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Topics - Nestat

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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?

Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Never Alone
« on: December 02, 2015, 01:04:31 AM »
Hullo all! Has anyone heard of a platformer called Kisima Innitchuna (Never Alone)?

I saw this on Upworthy last month and bought it straight away. It's a tale taken from the folklore of the Iñupiat people of Alaska. The storywriters and narrator are Iñupiat and the cutscenes are done in animated scrimshaw. Its beautiful and absolutely amazing - thought I'd share it!

I can't embed the video for some reason. Here's a link:

Hullo everyone!

I'm really excited to announce my first event - I'll be interviewing Mike Carey, accomplished graphic novelist and author! He'll be reading from his fantastic new thriller, The Girl With All the Gifts.


Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

I am really excited about this! The Girl With All the Gifts is absolutely amazing. If you haven't read it yet, I really suggest you do! If you don't know what it's about, here's the review on Fantasy Faction. It's a bit spoilery, so there is also a trailer....

And if you're down Kingston way on Thursday 31 July, we'd love to see you there! Mike will be answering my questions, your questions and signing books too. Added bonuses include: free drink and getting to visit Kingston!

The evening kicks off at 7pm at Waterstones. The event details can be found on Waterstones.com.


Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Rage of Thrones
« on: April 27, 2013, 02:29:08 PM »
On the subject of ASoIaF and book versus films, I'm sure a lot of people here can identify with the sentiments in Axis of Awesome's latest music video...


Warning: it gets quite sweary.

General Discussion / Amazon Macht Frei!
« on: February 14, 2013, 10:32:01 PM »
As a bookseller and longstanding lover of bookshops, I can't say I'm wholly impartial on this matter. But has anyone else seen the articles about Amazon in the news recently? And I don't mean their interesting interpretation of tax laws.

First, there was this charming piece in the FT about Amazon exploiting UK workers...


Which has been swiftly followed byq a German documentary about neo-nazis being employed to keep Amazon's immigrant workforce in check...


Links, Competitions and 'Stuff' / Megacon 2012 - Carlisle
« on: June 30, 2012, 10:00:17 PM »
If anyone's wandering along Hadrian's Wall on Saturday 18th August, Carlisle Waterstones will be hosting Megacon!
I'd tell you more but it's an SFF convention with the word "Mega" in the title - what more can you possibly ask for?


A bit of a golden oldie, but still worth a post in case people haven't seen it...

The Fantasy Novelist's Exam

By David J. Parker

Ever since J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis created the worlds of Middle Earth and Narnia, it seems like every windbag off the street thinks he can write great, original fantasy, too. The problem is that most of this "great, original fantasy" is actually poor, derivative fantasy. Frankly, we're sick of it, so we've compiled a list of rip-off tip-offs in the form of an exam. We think anybody considering writing a fantasy novel should be required to take this exam first. Answering "yes" to any one question results in failure and means that the prospective novel should be abandoned at once.

