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  “Frightened teckla hides in grass”: Steven Brust’s Teckla The first time I read Teckla (1987) I hated it. Hated it. I like it now, but it took quite a lot of time for me to come around to it.

What I hated about it was that it was grim and depressing and realistic in a way that turned the first two volumes inside out. That’s what I now appreciate about it. Teckla provides some necessary grounding, some chiaroscuro to the palette of Dragaera.

Brust really uses his American-Hungarian heritage in these books. The Easterners, Fenarians, have Hungarian names and Hungarian culture, and he also uses Hungarian mythology and ideas about magic and witchcraft. But it’s not only that, it’s also the whole thing of being an immigrant in a wider culture, either getting trapped in a ghetto or getting out and despising those who don’t. Vlad is a third-generation immigrant. His grandfather came from Fenario and lives in the ghetto, his father got out and aped the Dragaerans he lived among, and Vlad is uncomfortably caught between cultures. He knows he can’t really be a Dragaeran, but he has a Jhereg title and there’s the whole question of his soul that came up in Jhereg. He’s uncomfortable with all this, and when Cawti gets involved with the revolutionary group he gets uncomfortable about that. There’s a lot here that demonstrates understanding of what it is to live on the underside of a rich culture and the kind of thing people do about that.

Teckla has a fascinating organizational structure. It’s the usual seventeen chapters, but the book begins with a laundry list — a list of clothes sent to the laundry with instructions about cleaning and mending them, and each chapter is headed with a little bit of that list like “remove bloodstains from cuff,” and in that chapter you see how the cuff got bloodstained, or how the cat-hairs got onto the cloak, and so on. I’ve never seen anything even remotely like that done before or since.

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Stephen King is considering writing a ‘Shining’ sequel The Torontoist reported that King dropped the news at a book reading for his new novel Under the Dome moderated by movie director, and brother in horror, David Cronenberg. According to the author, the second novel would center on Danny Torrance, the young boy from the original story with the gift (or curse) of being able to communicate clairvoyantly with ghosts, and who is now an appropriately aged 40-year-old. All these years after being tormented by the spiritual inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel and his father’s alcoholism/homicidal rage, Danny is now working at a hospice using his supernatural powers for palliative purposes. King even offered a tentative title: Doctor Sleep.

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Vampire romance novels suck in readers If the chaste Bella and Edward lived in writer J.R. Ward’s world, they would have hit the sheets long ago.

Ward is the New York Times best-selling author of the popular erotic romance series “Black Dagger Brotherhood,” which follows the sexy adventures of a group of male vampires.

And while she applauds author Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” success, Ward is the first to say they aren’t vying for the same fans.

“I do not want minors reading my books,” Ward said.

Stephenie Meyer, in writing those great books, got a whole new generation interested in vampires and further cemented this romantic myth around them,” Ward added. “A lot of her readers’ mothers have in turn found my books.”

Yearning for the undead may be all the rage now, but vampire romance novels are nothing new.

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Interesting how Stephenie’s books have introduced some (including me) of the new generations and old to other vampire themed books again. What do you think of this?

Have you read Stephen King’s ‘Shining’? And for those that have, would you like a sequel?