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Topic: 2011 Fantasy Challenge: JUNE DISCUSSION THREAD

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Subject: 2011 Fantasy Challenge: JUNE DISCUSSION THREAD
Date Posted: 6/2/2011 9:49 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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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

 

Welcome to Month #6 in the Challenge! Have you selected something lighter-weight (either metaphorically or literally) for your summer reading?

Date Posted: 6/2/2011 11:01 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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Hmm.  Summer reading.  Good idea.

Maybe if I read a book about something cold it'll help me feel cooler.  Anyone know of good fantasies about glaciers? The alternative is estivating for the next four months.  I'll wake up in October once the temperature goes below 90.

(If you want the boring answer, my reading habits don't really change in the summer, other than reading more often because it's too hot and humid to go outside much.)

Date Posted: 6/3/2011 12:02 AM ET
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Hmmm. . . there must be an ice-planet fantasy or two on my shelves. . .

Maybe you should read a retelling of the Snow Queen. There're lots of those! :D

 

Date Posted: 6/4/2011 2:01 AM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2010
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You could read the sword of shadows series by J V jones. One of the best fantasy series I have read.

Date Posted: 6/5/2011 5:10 PM ET
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Finished The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick for a Work that is on the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2010.  Truly enjoyed this book.  The characters are complex and so interesting and the action keeps one flipping pages.  The beautiful Thasha is to be married to a prince, presumably to make peace between two countries but the political intent is to start a war.  Pazel is a young boy with a magical gift of languages whose father  abandoned him.  Neeps, Pazel's best friend, is a fiestly little boy whose fierce tenacity and friendship endears him to all.  Hercol is a peace-loving skilled warrior who is devoted to serving Thash.  The magical beings include Arunis, an evil sorcerer whose goals are to serve only his own ends; Klyst, a magical female of the deep who loves Pazel, and Ramachni, whose home is another world and fights Arunis from world to world.  My only complaint is that the book ends on a hook to get one to read the next in the series, The Rats and the Ruling Sea.

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville (Steampunk selection):  This is the third book I've read by this author and the more I read his writing the more I enjoy it.  This is the best to date.  The imaginative world Mieville created is unreal but quite engaging.  The key characters, human and remades, are sensitive, courageous and brave.  Even when one tries to picture them, strange as they may be, their personalities are intriguing.  I really enjoyed Lin, Isaac, and Yagharek.  Lin is the artist whose perfection leads her to the contract creation of her life.  Isaac is a brilliant and idealistic scientist who guards his inventions with passion.  Yagharek suffers his entire life for one weak action that his culture abhors.  Add the four slake moths who terrorize the city while Isaac and his friends seek a way to stop them and the adventure unfolds.  This is a fantastic read!

Read a paranormal/supernatural noir novel NOT dealing with vampires, werewolves, or zombies:   City of Illusions by Ursulla LeGuin.  Ursula Le Guin has long been one of my favorite authors and this read was interesting.  Earth, post-technological, is the background for the tale.  Aliens have captured the planet and subdued the population.  A man with strange cat-like eyes is found in a forest.  He cannot talk or communicate and must be taught the language and ways of those who find him.  As he recovers he is determined to discover who he is.  Leaving the kindness of this group behind, he travels through the forests and plains to a city that the aliens control to search for the answer.  The aliens treat his mind so that he recovers his memory.  However, he now has two sets of existences, one that was created when he was found and his previous life.  He is from a distant planet and the  aliens want to learn its location - whether to invade and subdue the population or destroy them he does not know.  His dilemma is to go home with alien help while keeping the planet's location secret.

Finished The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson.  This read is just as good as the first in the series, Mistborn.  As one finishes this one it is obvious that there is another tale to follow.  In the last third of the book I felt sometimes that the author was reaching - creating tasks for the key characters to do to extend the story.  It may have been because the book was so long or that I stopped for a bit to read another before returning and finishing.  The key characters, Vin and Eland, continue to be the most important part of the story.  Vin's talents expand remarkably and she meets Eland's half-brother, Zane, a mistborn whose talents seem to be as great as Vin's own.  She struggles with her feelings even as the city is beseiged by threearmies.  Is she good for Eland?  Does he love her as much as she loves him?  Or, as Zane suggests does he view her actions with horror?  The mists intensify and take on a murderous aspect, killing some people, making others ill and ignoring others.  The heroes and their friends believe that the key to survival is the well of ascension if they can only find it.  So much is happening that one needs to stop and reflect, wondering whether or not something has been missed.  Nevertheless, I am so glad that I read this one and I'm anxious to read the final book in the trilogy, The Hero of Ages.

