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8 hours ago, J.T. said:

Oh, it most definitely makes you an awful person.

I am a big fan of The Light That Never Shines and the Sisters of No Mercy, myself.  I am total scum.

Now I know what it would've looked like if Mario Bava and Gregory Dark had co-directed a Masters of the Universe movie or if there was a G'War concert movie where the band slaughtered the audience for real or if Fritz Leiber had experimented with bath salts and ate JRR Tolkien's face off.

The Sisters of No Mercy??? You are a sick fuck, no wonder we're bros.  

I knew Fritz Leiber and even though he was frail and in his seventies then, the idea of him on bath salts is fucking terrifying. 

Am I totally evil for wanting Liam and Matt to read this?

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On 6/26/2018 at 2:36 AM, OSJ said:

The Sisters of No Mercy??? You are a sick fuck, no wonder we're bros.  

I knew Fritz Leiber and even though he was frail and in his seventies then, the idea of him on bath salts is fucking terrifying. 

Am I totally evil for wanting Liam and Matt to read this?

My KU subscription ran out just as I was checking this out. Might as well just buy it outright; sounds awesome.

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On 6/28/2018 at 3:03 PM, Liam said:

My KU subscription ran out just as I was checking this out. Might as well just buy it outright; sounds awesome.

You've been warned.

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On 6/30/2018 at 8:38 AM, Matt D said:

I'll get there. I've got another week of Nifft ahead of me still.

A week of Nifft is a week well-spent! Shea does have a thing about big bugs which just goes into overdrive in The Mines of Behemoth, The A'rak, and The Extra. All absolutely delightful novels.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I can finally cop to the one thing that irritates me about Bleak Warrior... It's been four years now,  where's the damn sequel(s)? It's not as if Rennie tied everything up in nice little packages at the end. Sure, we lost some major (and minor) characters over the course of the novel, but author Rennie's scrupulous adherence to Joe Bob Briggs' two Fundamentals of the Drive-In remains a major part of the book's charm. 

Just for the uninitiated, Joe Bob's two rules are (1.) The innocent must suffer (not that there's anyone truly "innocent" in this book, the characters range from sick and twisted to truly vile and sociopathic) and (2.) Anyone can die at any moment. Of course, we have Edward Lee's and John Pelan's corollary added for the sake of completeness: (3.) Get nekkid, you will get dead.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just to revive this thread, my buddy at Centipede Press is publishing both the definitive Fritz Leiber Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser and the basic Elric set by Michael Moorcock. Get 'em now! Oh yeah, the fourth Leiber features an intro by yours truly...

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  • 2 months later...

Some genre (mostly fantasy) things I read this year, with a few thoughts about each, since I'm at work and would rather not be (spoilered for length):
 

Spoiler

 

Lord of the Rings, Tolkien -- The most "needs no introduction" entry, though there will be a few. I hadn't read the series since I was about 14, and I'm 30 now, but was compelled after using some read-alongs and associated podcasts to pass the time at work. It held up far better than I'd been expecting, with the usual caveats about odd pacing, (sometimes lack of) character development, and "oh wow did he just say the black man looked like a half-troll?" sort of moments. Tolkien himself would be very grumpy about my making this comparison, but I've always liked ponderous Victorian fiction enough to find his prose really, really endearing; and of course the scholarship--both real and imagined--baked in is endlessly interesting to me. Reading Tom Shippey's two books about the series really helped me appreciate that point, since my college Old English courses are mostly forgotten by now.    

The Eye of the World, Jordan -- To go with the next most famous thing. I wanted very badly to like this, as I've several friends who loved the series. Sadly, I bounced off hard, and have had several conversations with said friends about why I find this favorite book really awful. Usually, with very popular things, one can see the appeal, even if it's not shared. I just don't see it, here.

Oathbringer, Sanderson -- Sanderson makes a natural transition from Jordan, of course; though I find the former infinitely more competent than the latter. And I think that's the right word. His skill in constructing this whole massive artifice is incredible and endlessly impressive; but I can see the seams, always, and so I struggle to really love his work.

Chronicles of Amber, Zelazny -- A gift from the Jordan-loving friend that went over better. The hardboiled narration took a lot of getting used to--I'm not sure I ever totally came around--and there are some incredibly weird pacing choices, along with cringe-inducing gender dynamics. Having said all that, it was still trippy fun.

