1. This segment is aimed mostly at my fellow bloggers, but hopefully will be of interest to everyone. I’ve been thinking of doing some blogger roundtables for a while – just 4 or 5 of us taking a half-hour or so in a chat room to talk about some element of the books we love, such as:
- Unlikeable and boring characters – do they kill books? What puts a character here for you?
- Your favourite unusual books
- Hard vs Soft Magic
- Your books that go against the grain
- Exploring the back catalogues
I already have a number of bloggers interested but would love to hear from other bloggers who might be interested, or just interested fantasy fans in general.
Also, I’d love to hear ideas for discussion. One idea I’ve had with this is for it to grow into something with multiple hosts, the roundtable taking its turn on various blogs. If ideas are out there and grabbing people, that might be a way to get the ball rolling.
2. Woo woo, let’s talk reviews.
Ollie at Infinite Speculation has an intriguing sounding review of Kings of a Dead World by Jamie Mollart
Also intriguing was the review of MJ Kuhn’s Among Thieves over at Realms of My Mind
Also much hyped is Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao, and Katie is here to tell you why
I haven’t yet read Azucchi’s review of Anthony Ryan’s The Pariah as I need to read the damn thing myself, but I trust Azucchi’s reviewing anyway
Finally, people keep telling me to read Ryka Aoki’s Light From Uncommon Stars, and Andrew’s review adds to that
3. Other fun articles and news
Tor.com has an article about the Dragonlance series as a gateway into fantasy
Speaking of the D&D Fantasy that is Dragonlance, Jodie’s got a bunch of authors talking about D&D over at Witty & Sarcastic Bookclub, including this one by Maer Cycle author Dan Fitzgerald
Speaking of authors releasing, Quenby Olson’s Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide (To The Care and Feeding of British Dragons) and Thomas Riley’s We Break Immortals are both on pre-release.
And speaking of pockets, what’s in mine certainly isn’t a fuck, which brings me to this post on where to put an f-bomb into Lord of the Rings which is fantastic
Me, I want the following exchange –
E: I fear neither death nor pain
A: What do you fear, my lady?
E: A fucking cage
4. Blog of the week. Doomscribe is a great fella who does some wonderful insightful reviews, such as this one of RJ Barker’s The Bone Ship’s Wake. It sounds like it destroyed him a little, so I’ve got to give him some recognition, right?
5. So I saw this tweet full of Le Guin’s wisdom, and I find myself very intrigued by it
I find myself agreeing with a lot of it – cheering at it – but I immediately find myself questioning it as a blanket statement. My initial thought was about Grimdark, something seen as nihilistic and/or “this is the way it is” by many people – one example being my own work here. And immediately flowing from that is the idea it isn’t “It ought to be this way” – how many authors can you think of quickly who seem to have utopian leanings? I’m sure everyone else who’s read Mercedes Lackey can think of one. Maybe these stories aren’t what Le Guin thinks fantasy should be but here they are, in the building.
Yet at the same time, there’s definitely always going to be a “it doesn’t have to be like that” situation to fantasy. Fantasy is the world but different, almost always.
I think my amendment to Le Guin’s words would be that there is the starting point, but it invites all sorts of follow ups. “It should be like this”. “It doesn’t have to be like that but it is”. “It doesn’t have to be like that if X happens”. Most books will have multiple of those follow ups. Fantasy can be nihilistic, utopian, dystopian, satirical, moralistic, irreverent, or just there for fun escapism. The nature of the escape is almost endless.
Anyway, have a good escape into the weekend all.