April 25, 2019, 09:05:27 PM

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Messages - cupiscent

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1
Those books sound a bit like Gail Carriger's books (Etiquette and Espionage, etc.) are they similarly funny? I think @Elfy read those too and Cupi maybe too?

Both Carriger and Lee have a similar sort of rompy historical fun approach, but Lee has a more serious character introspection vibe (her characters are Dealing With Their Shit), whereas the Carriger is more frothy hijinks.

2
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: April 24, 2019, 12:46:20 AM »
Firstly, read Swordspoint on the recommendation of @cupiscent and absolutely loved it. Only took me a few days (and a good chunk of a flight) to get through. Totally recommend it; it has a great mystery running through it, as well as fast paced action along with a sweet slice of romance.

Currently just over halfway through A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, suggested by @J.R. Darewood and it is incredible! This is a book I feel I've been looking for for a long time. It needs to be a TV series, or a movie at least. I think the world is ready for it  :)

Yay! And I love Gentleman's Guide as well, so I'm absolutely thrilled to hear all of this. :D A TV series of it would be such a delight, I am On Board!

3
Technically it ain't science fiction if there is no science in it. Reimagining a timeline is just fiction.

Yeah, but, from the quote ScarletBea pulled from the article, McEwan's book explores: "what if a robot could think like a human, or human intelligence could not tell the difference between itself and AI?" When Asimov wrote about that sort of thing it was certainly considered sci-fi.

The thing that really annoys me about McEwan's quote in that article is the idea that books with faster-than-light travel and anti-gravity boots don't have anything to say about human dilemmas. I love spec fic precisely because of what the speculative elements bring to the consideration of what it means to be human, and him looking down his nose at the entire genre makes me assume that his speculative robot/AI elements will be rather hackneyed, because he hasn't bothered to familiarise himself with what other people have already done in the field.

4
I'd list Aaronovitch's Peter Grant books, Paul Cornell's Shadow Police books, or Kate Griffin's Matthew Swift books as urban fantasy, and there's nary a werewolf romance in sight. But for me, those are very much of London--i.e. firmly rooted in an urban environment.

If someone were writing fantasy in a contemporary timeframe but with a more pastoral/broad-ranging setting, I might suggest "contemporary fantasy" as more suitable?

5
Writers' Corner / Re: Medieval history books
« on: March 21, 2019, 03:51:37 AM »
That is a big scope, both in time and geography, covering a multitude of cultures and technology levels!

That said, I can and do recommend a book called The Edge of the World: how the North Sea made us who we are which I found gave a really interesting look at "Dark Age" Britain, Lowlands and Nordic sort of areas.

6
I am always so delighted when I see people enjoying Fonda Lee's Jade City, because I liked it, but it wasn't really My Thing, but I could see how it was such a good take on That Thing, so it just fills me with delight when people who like the thing get to enjoy the book. (So thank you, @Elfy :D)

I am really doing terrible at reading physical books the last few months, for various reasons, but I did read Melissa Caruso's The Defiant Heir in February. It's book two of her "Swords and Fire" series (a trilogy, I believe). I love this series (which began with The Tethered Mage) so much; it's heavy on the politics, but still has lots of adventures; our heroine has great and complex relationships with other women (avoiding Smurfette syndrome); there are genuine character dilemmas complementing the Big Damn Plot; and our heroine really struggles with difficult questions of doing the right thing when there are no clear answers. Highly recommend!

7
Recently I have very much enjoyed Rat Queens and Saga, but neither of those are very grimdark fantasy. (The former is fantasy comedy, the latter gets quite grimdark in places, but is very sci-fi.)

I seem to recall there were/are Game of Thrones-related comic books--anyone tried them?

8
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: New Tropes and Cliches
« on: February 18, 2019, 02:08:24 AM »
I have felt recently that the anti-hero, the grimdark MC, the jaded-bitter-warrior-who's-all-shades-of-grey is the new cliche/trope. I'm enjoying a bit of a swing away from that in stuff I'm reading recently, some books that are subverting that by having characters who are genuinely and earnestly trying to do good and the right thing, though that is sometimes a very complicated thing.

So maybe Skip's right, and the subversion is swinging back to the "hero genuinely does the right thing". :)

9
These days we have to look for a science fiction/fantasy category to separate us out from the teenage romance and light porn.

Speak for yourself, I don't mind a little light porn in with my sci fi or fantasy. ;)

10
Writers' Corner / Re: Unreliable narrator
« on: February 03, 2019, 09:44:32 PM »
Broadly speaking, an unreliable narrator is a viewpoint character who, for whatever reason, the reader cannot trust to be telling the truth. (Sometimes the narrator just leaves out stuff that they don't want to share, sometimes they are actively lying to the audience, sometimes they just have a misplaced or incomplete understanding of what's actually going on.) This is most commonly seen in first-person (which isn't as common in fantasy as in other sorts of literature) and I personally think all first-person narrators should be slightly unreliable, because we all have a subjective, not objective, view of the world.

