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Messages - Nestat

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Mr Nestat found me. He is a mine of dangerous ideas.

You're welcome! Always feel free to equip your pickaxe of enquiry and mine the vein of oresomeness.

Monthly Writing Contest / Re: Contest Anthology 2016
« on: December 30, 2016, 09:45:51 PM »
I don't mind FF using a story I published here in an anthology, as it's already publicly available on the site. I might want to edit it a bit though.

The US & UK are both signatories to the Berne Convention, which will cover copyright issues.

The issue of "free for prestige" is moot, because all the work has already been written for fun. We've already consented to its free publication... by publishing the work ourselves for free on the site.

As good practice, I think an author not being paid for the work should retain all rights to the work.

If all the authors agree to have their work included, can agree on whether it's free or paid-for, and who gets the money then there's no problem. I think the money can either go to support FF or to charity (my preference). We could even donate it somewhere like Cool Earth and contribute to supporting the important Amazon.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What did you read in November?
« on: December 02, 2016, 07:27:03 PM »
I read two fantasy(ish) books...

If On a Winter's Night a Traveller
Italo Calvino

I'd been meaning to read this for years. I'm glad I did. It picks you to pieces, plays with you and enrages you - and you carry on because it's so beautifully written. And you read with compelled frustration as it gently meanders, meanders, meanders and suddenly turns, reaching its point.

If you are the type of person who has to finish a book, you should read it. Read it because you will hate it. And you will love hating it every step of the way.

The novel begins in a railway station, a locomotive huffs, steam from a piston covers the opening of the chapter, a cloud of smoke hides part of the first paragraph... The pages of the book are clouded like the windows of an old train, the cloud of smoke rests on the sentences. It is a rainy evening; the man enters the bar; he unbuttons his damp overcoat; a cloud of steam enfolds him; a whistle dies away along tracks which are glistening with rain...

The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
Robert Rankin

I used to love reading Rankin in the 90s, like so many people. And like so many people, I stopped reading him after the 90s. I don't know why. The novel was up there with the Brentford Triangle and Suburban Book of the Dead. One of his best - enjoyable and Rankinly bizarre.

If you've not read him before, think of a surreal Terry Pratchett with more Elvis, Hitler and sex.


This is a really good thread question! However...

Sorry slight misunderstanding. @Nestat was emailed all your books by your publisher to promote as a bookseller. He had to unzip them from a zip file? (I think that is correct term?) And I thought that was torrenting as you are downloading more than one file at a time.

Liar! He's trying (and obviously succeeded) in tempting me back onto the forum.

Nestat works in a book store and is therefore one of the last persons who would pirate a book.

Quite right, I haven't pirated your books. Speaking as someone who's livelihood is as affected by piracy as authors' are, I am not opposed to it. (I won't go into why now, to minimise the extent of this digression.)

I read Prince of Thorns for free though, as did many people. Your publisher gave it away when people bought the Dance with Dragons hardback. 

(Good use of persons, Xi!)

And you'd be surprised how often people expect me to swallow the admission (boast) that they have stolen the last 6 years of my labour with a "Ha ha, you rogue, you." on the basis that they liked the story...

I'm not surprised. I remember it well. I don't mean this unkindly: you used to actively seek out people on Twitter and impose yourself on their conversations. They'd take it as a joke and you'd get angry, then you'd take it the wrong way when they gave you benefit of the doubt and used your fanbase as a bully pulpit to criticise them. 

It got to the point where I stopped following you online, and stopped selling your books. It's a large part of why Nighteyes is trolling now! (Stop it.) 

I'd like to get this thread back on topic though. If anyone wants to continue the discussion, they are welcome to revisit some of the old piracy threads on the forum (unless they're locked, those discussion got quite heated).

On the (actual) question of a Shiny Hero - I think they're eminently plausible, as I've seen a few in every day life. I shall think on it and return (as, I believe, might they)!

General Discussion / Re: No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
« on: April 25, 2016, 11:15:21 PM »
Nudge nudge, wink wink. Say no more!

Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Re: Daredevil (Netflix)
« on: March 23, 2016, 10:50:57 PM »
I think that particular scene is partly spoiled, if you know the episode and where it comes. Still amazing, but...

Spoiler for Hiden:
if you know the fight is at the end of episode 3, you will be expecting it then. And it's deliberately shot so you aren't expecting it.

