Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: pornokitsch on March 01, 2013, 09:00:41 PM

Title: KJ Parker
Post by: pornokitsch on March 01, 2013, 09:00:41 PM
Somehow the KJ Parker thread has fallen 120+ days out of date, so I'm justified in starting a new one.

I'm putting my money (virtually speaking) where my mouth is and hosting a read of The Folding Knife over on Tor.com (http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/03/the-folding-knife-prelude). If you're so inclined, I'll be going along at a chapter a week, so there's plenty of time to get started and/or catch up.

Also, the Tor.com crowd are complete strangers to me. Please don't leave me alone with them!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Jian on March 01, 2013, 09:13:53 PM
I may join! I started Sharps by K.J. Parker, and while I liked it, I was a bit confused about a few things. Maybe starting with one of the first books may help rid of the confusion.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Jeni on March 01, 2013, 10:14:36 PM
I have a couple of questions:

Will it matter that I've never read any other KJ Parker novels?

Is this a stand-alone or part of a series?

Did it start today? If join in I'll have to hunt down a copy from a library over the weekend so how far behind would that put me? 

Sorry to be a pain, but I'm actually really interested in joining in so I'm trying to figure out a way to fit it in (especially as I'm already behind with the book club here).
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: pornokitsch on March 02, 2013, 12:37:47 PM
Jian, although Sharps (eventually) has more action, I think The Folding Knife is less convoluted. Sharps is basically a mystery. The Folding Knife is more a biography. Or a history? A 'classic'? (In the, like, ancient Greek or Roman sense?). We'll see!

Jeni - It won't matter at all that you've not read another Parker. The Folding Knife is a complete stand-alone. All of Parker's novels (probably) take place in the same universe, but they don't touch one another, if that makes sense.

It started today, but only the prelude (literally, the first six pages). I'll be going at a chapter a week, so there's plenty of time to join in. It is a fast book to read, but there's lots to talk about. (I hope. Else I'm screwed.)

Thanks!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Jian on March 02, 2013, 02:12:36 PM
Good to know! I've got the entire Engineer Trilogy and the Hammer. (Can borrow it from a friend.)

Will have to wait a bit to get the Folding Knife. Can you tell me anything about the Engineer Trilogy and the Hammer?
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: pornokitsch on March 02, 2013, 02:58:19 PM
Good to know! I've got the entire Engineer Trilogy and the Hammer. (Can borrow it from a friend.)

Will have to wait a bit to get the Folding Knife. Can you tell me anything about the Engineer Trilogy and the Hammer?

The Hammer is another stand-alone (I guess you knew that already). There's an isolated part of the world - the townsfolk and the creepy nobles on the hill all have an uneasy peace. But when the creepy nobles start to fight amongst themselves, everything falls apart. Definitely one of Parker's darkest.

The Engineer Trilogy is probably my favourite (that or the Scavenger trilogy). There's a city, run by engineers and bureaucrats. Because of their technology, they dominate a corner of the world, with a pair of feudal kingdoms living in its shadow - stuck between the city and a vast expanse of barbarian tribes. One engineer leaves the city, taking its secrets with him. The trilogy follows (kind of) him and his plan... he's got a goal, and, like any good engineer, will use all the parts available to achieve it. Except in this case, he's playing with entire kingdoms.

It is a brilliant series, with loads of characters, lots of sneaky motivations. Everyone in it is *smart*, which makes it fun to read. And it builds to a properly epic conclusion.

That said, it is pretty huge - less of a trilogy than one long, slow-burning story.

