The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

I was trying to think of a cool topic to write to you about but I’m coming up blank.  All I can really think about is how I want to finish reading the The Price of Valor by Django Wexler.

I’m going to buy you this fucking book so we can geek out together.

You’d better read it.

There is homework though: there are two books before it.  I’ll buy them for you also.

The first book in The Shadow Campaigns is named The Thousand Names, and its a portal into a vast world where black powder cannons and magic meet.  The book opens on a distant continent of Khandar with our cast being the Colonials, an army that is waiting for help.  We meet several of our characters here: Marcus d’Ivoire and Winter Ihernglass.  It’s pronounced eern-glass; I asked the author (he doesn’t know how to pronounce d’Ivoire).  They have recently been pushed back by a native army and they patiently await their new leader and reinforcements.

Meeting these characters and the world felt effortless.  I was a little confused at first because the last few books I read had first chapters that were history lessons.  But no, Django has a subtle way of telling me what I need to know and not making it feel like hefty exposition.  His world is grounded, his lore is grand, and most importantly to me his characters are human.  I feel like I can know them and connect to them, and their plights feel real to me.

The story is spearheaded when the new colonel arrives and drives the army back out to the field.  While he must push them to complete their military objectives, there is more at work as the colonel has further ambitions than just completing their campaign.  There is more at stake, and everyone is involved.  Their quest will take them in pursuit of their mysterious goal: The Thousand Names.

The next book following that was The Shadow Throne.  We meet a slightly new cast but we are back in their native country, and we learn about the turmoil there.  But most importantly it sets up the first book almost to be like an entire prologue!  Its very cool.  The second book explodes with new places, characters, and it connects the story and lore together.  Django has a deft hand when it comes to penning convincing characters, scenarios, and nations.

The next next book is The Price of Valor and I’m not telling you a fucking thing!  Go, quickly, catch up to me because I wanna geek out with someone so bad and I already tweet at Django a lot.  

I picked The Thousand Names up randomly one day at Powell’s because I’m pretty sure Steven Erikson is done writing.

The internet says, “Oh no no, he has books coming!  Someday!  Keep hoping and keep waiting!”  Well, I am waiting.  The Fall of Light has been promised and pushed back and promised and pushed back.  I’ll wait for your Steven, like a battered husband.

And then this one book was like, “Hey you!  Yeah, you!  You like magic?  You like muskets?  Do you enjoy fancy made up words like Khandarai and ahb-naatham!?  Read me!  Available now.”

I liked these books so much I gave one of my characters in Rogue Trader a saber and flintlock pistol and ran around calling myself Marcus.  The character died promptly because its the year 40,000, but I made my point.

So your mission Emily: catch up.




Tweeting with a Human

The internet has brought a lot of people a lot closer together.  The rise of blogging, vlogging, YouTube and other internet platforms have thrown a lot of interesting people into the lime light.

The personalized medium makes many people feel like they know these pseudo-celebrities on a more intimate level than they do.  Even when these people haven’t even met these celebrities.  I feel this way myself!

I am an avid Game Grumps fan.  I feel like I know who those people are.  They present themselves in a very candid, personal way.  I’ve heard many of their stories and life events.  I know a lot about these people who I’ve never even laid eyes on.

The thing is if I ever met them it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to approach them in a candid, personal way.  I interact with these people online presence everyday, and its really easy to forget that they don’t know me like I feel like I know them.

I personally wouldn’t accost one of these internet celebrities.  They don’t know me, and even though I feel personally connected to them, I’m not.  They probably aren’t ever going to be a friend of mine.  I’m a stranger.  They have millions of these people who feel close to them, and they can’t possibly have serious friendships with most of these people.  I’m sure they’d love to try, but they aren’t timeless gods.

Its been mentioned a lot by these people how hard it is sometimes to deal with people who want to make them a fixture in their life.  Markiplier mentioned once that he actually had to move because some of his fans found his apartment and bothered him at odd times.  The Game Grumps get stopped at the most banal of places.  They talk about how sometimes its very exhausting to try and maintain a good face after the bazillionth fan has said hello, wanted a photo or autograph.

I’m reading a series by one of my favorite authors Django Wexler.  His books have a feel to them that I can’t find elsewhere.  The lore is deep, the world is complex, and his characters feel real.  I get excited about this stuff, and it makes me interested in the person who crafted this world.

I tweeted at him one day.  I don’t remember exactly what it was, but he favorited the tweet.  Its kind of exciting!  Someone you only know in the abstract, identifiable by his famous persona, acknowledged your existence.

The craziest part is the fact that the next time he straight up tweeted back at me.  I tweet at him on a semi-regular basis.  Most of the time I’m quipping at something he says or is doing.  He tweets back at me occasionally.  I have had entire brief conversations with him via twitter, and it makes me feel cool.

The thing is he isn’t trying to live up to some personality I’ve assigned him.  He’s just a man who writes books I love.  He plays games like I do, and has a handful of similar interests.  We are able to connect across these distances and converse about very human things.  That idea right there is what I think many people don’t consider when they see or meet a celebrity.  They are only human.  And I think we as a people would do to remember that at their core, all people are just… people.

I actually got to meet Django recently at Powell’s for a book signing.  He graciously signed all of my original hard covers and he gave me some totally sweet metal engraved book marks.  I introduced myself to him as Daniel, and that I tweet at him too much.

He recognized my twitter handle.  Should I be honored, or embarrassed?  Ha!