Tour of Worlds 2018 — Adult Worlds of Wonder

Children, step away! You must be this many years old to ride the tours of these worlds! They’re aimed at adults. Boring, scheduled, gray adults! You see, adults need a little extra zip when they visit another world just to get over their bland lives and have a smidgen of excitement. But you see, that’s why I’m here! The carnies of the Midway are here to bridge the gap, so adults can act like kids and kids can display the wisdom they haven’t forgotten quite yet!

But today! This last year I toured many worlds, and some of them were adult in nature!

No, ma’am, fear not! You need not faint away! No, you do not have the vapors! Does this look like the deep south? Why, it’s merely a blog pretending to be a Midway attraction! So can it, lady! These are just books aimed at adults, and if you’re an adult, you can handle these!

Unless, of course, you left your imagination far behind you…

***

If you like to laugh, you can find solace in the world of Aye, Robot by ravishing Robert Kroese. No, don’t ask me how to pronounce his name, kid. Just pretend I said it out loud, all right?

Rex Nihilo is at it again, and this time he’s a space pirate! But when he hijacks a ship that has a religious fanatic cryogenically frozen, strange things start to happen! Also, this tour has a bonus – a bonus novella! My, what an upstanding man that ravishing Robert Kroese must be to hand over more of his world all helter-skelter like that!

My friends, if you value laughter, read this science fiction romp, and you’ll be as delighted with it as I am with my tall, tall hat!

***

Showboat World takes us to a planet of vast rivers and showmen. I felt a kindred soul in Apollon Zamp, a man who runs a showboat and wants to make a pretty penny! Perhaps he is a bit unscrupulous – oh, not like me. I have no unscruples! – but the story has many twists and turns that will keep you entertained on this tour! And you should expect as much, for this tour was cobbled together by none other than the legendary and joyous Jack Vance! So far, every tour I’ve taken with him as my guide has ended well!

***

Boisterous Brenda Cooper took me on two tours: The Diamond Deep and Edge of Dark. If you’re savvy to hard science fiction but still hunger for strong characters and you’ve already worn out your Frank Herbert, you shall invest in tours to Cooper’s worlds. (Start with The Creative Fire, though.)

I toured a centuries-old ark voyaging to a new world that has finally arrived at its new home – centuries after faster ships beat her there. What will they do now?

And what must you have to be human? When some humans upload their consciousnesses to robots and continue to upgrade themselves, are they human? Yes, the question is as old as science fiction, but Cooper takes you on a unique tour with devastating consequences.

I cannot recommend these tours enough. The worlds are engaging, and her short chapters mean you’ll always be saying, “I’ll just read one more.”

***

My friends, I like boats! I like sailing the seven seas with the wind in my long, long hair!

Stop laughing, kid. So I don’t have any hair. If I’m going to dream myself a boat, I can dream myself some hair! And maybe I’ll dream myself a world where you’re not standing there sniggering! Hey! No kids allowed for this tour! Scram, kid! Stop pretending you’re older than you are!

Where was I?

Oh, yes! Sailing the seven seas! But what would make any sailing vessel better? A dragon!

The Temeraire series by nifty Naomi Novik continues to captivate my consideration with class, and the fifth tour of that world, Victory of Eagles, is no exception to the rule! Temeraire finally gets the chance to lead troops into battle, and it goes… well, when you’re facing Napoleon, you never know what to expect! Yes, my friends, if you like tall ships taller than my hat and dragons breathing fire on the same page, you must investigate this world!

***

Dangerous David Dalglish took me on three complete tours of the world of Shadowdance this year: A Dance of Cloaks, A Dance of Blades, and A Dance of Mirrors transported me to a dark world where thieves guilds struggle to rule over a nation while a cowardly king cowers in his castle. Thren was bred to be the ultimate weapon, but when he flees, well, what can follow but chaos?

Thren does not start out as a terribly likable character, but as the tours continue, he grows in fascinating ways. While these tours were certainly bloodier than I usually enjoy, tourguide Dalglish knows how to keep hope alive and even humor. This world may well be worth your time if you like assassinations, political intrigue, and lots of blood.

***

Brash Brent Weeks takes us again to the world of Lightbringer in The Blood Mirror.

It was good.

***

If I left it there, my wife would kill me. Do you know how many weapons she has at her disposal? I fear no man, but that woman is another story entirely!

So I visited The Blood Mirror as my Bride has pestered me for so long to do. This is the fourth tour of Weeks’ grand world. This tour seemed like setup for the next, as pieces move into place for final conflicts. Even with that, stunning characterwork and a world that entrances will grab your attention and refuse to let go. Also, short chapters for the win.

