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Everybody was kendo fighting! Their swings were fast as lightning.

I started listening the audiobook of the latest Jim Butcher novel, ‘The Cinder Spires: the Aeronaut’s Windlass‘ (aka. the book that everyone wishes was the next Dresden Files). Gotta say, so far I’m digging it. I like that it’s narrated by someone with a pleasant British accent. Story-wise, you’ve got crystal powered airships broadsiding each other, you’ve got floating cities at war, magic power gauntlets, and very polite badasses. Also talking cats. So, basically, I’m sold, definitely enjoying it! Would I have enjoyed the next Dresden Files more?? Eeeeeehhhhhhh…. probably, but only because I’ve invested a near decade of my life into that series. Honestly, Dresden Files is 15 books in, and it’s kind of a clustercuss of a narrative at this point. I often wonder if I’d appreciate the series more had it just kept each book as a self contained detective noir series with maybe hints at a bigger plot that would be revealed in the final book. Well, I guess the TV series tried to do that and it was an awful disaster so maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge!

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  • Pascalle Lepas


    • White Rice

      That’s Nine-Finger Nata- *gets stabbed*

      • leavescat

        I’m hoping he isn’t known as Nine-Finger for much longer.

        • suburban_samurai

          There’s a lot of digit-reduction hype going around!

    • Kid Chaos

      Genchu: “Remember me?” 😎

    • charles81


  • Gigi

    I know it was probably more violent, but I just imagine Genchu’s push being so mild like “eh get out of here I guess if you want. Sorry whatever.”

    • leavescat

      I mean, Purple Samurai tried to use his hostage as a weapon. Genchu just discarded his and he’s already doing better.

  • Sabriel415

    Hold up a sec- there’s a Dresden Files tv show? For reals? I LOVE that series, how did I not know this existed?!?

    On another thought entirely, this comic is amazing. I’ve been reading for several years now (including the hiatus a while back) and I’m really impressed with the story and how far the art has come! Thanks for sharing this with us guys :)

    • suburban_samurai

      Thanks Sabriel! And yes, there was a Dresden Files show, it lasted a total of 12 episodes and it’s a hot mess. They change so many things from the books and the casting is pretty terrible.

      The guy playing Harry is a middle aged balding dude who wears a short leather jacket, drives a jeep, and lives in a big house that’s cluttered with magic stuff. Bob the skull is there, but in the show he’s a human wizard’s spirit trapped in a fake skull, and he pops out and takes the form of a human so he can be played by some actor. Also Karen Murphy became Connie Murphy, and she’s not a short blonde martial arts expert, although she’s still a police officer, at least. Anyway, there are so many unnecessary changes from the books, but the big problem is that the acting is really overdone, the special effects are awful, all the humor falls flat. On top of that, there’s a heavy emphasis on drama, which never works when coupled with the bad effects and bad acting. The show might have worked if it’d just been silly. The last episode loosely follows the plot of the first book, and I watched the whole show to get to that episode and had no idea why I’d bothered once I’d seen it.

      And now I’ve ranted about the Dresden Files show! I wouldn’t recommend watching it but I’m pretty sure it’s on both Netflix and Hulu…

      • Sabriel415

        I hate it when Hollywood takes something awesome and makes it… Not. Based on that glowing review, I think I’ll skip the show… But I dunno, with how long this next book is taking, I might have to try it just to give me something new and Dresden related until it comes out.

        • LisaCat

          Ouch! XD I quite liked the show, actually. I ran across it first,
          thought it was a ton of fun and had some great ideas, enjoyed the acting
          and the characterization, and then was bitterly disappointed when it
          got cancelled. (the special effects were, admittedly… well, Scifi
          Channel effects >.> but I still love going back and rewatching
          early seasons of Babylon5 with all those great space effects XD so I
          tend to find them part of the charm.)

          The show was actually what
          inspired me to read the books! … which I then regretted >.> I
          found them to be not nearly as much fun, quite a bit more smug and
          insufferably arrogant – trying to push the ‘dark dramatic backstory’
          without the tongue-in-cheek humor of the show, and especially the
          Connie/Karen character… -shudder- at least in the show she felt like a
          real, complex, flawed and awesome female character I could identify
          with! Karen was just… she felt like a flat male-fantasy “strong woman”
          trope I had to force myself to read. And to top it all off, the books
          felt bland and boringly repetitive. I only read the first three… they
          felt like Honor Harrington novels >.> very “lather, rinse, repeat”
          like Butcher had only one setting for his narratives.

