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Topic: 2011 Fantasy Challenge: NOVEMBER/DECEMBER DISCUSSION THREAD

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Subject: 2011 Fantasy Challenge: NOVEMBER/DECEMBER DISCUSSION THREAD
Date Posted: 11/3/2011 2:30 AM 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

2011 Fantasy Challenge: JUNE DISCUSSION THREAD

2011 Fantasy Challenge: JULY/AUGUST DISCUSSION THREAD

2011 Fantasy Challenge: SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER DISCUSSION THREAD

 

Well, the year's winding down. . . how many books do you have left to read? Do you think you'll make it? And what are your thouhts/ideas for next year's challenge?



Last Edited on: 12/1/11 4:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/3/2011 2:32 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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A note: I'm willing to create another challenge. . . but if someone else is itching to take the reins I won't stand in the way.

And I have eleven more titles to go. . . which should be doable, though NaNoWriMo will make this month's total lower than I would like.

Davies -
Date Posted: 11/4/2011 1:43 AM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
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I downgraded my goal to the light challenge, but I am at least holding myself to a rule of not double-qualifying any books.  I only have 1 book left, and it needs to be in Category B.  I will more than likely go for the other medium tie-in.  I have always wanted to read The Princess Bride.  A quick glance over the bookshelves doesn't reveal anything else that I really want to read right now that has an obvious tie-in, except maybe Stardust.  The last couple of months have been pretty slow, and the books I have been reading have been Fantasy books, but haven't counted for the challenge.    

Edit: Actually, maybe I will read Howl's Moving Castle for the tie-in.  I am pretty sure that that book came in a couple of months ago and got put on the pile somewhere.  

 



Last Edited on: 11/4/11 1:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/4/2011 2:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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Well, I finished the super challenge last month with 1 double count.

For the expanded super challenge, I need to read 2 books to finish off one of two series I’ve started.  But that means I'd be counting the New Amsterdam novellas as a series (which I didn't really want to do because they're so short), using my extra credit book to change the category for non-heterosexual main characters to "Book dealing with LGBT issues", and a double count.

To not double count anything and fill the categories as written, I need 5 books, plus 2 unfilled extra credit slots.  So 7 books left, I think.

My only problem with finishing would be if I stay disinterested in both of my possible award winning series and that's a distinct possibility at this point.  I just have no desire to finish either series right now.  2 months left, though.  Hopefully, I’ll be in the mood for one of the two at some point.

 

For next year’s challenge, as a suggestion, how about books dealing with gods or religion?  There’s lots of great ones out there.  Carey’s Kushiel, Shinn’s Samaria and Jemisin’s Inheritance series for instance.  Or even Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series, since Locke is a priest.

This would be a harder one to define but maybe a book originally published by an independent or small press?  Examples could be Valente’s Prestor John series, Bear’s New Amsterdam series, or Kelly Link’s first two anthologies.  (Night Shade Press, Subterranean Press, and Small Beer Press respectively.)  Some of the smaller presses put out some great books that don’t always get the attention they deserve.

 

I don’t really feel my creativity is up to creating a full challenge, though.  Repeat categories from either year are fine with me too.  As far as running the challenge, we could just have one thread for the full year, so there’d be no need to create a thread each month.

 

I just finished Elizabeth Bear’s Ink and Steel and it’s excellent!  It doesn’t depend nearly as much on the reader knowing mythology as the first two of the series.  Some of the politics would be easier to understand if you know who’s who in Elizabethan England (a bit of the connections/relationships went over my head, I think) but the politics is more of a side plot to the wonderful character interaction and development so it really doesn’t matter.  Also, there’s some entertaining things she does with the controversy over who may have contributed to Shakespeare’s plays and with quoting lines or situations from plays throughout the book, but again it’s not necessary to have prior knowledge.  I’ve never read any Christopher Marlowe and I was able to follow the quotes from his plays just fine.

I’m eagerly waiting for Hell and Earth to finish getting here.  Might end up reading Doctor Faustus in the meantime just to keep the mood going.

Date Posted: 11/13/2011 11:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Just finished The Tough Guide to Fantasyland for my related non-fiction. . . it was awesome. Clearly the horses in Fantasyland propagate themselves through some form of pollination. . . ;)

Date Posted: 11/15/2011 1:58 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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I loved the entry for horses.  And cloaks.  And stew.  And socks.  As a matter of fact, that entire book was vastly entertaining. 