So, yes. Ye shall visit this world. Go read The Black Prism first, of course, and then catch up before the final tour of the world releases next year!

***

Ladies and gentlemen, that completes tonight’s tour! But wait! More will come! Sometimes the worlds introduced in stories on television cross into literary worlds! And sometimes I tour worlds that aren’t in the scifi expanse nor the fantasy realms! What of those worlds? Are they worth a visit?

But of course they are! Join me next time as I continue to explicate my exceptional exertions in worlds that are not this one! But first… perhaps a few words from the lovely creature who deigned to marry this humble man! 

***

Welcome again, my dears. I do hope the clatter of the wagons and the bustle of the March haven’t jarred you overly much tonight. Let me lead you along a quieter path here. One last time. One last tour. One last bit of magic revealed within the sweep of my gown.

Tonight we journey into perhaps more mature realms. Some dark; some simply more complex in their workings, but all wondrous in their way.

***

First a magic of which I wish I could remember more. For some reason, this magic slipped too quickly from my grasp. It is the magic of “what if?” What if you suddenly acquired super human abilities? No, not like the side show freaks so many pay to view here. But truly inexplicable abilities. Would you think it odd? Would you think it a gift? Would you see the wonder in it, or simply think yourself mad? And what if others found out? These are the questions Leaper finds himself asking. But sadly, I can tell you no more about this magical world, for I remember it not. Perhaps you will have to step aside and visit for yourself.

***

Ah, here we have a world of dark magic. It swirls and eddies, pulling you ever deeper. Be careful you do not fall, for this is The Book of Lost Things. Old things forgotten by time. Or at least, not remembered as they are. David finds himself drawn into this world, at once familiar and yet dangerously unknown. Here the old Grimm’s fairy tales seem….light and welcoming in comparison. For in this world, the wolves are smarter, stronger. The castles more treacherous. The magicians more cunning and cruel than in any Grimm tale. And to escape, David must outwit them all.

***

Look now. Now here is a world of rich, complex magic. This is the world of The Dragon Masters. It is not, I fear, the same type of charm that you have found in other worlds. It is a harsh world full of political maneuvering and the sounds of warfare. No thunder and rattle of tanks or jets, though, but the beastly roar of dragons and the clash of blades fill the air. Some intent on fighting each other. Some, more wise, fighting for survival lest the role of dragon and master be reversed.

Oh, and once you have finished here, be sure to peek beyond that curtain. Yes, there in the back. The Last Castle lies beyond. The last stronghold of humanity. And if you liked the magic of the world of Dragon Masters, you are sure to like it here as well. It is, in some ways I suppose, an old tale of man versus machine. But you may be surprised to find yourself drawn into its spell all the same.

***

Another, you say. Well, I have but a few more. Perhaps this will be to your liking. There is no fantasy here. No trickery or sorcery. No enchantment will be placed upon you. And indeed none was placed upon Martin either. But there was something of an illusion about the Ghost Boy. You see, for many years he was silent, unmoving. For ten unimaginable years he could do nothing, trapped inside himself. But he was not unaware. His mind was still working, locked inside. Waiting. Until, at last he broke free. This is his story, in his own words. The true story of Martin Pistorius.

***

Lastly we come to a world far into the future. Technology has advanced, certainly, but humanity, in many ways, remains the same. Some out only for themselves, cruel and callous. Some simply trying to get by. And some fighting to right the injustices around them. Sounds familiar? Yes, I suppose it might be. That is, unless you are a Shard. Shards have been given a second chance at life. A new life, often totally unlike the one they lived previously. A life free from the guilt of past crimes and heartaches. A clean slate. It’s not quite as wondrous as it sounds, however, when you realize that shards of their old personalities remain, threatening to splinter them to pieces. Abigail finds herself suddenly brought into this world, far removed from anything she knew before. Oh, so far removed. Over the course of four volumes, she must unite the shards of her past lives to undo the wrongs of her past and forge a way forward. The world weaves its own particular enchantment. And if you enjoy it, there are many more related realms to visit. So do not fear running out.

***

However, this is sadly the conclusion of our tour tonight. Thank you for joining me, for walking down these byways among the mist and stars. Thank you for indulging in a world or two, for allowing yourself to be drawn into their glamour. I hope to return to you again when the sweep of my gown is once again filled with charms and enchantments, the magic of other worlds to delight you.

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