July 16, 2020, 01:29:48 PM

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Messages - cupiscent

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1
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Top 100 - Goodreads
« on: Today at 12:23:09 PM »
Never heard of the following from the fantasy list:

Murakami-1Q84
Kim Harrison-Dead Witch Walking
Ilona Andrews-Magic Bites
Amish-The Immortals of Meluha
Noelle Stevenson-Nimona
Kelley Armstrong-Bitten
Alice Hoffmann-Practical Magic
The Book of Lost Things-John Connolly
Juliet Marillier-Daughter of the Forest

Thank you for letting me know! Some very big urban fantasy names in there - Kelley Armstrong is one of the ones that I've read, in fact I have her on my physical bookshelf. :) And the Alice Hoffman was turned into a movie with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock.

I know nothing about the Murakami but I've seen it all over the place - I think it's one of those lit-fic-with-heavy-fantasy-slant (much like the Ishiguru, who I think appears more on the sci-fi list). Somewhat similarly, I have never seen anything about the Amish book from fantasy readers, though I have seen it all over the place - when I look up the publisher, their twitter blurb says "Indian publisher of bestselling books, for readers of every stripe" so perhaps it was never actually marketed straight as fantasy, though it IS an Amazon imprint, so maybe it got a lot of push through algorithms.

I am surprised that you haven't heard of the Marillier - I thought her one of Australia's most well-known epic fantasy exports! That book is about 20 years old now, though that's one where the cover that's on the list is not one I have EVER seen in a bookshop.

I'm with you on the John Connolly though - never heard of it! (Though I've seen his name all over thrillers everywhere.)

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Top 100 - Goodreads
« on: Today at 05:23:34 AM »
I've read (or tried to read) 60 of the Fantasy list.

But there wasn't really anything on there that I hadn't heard of before, though there were certainly some covers I hadn't seen.  I'm really curious to hear what other folk found strange!

And 21 of the Sci-fi, which is surprising to me, but my adolescent fondness for Michael Crichton and my older fondness for Stephenson are bumping up my numbers there. :D

3
I finished King's Dragon (Crown of Stars #1) by Kate Elliott, which I really liked. There are 7 or 8 in the series, I believe. It's kind of nice to be on the start of a long haul like that, I'd better put the second book on my wishlist.

I am always delighted to see people enjoying Kate Elliott - she's a lovely lady and a talented and dedicated author, even if her work doesn't always suit my tastes.

In fact, I'm remembering reading the Crown of Stars books as they came out when I was a teenager, and I found them really heavy going, too grimdark for me, but for some reason I thought it was just a trilogy, so I was like "well, I'll just slog through to the end, might as well" so when I got to the end of book three and it was CLEARLY NOT THE END I was rather irate. :D

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Non-Fantasy Books / Re: Your top 3 Classics
« on: July 14, 2020, 04:24:16 AM »
One of the other grade 8 English classes got to study A Wizard of Earthsea. I was so annoyed (we were reading... I can't even remember, but I think something I'd read years earlier, I was precocious) that I made my father buy me the complete Earthsea quartet so I could read it for myself.

5
After running out of things to read (we went back into lockdown about when I was intending to do a library run...) and after my husband heckling me to do it for years, I am finally reading The Martian.

I absolutely loved the movie. How does the book compared?

I actually haven't seen the film but I could see Matt Damon doing great stuff with the wise-cracking everyman main character. For me, the book is a bit heavy on the hard sci-fi technical details - I have a personal dislike of "scrambling to survive in the harshness of space!" man-vs-elements narratives, and this is one of those at heart. But the voice of that narrator main character is great, and everytime we step aside for more personal/political drama back on earth with more characters, it's really nicely written as well. Overall, I'm enjoying it, but I'm pushing fast through it because I'm not really inclined to linger.

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Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: July 13, 2020, 05:25:23 AM »
Not just a today thing, but today I finished a novella. Wheee!

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After running out of things to read (we went back into lockdown about when I was intending to do a library run...) and after my husband heckling me to do it for years, I am finally reading The Martian.

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General Discussion / Re: The Virus thread
« on: July 09, 2020, 05:11:49 AM »
Soooo Melbourne is back in stage-three lockdown - which means don't leave your house if you can help it, essential shopping, work, education and exercise permitted. It's a bummer, especially as term 3 is coming up and limited activities were going to recommence for my small one, but it's very necessary as we've been having a real spike in cases. So six weeks (at least) of lockdown it is.