(I'm always happy to do a Parker sales pitch!)
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Overlord on March 03, 2013, 07:05:25 PM
Might join you in this - I ordered it a while back when you mentioned it :)
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: pornokitsch on March 06, 2013, 10:25:02 PM
Woohoo!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Nighteyes on March 12, 2013, 01:23:00 AM
Once I get a copy I'll join in, as i did enjoy Sharps.  I get the impression as well that KJ Parker is best enjoyed by reading along with others.  A lot of humour and satire with her/ his writing it seems. 
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: pornokitsch on March 13, 2013, 09:12:40 PM
Excellent!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Funky Scarecrow on March 14, 2013, 07:39:40 PM
I'm busy reading The Hammer right now and thoroughly enjoying it. I'm just under halfway through, the main and secondary character are partnering up on a big exciting venture. It all looks so exciting and hopeful. I do not expect this to last. I'm almost reluctant to carry on because I quite like these people, and love the idealism of what they're doing, and I suspect things are about to go very bad.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Nighteyes on March 21, 2013, 07:29:19 PM
I have the Folding Knife! Will now religiously comment on your reread.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Nighteyes on April 26, 2013, 08:51:59 PM
Okay I haven't commented on Jared's Tor blog for a couple of weeks but will rectify that now.  But I would recommend you all to join in. An absolutely brilliant book, and a very well written reread.  Also have read The Company as well now, which had the usual Parker humour and ingenuity, plus a bit of Iain Banks darkness.  Very satisfying.  I have a new writer to add to my favourites list!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: pornokitsch on May 02, 2013, 04:56:50 PM
Thanks! The reread has been really fun!
Title: KJ Parker
Post by: moonspawn on December 18, 2014, 05:11:08 AM
Recently I read and finished the Folding Knife which was recommended to me here a little while back. I liked it. In fact I liked it a lot more than many of the more popular epic fantasy novels. Economics is one of my favorite subjects so I greatly enjoyed how important of a role economics played in the plot. I liked the characters and I found Basso a sad and sympathetic character even though he was a corrupt tyrant. And I can only think of a handful of novels that were as well condensed as that one... So much happened, it's hard to believe after reading it that it was really under 500 pages. I thought Basso's actions with respect to foreign policy should have been less overt and more subtle and I thought the ending was stupid, even if it was clever at the same time. Other than these flaws I loved it! Thank you fantasy faction for recommending this wonderful book to me! I'm definitely looking forward to reading more K.J. Parker books. The Scavenger Trilogy looks especially interesting. Its too bad he/she is so under the radar but I think I can see why. He/she writes books that don't read like fantasy novels but read more like Historical fiction. Heck there wasn't one fantasy element in the Folding Knife besides the fact that the author created the world and there was very little action in it. Besides this the author uses other techniques that are unconventional to the fantasy genre which are obviously more common to historical fiction and some of which may in-fact be more common in literary fiction. I think readers of historical fiction and literary fiction may appreciate KJ Parker's work more than fantasy readers. No wonder he/she doesn't have much of an audience. What do you people think of that and for those of you who've read the Scavenger Trilogy what did you think? Should that be the next thing by KJ Parker I read? I am curious how well liked KJ Parker is around here.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Nighteyes on December 18, 2014, 06:17:27 AM
I've only read KJ Parker's standalone novels - I keep meaning to read The Engineer Trilogy but other books get in the way.  The Hammer though is outstanding and would be a great next Parker standalone.   
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: ScarletBea on December 18, 2014, 08:09:29 AM
I once tried reading Shadow, but I had to give it up as I really didn't like it.
When I commented this to a friend, he told me I should read instead the Folding knife - from what you mention, I might enjoy it more.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Ryan Mueller on December 18, 2014, 06:43:29 PM
I'm reading Sharps right now. I still haven't decided if I like it or not.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: cupiscent on December 18, 2014, 11:53:22 PM
I love Parker. One of my very few buy-without-even-looking authors, because whatever the story is about, I know it's going to be intricate, ambiguous, challenging and fascinating. The standalone books - Sharps, The Hammer, The Folding Knife, The Company - are great ways to figure out if you like what Parker does, and yes, they're all wonderfully condensed and pointed fantasy achievements.

Of the series, I think Parker's first work - the Fencer Trilogy, starting with Colours in the Steel - is ambitious and a little disconnected because of it, but really worth a read. It looks at a lot of the more traditional tropes of fantasy that are eschewed in later work - magic and consequence; prophecy and free choice - along with some stalwart Parker themes of making and doing, family and how it shapes you, war and empire.

But my absolute favourite is the Scavenger trilogy, but it can be a tricky fish - the characters are all a little (or more than a little) unlikable, and there are inconsistencies and confusions built in as essential to the overall story arc. My husband and I argue about what's really going on every time one of us re-reads the series - and we've both read it three times now! For us, that wealth of possibility and lingering uncertainty is part of what's great about the series, but I can see how it might not be for everyone.

The Engineer Trilogy, for my money, is a little less masterful in the journey, but has the most brutal suckerpunch of an ending. I do love an ending that leaves you gasping. :)
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: moonspawn on December 19, 2014, 08:05:05 AM
But my absolute favourite is the Scavenger trilogy, but it can be a tricky fish - the characters are all a little (or more than a little) unlikable, and there are inconsistencies and confusions built in as essential to the overall story arc. My husband and I argue about what's really going on every time one of us re-reads the series - and we've both read it three times now! For us, that wealth of possibility and lingering uncertainty is part of what's great about the series, but I can see how it might not be for everyone.


Yes, the Scavenger Trilogy looks even more appealing now. Not that I particularly enjoy confusion, I just enjoy an author who actually forces the reader to think! I often find myself enjoying well written books that aren't for everyone. I hear one of the biggest complaints about KJ Parker's work is unlikable character. I didn't find that to be the case at all with the Folding Knife but if that does turn out to be the case with most of his/her work I don't think I would mind. Caring about characters is nice and everything but I don't have to care about them; they should hopefully be well developed though.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: pornokitsch on December 23, 2014, 03:10:58 PM
You really can't go wrong! All Parker is good Parker :)

SHARPS is the most like The Folding Knife, and if you want to continue in a very similar vein (but with more swordplay) that's a good next book... it is a mystery about treachery and politics still, but also has some convoluted and disturbing characters. And swords.

Scavenger is (possibly) my favourite of the trilogies - it can be a bit of a slog, be warned, but it is incredibly tricky and really, really wonderful.

Cons: it is extremely elaborate, and has a lot of odd twists, and it plays with concepts of memory, so it can be kind of a headache. Also, literally, it ends with the very, very, very last paragraph of the very, very, very last book. So you'll read 1000 pages, and everything will resolve in a single line. Seriously. So it is best read as a very long standalone, if that makes sense. You won't want to take breaks between books.

