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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / An incredible LoTR Audiobook
« on: October 10, 2019, 06:57:20 PM »
I assume more veteran audiobook readers may have heard of this lad and call me out for my Late-News, but just in case, let me share this guy's incredible work :


He makes up audiobooks for the entire trilogy and distributes the result for free (despite it being all legal and all), and he does all the voices, doing a CRACKIN impression of both Ian McKellen and Billy Boyd. He has Howard's Shore music often playing with good background noises and while it's abridged, very little is missing.
It's a real work of dedication and art.

Anyone who wants to do a side re-read should give this a chance over buying the official Audible audiobook, it's a-ma-zing.


Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Abercrombie signing in Scotland
« on: July 04, 2019, 11:46:49 AM »
Hey guys,

I'm at work, so I'll be brief, but I just choked upon seeing that we will have an Abercrombie signing at MY SHOP!!!


It's for his new trilogy. So, I'll be sure to be there if I can...

Hello all,

first off, sorry I've been away a lot, work was a bit crazy, plus I tripped and fell into Skyrim on my Switch and it's a serious pot of honey one doesn't climb out of like that.

Now, I'm on holidays for a week, I've set up my women's table (see specific topic), and it has been selling a lot. On the other side of the section there is a table I set up with some of the Arthur C. Clarke shortlisted novels (that sells a lot less).
Anyway, soon enough the award will come out, and I will clear that table and replace it with what I want. And what I want, is a selection of foreign titles. I want different lenses on the SFF genre, from China, North and black Africa, Eastern Europe, Native America, South America, up North...
It can be pretty niche but it has to sound good, and it has to be orderable... aka, have a Uk publisher that keeps it in print (I can check that at work myself).

People like Cixin Liu or Nisi Shawl (Everfair) are obvious nominees.

Please give me any suggestions you have, but don't expect too much, it'll be a smaller table I think, unless I can sweet talk my manager into giving me another square table. So most likely 7 titles at most.

So far I'm considering these authors:

- A classic ish fantasy type Throne of the Crescent Moon - Saladin Ahmed (I have a lot at the shop, since it sold well when I picked it for book group of May)
- Either Cixin or Ken Liu, one is heavy fantasy, the other heavy scifi, so I may choose depending on balance of the table.
- Everfair by Nisi Shawl, set in a steampunkish Congo.
- IF I can get it,  The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy sounds amazing and follows a tribe of cats in the streets of


It's here! It's been here a few days now, and I've watched both episodes that have aired so far. So, I can say it loudly:


Here's the trailer : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l328p5sSEmc

Here's the deliciously creepy intro (that I put online myself the night the first episode aired, and so it sucks, soz): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvHqadA3KNU

What you need to know:

Ridley Scott is adapting for AMC (that used to be good, you remember, when the Walking Dead started?) the classic horror novel The Terror by Dan Simmons. It follows the crews of HMS Terror and HMS Erebus as they attempt the crossing of the North-West passage. It is an historical event, and we know every last crew that was on the boats. None survived that we know of, and some dead were found, along with artifacts. Thanks to underwater robots we've found the sunken ruins of both ships.
Dan Simmons took that story, these real people, stranded for years on the ice with rotting cans of food and scurvy culling their ranks, and added a monster stalking them and killing them off one after another (but not nearly as many as scurvy did...)

To me the book was a masterpiece. It is slow, and written in a style so faithful to the 19th century book I love as to be confounding. When the situation becomes dire for the characters, I was so entrenched in that universe, it did give me nightmares. But the ending came, and man-o-man is it a satisfying one. Endings, to me, are the most dreaded thing in horror books. I think the best two horror-ish books I've read, ending-wise are The Terror and Red Dragon.
Terror just gives you a deep understanding of the monster, and totally transcends the beast-horror genre in doing so, wrapping many threads into a conclusion that took me off my feet.

Two episodes in, and the tv series is excellent. All the actors are great, the set is perfect, and the few changes they've made so far mostly regard time-line, and the addition of Crozier speaking enough Inuit to communicate with Lady Silence, so named because in the book she is introduced from the start as a tongue-less inuk (she'll become mute soon enough, I can tell). The way this is played out though is much chillier though, and everything is wrapping up to be excellent.
The only thing I'm worried about then, is the ending. I hope they don't change it. I'm dreading this because of the intro in the pilot, that hints of potential differences. But hell, it looks like it'll be a hell of a good series anyway.

As someone very shy of gore and jumpscares, I can tell the skittish viewer that 2 episodes in there is nothing scary. It's only unsettling and creepy.

