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mygif

I agree with pretty much all of this except the bit about Brandon Sanderson, who i think is one of the best new fantasy authors to come down the pike in a while, and who can definitely bring the fuckyeah at a moment’s notice — as witness the utterly bad-ass climax of The Well of Ascension when Vin makes her arrival.

I understand how people might not like him, though, as I was completely unable to finish his first book, and Warbreaker is pretty dire. But IMHO he’s damned good, and is only going to get better.

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mygif

The solution isn’t to get rid of books. It’s to get more bookshelves.

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I’m also not a big fan of Sanderson’s work, although I keep trying it on for size.

But he’s done a credible job in bringing the WoT series to a close, so I can’t hate on him too much.

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1. I think a compendium of the best fuckyeah moments is necessary. I say this knowing that I risk having something from the latter half of AFfC and the entirety of ADwD spoiled for me. But sometimes even just reliving fond fuckyeah moments in your mind is way satisfying.

2. I would gladly give one of those extraneous copies of the Spike Lee thing a home, if you felt bad just dumping them somewhere.

3. This whole post makes me a little sad, thinking of both my own neglected set of shelves (“Hey there, nearly-everything-by-Paul-Auster-besides-New-York-Trilogy, how ya doin’? What’s that you say, you’ve got DOZENS of friends who have been getting together wondering why you’ve all never been read? Maybe next year, I guess!”), as well as the similar exercise I did for my gaming shelf over at Giant Bomb.

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I tried reading WoT and couldn’t get through the first book, between how boring the entire cast appeared to be, and the explicit statements in the intro that women were simply not equal to men in magic and so the hero could only be a man. It sort of set what I suspected was a stage.

I actually liked Warbreaker though, not so much for lush fantastic prose, because it doesn’t really have that, but for working with fantasy religions that characters actually seemed to believe and interact with in different human ways. Also it being a standalone novel was a huge plus in its favor.

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(Had a bit of a connection issue, so apologies if I double-post this.)

Sanderson’s work is often a little too left-brained for my taste, but I see the appeal. He reminds me a lot of L.E. Modesitt.

Re: Rothfuss. He’s usually good for tone or two really well done fuckyeahs per book, but otherwise I think he’s a little overrated. His first book showed a ton of potential, but the second had some serious pacing and structural problems.

Also, a GGK mini-series would be awesome. Fionavar would be the best, but it’d be pretty great to see The Lions of al-Rassan get that treatment, too.

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MGK — Re: Guy Gavriel Kay.

Agree with everything else that’s been said about him.

That he helped Christopher Tolkien — was picked by edit The Silmarilion, imperfect as it is — and then went to do The Fionavar Tapestry is something of a fuckyeah moment in itself.

Somewhere in Lucien’s library is a Fionavar Tapestry omnibus with Martin Springett’s original covers as a huge fold-out dustjacket, and I want it, damn it! :D

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Forgot to add — BMV represent! ;)

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Read Chris Buckley’s other stuff. They all hold up to Thank You for Smoking.

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Correction: the second (or third) paragraph of my first post should have read:

That he helped Christopher Tolkien — was picked by him — to edit The Silmarilion, imperfect as it is, and then went to do The Fionavar Tapestry is something of a fuckyeah moment in itself.”

Sorry about that.

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mygif

The weirdest thing about GGK for me is that he’s an example of #2. I really loved Tigana, and I loved A Song for Arbonne even more. So… why haven’t I read his other books? Even Fionavar Tapestry? Even though it was on my then-roommate’s shelf and I could still borrow it at any time? It’s not that I “don’t want” to read it; I feel like it’s somewhere there on my list of “books I’ll get to someday”. But it’s certainly odd.

For my money, though, he brings some excellent fuckyeah in “A Song for Arbonne”, to which I give the award of “book with a title that doesn’t truly fit the fairly kick-ass tone of the contents”. (I thought it was leaner and better-paced and more kick-ass than Tigana.)

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I thought the first Wheel of Time was 600 incredible pages. Unfortunately the other 200 would have been more entertaining blank, so I haven’t picked up any more.

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Hawk or Handsaw said on September 28th, 2011 at 11:24 am

I’d definitely be interested in seeing a list of your favorite oddball history books. I love the genre, but they can be hard to find at random.

