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Topic: 2011 Fantasy Challenge: JULY/AUGUST DISCUSSION THREAD

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Subject: 2011 Fantasy Challenge: JULY/AUGUST DISCUSSION THREAD
Date Posted: 7/2/2011 12:46 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,375
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Previous, related posts:

2011 Fantasy Challenge -- LISTS ONLY THREAD

2010/2011 Fantasy Challenge -- DECEMBER DISCUSSION THREAD

2011 Fantasy Challenge -- JANUARY DISCUSSION THREAD

2011 Fantasy Challenge: FEBRUARY DISCUSSION THREAD

2011 Fantasy Challenge: MARCH DISCUSSION THREAD

2011 Fantasy Challenge: APRIL DISCUSSION THREAD

2011 Fantasy Challenge: MAY DISCUSSION THREAD

2011 Fantasy Challenge: JUNE DISCUSSION THREAD

 

What's on the docket for this month? Have you used any books published in 2011 to fulfill your challenge yet? What's the oldest book you've used in your challenge?



Last Edited on: 8/2/11 2:36 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/2/2011 12:49 AM ET
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I actually just used Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey for my non-heterosexual main character category. I was disappointed in it, as I have been in this whole third trilogy; this volume was decently emotionally satisfying, but EXTREMELY problematic in its treatment of the discovery and conquest of the New World. I think Carey overreached herself with this trilogy, and even though the first Kushiel trilogy is my favorite fantasy trilogy of all time (yes, over LotR) I sincerely hope she stays away from this world for the next several years. She just seems to have run out of good stories to write in it.

Date Posted: 7/3/2011 7:52 AM ET
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Back to the challenge with The Lady in the Loch by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough for my Urban Fantasy (original definition) choice.  This is the first novel I have read by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed it.    This book could be classified as a historical fantasy.  Based roughly on the character of Sir Walter Scott, the author admits to taking liberties in creating the story.  With ghosts and people who are blessed with the ability to see and converse with them, the tale begins with the discovery of bones in the loch.  No one knows who that woman might have been but the mystery is solved through magic in the final pages of the book.  The story is imaginative, full of delightful characters and flows quickly to a climax that is surprising.  Very good read indeed.  And, I am reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman for the challeng, Fantasy Romance choice.  

Finished The Hero of the Ages by Brandon Sanderson.  What a series - full of action, adventure and surprises.  I loved it.  Vin and Eland Venture are such great key characters and I truly enjoyed so many of the secondary characters who add so much to the ongoing story - Sazed, TenSoon, Spook, and Breeze especially. 

Completed From Time to Time by Jack Finney for Read a novel concerned with middle-class characters.  Discovering a sequel to Time and Again was sheer delight.  So enjoyed that read that I really looked forward to this one.  If you want to immerse yourself in another era, I don't believe that there is another writer who does it so well complete with black and white photos of the time.  One becomes reacquainted with Simon (Si) Morley who is able to move from one time span to another.  Living in the 1800s with his beautiful wife and son, he decides to come back to visit the era in which he was born.  A man from the project in which he was originally involved has become obsessed with the idea that WWI could have been prevented.  That is Si' s new assignment.  The story unravels from this point when he discovers that Roosevelt had sent an ambassador with a message to Europe.  The ambassador never returns and WWI commences.  Si and this individual must be the only ones who do not know who the ambassador was or that he perished on the Titanic.  Thus the next task is to avoid the sinking of the great ship.  Good fast read. 

Just finished a couple of heavy books (reading wise not pagewise) and decided I needed to read a series I have had on my shelf a long, long time - the Tanith Lee Unicorn series, beginning with Black Unicorn.  No, it's not on my reading list.  This is just for fun!  Done with Black Unicorn, Gold Unicorn and Red Unicorn.  What a charming series for the YA crowd.   Recommend these books for young people wanting to read about unicorns, magic, and growing up.  Also finished The Exile of Ellendon by William Marden, an old fantasy I purchased at a library sale.  It was a fun action-packed read.

 



Last Edited on: 8/29/11 6:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 17
Date Posted: 7/3/2011 4:38 PM ET
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I have been trying to work on my third section of the challenge, the award winners/nominees.  For the most part it has been going well, although I don't think I am going to count the Crawford award winner that I read, since it is science fiction without any real elements of a fantasy book.  