I feel really sorry for the businesses that fronted up to reopen for barely five weeks before having to shut down again. There's some govt support in place, but I don't know if it will be enough to keep them all afloat.

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I have not seen a single episode of this show, but I lament its conclusion because it's been a source of endless imagery of Miranda Otto (who I adore) looking fantastic and badass.

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Deleted 7625 words, wrote... 0. Days like today make wish I hadn't given up drinking.
I know the feeling, but sometimes deleting the right words - or, I guess, the wrong words - can make all the difference. You can start out in your next session without the weight of those words pressing on you.

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General Discussion / Re: Free speech (or not) - and some tea
« on: July 05, 2020, 12:50:33 AM »
Cancel culture is a problem. Cancel culture is a people problem, not a twitter problem, though twitter exacerbates it.

Cancel culture is not the same as holding people accountable for the hurtful and downright stupid things they say. (That genocide comment is an idiotic thing for an intelligent and educated man to allow himself to say. As a historian, he should know that genocide takes many forms.)

This was the first I'd heard of Priyamvada Gopal, and her tweet in full context makes a certain amount of sense. White lives don't matter as white lives. It's not race when it's white. I thought you'd actually agree with that, Rostum, given some of the points you've been making regarding the BLM movement and how the race card isn't played when someone white is killed by police.

12
I got a 61. BUT I also studied political theory at university and in fact wrote a paper on Machiavelli and I have Strong Opinions on The Prince - it doesn't actually say a lot of the things that get attributed to it. I appreciate that that doesn't really matter because the concept of "Machiavellian" is completely separate from the actual work, but I was still, as I went through the quiz, mentally shouting "That's not what he said!" :D (Basically: yes, the end justifies the means, but for Machiavelli, the "end" was the good of the people and stability of the realm to improve the lives of its population. His point was that a Prince should sacrifice all of himself, even his honour, if it made life better for his people. And, ultimately, he should improve their situation until they were able to govern themselves as a republic. Machiavelli was 100% NOT power-for-power's-sake.)

13
Call Down The Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater, which fits in an interesting category because it isn't YA, but it's the sequel series to Stiefvater's Raven Cycle which very much was YA. Regardless, Stiefvater's prose is as snappy, canny and sharp-edged as ever, and the book was full of wild ideas. I am particularly fond of the way Stiefvater lets her main characters be wildly, wilfully, and understandably wrong.

Docile by KM Szpara, which was an interesting day-after-tomorrow mild sci-fi exploration of extended capitalism and related power structures, told by way of a lot of gay sex. There are some elements that I feel were underdone, but overall this really didn't flinch from the messy edges of all the things it dug into.

The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso, being a sort of sequel to the trilogy that starts with The Tethered Mage (inasmuch as it's the same world, but some considerable time later). This was a wild political/adventure fantasy much like the first trilogy, that had so much going on that I felt it almost bogged itself in the early middle, but carried on to an amazing finale that really piled on significant character and plot twists. Very much looking forward to more.

I also DNFed a couple of YA fantasies this month. I'm finding a trend in these - which are usually from a few years ago because it takes me a while to work through my TBR list - where there is so much - plot and character and concept and worldbuilding all crammed in together - that there isn't room to really explore any of it, and I get frustrated and actually bored, because I'm not engaging with any of the stuff flying past. But, at risk of hashtagging, not all YA fantasies are like this; I've just started S Jae-Jones's Wintersong and it has been immediately immersive and lush and creepy and wonderful. I have high hopes.

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General Discussion / Re: Is redemption possible?
« on: July 02, 2020, 01:04:51 AM »
I believe redemption isn't just possible, it's essential. Anyone who screws up can apologise and work hard to do better in the future. It is important to all of us that this avenue is open, because we are all human, and we will all screw up. That doesn't mean anyone who gets hurt is obliged to accept an apology or interact with the person who hurt them.

Redemption is not just the apology. Redemption is the genuine effort to understand, make amends, and improve.

15
Just finished a re-read of Kerr's Deverry Cycle. Not sure what to do now. Got some ARCs to do but not feeling it.

Does Deverry hold up over the years? I've been wondering about revisiting both that and Katherine Kurtz, but I'm not sure how much my own reading has shifted my views on what makes a good fantasy since I first read them in the 90s.

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