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  #126  
Unread 14th of July, 2010, 01:06
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Nvm. Our differences were about Scalzi's Old Man's War. I blame title-confusion!
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  #127  
Unread 14th of July, 2010, 01:31
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Hooray education! I shall track this down now.
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  #128  
Unread 14th of July, 2010, 01:31
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“ Originally Posted by BigRedRod # I'm currently reading The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. ”

It is a rare book that is compelling despite how irritating the author is with the protagonist. The world is the showcase and Kvothe is just a bag of dicks that you have to carry with you as you explore it.

“ Originally Posted by B to the RR As with all fantasy, it's a trilogy and only the first one appears to have been penned, so it may be worth holding off for the moment so you can read it as a single story without forgetting who key characters are. ”

He allegedly has all of the story written but is claiming that he's constantly going back into it and adding new chapters between the start and the end. So it's done, but not done. Or something.

Also, Red Mars is the shit. The two after it are less good.
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  #129  
Unread 14th of July, 2010, 07:33
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For me the line between hard sci-fi and soft sci-fi has always been in the ability of the "science" to go out of date (hard can, soft can't). The perfect example of this is Fallen Angels. The author took the "neutrino problem" of the late 20th century, picked one of the proposed explanations and extrapolated out the consequences to create the setting for his book (which, coincidentally was published about the time that the neutrino problem was solved). This made the book an extremely difficult read for me as I read it long after I'd heard about the neutrino problem and its solution and thus was constantly yelling at the scientists in the book that they were so totally wrong.

Oh, and for those interested in sci-fi and fantasy books in general, I recommend the The Baen Free Library. Its got a whole bunch of books which are free to download and read in it. Some are much better than others, but you can't beat free. Having worked my way through the whole library, there are definitely some authors in it that I'm going to have to go back and check out in more depth (which, of course, is the whole point).
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  #130  
Unread 14th of July, 2010, 08:40
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Baen is awesome. It's how I discovered David Drake and a whole bunch of military sf authors. I haven't read through the whole library like BP, but I have read through 5 or 6 books on there.
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  #131  
Unread 16th of July, 2010, 10:02
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Have I not recommended Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy (plus the stand alone Best Served Cold)? For shame. I highly recommend this to fans of gritty fantasy (hello Black Company fans) who like detailed combats and don't mind finding parallels between real world history and the world the author is trying to construct. Oh, and the trilogy has been completed, so no waiting around for it to be finished.

On the dark modern fantasy side, I cannot recommend Richard Kadrey enough. Both Butcher Bird and Sandman Slim read like really good B-movies with protagonists you almost feel guilty cheering for. Almost. Sandman Slim also possibly contains two of the greatest passages I have ever wished I had written. One dealt with wrecking a Ducati, and the other was the description of the kind of cigarettes you can only find in Hell.
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  #132  
Unread 16th of July, 2010, 10:48
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Okay, now I know what hard sci-fi is. I have been so blind...
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  #133  
Unread 14th of August, 2010, 06:38
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I finished Name of the Wind a few weeks ago and forgot to report back here. It is without a doubt one of the freshest, fastest reads I've ever experienced. If you're on the fence about it because it follows some common genre conventions, don't be. It has great characters, great dialogue and moves along at an incredible pace. I'll take good writing over a book that tries to sustain itself on being a unique snowflake any day.
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  #134  
Unread 15th of August, 2010, 13:01
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Anne McCaffrey books. They are a bit girly in their fantasy but I'm willing to be a fair number of the more well read fantasy people around here have read a book or two of her's. And many would deny it likely as an affront to their manhood. However, they are good in their own way.

I've also heard good things about The Black Company books and will be picking up those soon.

Of course no one has mentioned the great JRR Tolkien books yet. WTF! I mean this thread shouldn't have even existed without his name being mentioned. Shame on you all!

I recently finished reading Jhereg and I would recommend the Steven Brust books. They are a rich, well thought out series.

I know this isn't really the place for it as it is more Sci-Fi but I really enjoyed the Orson Scott Card Enders series of books. Even though they are Sci-Fi they definately have elements of fantasy in them. Same with the Douglas Adams books which are more humorous. If you can find the audio books they are read by the late Douglas Adams and are actually quite a treat to hear told by the author himself.

I have heard good things about David Eddings but have yet to read them. Can anyone give a recommendation for him?

Oh, and anyone who didn't like Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series can suck a nut.
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  #135  
Unread 15th of August, 2010, 20:22
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The Name of the Wind... I started it and enjoyed it, but it didn't really captivate me all that much.

