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Lucky Day May 29th, 2007 06:08

A History of Britain.

warweasel1 May 29th, 2007 07:15

Just began reading Undaunted Courage, and also mixing in the last few chapters from a re-read of The Omnivore's Dilemma for variety.

I've found some of the fantasy staples to be just impenetrable; for every author I've enjoyed (Tolkien, Moorcock etc) there have been a few others that I've been unable to get on with (I attempted Ouroboros once on a friend's recommendation and bogged down shortly after a strange scene in a kitchen, not too deep in; later restarts I didn't even get quite that far!). Some of the current 'bigs' have just never caught my fancy (Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, R.A. Salvatore and friends) either, which I regret as they've certainly put out a lot of work and it would be nice to fall in love with their writing.

For some relatively recent, multi-part epic fantasy though I can whole-heartedly cheer for these series: Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher, the Tamir Triad by Lynn Flewelling, and the Chalion novels by Lois McMaster Bujold. For a new series to start and grow with, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss came out just recently, and is a very, very good debut novel in what looks to become a wonderful series.

In fact there are several decent to good authors/series available right now, it seems as though coming off of the success of the Lord of the Rings films a lot of authors and publishers took a turn at the genre, with some pretty positive results. For me though these particular authors/series just seem to be head and shoulders above the rest in terms of quality plots, characters and overall writing.

zer0 May 30th, 2007 06:38


Originally Posted by Cormac (Post 30192)
For fantasy I recommend Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series, older tales that far surpass anything that's written today in the genre (even though I can't really say because I don't read contemporary stuff but I'm sure it's all abysmal from the little that I tried, i.e. Salvatore, Feist and a couple of other hacks). Off the top of my head, also The Worm Ouroboros by Eddison, The Face in the Frost (a very good short novel about two wizards), can't recall the name of the author though, and the books on mythic China written by Barry Hughart: Bridge of Birds and Eight Skilled Gentlemen. I also liked Zelazny's Amber books. You can read each one while taking a shower, they are so short.

Cool. Thanks.
Eh… how do you read a book in the shower?

Corwin May 30th, 2007 08:46

Carefully and Quickly, unless it has waterproof paper!! :)

Cleric May 30th, 2007 21:18


Originally Posted by zer0 (Post 30161)
What would be a good fantasy book/s for someone relatively new to the genre? This and 'The Lord of the Rings' are the only fantasy I've really tried. Very much into SF - Philip K. Dick, Silverberg, Heinlein etc.

I can recommend Katharine Kerr's "Novels of Deverry", starting with the book "Daggerspell". It takes a little getting used to her writing style, as she jumps back and forth in time, but you'll get the hang of it quick enough.

I just finished reading "The Gold Falcon" and am waiting for her latest, "The Spirit Stone" to be published in paperback.

Mageoffire June 1st, 2007 07:05

I'm reading Bobby Henderson's The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Bill James's The Politics of Glory

xSamhainx June 1st, 2007 07:43

CSS - The Definitive Guide

I know that I'll most likely be using design tools such as Dreamweaver etc in the future, but I'm the type of purrson that likes to know the rudimentary elements thoroughly first. Right now my design is solely done with a nice little free program called Programmer's Notepad, and windows notepad.

Also picked up "HTML Utopia: Designing without tables using CSS". This book caught my eye because I see so many websites, that upon viewing their source, I see that they are almost completely designed using nothing but tables.

Yuck. It works, but to me it's disappointing to view a nice site's code and see that they just plunked down a bunch of content in cells in one big grid. It's tempting at times to use tables, and they definitely do have their place, but I definitely want to avoid using them for anything other than tabular data or things like thumbnail galleries.

woges June 1st, 2007 13:19


Originally Posted by Cormac (Post 29033)
They are my favourite fantasy works. Great stuff.

It's easy to see why, actually well written, fun yet extremely dark in places, sword & sorcery. I'm still going through them but it had me laughing on the train to London (in a good way).

magerette June 2nd, 2007 03:18

Started rereading the first book in Mary Stewart's Merlin series, The Crystal Cave--written in the seventies in a style(that looks to me anyway)heavily influenced by Mary Renault's Theseus books(The King Must Die, The Bull from the Sea, ); nonetheless it's a good read that attempts to reconcile history with fantasy, i.e. we have the names of all the early Brittons and Saxons, concrete mementos of the crumbling of Rome, and Merlin learning how to summon fire and charm warts. You can see a bit of the T.H. White influence as well. Good escapism.

Jaz August 2nd, 2007 22:42

…and another bump, just for magerette.

narpet August 2nd, 2007 23:05

I'm reading Fred Saberhagen's Empire of the East right now. It's a great book and he is, IMO, a great writer.

