Sci-fi and Fantasy

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Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  RiverThames on Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:45 pm

How did we not have this topic?

I'm currently reading Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon, since it's Hugo-nominated. (I get to vote this year, and I want to vote with some degree of knowledge.) It's fine and fun, but I'm not quite sure why it's been SO lauded. But I'm enjoying it.

Some uncommon recs I'll throw out: Stina Leicht's Of Blood and Honey and Blue Skies from Pain. Fae-influenced urban fantasy set in Troubles-era Ireland. Amanda Downum's Necromancer Chronicles: The Drowning City, The Bone Palace and Kingdoms of Dust. Fun fantasy-adventure stuff that makes very different choices.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  Raksha on Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:52 pm

A good source of new SF recommendations is The SF Squeecast, where SF professionals (Lynn Thomas, Elizabeth Bear, Seanan McGuire, Catherynne Valente, and Paul Cornell, as well as a special guest each episode) get together to talk about SF books (and occasionally TV shows or movies) that they love. My Paperback Swap wishlist gets longer every month thanks to this podcast!
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  Poubelle on Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:41 am

If you like to get your classic SF for as cheap as possible, Amazon has a number of Kindle editions of Andre Norton books for free.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  Disclaimer on Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:11 am

I read Throne of the Crescent Moon a few months ago and while I enjoyed it at the time I can't honestly remember much about it now. I enjoyed the setting though, and I liked the female characters.

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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  RiverThames on Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:23 pm

So, has anyone else been following this bizarre war between John Scalzi and "Vox Day"? And by, "war", I mean Vox has declared some sort of full out verbal assault that he thinks is leaving Scalzi in a quivering pile of unmanliness, and Scalzi is pointing and laughing.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  laddical on Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:42 pm

Got any links? I didn't see anything at "whatever".
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  RiverThames on Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:52 pm

Well, Scalzi never mentions his unfortunate nemesis by name, only as "Racist, Sexist, Homophobic Dipshit". It's also where he's been getting the Gamma Rabbit thing from. But most of his point-and-laugh has been from his twitter feed. On Vox's side, you just have to look for the posts titled, "McRapey", because he's classy like that.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  laddical on Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:00 pm

Oh, shit, I think part of me just died. Everything about that Vox Day guy makes me want to kick him in the nads.

I don't understand his own personal "nickname". Obviously he means it to be a play on Vox Dei? Except given that he named his Web site "vox popoli", I'm not sure he didn't just misspell "dei". And which is it? The voice of God or the voice of the people?

Gah. I feel despondent and angry and beaten down just reading a handful of that guy's frothing bullshit.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  RiverThames on Sun May 05, 2013 8:28 pm

Indeed.

He was running for president of SFWA, and lost in a landslide. Yet he considers his 81-point drubbing some sort of moral victory or something. Plus, since Scalzi got one write-in vote (Scalzi wasn't on the ballot, as he was stepping down from three terms as president), Vox's followers were like, "Ha, you beat him!"

But there is this very strange disconnect in the SF/F community, as some of the writers/readers are far-right leaning, and they are frothing with rage that the rest of SF/F fans aren't with them.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  RiverThames on Thu May 30, 2013 11:35 am

OK, I've finished Throne of the Crescent Moon, so now I've read two of the five Hugo nominees for best novel. And with this one, umm... yeah, I enjoyed it, but I don't see what all the hype is about. I mean, just from last year's releases, it's (in my opinion) the second-best fantasy novel in a psuedo-Arabian setting. I did like it, though. I'm just a little puzzled how it's one of the best of the year, getting nominated for ALL the big awards.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  RiverThames on Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:11 pm

After years of delays and problems-- including release dates being announced and then busted-- Scott Lynch's third book, The Republic of Thieves is finally actually out. Most of the reviews have been highly positive.