Wheel of Time - did I say it before here? I thoroughly enjoyed books 1-... 4? or 5? After that the plot didn't move forward any longer. And there wasn't any end in sight. Boo!

David Eddings is teenager fantasy imho. I enjoyed a LOT (at least the Belgarida - the Malloreon was the same all over again)! But hey, I was 16 or 17 back then.

I need a recommendation for my trip, btw. Sure, I could look through this thread.... but that would be the hard way for me. Way easier to ask again:
Fantasy, preferably G.R.R. Martin style. Or something as 'light' as The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Entertaining and not too short, please. Any suggestions?
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  #136  
Unread 15th of August, 2010, 21:02
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Try Jhereg. I liked it. Kinda short though.

I have to agree about Wheel of Time though. After book 4 or 5 it trudges through with nothing really happening until like...book 9? I haven't read the newest ones yet though. Maybe it picked back up.
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  #137  
Unread 15th of August, 2010, 21:04
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I hated Anne McCaffrey's Pern books. I wouldn't recommend them to anyone.

Glen Cook's first Black Company book was so full of typos and switching tenses and other grammatical errors that it almost turned me off completely. That said, the story was engaging enough that I slogged through. The second book of the trilogy was better than the first, and the third was my favorite, not the least because it was nearly grammar error-free.

I forgot about Jhereg. I never read any of the sequels, but it was pretty good.

David Eddings got old fast. Of course, I feel the same way about Terry Brooks and Shannara.

Has Raymond Feist been given a plug? I liked the Riftwar Saga, Krondor's Sons, and the Serpentwar saga (3 books, 2 books, and 4 books, respectively).
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  #138  
Unread 15th of August, 2010, 22:43
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“ I have to agree about Wheel of Time though. After book 4 or 5 it trudges through with nothing really happening until like...book 9? I haven't read the newest ones yet though. Maybe it picked back up. ”
IMO, the only books that really dragged were Path of Daggers and Crossroads of Twilight. If the others seem to plod at times, that's because there are so many subplots. I am surprised anyone things book 6 (Lord of Chaos) was slow, though. Tons of shit happened in that book compared to anything up to Winter's Heart and the last two.
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  #139  
Unread 16th of August, 2010, 03:45
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“ Originally Posted by Mercutio # The second book of the trilogy was better than the first, and the third was my favorite, not the least because it was nearly grammar error-free. ”
I had the exact opposite experience. I thought the first book was interesting and engaging, but the second and third were rather humdrum.
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  #140  
Unread 16th of August, 2010, 04:06
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My roommate finally got me to read Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, about a wizard-for-hire in an alternate modern day Chicago, acting as a private detective. It involves a lot of supernatural politics, dealing with the mundane. It has a very World of Darkness feel to it (I thought Butcher, a gamer himself, must have played WoD, but it turns out he was introduced to it partway through the series by fans who noted the similarities). Urban Arcana is another setting that comes to mind. Heck, the characters even play a D&D-like game sometimes.

The first book, Storm Front, felt generic in terms of its plot as a mystery (it was actually a pick for my town's local mystery book club last year). Butcher gets better at masking the how and why as he writes more. But the world was intriguing, and the smartaleck main character, Harry Dresden, was amusing, and his relationships with other characters through the series are a driving force for many plots. Dresden is powerful and somehow important, but much of his knowledge and experience grows through the series, he's not perfect, and he's aware of many of his flaws and limits. He starts the series on probation, and the slightest slip will result in immediate execution. His mistakes and decisions lead to a devastating war between the wizards and the vampire courts that runs as a plot arc through several books in the series--and everyone knows it's his fault. Things from various books come back later to prove important, to wrap things up, and show a much larger, longer running conspiracy and plotline tying Dresden's story together.

The fantasy elements of the setting are diverse; 3 courts of vampires that follow different aspects of those myths, Faeries both silly and terrifying (mostly the latter), multiple types of werewolves to explore those legends, a variety of shape changers, scary nightmare critters from different mythologies, and demons bound to 30 pieces of silver eternally fighting the mortal Knights carrying swords forged with nails from the Cross, are among the enemies and allies Dresden deals with. If it's a fantasy/mythology trope, eventually it'll turn up, even if it's just a mention or flat-out debunked in Dresden's world. Some stuff even seems new, or at least given a fresh twist.

James Marsters voices the audio books, and there's a comic version of the novels being produced. Don't judge the novels by the SyFy series that apparently altered quite a lot of the story and characters, and only lasted a season.

Butcher's traditional fantasy series is Codex Alera which I've yet to start, so can't review that. Maybe later.