My next challenge read was The Life of Pi by Yann Martell as my Interstitial choice.  What a wonderful read!   I laughed.  I grimaced.  I cheered.  I cried.  And, when it was all over I found I enjoyed this read so very much.  My recommendation to others is simply this: "If you haven't read it do so soon".  Imagine if you can existing in the Pacific Ocean for 227 days with a Bengal tiger.  And, of course the trip starts with your ship sinking and you being tossed into a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and the tiger.  The experiences Pi has have you laughing and sharing with others the outrageous incidents he reports.  And you are just 16 years old.  Fun, fun, fun read! 

 

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 6/29/11 6:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 16
Date Posted: 6/5/2011 10:27 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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Just finished: Work that has won the Aurealis Award
Filled with: Sabriel, by Garth Nix
Other categories this volume could fill: None.

My capsule review: It was. . . disappointing. The magic system was well-developed and interesting but the world was not, and the plot was fast-paced but without substance. (Also it was terribly traditional.) Still, a fast-paced read that was more enjoyable than not, if I squint to avoid looking too hard at things.

My full review, no spoilers, is on my blog.

Date Posted: 6/7/2011 12:18 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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Alice Hoffman's Ice Queen is very very loosely based on the tale of the Snow queen, now that I think about it.  She's one of those authors I always say I want to read more of, but never do.   I also have Helprin's Winter's Tale.  So, I've got a couple of chilly books.

I just finished Toni Morrison's Beloved today and while I can't say I really enjoyed it, I can say I admired it.  It was a "good" book, even "literature," but not something I'd pick up every day.

But, I can see why people wouldn't want to stick the "fantasy" label on this book.  On one level, Beloved is a ghost story about an escaped slave being haunted by the daughter she killed in an attempt to save her children from slavery.  On another level, everything that happens could possibly have a completely mundane explanation.  Both scenarios are equally possible.  I wouldn't want to call it fantasy since there's ostensibly nothing supernatural going on, yet I'd feel funny not calling it a fantasy since ghosts and hauntings are so central to the plot.  Magical realism just seems like a nice middle ground to call it.

This one could count as interstitial, book dealing with race, tie-in with another medium, or Banned/1001 Book List.

Date Posted: 6/8/2011 7:24 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
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Just finished reading Watchmen.  It wasn't too bad and didn't seem too different from the movie.

Date Posted: 6/8/2011 10:41 AM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
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Just (finally) started The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  This is the first NG book I've read (I know, I know) and so far I'm enjoying it.  I love the concept, so far some of the book is a little out there, but in a good way.

Date Posted: 6/8/2011 12:47 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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I really liked <i>Watchmen</i> when I read it last year.  It kind of surprised me.  I usually despise anything related to superheroes so I was expecting to hate it.  Maybe I liked it because it focuses more on the history/psychology behind why they might exist instead of their fighting the villain of the month or rescuing their chosen damsel in distress.

 

Date Posted: 6/8/2011 12:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
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Yeah, maybe that's what made the difference. Generally I'm not into graphic novels. I've read a few here and there but they aren't my thing. 

Date Posted: 6/8/2011 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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I keep trying graphic novels now and again.  They never seem to be as good as I hope they'll be.  I like HOW things are said rather than just what is said.  Pictures aren't a good substitute for me.

For instance, I love Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book is good, though not as good as his adult books) but I just can't get into his Sandman comic series.  There's snippits of really eloquently phrased narration, but those just seem to remind me how much better it would be if it was in prose form. 

 

Date Posted: 6/9/2011 5:50 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
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Well... I'm retarded. I missed where it said from a different decade in the instructions.

Also just finished Dawn: Return of the Goddess by Joseph Michael Linsner. (Graphic Novel) 

Didn't realize I read the second one first. Just finished Dawn: Lucifer's Halo



Last Edited on: 6/9/11 8:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/9/2011 3:50 PM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
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Melanti - I just got the first volume of the Sandman in the mail. I have to agree with you. Graphic novels can add very interesting things to the story with their choice of illustrations, but this one just doesn't. I seem to remember a critic calling the Sandman "beautifully illustrated"....but I find it rather ugly, actually. Already I find myself not really even paying attention to the illustrations.

Date Posted: 6/10/2011 10:24 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
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Just finish Sin City: The Hard Goodbye by Frank Miller

I'm so glad I haven't had to buy any graphic novels. I have a ton of friends and co-workers to borrow from. My choices are limited but at least I don't have to buy them. Right now I have the 3rd Volume of Dawn to read, 6 more for Sin City, and Laurell K. Hamilton's Guilty Pleasures Complete Edition.  Could be worse but I should have this category DONE. 