Date Posted: 11/22/2011 3:56 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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So there hasn't been much response. . . do people WANT a challenge for next year?

Date Posted: 11/22/2011 7:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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Well, I do but 99% of the fun of this challenge is listening to the chatter and finding new books and/or authors to read.  And no one's been saying much for the past 4 or 5 months. 

Date Posted: 11/22/2011 9:10 PM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
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I do. I particularly like the award challenges, since it's less likely you're going to pick a book that turns out to be really awful. I seem to be good at that. :-/ Repeats won't be boring, either, since content varies so much. Having said that, you probably won't hear much more from me. I'm going to focus on the sci-fi challenge for the rest of the year and see if I can at least finish ONE regular challenge. But when the new year hits I'll probably be more than ready to dive right back into the fantasy, challenge or no challenge.

Date Posted: 11/23/2011 12:00 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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Content certainly does vary!  I had a half dozen possibilies for the majority of the categories this year.  Some categories I had a couple dozen.

I should do more than one challenge next year.  But I'm so capricious in my sci-fi selections that I can't pretend to believe that I'd be able to finish even a light challenge with that.

Maybe the classics challenge.  I should really read more of those.  I finished McCrumb's latest Ballad novel today and in afterword she mentioned that she felt the story was an Appalachian version of Wuthering Heights and she had tried to build in echoes of that story into hers.  I've never read Wuthering Heights, so all of her work goes over my head.  I hate that; it makes me feel rather uncultured.  It was a decent book without seeing any of the connections, but I may have been able to say something more than "decent" if I'd seen them.

Davies -
Date Posted: 11/23/2011 2:43 AM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
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I haven't posted much lately, but I have been lurking quite often, looking for new books and series to read.  I am still one book short of completing the light challenge, but none of the books that I have been reading lately have filled any of my missing categories.  I have been reading mostly sequels lately, most recently Aloha From Hell by Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim #3) and The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson (New Mistborn Series).  I really enjoy both of these series, so I read through the books pretty fast (for me), but they were met with mixed results.  Aloha From Hell had an ending I didn't care for; I will see how he does with the next book to see if I like where he is taking the characters or not.  The Alloy of Law was an interesting book.  Sanderson's previous Mistborn series was set in a typical fantasy setting (swords, horses, etc.).  The newest book revisits the same world, but in a more modern setting (think Wild West), with trains, guns, etc.  I liked the change of pace, and am looking forward to the next book. 

I would like another challenge next year.  Because of this contest, I have read five books that have been sitting on my To Be Read pile for (in some cases) years, and I have read four more books that I never would have added to my list at all, if not for the  categories they would fill and the reviews other members gave them.  

I have also been progressing through Girl Genius, by Kaja & Phil Foglio, which is available for free on their website, and have read the science-fiction book Ready Player One a couple of times, neither of which is helping me finish this year's challenge.  However, all I need to complete the challenge is to read Stardust by Neil Gaiman, which is a very short book, so I should have no problem completing it before the end of the year.  I would also like to read one of the extra credit books, since completing 1/3 of the extra-credit is probably about the right number for a "light" challenge.    For that one, I will probably read the Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe.

 



Last Edited on: 11/23/11 11:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/23/2011 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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All righty, that seems like enough interest for me. . . I think I'll be able to post the challenge for next year on 12/1.

Subject: 2012 Fantasy Challenge
Date Posted: 11/23/2011 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2008
Posts: 59
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I only have 1 book in Section B to go to finish the Light Challenge for this year and I'm 1/2 way through it. It's boring so it may take me until the end of the year to finish.

I'm looking forward to the 2012 Fantasy Challenge. Repeat categories from this year or even last year (which I didn't do because I'm new to the challenges) would be fine with me.

Phoenix, you do a great job on these challenges especially with the links you provide. I used them constantly to browse for books that met a category. Some goofy categories might be fun... like a new author you've never read, a book where the dragon is good, etc.

Thanks again!

Date Posted: 11/29/2011 3:29 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
Posts: 120
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I've been slacking on the challenge but I just finished L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories. Not too bad if you like that sort of thing.

Amy
Date Posted: 11/30/2011 4:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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I'm still around, I just haven't been reading fantasy lately!

Date Posted: 12/1/2011 4:53 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Okay, I just posted all the discussion threads for the 2012 challenge! Be sure to check out the LISTS ONLY thread to see what you're up against and then discuss it in the GENERAL DISCUSSION thread!

