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Topics - Idlewilder

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Hey guys,

You may remember me from such threads as 'What am I currently reading?' or 'The King's Paws before it was holding a bottle of Peri Peri sauce' but the majority of you...probably don't! I used to hang around here like a bad smell, but now I am merely the barest whiff, buried in long-dead threads that @Eclipse has often seen fit to resurrect.

I've been completely out of fiction reading for the last year or so (apart from a brief foray into the Six Duchies over last Christmas!) and have thus missed out on a lot of 2017's new reads. I used to have (I like to think!) my finger pretty firmly on the pulse of the genre more generally, but have totally dropped off for several reasons more recently.

My question to all of you is: what is the most spectacular SFF novel you have read this year? I'm not really looking for your average hack-n-slash, spell-slinging Sanderson/Weeks/Brett tale to end all tales - though there's of course a place for them and they can be spectacular in their own way - but something with a bit of originality in its worldbuilding, or some real depth to its character development. Maybe there's a debut (I'm sure there is!) that passed me by, or a standalone by an old stalwart of the genre. Either way, I will as always look forward to reading your suggestions - and by all means, debate away!


Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / The Division
« on: March 08, 2016, 03:33:32 PM »
So I caved and bought it. Installing the update now. Anyone else getting it? I have the PS4 version, so anyone who wants to add me just ask! (I dunno if anyone on FF even owns a PS4...)

For those interested, a rather good interview with 'Marshall' by Kameron Hurley: https://medium.com/@orbitbooks/an-interview-with-alex-marshall-9bd6e4c9655c#.wp6b9ixxa

For those who just wanna know, Alex Marshall is...
Spoiler for Hiden:
Jesse Bullington


Right now I'm reading and thoroughly enjoying The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay. It's my second time around with GGK; my first didn't go so well when I struggled through the audiobook of The Lions of al-Rassan.

It got me thinking though, has anyone else had a similar experience? Have you ever struggled with/disliked/outright hated the first book you tried by an author only to give s/he another go and find a book you liked (or even loved) a lot more by the same writer?

Something a little different, but I was just curious if anyone else has ever really struggled with a book because of the difficulty in reading it? Not limited to SFF this one, but I for one remember being baffled by Gene Wolfe's Shadow of the Torturer about 150 pages in. Just spotted it on my shelf and thought about trying it again...

I know a lot of people struggle with the likes of Mieville and Erikson in the realm of fantasy. And obviously there are the famous literary works like Ulysses (I believe @Nighteyes once told me he'd made it to the 200 pages point of this!) and Gravity's Rainbow.

So what's the toughest read you've ever attempted? Maybe you even finished it!  :o

Ahoy-hoy, campers!

Is anyone else as nerve-shatteringly excited for the new Metal Gear as I am? Do we have any fans of the series on here? Anyone not too sure, but interested about the new one?

It’s getting insanely good reviews as of this morning – not one I have seen so far calls it any less than a masterpiece.

I’m not much of a gamer – never have been, and certainly not any more. Time is the enemy. But a new Metal Gear is always a huge deal for me – I’ve been steeped in the series since Metal Gear Solid came out way back in 1999 on PSone and blew me away. I've even booked a couple of days off work just to find time specifically to play it - something I've never done.

It’s the most batshit crazy series of anything ever, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Worldcon 2017: Helsinki?
« on: August 19, 2015, 10:32:36 AM »
I thought this might be of interest to a few people here...


Helsinki has a bid in for hosting Worldcon in 2017. I believe the announcement of the winning host will be this weekend at Worldcon in Spokane.

For those who don't know, Worldcon is like the BIG SFF convention, mainly for book-ish type things, and it's where the always controversial Hugos are awarded every year.

I think there has been a good bit of support for Helsinki, so it might just happen. A trip to Finland...

Wouldn't that be nice?

[JUN 2015] - Last Call / Last Call - Week Two
« on: June 08, 2015, 08:46:11 AM »
The book kept up the frantic pace this week as Scott, Ozzie and Mavranos made their way to Las Vegas to find Diana. Lots of weirdness happening now that they're together, and LOTS of weird side characters.

It seems Georges Leon moves between bodies he's commandeered over the years and when he isn't in them he leaves them with the barest whiff of his memories and...not much else. Like husks. I enjoyed the scene where he was Betsy Reculver one minute and Art (?) the next, phoning Trumbill out of nowhere.

