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A big war told small The Civil War remains "Our War" as a nation and a people, but first it belonged to the generation that lived it. Read a free sample.

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NZ Pioneer Battalion - The Story of Our War

Buy an E-Copy Kindle Nook. Read the Latest Sycamores, shadows and tall buildings Sycamores and shadows, Feb. And they have given so much and have contributed so markedly to the country and world we have today. They have so much to share and teach us. We can barely express how privileged we feel to have known our interviewees. Nothing had made us prouder to be New Zealanders than to know the country could once produce people like them. We believe in the power of personal stories, and the importance of oral history and the recording and treasuring of lives and experiences lived. They can help us see our own human experience in new, rich and meaningful ways.

By knowing where we have come from, and where we are today, we get a better picture of where we are going as a nation and people. They educate and teach us; fascinate and entertain. They inspire and uplift.

SF Reviews. All rights reserved. Book cover art by Christophe Sivet left. As we reach the halfway point of the new century's first decade, England retains pole position as the source of some of the most daring, genre-bending talents in fantasy. Ballard's old toys from the attic and seeing who can be the first to poke out an eye. Of course, it's all good fun until someone gets hurt.

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While the new British fantasy has its ardent defenders of whom I am one , it has its critics of whom I am one. Cutting those edges and pushing, spindling, and mutilating those envelopes will take you far, but only so far. Steph Swainston's debut exemplifies both the best and worst traits of this generation of storytellers. On the one hand, her writing has a gripping immediacy, engrossing you in her world before you know what's hit you and deromanticizing fantasy tropes with a nonstop spectacle of drug-addicted heroes, indifferent gods, warriors who place self-interest over duty, and love not merely unrequited but scorned with a childlike cruelty.

On the other hand There's such a thing as cynicism overkill.


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And if I come away from The Year of Our War saying I admired it without particularly enjoying it, it's because I recognize in Swainston an author of undeniable artistry, who, at least in her first book, is making the mistake of trying a little too hard. I don't want to see her water her vision down, but with the slightest of improvements she could really find a following to embrace, rather than shy away from, her bleak visions.

The Year of Our War is set in the Fourlands, an island continent containing a number of kingdoms, over the whole of which rules an immortal emperor, San, and his coterie of fifty immortals. These have been chosen, we are told, from the best and brightest of the Fourlands, and granted immortality so that they can aid in the governance of the Fourlands in the absense of their god, who apparently got fed up with the place and has taken off.

Immortality isn't the boon you might think it is, though. Anybody among the Fourlands' mortal species may challenge you, though few challenges are successfully won by the challengers.

The Year of Our War

On top of that, the whole continent has a nasty pest control problem. Hordes of ravenous giant Insects, on loan from Starship Troopers , are taking over the place, destroying cities in their zillions, and all of the Fourlands' military might has been hard at work holding these bugs at bay for nearly years. Evidently his flying is Jant's only qualification for joining the immortals for whom he is San's messenger , as he has no other skills or redeeming qualities.