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Re: bookshelf space, have you considered an e-book reader? I got one about three years ago and, not counting graphic novels, have got only about half a dozen paperback or hardcover books since then, compared to probably over 40 books on the reader. (Can’t just look at the number of books on it because it came with a bunch of sample chapters and stuff.) They take up no space at all.

Using them is a mixed bag compared to physical books. Apples and oranges. Yeah, it’s kinda nice to feel a book in your hands, flip through pages manually, etc. And you mention getting books in series in the same edition, so that’s obviously a problem with getting any books on the reader that you already have hard copies of. And they’re the kind of technology that goes obsolete quickly; I haven’t seriously checked but I’ll bet new readers have twice the capacity and faster processors and even better interfaces than mine at half the price. And the availability of books is a mixed bag; it’s easy to find most (but not all) new books in e-book format, plus a lot of century-old public-domain books if you’re willing to put up with typos from OCR software, but for everything in between, availability seems pretty low.

So it’s obviously not for everyone. But now that the caveats are out of the way, I really like it. I can buy (or, in the case of public-domain stuff, get free) new books without leaving my home in the time it takes to download the file, and I can carry dozens of books around with me in a contraption that takes up the space of roughly one paperback. I can reread any part of book on it on a whim, there’s no need to lug around a thousand-page tome like the average Wheel of Time or Game of Thrones book, no need to carry two books around with me if I’m just about to finish one book and start the next… and it takes up no bookshelf space.

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@Cyrus
Ebooks. Meh. On the one hand, I love the idea of having my entire library with me anywhere I go. On the other hand, I lend books out to people like a friggin’ public library. I have friends who walk into my house with bags of books they’ve taken away and brought back. I haven’t looked into it, but I don’t think that’s such an option with an e-book. Plus, it is so much more pleasurable to me after a day of looking at electronic screens, to walk home, settle into a chair with a cup of tea or a icy beer, and relax with physical paper. It signals to both my eyes and my brain that I’m about to do something relaxing that I just don’t get with any e-reader I’ve tried. Then again, I also prefer fountain pens to ball points, and writing notes in a Moleskine to using a laptop, so maybe I’m just an irritable, old man.

However, I really must suggest that the best solution is to get another book shelf. I have fantasy, histories (and speaking of odd-ball histories, try The World That Never Was), odd-ball science books, and my grandfather’s complete collection of his old books (which include 1920′s school books). Seriously, get yourself another book shelf. They’re a much better investment.

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Cookie McCool said on September 28th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Have to agree about Patrick Rothfuss. The first book was pretty ok, but the second was almost exactly like an episode of House: The Fantasy Genre Years, which is only going to work if you have a real live Hugh Laurie.

Smooth segue: have you tried reading Hugh Laurie? Or BFF Stephen Fry?

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mygif

My The Beta Band song: Dry The Rain, from the High Fidelity soundtrack.

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On the other hand, I lend books out to people like a friggin’ public library. I have friends who walk into my house with bags of books they’ve taken away and brought back. I haven’t looked into it, but I don’t think that’s such an option with an e-book.

Depends what you mean. As for lending out (copying) the file, I’m sure there’s some kind of DRM issue with recently published e-books I’ve bought, but most of those public-domain books are .pdfs, and I’m pretty sure I could pass those around computers by thumb drives and e-mail as easily as any file at work. And as for lending out the e-book reader itself, obviously I’d be hesitant to do that because then I wouldn’t have access to it, but that’s all. The thing isn’t so fragile or difficult to use that no one else could take advantage of it, or so valuable that I’m reluctant to let it out of my sight. I don’t lend books out much in general, but the fact that some books are on the reader wouldn’t stop me as long as I was only lending it out for a short while.

And as for another bookshelf, meh. I’m leery of clutter probably a bit more than is rational. I moved to my current apartment last summer, I was in the house before that for about two years, and the apartment before that for about two years. Two years before that I was in college and moving at least annually. I’m sure I’ll buy more books and bookshelves some day, but I’ll put it off until I can be confident it won’t move for years and/or I really, really need it.