Pros: really cool setting - a sort of minimalist fantasy world. One of the most badass reinterpretations of swordplay ever - seriously, it turns everything on its head when it comes to combat, and I'd take one of Parker's sword-monks over anyone else in fantasy. A fantastic atmosphere, and, as noted above - loads of twists.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Ryan Mueller on December 23, 2014, 11:45:33 PM
I think I'm going to give up on Sharps for the moment. I'll probably come back to it at some point, but I'm just not feeling it right now. It's well written, but I don't care what happens.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: DrNefario on December 10, 2015, 01:50:12 PM
I accidentally bought The Folding Knife yesterday (I was only planning to add Parker's first book to my kindle wishlist, but Folding Knife was £1.49), and have a quick question. It didn't seem worth a whole thread of its own, so I've revived this one from a year ago.

Anyway, as I understand it, all (?) of Parker's books take place in the same world. Is that right? And if so, is there a name for that world?
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Idlewilder on February 07, 2016, 09:28:34 PM
I accidentally bought The Folding Knife yesterday (I was only planning to add Parker's first book to my kindle wishlist, but Folding Knife was £1.49), and have a quick question. It didn't seem worth a whole thread of its own, so I've revived this one from a year ago.

Anyway, as I understand it, all (?) of Parker's books take place in the same world. Is that right? And if so, is there a name for that world?

Apologies @DrNefario (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=34872) - only just seeing this now! I don't believe there is a name for the world, and I can't imagine him giving it one. Really it's mostly that place names, character names, religions etc. pop up in each of his stories and books that make it clear it's all part of one world and some semblance of a shared history. But he will happily jump from (his equivalent) of 500AD to 1800AD from one story to the next, and make it clear that history has played havoc with anything that's gone on in-between. And on top of that, every single one of Parker's stories is told from the point of view of extremely unreliable narrators (to the point where some of them will actually tell the reader that they are lying to you!) so you have to take everything with a pinch of salt.

Anyway, the reason I went hunting for this thread is that I recently finished his story collection, Academic Exercises, and have been reviewing each story individually for over a year. Thought it might interest those of you who've yet to try out KJP. He's not for everyone, but I reckon the man's a genius...

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/943191402
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on February 07, 2016, 09:34:48 PM
Its going to take some time for my mind that KJ Parker is male so used to people saying this author is female lol
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Idlewilder on February 07, 2016, 09:37:40 PM
Its going to take some time for my mind that KJ Parker is male so used to people saying this author is female lol

I think I even refer to Parker as 'her' or 'she' in some of the earlier reviews - what a difference a year (and the ditching of a pseudonym) makes!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Rostum on February 07, 2016, 10:14:40 PM
Tom Holt refers to KJ Parker as her and he should Know  ::)
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Nighteyes on February 07, 2016, 10:17:19 PM
Ended up not reading any Parker in 2015. Need to correct that in 2016. Have two novellas lined up and will try and do one of the trilogies. Did anyone keep up to date with the serialised novel KJ Parker has been doing?
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Arry on February 08, 2016, 02:31:21 AM
I haven't been keeping up with the serialized novel (Two of Swords), but I read his novella The Last Witness and loved that. Halfway through another novella , The Devil You Know and liking it, but will have to finish before knowing if I like it as much as the other.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Idlewilder on February 08, 2016, 08:35:09 AM
Ended up not reading any Parker in 2015. Need to correct that in 2016. Have two novellas lined up and will try and do one of the trilogies. Did anyone keep up to date with the serialised novel KJ Parker has been doing?

I thought I'd wait until it was done, but with Part 18 (!) scheduled for July 2016 and no sign of it being the end, I've no idea when that will be. I imagine @pornokitsch (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=87) has though. It sounds like maybe it was meant to be a trilogy, or a two-parter, rather than strictly a 'novel' as no single Parker novel can be that long, surely.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: pornokitsch on February 08, 2016, 08:45:49 AM
Appears in puff of smoke

I have! It is exceptional. The characters are recurring a bit more now, and you can just about make out the shape of the overall story (faintly, as if through a very dense fog). I'm not sure if this means we're getting somewhere - the halfway point? The end? The beginning? Genuinely, it could end in a single episode or carry on forever.

I love it, but you do have to embrace the serialness of it all.

Disappears in puff of smoke

Inhales at the wrong time. Stumbles off forums coughing.


Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on February 25, 2016, 04:53:12 PM
I'm so glad I gave this author another go after Sharps, Folding knife was brilliant and I've just read the last witness which was excellent.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Arry on February 25, 2016, 05:57:06 PM
I'm so glad I gave this author another go after Sharps, Folding knife was brilliant and I've just read the last witness which was excellent.

I really loved both Folding Knife and The Last Witness! The Devil You Know is also really good (another novella).
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Idlewilder on February 25, 2016, 06:12:22 PM
I'm starting to think Parker works at his peak on novella length fiction. Urge you both to read A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong, Let Maps to Others and The Sun and I. The first two both won the World Fantasy Award and all three are available for free online!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Idlewilder on February 25, 2016, 09:32:13 PM
Hey @Arry (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=8809) can this thread be combined with the other one Eclipse bumped up?
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on February 25, 2016, 10:04:03 PM
I didn't realise you could have topics named the same. KJ Parker so popular his got two topics named after him!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Arry on February 25, 2016, 11:17:31 PM
Hey @Arry (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=8809) can this thread be combined with the other one Eclipse bumped up?

