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Re: What are you currently reading? I'm reading Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick. So far, the thing it most reminds me of is Miller's Crossing, the Coen brothers film. Lots of double-crossing and gangland violence with a fantasy backdrop.
March 22, 2015, 10:43:23 AM
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Re: Hugo Awards 2015 Controversy & Sad Puppies
A good summary of awards controversy:
http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/the-gemmell-awards.html
It seems to me like the Gemmells might have been gamed by the Warhammer crowd, once or twice. But on the other hand, it seems kind of right that Warhammer books should be recognised there, of all places.

April 08, 2015, 04:58:02 PM
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Re: What's the name of that book? - Lost and Found for novels
There is a book or even series where two cousins/brothers/ enemies are competing for power and it involves one  trapped in a portrait by the other. This is all I can remember and suspect I gave up on it, but that evil twist intrigues and niggles at me. Probably published around late 80's early 90's.  Please can anyone help?
It sounds a bit like The Golden Key by Kate Elliott, Melanie Rawn and Jennifer Roberson. My memory's a bit vague, but I feel like that was one of the plot points. It certainly featured painting-based magic. And was excellent.

April 28, 2015, 01:18:48 PM
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Re: Pet Peeves: What makes you put a book down/never pick it up in the first place? I like a bit of creativity in a title, but I think you've also got to have a title that fits the work. The thing about The X of Y format is that you can be pretty sure it's going to be a fantasy novel with all the usual stuff. Despite how much I love the series, I don't think the titles of The First Law trilogy work well at all, in that regard. The Blade Itself is nothing to do with a blade, and that's probably the least misleading.

And yes, Eddings broke prophecies forever.

May 10, 2015, 10:15:28 AM
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Re: Pet Peeves: What makes you put a book down/never pick it up in the first place?
2. Portal stories. Forgive me, but one of the first things to make me not even want to buy a book is to make it about a young person, or group of young people, transported from our world to a fantasy realm. Yes, there are ways to do this creatively, or to turn the convention of what I described on its ear, and when writers can do that, they have my appreciation. But so often it's just so that we can have a character we "identify" with who's just as new to this world as we are and thus can have things explained to them so that the author can explain it to us. I would much rather you throw me into your world and have me so focused on the characters and plot that the rest of it just falls into place.
This used to really bug me as a child. It's so common in children's fantasy - Narnia being the obvious example - but it really used to put me off. I think it has the exact opposite of its intended effect: it diminishes the reality of the story. If a story takes place entirely in another world, it has its own internal logic and reality. If you then say that it is some kind of magical adjunct to the mundane world we know, that gets undermined. The whole thing can be dismissed as a hallucination or dream.

I think the best portal stories work in spite of their portals rather than because of them.

May 11, 2015, 01:39:42 PM
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Re: How do you choose your next book? It might sound weird, given what I wrote above, but I kind of hate having to read a specific book with a specific deadline, too. The trick is have a bit of guidance but nothing too prescriptive. If I have a specific book to read, then I won't have a deadline, and if I have a deadline, I'll try not to have a specific book. Otherwise I just start to resent being forced to do something.

That's why I only tend to do book clubs if it's already something I was thinking of reading. Otherwise I tend to prefer more flexible challenges, where I have a bit of room to change my mind, but it's not just a wide-open choice where I might get paralysed by indecision.

May 11, 2015, 04:20:19 PM
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Re: The Magicians - Week 3 Hmm, yes. Quentin reveals further idiocy, and seems determined to screw up everything that might be good.

I still find him reasonably sympathetic, because it feels like he's screwing up in believable ways. He's no hero. He's just trying to get by, and sabotaging himself because he's a fool, like the rest of us.

And they also go to Fillory, which feels like a real change in the reality-level of the book, even though it was always on the cards. I don't quite know what to make of this, yet. It's clear that they don't know what they're getting in to.

I'm still enjoying it, and hope to read the rest of the series before too long.

May 22, 2015, 01:11:56 PM
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Re: Using different POVs/styles in one book There's an ailment I call shortstoryitis (this is why I'm not in charge of names) where a book feels too broken up and can't gather or sustain any momentum, so reads more like a short story collection*. I imagine that switching viewpoints, styles and scenes too often is a good way of suffering from this. It's a tricky one, though. Sometimes switching viewpoint or scene adds to the drama rather than undercutting it.


*This is Chronic Shortstoryitis. Acute Shortstoryitis is when there's a twist ending that isn't earned by the rest of the book/series and undermines the whole thing.

June 09, 2015, 01:20:27 PM
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Re: FFBB: Favourite Series - Mistborn vs Black Magician
Two thirds? There's 4 books you crazy human! Did you do your math that precisely to figure it out? :P
And you other humans, judging a book by its cover. You should be ashamed. I'll just stick with my blind fellows from now on. We don't have that luxury. :P
Alloy of Law doesn't really count - it's the beginning of a separate series even though it's in the same world.  :P
I did think about mentioning Alloy of Law, but then decided there was no need. Foolishly. :)

August 26, 2015, 01:18:47 PM
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Re: Favorite Tropes??
There's some really good ones on the TV Tropes website, although it was started for TV it's since branched out into all forms of media.
But never go there if you want to get anything done.

September 11, 2015, 01:15:42 PM
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