          BUT one
          thing I’ve found over and over is this weird split between the fans XD
          those of us who saw the show first and then read the books, from the
          folks I’ve spoken with, tend to love the show and dislike the books.
          Those who started with the books first love them to pieces and can’t
          stand the show! There are always exceptions, and I guess your first will
          always have the glow of nostalgia to protect it, but I did want to get
          another viewpoint out there ^_^;

          But more importantly: What
          lovely coloring on this page! The long-awaited Genchu/Nataku fight HECK
          YEAH (why do I fear they’re going to be interrupted so they can meet
          again at the climax? XD)

          • suburban_samurai

            I can’t defend The Dresden Files books too much, they’re generally a lot of silly action schlock with plots that logically unravel if you think about them too hard. And Dresden Files is VERY tropey all around (not that I’m against such considering NN4B)! I feel like the main draw to the series is one’s enjoyment of Dresden’s personality and how he deals with situations, which is basically to be an unforgivingly snarky ass to anyone he doesn’t like and bend over backwards to help anyone he does. It’s totally wish fulfillment fantasy, except things usually get worse for Dresden every book instead of getting better, which is what’s kept me invested. The books also suffer from the ‘worse night of my life’ syndrome where every book basically covers a one to two day period. Since the series kind of happens in real time to the books’ publishing window to keep the pop culture references current (essentially a year passes between each book) it gets awkward always coming back to a book and having to catch up on a year or six months of stuff happening in between. It’s also grown more and more implausible as to how much stuff happens to Harry in such a short span of time! Anyway, now I’ve countered my Dresden show rant with my Dresden book rant!

            I have a friend who liked the show and hasn’t read the books. I’ll bet he wouldn’t like the books too!!

          • LisaCat

            And really, we shouldn’t need to defend our little pleasures in life like that ^_^; I will say that most of my friends are book-fans and, like you, didn’t have a kind word to say about the show, so I’m a little hair-trigger about having to stand up for something I enjoyed so much against a fair bit of criticism. That being said, the show certainly had its flaws (I would have liked to have seen more over-arching big picture story, and maybe that would have happened if more seasons did, and yeah, some of that schlocky over-acting that I love probably rubs some people the wrong way ^_^;), and the books did have enough good things to keep me reading for 3 rounds, at least! Eventually the bad overcame the good, but that doesn’t mean the good wasn’t still there.
            And personally I have trouble with series that get progressively more dire (Malazan Books of the Fallen, Temeraire, Honor Harrington, etc.). My life is stressful enough! Books are supposed to make me feel better, not worse! XD Compared to the books, the show felt more upbeat to me, which is probably another reason I preferred it. But hey, it’s why NN4B is so awesome! You guys have a lovely pacing with putting Our Heroes in danger and running into bad luck and then letting them come back up for air for a bit in between emergencies XD it gives me a chance to recover, too!

          • suburban_samurai

            I totally get that a constant level of stress can turn me off from a story, especially with television and movies! I’m drawn to dark book series, though. I greatly enjoy Game of Thrones (or AsoIaF, if you will). I read six books into Temeraire but it got a little boring for me! I loved the first book to death, though. And I tried to read Malazan but it was totally over my head. Talk about a series that has no regard for new readers! I’ve never read Honor Harrington but I wonder if I’d like it.

            I can also assure you that Joe and I have a preference for happy endings, so we tend to keep things pretty light hearted despite all the murder by stabbing! Not that we need to start throwing book recommendations at each other, but I’d recommend the Vorkosigan if you haven’t read it. The series is everything from space opera, to political drama, to espionage, to detective stories, all centered around the colorfully diverse Vorkosigan family. The books build on each other and go to some dark places, but always end on a positive high note! (well, except one, but that would be a massive spoiler).

          • LisaCat

            Ah GoT XD I did read it until the big break before Dance with Dragons, but the long hiatus ended up killing my momentum for it, and by the end of Feast I was getting a bit tired of my favorite characters dying while the ones I didn’t care for got more prominence >.> I’m a fan of the “things get worse before they get better” style, making that final comeback feel all the sweeter, but when things don’t get better for 2,000 pages I eventually throw my hands up and find something with friendlier pacing XD
            Malazan was… whew. I liked individual books and individual stories within the books, but Erikson is also riding that “kill them, kill them all” train a leeeeeetle too hard >.>
            If you like Dresden, you might like Honor! I ended up disliking the two series for similar narrative choices, but I think if you like one you might like the other? Didn’t make it past book 3 in the Honorverse so I can’t say for sure if it gets better or worse from there ^_^;
            If you’re ever in the mood for feel-good space opera, though, I’d recommend David Drake’s Lt. Leary/RCN novels. They’re my go-to fluff when I want rolicking space battles and sneaky political intrigue with a nearly-guaranteed satisfying ending.

            I think I saw a Vorkosigan book at the library last time I was there! I’ll give it a try, since it sounds right up my alley :) thanks!

