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Michael Barnes
August 18, 2022
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Godtear Beats the Odds - Review

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thegiantbrain
August 18, 2022
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thegiantbrain
August 11, 2022
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WadeMonnig
August 10, 2022
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oliverkinne
August 09, 2022
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thegiantbrain
August 04, 2022
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oliverkinne
August 01, 2022
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Scout Board Game Review

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oliverkinne
July 29, 2022
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thegiantbrain
July 28, 2022
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WadeMonnig
July 27, 2022
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oliverkinne
July 26, 2022
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thegiantbrain
July 25, 2022
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The Split - Review

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thegiantbrain
July 21, 2022
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Fantasy Series to Read Recommendation

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16 Apr 2010 15:20 #59988 by Almalik
Chabon is over-rated. I read Wonder Boys and Kavalier & Klay, and neither inspired me to seek out any of his other work.

I read the first Black Company book, and that was enough.

Try the first Bakker Book in The Prince of Nothing series. Yes, it borrows heavily from the crusades, but it is very well written.

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16 Apr 2010 15:52 #60002 by Not Sure
Shellhead wrote:

Try some Barry Hughart. He wrote three splendid books featuring the adventures of venerable Master Li and his loyal sidekick Number Ten Ox. Take the Sherlock Holmes and make him an elderly Chinese scholar, and set his adventures in an ancient China where magic is possible. Put Watson on major steroids. Dial up the action and mix in a wry sense of humor and a sly knowledge of human nature. You can read them in any order, but the first book is The Bridge of Birds.


Heartily seconded. "Bridge of Birds" is easy to find, the other two are not. They've been out of print for a long time, so check your libraries. That's what I had to do. Fantastic books.

Or Tim Powers. Most of his books are standalone fantasy works set in a particular historical setting, some of which are modern. For each work, he creates a unique system of magic grounded in the folklore of the setting and odd historical details. His only trilogy starts well, but is less entertaining after the first book. Fortunately, that first book (Last Call) stands nicely on its own. One of his best books, On Stranger Tides, was shamelessly ripped off by Disney for the Pirates series, but is now getting added in as the upcoming fourth movie in the series.


It's not so much a "trilogy" as a "combined sequel". I think Expiration Date stands alone just fine. Earthquake Weather was pretty good, but there were too many redundant characters because of the combined sequel thing. Powers is one of my favorite genre writers, though. I just finished re-reading "The Stress of Her Regard", his vampire-Byron-Shelley book. That's also excellent, but I think "Declare" will always be my favorite of his.

I started reading the Temeraire stuff a few days ago. Starts well. No other comment yet.

I think Chabon loves the sound of his own voice a bit too much. A lot of Kavalier and Klay was just laughable in the use of heavy rarely-used vocabulary words. It calmed down a bit eventually, but the beginning frustrated some people I know enough to nix it. I have "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" on the shelf to read, but I haven't been itching to grab it.

Jonathen Lethem's "Fortress of Solitude" is my standard recommendation instead of "Kavalier and Klay" for a comic-infused hunk of lit. It has some odd elements, but is not really a fantasy or SF novel.

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16 Apr 2010 18:08 #60023 by metalface13
I started reading "Fortress of Solitude" and could not get into it. "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay" on the other hand is excellent. You guys must have your heads on backwards. Kavalier and Klay helped set me back on the road to geekdom. The Escapists spin-off comic by Brian K. Vaughan is also great.

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16 Apr 2010 18:51 #60028 by Not Sure
I didn't say Kavalier and Klay wasn't good, I just think it's overwritten. His vocabulary choices in that are deliberately obscure, I think. (I'm not intimidated by big words, I just found it distracting. Some of my friends found it too distracting, and abandoned the book.)

Comics are a background to "Fortress of Solitude", not the whole deal. I think all of Lethem's work is excellent, though.

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16 Apr 2010 19:40 #60031 by metalface13
Almalik said it was overrated. HE'S overrated.

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17 Apr 2010 00:04 #60049 by Saganesque
Shellhead wrote:


Jack Vance is a fabulous wordsmith, and you should definitely try his Dying Earth books.


