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About AquaRegia

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    Central PA, USA
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    Science fiction, fantasy, rock & roll, baseball, science
  1. I can't think of any other author who has done a better job of showing the "shades of gray" we humans live in. While Brandon's stories clearly have protagonists whom we root for, they are never perfect - they have flaws and weaknesses, and make poor decisions at times. Likewise, his "villains" (if the word even applies) are never plain old evil; they have understandable worldviews and motivations, and their actions make sense in context. In a way, every character is the "hero" of their own story. Likewise, Brandon has shown a breathtaking ability to paint religion as the complex and nuanced human activity it is. An unmitigated force for good? Nobody with any sense could look at history and conclude that. But always bad? Millions worldwide are comforted and/or inspired to altruistic behavior by their religious beliefs. Like everything else we do, it's complicated, imperfect... and sometimes beautiful. The history and nature of the Shards in the Cosmere convinces me that one of Brandon's main goals as a writer is to explore the intersection of godlike power and flawed humans. What an amazing job he's done so far, and I can't wait for more!
  2. One of the lessons I've learned (or that I'm still working on learning, perhaps) is that humans are very complex. Human emotions, human motivations, and human responses to each other are almost never simple. The way you see someone can be colored very strongly by your own experiences or attitudes. If you look for the good in people, you will see it. If you look for the bad, you will see it. Neither is ever exclusively true nor false. I had no problem believing both the strengths and shortcomings of Nikaro, and believing the way Yumi felt about him. Is this Brandon's BEST work? I agree it's not... but I found it plenty good enough to emotionally carry me along.
  3. Is there a compelling reason to believe that Ars Arcanum entries must be contemporaneous with the novel they appear in? It's possible Brandon is playing loosely with time, giving us "more advanced" information when he thinks readers need it, rather than describing exactly what Khriss knows at the exact time each novel occurs. I find it extremely unlikely that there are TWO long-lived entities both studying aethers at the bottom of an ocean. I think Xisisrefliel = Foil, 99%.
  4. Tress' fancy Inspector coat is... *cue dramatic music* ... RED AND GOLD. Clearly Lumar Royal Inspectors are also agents of the unholy Odium/Autonomy alliance.
  5. Well said. I don't believe anyone is ever beyond redemption, and I think Brandon feels the same way. Where there is life, there is hope; all it takes is making different choices. He may keep making the easy choices... but Brandon has shown us MANY examples of characters coming back from the "dark side".
  6. One of Brandon's tremendous strengths as a writer is his ability to give us "villians" who have believable motivations, relatable backstories, and don't see themselves as villains. Was The Lord Ruler a "villain"? To Kelsier and Vin, sure... but not in his own view. How about Kelsier? Is he a "good guy"? Depends on who you ask. Taravangian? Same. A Dalinar/Honor/Odium situation could certainly be seen in a similar vein. I definitely agree that we seem to be heading towards a Roshar vs Scadrial Cosmere struggle, and both sides will certainly see themselves as the "good guy". I expect it to be delicious.
  7. Not knowing much about Arthurian legends, I was expecting the Black Bear to be none other than Cecil G. Bagsworth himself. After all the foreshadowing, I was somewhat surprised that he never made an appearance.
  8. I seem to recall the promo material describing how the experts carefully choose which dimensions are fit for sale; ones where modern English does not exist are sold at discount prices. It certainly isn't random.
  9. My impression is that 1) there is literally an infinite number of dimensions available, and 2) any fraction of infinity is still infinity. So no matter how unlikely it is for 5th century people to speak something resembling 21st century English, there are nevertheless an infinite number of such dimensions - and those are the ones selected for sale.
  10. I really enjoyed The Long Earth series, and TFW brought it to my mind as well. I thought Baxter and Pratchett did a reasonably good job of showing how people's first (and second, and etc) schemes for commercial exploitation of the infinity of parallel Earths all ended up being, as you say, ridiculous. They "worked" for a short time, until the people on the buying end realized that (with infinity just a step away) there is always an easier or cheaper way, then they went bankrupt. I think one of the main themes of The Long Earth is that so much about our economic system is predicated on scarcity. If infinite resources suddenly become available, most "traditional" economic ideas can go right in the trash. I do wish this idea had been fleshed out more in the books.
  11. Wondering if anyone else noticed the SNL callout in the Frugal Wizard™ promo material at the beginning of Part 4:
  12. My Tress box finally arrived! I had already read the e-version of the novel, and while I enjoyed it, I didn't find it to be THAT compelling. I am, however, completely gobsmacked by the quality and beauty of the premium hardcover book itself. I knew, of course, that the delays in production and shipping were primarily due to Brandon's (and the team's) desire to do something special with the cover and interior artwork - and the difficulties presented thereby - but Rust and Ruin this thing is an absolute work of art. I don't even want to TOUCH it, never mind READING it! Kudos to the Dragonsteel team and to everyone else involved in the creation of of this utter storming masterpiece. I can understand a feeling of sticker shock at the $55 price tag if you are looking to buy it separately, but given the impressive amount of sweat, love, and craft that has gone into manufacturing this volume, honestly, it's a bargain.
  13. *mind BLOWN* Big kudos to the "special" person who first noticed that! I think "fiddlygrak" is just a nonsense word Brandon made up so there would be an in-cosmere version of "balderdash" that isn't used here on Earth, analogous to the way characters use curses appropriate to their planet of origin: "Rust and Ruin", "storming", etc. It's a way to move the reader more fully into the cosmere.
  14. I hope you enjoyed it. That was an awful lot of work to prove what we already knew: these moons are simply impossible for a variety of reasons, and the only way they can exist is "magic".
  15. I'm a chemist by trade, so I know some things about natural crystals, less so about faceting gemstones. There is definitely a difference; crystalline substances NATURALLY form faces and edges, and the geometric relationship between them is determined by how the individual atoms pack together. So the shapes and arrangements of the facets of a natural crystal (e.g., quartz, pyrite, halite, etc.) depend solely on how the atoms arrange themselves according to the laws of physics. My understanding of gemcutting is that the best cuts for a specific type of mineral will depend on knowing what that mineral "wants" to do (sometimes described as its "crystal habit"), but if you are willing to work hard enough, you can put any kinds of facets you want on anything, as evidenced by "cut glass": glass is naturally amorphous and has no crystalline nature, but you can make it look like a cut gem.