins, holding a rampant phallic sword. The cover art fairly accurately depicts the main character and hints at the Author's Fire Fascination, as fires feature frequently in the book. Towards the end of the book another 'Dhampir' character appears in a 'ride by' characterization, with no real importance to the story line of this book. It seems like the story was finished and then this character was added after the event in a re-write, presumably as a set up for a major role in the next book of the series.

Conclusions - It amazes that a book like this with all its deficiencies and defects can not only be published at all, but is published and sells well, especially when there are so many talented and imaginative Australian SF&F / Speculative Fiction writers out there with unsold books and stories. Not for critical readers of Genre fiction, but if you are into 'light' and uncritical reading of Vampire stuff, then you might enjoy it. Do yourself a favour, buy and read 'Legacy of Gird' by Elizabeth Moon instead.

Kurt Vonnegut's 'Slaughterhouse 5' will be discussed at an Infinitas SF&F book review meeting shortly. If you have enjoyed any of Kurt Vonnegut's writing, why not come to the 2007 Sydney Freecon, where he will be a 'Ghost of Honour' and we will discuss his life and works, along with Fred Saberhagen (Berserker stories) and Robert Jordan.

Garry P. Dalrymple,
Sunday October 21, 2007.
________
herbalaire vaporizer


Last edited by Garrry on Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:17 pm 
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Quote:
Do yourself a favour, buy and read 'Legacy of Gird' by Elizabeth Moon instead.

Legacy of Gird is in no way a vampire story. It does create a very believable medieval world of farmers, towns and conflict.


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 Post subject: Sydney Freecon
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 4:29 pm 
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Garrry

I can't make it to your event on Saturday, but I hope it goes really well and that you get lots of people to it.

Keep smiling

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