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Topics - simonster

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General Discussion / Kindle Unlimited
« on: July 20, 2014, 11:47:16 AM »
It looks like Amazon has launched its Kindle Unlimited service (in the US at least).

"Enjoy unlimited access to over 600,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks on any device for just $9.99 a month."

Knowing how fast people here get through books, I'm guessing that ten dollars a month for unlimited reading is a bargain - although from a quick browse "600,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks" doesn't cover nearly as much territory as you might think.  Still, that will presumably change over time.

So, how tempting do people find this sort of service?  Will you never buy another book?  Or will Amazon have to take your dog-eared paperbacks from your cold, dead fingers? ;)

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General Discussion / More Humble Bundle Books?
« on: March 04, 2014, 06:41:17 PM »
It sounds like Humble Bundle may be planning on opening a (DRM-free) ebook/audiobook store.

Which is dreadful news for me as I've still only read two of the books from their last couple of bundles. ;)

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I don't really know much about 'interactive fiction', but I've recently been playing/reading some of the game/story things at Fear of Twine to try to learn a bit more.  (The Matter of the Great Red Dragon is my favourite so far, possibly because it's close to traditional fantasy.)  I got to wondering whether there's much of an overlap between readers and writers of old-fasioned, words-on-a-page fiction and the new-fangled, interactive stuff.

I don't recall having seen any discussion of these sorts of things on FF before.

So...

Do you know all about interactive fiction?  If so, could you explain it to the rest of us? ;)

Have you read/played any good interactive stories?

Have you written one?

Do you think that interactive fiction is an exciting new form of story-telling, or is it the unwelcome, undead corpse of text adventures/choose-your-own-adventure books from back in the eighties?

If your favourite author announced that they were giving up on writing novels because 'interactive' is the future of fiction, how annoyed would you be?

(And one last question that I haven't thought through the practicalities of:  Would anyone be interested in a FF Twine-story contest, maybe as a one-off replacement to the usual FF monthly contest?)

Looking forward to hearing people's thoughts. :D

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Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / The World's End
« on: July 21, 2013, 02:23:27 PM »
Just back from seeing it.

I thought it was absolutely magnificent!

I only wish I'd thought to dig out my old Sisters of Mercy T-shirt to wear. 8)

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In The Dying Earth the world's population has fallen to a few thousand strange souls.

So it's probably fitting that the membership of this Book Club is similarly sparse. ;)

I'm opening this thread as it's been a week since the last one, but I'm a few pages away from the end of the book still, so I don't have anything more to add just yet.

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Welcome to the Bonus Book Club in honour of sci-fi/fantasy great Jack Vance.

The plan is to read The Dying Earth during the second half (give or take) of July - and, if there's interest, the next book in the series, The Eyes of the Overworld, during the first half of August.

This week we're covering the first three of the book's six stories, namely Turjan of Miir, Mazirian the Magician, and T'sais.

I haven't start reading yet myself (I'm just finishing off Earthsea) but the stories are pretty short so I'll be up-to-speed soon.  I did do a little bit of (ahem) "research" to get a feel for what the state of fantasy was at the time The Dying Earth was written, and I'm really interested to see how it comes across today.

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Classic Fantasy, 1910-1960
« on: July 08, 2013, 09:58:01 AM »
So, for July/August the FF Book Club has a 'bonus' read in the form of Jack Vance's The Dying Earth.

That book was published in 1950, which got me to wondering how it fits into the overall timeline of fantasy fiction.  But it turns out that the number of fantasy books I can think of that were published prior to 1960 is embarrassingly small.

Now, I could turn to Google to educate myself, but I figured that starting this thread would be more fun. :)

So, the question is:  What do you think are the key works of fantasy published in the period 1910 to 1960?  (There's no particular reason why I picked that time range, just that it covers 50 years and 1960 seems like a good cut-off.  And by fantasy, I guess what I mean is the classic 'swords-and-sorcery' stuff.)

Here's the list so far.  (I'll try to keep it up-to-date with everyone's suggestions.)

1912 A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
1922 The Worm Ouroboros by Eric Rucker Eddison
1924 The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany
1926 The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by H P Lovecraft
1926 Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees
1929 The Shadow Kingdom (the first(*) Kull story) by Robert E Howard
1932 The Phoenix on the Sword (the first(*) Conan story) by Robert E Howard
1933 The Double Shadow and Other Fantasies by Clark Ashton Smith
1934 The Black God's Kiss (the first(*) Jirel of Joiry story) by C L Moore
1937 The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien
1938 The Sword in the Stone (The Once and Future King) by T H White
1939 The Jewels in the Forest (the first(*) Fafhrd and Gray Mouser story) by Fritz Leiber
1940 The Roaring Trumpet (the first(*) Harold Shea story) by De Camp and Pratt
1946 Titus Groan (Gormenghast series) by Mervyn Peake
1950 The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
1950 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis
1954 The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson
1954 The Fellowship of the Ring by J R R Tolkien
1959 The Beast Master by Andre Norton

(*) Maybe.  Based on a quick glance at Wikipedia. ;)

8
We've got a Bonus Book Club next month in honour of one of science-fiction and fantasy's greats, Jack Vance, who died a few weeks ago.

The Dying Earth, published in 1950, is a collection of short stories that has given its name to a subgenre of sci-fi/fantasy.  It is the first of four books in the author's Tales of the Dying Earth series.



A dim place, ancient beyond knowledge.  Ages of rain and wind have beaten and rounded the granite and the sun is feeble and red.  A million cities have fallen to dust.  In place of the old peoples, a few thousand strange souls live.  There is evil on Earth...  Earth is dying...

Travel to a far distant future, where magic and science are one, and the Earth has but a few short decades to live.



The book is really quite short (130 pages) so I don't think we can stretch it out for a full month.

Discussion breakpoints:
  • Third Week of July: Stories 1-3 (Turjan of Miir; Mazirian the Magician; T'sais)
  • Last Week of July: Stories 4-6 (Liane the Wayfarer; Ulan Dhor; Guyal of Sfere)
If there's interest, then we'll read the second book of the series, The Eyes of the Overworld (which is similarly short), during the first two weeks of August.
  • First Week of August: Chapters 1-3
  • Second Week of August: Chapters 4-7



So, who's going to join us? :)

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Sci-Fi, Horror, YA & Urban Fantasy Books / Neverwhere (BBC Radio)
« on: March 16, 2013, 11:25:00 AM »
I haven't seen this mentioned on the site, so I'll do the honours:

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
BBC Radio adaptation
Part 1: Saturday (16th March), Radio 4, 2:30-3:30pm
Parts 2-6: Monday (18th) to Friday (22nd), Radio 4 Extra, 6:00-6:30pm.

It should be on iPlayer for non-UK listeners.

10
No reviews yet?  Really?!  I thought this was supposed to be site for fantasy fans!

I'll probably be seeing the film sometime next week.  Just curious to hear what my fellow FF-ers think of it...

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