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On 1/6/2020 at 1:45 PM, Beech27 said:

Reading has a way of making happy accidents, and I think reading Lord Foul's Bane after Three Hearts and Three Lions is one. The former was known--and avoided--by me for the reasons everyone knows, and yes that scene is revolting, but I don't remotely get the impression it's supposed to be anything but. It is also, I think crucially, the only instance where the narration slips from Covenant's POV. It's a monstrous act; the perspective of the victim is emphasized; and no one pretends it's ok. It's also a strange book for other reasons: the language is deliberately archaic at times, and the metaphors are rampant. Sometimes they're brilliant, sometimes they're cringe-inducing. But while it's slow and a bit messy, it still seems, reading it decades later, incredibly unique, and really brilliant. 

But, as I said, I think my timing was good too. From one classic portal fantasy, in which a perfectly good man lands in a falling world, and is precisely the savior it needs, to a total inversion, in which a wretched man lands in a beautiful, idyllic world, that deserves a better savior than he could hope to be. (And I couldn't help but notice, the protagonist in Three Hearts has a young girl repeatedly throw herself at him, towards whom he is entirely chivalrous. Covenant, faced with a young girl in a similar role... behaves worse.)

Anyway, the Covenant books have been featured in more essays than any fantasy this side of Tolkien, so I'm not saying anything new here. And I'm not entirely sure I'll finish the trilogy, much less embark on the long ten-book journey. But it's a very memorable read I'm glad to have undertaken.  

One thing to NOT do is to read the first trilogy in one sitting as I did. That's practically suicide inducing. The reason that I did this was that back in the day, (1988 or thereabouts), Steve Donaldson was the Guest-of-Honor at EuCon (Eugene, Oregon convention) and I had not read word one of his work, so on the six-hour drive from Seattle to Eugene (with an hour deducted for lunch at the Rib-Eye in Centralia); I read the whole trilogy so I wouldn't sound like a goof if the occasion arose to talk to Donaldson about his work. As it so developed we did have a long chat, though it focussed more on 1960s rock than anything else. Donaldson shares my great taste in being a fellow fan of the MC5 and the Kinks... Anyway, super-nice guy and signed all my books in silver (white-gold, hahaha) ink. 

For a more loathsome protaganist you'll have to go a long ways to find one worse than Thomas Covenant. To say that the man behaves badly is quite the understatement. 

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I don't think anyone could have had a more diligent and spirited literary executor. 

Edited by Beech27

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I started listening to La Belle Sauvage, the His Dark Materials prequel. Interesting so far. The POV character is a boy who works at the family tavern in Oxford. It's set around the time infant Lyra is given to the college. 

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It's Robert E. Howard's birthday.

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Celebrate, bitches.

In the age of Me, Too.  I think the world is ready for Dark Agnes to make a feature film debut.

Edited by J.T.

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That reminds me.  I finally made it through all of The Morgaine Stories (Gate of Ivrel, Well of Shiuan, Fires of Azeroth, Exile's Gate) and enjoyed the stories immensely despite Cherryh gradually turning Morgaine from an unlikeable tragic figure into an unlikeable Mary Sue.

 

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An appropriate question for the day, then: For someone who has read Howard here and there, is there a worthy omnibus (or something close) of his original work, untouched by de Camp et al?

Edited by Beech27

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27 minutes ago, Beech27 said:

An appropriate question for the day, then: For someone who has read Howard here and there, is there a worthy omnibus (or something close) of his original work, untouched by de Camp et al?

Wildside Press did a ten-volume set of REH in Weird Tales which I commend utterly. There's also a one-volume thingy of REH in Strange Tales which is quite awesome. For a single book that has a little bit of everything, you can't go too far wrong with Skull-face & Others. You gots your Conan, you gots your Solomon Kane, you gots your Sax Rohmer pastiche (the title piece), and you even have a couple of westerns and boxing yarns IIRC. There's a UK hardcover out there that shouldn't be too pricey and while I don't think it possible to do REH justice in one volume, it is a really fine sampler. Even ends with his suicide-note poem. Yeah, REH wasn't a fun guy.