We met Diana properly. I like her, she seems like she might make for an interesting counterpoint to Scott and even arguably is the main character now that the narrative has shifted...

...and we come to the shooting of her young son, Scat. What did we think? I thought it was chaotic and well written - Powers has set up the randomness of events, and the likelihood of people around Scott dying or getting hurt, so the bullet hitting Scat - almost against the law of physics I think! - actually made sense, and it makes the dynamic between Scott and Diana interesting going forward.

Final two things: what did you all think of the very oddball maps guy that kidnapped Scat? (name escapes me...)

And what are thoughts on Al Fumo? A serial killer who is also a contract killer on the side. Reminds me of a character from the recent TV series of Fargo, for anyone who's seen it.

[JUN 2015] - Last Call / Last Call - Week One
« on: June 01, 2015, 06:20:40 PM »
So I have split this down by the Prologue and Book One for this week as that was the convenient stopping point, but obviously Weeks 2-3 don't stop at such obvious places for discussion.

Week One: Prologue

Well, this got off to a bang huh? I’d be very surprised to hear of anyone who thought this was a slow start – something I found with The Anubis Gates – the Powers novel which more typically comes up when people suggest something by him.

I loved the quotes/poetry at the start of this section; they immediately brought on an eerie foreboding tone that was totally followed through on in the Prologue itself.

Georges Leon is one helluva interesting character. Sort-of instantly despicable and difficult to like or even begin to empathise with. Just what exactly has he done to his eldest son, Richard? Has he made him into some sort of husk that just acts as a sort-of radar for him to protect his ‘domain’? It was all very bizarre and the tarot cards really made the whole thing feel very dark and ominous. I liked the links to the Fisher King – this definitely has the feel of Arthurian mythology (only in 40s Vegas!) – very, very cool.

The use of Bugsy Siegel and the Flamingo Hotel is also really interesting – Tim Powers is renowned for creating insanely fantastical and layered plots that weave in and out of real-life history and historical characters. This is just such an unusual setting – very impressed so far.

Plus – we got a car chase!

Also, how amazingly disgusting was this paragraph?

Spoiler for Hiden:
Leon was bandaged up like a diapered baby. The doctors had removed his prostate gland and two feet of his large and small intestines, and his genitals had been a shredded mess that had virtually come away from the body when the doctors scissored his pants off.

Book One

Ah, our first quote from poet William Ashbless. For those unfamiliar with Ashbless’ work, I highly (highly) suggest you check out this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Ashbless    ;)

Again, this book has quite the pace. I thought Powers’ writing in revealing that Crane’s wife is dead was really good and powerful, considering we had really only just met the adult Crane. All the flashbacks are really well done, and everything is just getting weirder and weirder. Yet it is a compulsive read.

It reads very much like a thriller but there’s something about the rhythm of Powers’ plotting and prose that is really unique. And not to mention the weirdness of everything that’s underlining the whole story – that card game on the Lake! What is it about water that makes everything so dangerous? (For Malazan readers the way the cards and those who are claimed by them is reminiscent of the Deck of Dragons)

I really like Ozzie and am so curious about Diana. All the characters feel well rounded to me and each have distinct tic in their dialogue that differentiate them (Ozzie is often incomprehensible, Scott is sullen, Mavranos is sarcastic).

I figured this to be set in 1990 going by the dates and ages of the characters.

So Doctor Leaky is Georges Leon’s old body, but who is stuck in there and why won’t he die? And he is inhabiting more than one person…

I don’t know a great deal about Arthurian mythology, but I found it funny that Arky’s real name is Archimedes and that he acts somewhat as Scott’s conscience. In the Disney film, The Sword in the Stone (a favourite of mine!) Archimedes is an owl who plays a very similar role to the future King Arthur. He’s a really great character – I love how important he’s become to the plot, and how his cancer is its own subplot.

Overall so far it has all the elements of a traditional epic fantasy, but is firmly set in 20th-century American west coast. Really interesting book.

So much to discuss in this though, what are everyone else’s thoughts?

[MAY 2015] - The Magicians / The Magician's Land Book Trailer
« on: May 22, 2015, 09:42:31 PM »
Hey guys,

I've a feeling this has been posted somewhere before (possibly by me!) but I thought it would still be cool to post it up again here. Some big names in this. I love the idea behind this trailer and the music is just wonderful. Can't wait to read on with this trilogy!


