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I come from a faraway land to greet all of you at Fantasy-Faction Greetings, fellow readers of the Fantasy genre,

My name is Miguel, and I'm a young Portuguese man. I'm also an addict to all things fiery and draconic, elvish and arthurian, historical and mythological. If all these can be combined, than I'm in for a heck of a nerdgasm.

I've been an avid reader since my teens, authors such as Tolkien (hello, God), George R. R. Martin, Juliet Marillier, Patrick Rothfuss and J. K. Rowling. Excluding Fantasy, things like 1001 Arabian Nights, Orwell's 1984, or Tolstoy's War and Peace have had a big influence on my manner of writing.

Mostly, they have been books in english, since I find the portuguese language to act awkwardly when it translates fantasy names and terms. Why do I tell you this seemingly pointless fact?

Because I've also finished writing my first book, and I have done it in english. A whole, glorious pile of 160.000 words that are utterly rubbish, but I'm proud of them anyway. So, as I trim the edges of my manuscript, before I finally decide between self-publishing or the good old fashion way, I'm looking forward to enjoying my time here and hopefully learn more about the craft.

I'll be glad to share more about this book of mine in the appropriate thread, as I will also be looking forward to some input from you guys.

May this be the beginning of a long, and healthy, relationship!  ;)

February 28, 2014, 08:40:33 PM
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Re: Laughing about books "Eating people is wrong"

I like the fact that even before I read a single page, I immediately learned something from that book.

March 22, 2014, 05:37:38 PM
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Re: Shaghai Sparrow by Gaie Sebold /rant

Damn these forums and how they make my to-read pile increase on a regular basis!

/end_rant

Looks interesting indeed, so I'll take a look at it soon  :)

May 05, 2014, 08:34:16 AM
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Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire Book Mark I couldn't find any book mark on the internet for the Broken Empire books, so I went ahead and used Jason Chan's award-winning and fantastic artwork together with one of Mark Lawrence's many brilliant quotes to create this.

Size: 5.5cmx18.5cm

Hope you like it, and feel free to share it with other fans of the books!  :)

Download here: http://tinypic.com/r/2rqobio/8


June 30, 2014, 12:57:18 AM
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Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean? I never grasped a clear definition of YA. To me, it generally implies the nonexistence of mature language and/or sex. But it is so vague, it actually tells very little about a book.
July 09, 2014, 06:50:03 PM
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Rape and other sensitive issues in Fantasy novels Yesterday, Mark Lawrence posted a very interesting reflection [read it here http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.pt/2015/03/a-difficult-post.html] on the way his Broken Empire can be interpreted differently in varying countries/cultures. Specifically, he talked about the infamous rape of a 23-year old woman in Delhi by a group of men [ http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31698154 ], and how dangerous a fictional character like Jorg could be for these men, somehow validating their abhorrent conduct.

Mark ends his blog post with this:

Quote
I do acknowledge though that if Prince of Thorns were read by people who share the cultural mindset of the men described in the article - it would at best be a book that did nothing to help and at worst be a book that might even reinforce such attitudes by being misinterpreted as a work that offered tacit approval of their view of these things as everyday, trivial, and unremarkable.

Typing away at a fantasy tale ten years ago for the entertainment of a handful of fellow unpublished writers on a critique forum, I never imagined my story would be read more widely. If I had nursed an ambition to be published then I would have thought in terms of making the shelves of my local bookshop. Even if I had dreamed big and imagined being sold in Paris, London, New York, Munich... I would not have had a problem with my content.
(...)
Having read this article - I can say that if I had had an inkling of quite how far afield this work would reach and of how vastly different the mindsets of some parts of some of those societies where it sells are ... I would have changed elements of the story.

As always, we have to respect other opinions, even if we disagree with them. I don't think anything should be changed in Jorg's story due to these reasons. Unfortunately, the problem runs much deeper than these external influences, despite the power they might have in shaping one's conduct.