For the curious on the real life elements :

Two of the crew were buried before the ships went to disappear in the north-west passage mess. Both tombs were dug up and we found perfectly preserved mummies of both men kept in ice like woolly mammoths old almost 200 years. Looking them up is interesting but very creepy.

What a dry title!

Anyone, here's the story :

My work life has turned a weird, muddied mess right now, with managers treating me as a free agent, in charge of several things instead of having a clear assignment. But officially, as the top manager says, I've been more or less temporarily moved to the fiction floor, to be responsible for the Science Fiction and Fantasy, manga and board game section. (At the second biggest Waterstones in the UK, £££ wise)
A childhood dream almost come true.


With Ms Le Guin passing away, we have ordered bulk of her books and given her a little table in my section, for which I wrote the header. I will also have on my hands quite a few copies of Jemisin's The Fifth Season, as I chose it for the february book group, but we'll most likely have overstock.
So it got me thinking that when the table for Le Guin officially goes, I should keep some of her books on and add my Jemisin pile, and maybe add more female authors there to do a sort of "pro-feminist" corner.
I'd definitely add some of Sheri S Tepper's books (Gate to Women Country or Grass), but after that I'm not too sure.
The manager who orders stock loved the idea (not like it's entirely new! The general fiction will soon have a wall of "femal authors" similar to my table, and we've had a corner of feminist non-fiction on the ground floor for a while) and let me decide on a list. I still have to float the idea by my main manager on the floor, but I reckon it'll be ok until another event requisitions the table.

So here is my task for you. I want you to make a compact recommendation of female authors you'd like to see being put forward. And if possible a specific title from them, and why the book is appropriate there.

– They don't need to be classics, they can be recent authors.
– They have to be feminist-minded in their discourse, or explore beyond traditional gender ideas.
– They can't be obscure and impossible to source or sell, though I can tell that better than most of you since I have an access to Waterstone's system, so I can see the publication status of books and their availability.
– Only one title per author.
– The MC doesn't have to be female. If it was in SFF, I'd say that The Song Of Achilles would fit there perfectly. So does The Left Hand Of Darkness.
– No hardbacks.

The core set will be a book by Le Guin, Sheri S Tepper and Jemisin.The table can sit 3 to 4 more books. So I'll take four or five off of you and then see what can be ordered.

In the end if it happens, I'll submit my list, and if I get my say, I'll take a picture of the table and post it here to reward everyone's good efforts!

Please feel free to make recommendations based on balance. As in "5 titles that would go together". You can balance through publication years, to have some 70/80s, 90/00, 10s, or you can balance by genre and overall mood (not a table of pure rebellion or depression, etc). Or you can just throw titles you think are very little known along with much more famous one, to catch the eye of readers who've "liked that one", and will hence be curious to look at "similar ones".

Anyone game?  :D

Ho Ho Ho, looks like christmas to me :


Sounds like SFF movies and series are drawing enough views and money for studios to turn to more and more scifi.
If they take this seriously it has some tremendous potential.

Annihilation already has a trailer and stars some serious cast!


With the writer and director of Ex Machina. Now we're talking. To me it looks great, but the book bored me right out of reading further than 1/3 in. VanderMeer does not do it for me at all, but the visual take on the world looks a lot more interesting. I'll definitely go and watch it.

Writers' Corner / Hobbling yourself
« on: September 08, 2017, 08:53:11 PM »
I have had this story on the back burner for months now, the one I derived from my short monthly story on corpses. I'm fond of the character and her power. I wrote quite a lot around her, but got myself a bit stuck for what now appears as a totally stupid reason :

I wanted to include bits of text I really liked, wrote as I was discovery writing it, yet don't fit at all with any good plot. Or at least not for me, not from where I wanted to start the story.

But even the point I wanted to start the story at didn't have to be that one.

My point is, I spent months running in circles because I'd written these bits I wanted to keep, but were hobbling me.

After several months without touching this story, going back into it, I'm like "why does this have to be done by her? It could be put in some other short story, or she could make this comment somewhere else entirely".

How did I not realise that sooner? Why was I so hung up on this happening? How to get rid of that habit, without going all the way to the plotter's special hell?
Does that happen to any of you guys?

It has happened before to a lesser extent, but in the monthly contest I've had less problems since you can write around that 'one scene' and bend the story to fit it, and I also feel much better about cutting and reshapping the entire story. I often re-write it, changing pov, tense, or starting points.
So what's making it so much harder with longer stories?