    Does nothing happen in the first fifty pages?
    Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage?
    Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn't know it?
    Is your story about a young character who comes of age, gains great power, and defeats the supreme badguy?
    Is your story about a quest for a magical artifact that will save the world?
    How about one that will destroy it?
    Does your story revolve around an ancient prophecy about "The One" who will save the world and everybody and all the forces of good?
    Does your novel contain a character whose sole purpose is to show up at random plot points and dispense information?
    Does your novel contain a character that is really a god in disguise?
    Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character?
    Is the king of your world a kindly king duped by an evil magician?
    Does "a forgetful wizard" describe any of the characters in your novel?
    How about "a powerful but slow and kind-hearted warrior"?
    How about "a wise, mystical sage who refuses to give away plot details for his own personal, mysterious reasons"?
    Do the female characters in your novel spend a lot of time worrying about how they look, especially when the male main character is around?
    Do any of your female characters exist solely to be captured and rescued?
    Do any of your female characters exist solely to embody feminist ideals?
    Would "a clumsy cooking wench more comfortable with a frying pan than a sword" aptly describe any of your female characters?
    Would "a fearless warrioress more comfortable with a sword than a frying pan" aptly describe any of your female characters?
    Is any character in your novel best described as "a dour dwarf"?
    How about "a half-elf torn between his human and elven heritage"?
    Did you make the elves and the dwarves great friends, just to be different?
    Does everybody under four feet tall exist solely for comic relief?
    Do you think that the only two uses for ships are fishing and piracy?
    Do you not know when the hay baler was invented?
    Did you draw a map for your novel which includes places named things like "The Blasted Lands" or "The Forest of Fear" or "The Desert of Desolation" or absolutely anything "of Doom"?
    Does your novel contain a prologue that is impossible to understand until you've read the entire book, if even then?
    Is this the first book in a planned trilogy?
    How about a quintet or a decalogue?
    Is your novel thicker than a New York City phone book?
    Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you're still many sequels away from finishing your "story"?
    Are you writing prequels to your as-yet-unfinished series of books?
    Is your name Robert Jordan and you lied like a dog to get this far?
    Is your novel based on the adventures of your role-playing group?
    Does your novel contain characters transported from the real world to a fantasy realm?
    Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names?
    Do any of your main characters have names longer than three syllables?
    Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named "Tim Umber" and "Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok"?
    Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings?
    How about "orken" or "dwerrows"?
    Do you have a race prefixed by "half-"?
    At any point in your novel, do the main characters take a shortcut through ancient dwarven mines?
    Do you write your battle scenes by playing them out in your favorite RPG?
    Have you done up game statistics for all of your main characters in your favorite RPG?
    Are you writing a work-for-hire for Wizards of the Coast?
    Do inns in your book exist solely so your main characters can have brawls?
    Do you think you know how feudalism worked but really don't?
    Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place?
    Could one of your main characters tell the other characters something that would really help them in their quest but refuses to do so just so it won't break the plot?
    Do any of the magic users in your novel cast spells easily identifiable as "fireball" or "lightning bolt"?
    Do you ever use the term "mana" in your novel?
    Do you ever use the term "plate mail" in your novel?
    Heaven help you, do you ever use the term "hit points" in your novel?
    Do you not realize how much gold actually weighs?
    Do you think horses can gallop all day long without rest?
    Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day?
    Does your main character have a magic axe, hammer, spear, or other weapon that returns to him when he throws it?
    Does anybody in your novel ever stab anybody with a scimitar?
    Does anybody in your novel stab anybody straight through plate armor?
    Do you think swords weigh ten pounds or more?
    Does your hero fall in love with an unattainable woman, whom he later attains?
    Does a large portion of the humor in your novel consist of puns?
    Is your hero able to withstand multiple blows from the fantasy equivalent of a ten pound sledge but is still threatened by a small woman with a dagger?
    Do you really think it frequently takes more than one arrow in the chest to kill a man?
    Do you not realize it takes hours to make a good stew, making it a poor choice for an "on the road" meal?
    Do you have nomadic barbarians living on the tundra and consuming barrels and barrels of mead?
    Do you think that "mead" is just a fancy name for "beer"?
    Does your story involve a number of different races, each of which has exactly one country, one ruler, and one religion?
    Is the best organized and most numerous group of people in your world the thieves' guild?
    Does your main villain punish insignificant mistakes with death?
    Is your story about a crack team of warriors that take along a bard who is useless in a fight, though he plays a mean lute?
    Is "common" the official language of your world?
    Is the countryside in your novel littered with tombs and gravesites filled with ancient magical loot that nobody thought to steal centuries before?
    Is your book basically a rip-off of The Lord of the Rings?
    Read that question again and answer truthfully.

Writers' Corner / Neil Gaiman on writing
« on: May 18, 2012, 07:39:05 PM »
Not quite sure if this is the right place for it, but here's Neil Gaiman giving inspiring career (and life) advice to young artists:

Neil Gaiman Addresses the Class of 2012 on Vimeo

Well worth a watch!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Happy World Book Night everybody!
« on: April 23, 2012, 12:48:33 AM »
OK, so techinically it's tomorrow night as I'm posting this the night before. But keep your eyes peeled for free books! If you're in the UK, we'll be seeing:

Misery - Stephen King
Player of Games - Iain M Banks
Let the Right One In - John Lindqvist
The Time-Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman (my giveaway choice)

There's a lot more SFF themed books this year, plus a lot of other great novels too. If you fancy a free book, get yourselves out and about and happy reading.

Oh, and happy birthday Mr Shakespeare! (Can we count him as SFF too? He married Anne Hathway!)

Saw this article online today - had to share!

AUTHOR George R R Martin has revealed that his Game of Thrones saga concludes with the revelation that it's been a dream all along.

Speaking at an HBO press conference, Martin revealed that the long-awaited sixth book in the A Song of Fire and Ice series - commonly called the Game of Thrones books - reveals the whole story to have taken place inside the mind of a sleeping office administrator.

He said: "A Song of Fire and Ice Book Six: Ray's Day will focus on this guy Ray who's just woken up from this long, weird convoluted dream about a place called Westeros.

"Obviously none of the storylines from the preceding 6,000-page dream sequence will be tied up, because they don't matter. All that shit will just stop.

"So we're left with this person Ray, who works in an office processing insurance claims. He's got some girlfriend and money problems, issues with his parents. It's just about his life really.

"It's more of a character piece, a proper novel. Real quality.

"You didn't seriously think I was into dragons, monsters, direwolves or whatever the hell they're called? Come on. I'm a good writer.

"That was just a ruse to build up a readership so I could move over into serious contemporary fiction. To be honest, I found the whole thing utterly tiresome."

He added: "Especially that fucking dwarf."

Got to love DailyMash!

Non-Fantasy Books / First Blood and Chris Cleave
« on: February 16, 2012, 03:06:52 PM »
I rewatched a few classic 80s films last year. But I couldn't help noticing in the opening credits that they said "Based on the novel". My new year's resolution is to read those books and last week I finished the first: First Blood by David Morrell. I was surprised how little sympathy I had for Rambo compared to Teasle, given how arrogant he is in the film. Has anyone else read it?

Fact of the day: Rambo is named for an apple and the french poet Rimbaud.

Another great book I'd like to ask about is Chris Cleave's Incendiary? Has anyone else read it - what did you think and did you too have V for Vendetta running through your head?

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