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Messages - cupiscent

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Private eyes/detective Fantasy
« on: June 14, 2019, 11:57:25 PM »
Were you thinking specifically urban fantasy, Eclipse, or second-world fantasy too? I personally didn't like Mark Charan Newton's Drakenfeld (partly because it's a very Roman-world fantasy, and my brain just kept going, "Or we could re-read Falco!") but it's very much a private-eye fantasy. (...actually, looking it up on Goodreads to make sure I had the author's name right, I see you've already read it, but I'll keep it here for completeness :D)

Pondering further... Greg van Eekhout's California Bones is a fun urban-fantasy noir, though it's more a heist / crime novel than a private-eye. (AND DITTO omg Eclipse, you've read everything, lol)

Similarly, I was going to suggest Kevin Hearne's work, but I see you're already familiar. :)

OK, here's one you might not have considered before: Amanda Downum's The Drowning City is a second-world fantasy with an investigating protag--she's a spy rather than a private-eye, but there are a lot of similarities; she's operating outside but alongside the standard law-enforcement structures, and since she's a necromancer, there's a certain Dresden-ish overlap.

And perhaps also have a look at the work of Jaye Wells? She has a series called Prospero's War, first book Dirty Magic, which I think has a police protag rather than a PI, but might still be of interest.

I do recall trying to read the Puppy-insert short fiction in the Hugo ballot a few years back and just about passing out from the weight of the "here is the point, let me tell you about the point, this entire thing is a Metaphor for the Point".

Anything that's compared to Harry Potter, unless it is actually about a magical boarding school / latin-based wizards alongside the real world (so I can juuuust about accept Peter Grant being described with that comparison)

The early adventures of Father Chains, as written by Scott Lynch, now that would be epic.

Heck yes!

Actually, this reminds me of a prequel story I did really enjoy: Brian Staveley's Skullsworn, which is the origin story of a supporting character in his Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne series. I actually wasn't that into the main series (totally meh about The Emperor's Blades and I didn't read further) but the prequel was a really great book, in part because it takes the known ending as a challenge - the reader knows where Pyrre ends up (as a bad-ass assassin) but the whole book is a "how the hell is she going to pull this off in the circumstances?" and deeply seated in the character and her choices, which I found really satisfying.

I agree what the Star Wars prequels demonstrate is how NOT to do a prequel. The tension when the audience already knows the ending is not what, and it's not "watching it happen", it's the how and why. And the prequel trilogy missed a lot of that out. We see the start and end of Anakin's journey to the dark side, but the slow inexorable slide is largely in the Clone Wars material between the second and third movies (and, I understand, covered in the comic books and cartoon series, but I simply cannot deal with emotional stuff from non-human faces). Similarly, they cut out the rise-of-the-Rebellion material from the third movie, thus removing that element of how-and-why. I think the prequel story would've been better served by not having the first movie (however much I appreciate the Obi-Wan arc there; it could be recycled into backstory and reference) and including more of that how-and-why in the middle.

I think it's generally true that the vast majority of the time, backstory has been given sufficiently in reference within the main story that simply fleshing it out isn't that interesting. (This is a prequel problem, but I actually see it more commonly manifest when an author gives flashbacks within a book that are unnecessary because I already understood all of what is shown.) To be successful, I think a prequel needs a burning question to answer, just like a sequel does.

All that said, if Joe Abercrombie were to go, "Here's the backstory of Bayaz," I'd be well up for it. Or Ben Aaronovitch wanted to write youthful adventures of Nightingale.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What did you read in May 2019
« on: June 03, 2019, 04:51:24 AM »
I am so looking forward to the new Kay, so very lots.

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte, which I picked up because I saw the author at an event here in Melbourne (she's a local) but the book didn't quite work for me. Falls into that common YA trap of having way too many frantically moving parts and therefore never managing to explore any of them really deeply. But it was fun, and it's stand-alone.

We Rule The Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett who, in the spirit of full disclosure, shares an agent with me, otherwise I might not have picked this book up. And that would have been my loss, because this was AMAZING. YA fantasy, but entirely the opposite to the previous in execution. The language was lyrical but tightly controlled, the worldbuilding outstanding and the characters just magnificent, all complicated and prickly and faceted. I described it in an update as "A League of Their Own in the Soviet war machine". I loved it.

The Poppy War by RF Kuang, which was very warfare and grimdark. I think it was pretty well done, and the character arcs were really nicely balanced, but I had no fun in last 200 pages.

I was going to add, just for laughs, "the next Tool album", but then I thought I'd just check google, why not, and it's COMING IN AUGUST (allegedly), my god, we've only been waiting since 2006...

