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  #11851  
Old 07-31-2017, 01:02 PM
ThricebornPhoenix ThricebornPhoenix is offline
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Originally Posted by taosterman View Post
I know this board is full of fantasy fanatics, and I'm not trying to be contrarian or shout I DON'T LIKE THING — I'm just wondering if anyone else here has hit this wall before, and whether there are any particular series or authors who have helped you overcome it.
For me, this happened because I had been reading books with a lot of filler and few ideas. It was Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun - so dense with meaning that I have spent hours at a time thinking about a single paragraph - that got me back into reading. Since then I've been much more selective about what I read and haven't really run into that problem again (although, after reading two dozen Discworld novels consecutively, I needed to take a break).

Your particular wall may be different; I'm not familiar with the book you mentioned, nor its author. I also don't know what you are actually looking for in a book (aside from deeper world building than you have been finding).
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  #11852  
Old 07-31-2017, 01:50 PM
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For my part, I devoured The Fifth Season and the rest of the author's work quickly thereafter. Looking forward to the sequel in a few weeks. Maybe her work just isn't for you. Maybe it is your headspace. (I think that might've been why I found Morrison's Doom Patrol was such a slog, but I don't feel any particular need to try getting through it ever again)
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  #11853  
Old 07-31-2017, 02:43 PM
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For a long time, fantasy wasn't interesting to me because everything looked like it was cut from the same Tolkien-esque elves/dwarves/dragons cloth. Which I like better in video games than books.

But then I learned a bit more about the history of the genre (with a lot of help from Lin Carter's Ballantine Adult Fantasy series) as well as the pulpier dark fantasy stuff coming from Fritz Leiber, Clark Ashton Smith, and Jack Vance, and I gained more interest than I ever had before.
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  #11854  
Old 07-31-2017, 02:51 PM
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I mean, modern fantasy hasn't been like that in a while; straight Tolkien-esque pastiches and retreads haven't been super popular in a decade or two; The Wheel of Time is probably the last of those and that finished up years ago. Though I did remember Brandon Sanderson's own fantasy epic, but he spends most of his time writing other things.

A lot of modern fantasy tends to the darker and pulpier end, partially because of people rediscovering the older pulp works and in part to a lot of writers also being D&D and Pathfinder fiends.
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  #11855  
Old 07-31-2017, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavelsAreNeat View Post
For my part, I devoured The Fifth Season and the rest of the author's work quickly thereafter. Looking forward to the sequel in a few weeks. Maybe her work just isn't for you. Maybe it is your headspace. (I think that might've been why I found Morrison's Doom Patrol was such a slog, but I don't feel any particular need to try getting through it ever again)
I think I was just in a mood — I picked up the book again, reached a major twist, and am starting to enjoy it for what it is. My wife also helpfully spoiled that the three characters are the same person at different points in her life, which I hadn't managed to guess, and that struck me as so clever that my interest was piqued anew.

re: Book of the New Sun, I read the first two books a few years ago and had trouble getting into them, but I was thinking of giving them another go once Loki's podcast starts covering the series. It wasn't so much that it was obtuse as much as that I really didn't like how Wolfe portrayed his female characters, but I might just have to shrug and let that slide. And it might not be as bad as I remember.
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  #11856  
Old 08-01-2017, 08:32 AM
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Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
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  #11857  
Old 08-01-2017, 08:45 AM
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I too, am reading Meddling Kids now.

"IT, except also Scooby Doo" is one of those concepts that seems obvious on the face of it and yet somehow nobody has ever thought of it until now.

Also it's a book that frequently has stage directions. Which is a weird stylistic choice, but I can roll with it.
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  #11858  
Old 08-01-2017, 09:10 AM
ThricebornPhoenix ThricebornPhoenix is offline
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Originally Posted by taosterman View Post
It wasn't so much that it was obtuse as much as that I really didn't like how Wolfe portrayed his female characters, but I might just have to shrug and let that slide. And it might not be as bad as I remember.
It's been a while for me, so I don't remember details like that well. I know Wolfe doesn't really write strong female characters, but I'm not in a position to debate the issue.