I would have been annoyed if I'd read your post before I'd seen the scene.

Might just be me, though. Anybody else have feelings either way?

Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Re: Daredevil (Netflix)
« on: March 23, 2016, 12:42:23 AM »
Might want to consider some spoiler tags there, Phil!

Spoiler for Hiden:
Especially your references to the amazing fight scene in Episode 3, because he's running from the fight. It's so good because you're thinking he's safe. Then the old man appears and his fist slams down on the door... 

It makes sense.

I liked season 3 more than you did, but I agree it lagged. Season 4 is much better, and the last scene is one of the best of the series - classic FU.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Who makes you want a book?
« on: February 10, 2016, 01:48:07 PM »
Well, I was there and I think we did! Those old half-price till offers in the HMV era weren't a great idea - they usually chose popular books, but you couldn't account for personal taste. I like to tell people about good books based on what they're buying, especially SFF. Then they can come back and talk to me about them.

Nestat, linking to your direct question about bookshops, rather than the forum, I'd love if when I'm in the bookshop (Waterstone's?), browsing through the Fantasy shelves, someone would come to me and start chatting about the books they like (note this is different to the generic "Is there something I can help you with?").

That is my favourite section to have those conversations in! I am of Waterstones, indeed.

Nestat, I am assuming you are an independent bookseller, if so you are a treasured gem. 

Sadly no, I work for a chain. We do have a bar in my shop though, so it has its advantages!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Who makes you want a book?
« on: January 25, 2016, 07:13:09 PM »
Old hands on the forum know I'm a bookseller, so this is a subject quite close to my heart. But I've been thinking about it a lot recently, as I've been training staff. I notice that the more obliged someone is to talk about something, the more they ignore their own reasons for liking it and try to guess what other people might want to know. It's a very strange process.

So I thought I'd open the question up to you guys. You're all here because you like talking about books, but what is it you like hearing about books? What are the best recommendations you've ever been given? What is it other people say about books that make you want - or even need - to read it?

That was a really good choice of theme, Xi. Has anyone mentioned The Princess Bride yet? That is one the greatest fantasy novels and is famous not only for breaking the fourth wall, but also for using it to dupe so many people into believing it was historical!

I've always prided my self on my inconsistency.

Surely you infrequently pride yourself on your inconsistency?

Why not?

1486 words

The Wall of Going Forth

Spoiler for Hiden:
The Fighter's Guild looms large above me. Grey, impassive, foreboding. I throw open the iron-wrought doors and stride inside.

"I have completed my quest and return for my reward!" My voice echoes in the large room.

The squire behind the front desk watches me with eyes as grey and impassive as the building, though much less foreboding.

"Well?" I demand.

The squire looks at me blankly. "Well what?"

"My reward. I have returned to claim what is mine!"

The squire sighs and gestures towards a small door. "Through there. Talk to the wall."

"The wall?"


I sweep through the room and step through the door, into a narrow passageway. I pass another squire and nod politely. My gesture is answered with nothing but vacant gawking. I turn away, intending to continue down the corridor. Instead I am greeted by a large wall which blocks my path.

As I watch, eyes, nose and a mouth slowly form in the brickwork. "Greetings, adventurer. I am the Wall of Going Forth."

"Greetings, Wall." I reply. "I have returned from my quest and come to claim what is rightfully mine."

The mouth yawns lazily. "The quest was?"

"To defeat the monstrous Herzog. I journeyed to the Library.of Saul. A nightmarish place where the damned are forced to atone for their sins by writing tedious letters. The Herzog rules that place and never allows the poor souls complete their task. It is there I drank a goblet of wine laced with capslock and let forth a mighty bellow. The Herzog succumbed to its own uncertainty and fled."

"One moment," Rust-red eyes roll upwards."Herzog, Herzog... can't see anything in the quest journal."

"It must be there! I am the knight errant who undertook this quest for your guild but a tenday past."

"Aha. Then I have a riddle for you! Why do adventurers always say they'll undertake quests?"

The wall's riddle perplexes me. I think long and hard. "A knight's life is governed by a strict moral code," I say, carefully. "The question is one of honour and of truth. So the answer you seek must be duty!"

"Nope!" announces the Wall gleefully. "I'll tell you. Because it will be the death of them!"

"I protest!" I protest. "Three guesses is traditional. You must at least permit me to prove myself in combat!"

