January 17, 2020, 07:13:11 PM

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Messages - Elfy

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1
I found the list far too short and very narrowly focused. With the exception of Harry Potter, they're all epic (and an argument can be mounted for HP on that score, too). I think the majority of people have a grounding in fantasy anyway. Nearly everyone has read or heard of fairy tales or myths and legends, and they often form the basis for what becomes the fantasy genre. @ScarletBea and @Bender were on the right track when they said that more questions need to be asked before even starting to compile any list of this type.
Bea is also correct when she says 'does there even need to be an introduction?' Its a wide genre and what may interest one person, won't interest another and that runs the risk of turning a reader away from the entire genre because of one bad experience. If I used that list I'd think fantasy was confined to epic/high fantasy, and it's not, it's so much broader than that.
I have this little book called '100 Must Read Fantasy Books'. I hate calling anything must read, but it did have a fantastic cross section of the genre and tried to include something from everywhere. I read through about half the books in it, before they just got too hard to find. I liked some, loved others and wouldn't touch some of them ever again, but it opened me up to a number of authors and areas of the genre I may not have otherwise explored. It also recommended similar writers and works if one of them took your fancy.
That list was also quite modern. Everything (LotR aside) was published within the last 50 years, and if you want to see how the genre has evolved and where the ideas came from then you need to go back further than that.
If you really want to know the genre then you have to be adventurous in your choices and take a few chances. The newest shiniest thing on the shelf is not always the best.

2
Hello, I've recently noticed that I am a fan favorite of books/ films/ medias where the main protagonist "break the social boundaries", as I've heard earlier in some article. It's those MCs who are somewhat villainous in nature, do some morally questionable things, but is still the main characters and likable to some degree. I'm currently looking for books with this type of character as the MC. 

Some examples from books would be Jorg Ancrath from the Broken Empire, Edrin Walker from the Age of Tyranny (mostly in the second book though)
Some examples from films/ series would be Walter What a.k.a. Heisenberg from Breaking Bad, Thomas Shelby from Peaky Blinders, Tylder Durden from Fight Club, Scarface, Joker from the new Joker movie, Jordan Belfort from the Wolf of Wall Street, Barry Seal from American Made.
I’ll recommend a TV series based on books, it’s historical and that’s The Last Kingdom, and another historical series with a ‘hero’ whose moral compass is badly skewed, but he somehow winds up rather likeable and the history is extremely well researched (the notes at the make great reading on their own), and that’s The Flashman Papers by George MacDonald Fraser. Also have you made the acquaintance of Locke Lamora?

3
I’ve read 7, with about 4 or 5 more in my tbr pile or things I intend to read. The rest I’ve either not heard or have no interest in.

4
I found Rap, the main character in Dave Duncan’s A Man of His Word series to be like that. He was rather ‘Samlike’ in his ordanariness, but he did gain power (more by accident than design) and no matter what happened to him he never lost sight of his original mission and eventually got through by sheer strength of will and perseverance.
The original Dragonlance books contained a few character of that heroic type, but the most popular character for many people was the greyest of the band; Raistlin, the consumptive mage.
People love a good anti hero, and every good hero has to have a flaw, it’s what makes them more interesting.

5
General Discussion / Re: Member birthday calendar
« on: January 08, 2020, 05:32:56 AM »
Thanks guys. @Lejays17 really loved the cake picture. She thought it was very cute.

6
There was a running gag in Sergio Aragones' Groo the Wanderer comic book that the greatest insult anyone ever offered to Groo was to call him a mendicant, this is largely because Groo didn't know what the word meant.

7
For me, it would probably be Pet Sematary (yes, it's spelled that way) by King.

Mine would be It by Stephen King. Dials the creep factor up to 11.

The talking cosmic turtle kind of killed the atmosphere for me. That, and the underage sewer orgy.
But terrifying clowns.

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What books did you read in 2019?
« on: January 02, 2020, 01:41:27 AM »
These are my bests for 2019. I guess I could have put them in the other thread, but I don't do disappointments.

Jade City by Fonda Lee. I think I purchased this some time in 2018, but it didn’t make its way up to the top of the pile in 2019. It’s one of those set in a low magic world that is very similar to ours, but at the same time totally different. It was actually kind of fun trying to work out where the various locations actually were. The setting itself feels like a 60’s or 70’s time frame. The premise is that certain well connected families on the island of Kekon have access to jade and it gives them physical powers beyond that of the jadeless population. The jade families are rather like the tongs of Hong Kong and the book takes us into one of these families while they’re in the middle of a power shift and a turf war. It was an action packed book with an interesting premise and some strong character development, unafraid to make bold choices in story direction, which kept the reader guessing. Highly recommended.