Date Posted: 12/1/2011 4:55 AM ET
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Finished The Princess Bride for the media tie-in category. Hated it. Wish I could scrub it from my brain, because the experience of reading the book actually lessens my enjoyment of the movie. So yeah. Do not recommend.

Date Posted: 12/2/2011 6:45 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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I liked The Princess Bride.  Didn't really add much to the movie which was MUCH better though.   I do remember seriously disliking the book version of Princess Buttercup though.  So much more of a nitwit, and no brains at all.  

Just got back from vacation, where I finished up the last book I needed for the expanded super version of the 2011 challenge.  I ended up with a grand total of 69 books read.  I used my extra credit book to slightly modify the wording of one challenge to make a series fit, but other than that, no duplicates.  I will admit to one re-read, but as it was in the middle of a series 9 books long, I refuse to feel guilty.  (Anyone who complains can settle for a "series" of 3 novellas instead. )

My last book was Forest Born by Shannon Hale, the 4th in the Books of Bayern series.  Rather young adultish for the whole series.  I can really only recommend the first book The Goose Girl which is a retelling of the fairy tale.  I didn't care for the next two books (Enna Burning and River Secrets) because they lost that fairy taleish feel, but Forest Born did have that feel to it, though it wasn't retelling anything in particular.  To be honest, I probably would have stopped reading the series after Enna Burning if I hadn't already bought the books and if not for the challenge.

I still have two extra credit books to read and Bear's Hell and Earth so I can claim to have finished with no modifications at all, but I'm amused by my current total number of books read so my list will probably stay as-is.

Haven't had a chance to really look at the 2012 challenge, but at a cursory glance it seems interesting.

Date Posted: 12/3/2011 1:09 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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See, I blame Buttercup's nitwit-ish-ness on William-Goldman-the-narrator. I found him appallingly sexist, and I pitied his son-in-the-book. I understand that the narrator may not be a true reflection of William-Goldman-the-person, and he has two daughters instead of a son apparently, but the whole thing left a really sour taste in my mouth.

I just finished Fire Logic, by Laurie J. Marks, for the Military Fantasy category; really, really liked it, and will be seeking out the rest of the series. Except that apparently the final book in the series isn't finish yet. Bah! There's nothing I find more frustrating than being able to read *almost* all of a series. . . it's easier when I find the series on the first book and have to wait for each successive book than when I can slam most of a series and then have to STOP. ;)

But about the book, it has a really interesting magic system (the type of magic system where peoples' characters are formed by the sort of magic they practice), some lovely complicated characters, and a realistically dark view of war without devolving into relentless grimdark.

Date Posted: 12/3/2011 1:21 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
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I think I might have enough books read for the light challenge but I still have a couple of weeks to finish a few more books. We'll see how things go. 

Date Posted: 12/18/2011 11:57 PM ET
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Just finished Jo Walton's The King's Peace for my Matter of Britain category. . . now I have to head off to Wikipedia to figure out who everybody is meant to be, since I'm not particularly well-read in the whole Arthurian thing. It was quite good! Highly unusual to have an asexual protagonist, not to mention the whole female Lancelot thing. Need to find a way to read the next book in the series pronto! :)

Amy
Date Posted: 12/19/2011 11:56 AM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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I finished The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Divakaruni last night. It was meh. It could have been fleshed out a whole lot more. Still, I enjoyed it.

If there is an Indian or Middle Eastern category for 2012, this would easily fit.

For 2011, I used it for the work that resulted in its author winning the William L. Crawford Fantasy Award.

Date Posted: 12/22/2011 1:50 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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Finished Charles Stross' The Atrocity Archives for the New Weird category. Blech.

Date Posted: 12/24/2011 1:18 AM ET
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Finished Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson for my Matter of France category; there was rather more dialect and definitely more sex than I was expecting, the characters were pretty thin, but the ending definitely struck some strong chords. Plus it reminded me pleasantly of A Princess of Mars in some ways, putting me back in my teenagehood.



Last Edited on: 12/24/11 1:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Amy
Date Posted: 12/27/2011 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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I finished The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker last night. What an absolute delight! It is so unfortunate that she passed away.

I liked the book so much that I plan on reading the rest of the novels set in that universe including The House of the Stag (set chronologically before The Anvil of the World) and The Bird of the River (not a continuation of the series, but set in the world).

I started reading Sky Knife by Marella Sands last night and, while I'm almost done with it, I think it's rather lame. I was so looking forward to a fantasy novel set in mesoamerica that was actually good. Boo.

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