"Calm down! I was just passing time while I looked up your quest in the journal," replies the Wall. "No need to make threats, is there? I've got no authority to judge you anyway. The Reader does that."

"Who is the Reader?" I ask.

"The Reader sits concealed behind me, and watches all you do and say," explains the Wall, ominously. "It is the Reader who will judge you and ultimately deem you worthy or not."

"Then I shall address the Reader directly!" I exclaim.

"By all means. Fire away."

I pull my sword from its scabbard and hold it high above my head. "Greetings, noble Reader!" I call. "I am a humble knight who has journeyed far to join you. At your guild's behest, I have vanquished the evil Herzog and returned to claim my reward!"

I lower my sword. The wall watches me. We wait. The Wall begins whistling. It is a harsh, grating sound.

Impatience finally stirs my soul. "Did the Reader hear me?"

"Oh, yes," replies the Wall, confidently. "Rest assured, the Reader is fully aware of everything that has just happened."

"Well, what was said?" I ask, sheathing my sword.

"Who knows?" the Wall shrugged.

"Then how do you know the Reader's even there?"
"Because I said so. There's no objective proof. You can talk to the Reader all you want, but you'll never get a reply. You just have to trust me. The Reader's there. Do the best you can and hope they don't judge you too harshly."

"Must I be continuously vexed by your riddles, Wall?"

"Well, let's put it this way. You're a knight, you've heard of gods?"

"Of course!" I say, indignantly.

"Well then."

"But what about my reward!" I demand.

"Relax, relax. Like I said, I was just making conversation while I look up the quest in the journal. I've found the Herzog now. What's your name?"

I place my left hand upon my chest. "I am Norm."

"Norm! You're the second person to say that!"

"Who's the first person?"

"I am," replies the Wall smugly.

My brow furrows. "This is all very strange."

"Hey, I'm not strange. I'm Norm Wall!"

My eyes narrow. My hand flies to my sword. "Are you mocking me, Wall?"

Hands quickly form in the brickwork and the Wall holds them up placatingly.

"It's just a joke! I'm the Wall of Going Forth. I give the rewards for quests."

"Give me mine quickly, Wall."

"Fine. Now, I've got a different name next to this quest. You're a knight, yes? Is Norm your sir name?"
"No. de Plume."

"Aha! Yes. That's the name here. All I need now is your proof."

"Proof? What need have I of any proofs?"

"All our members have them."

"I need no proofs!"

"As I said, all our members have proofs. If you want to part of this guild as well, you'll need to get used to the idea."

My face turns red with rage. "I am a knight errant! What about my word? Has honour lost all meaning in the Fighter's Guild?"

"Fighter's Guild?" The Wall stares at me in disbelief. "This is the Writers' Guild! No wonder you didn't get my joke about undertaking being the death of you!"

"Writers' Guild!" My patience is strained to breaking point. "Look, I want to talk about my quest. Heroic deeds and rewards for services rendered. All you do is interrupt with useless information I care nothing for!"

"That's us!" explains the Wall happily. "If our hearts aren't in the right place, our apostrophes are!" The Wall chuckles. "Another little joke there. Fighter's Guild? It's an easy mistake to make! Well, you're the first. But we do also produce the Fighter's Gild. Probably doesn't help matters."

"Fighter's Gild? What in all that is holy is the Fighter's Gild? And do these blank squires do nothing but stare?"

"Not squires, pages. The Fighter's Gild is just a little service we provide to warriors. To make their deeds sound more heroic." A scroll appears in one of the Wall's hands. "Take a look for yourself. It's free!"

I snatch the scroll and unravel it. There is nothing written upon it.

"There's nothing here! How can an empty scroll make my deeds sound more heroic?" I demand.

"It's complementary."

"Enough of this!" I scream. "I am owed!"

"Really?" The Wall snaps its fingers. "Poetry we can handle! I'm sure I can arrange-"

"Where is the princess?"

 "Princess? What princess?"

"I completed your quest! In exchange, I was promised a princess!"

"There's nothing like that in the quest journal," replies the Wall. It scratches its nose. "And to be honest, I can't see a princess as something we're likely to offer anyone."

"I was promised royalty!"

"Oh! No. Royalties. Royalties."

I pause. "Two princesses?"

"No, it's money. Just another word for money."