In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire. This is the 4th of McGuire’s Wayward Children series. About children who find their ways into fantasy worlds and while they return to our and their worlds, they don’t forget where they were and this affects them going forward. This episode dealt with a character readers had met before, but explained why and how she found her way into an unreal world and why she would never be the same. McGuire ups her game with every one of these and this one was no exception. We’ve seen glimpses of a number of fascinating and very different worlds through McGuire’s eyes in these books and In an Absent Dream gave readers another one.

Vulturesby Chuck Wendig. In 2012 I read Blackbirds, the first of Wendig’s Miriam Black books, the story of the inventively foul mouthed Miriam Black, a woman cursed with the ability to touch someone and see the moment of their death. Throughout a number of years and 6 books. I’ve loved these from the moment  I first met Miriam in Blackbirds and adored Wendig’s short, sharp, visceral, brutal style of writing. They have a noirish feel about them and for the past few books, possibly because they’ve been set in and around Florida they’ve given me a very Burn Notice feel about them. The conclusion of Miriam’s story in Vultures was damn near perfect and the twist in the ending was a real kick in the guts.

Amnesty by Lara Elena Donnelly. This was the final of Donnelly’s Amberlough Dossier books. The setting and idea behind these is almost unique. Fantasy as written by Len Deighton or Le Carre. The only thing that really qualifies them as fantasy is that they’re set on a secondary world, but that world is not low magic, it is no magic. Not having magic, but an unreal setting allows Donnelly to write about people, not events, and follow their journeys through an always dangerous world. Amnesty brought the whole bloody mess to an appropriately explosive conclusion.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. This is the story of two individuals with unique abilities. It follows their lives and how they first met and develop a relationship and then follows their own separate journeys through life until fate demands that their lives once again intersect. It’s a lovely coming of age story which explores people, events and power. It was Anders’ debut and totally astonished me. Leapt easily into my best reads of the year for 2019.

The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch. This is part of Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series, but it doesn’t have Peter in it. One of the things that I, and I suspect other readers of the series, have asked themselves, is do other countries have police whose job it is to investigate magical crimes and events? The answer is yes and it’s covered in this novella. One of the strengths of the Peter Grant series has been the obvious love that Aaronovitch has for the city of London (I actually felt that the one book located outside of the city; Foxglove Summer, was probably the weakest entry), so I approached The October Man with a bit of trepidation, not only did it not feature Peter, but was also set in Germany. I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed it and the main character Tobias Winter was a welcome change from seeing everything filtered through Peter’s eyes. Things are definitely different on the continent, but in a good way and it’s great to see that the concept has applications elsewhere. Would be interesting to see an encounter and maybe even a collaboration between Peter and Tobias in the future.

To Be Taught If Fortunate by Becky Chambers. I don’t think Chambers is capable of writing a bad book. This novella, while still science fiction, moves away from her Wayfarers series. The two are not at all connected, even peripherally. This is about a manned space exploration and in what is a Chambers signature it’s less about the technology than it is about the people aboard it and how they interact with each other and deal with the situation that they face. Stunning, and it should win the Hugo for best novella in 2020, although I suspect that it won’t.

The Girl Who Could Move Shit With Her Mind by Jackson Ford. I picked this up because I liked the title. I knew nothing about it, but that is a very eye and mind catching title. It was a really fun ride. There’s a fair bit of Miriam Black about Teagan, although their ‘gifts’ are dissimilar, they have the same cynical outlook on life and the world, plus neither of them really play well with others. It was just such a thrill ride that kept me turning pages.

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. In things that aren’t her two long running series McGuire is at the top of her game, Middlegame is an example of that. It shares a bit with All the Birds in the Sky in that it’s about two gifted people who first meet when they’re children, separate and then life forces them back together again. It does have a McGuire/Mira Grant (Mira Grant is a pseudonym for Seanan McGuire, it tends to deal with zombies and recently mermaids) hallmark to it, in that the two principals are part of a giant genetic experiment. I think it’s the best thing that McGuire has written under her own name.

