“Arcanum Unbounded” by Brandon Sanderson (Tor, 2016)


If you’re any sort of epic fantasy fan, then by now you know full well who bestselling author Brandon Sanderson is. You may know him as the author who finished the long-spanning Wheel of Time series by the late Robert Jordan; or the creator of the fantastic Mistborn series; or perhaps you know him as the great mind behind his ongoing epic Stormlight Archive series. As a young adult reader, you may have also discovered him through some of his YA titles like The Rithmatist or the Reckoners trilogy, or perhaps even his Alcatraz series.

In case you haven’t realized, the guy can write. What you may not know is that all his books and stories are intrinsically linked together in his Cosmere universe. I know. Woah! Just when you think the guy can’t astound you more, he does. Sanderson has mentioned and hinted at this over the years of his climbing to stardom and bestseller status, and now readers get their first full insight into this galaxy of wonders, and of course, it’s a heavy tome weighing in at 672 pages, in Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection.

The book collects a good amount of Sanderson’s short fiction. Of course, one can’t really consider these short stories, because when it comes to writing, the word means little to Sanderson unless he’s referring to a character’s stature. Each novella and novelette features an introduction by one of Sanderson’s knowledgeable characters about what they know about this particular planet and system and how this affects those who live on the world or worlds within it.

The collection features nine tales, including an Elantris novella, a Mistborn story and novella that brings back an old beloved character. It features the first chapter for what became the script to his graphic novel, White Sands, as well as a sample of the great artwork. Included is also his novelette “Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell” which first appeared in the George R. R. Martin’s and Gardner Dozois’ anthology Dangerous Women, which features one of the strongest and most impressive female protagonists ever, and is one of Sanderson’s best stories. Period. Arcanum Unbounded also has a very nice and very long novella from his Stormlight Archive called “Edgedancer.” The book showcases impressive artwork of the planets and star systems, and is of course beautifully designed and executed, as is any high-class work from Tor books.

Originally written on January 4, 2017 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Arcanum Unbounded from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature” by Roland Keys (John Hopkins University Press, 2016)


We’ve all seen those spectacular National Geographic covers of a leopard at night, or a bird of paradise in full plumage, or an elephant shrew deep beneath the ground doing whatever an elephant shrew does. But how did that photographer get that precise, beautiful shot? Sometimes, actually, often it involves sitting in one place with little movement for a long time until you see the animal you’re trying to photograph. Other times it involves a specially placed camera in a camera trap and when the animal goes by, the camera is activated and takes a number of shots, hopefully capturing that exact one you’ve been looking for.

Candid Creatures is a coffee table book bursting with photos of many different kinds of wildlife, all caught using these camera traps. The photos give a different, lesser seen side to viewing the animals in their natural habitat, where no human is involved. The book provides lots of information on camera traps and creating them, as well as on the different species. The only real lacking with the book is that while the photos are colorful and breathtaking, they are sadly small, and the book could’ve used lots more giant splash pages of these wondrous animals and less words on the page.

Originally written on May 11, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Candid Creatures from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.