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mygif

For epic values of epic-ness, I’d heartily recommend the Steven Erikson’s 10-volume MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN series.

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Speaking of long fantasy series full of fuckyeah moments, have you tried Erikson’s Malazan series?

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Cookie McCool said on September 28th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Say, when the final Wheel of Time comes out, can you review it like you did the last Harry Potter book? That was the best. I want to know how it ends but I don’t want to actually, like, READ it.

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1. What Leigh says here and what others say in the comments to that post is good stuff. Jordan is deeply flawed, but I don’t know any other authors whose work inspired communities and interconnections in the same way that his has except Tolkien and Rowling. (I am, BTW, a reader and occasional poster here because of those interconnections and communities)

As to Rothfuss, he is doing something very different from what Jordan did. He’s crafting a multi-layered story in a way that is utterly unique, and much too subtle for most people to notice. See Jo Walton’s “insanely detailed” re-read and analysis series on Tor (well, don’t, actually, because it’s chock full of spoilers, but once you’re up to speed go back and read them) for what I’m talking about. I’m thoroughly convinced that most of the criticisms that others lay at his feet are the result of their not really understanding what he’s doing here.

2. I have an unusual variation on that with Pratchett, because I’m deliberately spacing out my reading of them to make them last.

3. Don’t worry too much about not having any more Susanna Clarke, since she hasn’t published any more yet. I don’t know quite understand why you wouldn’t want it when it arrives, but yeah.

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I’m really a huge fan of GGK, and wished he had more of an interest in writing more high fantasy. The Fionavar Saga is filled with fuckyeah moments, triumphant ones (Lancelot in the woods), touching ones (too many to name), tragic ones (Finn), and those that bring them all together (Lisen’s final response to the dark and what follows). For that matter Tigana is the book that changed my taste in sci-fi / fantasy and completely changed my conception of ‘evil’ in my own writing and DM’ing.

I’ve liked his ‘fanciful history’ stuff and he certainly captures ‘moments’ better than almost anyone, but Fionavar sets a pretty high benchmark.

I understand people’s affection for ‘A Song For Arbonne’, but I’m also partial to ‘Lions of Al-Rassan’, and think that could be adapted fairly cheaply… so long as it was appropriately cast.

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Disco Stu has found the correct solution for your problem. I’ve converted the entirety of my closet not devoted to holding shirts into book storage, and I’m at capacity again. I think I have to move so I can have more book space :)

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Another from George Macdonald Faser I enjoyed was The Pyrates A great yarn that tossed history out the window and went straight for “whetever the hell works”.

I would love to see it get a movie treatment, it was farce of the first degree.

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Tom Scudder said on September 28th, 2011 at 6:46 pm

China Mieville has some fuckyeah moments, but then he turns around and is all like “fuck you for going fuckyeah! Now I’m going to rip SPOILER’s mind in half and leave him/her a horrible, broken mess just for saying “fuck, yeah.” You bourgeois pig!”

Which kind of blunts the effect.

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Tom Scudder said on September 28th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

But seriously, I totally want a Possible Sword.

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I started reading Joshua Ferris’ THE UNNAMED and got rather drawn in, so maybe he’s more than a one hit wonder?

Our definitions of FUCKYEAH fantasy might differ a bit, because I chose some that might not be exactly recognizable for scenes of indescribable kickass, but rather novels/series in which the whole thing I consider kickass:

The Castle series by Steph Swainston.
Everything before the Fall of Ile-Rien Trilogy by Martha Wells.
Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve.

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look int Jeff VanderMeer, the man is made of nightmares.

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@ Skwid: Your comments regarding Rothfuss remind me of people who say, “You’re reading it wrong!”

Of course, I haven’t read Rothfuss, so I can’t judge one way or another. It is entirely many readers are missing the point. I wouldn’t know.

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“Asha’man, rolling waves of earth and fire….
Asha’man, kill!” Yep. Fuckyeah’s pretty much the only thing to say.

I’m about to commit nerd blasphemy here, but….I’ve tried to read The Hobbit three times in my life, and it keeps kicking my ass a hundred pages in. Sorry.

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On the plus side, I’m apparently learning to use the tags here….

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I second Cookie McCool’s request for an in-depth review of A Memory of Light.