Last Call by Tim Powers.  I was frustrated at first, because this book starts out in a setting that feels like the real world, but odd mystical/ritual things start happening right away, with no explanation of what the meaning is.  However, it seems that most of the characters are confused, so as it is explained and understood by the characters, it becomes clearer to the readers as well.  From what I have read, Powers drew most of his symbolism from Tarot and the legend of the Fisher King, and combined that with the story of Bugsy Seigel, and the creation of Las Vegas.  I am somewhat familiar with the Tarot and Bugsy Siegel, but I had never heard the Fisher King story, nor had I ever read T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land  which is quoted frequently.  Overall I enjoyed the book, and would rate it a 3.5-4 out of 5.  Categories this would fill: Runner-up for the Mythopoeic Award,

The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse by Keith Hartman.  This might be my favorite of any of the books I have read specifically for this challenge (not counting The Wise Man's Fear, which I read and then put into the challenge), and I would rate it a 4 out of 5, definitely a keeper (even though it is on my nook, so by definition is already a keeper).  It is a mystery set in Atlanta about 20 years or so in the future.  A crime scene is discovered, and the police are trying to solve the case before the citizens of the city work themselves up into a frenzy.  The story is told from probably a dozen different viewpoints including a Native American spiritual guide, a Wiccan journalist, a fundamentalist Baptist Senator, and a boy who believes that he has been chosen by God to be the butt of everyone else's jokes.  Categories this would fill: Fantasy Mystery; Middle Class Characters; non-heterosexual main character; paranormal/supernatural noir novel NOT dealing with vampires, werewolves, or zombies; won the Gaylactic Spectrum Award and Lambda Literary Award.

Gun, with Occassional Music by Jonathan Lethem, which won the William L. Crawford Award.  This was another excellent detective story, about a future world where animals can be "evolved" to walk upright and talk, where the populace is encouraged to take memory and personality altering drugs, and where it is illegal to ask questions without a license.  Another excellent book, but I think I will read a different Crawford award winner for the challenge, one that is fantasy instead of science fiction.   

 



Last Edited on: 7/3/11 4:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/5/2011 10:14 PM ET
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I believe my oldest book would be The Book of Wonder by Lord Dunsany, published 1912.  I used that for a themed anthology.

I've read a dozen or so published last year and counted a few of them and have only read a couple published this year but haven't counted any of them so far.

Ghost Story, the latest Dresden Files novel, is being published this month, and I'm definitely reading that as soon as I get my hands on it.  I may count it for a media tie in, though by now the books have almost nothing to do with the TV show other than the general concept.

McCrumb's Ballad Mysteries series has one being released in a couple of months - The Ballad of Tom Dooley.

So there's 2 2011 books I'll be reading this year that will probably count for the challenge.

As far as reading plans for this month, I'm not planning on anything in particular.  I'm in the middle of Kushiel's Avatar and have been slowly re-reading my way through the Liaden series (sci-fi).  If I feels so inclined, I may re-read some of the Dresden Files books, just to refresh my appreciation and memory before the new one gets released.

Date Posted: 7/6/2011 3:19 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
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I have read a couple of 2011 books, including the one I just finished, Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines.  It is the ultimate in guilty pleasure novels, combining the zombie apocalypse with superheroes.  I am using it for the Novel featuring your favorite mythological creature.  It might not have been my favorite before, but my new favorite mythological creature is a zombie-superhero-demon. 

Like Melanti, I will be reading the new Dresden book as soon as it comes out.  If I thought they would let me, I would seriously consider using a day off, I am that anxious. 

I haven't read any books for the challenge that are very old.  The oldest one that I have planned so far is from 1980, the Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe. 

Date Posted: 7/15/2011 11:35 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
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Planned reading for this weekend: Blameless and Heartless by Gail Carriger, Fool Moon by Jim Butcher and/or Night Bird by Catherine Asaro. I know I'll make it through at least two but I'm not sure which two just yet. Depends on which ones I'm into the most. 

Date Posted: 7/27/2011 7:38 AM ET
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Everyone's quiet this month.

Myself, the only book I've read that could qualify for the challenge worth mentioning was Sean Stewart's Perfect Circle.  It's about a "looser" type of man who can see ghosts - to the point where he can't even drive because he ends up trying to dodge people who aren't really there.  The fact that he can see ghosts is more of a backdrop to the story of him trying to get his life back in some sort of order.  It's very good.  I like Sean Stewart better and better with each book of his I read.  This could fit under Urban Fantasy, or World Fantasy award nominee.

I also read Ghost Story yesterday.  Wonderful, though more trippy and introspective and less action-oriented than any other book in the series so far.  Anyone else done with it yet? 

