David Gemmell’s Stories (A Retrospective)

David Gemmell, Druss and Waylander

I can still remember the book. Back in high-school, the library had a surprising wealth of fantasy and sci-fi in the offing.

It was a story of a character who was the second-best swordsman in the land. They fought against an enemy who could send giant melded beast-men into battle. And one of the characters claimed to be the descendant of some fellow named Druss.

It was The King Beyond The Gate, and my young mind revelled in the action and simplicity of the story-telling.

Of course, while I will always love that first book, the character of Druss stands out amongst Gemmell’s characters, amongst his worlds.

Druss is truly indomitable. He is a fighter like no other, but what separates him out from the wave of 80s action heroes (when Legend was published) is the moral fibre of the man.

From reading about Gemmell, this was obviously very important to him. He created simple characters, they weren’t all that complex, and they mostly followed stereo-types.

But you know what, that can be said of any character really. It’s how well you deliver, how deep you go, how much flesh is put on them.

But also, sometimes, a character is in their simplicity far more powerful.

This is Druss. And to me, Gemmell will always be Druss. His other stories are often fantastic (Waylander especially), but every book with the giant axeman saying “Laddie” and belting obnoxious drunkards across a bar will always be his best. Because Druss always won, because he never backed down.

I do not idolise nor look up to Gemmell.

But I would have gladly had him around for a barbie and got to know this man better. He wrote heroic fiction very well. He wrote the kind of book that you can read in an outing. And these books are as important as the trilogies and wheels .. err big long epics.

And he created Druss, who really stands out amongst characters in today’s fantasy stories for his strength, purpose, will and general awesomeness.

Little Things

Recently the GMail team have been adding _little_ things to their product. It’s cool. The refined power in the engine I’ve read about, and you can see some of the signals (words and images changing).

I noticed this morning a new bit (for want of a better word, which you will no doubt have). The labels (tags, not folders, no folders here!) of the conversation (the email) are displayed just to the right of the Subject. You can then search for all messages with the labels, or remove a label from that conversation.



In other news, the Firefox install on my laptop is still giving grief with the Nettalk Webserver / Ext  / Vista combination. Other Firefox installs on XP and Vista are the same. Extensions turned off makes no difference. Exactly the same extensions as working instances makes no difference.

It’s infuriating.

(Apologies for the width of this image .. for effect :) )


Haven’t worked on Jaymoe since last update. Well, not enough to count.

Discovered anew why I loved David Gemmell’s books. They were simple, straight-forward heroic fantasy. You could guarantee there would be a big strong bull fighter. There would be a tall lithe athletic leader who was amazingly skilled in weapons. Waylander. Druss. Even Skillgannon (spl) later on. Love it. I truly hope someone picks up that mantle. He didn”t have the depth that GRRM has, but I don’t always eat steak.