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I have a STRICT rule limiting myself to one Flashman book a year. I’ve read the first four or five now, and I am slowly going through them because I know there is a finite number.

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The Crazed Spruce said on September 29th, 2011 at 9:45 am

I wasn’t planning to reply to this post because, outside of Tolkein, Harry Potter, and Stephen King’s Dark Tower books, I haven’t read a lot of fantasy novels. (I did read a fun little one a few years ago, though, called “Splitting Heirs”, about a set of triplets who were seperated at birth (because their father, a brutish warrior king, believed that a multiple birth meant that the mother was unfaithful, so the mother had to send two of them away, or be beheaded). One became a wizard’s apprentice, one became a burly farmer, and the other (the only girl) was raised as a warrior prince. (Yes, prince.) It’s a fun romp, and definitely worth looking up.)

I can relate to you on the overloaded bookshelf, though. Our local library sells used books for a quarter apiece, and I used to buy at least a dozen a month, but only read about one or two a week. (And after I started working graveyard shifts, I didn’t even read that many. I’ve actually read two, maybe three books in the past year.) At one point, I had at least 200 books on my shelf that I hadn’t read yet. I lost them in a house fire nine years ago, but my shelf is starting to overflow again. (And I pretty much stopped buying books five years ago.)

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Cookie McCool said on September 29th, 2011 at 11:57 am

I think, if enough readers are reading it wrong, maybe you’re writing it wrong. Also, I know a House rip-off when I read it. It’s not even remotely “subtle”.

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I can see where people are coming from on Rothfuss. The plot and world-building are fairly intricate, and every twist is foreshadowed to within an inch of its life. That can be fun, in a Lost kind of way. I don’t think it’s particularly new or revelatory, but whatever floats your boat.

My main problem is that Wise Man’s Fear is glacially slow, consists almost entirely of set-up for the third book, and elides a number of theoretically interesting moments (the shipwreck, the battle that happens while Kvothe is in a fugue state, etc.) in favor of still more set-up. Name of the Wind is more or less satisfying as a complete unit of entertainment in spite of its position as a third of a story. Wise Man’s Fear is not.

Honestly, it reminds me of one of those middle-of-the-run Wheel of Time books where Jordan spends four hundred pages moving pieces around the board so they’ll be in the right places later on.

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Funnily enough I think most of the Wheel of Time’s sexist moments where unfortunately the result of trying to write strong female characters. Early most of the females read, as David Simon would say, like “Chicks with dicks”, though it gets better.

That saids there’s a bit of misandry in the book, I mean Mat does get raped at knife point and all Elayne does is laugh about the situation.

Towers of Midnight was full of fuck yeah moments for Rand both large and small I show you respect.

“Perhaps it would be appropriate for you to return it. If you wish, you may call me Rand Sedai. I am, so far as I know, the only male Aes Sedai still alive who was properly raised but who never turned to the Shadow”

But my personal favourite is this one:
“My husband rides from World’s End toward Tarwin’s Gap, toward Tarmon Gai’don. Will he ride alone?”

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Read Steven mfing Erickson already

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Master Mahan said on September 30th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

“And Morgoth came.” That’s what Shelob said!

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Cookie McCool said on October 1st, 2011 at 11:55 am

The Locke Lamora books are fun, although maybe a bit too cussy for people who are fucking pussies or what-have-you.

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I also have to agree with recommending Erikson’s Malazan series, which starts with Gardens of the Moon. I will warn that they are massive and especially in later books prone to a lot of Deep Thoughts on Life the Universe and Everything (ok thanks but please get back to the awesome).

Erikson really pulls off the grand history of a world just as well as Tolkien did, but Tolkien was more of a linguist, and Erikson was an archaeologist. So this really, epochs and mythos and the rise and fall of gods and empires.
There are so many truly epic moments and battles and “wow this would make amazing cinema”.

On an unrelated note, Susanna Clarke has only written Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and released one short story collection, so don’t worry about not reading her other work. I can recommend the short story book though. Very good and mostly full of the same elegantly creepy ‘English faerie’ tales, in bite size portions.

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mygif

You obviously need a copy of Garth Marenghi’s “The Oeuvre” then.

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