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Messages - JMack

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Miscellaneous Musings
« on: January 01, 2015, 11:35:44 AM »
Finland!  I love Finland.  My wife and I were there summer 2013, I on business, she along for the ride.  Great people, great place in the summer.  And HARD CIDER in every bar.  Now that's living.  The U.S. is really just discovering hard cider now, and most of the selection is too sweet.

As re: language, it was certainly challenging to get to Porvoo from Helsinki by bus... because we just couldn't figure out that the terminal was on a floor below the mall.  Lots of people in Finland speak English, of course, but none of them were shopping that day.  :P

And re: Ebooks and screens, the iPad is a gift from Olympus and eboooks are not the devil  ;)  And I'm old, so I still love me some paper too.  But eboooks = soooo convenient.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Terry Brooks Shannara
« on: January 01, 2015, 02:09:47 AM »
I remember that was my own reaction to Shannara when it first came out.  I enjoyed it, but it had so many Tolkien rip-offs, er, references.  Mithril comes to mind.  At the time it sort of felt like it invalidated the experience, and I never kept up with the series.  It would be interesting to go back now and see how it works many years later.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Miscellaneous Musings
« on: December 31, 2014, 06:27:56 PM »
Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding any part of the ramble, but just wanted to say that I have started to introduce my mom and her partner, Eva, as "my mom and her wife, Eva".  I actually think that might have bugged my mom, since she's of an older generation (of course) and she continues to study the tax consequences of actually getting married.   :P

Meanwhile, I have no perspective to share on the difficulty of obtaining books.  Maybe we need a book swap program among F-F members!

And I have no perspective on how fortunate it is that I write exclusively in English, considering no other options  ;D

Small Press & Self-Published / Re: Monsters of Elsewhere
« on: December 31, 2014, 06:00:18 PM »
Just downloaded the sample from Amazon, and it reads great!  Congrats, and I''m likely a customer shortly (long TBR pile, but your book seems really promising)



Non-Fantasy Books / Re: Your top 3 Classics
« on: December 31, 2014, 01:04:59 PM »
Might as well address the Awakening question,m&t hen.

IMHO there was no justification for suicide, it was a supremely selfish act.  Fine, she was oppressed and unhappy.

But I'm not sure the author wants us to see the act as justified.  Chopin probably is just presenting what this character would do, and asking the reader to engage with the "facts" of her life, desires, and actions.  In another thread, some of us went on for post after post about what is or is not a "feminist" story.  Awakening is clearly one under any definition.  For me, it's a "great minor novel" - quotes especially relevant, since I'm not even sure what I mean by that!

Introductions / Re: I should be writing...
« on: December 31, 2014, 01:00:33 PM »
Hello and welcome, Marco!

I tried EVE some years ago, and boy was it addictive.  Between job, kids and wife, I just didn't have time for it after a while.

I also know what you mean about reading about writing instead of writing.  But with Fantasy-Faction, I've been doing the monthly writing contest and that has helped me get out of wanting to write and into writing.

So, have a good time storming the castle! (and posting on F-F)

Non-Fantasy Books / Re: Your top 3 Classics
« on: December 30, 2014, 07:31:44 PM »
The Awakening has always been a fascinating book for me.
Really liked it.  Essay question in American Novel course was: Do you think the character's suicide at the end was justified?  Worth it's own thread, that.

Writers' Corner / A thousand years here, a thousand years there
« on: December 30, 2014, 03:18:33 AM »
A thousand years here, a thousand years there... Pretty soon we're talking real time.

Does it bother anyone else that in medieval culture fantasy worlds, people talk about 1,000 years ago or 5,000 years ago like it was just a few years back? Take this example from Mistborn: The crew is strategizing how to deal with a 25,000 soldier force controlled by a ruler who hasn't been challenged in 1,000 years.  One charcater says: well, historically, the best way to deal with a large army was to have a larger army.

Ok, call me picky, but these are thieves in a world of an oppressed and uneducated slave class.  Sanderson establishes no sense that people have histories of the days before the Final Empire came into being, nor any sense that these particular folks read those histories.  (The line is amusing and the point is obvious without deep knowledge of history, but that's not what the fellow says.)

This is just one example.  We seem to take it for granted that history as we know it exists in all these worlds.  More realistically, pre-printing press people start to misunderstand and misremember what happened 25 years ago, no less 1,000.  (OK, maybe Mistborn world has printing press, but I did say I was being picky.)

I bet I could find example after example of all this.  Tolkien, bless him, started it, with his three ages, etc.  But somehow it all works in LOTR, where it always seems easy and trite to me in other works.