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1 hour ago, J.T. said:

That reminds me.  I finally made it through all of The Morgaine Stories (Gate of Ivrel, Well of Shiuan, Fires of Azeroth, Exile's Gate) and enjoyed the stories immensely despite Cherryh gradually turning Morgaine from an unlikeable tragic figure into an unlikeable Mary Sue.

 

Needed more cowbell... er... swordfighting, yeah, that's it! Needed more sword fighting...

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38 minutes ago, OSJ said:

Needed more cowbell... er... swordfighting, yeah, that's it! Needed more sword fighting...

Yes, the one small gripe I had was that CJ does love to talk on and on and on about mountains and internal struggles and shit when there should definitely be more sword fighting.

Morgaine is no Dark Agnes.

Edited by J.T.

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23 hours ago, J.T. said:

Yes, the one small gripe I had was that CJ does love to talk on and on and on about mountains and internal struggles and shit when there should definitely be more sword fighting.

Morgaine is no Dark Agnes.

You know what series doesn't get enough love here? Raven: Swordsmistress of Chaos... Written by a guy that no one had ever heard of, Richard Kirk, the five-volume set is everything a sword & sorcery fan would want. See, "Richard Kirk" was World Fantasy Award winning author Robert Holdstock, doing his slumming thing (something he did often and well). The books did get a US release, so they aren't as expensive and hard to find as they once were. (The Brit paperbacks have cooler covers, but YMV)

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I almost always feel too much second-hand awkwardness to enjoy exchanges like this, but this Sapkowski interview is hilarious, and the interviewer seems happy enough with the result: https://io9.gizmodo.com/i-do-not-like-working-too-hard-or-too-long-a-refreshin-1841209529

io9: What was your reaction to learning your books were getting 500,000 reprints after the release of the Netflix show?

Sapkowski: How do you expect I answer this question? That I despaired? Shed tears? Considered suicide? No sir. My feelings were rather obvious and not excessively complex.

Edited by Beech27

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On 1/23/2020 at 9:13 AM, OSJ said:

You know what series doesn't get enough love here? Raven: Swordsmistress of Chaos... Written by a guy that no one had ever heard of, Richard Kirk, the five-volume set is everything a sword & sorcery fan would want. See, "Richard Kirk" was World Fantasy Award winning author Robert Holdstock, doing his slumming thing (something he did often and well). The books did get a US release, so they aren't as expensive and hard to find as they once were. (The Brit paperbacks have cooler covers, but YMV)

Oh, I read most of those books as a kid just like most of the other hormone driven nerds that are now my age.  I never saw them for sale at any bookstores I haunted as a lad.  I was lucky enough to live near a public library where a lot of eccentric people donated their used books.

The natural allure of Raven to the pre-pubescent lad is that unlike Red Sonya, Raven had no problem with sleeping around with the most attractive man available.  That sword babe got around.  Ya gotta spend that treasure on something, right.

If we're being honest, the television show, Xena: Warrior Princess, is a cleverly concealed rip-off of the Raven novels.  If Xena were hetero and had a male companion and if the setting were not fake Greece, it may as well have been a show about Raven.

Edited by J.T.

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Brandon Sanderson is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.  "The Way of Kings" was outstanding.  I'm still amazed by the Sanderson's ability to craft a story where absolutely every detail feels like it matters.  The entire book was engaging, but the final act when everything came together was phenomenal.  My biggest criticism of the Mistborn series was that Vin wasn't that engaging of a character, but Kaladin, Dalinar, and to a lesser extent Shallan were all people I wanted to know more about. 

MINOR NON-SPECIFIC STORY SPOILERS BELOW

Dalinar had my favorite arc, he's starts as the stereotypical aging warrior, but he's the most vulnerable character in the entire book.  He's someone who is somehow perfectly comfortable in his own skin, while also being self aware enough to question his actions.  He's the anti-Ned Stark.  He's the guy who is almost naively honorable, but unlike Ned, when the shit hits the fan he knows how to take care of business.  He makes a move at the end that is probably going to eventually get him killed, but it was a fucking boss move that makes me want to grab the next book to see how it works out. 