[MAY 2015] - The Magicians / The Magicians TV Series Greenlit
« on: May 14, 2015, 09:56:43 AM »

So as we're reading it this month, what do people think about this? SyFy seem to be trying to get their act together lately, with an adaptation of James S.A. Corey's The Expanse, 12 Monkeys and a mini-series of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End all coming up. They've left a bit of a bad taste in the mouth with all their awful Sharknadosaurusrexcrocmegafight films though.

Seems Lev Grossman has a big hand in this, and with a 12 episode first season (just the right number - not too little and not too many!) there could be quite a good adaptation to be made here...

Malazan Book of the Fallen / The Crippled God: Book Three
« on: October 10, 2014, 09:32:37 AM »
Everything starting to converge now, all the threads coming together.

Loved the Shurq Ellale storyline (Felash, the handmaiden and her mother Queen Abrastal are brilliant characters!) and I wonder who or what the handmaid actually is? Not sure we will find out for certain.

The Shake storyline is properly about to kick off (I think this is very roughly what is on the front cover) - very excited to see what happens.

The scene with Silchas Ruin and the Gods, whoa. No idea what exactly to make of it, but it was amazing to read. Definite confirmation that Dassem = a facet of Dessembrae. Dying to know what Shadowthrone is up to - will we finally learn what his entire game was throughout the series soon?

The scene where Mappo remembers a meeting with Icarium was fantastic and also kinda heartbreaking to read. Who else gets the feeling their reunion isn't going to be what we all may have hoped?

Not sure what's going on with Gruntle...

I suppose the big thing in this part was the split in the Perish. Never trusted that Tanakalian anyway, so I wasn't surprised. Sure we haven't seen the last of Krughava though.

Malazan Book of the Fallen / The Crippled God: Book Two
« on: October 09, 2014, 10:15:53 AM »
Chapter 7 is one of the best in the series so far - I couldn't put it down. ANSWERS FINALLY!

So like I had theorised before, the Jade spears are linked to The Crippled God and are his original followers. I wonder how their society works and what he actually was?

Tavore's plan is insane - why is it that The Bonehunters need to be the ones to sacrifice themselves in such a way? What else does she know?

And here line that it all started the 'day the Paran family lost its only son'... Does she mean the day Ganoes left to join the army? Or when he joined with Adjunct Lorn and the Empress? Or when he became Master of the Deck? Or just when he made the decision to become a soldier - the prologue for Gardens of the Moon...

The scene where Bottle is welcomed back was brilliant and kinda sums up those characters perfectly.

And Stormy's return (seriously Gesler and Stormy might be my favourite duo in this series, which is saying something) - just epic. So many armies now allied against the Forkrul Assail, who are like...evil personified? They're horrific.

The moment where the Unbound enter Tavore's tent and she practically breaks down. Just what is her relationship with The Crippled God? Also, are Stormy and Gesler (and the K'Chain Che'malle) his inadvertent followers? Are they his Shield Anvil and Mortal Sword?

Ruthan Gudd is a total scene stealer - love him. Wish he'd been in the series more before now. Theory time: could he be the occasionally mentioned but never seen Grizzin Farl?

Other plotlines moving a bit slower right now, building up to other things. The Shake seems to be right on the precipice of something huge and potentially as devastating as the Forkrul Assail to The Bonehunters et al.

Are Tool and his T'lan Imass army going to be a bit of a shaved knuckle in the hole for The Bonehunters?

The scene with Sweetest Sufferance's death was horrifying, but Draconus destroying the Jade man was properly cinematic - something Draconus' seems synonymous with!

What's the sword that Silchas Ruin is off for? Is it a Hust sword, and is it possibly the one The Watch has? Could he be on his way to help The Shake?

So many thread and they're all coming together! (Still holding out hope for Kalam...)

Malazan Book of the Fallen / The Crippled God: Book One
« on: October 06, 2014, 01:56:57 PM »
Jeeeeeeeeeez where the hell to start?

So this is split into 7 parts like Gardens of the Moon - cool circular storytelling, I like it.