Done. Thanks for pointing it out! :)
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: xiagan on February 26, 2016, 04:06:19 AM
I didn't realise you could have topics named the same. KJ Parker so popular his got two topics named after him!
Well, Jared said in the beginning of the newer thread that he made a new one because the other one was so old. ;)

Definitely going to check those stories out, Doug! Thanks for the recommendation. :)
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Idlewilder on February 26, 2016, 08:58:09 AM
To those interested:

A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong - https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/winter_2011/fiction_a_small_price_to_pay_for_birdsong_by_k._j._parker

Let Maps to Others - https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2012/let_maps_to_others_by_k._j._parker

The Sun and I - https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2013/the_sun_and_i_by_k._j._parker

(Note: I think The Sun and I is one of the few Parker stories that is best read after you've read at least a few of his other works, as it is probably his biggest 'tie-in' story. If you know what I mean when I mention The Invincible Sun, then you know enough!)
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Arry on February 26, 2016, 01:05:22 PM
Thanks!!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Saraband on February 26, 2016, 03:00:42 PM
To those interested:

A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong - https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/winter_2011/fiction_a_small_price_to_pay_for_birdsong_by_k._j._parker

Let Maps to Others - https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2012/let_maps_to_others_by_k._j._parker

The Sun and I - https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2013/the_sun_and_i_by_k._j._parker

(Note: I think The Sun and I is one of the few Parker stories that is best read after you've read at least a few of his other works, as it is probably his biggest 'tie-in' story. If you know what I mean when I mention The Invincible Sun, then you know enough!)

I'll take this as a great chance to finally read something by KJ Parker, who has often been recommended. Thanks for the links, and for the note regarding The Sun and I!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Idlewilder on February 26, 2016, 09:28:36 PM
To those interested:

A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong - https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/winter_2011/fiction_a_small_price_to_pay_for_birdsong_by_k._j._parker

Let Maps to Others - https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2012/let_maps_to_others_by_k._j._parker

The Sun and I - https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2013/the_sun_and_i_by_k._j._parker

(Note: I think The Sun and I is one of the few Parker stories that is best read after you've read at least a few of his other works, as it is probably his biggest 'tie-in' story. If you know what I mean when I mention The Invincible Sun, then you know enough!)

I'll take this as a great chance to finally read something by KJ Parker, who has often been recommended. Thanks for the links, and for the note regarding The Sun and I!

Given that most of his stories deal with cynical, unreliable scholars of some sort in a twisted, historical fantasy world, I reckon you should enjoy them!   ;)
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on May 21, 2016, 06:26:42 AM
I start with the the devil you know and the folding knife is brilliant
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Benstory on June 04, 2016, 01:49:50 AM
To those interested:

A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong - https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/winter_2011/fiction_a_small_price_to_pay_for_birdsong_by_k._j._parker

Let Maps to Others - https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2012/let_maps_to_others_by_k._j._parker

The Sun and I - https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2013/the_sun_and_i_by_k._j._parker

(Note: I think The Sun and I is one of the few Parker stories that is best read after you've read at least a few of his other works, as it is probably his biggest 'tie-in' story. If you know what I mean when I mention The Invincible Sun, then you know enough!)

I had found the first two and loved them -- thank you for pointing me to the third!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on June 18, 2016, 10:06:39 PM
I start with the the devil you know and the folding knife is brilliant

Quoting myself here as I meant The last witness as I've only just read the devil you know  ;D

I thought this was really good too but I did get confused who was talking to who in the early chapters and I really really loved the twist at the end!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on November 01, 2017, 06:05:18 PM
I'm reading Shadow  (Scavenger #1)

Should I stick with it I'm 15% in and nothing much has happened yet. Maybe his one of those author's for me where I prefer his short stories/stand alones barring Sharps

I hope I'm wrong and I look foolish later!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: ScarletBea on November 01, 2017, 08:55:24 PM
I'm reading Shadow  (Scavenger #1)

Should I stick with it I'm 15% in and nothing much has happened yet. Maybe his one of those author's for me where I prefer his short stories/stand alones barring Sharps

I hope I'm wrong and I look foolish later!
That was actually the only book I started reading from him (the one available at the library), and abandoned, I really couldn't get into it...
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: cupiscent on November 02, 2017, 02:23:33 AM
The Scavenger trilogy - and Shadow within it - is actually my fave of Parker's work. What I like about it is the twisty mindgames (I actually kept written notes one time I read it, and I still couldn't keep track of who was who and when and...) and I'm also very fond of some of the irony aspects of the central premise (...no details because spoilers). It's definitely more of a slow-burn mystery. So if that isn't your sort of thing - if you want more action and twists and excitement - then perhaps this book/series is not for you.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on November 02, 2017, 05:23:12 AM
I’m going to read a bit further in, I also wasn’t fond of devices and desires either

Here’s my rating for KJ Parker books

Sharps 1/5
Devices and desires 3/5
Blue & Gold 3 half/5
The devil you know 4/5
The last witness 5/5
Purple and black 5/5
The folding knife 5/5
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on July 03, 2019, 07:56:08 AM
I’ve started The Two of Swords

Wonder if I’m going to love it or be disappointed with it as I prefer his shorts and Standalones to his Trilogies. He seems to ramble the bigger the story.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: cupiscent on July 03, 2019, 12:19:27 PM
I’ve started The Two of Swords

Wonder if I’m going to love it or be disappointed with it as I prefer his shorts and Standalones to his Trilogies. He seems to ramble the bigger the story.