Grey Sister, Lawrence -- The sequel to his "special girl goes to magic assassin school" book, with all the grimdark bloodletting combined with teen drama and royal politics you'd expect. I basically hated Lawrence's (in)famous Prince book, but really like this, despite the cliche description. The worldbuilding has some interesting sci-fi accents, the "magic chosen one" plot-line is subverted, the characters who are supposed to be friends actually seem like they really are; and most of all, he's just a really skilled writer. Fun prose will get me to hang out.   

Godsgrave, Kristoff -- The other "special girl goes to magic assassin school" book I read. This one leans far heavier on YA tropes--because it is YA--and as such, grates more than a little. But the plot twists like hell, and it's pulpy fun.

Ruin of Kings, Lyon -- It's not out until 2019, but I won an ARC. TOR wants very badly for this to be their next huge hit, and they're marketing it as equal parts Sanderson/Rothfuss. It's really nothing like either, other than the "story being told as a story from the start" framing device. Still, it has the ingredients to make a big dent in the market: A special prophecy, clever prose, twisty plot, magic houses, sex/violence galore, and action from "go." An epic fantasy that gleefully embraces tropes, enthusiastic as fanfic for a world the author just happened to invent.

Circe, Miller -- This gets shelved in the lit section, but it treats gods and magic as real, so it's fantasy enough. It's also winning mainstream lit awards, so I guess the shelving is working. I found it good enough to deserve all its getting. Prose that's maybe a bit too florid (but I love it), and slightly sitcom-y in how many ancient Greek cameos seem to occur; but it really is a powerful story of a woman taking control of her body and (in more ways than one) her life.

Nightrunner Trilogy, Flewelling -- Being a queer guy, these have always been recommended as important to me, so I figured I'd read them at some point. Of course there are more books than three, but I felt three was enough. They are... not very good, and even fans seem to agree they go quickly downhill. But, early/mid-90's me would have loved to find these, so that's cool.

The Phoenix Empress, Rivera -- A much queerer current fantasy series, and much better too. Princesses of Fantasy Mongolia/Japan fight a demon army and internal politics sounds very, very pulpy; but the author leans heavily on literary flourish, and it's actually a very slow series, more an old fashioned romance than adventure yarn.

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Johnson -- Everyone is riffing on/subverting Lovecraft these days. This does it really, really well. A novella about an old teacher, former adventurer, forced to put her hiking boots back on and track down an escaped (kidnapped?) student across strange lands.

Moby Dick, Melville -- I know, I know. Just adding this so I can suggest that the worldbuilding attempted here makes it a kind of proto-fantasy; and to readers at the time (it had very few) it must have seemed nearly that alien. I know all the reasons people find this unreadable, but I love it.

The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat, Bolander -- My favorite short story of the year, by an author I'll always read. Just bonkers, and incredibly fun.

IQ84, Murakami -- Another in the "shelved in lit, but absolutely genre" pile. Ponderous and overlong in the extreme, and prone to the worst of Murakami's trademark indulgences. But when he's on, he's incredible; and it's "about" some very interesting things.

Dracula, Stoker -- I'd never actually read this! I'd always felt it one of those stories you culturally absorbed, and so didn't have to actually read. I was missing out. A very convenient plot and sometimes stupid protagonists, but it's really funny at times, and still conjures the right kind of dread atmosphere despite the cultural baggage. 

There were a lot of other things (Overstory really is that good, and I try for a pretty even split between fiction/non), and a ton of 2018 fantasy I planned to read and didn't; but I don't think I can rightly stretch what I post in this thread any further. Aiming for more pre-Tolkien fantasy in 2019, while keeping up with Lawrence's final Sister book, the latest from Weeks and Abercrombie. Maybe I'll finally read Middlemarch, too.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Matt D said:

You definitely always see the strings with Sanderson. Honestly, you should just embrace it and read the writer's commentary on his website as you go.