Howzat?

For further exploration of unreliable narrators in spec fic and fan fic, I particularly recommend the "Be the Serpent" podcast, who did an episode all about them. (Episode 4: the Bastard's Lying to You!)

11
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What did you read in January 2019
« on: February 02, 2019, 09:40:04 PM »
I have a big pile of actual purchased books that I am slowly working my way through, which is its own sort of exciting because I'm really keen on all of these books. This month I knocked off:

Vengeful by VE Schwab. Not quite as good as I was hoping. Part of that is probably related to how much I  absolutely loved Vicious, but this one widened the lens and, to my mind, diluted the driving central power. Schwab writes with punchy eloquence, but this just felt a little too meandery.

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman. My goodness, WHAT a book. I described this to my husband as "Tess of the d'Urbervilles meets Puss in Boots and the picaresque tradition", which is really just a silly way of saying it's a story about a young woman struggling against societal expectations, gender roles, and her own nature, while going off on Adventures. So, basically, it's the stuff of YA, but delivered with such scope and language and depth and nuance and I LOVED IT. (Set in the same world as Seraphina, and in fact Seraphina is a side character in this, but while there's amusing resonance and additional depth from knowing her story, I feel that this definitely stands alone and can be read without having read the author's other works.)

12
I feel like this would really be a good prompt for @cupiscent if we're lucky enough to get some of your attention :)

What's hilarious about this is that another friend just sent me this Trope Roulette tweet with a note basically saying "You've written this already, right?" I haven't yet, but I might be actually halfway through playing with a fanfic idea involving genderswap, so now I'm sitting here going, "HOW DO YOU PEOPLE KNOW??"

The problem is that I seem to take 1500 words just to clear my throat these days. (The fanfic I'm playing with is at 2300 words and all I've established is "X is now a girl; Y is somewhat flustered about this".) So... thank you for thinking of me, I am very amused, and I will actually have a think about it! But I doubt anything will bite within the wordcount.

13
Writers' Corner / Re: Writing Software Recommendations
« on: February 01, 2019, 07:25:15 AM »
I used to write in Word (before Google Docs existed) with one chapter per document. It kept things manageable and I could just print/send the parts I wanted. But then I needed to do a big edit of the whole novel (cutting 50k words). And it seemed like a completely impossible job until I put it into Scrivener, and could see the whole thing at once, and move scenes around and mark the ones that needed to be cut, or trimmed, or rewritten entirely, or where new ones should be. I've never looked back. (Though I do sometimes do a "zero" draft in Google Docs for the portability, depending on the circumstances I'm in when drafting.)

For the record, Scrivener saves all your "bits" (scenes, notes, documents, scraps; everything that's a page with words on in the project) as .rtf files within a folder structure, though admittedly the files are not named intuitively (numbered in order of creation, as far as I can tell). But it does mean all of your words are available; I've pulled my files up through Google Drive outside of Scrivener before, but it's not an easy way to work.

One thing Word and Docs have over Scrivener, for sure, is working with tracked and tracking changes at the reader / edits stage. And Docs capacity for sharing is fantastic.

14
Writers' Corner / Re: Writing Software Recommendations
« on: January 30, 2019, 11:30:17 PM »
I'm another Scrivener user and lover. I know I don't even use half the potential functionality of the program, in terms of organisation and keeping my notes in it as well. (I use Evernote and also physical notebooks for planning and research.) But it's just so easy and helpful. (And the auto-back-up is so reassuring.)

And as I understand it, Scrivener for Mac is actually bigger, better, smoother, awesomer than Scriv for Windows!

The software does come with a price tag, but half-price coupons for it are handed out to NaNoWriMo winners, so if you ask around, someone may have one they don't need... :)

15
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Gritty fantasy set in large city??
« on: January 24, 2019, 02:29:41 AM »
Yeah, my first thought was Daniel Polanksy's work. Very gritty, very urban, the first one looks at class issues (from memory) though the latter two are more set down in the slums.

Perhaps also consider Douglas Hulick's Among Thieves, which is very urban thieves-in-the-alleyways sort of fantasy.

The king of the rogue-shenanigans-afoot-in-the-city is of course Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora, which I can never recommend highly enough.

For more always-recommends, and if you're looking for urban settings with a modern slant but fantasy sense of wonder, try Max Gladstone; start with Three Parts Dead.

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