***

A page or so back I suggested Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion books. After 20 years in Sci-Fi, she's returned to Paks' world in Oath of Fealty, the beginning of a new trilogy told from varying points of view by characters who had known Paks. Again, I enjoyed the military aspects, and the "real" feel of the world and the lower key magic (though one of the main characters is a mage, so has a bit more mystic involvement). It does seem like some things are a little too neatly resolved, or done off screen, but the story moves forward very quickly, and has more political involvement than most of the earlier books. It's also the beginning of the new storyline, so some things may not be as resolved as they appear. The next book coming in March is Kings of the North, and I am looking forward to picking it up.

Last edited by LynMars; 16th of August, 2010 at 04:08.
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  #141  
Unread 16th of August, 2010, 04:14
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So the Dresden books get "better" than Storm Front? I felt really let down by that book. So many people told me how excellent it was that I bought it. I was so disappointed, I traded it away on Paperbackswap for something else (I think I got Vance's The Eyes of the Overworld, which I found far more interesting and better written).
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  #142  
Unread 16th of August, 2010, 04:29
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Honestly, I read Storm Front and wondered what the hype was about, as the plot was very transparent. It didn't strike me as absolutely amazing; solid enough, but not inspiring the rabid fanaticism in its fans I'd noticed.

But I gave the next book a try, and the ones after that, and became very involved with the characters, and I like the way the world grows. There are still some flaws, and the formula is roughly the same throughout, but there is an improvement and now I do understand why people like the series and its characters so much.

The series is very character and relationship driven, I feel. Part of that comes from the first person p.o.v. and how Harry interacts with everyone. Many of his decisions are based on how they affect the people around him, even if it's to his or others' detriment. It's mainly the character and his failings and triumphs people are drawn to, less than the plot, I think. Though like most series authors, Butcher's skill grows in that regard.
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  #143  
Unread 16th of August, 2010, 22:04
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“ Originally Posted by Mercutio I hated Anne McCaffrey's Pern books. I wouldn't recommend them to anyone. ”
Oh, I really liked them (and yes, I'll need to go out and do something to prove my manliness now). The Harper Hall books I found a very enjoyable read. I only recommend them with the caveat that they are borderline romance, though.


“ Has Raymond Feist been given a plug? I liked the Riftwar Saga, Krondor's Sons, and the Serpentwar saga (3 books, 2 books, and 4 books, respectively). ”
I read one of those - I think it was the Serpentwar saga. I found it pretty generic and rather similar to the bad D&D fiction that TSR / WoTC puts out. I heard that the series with Magician: Apprentice was better but I couldn't bring myself to read it.
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  #144  
Unread 16th of August, 2010, 22:25
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The Riftwar Saga (Magician: Apprentice to Silverthorn) was far better, but I didn't think Serpentwar was as bad as some of the D&D fiction. Granted, it has been ten years or so since I read them, so who knows what I'd think now.
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  #145  
Unread 16th of August, 2010, 22:29
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“ I didn't think Serpentwar was as bad as some of the D&D fiction ”
Well, nothing is as bad as some of the D&D fiction .

But really, while it reminded me of bad D&D fiction it was definitely better than that. But still, that isn't high praise and it isn't something I'd consider reading again.
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  #146  
Unread 17th of August, 2010, 11:53
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Without a doubt Magician was the best, simply for the fact that he had no idea how to write a book so he broke all the "rules" and ended up with something quite good. Silverthorn is fun, but pretty much a straight DnD adventure and Darkness at Sethanon gets a bit ... epic fantasy, but it works.

The Serpent War Saga were perhaps more traditional, but I did like it (except for Rise of a Merchant Prince where he goes off the deep end with the sex), but it may work better for people who are already fans of the series. Rage of a Demon King alone worked great as detailing the battle they'd been building up to.

Not that I'd recommend people start there. Magician is a must read for fans of fantasy, and then if you like that, well why not try the next book?
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  #147  
Unread 18th of August, 2010, 04:28
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I highly recommend the Codex Alera.
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  #148  
Unread 18th of August, 2010, 10:48
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I cannot believe that I have yet to shill for American Gods. The authorial crush I developed for Neil Gaiman after reading this modern fantasy is as fervent as it is embarrassing.
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  #149  
Unread 18th of August, 2010, 17:23
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I presumed it just went without saying, Cad. That I didn't spot what was going on in that book when it was so in your face really does go to show that Neil Gaiman is a gifted, gifted man. One day I'll eat his heart and gain his courage. Largely as I'm not sure which organ houses writing ability.
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  #150  
Unread 18th of August, 2010, 21:39
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Actually, Cad, I know you've pimped American Gods to me. For some reason I thought it was in this thread already.
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