Kaladin is also great, but he's great like Superman is great.  I enjoyed reading his arc, but it was clear that he was meant to survive pretty early.  He went through a bunch of brutal shit, but I was never concerned that he wouldn't survive.  I honestly felt like Dalinar was destined to be killed and become a martyr by the end of the book, but the whole point of Kaladin's arc was for him to be a survivor.  With that said, if there is a main character who drives this book forward it is Kaladin, and he's one hell of a hero.  He gets shat on repeatedly, and wants to give up multiple times, but his courage and compassion for his men won't let him.  He's about as compelling as a character can be when his story is about going through constant danger without ever feeling like he's in any real danger.  Sanderson smartly uses his crew to build the tension that is lacking with Kaladin.  You kind of know that Kaladin can't die, but almost everyone around him seems like they could die at any time...and you feel for them. 

Shallan is interesting, but of the three "main" characters she's the one we are with the least.  Her story doesn't rely on action as much as Dalinar or Kaladin's, but her relationship with Jasnah Kholin has grown to the point where I'm really interested in where it goes.  They seem to exist in a world apart from the rest of the characters, but that is kind of what makes the entire arc interesting.  By the end, them being apart from the rest of the plot is kind of a metaphor for their entire relationship.  I can't wait to see how their story evolves as they start to interact with our other heroes.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Relevant, then, that this lecture from Sanderson on plotting was just posted:

Whatever else might be said about him--and posters here, myself included, aren't always overwhelmingly positive--Sanderson really, really knows what he's doing. He rewards paying attention, as you note, and is very mindful to make the right promises, and keep them. The result is a massive epic fantasy series that doesn't feel bloated, because basically always going somewhere.  

Edited by Beech27
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4 hours ago, Beech27 said:

Relevant, then, that this lecture from Sanderson on plotting was just posted:

Whatever else might be said about him--and posters here, myself included, aren't always overwhelmingly positive--Sanderson really, really knows what he's doing. He rewards paying attention, as you note, and is very mindful to make the right promises, and keep them. The result is a massive epic fantasy series that doesn't feel bloated, because basically always going somewhere.  

Sorry, as I've said before Sanderson is more organized as a writer than I will ever dream of being. That said, I always see the strings and that takes me out of the story. Yes, he knows exactly what the fuck he's doing, that's not necessarily a good thing. I don't dispute that he's far more organized than I can ever dream of being just as I don't dispute that KISS sold a lot more records than Roy Wood will ever dream of.

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1 hour ago, OSJ said:

Sorry, as I've said before Sanderson is more organized as a writer than I will ever dream of being. That said, I always see the strings and that takes me out of the story. Yes, he knows exactly what the fuck he's doing, that's not necessarily a good thing. I don't dispute that he's far more organized than I can ever dream of being just as I don't dispute that KISS sold a lot more records than Roy Wood will ever dream of.

So, I listened to that lecture and I have to say he explains his writing style and those "strings" make a lot of sense after hearing his explanation.  The gist of the lecture is that when you're setting up your plot, you are making promises to your readers.  As the plot proceeds, he systematically starts paying off those promises.  He goes into greater detail, but the main idea is that every plot point is a promise, and keeping those promises are they key to writing a quality plot.  I don't write like that, but I actually think it's the key to what I love about his writing.  It took me a second to get into the first Mistborn book, but since then I've been all in.  I think the key to my enjoyment is that I trust him.  I can accept all of these characters, explore his worlds, and buy into his plots, because he promised that he'll pay them off and I believe him.  I think my biggest problem with the first Witcher book is that it ended without paying off enough of the author's promises.  I honestly didn't want to read the next book because the first one left too much hanging.  There is a thin line between keeping the readers wanting more and being an utterly disappointing.  Sanderson has always made me want more.  He paid off a shitload in this latest book, but he did it while promising a whole lot more.  I have to say, I don't mind the strings, because they always lead somewhere interesting.  