          • Kid Chaos

            You’ve never read Honor Harrington??????? Dude, you have no idea what you’re missing. “Horatio Hornblower IN SPACE!” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Run, don’t walk, to your [insert preferred media conveyance here] and get the first book, “On Basilisk Station”…NOW. :)

          • suburban_samurai

            Sold. I bought the first book. YOU BETTER BE RIGHT ABOUT THIS CHAOS (and LisaCat)!!

      • KaelHyun

        I really hate that people who call themselves fans hate that old Show when the Jim Butcher himself said he loved it and felt it worked fine.

        • suburban_samurai

          I do recall reading that Butcher approved of the tv series, although he didn’t have any input on it! I like to think I can still consider myself a fan of his books while not liking the tv show much. Although hearing fans defend the shows has made me want to revisit it with a more open mind.

  • Little Kingsguard

    I love how casual Genchu is about dodging an attack from one of the most dangerous swordsmen in Japan. Just takes a step backwards.

    Also, I’m starting to think this is going to end with someone getting shot. Maybe Genchu convinces Ricardo that the crazy man attacking him is out to steal his guns?

    • Xinef

      It’s called dodging-jutsu! It’s a forbidden technique, only a few master swordsmen knew and they use it only in the most dire of circumstances!

      • Cross Ikon

        Why don’t you… DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODGE?!

  • Sunwu

    Genchu: Seven Fingers it is then….

    • Flaming Squirrel

      So he’s going for two this time?

      • Sunwu

        With every encounter Genchu increases the numbers of fingers he takes away by a factor of 1 until the General learns his lesson

        • Purphoros

          That guy would probably still go at it a fifth time…

  • Leo

    Did you just call the ambassador a doof?

    …It doesn’t exactly seem unfair, I guess.

  • Flaming Squirrel

    That settles it. Pointy hats are the “Clark-Kent-takes-off-glasses” of the… Japanese world.

    Also, my new favorite word is clustercuss. That is all.

  • Rose

    Honestly, the audio book thing always kinda threw me off. I’m sure the British accent does a lot for it, to be fair. But especially with the dialogue thing, where I’m always running this half-conscious illusion of what their individual voices sound like… I think the voice-over would still bother me.

    The book sounds pretty interesting though, might check hafta that out. 😛

    • suburban_samurai

      I fell in love with audiobooks when I had a job that was essentially data entry. Having a good audiobook will make mindless busywork fly by! I used to go through three audiobooks in a week. They’re also great for long walks, bike rides, long solitary car rides, and house chores. As much as I love reading a book, it’s become hard for me pass up the opportunity to listen to the book while simultaneously getting something else done.

      • Rose

        Nice. Now that I’m all grown up and doing the adult thing (mostly), I can definitely appreciate the benefits there.

      • Jake

        Ready Player One by Ernie Cline (5 time national grand slam poetry winner and the guy that wrote “Fanboys”) check that one out. Lots of good stuff and a decent story. Don’t know how everyone stands on Will Wheaton but he does a pretty good job reading the book.

        • suburban_samurai

          I really enjoyed Player One! I’m all for Wheaton’s audiobook narration, especially when paired with John Scalzi novels, of which he has narrated four or five. Fuzzy Nation, Androids Dream, Red Shirts, and Lock in are all pretty great! My favorite narrator is probably Michael Kramer, who narrates most of Brandon Sanderson’s books.

          Also concerning Ready Player One, Spielberg’s directing the film but stated he won’t use any references to his films, which there are many!! I wonder if maybe someone else should direct who isn’t so self restrictive?

          • IDPounder

            Ready Player One is the best book I’ve read in the past several years. Am excited to know it’s being made into a movie, but already put off if the director is imposing limitations on it.

            Should be worth it just for the Max Headroom recreation. I’m looking forward to that more than anything else!

          • Kid Chaos

            SEE ALSO: “Spock vs. Q” and “Spock vs. Q: The Sequel”. You won’t be sorry. :)

  • Neska

    Ricardo has aptly summed up the situation: It is getting complicated.
    Fisherman/translator revealed as badass, fighting the guy the ambassador wanted the guns for, while the holy men want everybody to calm down . . .

    • charles81

      Me thinks Ricardo is going to un-complicate it..


  • Da’Zlein

    And thus they coined a new term for attacking someone holding a hostage: Nataku Negotiation

  • crazyman8472 .

    Don’t stop not dying, Genchu! :)

  • ShadeTail

    Kendo works better with the song’s rhythm, but Kenjutsu is more accurate. Kendo is the sport of fencing. Kenjutsu is the martial art of killing someone with a sword.

    • Kid Chaos

      Yeah, but “Kenjutsu” has too many syllables, so it doesn’t fit very well. :)

  • Jonathan B

    Mass Effect 2 Shadow Broker DLC spoiler, Commander Shepard does hostage negotiation.

  • Insane Disciple

    Ricarddddooo-kun, you have no idea

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