I think it is important for authors to be aware of the fact that there may come a day when a rape victim reads their book. If they do represent this horrible crime in any way, let it not be gratuitous, but important for the plot, for adding layer to the characters (either the perpetrators or the victims). But they should never, ever, silence their craft if they don't feel it is right to do so.

The main benefit I take away from being an avid reader is that it is not hard to empathize with others, because I've been inside the skin of so many different people. I don't think a rapist becomes so because he read about it in a book. If anything, reading should make people more sensible - but perhaps I am being too hopeful. Fortunately, I know very little about this particular issue, since I never met anyone (that I know) who suffered from it.

What do you think?

March 06, 2015, 04:12:03 PM
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Re: [MAY 2015] - Terry Pratchett Memorial Read - Nominations are open I would love to take part in this  :)

As for which book, I still have a lot to read from him, so I'm up for anything. From the ones I've read, though, Mort is my favorite, and I feel as if it would be appropriate, given the circumstances.

March 15, 2015, 05:20:40 PM
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Re: RIP Terry Pratchett Just read an interview with Sir Terry's daughter, and thought it was quite endearing.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/11471323/It-was-like-having-a-full-sized-hobbit-for-a-father.html

Also watched his documentary on Euthanasia (Choosing to Die, 2011), and found myself crying like an idiot. It is a subject I have always championed for, because of a sickly dog I had that made me learn a lot about suffering and death. I had no idea Sir Terry had made a documentary on the subject, and it was great, even if hard to stomach.

The world has really become poorer without him.

March 16, 2015, 12:13:23 AM
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Re: What are you currently reading? Just finished Daniel Abraham's A Shadow In Summer and I absolutely loved it, despite the slow beginning. I think I will go on straight to the following book in the series, A Betrayal in Winter  :)
March 16, 2015, 02:46:13 PM
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Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding
@Saraband, you should join this part of the discussion given your studies  :)

Thanks for 'inviting' me into the discussion @Jmacyk, otherwise I might have missed it  ;)

Your original post was fascinating for me, @Nora - I had never heard of "Glanage" before. Also, you lead a much more interesting life than mine, and I thank you for your honesty in sharing an experience which may hold considerable stigma for many people: living on 'dumpster-diving'. I'm certain experiences such as these have given you a very unique perspective on modern society.

Raptori, as a member of a former great colonial empire I can confirm that though dependency was quite unintended in the beginning, it is shockingly the case today.
Hopelessly it's a bit both ways, with our former colonies often asking us for help, like in Mali, and you could see all those interviewed malians saying they wanted France to take the country back.  :-\
It's not benefiting anyone when things get that bad.

Well, Portugal was the first colonial empire (alongside our Spanish neighbors, of course) and one of the greatest, for a few centuries. And our colonial rule was considerably non-violent towards the indigenous peoples of our colonies, at least until the 1960's, when independent movements in Africa got caught up in the Cold War and our Dictatorship tried to put a stop to them - which only resulted in a decade-long colonial war, with the inevitable independence of all our African colonies at the end. Today, unlike France or the UK, Portugal is actually a weak link on the chain, and is becoming increasingly dependent on our former colonies - particularly Angola, which has invested millions of euros in Portugal in recent years. Brazil has also been very important to us since its independence, a few years before the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. This is just to show that it can go both ways, of course, in terms of the relationship developed by the colonialists and the ex-colonies.

But let's not forget that Egypt was Rome's "grain storage" as we say (blast it I can't find an equivalent in English)
And Muslims conquered most of Northern Africa long before the crusades. It wasn't exactly a party. When the crusaders arrived, the princes there were so divided that they allowed the Franq to take a seat and start the "game of thrones" with them there, making alliances and breaking them...
Amin Maalouf wrote a brilliant book on the crusades, The crusades through Arab eyes
There are some pretty revealing passages. His conclusions also ring very true.