Some other new stuff in genre:

Wesley Chu's Lives of Tao came out a few months ago, and Deaths of Tao is coming out shortly.
Max Gladstone's second book, Two Serpents Rise, sequel to his highly lauded Three Parts Dead, is hitting the stores soon as well.
Nancy Hightower's first book, Elementari Rising is already available on Kindle, and the hardcopy version will be coming out shortly.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  choubetcha on Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:39 pm

I've had Three Parts Dead on my wishlist since it was nominated for the Campbell award, so I was thrilled Amazon put it on sale this month. Can't wait to read it.

Ancillary Justice is getting some of the best reviews I've ever seen so it's going on my list. Also because it's a space opera and who doesn't love those?

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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  RiverThames on Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:55 pm

You should check out the other stuff form this year's Campbell nominees, if you haven't already.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  Lurker on Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:39 pm

Has anyone read Guy Gavriel Kay? The only thing I have read of his was the Fionavar Tapestry which I loved, but I don't know which book to follow it with.

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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  RiverThames on Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:17 pm

I finished Scott Lynch's Republic of Thieves, which I really enjoyed, but at the same time I totally understand the criticisms it's received. It's the third book of the Gentlemen Bastard sequence (long delayed, as books one and two came out in 2006 and 2007). It's essentially two intertwined novels, as Lynch usually jumps back and forth in time, though this time the "flashback" parts are a more cohesive narrative in their own right. But the book is essentially about Locke and Sabetha, the singular Gentlewoman Bastard of their initial group. So if you aren't particularly interested in that plot thread set up in the first two books, it's not going to grab you here.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  Disclaimer on Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:57 pm

Lurker wrote:Has anyone read Guy Gavriel Kay?  The only thing I have read of his was the Fionavar Tapestry which I loved, but I don't know which book to follow it with.
I think I've read most if not all of his books. We might have different tastes, because I didn't love Fionavar that much, but I really loved the two books in the The Sarantine Mosaic series. Also The Lions of Al-Rassan is a great standalone which features three compelling protagonists, one of whom is a female Jewish-analogue doctor, another of whom is based on El Cid.

I didn't much enjoy Tigana, which is set in a mediaeval Italy analogue. I thought the main characters we were supposed to be rooting for were kind of dickheads.

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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  allochthonous on Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:20 pm

RiverThames wrote:I finished Scott Lynch's Republic of Thieves, which I really enjoyed, but at the same time I totally understand the criticisms it's received.  It's the third book of the Gentlemen Bastard sequence (long delayed, as books one and two came out in 2006 and 2007). It's essentially two intertwined novels, as Lynch usually jumps back and forth in time, though this time the "flashback" parts are a more cohesive narrative in their own right.  But the book is essentially about Locke and Sabetha, the singular Gentlewoman Bastard of their initial group.  So if you aren't particularly interested in that plot thread set up in the first two books, it's not going to grab you here.  
I was very glad to get back into the universe - I think Lynch is a great worldbuilder. However, I was much more interested in the flashback story than the one in Karthain, where I thought the setup was monstrously thin, and didn't have enough Jean.

Spoiler:
The "personal revelations" which may or may not be true annoyed me, because I enjoy Locke much more when he's just very, very good at what he does  - he doesn't need to be a special magical snowflake on top of it all! And while I enjoyed Sabetha, she was tricky to get to know while only seeing her from Locke's massively biased point of view. I'd be happy to read an entire book about her exploits.
I am having a dragons moment, and two excellent books I've read recently have been Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw, which is a regency comedy of manners but where all the characters are dragons who occasionally eat their young, and Rachel Hartman's Seraphina, which is YA fantasy whas a wonderful heroine, excellent worldbuilding and dragons (naturally). Makes up for not being able to get the new Temeraire on kindle.