I'm reading it again now as a sort of remembrance since he just passed away last month. We lost one of the pioneers of the genre (sci-fi/fantasy), and a genuinely nice person.

magerette August 2nd, 2007 23:08


Originally Posted by Jaz (Post 38688)
…and another bump, just for magerette.

You guys rock. :)
Edit: Okay, I moved this in from the other book thread to keep things from becoming too schizoid:

Wishes do come true, eh? Thanks HiddenX. Now what is everybody reading? Besides narpet?

You ARE reading, right, expanding your young minds and vocabularies?? Exploring the frontiers of other cultures and ways of life? Learning new expressions and visiting the farthest realms of imagination?

**Yes, comic books count. (Especially The Sandman.) Even game manuals, around here.**

Good. Mother is proud. Please share :)

At the moment I'm reading the first volume of the Dark Tower, The Gunslinger, by Stephen King. I've been meaning to read this series for a long time, but kept putting it off waiting for the last book. Now that that has been published I have no excuse. I'm only on page five, but already weirded out. ;)

Corwin August 3rd, 2007 08:25

Sorry, don't know that book, who wrote it?

Corwin August 3rd, 2007 08:40

The Shinto Mage trilogy by Dale Elvey

txa1265 August 3rd, 2007 10:37

Recently read:

- Day Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko - I had already read Night Watch (and played the game and watched the DVD) so this was a natural when it was released in the US (it is a translation from Russian). It was quite good, perhaps not as good as the first, but still a nice read. The last one - Twilight Watch - was just released, and I'll grab that one soon enough.

- The Road by Cormac McCarthy - I knew very little about this other than liking his 'All the Pretty Horses' ages ago. This was a fairly quick read, but was stark and harsh and written in language that was at once sketchy and descriptive. Not an easy thing to read, but a really good book.

… now I'm working on the Best of H. P. Lovecraftbook that GamerDad had recommended …

danutz_plusplus August 3rd, 2007 10:45

Currently reading Pandora - The Jesus Incident. It's the first book of the Pandora Triloogy. A really great SF book written by Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom that depicts God as a ship, an artificial conciseness created by mankind.

Prime Junta August 3rd, 2007 11:12

I've been gobbling up Iain M. Banks's novels. Perfect summer reading. I particularly liked The Use of Weapons; had to read it three times to make sense of it, but it was worth it. I liked Consider Phlebas and The Algebraist almost as much.

Just finished Excession, and found it a bit too transparently preachy and thought the ending was a bit lame (although not as much as The State Of The Art, which I didn't care much for). Started on Player Of Games.

I'm also reading a history of 20th century Iran.

Prime Junta August 3rd, 2007 11:18


Originally Posted by txa1265 (Post 38778)
… now I'm working on the Best of H. P. Lovecraftbook that GamerDad had recommended …

Yah, HPL is something of a "must-read" I guess, if only to get all the pop-culture references to him that are literally all over the place (especially in games).

To be honest, I've enjoyed stumbling across the Cthulhu Mythos in surprising contexts much more than reading the actual original stories. Even though they're really marvelously imagined, they're often so god-awfully badly written that it's almost not worth it. (The exceptions are At The Mountains Of Madness and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, where he manages to keep his adjectives under control. Most of the time.)

I've particularly enjoyed Neil Gaiman's spin on it -- once you're done with that book, I'd nudge you towards Shadows Over Baker Street (which contains Gaiman's "A Study In Emerald")… and then there's that one short story about an American backpacker stumbling into an English seaside village named Innsmouth, sharing a few pints of Shoggoth's Old Peculiar with the oddly batrachian ("means, 'looks like a bloody frog,' dunnit?") locals…

dteowner August 3rd, 2007 14:28

Just about done with "Voice of the Gods" by Trudi Canavan. Nothing special, but a pleasant read. This concluding volume, as usual, is much better than book 2 of the trilogy.

magerette August 3rd, 2007 15:55


Originally Posted by Prime Junta (Post 38783)
Yah, HPL is something of a "must-read" *snip*…

…Even though they're really marvelously imagined, they're often so god-awfully badly written that it's almost not worth it.

They remind me a lot of the Robert E. Howard opus in that respect. The writing often gets in the way of the magnitude of the literary event that is their work. No one else could probably have written it better, yet as you say, sometimes the purple prose is overwhelming.


I've particularly enjoyed Neil Gaiman's spin on it -- once you're done with that book, I'd nudge you towards Shadows Over Baker Street (which contains Gaiman's "A Study In Emerald")…
Thanks for the reference to this book. I had no idea Gaiman had written a Holmes pastiche,especially with Lovecraftian overtones. This collection is definitely a new take (though Daniel Stashower did venture into the territory with The Adventure of the Ectoplasmic Man.)
If you care at all for that sort of thing, I recommend Michael Kurland's The Infernal Device where he explores the Holmesian world with Professor Moriarty as the protagonist, and Holmes as an almost certifiable paranoid. Quite well done. :)

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