A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Battle of the Books

The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (or GLVWG, pron. "glivwig") proposes to put on a Battle of the Books, for which we will practice this coming Thursday. In this battle, three contestant authors will read portions of a book of their own exemplifying elements of the writerly art; to wit:

  1. First Impressions: The book’s cover, with title and blurb, are the author’s first chance to make a good impression. Each author will be given a chance to read the blurb and show the cover (if available) before reading the opening page of his or her book.  
  2. Enter the Hero: There is a place in every book where we meet the protagonist (another first impression), and each author will read the paragraph in which the hero is revealed to the reader.
  3. Meet the Bad Guy: Ditto for the antagonist. 
  4. Look Who’s Talking: Dialogue is perhaps the most enjoyable part of reading as the characters interact and move the story forward. The authors will read a short exchange of dialogue without explanation.  
  5. Let’s Go Places: Every scene has to take place somewhere. Each author will read a paragraph that sets a scene for a chapter or segment. 
  6. Random Read: The authors will be required to read from a random page and paragraph selected by the audience.  
  7. Closing Lines: Every book has a conclusion, and each author will share the closing line of his or her book to conclude the program.

TOF will be one of the three contestants vying for the coveted jelly beans to be awarded by the audience.

He appeals here to his Faithful Reader: Which of the TOFian novels shall bear pride of place in this noble contest? Nominations are hereby solicited. Where possible, indicate where in the book you think any of the above categories would be suitable.  Vote early and often.


  1. Sounds like fun. This is more challenging than one might hope - my three favorite books of yours are Eifelheim, Wreck of the River of Stars and Country of the Blind, in that order. In the first, there are two sets of protagonists - Father Dietrich is the obvious choice, but that leaves out a lessor but still important set of characters in current time sections. River of Stars is right out, unless you want the ship itself to be the protagonist - otherwise, there are, what, 16 protagonists? Would be difficult - but you seem to like difficult things. I liked Country of the Blind, but not as much as the other books. It at least offers maybe the most straight-forward good-guy/villain contrast - if you ignore the earlier historical parts.

    So, I guess I'd vote Eifelheim, and go with the medieval sections. Who or what, exactly, is the bad guy could be a challenge - perhaps a scene wherein the philosophies of Fr. Dietrich and the aliens conflict?

    Can't get any more specific than that, don't have the book in front of me.

  2. I love WRECK OF THE RIVER OF STARS for the language; EIFELHEIM for the sense of place; but I most love FIRESTAR for its relevance and young particular where Rogue and Mariesa argue just before they "split'...

  3. I second Joseph and Guy: The bittersweet Wreck of the River of Stars, and Eifelheim; fit them into the appropriate categories.

  4. A fourth vote for EIFELHEIM, my all-time favorite emission from the TOFian mind.

  5. A fifth vote for Eifelheim. I think Dietrich and Joachim's dialogue (if there's enough of it to count!) on Joachim's departure would be an excellent selection.

  6. Can't help but also suggest Eifelheim. I haven't read all your novels, but this one is so moving and interesting in all the different sections, that I doubt you could go wrong with even the random reading part.


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