A Month of Writers, Day One: Steven Brust

So, I had this idea: While I was off this December writing my book and being no fun, why not keep you folks entertained with a revolving platter of fabulous guest stars? What kind of guest stars, you ask? Well, the best kind of guest stars, naturally: Writers!

Specifically, writers I like, who also have blogs, who are also totally awesome. These writers have kindly consented to share a favorite blog posting of their own from the past year here at Whatever, for your edification and amusement. It also gives me a chance to tell you to visit their blogs if you’re not already doing so, and buy their books, because even awesome writers need attention and money. So, you know, do both.

To kick things off, here’s one of my absolute favorite writers, Steven Brust, whose latest book Dzur continues the Vlad Taltos series, a fact that made me very very happy, since it’s hands down my favorite fantasy series. For this entry, Steven combines two of my favorite things — 80s era pop and the siren call of procrastination that comes from video games — into an earwormy paean to staring glassily into a computer screen for days at a time. For those of you not up on your 80s pop, you have my pity, and the note that the following ditty is set to this tune.

STEVEN BRUST: Been busy, lately

Your friends are out, but you’re at home
Making desert into loam
Your eyes glaze, your body shakes
Another shield your grassland makes

Corruption hurts efficiency
Better try Democracy.
Workers build, the people feed
Find some food so they can breed.

Whoa, you like to think that you’re immune to the call, oh yea.
And you’ll go to bed when you’ve built the Great Wall, you know you’re
Gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to Civ.

You’ve lost the power of thought and speech
The iron ore is out of reach
The horses run at double time
Upgrade to muskets and you’ll be fine

You must save face
Don’t let the French be first in Space
Bed calls but its no use
Until you can make that bank produce

Whoa, you like to think that your will is completely free, oh yea.
And you’ll stop when you’ve built the Observatory, you know you’re
Gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to Civ.

Might as well face it you’re addicted to Civ
Might as well face it you’re addicted to Civ
Might as well face it you’re addicted to Civ
Might as well face it you’re addicted to Civ
Might as well face it you’re addicted to Civ

Your friends are out, but you’re at home
Making desert into loam
You’ll eat some bread and cheese
After two more technologies
Whoa, you like to think that you do it for fun, oh yea.
But you can’t stop till the Hoover Dam is done, you know you’re
Gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to Civ.

Might as well face it you’re addicted to Civ
Might as well face it you’re addicted to Civ
Might as well face it you’re addicted to Civ
Might as well face it you’re addicted to Civ
Might as well face it you’re addicted to Civ

(Original post, with comments, here)

22 Comments on “A Month of Writers, Day One: Steven Brust”

  1. You’ve just named my favorite living writer, Steven Brust, who along with Walter Jon Williams were tagged with the ‘Zelazny protege’ label before making their own names in fantasy and sci-fi.

    And now, there’s an official Adrilankha Gift Shop, found at http://www.cafepress.com/dragaera. Quotes and other fun stuff on t-shirts, klava mugs, buttons, and other swag. All profits go to Steve. Current sections include:

    Valabar & Sons
    Shut Up, Loiosh
    No matter how subtle the wizard…
    Just Here to Sell Onions
    Noish-Pa & Noish-Ma

  2. Bwahahaha!!

    In law school, I loaned Civ to a friend of mine. I saw him in class the next day, his eyes red from lack of sleep. He looked at me and said “You are a very bad man”.

    Yes, yes, that light at the window is what we experienced gamers call “Dawn”. Muahahahaa!!!!

  3. One of my favorite authors. One of my favorite games. Superb!

    Great. Now I want to re-read the book about a meal, while researching pottery.

    You are both bad, bad men.

  4. The last long fantasy series that was highly recommended to me was The Wheel of Time. That made me very very skeptical. So tell me good and bad points of this series.

  5. Good points: It’s funny and exciting and the books are not 7000 pages long, and hardly anyone eats a hearty bowl of stew in them.

    Bad points: Steven Brust isn’t twins and can’t write them twice as fast.

  6. Another note about the Vlad series: they are NOT epic fantasy. The writing style has come to be called “first person smartass”. I’d say get a copy of _Jhereg_, the first one, and try it. It’s short enough, and since it’s a first novel, Brust only gets better.

