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Re: Fantasy-Faction Book Battles: Favourite Sci-Fi Series Nominations I still haven't done any actual research (ie. looked at my shelves), but here are some starters, which will maybe need modifying depending on the definition of a series:

1 - Revelation Space - Alastair Reynolds (trilogy, plus two standalones and a collection)
2 - Hyperion - Dan Simmons (two two-book serieses, I'd go for the first one if forced to choose)
3 - Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold (starts with Shards of Honor or The Warrior's Apprentice, depending on where you want to start. Warrior's Apprentice probably more representative.)
4 - Sprawl series - William Gibson (Neuromancer etc)
5 - Heechee series - Frederik Pohl (Gateway etc)
6 - Hitchhiker's Guide - Douglas Adams
7 - Imperial Radch - Ann Leckie (Ancillary Sword etc)
8 - Mars trilogy - Kim Stanley Robinson (Red, Green and Blue Mars)
9 - Uplift series - David Brin (Sundiver etc)
10 - Zones of Thought - Vernor Vinge (Fire Upon the Deep, Deepness in the Sky and the apparently disappointing belated follow-up Children of the Sky, which I haven't read)

11 - Alliance/Union - CJ Cherryh (Cyteen, Downbelow Station etc - These are actually a shared universe rather than a strict series, so if that's a problem I'd go for either the two-book subset Heavy Time & Hellburner or the semi-related Chanur series starting with Pride of Chanur)
12 - Culture series - Iain M Banks (Again this is a shared setting rather than a proper series. Few of the books have any direct links. Maybe rule it out as standalones?)

I think I'll restrain myself to those twelve, for now.

November 24, 2015, 01:43:53 PM
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Re: XXXI-XL (End) I finished it today*. I enjoyed it. It was certainly readable, if not without flaws. I think most of my criticisms have already been mentioned. I think I agree with Jmack that the five viewpoint characters don't really give you much to care about for some parts of the book. I think my motivation wavered about a third of the way through.

Also, the line spacing on my kindle was unusually big.


*I was off work yesterday, using up some if my annual leave, and I woke up with a headache, so spent most of the day reading.

November 24, 2015, 10:32:06 PM
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Re: Fantasy Books Gone Mainstream I find that the more times you are forced to express an opinion, the more polarised it gets, as if you get exasperated with it. You faintly praise the mediocre thing for a while, and then finally crack and declare it to be the worst thing in the history of things.

There is also the case where you think B is a much better example of the same thing than A, and yet B languishes unknown while the lazy hack creator of A gets to bathe in champagne. Like, say, Foucault's Pendulum being the Da Vinci Code for smart people. Or Battle Royale being the superior version of the Hunger Games. (I've only seen the film of Battle Royale, and didn't think much of it.) This kind of thing happens all the time, in every field, though, and it's often only luck that really separates A and B. Why did Angry Birds get so massive when similar games failed before it? If anyone really knew, they'd do it themselves. It's like pushing boulders up a hill. B rolls back down to the start, but A makes it those crucial extra feet that take it over the peak and let it roll down the other side to success.

November 26, 2015, 08:29:59 PM
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Re: What were your first fantasy books? I don't really remember. A lot of great children's books are fantasy, and I think it's more a case of not stopping reading fantasy than of starting reading it.
November 27, 2015, 10:38:48 PM
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Re: What are you currently reading? I think The Magicians was my favourite book of last year, but I'm always a bit cagey about recommending it, because I can totally see that it's not going to click for some people. Maybe it's to do with how much sympathy for Quentin you can hang on to.

I finished Priest by Matthew Colville. I enjoyed it. I think it's fair to say the SPFBO books have pleasantly surprised me, so far. The world is rich and weird, and there's a nice sense of depth of history which isn't overplayed. Some of the encounters were a bit over-the-top, and there's still quite a bit unresolved, but it was interesting and different. I'm not sure the title does it any favours.

Next up: Dinosaur Beach by Keith Laumer, representing 1971 in my chronological SF challenge.

January 23, 2016, 10:10:25 AM
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Re: Miscellaneous Musings about Books
I found a Kate Elliot book in the charity shop today and got it, after the praises that were given to her latest book.
It's called Spirit Gate, and if I don't like it, it was only 50p anyway, hehe

By the way, how much is "a score"? Is it 20?
Yes, a score is 20.

I enjoyed the Crossroads series, but I haven't really read anything else by Elliott except The Golden Key, way back when.

January 31, 2016, 11:08:05 AM
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Re: Miscellaneous Musings about Books The subgenre known as urban fantasy seems very much to be denatured horror: using horror tropes and supernatural beings to tell not-so-horrific stories. I don't read them much, myself. I don't find them very difficult to avoid.
February 01, 2016, 01:24:04 PM
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Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought King of Thorns - Mark Lawrence - Bigger and deeper than the first book. I didn't totally buy some of the solutions, but still pretty great.

Luna: New Moon - Ian McDonald - Family/corporate machinations on the moon. Good stuff. The ending was a bit OTT, and there's a long wait for the next book.

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman - Run-of-the-mill Gaiman, which is still better than most other people.

Dumb Witness - Agatha Christie - An OK Poirot. I can barely remember what happened in it, now. I expect someone died.

Aztec Century - Christopher Priest - Alt-history where Britain is conquered by the Aztec Empire. So-so.

The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury - Classic collection of linked shorts, which still works despite being ridiculously dated.

Priest - Matthew Colville - SPFBO finalist, which I liked a lot. My favourite of the three I've read.

Dinosaur Beach - Keith Laumer - Short twisty time-police novel. Mediocre.

Without a Summer - Mary Robinette Kowal - I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first two, but it was still above average.

February 01, 2016, 01:42:39 PM
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Re: Miscellaneous Musings about Books Urban fantasy is popular, and it's usually shelved or listed with regular (aka epic or heroic) fantasy. If you look at the SF/Fantasy page on Amazon, the early pages are pretty heavy with UF. If you're just picking at random, then yes, you'll probably hit quite a lot of that.

I kind of wish it would be hived off somewhere else myself, to be honest, but I think I'm sufficiently good at ignoring it that it doesn't really matter.

February 02, 2016, 01:38:46 PM
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Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Looks like the contest is over.  Elitist Book Reviews single-handedly took most contenders out of contention.  Struck me as suspicious since they are affiliated with the publisher who picked up the thief book for publication.
You could always do some ski-jumping/figure-skating scoring, and discard the highest and lowest before taking the average.

Anyway, are we sure those new EBR scores aren't out of 5? At present, they've given Priest the lowest score of anyone for any book, and it's my favourite of the three I've read (although, to be fair, there wasn't much between them.)

February 04, 2016, 01:49:32 PM
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