Discussion Forums - Fantasy

Topic: 2011 Fantasy Challenge: SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER DISCUSSION THREAD

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: 2011 Fantasy Challenge: SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER DISCUSSION THREAD
Date Posted: 9/3/2011 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
Back To Top

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

 

Since a lot of the awards for the year have been announced by now, are you planning on using any of this year's nominated books for the award categories?



Last Edited on: 10/2/11 7:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/3/2011 7:01 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top

At this point, I have to read particular books to finish the challenge (either finishing off a series or needing a book from a previous decade) so there's not much room to squeeze in any more award nominees but I can live with the 3 or 4 I already counted.

54 books down and anywhere between 10 and 20 left to go, depending on which series I choose to finish and if I'm willing to use duplicates or count 3 novellas as a series. 

Hopefully, this month will be a better month for reading than August.  I only finished a small fraction of the books I started last month.  Just crabby from the abnormally hot and dry weather, I guess.

Amy
Date Posted: 9/14/2011 3:54 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
Back To Top

Still reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

I'm not planning on using any of the books that won awards for the challenge this year, but they are already on my TBR list.

Hey, I have a question for you gals about GoodReads. How do you create shelves that show up as book covers on your profiles? For the life of me, I cannot figure this out!

Date Posted: 9/14/2011 4:50 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top

When you're looking at a profile on Goodreads, if you're talking about that list of books that run sideways near the top -- go to your bookshelf.  Hit the edit button on the left right next to the word "Bookshelf". 

That takes you into the screen where you can edit your shelf titles.

Whatever shelf has the dot in the "feature" column is the one that shows up in your profile.  You can set it to anything you like.  I believe if you pick "read" as your featured shelf, it shows a random selection of books you've rated as 5 stars as your "favorites."

Amy
Date Posted: 9/15/2011 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
Back To Top

Woohoo, I did it! Thanks, Melanti.

Date Posted: 9/18/2011 10:40 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
Posts: 120
Back To Top

Its been awhile but I've managed to finally finish some books that count towards the challenge:

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher - Mystery

Frost Moon by Anthony Francis - Mystery (?)

Blameless by Gail Carriger 



Last Edited on: 9/18/11 10:45 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Amy
Date Posted: 9/19/2011 3:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
Back To Top

I started reading The Forgotten Beasts of Eld this weekend and it is wonderful. Just... wonderful.

Date Posted: 9/19/2011 10:41 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top

I read an interesting non-fiction book today: Predators I Have Known by Alan Dean Foster.  It's a travelogue of the various places he's been all over the world and the predators he met there in their own habitats.  The mostly undeclared focus of the book is how all of these encounters have influenced his writing; he spends almost as much time talking about how it feels to know you can be eaten/killed/completely ignored by something as he does talking about the animals themselves.  He doesn't explicitly talk about what events inspired what novels until the last chapter but you can see hints and references throughout if you're familiar with his books.

I think you'll get more out of it if you've read some of his work but even if you haven't, it's an interesting look at how any fantasy/sci-fi writer might get ideas for some of their monsters. (Though how you're supposed to go on safaris and such if you're not already a popular author with lots of cash, I've no idea.) 

This could fit under non-fiction related to the genre or a non-fantasy novel by a genre author.

The other good ones I've read recently were The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle and Companion to Wolves by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette.

Companion to Wolves is a take off on all the animal bonding fiction out there - especially McCaffery's Pern novels.  I think someone described this as "porntastic" earlier this year, didn't they?  It's rather explicit but that's done deliberately to show all the ramifications most authors of that type of story don't acknowledge.

Date Posted: 9/21/2011 8:17 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,877
Back To Top

Began Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey for my gothic novel choice but will not finish it until November (912 pages).

Just finished Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb which I have wanted to read for a long time.  Wow!  What a wonderful read!  Why didn't I read it earlier?  Fitz is the bastard son of a prince who doesn't remember his mother and doesn't know his father.  His grandfather took him to the castle saying it was time his father took care of him.  When his father learns of his existence he abdicates his right to the throne and lives a quiet life until someone assassinates him.  Fitz's grandfather, the king, mandates that Fitz be adopted into the royal household to be educated as a royal son should be, bastard or no.  The master of horse, Burrich, whose bond with Fitz's father is obligated to care for Fitz.  His talent for going into the minds of animals makes him unacceptable to any who learn of it, especially Burrich.  Encountering the younger princes, Fitz is resented by one and treated gently and respectfully by the other.  When Fritz learns he is to be trained to be an assassin, he works hard to meet the expectations of his teacher and the king.  Meanwhile the kingdom is threatened by raiders who kidnap residents and turn them into emotionless beings.  The only defense the kingdom has is those who have a talent called skilling whereby they can influence the actions of others by entering their minds.  The story is complex and fascinating and Fitz escapes death several times as he begins to understand the political impact of what he must do.  This is the first of the Farseer trilogy written by Robin Hobb (Margaret Atwood).  Next in the series is Royal Assassin.

Reading a novel dealing with race:  Beloved by Toni Morrison for the fantasy reading challenge.  What a read!  Morrison's characters are so realistic that I feel as if I know them.  Maybe they live next door or down the block.  I did not live during this time nor among slavers or slaves but I deeply appreciate Morrison's detailed descriptions of how people treated those they enslaved.  It hurts the heart to realize all the inhuman ways people were treated.  I understand but find it hard to  internalize.  Sethe is a strong, strong woman whose life has been turned upside down by both black and white people.  The whites hurt her so deeply that she killed one of her children to protect the child from her future.  The blacks were appalled that she would kill one of her own.  Black women were viewed not just as workers but as breeders whose task was to bear more slaves thereby increasing the wealth of the owner.  Their children were often from different fathers and they lost them before they could see them grow up.  It took Paul D to help Sethe recover from all the hurt both whites and blacks inflicted upon her as well as the guilt she felt for the death of the child she loved.  Yes, this is a great read!