Date Posted: 7/28/2011 1:43 AM ET
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I read Perfect Circle last year. . . and already the plot/characters have kind of slipped from my mind. And yet I think I quite liked it. . .

Not going to displace Nobody's Son as my favorite of Stewart's work. . . but he's definitely an author I can always be confident I will enjoy, which is very nice. :)

Date Posted: 7/28/2011 3:36 PM ET
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World Fantasy Award nominees for this year are out, full listing here.

Nominees for Best Novel are:

 

I've read two (Zoo City and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms); I'm in the middle of reading a third (Who Fears Death); one is on my wishlist (Redemption in Indigo); one I have no intention of reading (Kay and I don't get along); and one I've never heard of. Wow, I feel so up-to-date! ;)

I also love, love, LOVE Best Novella nominee Bone and Jewel Creatures, by Elizabeth Bear.

I also can't help but notice that three of the Best Novel nominees are set in Africa, one in Asia, one in a very multicultural (and mostly dark-skinned) high fantasy world. Plus four of the nominated authors are women, and three are women of color. This pleases me.



Last Edited on: 7/28/11 3:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/28/2011 6:35 PM ET
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I've read 4 (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Under Heaven, Redemption in Indigo, and Who Fears Death.)  I really liked The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms  and Under Heaven.    Who Fears Death -- well, it was just too close to chick lit for my tastes for a good chunk of it.  Redemption in Indigo is decent.

I agree that Bone and Jewel Creatures was wonderful.

I've got two on my wish list -- Silent Land and one of the anthologies - My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me.

It's also a diverse group of authors.  One from Barbados, one South African, one Canadian, one English, and one Nigerian.  Only one of the authors is from the US. 

PhoenixFalls, I'll be interested to see what you think of Who Fears Death while you're done.

Date Posted: 7/28/2011 6:48 PM ET
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Melanti - I am trying to finish Ghost Story, but the world is conspiring against me.  Very little reading time so far this month.  

As far as the World Fantasy nominees go, I have read none of the novels, and only have two of them on my wishlist (Zoo City and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms).  I have read Bone and Jewel Creatures, and it is one of the reasons that I consider "discovering Elizabeth Bear's writing" to be one of the best things to come from my participation in the challenge so far.  

Date Posted: 7/28/2011 7:00 PM ET
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Speaking of awards, did anyone post the Mythopoeic awards results? 

Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature:

Date Posted: 7/28/2011 8:20 PM ET
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I totally missed that the Mythopoeic Awards had been awarded! That moves Redemption in Indigo quite a bit up my wishlist. . . the Mythopoeic Award is the award my tastes jibe with most often. :)

I STILL need to read The Bards of Bone Plain. . . planning on it for this year's challenge, but I like to read McKillip novels in one go, and I just haven't had the right sort of afternoon happen to me yet. . .

I just read Troubled Waters yesterday, and it was the best Shinn has produced in a long time. Happy to see her get some recognition. . . OH! THAT MEANS I CAN COUNT IT FOR THE CHALLENGE! ;D

Date Posted: 7/28/2011 10:13 PM ET
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PhoenixFalls, now I feel guilty about not posting it last month.  I meant to but I got busy then forgot.  I almost always like the Mythopoeic winners (and most of the nominees) too.  It's my unofficial "I should read these" list.

I would have sworn that nothing would make me read another Devon Monk book but just seeing it on that list moves it from "Not on your life" category to the "Well, maybe someday" category.

Davies, I was like a kid at Christmastime Tuesday.  Woke up at 4 am, wide awake and the first thought on my mind was "is Ghost Story here yet?!"  Thankfully it was, and I didn't put it down until it was time to clock in at work.  Read it during all of my breaks and lunch hour and picked it right back up again as soon as I clocked out.  I couldn't put it down and finished it around 1 am.  I might be a tad obsessed with that series. 

Date Posted: 7/29/2011 1:37 AM ET
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Melanti - I am definitely obsessed with that series.  I did just finish it though, so maybe I can go back to sleeping at nights : )  I fell asleep in the break room yesterday, Nook in my lap, about five feet from my boss.  I don't know if he noticed or not.  I thought it wise not to ask him.  



Last Edited on: 7/29/11 9:36 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/2/2011 2:36 AM ET
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Keeping this thread the open through August, since it hasn't even reached the second page yet. . .

Date Posted: 8/2/2011 6:59 PM ET
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Not even a single page in a month?  Wow, we're being quiet!