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Malice Discussion
« on: August 27, 2017, 09:31:11 AM »
Well you make me glad I disliked the series from book 1 then!

I've just picked up a fantasy book to read in parallel to my non fiction. I've read in an Arvo snapshot by Sanderson, and now 20% in Malice by John Gwynne.

I had to grit my teeth at how high fantasy it is, but the reviews guarantee a no-one safe, no farm it of destiny, grim yet likeable cast book that convinced me to power through. I'm glad I did. I'm caught already. It's written relatively well. There are ways he shapes his prose I would not use but his characters are pretty compelling so far and not a bunch of dickheads.  ;D

Okay, so I don't know what to call the system behind the "All Seeing Eyes" I mention in the story I'm still–belatedly–working on, the prequel to Blink, the corpse short story.

I don't know if it should be a Fund, a Society, a Trust, a ... ?

Background worldbuilding data, for those who didn't read the short story and aren't on my writing group :

I write about a similar world to ours, where somewhat magical eyes are the only fantastic element. They have more or less useful powers, and however Over Powered they might seem, they all have strong limits.
My MC has the "Death Eyes" and can see from the pov of corpses in a certain radius around her.
If she is killed, somewhere, anywhere in the world, a teenager inherits the Death Eyes in turn.

Here's the idea behind the fund/society/trust/thing : some dude in the 19th century got some great Eyes, like the Spying Eyes or whatever, and did a load of money off of them, not always legally. He saw how hard people tried to exploit him, met with other Eyes bearers and saw how hard some of them had it, and decided to fund a sort of the associative enterprise to help them all.
He invested his money, got all the Eyes bearers he could find to "join", and trusted their growing money source to a third party (so that no one Eyes could come and go to town with all the money).
The goal of the thing, is to spot new bearers asap (before the KGB or the CIA or MI6, if you catch the idea), and put them in apprenticeships right away with older Eyes, teaching them how to master their new gift/curse, and granting them access to all the notes and studies done by the previous owners of the eyes, so that they can learn all the tricks the others found out, instead of being left to their own devices.
People like my MC, with the Death Eyes, are protected de facto by how powerful this thing got, how much money and assets and power they yield. If you kidnap one of their members, you'll have the "All Seeing Eyes" dropping their work around the world to get on your butt.
Governments and associations or individuals can apply through the thing to ask to hire one of the Eyes, and if the Eyes accept, they don't get paid in person, the money goes to the thing, and the thing makes sure the Eyes are never lacking in anything.

My MC's weird death related powers would mean she'd be asked very often to help during catastrophes and rescues, but also more and more as a tactical member in army squads.
There would be some background stories (that are irrelevant for the written story) such as if you get the eyes and you're russian or Chinese, you're pretty much guaranteed to disappear before the thing can get to you, and you'd end up working for your government, etc.

SO. What do you call the thing?! What legal set-up is closest to it? Keeping in mind that the beneficiaries from this system are few, but well paid, and can't be in charge of the money management, at least not alone.

Any ideas?

Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / The Last Jedi!
« on: April 15, 2017, 01:16:11 PM »
OMG, people, the first teaser trailer is there!!

Just look at it:


[JAN 2017] Urban Fantasy / [Jan 2017] - Urban Fantasy - Critic Thread
« on: March 02, 2017, 09:20:54 PM »
Anyone who wants a critique for their story posts in here.
Anyone who wants to do a critique for a specific story (whose writer has asked for critique) posts it in here.

- Critique isn't always easy to handle, especially if you are not used to it. So if you feel more comfortable receiving it in private, people can send it via PM.

- Critiques are great to find strengths and weaknesses in a story. What was well executed or not. What people liked and didn't. And most important, why. All great things to grow and learn.

- Specially here, where we have published authors with entire series out, authors with works in progress, authors who've just began, people who sporadically write only for fun and even those who don't write but read a lot. We are also pretty friendly, so fear not.

- Maybe you don't feel confident enough yet to give critiques to others but still want them for your story. That's fine and understandable. I still say for you to try at least, as it does help with your own writing.
Also, you can just point out the things you liked in a story. People will undoubtedly love to know what they did right.

- Do try to reciprocate if others comment on your story, as a form of courtesy.

- You can also just ask for critiques about specific things. Maybe you really liked your characters and just want to know opinions on your plot. Maybe after re-reading later you know the flaws in your plot twist or magic system and don't want/need more people telling that, but you still want to know about characterization.
All free game, we're pretty flexible.

