Genghis_Sean / Member

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Genghis_Sean Blog

Warcraft3 Reign of Chaos classic game of mine

lost temple

Once upon a time I was top 10 ranked on Azeroth, but I rarely play anymore. I was checking out roc.replayers for old time's sake and rewatched one of my favorite matches. It was against a HU player who did the chickensh*t mass tower + early expansion + more tower + trihero + gryphons. Highly frustrating to face because if you don't stop it, HU will eventually have tri-hero and gryphon army and you're unable to kill anything. Each fail levels his heroes more until it's hopeless. I had a crazy strategy wherein I attempted to prevent him from leaving his base and leveling his heroes. Still, he managed to get his gryphon army and all three heroes. Amazing finish to this game as the frustration was on the other foot.

Gates of Fire book review

Stunningly excellent

Just finished reading this for the third time, and it's continually astonishing to me how a book can be so simultaneously poetic and brutal, so romantic and realistic, so inspirational and painful. Pressfield provides an infantryman's eye view of the bloody hand to hand combat present at Thermopylae. My sleep was actually disturbed for two nights after I finished the book, yet the beauty of its characters (including the women) has endured. This novel shatters the absurd caricature of the Spartans from the movie 300, which depicted them as contemptuous of their position and unafraid. In Pressfield's novel, they are terrified, but even more afraid of letting down their comrades or shaming themselves. They knew they'd been sent to die, and they did their duty. Phenomenal book and a must-read.

Shogun book review

Best. Historical. Fiction. Ever.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that this is possibly the best book I've ever read. Not every book Clavell has written is great, but with Shogun and Taipan, he was not far off perfection. The novel first drew my attention when my parents were watching the miniseries back in 1980. Though only a kid myself, I was permitted to watch it along with them and found it fascinating. It took me two months, but I first read the 1200 page book as a sixth grader and have reread it every two years since.

Shogun is the story of an Englishman shipwrecked on the shores of feudal Japan. John Blackthorne lands full of European and Christian prejudices and is bewildered by the alien culture he encounters, where peasants aren't given names and samurai ritually disembowel themselves when they fail their lords. He lands in the province of Yoshi Toronaga Minowara, a general who has warred for 30 years without ever losing a battle.

It is not long before he is swept up in the politics of the country, a great chess game for power wherein his ship and the guns it bears become a piece in the game. The emperor died a decade earlier leaving his child son behind. Before dying, he appointed a Council of Regents headed by Toronaga to keep the peace following his death until young Yaemon comes of age. However, the council has begun to fracture as many fear Toronaga, who has never known defeat. They believe he intends to undermine the council, seize power for himself, and become Shogun, the sole military ruler of all Japan.

Replete with samurai and courtesans, war and assassination, ninja and espionage, politics and maneuver for power, it's a must-read, particularly for those who love historical fiction. I've never in my life read a better book.

Game of Thrones book review

Might-Makes-Right Fantasy Realm with Unsurpassed Depth

As a lifelong reader of fantasy books and committed enough to them to have a six-year-old daughter named Eowyn, I found this series a unique approach to the genre. Martin has crafted a world with depth surpassing that of Tolkien himself, but whether or not this is a virtue is a matter for individual readers to decide. GoT easily has four times the characters of Lord of the Rings, and readers will get bogged down in trying to keep them straight, remembering whether or not they've been encountered before, and caring enough about them to remember them the next time they surface. Furthermore, I wasn't too far into the series before I realized the Martin's books have no true protagonist. The main character, if there is one, is the realm itself. That became a problem for me. I want to root for a character as he struggles to overcome obstacles, injustices, and moral dilemmas. However, that's very difficult to do in GoT because a significant portion of the characters are inherently despicable, and there is no place in his world for the idealistic, loyal, or principled. Such characters in his books inevitably fall prey to machinations of the ruthless. If Martin were to craft a Looney Tunes story, the Roadrunner would have his legs broken, braised, and then fed to him piecemeal by the Coyote while Bugs Bunney was forced to watch. Sure, there do remain a few admirable characters five books into the series but one must empathize with them cautiously since Martin will undoubtedly kill them off eventually. I read about Martin's characters with a sort of learned detachment and too often I'm forced to read simply in order to find out what happens next and not because I particularly care about that specific storyline. Still, the series is enjoyable and some of the characters are amazing. You'll grow to love them, even though you'll sometimes fear to turn the next page.

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