Has anyone read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs? I like his blog (especially his photos) but I wasn't very impressed with the book sample that I downloaded.  I've heard lots of good things about the book but it really sounds like something that can be easily over-hyped due to the unique photography and the following that Riggs already has.  Has anyone read it?  And if so, does it get better after the first couple of chapters?

Date Posted: 8/4/2011 1:01 AM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
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Can you believe it's too hot to read? We hit 112 yesterday, and with no AC in the house it was literally TOO HOT to sit on the couch. It felt heated, like it was going to burn me bum. I had to stay on my feet all day and try to be productive. :P  Hooray for the two cold fronts that just blew through! Now it's a cool 95 degrees. ;)

I just finished the first of the Tales of Alivn Maker. I adore it. It really captures the good, bad and ugly of pioneer lifestyles, with a very interesting alternate history. I'm going to assume there were no Salem witch trials in this particular America. I am cheating just a tad on this one. I really ought to read Blind Voices first before I fiddle with the categories, but Seventh Son finishes the light challenge. I'll start Blind Voices tonight. I'm so happy to have found a copy!

Also, at some point I finished Ellen Kushner's Thomas the Rhymer and Roald Dahl's Skin and Other Stories. Thomas the Rhymer is one of those books that may have sat at the bottom of Mt. TBR if not for the challenge, but it was *very* well done. I'm often disappointed with books about fae because they just never portray the fairy realm as being a strange and dangerous place. It could have been stranger for my taste, but her prose was impeccible. On the other hand, Skin let me down. The first few stories carried Dahl's subtle sense of macabre and were satisfying tales, but halfway through it really seemed as though he'd just given up. At least two of the stories actually had me flipping through the pages, unable to believe he'd chosen to end the story with no real development. Part of me wonders if there wasn't an editor and a butcher knife involved... 



Last Edited on: 8/4/11 1:19 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Amy
Date Posted: 8/8/2011 11:31 AM ET
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Hey, I know it's been awhile since I've posted (mostly because I'm a slacker and haven't really been reading fantasy for the past two months) but this came up on my Facebook feed this morning and I thought I would share: http://www.goodshowsir.co.uk  Only the worst Sci-fi/Fantasy book covers 

Enjoy! lol

Date Posted: 8/8/2011 11:03 PM ET
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Amy, lots of fun spotting books I've read in there.  I remember some of those covers (the ones from the 90's) not seeming quite as horrible when they were first published as they do now.  I wonder if it's because styles have changed or if I've just acquired better taste?

Has everyone seen this collection of photoshopped book covers?  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

I don't think I've read a single book for this challenge in the last month and a half, so I'm a slacker too.  I'll blame the heat.  Not quite Jasmine's 112, but it's been over 100 more days than not the last couple of weeks.  I'm running out of places other than my apartment to read and I'm going stir-crazy staying at home.  I keep telling myself it's just another couple of months to go before it starts cooling down but October seems so far away!

Jasmine, let us know what you think of Blind Voices please?  It's on my list for this challenge too, if I have time to do the extra credit. 

Date Posted: 8/9/2011 1:37 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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Just finished: Novel dealing with race. (Actually, it's a collection of short stories, but that still counts. I should've been vaguer in my categories. . .)
Filled with: Let's Play White, by Chesya Burke
Other categories this volume could fill: None.

My capsule review: Really uneven, but there are a few stories that are really good and all of the stories (except one) have at least one moment of greatness about them.

My full review of each story, no spoilers, is on my blog.

Date Posted: 8/12/2011 6:41 PM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
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Mel, sad to say I was not impressed with Blind Voices. The story takes place in the 30s, but the characters act like they're living in the 50's. The magic is of the tired fireball-throwing kind. There's an interesting revelation at the end, but it was delivered in a James Bond villian-spills-all sort of way. Blind Voices doesn't hold a candle to Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Now I've read the winner and all runners-up for the Hugo Award in 1979, and I totally think C. J. Cherryh should have walked away with the award for Kesrith. :P 

Date Posted: 8/13/2011 11:13 AM ET
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Darn.  Well, that ruins all of the "This is the best book you've never heard of!" type critical reviews that I'd already expected to be excessively enthusiastic.

I haven't (yet) read Something Wicked This Way Comes though, so at least I won't have that comparison in my head, if I do indeed read it.  Though since I already found a copy, it seems a shame to at least not try the first few chapters.

Date Posted: 8/16/2011 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
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Just finished The Night Bird by Catherine Asaro. I've been slacking on the reading challenge but I've read tons of free crap off amazon. 

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