I've come to the same conclusion, and enjoyed his "on writing fantasy novels" BYU class that gets posted on youtube also. If I were more talented and wanted to write an epic fantasy of my own, I think reading/listening to Sanderson would be the most valuable resource there is; but purely as a reader, that IKEA feeling creates distance. I also wish the prose itself were a little more interesting. He's very fond of the Orwell quote that your writing should be as a clear window, allowing the reader to simply see what's going on, without flourish of its own; but I think that approach works far better when you're attempting what Orwell was, and not epic fantasy, where I want the reading itself to be a little fantastically styled.  

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Happy 78th birthday, Michael Moorcock.  One of my favorite writers of all times.

Writer, musician, all around badass human being.

Thank you for giving me the privilege of peering into your universe.

elric-stormbringer.jpg

 

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  • 1 month later...

Got me a copy of Bleak Warrior in the mai lyesterday and am mentally preparing myself of reading it and then having to look at my 8 month old daughter's smiling face afterward

James

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On 12/18/2018 at 6:44 AM, J.T. said:

Happy 78th birthday, Michael Moorcock.  One of my favorite writers of all times.

Writer, musician, all around badass human being.

Thank you for giving me the privilege of peering into your universe.

elric-stormbringer.jpg

 

Did I mention that my bro at Centipede Press is doing the definitive Elric set? Yes, they are expensive and yes, they are worth every penny. Considering how much of his stuff that I have, I'm really weak on the signed books front, however, with these and if I can somehow get my Ace SF Special of The Black Corridor signed,  I'll call it good. 

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On 1/23/2019 at 8:05 AM, Beech27 said:

Black Gate is doing a weekly essay series on each Conan story (it seems like there's more than one essay, sometimes) that I've enjoyed so far.

Oddly enough Conan never really did it for me, probably due to reading Moorcock's Elric and Dorian Hawkmoon along with Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser at the same time. Ol' Two-gun Bob wasn't going to win that exchange, hell, he wasn't going to win against another of his own characters, Solomon Kane... Yeah, we've got a dour, grim-visaged Puritan hanging out with pirates and smugglers, with dueling pistols and a rapier close at hand, what could possibly go wrong in this scenario? 

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18 hours ago, J.H. said:

Got me a copy of Bleak Warrior in the mai lyesterday and am mentally preparing myself of reading it and then having to look at my 8 month old daughter's smiling face afterward

Your guilt and shame may kill you while you sleep.

BleakWarrior remains the best book ever suggested to me that I wish I'd never read.  

There will never be enough soul bleach to scour the Sisters Of No Mercy out of my mind.

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1 hour ago, Matt D said:

Yeah, ok, I'm in too. I just got the kindle version. I shall dive in tomorrow. James and I will face this darkness together.

What the hell, I'll probably give it a re-read just because. It will be an interesting point of comparison between Bleak Warriror, Tom Franklin's "Poachers" and William Gay's "The Paperhanger". So far, for sheer unabated evil in human form, I don't think that you can top "The Paperhanger".

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On ‎1‎/‎28‎/‎2019 at 1:28 PM, OSJ said:

What the hell, I'll probably give it a re-read just because. It will be an interesting point of comparison between Bleak Warriror, Tom Franklin's "Poachers" and William Gay's "The Paperhanger".

You will be happy to know that there a splat fantasy compendium came out in 2008 called The New Weird (eds. Ann & Jeff VanderMeer) which contains a short story entitled The Gutter Sees The Light That Never Shines which prefaces BleakWarrior and also features your favorite character from the novel in a slightly expanded role..

How disturbed do you have to be to come up with a character like Whorefrost?

 

 

 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, OSJ said:

What the hell, I'll probably give it a re-read just because. It will be an interesting point of comparison between Bleak Warriror, Tom Franklin's "Poachers" and William Gay's "The Paperhanger". So far, for sheer unabated evil in human form, I don't think that you can top "The Paperhanger".

I just read When I was Five I Killed Myself, so this will be a big switch.

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I am one-third the way through.

I was expecting something dark, morbid, stark, twisted, violent certainly, something hopeless that grabbed you by the soul and churned it.

Instead, I picture someone in a trench coat (perhaps Mr. Pelan himself) on a street corner, who opens it up with copies of the books inside of the coat while whispering "Psst. Hey, kids, do you want to see some real New Weird? This is the Weird Weird stuff right here?"

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