Oh, and is it 5 books and the 6th a series or 4 books and the 5th a series? 

 Read one novel in all 35 categories in Parts A-D; expand one category in each Part to five novels; expand one category in each Part to a series of novels. A maximum of 6 titles may double-qualify. (Total will vary depending on how long the series you select are, but the minimum number of titles you will read for this option is 57 titles)



Last Edited on: 6/10/11 10:25 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/10/2011 12:09 PM ET
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Well, this would really only be a question if you wanted to expand the same category to both 5 books of different decades and a series.  If you expand two different categories, it wouldn't mater.

Personally, I'm counting them separately for my Interstitial category - so one set of 5 books and a separate series.  My reasoning is the series I'm working on for the challenge, McCrumb's Ballad Mysteries has 9 books.  The first was published in the late 80's and one published every few years since then (9th published late this year) - so the series has been written in 4 separate decades.  If the series books could count as part of the 5 books, I could read just one more and have both the series and the 5 decades taken care of.

That's a rather extreme example though.

Reading 4 books + a series in another decade from same category, then a single book in another category works out to be the same amount of books as 5 books in one decade then a series in another, so if that's the way you do it, it really doesn't matter.

Date Posted: 6/10/2011 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
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I'm not sure what I'm going to do at this point. I just didn't want to have to rush around last minute. It all goes back to missing the different decades part and having to rearrange some of my book choices. I should be okay since I have a ton that overlap categories. 

I have some of the Sandman graphic novels in e-book. 



Last Edited on: 6/10/11 12:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/11/2011 7:50 AM ET
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Just finished Sin City Vol 2: A Dame to Kill For by Frank Miller.

Date Posted: 6/13/2011 11:17 AM ET
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Finished Sin City Vol 3: The Big Fat Kill, Sin City Vol 4: That Yellow Bastard, Sin City Vol 5: Family Values by Frank Miller and A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony. 

 

Date Posted: 6/14/2011 4:23 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
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Just started on Retromancer by Robert Rankin.  
I finished BlackOut, Divergent and (damn forgot the title).

LOVED Divergent, it was really great but is not fantasy, similar to the Hunger Games.

Blackout, was great to start but the ending just did not appeal to me.

Amy
Date Posted: 6/16/2011 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
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I read The Hunger Games on my Kindle this week. Got it for $5.

Decent, YA read. More SF than Fantasy, IMO.

I'm slacking on the challenge. :(

Date Posted: 6/17/2011 12:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
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Just finished Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. 

Date Posted: 6/18/2011 12:23 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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One of my reads this month was Gillian Bradshaw's Hawk of May.  This one uses the King Arthur legend as a backdrop for it's own action; it has Arthur and knights but instead of following Arthur, it follows Gwalchmai (Sir Gawain) through his teenage years.  It's not terribly compliant with the original tales - she does take liberties of who may be related to whom and there's lots of magic, enchanted swords and animals, evil sorceresses (his mother) but I really enjoyed it.

If you're needing to fill your "Matter of Brittan" category but don't really want to read about Merlin, King Arthur or Guinevere, this would be a good one.

I also read Horns by Joe Hill.  I have Matt to thank for recommending this one a couple of months ago; I really enjoyed it.  It's about a man who wakes up one morning with horns growing on his forehead and suddenly everyone starts confessing their innermost (bad) thoughts to him.  He uses this to find out who murdered his girlfriend the previous year.

This could fit into Mystery, Paranormal/Supernatural Noir without Vamps/Werewolves, or a 2010 Locus Recommended book.

I haven't been slacking on the challenge but there's several books I promised myself I'd read this year.  Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Ovid's Metamorphosis, Adams' Watershipdown, to name a few.   I keep seeing references to these books everywhere, and just feel like I'm missing something since I don't always get the references and I'm sure that there's more that go so far over my head that I don't even notice them.  Yet, despite that, I have barely glanced at any of them.  I guess I'm just horrible at reading from a list.

Date Posted: 6/19/2011 1:31 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
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Just finished Charmed Sphere and The Misted Cliffs  (Lost Continent) by Catherine Asaro. Nice light read for me. 

Date Posted: 6/25/2011 1:14 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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Uh, should I admit to having finished the regular version of the challenge?  Just one book double counted, and one moved book.  I think I read too much.  I still have a couple dozen books to go for the expanded super version of the challenge.

I just finished Kim Wilkins' The Infernal, which is a very dark urban fantasy/horror novel. It centers around Lisa, who slowly begins to remember a previous life in which she was a witch and ruminates on whether evil deeds in one life can impact you in later incarnations.

It's a good book, though the plot is a bit predictable.You can figure out who the "bad guy" is about halfway through the book or so.

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