Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay
This book is a wonderment of prose. I think it is impossible to not be impressed by the craft Kay has put into this novel, and the story it tells is poignant and at times painful. The story is intensly compelling, twisting and turning as it tells the tale of a country that is desperate to not be forgotten. Get it here.
Talion: Revenant, by Michael Stackpole
If you haven’t heard of this book by now, you haven’t been paying attention to this podcast/blog. Talion is the first novel Stackpole ever wrote (though not the first to be published), and has been a long time favorite of mine. If you enjoy books that involve political intrigue, school settings, roaming badasses, and interesting world building, then this one’s for you. Get it here.
Grunts, by Mary Gentle
This book is not for the faint at heart. But if you can stomach the incredibly dark humor of this novel, you are in for one of the wildest rides in fantasy history. Telling the story of what happens after the ‘final’ battle between good and evil, it follows a band of orcs as they try to survive, and in doing so turn the world on its head. Get it here.
So, after some deep thought and long chats with Derek, I have decided to overhaul the Tales by Bob Patreon. It’s now set up in such a way that if you want to support just Tales by Bob, you can. If you want to support just Books, Beards, Booze, you can. Want to support both (I love you), you can! Regardless of what tier you choose, you will get access to all of the cool rewards we will be offering on there.
What are these rewards you ask? Well they are two fold! If you like my writing, well, there is going to be a serialized story told there each month, set in my steampunk world. It will be following the adventures of my ‘steampunk avengers’ as they seek to battle the foul machinations of the madmen of Ghol Rhuin.
For those who enjoy the rambling chatter of Derek and I, we are staring a series of worldbuilding videos! In each one the two of us will be building a world from the ground up, using a neat little system I devised. Every month we will post up a video as the two of us on the spot create this world, and invite you to play around in it! Use it for DnD, writing prompts, whatever! Go nuts, we just want to know what shenanigans you get into!
The goal here is to cover the monthly expenses of the B-hive. Between Office, Libsyn, and GoDaddy, it costs 51 bucks a month to operate, and we are just trying to break even. Currently we have two amazing Patrons, and would love you long time if you took the plunge and decided to do the same. Only a dollar a month gets you access to two fun rewards, and helps out a pair of struggling content creators!
The first in a series, Bob and Derek begin building a world for their Patreon supporters. To see the rest of the videos, which will be coming out monthly, hop over to www.patreon.com/talesbybob.
In this episode we create the fearsome Brole, discover the realm of Cherish, and visit down a little divine wrath.
Want a closer look at the chart we are using? Here you go:
This Short Read, Tall Glass selection is Carnival Nine, written by Caroline M. Yoachim. It is tale of deep worldbuilding and deeper emotion, and I won’t lie, damn near brought a tear to my eye. The feels! In two Sundays Derek and I will be discussing it on the podcast, so dive right in!
Read it here! And if you enjoy it, pickup a copy of here work here!
The guys chat about the news, go on weird movie tangents, actually agree about a story for once, and do a deep dive on ‘Your Authentic Indian Experience TM’ by Rebecca Roanhorse.
Check out this episode!
Cousin Brody the Libroian here, back from some debauchery in time to lay some knowledge on you. Today I want to recommend you three classics of bro literature. For each one you haven’t read, take a jaeger bomb.
First up, we have the Odyssey by Bromer. Look at that luscious beard, that is the beard of a true bro. So of course he would write this book! Its a tale of a bunch of brohams hopping in their bro-at, and cruising on home after a wicked Greek Function. Shenanigans ensue, as happens, which makes for a fun read. Best of all, it ends with homey rolling up on his wife and straight up slaying everyone trying to bang her. Classic.
Next we have Broliver Twist by M. Night….wait I mean Charles Dickens. Yeah, that last name always makes me giggle too. Dickens. Anyway, this book is about a young bro in training, who falls in with a rough crowd, but manages to get right, and more importantly, get paid son!
Lastly, we have The Hunchback of Brotre-Dame by Victor Hugo. This book is all about following the code of bros, and all the bad shit that happens when you don’t. The only real bro in this book, Quasi-bro-do, shows that bro-ness comes from within, isn’t just about having chiseled abs and a killer tan. Though that is a big part.
I had the pleasure of listening to Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey on my Audible account recently, so I thought I would share my thoughts with you fine folks!
Gun to head, forced to summarize this in a sentence, I would say ‘fantasy 50 Shades of Grey, set in a sort of medieval France, but actually amazing.’ Sex (and bdsm) is a strong thread throughout this novel, but it is just one of many excellent threads weaving this exceptional tapestry.
It is a book rife with political intrigue, set against a backdrop of some of the better worldbuilding in fantasy. The world feels real, mirroring our own in many ways, and the stakes feel equally real. It has a lived in quality to it that allows the characters to stretch and find themselves. They have depth, and flaws, making them the kind of characters that you can really get behind and root for (or against).
At its core it is somewhat of a coming of age tale for a woman who is, in effect, a holy sex worker. The attitudes of this fictional country towards sex is a refreshing outlook that our own world could stand to take a page out of, with this book focusing more on the realm of bdsm than more ‘conventional’ sex. Phedre uses the tools at her disposal, her wits and her body, to partake in the byzantine politics of court, to mixed result. As the book carries on and she grows into her skills, the stakes get higher, the risks more terrible.
From the audio perspective, it was a great production, and very ably voiced by Ann Flosnik. Most of the audiobooks I have listened to thus far have been narrated by men, so it was a refreshing change of pace to have a female voice this novel. She did an impeccable job on Phedre, the main character, but she also did exceptional work with the myriad male characters. All in all, a great value of an audiobook, with top notch work put into it.
Get your copy here.