It's not really about BotNS, though. I was just trying to say that the one time I had doubts about continuing to read fantasy novels, it was because I needed more sophisticated works than what I had been reading. Not much more, necessarily, just enough to give me an excuse to engage my brain while reading.
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  #11859  
Old 08-01-2017, 09:20 AM
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Fantasy novels tend to just universally be terrible in their portrayals of women. Even if the writer is a woman, it doesn't always help.
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  #11860  
Old 08-01-2017, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
I too, am reading Meddling Kids now.

"IT, except also Scooby Doo" is one of those concepts that seems obvious on the face of it and yet somehow nobody has ever thought of it until now.

Also it's a book that frequently has stage directions. Which is a weird stylistic choice, but I can roll with it.
Even more bizarre is how the stage directions usually break out right in the middle of a paragraph. Makes me wonder if the author started the thing as a screenplay, but then decided it would work better as a novel, but then decided some passages worked better like as if they were a screenplay.
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  #11861  
Old 08-01-2017, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Solitayre View Post
Fantasy novels tend to just universally be terrible in their portrayals of women. Even if the writer is a woman, it doesn't always help.
As a whole, I can't say you're wrong. And my favorite genre is fantasy. But if you care enough, it doesn't take much effort to find fantasy novels that treat women as real characters. Defaulting to women authors is a start (albeit not, as you say, a guarantee).
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  #11862  
Old 08-01-2017, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
"IT, except also Scooby Doo" is one of those concepts that seems obvious on the face of it and yet somehow nobody has ever thought of it until now.
Oh, I'm sure people have thought of it, in that after-hours-discussion-over-bad-takeout-food kind of way. No one was brave enough to put it to paper until now.
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  #11863  
Old 08-01-2017, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosewood View Post
As a whole, I can't say you're wrong. And my favorite genre is fantasy. But if you care enough, it doesn't take much effort to find fantasy novels that treat women as real characters. Defaulting to women authors is a start (albeit not, as you say, a guarantee).
There are exceptions, of course. But it just comes at an unfortunate crossroads of taking place in worlds of antiquated cultural norms (where women were property),running on fairy tale logic (where women are objects to be saved and adored but almost never characters of agency) and with the primary audience being nerd culture (who hate women with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.)
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  #11864  
Old 08-01-2017, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Solitayre View Post
There are exceptions, of course. But it just comes at an unfortunate crossroads of taking place in worlds of antiquated cultural norms (where women were property),running on fairy tale logic (where women are objects to be saved and adored but almost never characters of agency) and with the primary audience being nerd culture (who hate women with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.)
If you think these are the genre defaults today, I dunno what to say. Maybe this list will work as a counterexample.
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  #11865  
Old 08-01-2017, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosewood View Post
If you think these are the genre defaults today, I dunno what to say. Maybe this list will work as a counterexample.
Quote:
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1)
I'm baffled as to how that book is at the top of the recommendations. I wasn't able to make it through the second chapter. The narrative feels too... heavy on context. Like, I couldn't keep up with the universe.
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  #11866  
Old 08-01-2017, 12:25 PM
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I think Ancillary Justice is pretty well-regarded. I read it earlier this year and liked it, but I can kinda see what you mean.
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  #11867  
Old 08-01-2017, 12:26 PM
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That's pretty understandable. The book throws you into the deep end of the pool and assumes you're already wearing some floaties.

It definitely grows on you but it's happy to put its least scrutable foot forward.
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  #11868  
Old 08-01-2017, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Büge View Post
I'm baffled as to how that book is at the top of the recommendations. I wasn't able to make it through the second chapter. The narrative feels too... heavy on context. Like, I couldn't keep up with the universe.
It was the fan/award darling of its year, and that year wasn't too long ago, accounts for that. As much as I enjoyed it, I had difficulty up to page 100 or so. Once it clicked that carried me through the rest of the series.
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  #11869  
Old 08-01-2017, 01:37 PM
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I liked it a lot, though I found the protagonist very relatable, which probably helped.
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  #11870  
Old 08-01-2017, 02:27 PM
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I liked it a lot, though I found the protagonist very relatable, which probably helped.
Breqs history and situation are common to us all, I feel.
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  #11871  
Old 08-01-2017, 02:36 PM
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A couple of oldies-but-goodies when it comes to the portrayal of women in fantasy are The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley.