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On 2/1/2020 at 2:33 AM, OSJ said:

Sorry, as I've said before Sanderson is more organized as a writer than I will ever dream of being. That said, I always see the strings and that takes me out of the story. Yes, he knows exactly what the fuck he's doing, that's not necessarily a good thing. I don't dispute that he's far more organized than I can ever dream of being just as I don't dispute that KISS sold a lot more records than Roy Wood will ever dream of.

As I was a bit curious about Sanderson as an author, I recently started Elantris. I am currently about 1/4 to 1/3 through. My summary so far would be that the world definitely has some depth and that the main topic, the "fall of Elantris", even though a standard trope in fantasy (or in myth or even religion), bringing in some interesting ideas. But the characters, oh my god, the characters. You could not come up with more one-dimensional, uninspired, tropey characters as the two protagonists if you tried, the secondary characters are not much better. The only character, that seems to have some depth, is the antagonist. Is this just because this is some very early writing, or is that Sanderson's modus operandi? (quick googling seems to indicate the latter)

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6 minutes ago, Robert s said:

As I was a bit curious about Sanderson as an author, I recently started Elantris. I am currently about 1/4 to 1/3 through. My summary so far would be that the world definitely has some depth and that the main topic, the "fall of Elantris", even though a standard trope in fantasy (or in myth or even religion), bringing in some interesting ideas. But the characters, oh my god, the characters. You could not come up with more one-dimensional, uninspired, tropey characters as the two protagonists if you tried, the secondary characters are not much better. The only character, that seems to have some depth, is the antagonist. Is this just because this is some very early writing, or is that Sanderson's modus operandi? (quick googling seems to indicate the latter)

So, I'm about as far into Elantris as you are(I'm listening to the audio book) and I agree 100%.  With that said, it is by far my least favorite Sanderson book I've read so far.  Mistorn is outstanding.  I'm about 85% done with the second of the three Stormlight Archive books, and it's fantastic.  Elantris hasn't grabbed me at all, and I've taken a break from listening to it.  It just isn't very good so far.  

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So, I finished "Words of Radiance," and I still solidly in love with the writing of Brandon Sanderson.  The first book was clearly Kaladin's book, but this one belonged to Shallan.  This is the second of what is supposed to be a 10 book series, and the stakes are already incredibly high.  It really feels like this could have been the second book in a trilogy that ended with a battle against a world changing cataclysm, but there are 8 more books to get through.  I'm excited, and unless I somehow lose all desire to read, I'm going to be here until the end.  

Minor Non-Specific Spoilers below...

Once again, I find Dalinar to be the most interesting character.  He is strong without being Superman, vulnerable without being whiny, and noble without being completely naive.  After the first book, I expected to be the series whipping boy, where everyone is kind of working against him at all times.  I'm glad that isn't what we got here.  Sure, things are hard for Dalinar, but he's enough of a fucking man that he's never going to be a pushover.  With that said, Dalinar isn't a John Wayne archtype where being a man means being completely emotionless.  One of my favorite scenes in the book is a point where someone tries to prey on his vulnerabilities, and his response is to basically stand up and say, "yeah, all of those things are true.  I'm not ashamed."  He's legitimately hurt when it happens, but he's also strong enough to not let it be weaponized against him.  If you want to make a character endearing, that's a great way to do it.

Kaladin is still Superman, but only if Superman was bitter, broken, and often blind with rage...oh and if being bitter, broken and blind with rage creates kryptonite.  This expanded on Kaladin's abilities in a way that made him even more overpowered, except also put some barriers in the way that made him much more interesting.  Both Dalinar and Kaladin have been through all the shit you can possibly put a character through in two books, but Dalinar's dignity sets him apart from Kaladin.  Dalinar has all the same feelings that Kaladin has, but their reactions to these feelings make them feel much different.  Dalinar recognizes his feelings, but never let's himself become overwhelmed by his emotions.  Kaladin has such a hard time letting go of his feelings that he can't see past them.  With that said, you kind of always understand why he feels the way he does and how hard it would be to have to watch as the people who hurt you go unpunished.  He's broken, and recognizes he's broken, and he's trying really hard to put himself back together.