- If you want a critique, I'd recommend asking for it within the first two weeks of the month, if not the first. That's when most people are recharging the batteries from the previous month and are mostly just mulling over ideas.
From the 15th onwards I believe people are either starting, finishing or polishing their next piece. You can still ask, but I'd recommend asking early.

A small guideline:

1. Please read what the poster is asking for before you post your critique.
                        2. Critique the writing, not the writer.  Never, “You are...” or “You should...” but rather, “The writing is...” or “The story should...”
                        3. We all have different levels of writing ability here, keep that in mind when critiquing.
                        4. Find what is right in each piece as well as what is wrong.
                        5. Remember that subject matter is personal. You don't have to like a story to give it a fair critique.
                        6. Remember what your biases are and critique around them.
                        7. Remember that real people wrote this stuff, and real people have real feelings. Things you may not say while critiquing: “That’s awful.” “That’s stupid.” “You couldn’t write your way out of a paper bag.”

We also have a template to help. You don't need to use it, you can critique in any form you like.

Selected Quote:
Something Awesome:
Theme Appropriateness:
Conflict and Tension:
Something Confusing:

General Discussion / Philosophy for writers and readers
« on: February 25, 2017, 01:15:56 PM »
Hello people!!

I'm a pretty avid fan of philosophy, though I tend to move from topic to topic, and branch to branch like a happy bee.
I was wondering if anyon would enjoy sharing links, articles, or papers, which are related to anything SFF, creativity and art or language, and maybe discuss it?

Let me start with sharing a simple video from a channel I follow, called "Crash Courses". This one is "Nonexistent Objects & Imaginary Worlds", and gets pretty praise worthy of our hobby by the end. A worthy consideration.


I'd love to get into some conversations and I have a couple of ammunitions ready to fire for good debate.

Writers' Corner / Flow
« on: January 25, 2017, 12:12:40 AM »
So, I've come across a video I really like, because it introduces me to a man's work I wasn't aware of, in regard of the enjoyment of our passions.

Aka, the man who coined the term 'Flow', and wrote about the concept.

Depending on the type of hobby you have, beyond writing, you may have experienced it, this pure moment of not being a man/woman doing a thing, but a vessel that reaches from point A to point B in a brilliant, thrilling way.

To me this embodies the best moments on my rock climbing career (as it is, hahaha!). When you are entirely enthralled by the route you climb, when you know exactly which hold you need to reach for, drop your knees, twist your body, and extend, with everything you have, to reach that next point. You stop thinking, you don't have anything on your mind, other than a vague awareness of your entire body, as a casing of tendons, bones and muscles doing your bidding, and reaching, reaching...
The physical pleasure that courses through you when you reach that hold, or better, when you go over the CRUX of that HORRIBLE ASS TEST PIECE OF A SINGLE ARMED CHIN UP WITH A JAMMED FIST ALL WHILE THAT ROPE BURNED A FUTURE 'SOUVENIR SCAR' ALL OVER YOUR WRIST, AAAAAAAAH!!!! BUT I DID IT, WHOOO!! – it's just... memorable.



In climbing there were moments in which I was the closest to meditative states I've ever been, I was flowing, I'm sure, since the descriptions match perfectly.
I was challenging myself, and months or years of experience, of my body developing automatisms and specific musculature, paid off in superb ways, putting me in a trance, bathing me in a smug pride yet crisp focus.

Now, before I go on to writing, I'd like to show you the video, it's brief, and the man does mention his own fiction writing :


Now, it got me thinking about writing, and more specifically, about that strange sensation of a perfect snippet, line, or scene, flowing through you.

Recently I answered praise on that extract :

I picture the glass sea of Paris contracting, liquefying itself in a mass of living people, monuments and pastry shops, the missile collecting its fragments and taking flight, propelled only by the inexorability of time.
I imagine arguments being swallowed back, wine spit in glasses and gurgling up bottles. I imagine my ring sliding off my finger, Bobby's lips hot on mine for the first time again, and then unknown to me.
Time doesn't seem to ever be kind.

I said that while very heartfelt, the compliments hit a strange spot, because the text flowed through me, went unedited (I found it perfect as it was, and I was already aware it was the strongest part of my story), it seemed the compliments were hitting more my internal ability, or my subconscious, rather than my aptitude as a writer.

More recently, last night, to be precise, I had another weird experience, going to bed way too late, listening to music, I started day dreaming, and as I often do now, I voice over what I imagine, and hearing how cool it was, immediately grabbed my phone to put all of that down.