A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie. Abercrombie returns to the Circleworld, where he set his first 6 novels, after a successful foray into dystopian YA fiction with the Shattered Seas trilogy. Plenty of time has passed between the events in Red Country and A Little Hatred, enough that the characters of the original 6 novels have had families who have grown up and taken centre stage. It’s the coming of the 2.0’s Abercrombie style. I’m not generally a fan of grim dark, but Abercrombie does it with more style and humour than any of his contemporaries and that trademark wit is on display throughout A Little Hatred, it’s also an interesting fantasy look at the Industrial Revolution. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: Abercrombie is a one trick pony, but he does that trick better than anyone else with a similar act.

9
Mine would be It by Stephen King. Dials the creep factor up to 11.

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Let’s talk about book Titles
« on: January 01, 2020, 08:12:00 AM »
I'd kept meaning to add to this thread and just got reminded when putting in a review for Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri on Goodreads and there's three of them and two Empires of Sand. And you know what, any title that has been used that many times and doesn't even sound iconic is just a bad title.

And to me, its the long and vague ones that annoy me. Demon Lord of Karanda has stuck with me, but it's also pretty lame. I love RJ Barker's books but Age of Assassins? King of Assassins? Come on man. I hear why people are ragging on the short ones, but at least they're short and meangingless and not long and meaningless. Although I like one word ones. Legend. Magician. They're iconic to me. Although my favourite one worder is Jingo.

I love the poetic and meaningful ones. Bridge of Birds. Winter Warriors. House of Binding Thorns.

But my absolute favourite ones are the ones in the Dresden Files because they have that meaning and they're funny.
And the Dresdens are all 2 words.

11
General Discussion / Re: New Year and New Stuff
« on: January 01, 2020, 08:10:08 AM »
I haven’t got anything firm. I read 78 books this year, and I’d like to keep it over 50. I started rereading series last year, they were mostly things I’d read before, but there are some that I haven’t read all the way. I got up to the H’s. This year I’ll encounter Katherine Kerr’s Deverry series, I’ve read 2 of these and it’s a 16 book series. I should also hit the P’s, which will be the great Sir Terry Pratchett and the Discworld series will take some reading. If I can get this done that’ll be an accomplishment.

12
It’s odd that you say that about Lynch. One of the many things I love about Lies is that it’s not for all the marbles, like so many others out there, are.

I agree, and it's one of the things I like about the books as well, but I suspect--with the conclusion of the third book--that a lot more marbles are going to be put into play. It's going to be interesting to see how book 4 develops.
I can also see that’s how it’s ended, but Lies can kind of work as a stand-alone and in that respect it is one of the best heist/caper books of all time for me.

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: December 31, 2019, 11:32:52 PM »
I finished Amberlough yesterday. I wasn't really expecting to finish it so soon - I had found it quite slow going, and think it was probably a bad choice to follow Swordspoint - bug I had to wait in for someone yesterday and read a lot of it while waiting. It really pocked up for me once things started to kick off, maybe about half way through, and I ended up wanting to know how things will work out, although the subject matter is quite depressing in the current political climate.

I've started a self-pub military SF: Aurora CV-01 by Ryk Brown which is quite good fun so far. It's not the best-written thing I've ever read, but it's right up my street guilty-pleasure-wise. The omnibus of the first three books was free on kindle recently - that's why I picked it up - I don't know if it still is.
Feeling like that, you may want to give reading Farthing some time. It’s similar in tone to Amberlough.

14
Too me the word sounds too American and I don’t know anyone in today’s Britain that would ever use this phrase. Would it have been used by British folks in the past?

What word do you think would be a substitute for Jackass , would you go for fool?
Possibly to refer to the animal, but I’m not sure that was in use back then. You could go with donkey as an insult.

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Let’s talk about book Titles
« on: December 31, 2019, 01:02:36 AM »
J. V Jones The Book of Words always amused me. It's a book, decently sized, too. I'd kind of hope it would have words in it. I read a thing on her blog where she had a title she'd always used for it, and they wouldn't publish it with that (I think it was deemed to be too romantic), yet the best they could come up with was The Book of Words. Seriously? One of my favourites and most unwieldy ones, yet still great is The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente.
The Hobbit is also great. Short and to the point and when it came out I'd think that would make people pick it up just to find out exactly what a hobbit was and why someone had written a book about it.

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