    There’s a side series (non-Vlad) starting with _The Phoenix Guard_, which I don’t think is a good starting point. They’re in a completely different style (a riff on Dumas and _The Three Musketeers_), and while I love them, a lot of people don’t.

  7. Steve Greenland:

    Now you know one of the people I learned my “first person smartass” tone from.

  8. JJS: they stand alone and you can read them out of order. To an extent. I was angry when I got Orca and discovered that something huge had happened (it took me years to find the book in which it did), but I didn’t mind when little changes were made if it turned out I’d skipped a book or two. This is partly because I can never remember which books I’ve read, which I own, and which I’ve seen but not bought. There’s less of an epic feel than in most series; Vlad Taltos is an antihero and a fun one.

  9. Awesome! Was debating which con to go to over Memorial Weekend, Marcon or Wiscon. Got a postcard from Marcon that had Mr. Brust as toastmaster. After that, the choice just wasn’t close. Sorry Wiscon, maybe 2009.

  10. I have to say, I’m very glad Steven Brust is around. He’s my absolute favorite writer. And to think, I almost didn’t read _Jhereg_ because the cover art was so old fashioned (but, I was on a quest to read every book in the house at the time…). Heh, a literal example of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. I have to remember to thank my dad for hording sci/fi and fantasy novels sometime.

  11. I just want to second the comment about the Adrilankha gift shop— Mr. Brust is, unfortunately, in a very tight monetary situation due to health issues whilst not on medical insurance and the IRS on his back (which happens to writers quite a lot— do they get bad advice? Diverted royalties? What is it?)

    Until those monetary problems are ameliorated, it is unlikely that Brust will be to any conventions in a city near you. So by selecting Christmas gifts from the shop you are, in some small way, making sure that he will be able to sign your book for you in the future.

  12. Great to see a Brust reference. I remember first reading him after getting an omnibus edition of his Vlad Taltos series, and then seeing the Zelazny blurb on the cover of To Reign in Hell and understanding why it was there.

    I’m sad to see what B. Durbin has to write – is there anything we can do?

  13. Ya know, I’m pretty sure that there are a fair number of times that a hearty bowl of stew is eaten in Brust’s books, mostly when Vlad is living rough on the run from the Jhereg. Indeed, I think that sometime in _Athyra_ he eats a hearty flax stew, which, ya know, ewww. For that matter, I’m not sure the characters in the the Viscount of Adrilankha series ever eat anything but stew, often at picturesque Teckla-run inns.

    Anyway, I just bought a “What would Sethra do?” t-shirt, with a lovely drawing of Iceflame on it. Hope that helps.

    Weird to think I’ve been reading these wonderful books for most of my life…

  14. I just bought a Shut Up Loiosh golf shirt and a Wizard/knife/shoulder blades button from the site. Horrible to hear that the hospital took a lien out on his house, though it looks like he’s now getting good legal advice on the matter.

  15. Boring tax digression comment drift—-Do writers get in trouble with the IRS frequently? They may very well get bad advice. More likely, they probably used their tax money to pay bills. I would imagine someone like Mr. Scalzi, with his uber competent wife, would never miss his quarterly payments (just a pure assumption, many self employed folks make quarterly payments, and some fairly well off employed folks.) Also, just because you’re a writer does not accrue some magic of “saving of the money” ability you didn’t have before. That and they probably get paid in weird dribbles and lumps.

  16. Brust rules.

    Also been a fan since I snagged the first omnibus. Read the whole series except Orca, which I started w/o having read Phoenix and Athyra and gave up, and have wondered about ever since.

    re-read To Reign in Hell yesterday. It’s not the Revolt in Heaven story I would have written, but since mine is still in one-act play form I’ll just shut up and say it’s awfully damn good.

    The Khaavren Romances (the first two, anyway) are best read as Loving Parodies of Dumas.

    I’m buying me a Shut Up, Loiosh shirt, stat.

  17. I’m new to Whatever so I hadn’t seen this. I can so relate to the poem. I have lost far too many months to computer games. Not just civ. Xcom comes to mind. I also recall walking along EVERY wall in Doom hiting the space bar in search of 100% secret passages. The “I’m with Krager:” tee shirt is too funny to anyone who has read Brust and too obscure for everyone else. I need to see if there are any of his books I haven’t read.

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