The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

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  1. A little ego boosting first thing in the morning can be a good thing.

    I certainly agree with comparing your Vlad & Khaavren work to Sabatini; your stories fit perfectly alongside his for adventure, character development and the whole feel of thoroughly researched history. Which has always been one of the outstanding aspects of Vlad’s world, the fact it has always felt real and never just made up. In fact, I keep all your books on the same shelf with my favorite authors of historical fiction, i.e. Dumas, Sabatini and Forester.

    It was odd to see Vlad compared to Nero Wolfe; I’ve always felt his tone and attitude was very much like Archie’s, not to mention his approach to problems.

  2. Although the Taltos series has been a favorite of mine from the very first book, I’m glad to see Tilendis also enticing readers to look at some of your other works. You know I had my issues with Brokedown Palace the first time around (folktales: yech-ptooie!) but on the second try came to see it as possibly the most difficult book you’ve ever aced. Folktale aspects, still not so much. Sneaky finessing of main series tie-in events, bang on target. And I’m still shaking my head in awe over the additional fact that it’s not just any allegory on revolution, but a Hegelian allegory on world history to boot.

    If any book can match Brokedown for layering and nuance, it would have to be The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. Three versions of the same story, interwoven on several levels, and yet each one readable on its own merits.

    But I’ve always thought of Taltos, not To Reign in Hell, as your salute to Zelazny.

  3. Not sure whether this is an ego-boost or not…

    Having recently re-read Issola, and also recently bought a coffee maker (until now I have relied upon my roommates’ Civilizing Devices to make me human in the mornings), it is my firm intention to make klava sometime in the near future, and I thought I should ask if, using modern machinery, there are any of Vlad’s instructions that should be adapted.

  4. Matt, it would be wise to check what type of wood needs to be used for the wood chips. I wouldn’t recommend chipped-up old rail sleepers that have been treated with toxins.

  5. I was actually wondering whether the eggshells and woodchips were meant mainly for filtration, or if they were important to the flavor, or some of each. Also, I’m assuming the vanilla beans, like coffee beans, should be ground, but I figured I should check that assumption as well. Would it be a horrible adulteration if I had vanilla grounds and, say, sawdust in a normal coffee filter. or would that just be a modernization (Terranization? I suppose I shouldn’t make assumptions about timelines…) of the process, adapting it for earthly coffee machines? For that matter, has anyone else made klava? Is it solely fictional, or a long-held secret of Hungarian (at a guess) master brewers?

    I could go on. In any case, any feedback ismuchly appreciated.

  6. I knew I’d seen it somewhere around here…

    Matt Doyle @ 5: There’s a klava recipe and discussion in the 70’s of “Jhegaala-Spoilers” from July of ’08.

  7. A good writeup. I find it fascinating reading all of the different ways that people started reading Brust. For me it was finding Jhereg around 1990, then discovering there were other books then hoping there would be more. When I introduced the series to friends the order was always an interesting conversation. The publication order Jhereg-Yendi-Teckla-Taltos-Phoenix became a mantra.

    Matt Doyle @5,
    Read the discussion Sharon mentioned of which I was a part. I will give you my short version though.

    Use a french press.
    Add good ground coffee.
    Add an eggshell (cleaned).
    Add some wood chips. I prefer hickory.
    Add 1/4 tsp vanilla extract.*
    Add hot water and let sit for 4-5 minutes.
    Lower the press and pour into a cup.
    Add 1 TBSP honey and 1 TBSP cream.

    *NOTE: A vanilla bean is not really hard like a coffee bean. Instead they have a paste inside the pod. I have not tried it for klava. Also they are very expensive ~$10 per bean, though you would not use a whole bean for a cup of klava.

  8. Having just started the Khavren Romances (just finished Phoenix Guards and enjoyed it immensely). It is hard to disagree with the author of the review (But we are all fans which is why we come here I imagine), but SKZB is the only author that literally makes me laugh out loud not because of the content of the dialogue (which is also great) but the dialogue itself.

    A well deserved ego boost my friend.

  9. Hi Steve,
    I enjoyed the 4th Street Fantasy Convention in Minneapolis this year, 2010. I hope to come again. I had wanted to talk more to you, but I think you were a bit busy.

    I hope you remember me.

    Bests,

    Alfred Kaye in Minneapolis

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