Short books (too short! I want more!), the women are well-written, and they are just fantastic reads. I have re-read them every couple of years since I was a teenager--they're that good.

On topic, I stubbornly refuse to give up YA books and therefore am reading Erika Johansen's Queen of the Tearling trilogy--which is the only postapocalyptic YA fantasy I have read in the last few years that I've actually enjoyed.
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  #11872  
Old 08-02-2017, 05:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Büge View Post
The narrative feels too... heavy on context. Like, I couldn't keep up with the universe.
The Ancillary books have hooks that will draw in fans of Left Hand of Darkness, or want more Culture novels, or love puzzling out details the narrator doesn't care about. An alien viewpoint in an complex setting is like catnip to some readers.

If you're not primed for that kind of experience, it's overwhelming.
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  #11873  
Old 08-02-2017, 06:49 AM
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I reread The Golden Compass for the first time in twenty years and good news, it's still good.

But man am I old now. I no longer find myself identifying with Lyra but with all the beleaguered old men around her trying to keep her out of trouble.
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  #11874  
Old 08-02-2017, 08:13 AM
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Reminds me of my reaction when I read the Ramona Quimby books last year. At the time I'd only just gotten a new job after exhausting my Unemployment, so the ongoing arc of her father losing his job and trying to find a new one somewhat hit home for me.
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  #11875  
Old 08-02-2017, 12:18 PM
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Reminds me of my reaction when I read the Ramona Quimby books last year. At the time I'd only just gotten a new job after exhausting my Unemployment, so the ongoing arc of her father losing his job and trying to find a new one somewhat hit home for me.
The Quimby family's working-class precariousness was something that stuck with me for years. I still remember the story where hungry Ramona watches her babysitter's family eat without asking to join them because "pork chops [are] expensive".

e: It was in part incomprehensible to me, in part horrifying to me. It's unthinkable in my culture to let any guest, much less a child, go hungry while you eat.
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  #11876  
Old 08-02-2017, 03:01 PM
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I recently watched The Lion in Winter, so that inspired me to start reading When Christ and His Saints Slept, Sharon Kay Penman's series about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine
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  #11877  
Old 08-03-2017, 06:51 AM
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I read Stephen King's The Long Walk (written under the name Richard Bachman). It was an interesting conceit to watch the participants of a literal death march under the guise of a reality game show competition but the execution of the premise didn't really do anything terribly interesting with it.

Continuing down the path of hoping to find a scary book to read I'm currently about halfway through with King's Cujo which, despite an excellently eerie introduction and setup has so far been rather disappointing. The first full third of the book is just setting up characters and scenarios and the horror that was promised in the beginning has totally failed to manifest to this point.

I'm alternating that with a re-read of Andy Weir's The Martian which I absolutely adored the first time I read it and hasn't lost any of its luster the second time around. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Weir's next planned novel is more about aliens and telepathy which, if it is the case, seems terribly misguided. He does a fantastic job in The Martian of creating a hero who solves his way through Herculean problems set upon him by nature and circumstance. I love this story that's all about solving problems and would hope that his next book can scratch that same itch.
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  #11878  
Old 08-03-2017, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
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Breqs history and situation are common to us all, I feel.
also

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  #11879  
Old 08-05-2017, 05:12 PM
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Thanks to Drac and Pos for recommending Meddling Kids, as that was a fine piece of literature (already picked up Supernatural Enhancements by the same author). As noted, it's IT by way of Scooby Doo (specifically Mystery Inc., the book oozed Mystery Inc), but it works by playing with both the obvious inspiration (the titular meddling kids are all different people as adults then when they were children) and fourth-wall breaking jokes in the narration. Once you get used to the weird decision to insert stage directions mid paragraph, it's fantastic. One of the most enjoyable books I've read this year.

Next up is Jeff Vandermeers new book, Borne. Which presumably has nothing to do with the amnesiac murder-spy.
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  #11880  
Old 08-05-2017, 06:14 PM
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I put Meddling Kids on hold in my digital library, so I'm excited to be able to read it soon
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