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Re: Books that changed your life Two books changed my life.  The first is not fantasy, but it was the first 'real' book I ever read: Nancy Drew: The Secret of Shadow Ranch.  I was always a terrible student in elementary school.  I was in the dumb reading class and failed spelling (for the year) twice.  Then in fourth grade, our class had required library period.  I had thought that I was a terrible reader and didn't really get grown-up books (I still loved picture books), but stuck in the library for a whole period with nothing to do, I finally picked up a book.  Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down.  I think I even skipped dinner that night because I needed to finish the book!  I found out then that I could read perfectly fine and I loved it.  I found out two years later that I had dyslexia and the reason I couldn't pass reading was I couldn't write down good explanations of what I read, so all the teachers' just thought I was stupid and stuck me in remedial reading because that was the easy out.

After I exhausted all the Nancy Drew books in the library, I was at a loss as to what I should read next.  I found the answer to that question on my dad's bookshelf.  There I found the first fantasy book I ever read: The Last Unicorn.  I mostly picked it up because I had watched the movie a million times at that point and thought it was really cool that there was a book about it. ::)  Anyway, after that I was hooked on fantasy.  Sure Nancy Drew was thrilling and mysterious, but she didn't have unicorns, flaming bulls, dragons, or magic.  And it’s all well and good to have adventures in the real world, but fantasy worlds showed me real worlds that were more amazing then I could have ever imagined.  After that, I plowed through my dad's fantasy collection (including Lord of the Rings) and even read a bunch of his sci-fi books too.  The rest is history.  Reading changed my life.  Fantasy changed everything else. :)

January 19, 2012, 05:53:51 AM
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Re: Books that changed your life I was still in primary school, so couldn't have been more than 9, and we had a beardy, sandal-wearing, guitar-playing teacher for the final year, whose name escapes me but if he's still alive I'd love to track him down just to give him a copy of Songs and my heartfelt thanks.

Anyway, Mr Beard sat us down in the library corner one day and started reading us a book. It was full of adventure: it had Vikings and monsters and snow and heroes and swords and and and . . .

I was riveted. Utterly captivated. When he'd finished, I asked if I could borrow the book because I wanted to read it myself. He gave me a "yeah, right" look but he already knew my appetite for books by then, and handed it over. It was a translation of Beowulf, and I was hooked.

I already had one foot on the slippery slope of fantasy - come on, what kind of parents read their little daughter Ivanhoe as a bedtime story? Oh, yeah, mine - but Beowulf gave me the two-handed shove over the edge. And it was all Mr Beard's fault.

If you're out there, sir, pick a pub. I'm buying.

January 19, 2012, 11:02:16 AM
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Re: Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds
Being a liberal leftie Guardian reader I would love to say that I don't consider the sex of the author when choosing a book, but my bookshelf tells a different story. While I didn't feel I actively picked out male authors (or avoided female ones) after a conversation with a friend last year, on checking I noticed that around 80% of my books were indeed written by men. That seemed pretty silly to me so I'm trying to redress the balance by only reading female authors for the next while (not just fantasy - anything goes). I'm a couple of books in but so far it's been a very rewarding experience (if anyone is interested I'm blogging about my progress here: https://davidsshelflife.wordpress.com/)

On a similar note, while attending a creative writing retreat I remember the female author acting as tutor recommended aspiring female writers use their initials rather than first name when submitting work exactly because of this bias. She explained that you can argue if it is a conscious bias or a subconscious one, but you can't ignore the fact that it exists (even if it shouldn't). I'd like to think that we fantasy fans are less prone to this kind of bias but then maybe I'm being genre blind as well as gender blind.

March 02, 2015, 09:52:43 PM
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Re: 4-Word Reviews
Prometheus:

How is plot logical?

Or :
Why touch it, d**head?!
Run to the side
Srsly who cares anymore
Glad I pirated it
Prometheus, your trailer lied
White blorb wants hantai
Take in my tentacles
Why nothing makes sense
D**khead snake wants cuddles
Black goo spiced cocktail

March 16, 2015, 12:33:39 PM
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Re: Voting
I know that lowering the word count to 1000 will make most of you hate me. ;)
Yes.  >:(

And no, no idea. But we love you and love the contest!

As far as corruption goes, @ArcaneArtsVelho, I don't see any going on here  ;) ;D
five cases of spam, and that's my final offer for votes

March 17, 2015, 09:10:16 PM
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Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Jacqueline Carey is one that did get pushed forward a bit with her Kushiel series, but she doesn't get anywhere near as much coverage for the Agent of Hel UF, which is a shame, because it's a really good example of that sort of stuff. Diana Gabaldon is getting a lot more now with the success of Outlander, although she was successful before the TV show. Generally she's not shelved in fantasy, and is more considered a historical fiction author.