Yeah, you might be in for trouble there, @Eclipse. Two of Swords is PEAK Parker; the twists are corkscrew, the irony is brutal, but the rambles are rambly AF (as the kids say).
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on July 20, 2019, 03:40:56 PM
I must admit I did find it hard to get into at first then wham I got into it and now I'm really loving the Two of Swords. I think it because Parker has to move the story on with each new chapter and focus on a new character. I do find it less rambling then his other trilogies.

I do like how he brings in the new chapters with a new character. this is  definitely going to be a 5/5

P.s Where have all the K.J Parker fans got to? is it only me and @cupiscent who now read him? . I would have added @Lanko but he seems to have vanished.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Lanko on July 21, 2019, 12:08:15 AM
I didn't vanish, just having a hard time, so I'm not reading, thus don't really have anything to post around haha.

But yeah, I really liked the Parker's I have read. Folding Knife as a novel and some os his novellas. I did get Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City when you recommended it to me, but have yet to read it.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on July 21, 2019, 06:22:46 AM
I didn't vanish, just having a hard time

Sorry to hear this I Hope everything gets better for you. Lots of hugs for  you my friend.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: ScarletBea on July 21, 2019, 09:49:17 AM
I didn't vanish, just having a hard time, so I'm not reading, thus don't really have anything to post around haha.
*hugs* too!
And many of us post in other threads not about books, please feel free to share or just hang around!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on July 26, 2019, 11:01:33 PM
I'm not paying over one hundred plus pounds for K.J Parker novel which collects his early shorts in a novel. esp as most of the stories are free on the internet apart from Purple and Black,Blue and Gold and a  Room with a view

Academic Exercises

Contents:
- A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong (2011)
 https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/winter_2011/fiction_a_small_price_to_pay_for_birdsong_by_k_j_parker

- A Rich, Full Week (2010)
http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/parker_10_14_reprint/

- Amor Vincit Omnia (2010)
https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2010/fiction_amor_vincit_omnia_by_k_j_parker

- On Sieges (2009)
https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2009/on_sieges_by_k_j_parker

- Let Maps to Others (2012)
https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2012/let_maps_to_others_by_k_j_parker

- A Room with a View (2011)

- Cutting Edge Technology (2011)
https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/fall_2011/cutting_edge_technology_by_k_j_parker

- Illuminated (2012)
https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2013/illuminated_by_k_j_parker

- Purple and Black (2009)

- Rich Men’s Skins; A Social History of Armour (2013)
https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2013/rich_mens_skins_a_social_history_of_armour_by_k_j_parker

- The Sun and I (2013)
https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2013/the_sun_and_i_by_k_j_parker

- One Little Room an Everywhere (2012)
http://www.nightshadebooks.com/2012/10/22/one-little-room-an-everywhere-k-j-parker/

- Blue and Gold (2010)



Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: cupiscent on July 27, 2019, 02:00:27 AM
I absolutely agree. I'd love to have the collection, but lol nope. Though I do understand from other things I've read that part of the point of Subterranean Press hard copies is that they are limited edition, high quality, and physically beautiful things. (Aren't there fancy-pants Abercrombie limited-editions from them as well?) So you're also paying for the Thing, not just the Words. I get it, I'm just not doing it.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: ScarletBea on July 27, 2019, 02:45:50 AM
Wow! And I very much agree that with these books you're paying for the object.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on July 27, 2019, 05:53:05 AM
I went to the subterranean website and you know there do an ebook version for 7 USA 🇺🇸 dollars But there don’t sell to the uk region .

https://subterraneanpress.com/academic-exercises-ebook
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: xiagan on July 27, 2019, 09:01:24 PM
They have/had incredibly nice Malazan books... but the prices are out of this world of course.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on August 27, 2019, 08:48:59 PM
Read the hammer I wasn’t that impressed with the novel felt like it was just background information for a wider story also I was hoping for a better twist like the sister never existed apart from inside the mc mind.

I’m now on the second book of the Fencer trilogy and I like this story a lot more.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: cupiscent on August 28, 2019, 12:02:07 AM
Read the hammer I wasn’t that impressed with the novel felt like it was just background information for a wider story also I was hoping for a better twist like the sister never existed apart from inside the mc mind.

I’m now on the second book of the Fencer trilogy and I like this story a lot more.

Yeah, The Hammer is still one I scratch my head about. In some ways it feels like Parker-by-numbers, I don't feel like it really stretches out and gives anything big or new. But on the other hand, it's an interesting thing partly because it is so small and tightly bound.