Well, reducing Egypt to Rome's granary was something often done in the 60's / 70's / 80's, but History has changed, has all social sciences do, and so have its many perspectives. Egypt is one of the world's most successful civilizations, having survived from +3000 b.C. to the successors of Alexander the Great, the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Arguably, it still survives in many ways, particularly in the Coptic branch of Christianity and its liturgy. While its identity was almost utterly diluted by the time Rome conquered it, it still lasted in many other forms besides a strap of fertile land.

I should also warn you about Amin Maalouf. He is a journalist, and a brilliant novelist - Samarkand is one of my favourite books - but not a Historian. The Crusades were incredibly complex, and still generate a great deal of debate within the scientific community. The Middle-East was very unstable at the time of the First Crusade, with the Turks pouring in from the Steppes and threatening the established dynasties - but the Firanj (Franks, or how Europeans were called in Arabic) were no less alien than these invaders. In many ways, Saladin was only successful because he rallied Egypt and other neighboring territories to his side, as part of the newly formed Mameluke power, against this common foe. Arabs & Turks even later united to fight the Firanj.

(Sorry if I came across as pedantic in any way, is just that an awful lot is written about these subjects, many time without full knowledge of the facts, adding to the perpetuation of a stereotyped historical discourse. Particularly when Islam is involved.)

Can confirm Nora. From the perspective of a colonial force. Belgium owned the large african nation known as Congo. (In fact it was a private property of the king and he was forced to sell it to the Belgian state)
It was the start of what was known in Belgium as the si├Ęcle d'or (golden age fr.) with a unique and opulent architectural style. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is set during this time period.
Anyway, on one hand there was the idea that it was the right thing to do (the white man must educate the noble savage and bring civilization to them), on the other hand, they did it out of fear for everything that wasn't like them.

Unfortunately, Belgium also set the grounds for one of the most awful genocides in History - the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Belgium practically invented the difference in ethnicity between the Tutsi and the Hutu. And it was a fairly small colonial empire when compared to others, so we can imagine in how many ways, and at what depth, has colonialism completely changed the nature of the relationship between countries, and even entire continents.

I always draw from History to write. I don't mind reading about the typical Medievalish-Feudalish setting in Fantasy, but it does tire me, and I enjoy reading about cultures inspired by other historical settings, particularly Islam. Does doesn't mean it's always great, of course. Peter V. Brett's depiction of a somewhat Islamic culture is offensive and verging on complete bigotry, and I say this as a gay atheist with no personal interest in the matter.

There are also great examples, such the series I am currently reading, Daniel Abraham's The Long Price Quartet. It brings together elements of various Asian civilizations, particularly China, Korea and Japan, but there's also a Middle-Eastern flavor punctuating some of its world-building. The cotton trade is a fundamental part of the first novel, for example, and is explored in an interesting, fantastical way - it is important not to forget the importance of the cotton trade for the aforementioned colonialist empires, mainly the UK.

Terry Pratchett was (it is so strange to refer to him in the past...  :'( ) was a master at bringing philosophical, historical, religious, and many other things, to a Fantasy setting, clearly inspired by sources outside literature and fiction.

In my own writing, I am very interested in making sure the things I have learned from History - and still keep learning, and hope to keep (re)learning until I die - are present. Particularly how easy it is for revolutions to get romanticized in fiction, to the point of making them utterly unbelievable (Hunger Games immediately springs to mind...). I do have a particular interest in Medieval Islamic & Middle-Eastern History, and so I often draw on these settings / sources for my writing. Having learned some Arabic and coming into contact with practically unexplored sources, such as the one I used for my master's thesis, I often become amazed at the lack of originality in some authors of fiction, since there are still so many new things to draw from in our own, collective past.

[That was a long post, sorry for the embuggerance  ;) ]

[Edited typos - many still survive, I'm certain]

March 18, 2015, 12:30:35 PM
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