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Messages - J. Mark Miller

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31
For me it's Steven R. Donaldson. His stories are good, but I can't get very far without yelling, "Put down the thesaurus!"

Interesting.  Is your objection to an author using the full language available in general or do you feel that he uses certain words incorrectly or when another word would serve better?

I don't mind the full use of language. I gained the majority of my vocabulary from reading in the fantasy genre, and enjoy being challenged. My difficulties were two-fold.

Yes, I did feel like different word choices might have served him better at times, but that wasn't my main problem.

The biggest problem for me was the constant repetition of some of these "big" words. You could tell which words he'd fallen in love with because he used them so often. Far too often.

Roynish, febrile, and condign spring to mind.

For fun, look here and play "clench racing."  ;)

http://news.ansible.co.uk/plotdev.html

Yes, I've seen this before.  You're entitled to your own opinion, of course but in my mind, it's shallow, ridiculous pap.  You could do the same with many other authors, from Tolkien to Jordan to Martin.  And yes, I'm familiar with Lowe's credentials.  I'm also familiar with the fact that those who can, do; those who can't sit around and moan about the work of those who can. 

You're right, which is why I said, "for fun." Otherwise, I was only bringing up what bothered me personally. I certainly give Donaldson props for being a successfully published author with legions of fans. I've not done the same, so kudos to him.

Doesn't change the fact that his word usage pulls me out of his story.

32
For me it's Steven R. Donaldson. His stories are good, but I can't get very far without yelling, "Put down the thesaurus!"

Interesting.  Is your objection to an author using the full language available in general or do you feel that he uses certain words incorrectly or when another word would serve better?

I don't mind the full use of language. I gained the majority of my vocabulary from reading in the fantasy genre, and enjoy being challenged. My difficulties were two-fold.

Yes, I did feel like different word choices might have served him better at times, but that wasn't my main problem.

The biggest problem for me was the constant repetition of some of these "big" words. You could tell which words he'd fallen in love with because he used them so often. Far too often.

Roynish, febrile, and condign spring to mind.

For fun, look here and play "clench racing."  ;)

http://news.ansible.co.uk/plotdev.html

33
For me it's Steven R. Donaldson. His stories are good, but I can't get very far without yelling, "Put down the thesaurus!"

34
I've always loved Gandalf's other names, Mithrandir and OlorĂ­n.

Whiskeyjack is a pretty awesome name. It describes the character on so many levels.

And I love how Locke Lamora flows off the tongue. Try it!

35
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Malazan Books
« on: July 12, 2012, 04:33:40 PM »
Ok, without revealing too much, why is everyone on the Malazan side trying to kill each other?  Why is Paran on everyone's list?

Are you asking for the specific reasons presented in the book or do you mean in a more general sense like, why would people who are supposed to be on the same side be trying to kill each other?

in that question lies the answer to why both Erikson and Esslemont bring to light the true nature of humanity. It may be a fantasy story but the characters are as real as they come, each with their own ambitions, hopes and fears. I'm just going to leave it at that before i end up going into a full on rambling essay.

This!

I'm repeating myself, but this is precisely why the Malazan plots get so convoluted. Every single character has their own agenda, from the emperors down to the grunts in the field. The tide of history can be changed by a single traitor, or by someone who decides to stand up for what they believe in despite the costs.

36
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Malazan Books
« on: July 12, 2012, 03:43:21 AM »
Ok, without revealing too much, why is everyone on the Malazan side trying to kill each other?  Why is Paran on everyone's list?

Oh goodness, that's not possible to answer without spoilers. haha :-X

37
Another great cover!

38
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Malazan Books
« on: July 11, 2012, 04:29:16 PM »

I'm really excited about this series now :D

I hope you enjoy it. The series is by far my favorite now, but I'll admit I was so bewildered in the beginning I thought there was no hope.

When the complexity and scope of the series starts to get to you, tell yourself this. Imagine a historian hired to put together a documentary of a world-spanning war, make it as complete as possible, and make it an epic narrative. The writer is charged with telling the big story, including telling the motivations of each side, and getting as many interviews with both sides as possible. In addition to telling the story of the kings, nobles, and the rich, the writer's also charged with telling the story of the front line troops in the trenches, the widow who just lost her husband, son, and home, and the young man who joins the army looking for revenge. Oh, and tell every story in-between too, including all the little internecine battles that break out in the aftermath of the greater war.