Very interested to hear your thoughts on the Fencer trilogy, because I feel like that--possibly because it was the first thing he published under this pseudonym--is much more a blend of "traditional fantasy" and the Parker aesthetic. I mean, there's a magic system, for starters! But because of that, it doesn't have quite the clean lines of Parker's later work, but I feel like there are interesting things in the intricacies. (I also loved the lady characters, I feel like they're more interesting than he often delivers in later works.)
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on August 28, 2019, 06:24:53 AM
Yes the ladies in the Fencer trilogy have got more personality than most of his other works. Take the lady doctor from Hammer she didn’t add anything to the story and I thought she could have had a much more interesting and bigger role to play as it was she was overshadowed by the male characters and her part was boring because of it.

It’s like he lost confidence in writing female characters till he wrote Telamon from Two of Swords

Now in his most recent book Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City which I love by the way the two ladies characters have fallen by the wayside and aren’t as fascinating/interesting to read about than Telamon because of lack of screen time we hardly get to know them.. One of them is a friend to the mc who runs a pub and is like a daughter to the mc but we hardly have any page time with her.

In the Fencer Trilogy we do have Page time  with the ladies and I think that helps.

I love the relationship between the siblings Venart and Vetriz

I love the  relationship between the work colleagues Athli and Loredan , I’m disappointed I’ve not seen her in book two yet. With no romance or maybe there could have been in life hadn’t got in the way.

Machaera an interesting mysterious lady I really hope to learn about her.

Even  Loradan Sister and Niece are fun to read about.



Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on September 02, 2019, 11:50:55 PM
Just finished The Belly of the Bow and I feel sick. I liked Bardas until this happened I can’t believe he done that to his innocent nephew I guess Iseutz got her revenge by tipping him off the Edge of his mind into insanity and now his insane as the rest of his family. Gruesome ending. I don’t know where the third books going to go

The only other character I can think of where I changed my mind  on them was probably Robin Hobb character Kennet
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: cupiscent on September 03, 2019, 12:34:03 PM
ahhh, now I understand the other question a bit better!

Yeah. Yeah. In Parker's long and subtly nuanced career of writing about families and particularly brothers being awful to each other, I don't think there's ever been a pair quite as WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK??? as the Loredan brothers. And that's saying a lot.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on September 12, 2019, 08:01:28 AM
Finished The Fencer trilogy

Wow what destruction one Family can cause.

I’m glad Bardas finally got punished for what his done trapped on an island with Gorgas for the rest of his lifetime I could never forgive him for what he did to his nephew. Before that happened I wanted Bardas and Athili to get together but now I think she had a lucky escape. If only there had got together before the end of book two would there have been happy?  And less suffering to people elsewhere.

I thought the Ladies storylines fizzled out for the sons of heavens I expected a lot more from them  Vetriz even her brother outshine her in the third book. Still I was sorry to see their deaths as there were my favourite partnership to read about and what the hell happened to Machaera we only got a throw away line.

I’m not sure I ever understood how the magic worked in this world I found it a bit confusing I just let it flow over me.

Looks like everybody had a tragic ending apart from Gorgas who is now living happily with his brother in his mind.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: cupiscent on September 13, 2019, 12:54:56 AM
Thanks for updating with thoughts on conclusion, Eclipse, because I was really curious to know how you felt about this all, and how it held up altogether.

I think it has some weaknesses not so much as a result of the author's inexperience--because obviously Tom Holt has buckets of writing experience--but the novelty of this particular style/form/subgenre to him at this stage in his career. A lot of the themes from this trilogy get honed and polished and done differently/better (your mileage may vary) in other works, but I still think a lot about the Fencer trilogy in terms of how the elements were particularly put together here and how, for all its flaws, it was fascinating and visceral.

Thesis: all of KJ Parker's work has the underlying theme/moral/message: "You should just get over it and live your life." and therein lies the root of all his tragedies. It's certainly a Thing.

I’m not sure I ever understood how the magic worked in this world I found it a bit confusing I just let it flow over me.

I sort of love that about this trilogy, how NO ONE understands how it works, and the entire magic subplot is sort of about frantically trying to fix something when you don't know how it's broken or even necessarily if it IS broken and oh gosh who's flying this thing?? I also find it funny that this is basically the only time Parker bothers having a magic system, and no one understands how it works.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on September 17, 2019, 07:02:31 AM
Now reading The Company

Very slow paced and not much has happened yet after 50 % in. I’ve got a sneaky feeling it’s going to end in disaster and that one of the wife’s is a serial killer.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: cupiscent on September 18, 2019, 03:02:04 AM
I actually really like The Company, there are some fascinating concepts in there. I just cackle mysteriously at your predictions. (Though, I mean, "it's going to end in disaster" is like, "yes, did you not see the KJ Parker on the cover?")

I also continue to enjoy re-reading Parker vicariously through you, Eclipse! :D
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on September 18, 2019, 06:49:46 AM
Finished The Company

I felt it took too long to get going but had an exciting last 20% of the book which never happened with The Hammer

We will eat everything Menin gives us even through we all know she can’t be trusted not to poison us . Big clue she didn’t even eat or pretend to eat the poisoned honey.

Thought Menin burnt the house down killing  Dorun but it was another Kunessin con job. Horrible man murdering people and then saying that what happens in war.