I've noticed that too. It's a real issue when people are asked to list the "best," or their favorite fantasy or SF novels too. Books by women, even ones that were/are bestsellers, or won prestigious awards, are often overlooked. There was that infamous Guardian Survey (http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2011/may/31/women-science-fiction-writers) in the UK where only 4% of the titles on a list of 500 books were by women. A recent npr poll (http://www.listchallenges.com/npr-top-100-science-fiction-and-fantasy-books) was better, but even so, only 14% of the 100 titles were by women. A ton of really good and groundbreaking work by women gets left off, and instead the lists are often padded with titles by some of the same male authors over and over again.

There also seems to be a bit of a difference between the UK and US. It looks like female SFF writers fare a bit worse overall in the UK. It appears that nearly 50% of the US SFF books received by locus are by women, but fewer than a third of the UK books are (http://www.strangehorizons.com/2014/20140428/2sfcount-a.shtml) I'm not British, so I can't say why this is, but it sort of surprised me, because I always thought of the UK and US being really similar in terms of gender consciousness and gender issues. In both cases, though, fewer books by women end up being reviewed.

So the question is, why? Why do people tend to forget books by female authors (even award-winning authors) more often than they do books by men? And why are fewer books written by women reviewed? And is the problem getting worse in recent years? If so, what can we do about it. Should we all just slap male pseudonyms on our books? And will that even work in an age when social media and so on makes it pretty hard to hide who we *really* are. James Tiptree Junior managed to hide her gender for years, but that would be much harder to do if she were expected to FB, tweet, blog and appear regularly at cons.


March 17, 2015, 09:33:38 PM
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Re: What are you currently reading? I'm about halfway through Assassin's Apprentice, why did I wait so long to read this?
March 18, 2015, 05:03:45 AM
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Love letter to Jen Williams Dear @sennydreadful:

OK, this won't really be a love letter. But it's a good hook.  ;D

I am barely into The Copper Promise but I'm already in love with the book. It's got a wonderful blend of characters, fantasy tropes and cool story. But mostly it's the prose I'm enjoying for how incredibly readable but delightfully skilled it is. I feel as though in addition to the story - the center of the experience, of course - I'm getting a master class in writing.

Here's an example: In the dialogue between Sebastian, Wydrin and Frith, you often tell us who's speaking by switching the action to the speaker, then following with the speaker's dialog. No need for "said Sebastian."

And, you give us believable thinking and timing. Frith asks if Wydrin is trustworthy. I might have just had him answer right off.  Instead, "Sebastian looked up at the sky..." We immediately understand his thoughtful nature, and we believe it when he comes back with a wry story that supports his partner while not being entirely complimentary.  (Now I'm not pretending there aren't other wonderful writers or that any of this is new, I'm just saying it's really well done here. I just finished Dreamer's Pool and for all it's good qualities, the writing often felt slow and stiff.)

And, it's all so much fun. This reminds me of Goldman's writing in the Princess Bride, though obviously a different tone. And PBis one of my favorite books.

So, now it's down into the Citadel, wondering how exactly they'll face the terror that seems to have done away with our poor Gallo.

Goody!


March 22, 2015, 05:58:12 PM
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Re: Love letter to Jen Williams - spoiler free Copper Promise That's so nice!
And you haven't even got to the best parts, in my opinion :D

Spoiler for Hiden:
(I would love to have got a lot more action at the tree/glass house, before it got burned and she killed :'()

March 22, 2015, 06:18:23 PM
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Re: Women Write Fantasy (The Giant 'Women in Fantasy' Database) I find myself agreeing with you, Raptori and Doctor Chill. This is a complicated subject and it's hard to put all my thoughts into coherent sentences, especially when I have such mixed emotions about it anyway. I've been reading and writing fantasy since I was about 10, so it's hard for me to accept that women don't enjoy the genre. There are plenty of female sci-fi and fantasy authors on the bookshelves at my local bookstore and on the virtual shelves at Amazon, and I know they get read even if they don't show up on the "recommend" or "favorites" lists here. I think they show up on urban fantasy or YA lists though. Women are carving out their own niches in fantasy and sci-fi, and the readership appears to be growing, so I think they will only get more popular as time goes by.    But as a female writer and reader of fantasy, it does make me sad that more of my favorite female authors don't show up on popular lists. There are some fantastic female writers out there, I think readers are missing out.
March 22, 2015, 06:21:19 PM
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