What say you?

Writers' Corner / Re: Rules of Magic
« on: December 29, 2014, 09:36:20 PM »
I liked the approach to magic in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.  Most magic was bound to the land, and derived from it, or tried to desolate it.  Donaldson had a consistent feel to that magic, but he never bothered to lay down rules explicitly.  The rules were there, and we sensed them without explanation.  Meanwhile there was Wild Magic, which has unpredictable, deadly and impossible to control, and derived from rare white gold.
I guess there was an element of Deus ex Machina about how the wild magic saves the day.  But the point of the books was the moral redemption of Covenant so that he would even be in a position to wield white gold.  And his moral redemption had nothing to do with magic at all, but with care for and sacrifice for others.

I'm just starting to read Mistborn, and I'm enjoying the rule-based magic system.  But it just goes to show that magic systems are sort of beside the point when there's great story and interesting characters.  Mistborn has those, as does the Legend of Eli Monpress, with another precisely worked out magic system.  Compare these to R.E. Howard, Tolkien, Donaldson... all great stories and characters along with mysterious magic.  Whether precise or unexplained magic, it's the writing that wins.

To be a bit grotesque, detailed magic systems for their own sake almost strike me as a being mental... um... self-pleasing.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: December 29, 2014, 04:44:47 PM »
Just came back from the bookstore!

Matthew Reilly's Five Greatest Heroes (of several Reilly books in the store, it had the oldest copyright date)

Not sure if you're a Reilly fan, or have any of his other books, but this one is the 3rd of that particular series, so if you haven't read Seven Ancient Wonders or Six Sacred Stones, I wouldn't start with that one.

No, I'd never heard of Reilly until you mentioned ice Station in a recent post.  There were two (?) Reilly books in the store with a deal price, so I grabbed the earliest.  But, 3rd in series?  Noted.  Thanks!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: December 29, 2014, 12:36:20 AM »
Just came back from the bookstore!

Gaiman's Stardust
Sanderson's Mistborn
Matthew Reilly's Five Greatest Heroes (of several Reilly books in the store, it had the oldest copyright date)
And one suspense novel by someone I can't remember called something I don't recall.)
(But it was a great deal, and I needed one more!)

So, I'm reading Mistborn first.

Just came back from seeing into the Woods, which was chosen by the family over seeing the third Hobbit movie.  Now, I'm a huge broadway musical and Stephen Sondheim fan, and I loved fractured fairy tales, so call me biased.  But it was wonderful.  Run out and see it. :)

[NOV 2014] Joker Month / Re: [Nov 2014] - joker month - Voting Thread
« on: December 29, 2014, 12:19:57 AM »
Nine voters is great.  But really?  Won't some more of us join in?

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: December 28, 2014, 06:00:53 PM »
Just finished Cary Elwes' memoir of making the movie The Princess Bride.  A tenderly remembered story, filled with details I enjoyed.  Not particularly well-written, but I got misty-eyed at the end, thinking about the book, the movie and how it almost didn't get made and almost didn't get an audience.  One of my best friends from high school, Dennis of the Exploding Bagel (his rabbinical take on D&D clerics), introduced the book to me and it's one of my all-time favorites.

Those who've read the book will remember it is subtitled something like: the classic tale of... by F. Morgenstern... the good parts version.  Ever since reading that, my daughter has adopted the phrase for how she re-reads beloved books.  I'll find her speeding through a 700-page tome in a few hours and wonder what's going on.  "Dad, I'm just doing the Good Parts Version."

I've just watched How to train your dragon :D
I *know* it's a movie for children, but I just loved it sooo much :-[
It is awesome. You should see if you can find Dragons: Riders of Berk, which is a cartoon series based on the movie. It's lightweight, but quite fun. The second season was called Dragons: Defenders of Berk. I'm not sure what the events in the second movie will mean for the TV show if they make another one.
Loved both movies.  Saw the second just recently.  I had three quibbles that really didn't spoil the story, but oh well.  Quibble away, says I:
Spoiler for Hiden:
1. The only really bad charcater is the only dark-skinned, kinky-haired one.  And played by (I think) the only actor of color.  2.  After 15 years separated from her family, Mom just sort of immediately decides she'll leave her dragon community, no regrets.  And 3. After establishing how wonderful the huge Alpha is, when it dies, everyone gets over it really fast.  Now yes, there's a battle raging, but Dad gets a huge funeral, while the great dragon is pretty much forgotten.
But hey, great movie for kids and adults.

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