[as a side comment, I spent some time wondering how many nights I went to bed early and felt healthy for it, but missed such late night inspiration spells]

The night passed, and of all I wrote, only one sentence stands out, shinning and perfect, but it is so satisfactory in itself, that it becomes the seed around which I expend story and character.

Are such moments 'flow'?

Do you experience that often? Or would you consider these long hours sometimes spent churning unexpected numbers of words, inspiration blooming and the gods of editing showering you with all their graces as more representative of flow?

I'm mostly wondering since writing, as a passion, is so different from climbing. Climbing is immediacy. You might fall 20 times before you get it right, but once you do that one flowing climb, you'll never repeat it, and all you have is the undying memory of it.
Writing involves a lot of serious editing (often painful), and while editing makes our work better, and can be done 'in the zone' of the story, it kind of doesn't count as creation, it's different from these moments we just become a human sized pen for the god of good prose to use...

I don't know, I'd like people to share their feelings and experience on the topic, but I'm just a rambling mess myself, sorry!  :D

So, here is an experimental thing I'm putting out there on the off chance that others might be interested.

You know how, using GoodReads, we get that cool 'Year X in books' at the end of the year, allowing you to refresh your memories, see which ones stayed with you, which ones were clearly forgettable, which were published this year, which weren't, etc...

Well, I've been thinking I need to keep track of which movies and series I watch over the course of this year.
I never take any notes, and get forgetful, or can't tell when I first saw movie X or Z, or which movie was my favourite in the year.

What I propose we do, in order to have easy access to what everyone is watching–or not watching–is a sort of parent thread to 'What are you currently watching' and 'What did you read this month' but applied to movies and series, and all added in one set post, updated as the year progresses, so that we always have an overview of what someone has seen.
In the 'currently watching' thread, things get buried, and only a great memory or long browsing can tell you what someone (or yourself) has seen or reviewed.

Here we would :

  • Create one first post, that stands as your main list
  • Write in it which film/series/anime you've watched
  • Potentially add a quick review next to it, or a rating (I think movie discussion should remain in specific threads and the 'currently watching' thread). This here would only be a database.
  • Come back each day/week/month/whatever, to edit your personal post by adding what new movies or series you've watched.

We could keep track of what you DnFed, what you watched again, etc. The main trick is to keep it one post per person, and go discuss and recommend stuff in the 'currently watching' thread when we feel like commenting on other's experience.

So, I'll make mine up first and try to keep editing it the whole year, join me if you feel like it!   ;D

[NOV 2016] 1750 / [NOV 2016] - 1750 - Critique Thread
« on: January 01, 2017, 09:45:37 PM »
  • Everybody who wants critique for his story posts in here.*
  • Everybody who wants to do a critique for a specific story (whose writer has asked for critique) posts it in here.

* I know that critique isn't always easy to handle, especially if you are not used to it. So if you feel more comfortable receiving it in private, people can send it via pm. They can post here that they sent a critique via pm so that others know about it.
It is also fine to ask for a critic to end, as we can get carried away as a community. If you don't want any more reviews, say it. If offering reviews, make sure the person has asked for it or (still) welcomes it.

At the moment I don't think it necessary that we create a system balancing given/received critiques. However, if it turns out to be unfair and some people are giving critiques without receiving some (or the other way round) we have to add one.

Basic rules for critiquing:

This is just a small guideline for those that haven't done critiques before, stolen from this forum's writing section.
Critiquing Other’s Work

                    1. Please read what the poster is asking for before you post your critique.
                    2. Critique the writing, not the writer.  Never, “You are...” or “You should...” but rather, “The writing is...” or “The story should...”
                    3. We all have different levels of writing ability here, keep that in mind when critiquing.
                    4. Find what is right in each piece as well as what is wrong.
                    5. Remember that subject matter is personal. You don't have to like a story to give it a fair critique.
                    6. Remember what your biases are and critique around them.
                    7. Remember that real people wrote this stuff, and real people have real feelings. Things you may not say while critiquing: “That’s awful.” “That’s stupid.” “You couldn’t write your way out of a paper bag.”

Special addition :

Since Lanko used with pretty great success the template created by m3mnoch, here are the basic questions used last month, that help make a fast critic. Let it not stop you to go into great analytical dissection of a story if you feel inclined and have time for it and it has been asked for.

Selected Quote:
Something Awesome:
Theme Appropriateness:
Conflict and Tension:
Strength of Characterisation :
Something Confusing:

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