PARAN! Paran is back! Holy shit - where's he been and where is he now? I suspect he's in Kolanse, somehow? Is his faith in Tavore? Loved the scene with Shadowthrone (actually, I've loved every scene so far in this book). Are Tavore and Ganoes twins? Did we ever get explicitly told they were or weren't?

The Bonehunters picking up the scraps of what's left - joy to read, as ever.

Cotillion also back - is he really split from Shadowthrone? Do we in any way trust either of them to tell the truth at this stage? Loved how he was the Shadow Dancer that used Lostara Yil.

My guess on the italicised first person sections are The Crippled God is talking directly to Tavore, and that's how she knows so much. Also how she is so closed off, and why she is seemingly helping him.

And guys, seriously, who the fuck is Quick Ben? Just...wha.....  :o

Malazan Book of the Fallen / Dust of Dreams: Book One
« on: September 06, 2014, 11:18:42 PM »
Well here we are - the beginning of the end, and doesn't it just feel exactly like that? Where to start, where to start? Hmm...

The prologue was possibly Erikson's strangest yet. Getting to see more of the K'Chain Che'Malle is interesting - are they mortal enemies of the Forkrul Assail? A bit like the T'lan Imass/Jaghut? I'm not sure... Also, the trail of children wandering out into the horrors of some desert is possibly Erikson's weirdest writing yet - no idea what I make of it, but I had to read that section over a couple of times to get it straight in my head. And finally, Heboric is still alive or at least still spiritually alive somewhere out there, and there's some sort of schizophrenic Jhag wandering round, but more on him later...

Chapter One with The Bonehunters in Letheras was a joy to read. Every time I get filled with real happiness to be back in their company as a reader. The scene where they are chasing someone down, only to reveal it as Fiddler, was superb.

Keeping with them for a moment, Chapter Three was EPIC - the scene where Fiddler read from the Deck was predictably awesome and confusing. The bit where Hedge squealed and turned to run, but was walloped with his card again anyway was hilarious. Also man alive, Brys Beddict! I'd forgotten how brilliant a character he is - I really hope that dick The Errant gets what's coming to him.

Tavore and Quick Ben's reveal about her plan was amazing to read - enlightening while also confirming some of my long held suspicions about Tavore's actual end goal. So very curious about the Forkrul Assail and their Warren, Ahkrast Korvalain. I wonder what their powers are? Do the K'Chain also have a Warren we don't know about or are they some sort of bastard off-shoot of dragons and relate to Starvald Demelain?

A bit worried we may be done with Tehol and Bugg et al soon - I'll miss them.

Several mentions of Ganoes Paran (who else was cheering at the page when Fiddler threatened the Errant re: the Master of the Deck - fuck you, Errant!) suggesting he's got a big role to play. Just where is he and how will he factor in? Will these new Warrens have something to do with him and his passage there?

And speaking of these new Warrens - seems we were kinda on the right track with Icarium - remains to be seen if his warrens have something to do with time as we've long suspected. And on the subject of Icarium - why is he wandering around as some sort of ghost/schizophrenic/conglomerate of other people in the middle of nowhere? No idea where that storyline is going, but I can't wait to find out.

I wonder where Mappo, Gruntle and the Trygalle Trade Guild are right now?

Moving on, the Bonehunters have several armies helping them out. I'd totally forgotten about the Khundryl, but that it where Krughava of the Grey Helms basically declared war on the idiotic Bolkando was amazing. Also Tanakalian's thoughts: 'Just wait til you meet The Bonehunters.' Not sure what I make of Tanakalian though!

The Bolkando seem pretty awful really - I think despite their bumbling idiocy they will be a real threat at some point.

Also we've got the Barghast who are sure to join up with The Bonehunters at some point. Great seeing Hetan, Cafal and Tool again.

Almost forgot about two other minor threads. First: The Shake and Twilight. Not sure what's going on there but Yedan Derryg's POV where he admires the tide and then Twilight comes up to him shocked that he's MURDERED ALL THE WITCHES was horrifying - he didn't even think about it...

Second: What's going on with Silchas Ruin and Rud Ellale? I wonder...

Anyway, it's seriously kicked off the big endgame hasn't it? Matter of time until we finally find out what Shadowthrone and Cotillion's plan has been this whole time. Being the original Malazans I'm sure they have their shaved knuckle in the hole. And a part of me thinks/hopes that might just be a certain former Claw and Bridgeburner - Kalam. 

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