Open For Submissions / Re: Angry Robot Open Submissions May 2019
« on: June 01, 2019, 10:50:58 AM »
Good luck, Peat!

General Discussion / Re: Congratulations Cupiscent
« on: June 01, 2019, 10:50:01 AM »
Cam and I can bring the profession into disrepute together.

Kingkiller also seems a very demanding profession. Gentleman Bastard is one I can very much get behind, though.

Honourable mention for Megan Whalen Turner, because I feel like I've spent so many years fondly hoping that there will be more of the Queen's Thief series, and she's going to be finishing it very damn soon, huzzah. (Good things do come to those who are patient!)

Reading through this had some fantastic blast-from-the-past moments. Best of all being, of course, that there still hasn't been a new book in A Song of Ice and Fire.

Unrelated to the time between books, my vote for "too long" is ASoIaF. It's just got way too bogged down in details and quite literally following characters slogging through the mud. I actually haven't even read Dance with Dragons because I couldn't stand reading another huge book where bugger-all happens; I wanted to wait until I had least had the completed series so I knew there would be some resolution. And still I wait. (I know you have your way of writing, Georgey Martin, but I'd just like to say: this is why we plan.)

When it comes to "too short", I actually have an immediate and knee-jerk reaction... it's just not actually a book. It's an ancient one-series television series that practically no one has ever heard of, called Ultraviolet about the secret struggle against vampires in modern Britain. It had a pretty impressive cast (including Idris Elba), was magnificently done, the grim fear was real, and if I ever get hold of time-travelling technology I will use it to go back to 1998 and cause more to be made.

My other answer to "too short" is: basically every novella I've ever read. I get so frustrated with that length, I just want more. :)

General Discussion / Re: Congratulations Cupiscent
« on: May 31, 2019, 11:52:56 AM »
Oh yay. Heh. Thanks. @Eclipse I certainly couldn't have done it with you! Or, really, all of everyone here. It's such a great crew to hang out and talk about great books with. Drinks all round!

Dunno about being an Auror though.  Sounds like waaaaay too much work. Can't I just sit in the corner and be a smartass instead? :D

I saw an interesting discussion among some of the young (queer, female) authors I follow on twitter recently about formative queer books, and all were noting that they were particularly inspired as younger readers by male same-sex storylines in spec fic (both Swordspoint and Torchwood got lots of mentions) but couldn't think of any formative female same-sex storylines from that period. So I think it's particularly interesting to look specifically at wlw in fantasy. ("wlw" being women-loving-women; I use this term because I've seen a lot of discussion about how using "lesbian" cuts out those female characters who are bisexual, but in a same-sex relationship at this point.)

I've also thoroughly enjoyed K Arsenault Rivera's work recently, but I've seen a lot of commentary disliking the sapphic content. I also don't believe the books are published in the UK (yet)? (I was going to make a comment here about Seth Dickinson's work, but I see that The Monster Baru Cormorant FINALLY has a UK pub date. Shame I've already bought my US edition.) Similarly, I don't believe Max Gladstone's work has been published in the UK. (And a queer female friend of mine was in raptures about Ruin of Angels because it contained not just one but two wlw happy endings; she said, "I didn't think we were allowed to have that, I am so happy." Which is a telling thing for someone to say.)

I am now wondering... there seemed to be a lot of sapphic potential in the set-up for Mark Lawrence's Red Sister; did that potential pay off at all in the rest of the series?

If we're counting YA as a sub-genre, then definitely that one. YA fantasy ideas just sound SO EXCITING. (They are often delivered too thinly and glibly for me, but GOSH THE IDEAS.)

My TBR is too big to really assess without spending way too long about it, but some trends that I have definitely noticed about books I add to it:
 - "epic" (by which I mean: secondary world, magic and whatnot)
 - steampunky vibes (double bonus if secondary world steampunk)
 - fantasy of manners / mannerpunk (secondary world, no/minimal magic and whatnot)
 - lady / queer main characters

Very much depends on the tastes of the friend, and often tailored to conversations we're having. If friend and I have been discussing the varying kinds of spy narrative, I might say, "Hey, you might be interested in City of Stairs" or The Witch Who Came In From The Cold. I've talked up The Fifth Season to friends who like things a bit grim and dystopic and tend to roll their eyes at fantasy sword-swinging shenanigans. I've successfully pitched Rivers of London at my British-police-procedural-loving mother.

So yeah, if someone came to me and said, "Wow, you have a lot of fantasy books, I've never read any, where should I start?" I would start with, "OK, what sort of things do you enjoy in books and movies and television?" and go from there. We've such a wide genre, we can cover so many tastes. And there's no point recommending The Lies of Locke Lamora to someone who likes cozy mysteries or romance.

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