Shallan is a much better, more well-rounded character in this book.  Where Dalinar faces his challenges with dignity, and Kaladin faces his with anger, Shallan faces her challenges with optimism.  Shallan's had a pretty horrific childhood as the daughter of a small backwater noble house.  Life hasn't been easy since she left home, but her life is getting better.  She really comes into her own in this book.  She's still figuring herself out, but she's driven, independent, and never afraid to take a risk.  Her storyline went from being completely separate from the rest of our characters to being an integral player in everyone else's story.  I'm really looking forward to see how she gets to where she's going.  She was by far my least favorite of the main characters after the first book, but she's really grown on me.

Adolin is the child of privileged, who is spoiled, arrogant, and a bit of a dick...but I have to say, I like the guy.  He pretty much is late book Jaime Lannister without the murder and throwing children out of windows in his past.  Of all the main characters, Adolin has the least tragedy in his life.  If Kaladin's best day was Adolin's worst day, Kaladin would be an entirely different person.  It makes so much sense how shallow he is compared to the other characters, because he's never had to examine the depths of his own soul.  That doesn't mean he isn't interesting.  Kaladin and Dalinar are pretty much the supreme badasses in the story so far, but Adolin is no slouch.  If Dalinar is the quarterback, and Kaladin is the big play wide receiver, Adolin is the workhorse runningback.  Dalinar and Kaladin had a couple of really big plays in this book, but Alodin is the one who keeps the chains moving.  If this book was about Adolin it would be a big, dumb, action novel, but it would be a really fun one.

After the first book, the story was how are Dalinar, Kaladin, and Shallan going to stop the end of the world.  When the second book ended I wondered how would Dalinar, Kaladin, Shallan, Adolin, Renarin, Navani, Wit, King Elokar, Moash, Lopen, etc. were going to stop the end of the world.  When the stakes start at end of the world, you have to find a way to raise the stakes.  Sanderson did it by expanding who matters, why they matter, and how their roles have changed going forward.  Another excellent book by Sanderson.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Thoughts I had while doing deadlifts: is seeing how Sanderson plots books like the literary equivalent of Misawa fiddling with his tights after a head drop?

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Dont know if this is the right thread to be posting in - if it's not, please remove or delete as appropriate.

Due to the corona shite, I'm homeschooling my daughter for the time being, until this all blows over (winchester, pint, dont stop me now from queen etc etc)

She's 7; I'm thinking of introducing her to the dragonlance chronicles - from what I remember its relatively few swears, pretty easy to understand, and lets her use her imagination. There shouldn't be an issue with doing this, right? 

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7 minutes ago, Red is Dead said:

Dont know if this is the right thread to be posting in - if it's not, please remove or delete as appropriate.

Due to the corona shite, I'm homeschooling my daughter for the time being, until this all blows over (winchester, pint, dont stop me now from queen etc etc)

She's 7; I'm thinking of introducing her to the dragonlance chronicles - from what I remember its relatively few swears, pretty easy to understand, and lets her use her imagination. There shouldn't be an issue with doing this, right? 

It's been a long time since I read them (let's say 23 years), but i remember allusions or attempts at rape. 

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The tanis is a bastard half elf side story - shes alrady worked that bad bit out. 

 

Was there also one with Laurana or Tika?

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10 hours ago, Red is Dead said:

Was there also one with Laurana or Tika?

Yes, kinda, for both. 

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On 3/23/2020 at 7:06 AM, Red is Dead said:

Dont know if this is the right thread to be posting in - if it's not, please remove or delete as appropriate.

Due to the corona shite, I'm homeschooling my daughter for the time being, until this all blows over (winchester, pint, dont stop me now from queen etc etc)

She's 7; I'm thinking of introducing her to the dragonlance chronicles - from what I remember its relatively few swears, pretty easy to understand, and lets her use her imagination. There shouldn't be an issue with doing this, right? 

She's almost old enough for John Bellairs. Actually, if she's reading at the Dragonlance level, might as well try some Bellairs.

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