Fantasy Mystery:  Redwall by Brian Jacques.  Since I have wanted to check out this series for a long time this topic gives me the chance to do so.  This is an exciting tale for young readers.  Matthias, a novice mouse, is a clumsy but lovable creature who becomes a warrior and the defender of the abbey, Redwall.  Traipsing around the abbey in his too big sandals everyone smiles because they like the friendly little fellow.   However, danger comes to Redwall when Cluny the Scourge and his pack of ruffians arrive.  Time and again the gang attacks Redwall while defenders and attackers both die.  The battles are many, long and fierce.  Meanwhile Matthias, enthralled with the tale of Martin, the warrior, who long ago defended the abbey and saved it from disaster.  His greatest wish is to become a warrior like Martin and defend the abbey.  To do so he must find Martin's sword, a task as difficult as defending the abbey.  It seems that Matthias is destined to follow Martin's path.  How he does it and what he achieves is the basis of a wonderful story.  Excellent read! 

 



Last Edited on: 11/2/11 5:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 9
Date Posted: 9/21/2011 2:41 PM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
Posts: 120
Back To Top

Finished Sweet Silver Blues by Glen Cook. 

Started reading Heartless by Gail Carriger but I think I would rather read Ghost of a Smile by Simon Green. I'll have to see how I feel by this weekend. 

Amy
Date Posted: 9/22/2011 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
Back To Top

Finished The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (runner-up for the World Fantasy Award)  and have moved onto The High King by Lloyd Alexander (work that has won the Andre Norton Award, the Michael L. Printz Award or the Newberry Medal).

I'm hoping to finish Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by the end of this month or early October (work that was a runner-up for the Hugo or Nebula Award).

eta: Could interstitial possibly refer for the Avalon novels by MZB and Diana Paxson? They're part HF and part fantasy (more fantasy, though). Just trying to possibly apply some of the books I've read this year to different categories.

REK also had The Life of Pi down as interstitial and I have that on my TBR shelf, so I may use that instead.



Last Edited on: 9/22/11 10:35 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/23/2011 1:31 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top

I'm not sure I'd count the Avalon novels as historical, really, but I haven't read Mists of Avalon since Jr. High and despite best intentions, never read the others in the series so I can't really offer much advice there.   What makes something historical anyway, other than fiction in a historical setting?  Lots of detail and accuracy on the setting?

Mists of Avalon, though, could count as either Matter of Britain or a tie-in novel (there was a TV mini-series).  If one of the earlier books have the start of the Arthur story, maybe you could use that for Matter of Britain and Mists for tie-in, then move Blood and Iron to the Secret Histories category? 

I finished up Salmon Rushdie's Midnight's Children yesterday.  It was a great book.  Definitely "Literature," complete with themes, motifs, allusions, metaphors, etc.  It's the story of a man who was born on the stroke of midnight the night India gained it's Independence from Britain and gains magical powers (telepathy) from that coincidence.  Things that happen to him happen to, or are echoed in what happens to India, and vice versa. 

I liked it a lot.  Lots of little "ah! that's cool!" moments when Rushdie pulls off some literary trick and very energetic and entertaining on a plot/humor level - 4/5 stars - and I think I'd give it that 5th star if I would read up on India's history then re-read it in paper (rather than audio) so I can go back and forth more, because I KNOW that there's lots of layers to the story that I didn't catch - there's just not time to see everything in an audio book.

It could go under Interstitial, Meta-Fantasy, Middle Class characters, Tie-In with other media or Banned/1001 Books list.

Amy
Date Posted: 9/23/2011 9:03 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
Back To Top

The only one I can think of, offhand, as being historical is Ravens of Avalon because that is about Boudica, a real figure in history. And I read that one this year.

But, you have a very good idea there. Only problem is I didn't read Mists this year, but several years back now. Maybe another one in the series could count towards the Matter of Britain. I'm going to look into it.

Date Posted: 9/25/2011 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
Posts: 120
Back To Top

Just finished Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith. 

Date Posted: 10/2/2011 8:42 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top

We're still on the first page, so I assume this post will be just fine for October as well.

Three more months to go.  It's still a bit early for "your favorite challenge book so far" type questions, so what new/future releases do you have your eye on?

For those who liked Bear's New Amsterdam, Subterrenean Press has announced the release of the fourth one in March '12.  It will contain one novella (ad eternum) and one chapbook (Underground).  It's also listed as the "capstone" of the series, so it's presumably the final installment.  

Scott Lynch's Republic of Thieves, (third in the same series as The Lies of Locke Lamora) which was supposed to be published  last March (after a couple of years worth of delays), was pushed back to next month, and now has been pushed back again to March '12 also.  And the March prognosis is still rather tentative, from what the publisher says.  Sigh.  I'm glad I didn't start reading this series any earlier than I did.

The Kingdom of the Gods by N.K. Jemison (third in the same series as The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms) is due to be released in two to three weeks.

Date Posted: 10/14/2011 1:39 AM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
Posts: 95
Back To Top

I just finished Karen Joy Fowler's Sarah Canary for the interstitial category. This book is as about as interstitial as you can get, considering whether it's a sci-fi, fantasy, or historical novel really depends on your perception of the book. Sarah Canary is an open-ended question. All the other characters have their answer, and each different reader will have their own answer, too. I thought it was a neat literary concept, but the execution of it really bothered me. I hated the way each character would exploit Sarah Canary, and make her be whoever they wanted her to be. Which was of course the point.  It just made me feel bad for poor Sarah Canary. :) 



Last Edited on: 10/14/11 1:40 AM ET - Total times edited: 1