It gets a little complex I suppose. ;)

39
Just realized, A Storm of Swords alone has 75% of the total wordcount of the whole LOTR trilogy :|

Yeah. LOTR was meant to be a single volume in six "books", but the publisher broke it up into three volumes of two "books" each.

Imagine if it were published today. It would be one volume, and not considered too long in comparison to many other works on the shelf. o.0

40
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Gardens of the moon
« on: July 10, 2012, 10:04:05 PM »

Very minor spoilers ahead for the beginnings ASOIAF, WOT and Malazan.


Yep, you're correct in your assessment. And that's one of the many reasons I love the Malazan series.

41
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Gardens of the moon
« on: July 10, 2012, 08:57:21 PM »
Seems like people come in two flavors.  Those who love the Malazan Books and those who cant get 100 pages into Gardens of the Moon.  lol

That's true about any book/series. People rave about George R.R. Martin and Game of Thrones. I personally don't think it's anything special. In fact, I've found it boring so far.

It took me several attempts to get into Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I finally did, and thought it was a decent story in a richly detailed world. However, I've found the story a much better read since Brandon Sanderson took over writing.

To each his/her own.

42
Hmm...I love me some door stops.  ;)

I love being able to get lost in a story, and if it's a good one, the longer the better.

43
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Malazan Books
« on: July 10, 2012, 08:49:24 PM »
I'd say stick with it for lots of reasons.

It's not the typical fantasy, for one. So much of what doesn't "make sense" about the books is that Erikson delves deep into the feelings and motivations of his characters. Just like in real life, sometimes they don't make sense. Think about how many people you know or have met that you simply don't understand, no matter how hard you try.

Those are the "things that happen that go nowhere." It's glimpses of real life amid these giant events taking place across the world. There's several epic struggles going on, yet people still have to figure out how they're going to make ends meet, etc. Life goes on, you know?

The writing is real and raw at times. Deadhouse Gates is probably one of the most gut-twisting books I've ever read.

I think you'll find yourself more than satisfied at the end. Erikson definitely wraps up all the major plot lines with satisfaction, and yet leaves you wondering about things on several points. I've read through the series twice now, and still have some unanswered questions. For me, that's what makes me want to read it again. I wasn't handed all the answers in a neat little package.

I think you'll find yourself falling in love with several characters over time. Sitting here I can think of the stories of Whiskeyjack, Quick Ben, Anomander Rake, Blend and Picker, Kalam, Kruppe, Cotillion, Coltaine, Dujek Onearm, Felisin, Icarium and Mappo Runt, etc. etc.

Oh, and Fiddler. He's the shining example of humanity at the heart of the tale.

44
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Malazan Books
« on: July 10, 2012, 05:33:46 PM »
I wish I could find the source, but I remember reading that Erikson himself wasn't satisfied with how GotM was published. Since it was the first volume in the series, my understanding is that the editors had him change and streamline much of the book to make it salable. I think I even remember him saying he wished he could go back and have it published the way it was meant to be originally.

I can see why some say it is the weakest of the series. I'll admit it took me two tries to get into it, but I'm glad I did. The Malazan series is not my favorite fantasy series hands down.

As for the later books clearing up the convolution, well, yes a little, but not so much. One of the hallmarks of Erikson's writing is the sheer convolution of the plots.

Case in point. There's a few characters who appear throughout the series, and their subplot seems to pretty much go nowhere and add absolutely nothing to any of the major story arcs. Not that they weren't interesting to read about, but their story seemed like a throw-away.

Until you read the last volume in Ian C. Esslemont's contributions to the Malazan world. Then you get this eureka moment where you realize that all those little tidbits Erikson threw in there across ten volumes was pretty much just setup for his friend's novel.

I hope you stick with the Malazan world and fight through those hard parts. I think you'll find it worth it in the end IMHO.

45
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Top Seven Fantasy Generals
« on: July 07, 2012, 05:42:03 AM »

Coltaine - Malazan, what an amazing idea to show a mans true prowess than to show him fighting a withdrawal hopelessly outnumbered.
...
3) Whiskeyjack - Malazan.


Yes!

I'd add Dujek Onearm and Greymane to this list. I love me some Malazan High Fists.

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