What was fly’s secret did he have one?

I feel that  Kunessin is like an abusive husband  to the rest of A company he has so much power over them and  there don’t realise it. There drop everything for him and follow him anywhere . He is poison.

Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on September 20, 2019, 04:08:10 AM

- One Little Room an Everywhere (2012)
http://www.nightshadebooks.com/2012/10/22/one-little-room-an-everywhere-k-j-parker/


Very good loved the Mc is he a villain or not. I just say he very weak morally. There’s a lot more magic in kJ Parker’s shorts then his novels.

Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on September 24, 2019, 07:03:25 AM
The Sun and I

https://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2013/the_sun_and_i_by_k_j_parker

Short story explaining How the invincible  Sun religion came into Parker’s world.

A giant con which came true haha
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: cupiscent on April 09, 2020, 04:47:43 AM
I came hunting for this thread (warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 120 days...) because I've just finished Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City and I'm sort of intellectually buzzing over what a solid piece of work it is. Given the facets which I'm still turning over in my fingers to see how they sparkle from different angles, this previous statement of mine:

Thesis: all of KJ Parker's work has the underlying theme/moral/message: "You should just get over it and live your life." and therein lies the root of all his tragedies. It's certainly a Thing.

...is particularly amusing to me. This is where I start talking spoilers, I suppose, so I will cut it away!

I've been thinking that, in a way, Sixteen Ways is the inverse story of the Engineer trilogy (an obvious comparison to make, given the occupation and mindset of the main character). What if the main character was fixated on this particular problem, but his focus was selfless rather than selfish? Or, perhaps, what if there was a guy who could get over it and live his life? In this case, possibly better framed as: "just because they were bad to us doesn't mean we have to be just as bad or worse."

I mean, this is still a classic Parker tragedy because it's caused by people being bloody people, and someone using personal injury as the spur to break out of regular thinking to conceive of something so horrible anyone else would blanch at it. But unlike a typical Parker tragedy, our main character is not that horrible-thinker, and gave this a different cast of tragedy, for my money.

Anyway, this was just about me wanting to blather a bit about this book and knowing scant people who have read it. :D
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: eclipse on April 09, 2020, 05:51:46 AM
I’ve read it , I really enjoyed it I hope he does more in the same vein as Sixteen ways to defend a city.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: cupiscent on April 09, 2020, 06:44:43 AM
I’ve read it , I really enjoyed it I hope he does more in the same vein as Sixteen ways to defend a city.

His next book - How To Rule An Empire And Get Away With It (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49088677-how-to-rule-an-empire-and-get-away-with-it) - coming out later this year (hopefully; publishing is as much as mess as any other industry right now) looks like it miiiight be related? But of course, with Parker, there's always a solid chance that the relationship is just "yeah, I got that scenario stuck in my mind so I'm just going to write versions of it until I get stuck on something else" (and they will probably all be fascinating, damn him).

But, I mean... the blurb:
Quote
The City may be under siege, but everyone still has to make a living. Take Notker, the acclaimed playwright, actor and impresario. Nobody works harder, even when he's not working. Thankfully, the good citizens of Classis appreciate an evening at the theatre even when there are large rocks falling out of the sky.

But Notker is a man of many talents, and all the world is, apparently, a stage. It seems that the Empire needs him - or someone who looks a lot like him - for a role that will call for the performance of a lifetime. At least it will guarantee fame, fortune and immortality. If it doesn't kill him first.

My first thought was that Notker here is one of the impersonators / impressionists that Orhan mentions in passing. And given the ending of Sixteen Ways, there is an obvious way these two link up. BUT... Classis? That was the supply depot that gets trashed in the first couple of chapters, not the City. So maybe I'm right, mor maybe Parker's theme here is actually "the ways in which history is just a giant game of telephone and the details get blurred and rearranged to suit a purpose; are these two related? aren't they? WHO CAN SAY? ;) "
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Nighteyes on April 12, 2020, 12:10:10 PM
The ending of Sixteen Ways to Defend a City was rather abrupt and dare I say it felt rather rushed. But I did like the post script being 1000 years later plus all the references to an alternative Roman history: the eruption of volcano destroying a city, the new fangled religion where the messiah is resurrected after 3 days.

Overall loved it. Loved his ingenious solutions to defend the city - classic Parker.  Not as amazing as Folding Knife but still very good. I really need to read one of his trilogies now rather than just his standalones.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Doctor_Chill on May 10, 2020, 04:40:50 PM
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City discussion below. I fully intend to misspell every character's name btw:

Unreliable Narrator: This was given perhaps a little bit of screen time in the first chapter, then maybe once or twice throughout the remainder of the novel. However, the ending precipitates on proper execution of this writing method. I didn't see it coming. There's no build up to it. It is abrupt, sudden, and becomes the major theme of the book over any other theme, as it dominates any other story for the narrator, plot, and theme. The commentary section tries to hand-wave some of the concerns that will naturally arise for the reader, but this is poorly done and feels forced. Even if it was properly build up to, it is not fleshed out in any fashion (see Lyochandis below), nor does it have any depth or true impact on the story.