"Money?" My attention is pricked by the prospect. "How much money?"

"Some." The Wall's eyes do not meet my own.

My eyes narrow. "How much?"

"You sound anxious to be on your way," the Wall says, still avoiding my gaze. "I think Norm is a worrier's name."

"How much, Wall?" I growl.

"Well, to be completely honest with you... look, you know that scroll I gave you?"

"The blank one?"

"That's the one."

I wait. "Well?"

The wall shrugs. "That's it."

"Nothing? Nothing at all?"

"Yes. A lot of people complain."

"But I'm entitled!"

"Knights usually are."

"Enough." My voice is quiet, dangerous. My hand finds the hilt of my sword and I grip it, like a potent sexual metaphor.

"D'you know what, mate? Stop fondling your weapon. I'm just a wall!" Beneath its eyes, mortar begins to glisten. "Do you think it's easy? In a place like this? Do you have any idea what it's like?" The mortar melts and drips down its nose. "Can't write today? Oh, it's the Wall. And what am I doing? Oh, look! I'm hitting the Wall." More mortar tears flow down the Wall's face. "Having a difficult conversation? Oh, well I'll just go and bang my head against the Wall. That's right. Headbutt me. It's just assault but see if I care, why don't you!"

Its face falls, crumbling with its tears. I watch in disbelief as the Wall collapses into a slimy pool, which seeps slowly into the ground. I stare as my prospect of reward dissolves beneath the floor.

At first I am angry, but then I understand. The Wall has broken down. The Reader is finally revealed. I draw my sword and advance slowly, smiling.

What do you think of me now?

Non-Fantasy Books / Re: Recommend me a Detective Novel
« on: December 06, 2015, 08:16:51 PM »
Looking out for a non-fantasy Detective Novel

I  like Reading Jack Reacher,Travis McGee,Harry Hole and Harry Bosch , I prefer reading a Series but if there's an Outstanding stand alone I will try that. For Fantasy I enjoy Dresden, Thraxas ,Garret and Burton & Swinburne

Also I prefer reading American or European Detectives over British ones for some reason

When it comes to crime, I mostly read noir. Here are a few of the best:

First Blood - David Morrell. I bought this when I saw the words "Based on the novel" in the opening credits of the film. If you like Jack Reacher, you'll love this. Sheriff Teasle is a much more sympathetic character and he's also portrayed as a (Korean) war hero., as the book is an involved critique of how Vietnam vets were treated when they returned home.

Another Reacheresque thriller is I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. A high-octane thriller about a secret agent tracking down a terrorist before he strikes. It tells the story of the agent's investigation and the terrorist's life as he plans mass murder.

And another brilliant read in that vein is Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, inspired by the Rostov murders in the 1950s. It's the story of a young MGB agent who discovers a serial killer on the loose in Russia. As Stalin's government recognises itself as the perfect state, they declare the agent a traitor and he has to go on the run while tracking down the child killer.

And while we're in eastern Europe, I should mention Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith. It's the second Arkady Renko novel - feel free to read Gorky Park first. But this one was absolutely amazing. Renko is a detective hiding on the Russian fishing fleet after the fiasco at Gorky Park. Then there's a murder and it all goes to hell in a handbasket for him...

Someone mentioned Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler earlier. I loved Marlowe, I didn't much care for Sam Spade. But the second-best noir I ever read was Point Blank (aka Hunter aka Payback) by Richard Stark: "Double-crossed, shot, and left for dead — by his wife." It's a very large, angry man taking on the mafia.

And the best I read was Chester Himes' A Rage in Harlem. In a genre full of angry misogynists, this was the most visceral noir I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

I hope that's enough to be getting on with!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What should Raptori read next?
« on: December 05, 2015, 08:55:43 PM »
After all, isn't part of the fun discussing about it? Specially in a forum? As long it remains civil, of course, and people try their best to not make it look like a "I win, you lose" kind of discussion.

Civil's no guarantee. Wars can be civil!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What should Raptori read next?
« on: December 05, 2015, 08:53:13 PM »
Are you someone that I should know?
Or is this even before my time? :)

Mmm... you might have been around? I sometimes pop on the forum to read, even if I've not been active. I used to be a regular in 2012 and went to the first Grim Gathering at Blackwells.

(Sorry to hijack your link, Raptori - if you're bored, you can always read Walter Moers!)

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