I heartily endorse the Jack Vance recommendation. I've not read his Lyonesse series, which is high fantasy, though I do have it on the shelf. His female characters are not his strong suit, but his storytelling is compelling and flat fun to read. I enjoyed the better part of "Planet of Adventure" and enjoy it as rich, "Star Wars"-like sword-and-planet fare. Highly recommended.

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17 Apr 2010 02:14 - 17 Apr 2010 02:14 #60055 by moss_icon
jeb wrote:

Sorry to piss in folks' cornflakes, but most fantasy/SF writes can't write for shit.


i don't think you're pissing, just stating a fact. but i also don't think people read fantasy / sci fi for literary wonder, so who gives a shit eh?
Last edit: 17 Apr 2010 02:14 by moss_icon.

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17 Apr 2010 16:52 #60100 by Saganesque
moss_icon wrote:

jeb wrote:

Sorry to piss in folks' cornflakes, but most fantasy/SF writes can't write for shit.


i don't think you're pissing, just stating a fact. but i also don't think people read fantasy / sci fi for literary wonder, so who gives a shit eh?


I disagree with this. My genre lit still has to have decent writing. But I'm very picky, much more than others in this regard I think. That's what makes Vance a fairly easy recommendation. The writing is good. He has some pot boilers, but in the main he's quite readable and enjoyable if your reading needs some literary muscle on the bone.

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20 Apr 2010 13:22 #60349 by Columbob
jeb wrote:

Who's writing good books in SF or Fantasy? Or rather, who in SF or fantasy writes well?


Fritz Leiber, China Miéville, Jeff Vandermeer, R. Scott Bakker, Susannah Clarke...actually Leiber's deceased, so he's obviously not writing anymore.

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20 Apr 2010 13:45 #60354 by OldHippy
The best fantasy series I ever read was the Gormenghast triology by Mervyn Peake and A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay.

These are older books but as foundational as LOTR or Narnia (and better too).

Newer stuff?? Who knows.

For imaginative, could be called fantasy or Sci-Fi I suppose but just awesome story telling that both Lost and The Sixth Sense ripped off try one of my Favorites - The Third Policeman by Flann O' Brien. Also quite old.

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20 Apr 2010 13:49 #60355 by Shellhead
I read the first book of the Gormenghast trilogy and then gave up. I hated all of the characters and didn't want to read about them anymore.

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20 Apr 2010 14:13 #60359 by Rliyen
I think my favorite series was the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson. Loved the first three books, but the last set were HORRIBLE. Like Dune, stick with the first three and you'll be fine.

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20 Apr 2010 14:39 #60363 by jeb
I'm adding a bunch of Plan To Reads to my Shelfari profile . I'm going to eat my own dog food and tell you guys my genre favorites. SF and Fantasy, I can't be bothered to pick them apart....

THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy
DUNE by Frank Herbert
SNOW CRASH by Neal Stephenson
THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien
1984 by George Orwell
SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
THE DRAWING OF THE THREE by Stephen King
THE WATCHMEN by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

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20 Apr 2010 15:09 #60375 by metalface13
jeb wrote:

I'm adding a bunch of Plan To Reads to my Shelfari profile . I'm going to eat my own dog food and tell you guys my genre favorites. SF and Fantasy, I can't be bothered to pick them apart....

THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy
DUNE by Frank Herbert
SNOW CRASH by Neal Stephenson
THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien
1984 by George Orwell
SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
THE DRAWING OF THE THREE by Stephen King
THE WATCHMEN by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons


Excellent, excellent choices Jeb. I assume you've read the first book in King's The Dark Tower series though?

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20 Apr 2010 17:19 #60409 by jeb
metalface13 wrote:

jeb wrote:

I'm adding a bunch of Plan To Reads to my Shelfari profile . I'm going to eat my own dog food and tell you guys my genre favorites. SF and Fantasy, I can't be bothered to pick them apart....

THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy
DUNE by Frank Herbert
SNOW CRASH by Neal Stephenson
THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien
1984 by George Orwell
SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
THE DRAWING OF THE THREE by Stephen King
THE WATCHMEN by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons


Excellent, excellent choices Jeb. I assume you've read the first book in King's The Dark Tower series though?

I read them all. I picked the one I enjoyed most. THE GUNSLINGER is pretty uneven--it works better as a foreword than as a standalone novel.

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