I am halfway through Throne of the Crescent Moon, and it's just fine. Not totally gripping me, but then I've only been able to get to it in fits and starts. Agree with everyone who said they're surprised at the level of adulation it received.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  RiverThames on Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:04 pm

allochthonous wrote:
RiverThames wrote:I finished Scott Lynch's Republic of Thieves, which I really enjoyed, but at the same time I totally understand the criticisms it's received.  It's the third book of the Gentlemen Bastard sequence (long delayed, as books one and two came out in 2006 and 2007). It's essentially two intertwined novels, as Lynch usually jumps back and forth in time, though this time the "flashback" parts are a more cohesive narrative in their own right.  But the book is essentially about Locke and Sabetha, the singular Gentlewoman Bastard of their initial group.  So if you aren't particularly interested in that plot thread set up in the first two books, it's not going to grab you here.  
I was very glad to get back into the universe - I think Lynch is a great worldbuilder. However, I was much more interested in the flashback story than the one in Karthain, where I thought the setup was monstrously thin, and didn't have enough Jean.
The total McGuffinness of the Karthain story became more and more obvious, and it was clear that Lynch
Spoiler:
didn't really care at all about the election itself, which made the final revelation that for Patience's side of the mages, they didn't really care either work just fine. But I figured out around the beginning of Part III that it was going to parallel the contest between Locke and Sabetha when they were young: she'll meticulously plan, he'll wildly improvise, and all they'll manage is a tie.
But, yeah, not enough Jean. In theory, Part I is his leg of the book, since he drives that phase of the action, but most of the book more or less confirms Sabetha's argument that
Spoiler:
Jean is little more than Locke's sidekick.

And I'm with you that the flashback story was more interesting. Even though it was in the "past" and therefore you knew all the young Bastards were going to survive it, it was a far more engaging story with better stakes. Plus it set up what will clearly be the flashback story for Book Five.


Spoiler:
The "personal revelations" which may or may not be true annoyed me, because I enjoy Locke much more when he's just very, very good at what he does  - he doesn't need to be a special magical snowflake on top of it all! And while I enjoyed Sabetha, she was tricky to get to know while only seeing her from Locke's massively biased point of view. I'd be happy to read an entire book about her exploits.
Spoiler:
I did like the "personal revelations", not in and of themselves, but in the idea that Patience blatantly did it to mess with him. "This might be true, this might be bullshit, and you have exactly enough information to never really know for sure and be plagued with doubt."


I am halfway through Throne of the Crescent Moon, and it's just fine. Not totally gripping me, but then I've only been able to get to it in fits and starts. Agree with everyone who said they're surprised at the level of adulation it received.
Like I said, I liked it, but I wouldn't go much further than that. I didn't even think it was the best psuedo-Arabian fantasy that came out in 2012.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  ulkis on Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:42 pm

And I'm with you that the flashback story was more interesting. Even though it was in the "past" and therefore you knew all the young Bastards were going to survive it, it was a far more engaging story with better stakes. Plus it set up what will clearly be the flashback story for Book Five.
I just like spending time with the Sanza twins. I feel like
Spoiler:
he killed them off too soon, wah.

I started reading it last week and then stalled. I like it, I just wish it were less long. Too much writing and not enough going on.

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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  allochthonous on Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:41 am

RiverThames wrote:

I am halfway through Throne of the Crescent Moon, and it's just fine. Not totally gripping me, but then I've only been able to get to it in fits and starts. Agree with everyone who said they're surprised at the level of adulation it received.
Like I said, I liked it, but I wouldn't go much further than that.  I didn't even think it was the best psuedo-Arabian fantasy that came out in 2012.
So, which was the best pseudo-Arabian fantasy that came out in 2012 then?
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  RiverThames on Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:43 am

My utterly biased opinion is that it was Kingdoms of Dust by Amanda Downum.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  allochthonous on Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:08 am

RiverThames wrote:My utterly biased opinion is that it was Kingdoms of Dust by Amanda Downum.
Looks interesting - worth starting at the beginning of the series?
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  RiverThames on Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:18 am

allochthonous wrote:
RiverThames wrote:My utterly biased opinion is that it was Kingdoms of Dust by Amanda Downum.
Looks interesting - worth starting at the beginning of the series?
Utterly biased, but again: yes.
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  allochthonous on Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:03 am

Ha, I'll take your word for it! What's your bias - you know the author?
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Re: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Post  RiverThames on Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:32 am

Yeah. She's quite cool.
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