Plot: I was able to stomach much of the sudden, loosely termed deus ex machina moments -- ala the underground river, the bay blockade, and especially the Necklace to name a few. These moments are just happy little plot accidents that serve as a way to make the narrator seem better than he actually is because "here's a way to solve the plot that has been given no screentime prior to this." Coupled with the unreliable narrator, it might work in some instances, but poorly in this heavy handed fashion. This book's approach to plot is the opposite of Chekov's Gun, and I was able to swallow that in some instances. However, the entirety of the plot, the basis for Orhun's character arc and the primary theme of the novel centers around the engineer's selfless sacrifice and the tension therein, which is perhaps stupid, but this is the foundation upon which the plot believably moves forward. Cue the Fleet. The Fleet, its captains, and the perhaps ten pages left, completely unravels any build up for a final resolution so the unreliable narrator trope can be hammered home further. Everything that was done the 300 pages prior? Worthless. And solely because the author wanted to hammer home -- though he hadn't throughout the remainder of the story -- that Orhun was worthless, unreliable, and this story doesn't deserve a healthy plot resolution, but a kick in the teeth for literary's sake. Again, it's a hand wave for the sake of a new theme we don't see coming.

Character Arcs: Orhun's character arc is flipped on its head within the final ten pages. Ogus? He's forgotten and nothing is resolved. Faustinius, Aeta, the others? Nothing. Nothing at all. While they didn't receive that much character development, their relationship with the narrator -- which is one of the more important aspects of first person narration -- is hung to dry with no resolution. The arc with Lyocandis and his heroic interaction with the city? Build up thrown away. If this had been tied with the unreliable narrator, it might have been a little better, but again, the plot and character arcs are rushed for the sake of a theme thrown from left field. It's rough, childish writing that should have received 20 or more so pages to fully flesh out this trope.

I'm not going to touch on the rambling writing style, the nonsensical chapter structure at the end, or the muddled themes throughout. They are their own problems that might be solely up to taste.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: cupiscent on May 11, 2020, 01:28:18 AM
Thanks so much for bringing your more details thoughts! They were really interesting to read and think about.

I don't know that anyone who's going to be reading here will have not read the book yet, but just in case, I'll go behind spoiler-cut as well :D

I guess I feel that the unreliable-narrator theme was far more comprehensively explored. For mine, it's in there every time Orhan goes, "Oh, I haven't told you about that" and every time he's caught in a "well, right, guess I'd better tell you about...". For me, there's a lot of implicit unreliability built into the very style of the storytelling - that chatty first person, for me, raises the inherent questions of "why are you telling me this, what is your agenda, what are you therefore not telling me?" so I'm already on the look-out for all the tiny signs.

And that feeds into the deus-ex-machina elements. Because Orhan's telling the story, he's occluding and structuring things to make himself look better. Though also, for me... this was a story about Orhan, and the actual siege was a secondary thing, so I didn't want to spend time on the technicalities of it away from what it means to and for Orhan. But that is obviously going to be a thing that readers find subjectively more or less effective.

That's probably also why the ending wasn't as disappointing for me as it was for others - the finale drama is Orhan's internal stuff, with the Fleet arriving and yes he's saved the city but he's still a worthless "milkface". He's relieved of command, brushed aside, and after everything that he's done as well. I'm fascinated by the unresolved elements of the ending. Was he trying to defect/flee the city when he was shot? And he announces his intent to send this memoir to Ogus - is he saying Ogus was right? Does he want Ogus to understand? Has he changed his mind and is trying to incite Ogus to go again? For me, the fact that all of these are questions rather than answered is part of the strength of the whole piece, speaking to all the mysteries that cluster in the margins of "recorded" history.

I'm also really interested, as previously noted, to see how Parker's next book intersects with this one.

I want to stress, I'm not saying "you're wrong" - I love to see and hear differing opinions on books because they must always be such a subjective experience and it's really interesting to hear more about other experiences!
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: S. K. Inkslinger on June 22, 2020, 08:11:48 AM
Hmhh. Based on my preferences do people here think I'll like Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City and The Folding Knife? I'm looking for new books to order and these popped up in my mind.
Title: Re: KJ Parker
Post by: Magnus Hedén on June 22, 2020, 09:39:36 AM
I listened to it as an audiobook and enjoyed it. The (audiobook) narrator wasn't amazing, but certainly not bad.

I thought the ending was way too abrupt as well, too many threads left floating. I'm not a person that wants complete closure, but after having walked in Orhan's shoes for that long, I would want to know a little more about what happened in his various relationships with the people who helped and/or hated him.

I didn't react about the unreliable narration; it was made clear explicitly or implicitly several times that this was Orhan's account of the events, and that we couldn't expect it to be perfect truth.

As for the chapters, I did notice it seemed to change chapters almost between sentences in the same scene at times, which I just found odd. I think in an audiobook it's not as obvious, but I can see how I would have found it a bit more annoying if I were reading it. As it stood, it was mostly a bit of a curiosity. But I agree that it was inexpertly handled.

Overall I thought it was a great book from a great perspective. It was well-researched, creative, and different from your regular low fantasy type books in a lot of ways, all of them refreshing.

I haven't read anything else by Parker/Holt, but this book has certainly put him/them on my radar.