Yearly Targets 2018

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ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #105 on: August 02, 2018, 10:06:23 pm »
Quote from:  ThoughtsofThelli
I have read The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and would recommend it. I really enjoyed the exploration of how people who could remember their past lives (well, the same life over and over, but you get what I mean) would try to change the world/society (or choose not to do it), and how it affected their mental well-being, personality, etc

Yea, I'm starting it tonight, just can't stop the itch I have to read this book. Once I've read it, I'll start a spoiler thread so we can discuss. :)

Sounds like a good plan, MSJ. It has been a while since I read it (a year or so?) but I do have some ideas I'd like to discuss. :)
"But you’ve simply made the discovery that Thelli made—only without the benefit of her unerring sense of fashion."
-Anasűrimbor Kayűtas (The Great Ordeal, chapter 13)

"You prefer to believe women victims to their passions, but we can be at least as calculating as you. Love does not make us weak, but strong."
-Ykoriana of the Masks (The Third God, chapter 27)

Wilshire

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« Reply #106 on: August 03, 2018, 11:57:32 am »
Started Thomas Covenant Lord Foul's Bane. I hate stories like this lol. About half way through. At least the outset of the journey was more unique than WOT, but the ring of power and naming structures, histories, its all so LOTR-y. Sigh. The writing is fine at least, just not a fan of the story structure - what would you call it, 'traditional fantasy' or 'tolkeinian fantasy'?
One of the other conditions of possibility.

BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #107 on: August 04, 2018, 03:38:10 am »
Started Thomas Covenant Lord Foul's Bane. I hate stories like this lol. About half way through. At least the outset of the journey was more unique than WOT, but the ring of power and naming structures, histories, its all so LOTR-y. Sigh. The writing is fine at least, just not a fan of the story structure - what would you call it, 'traditional fantasy' or 'tolkeinian fantasy'?

Hmmmm. I understand your dislike, Wilshire. I would urge you to consider the following observations:

1. There is one obvious significant difference between Covenant's ring and the One Ring from LOTR.

2. I've noticed lots of praise for Bakker in this forum for his repurposing of traditional epic fantasy tropes. Donaldson is doing something similar. Give the series time.

3. Are you not even slightly appreciative of a protagonist that hews to a radical unbelief of the situation in which he finds himself?

4. The Haruchai are badass!

5. Giants! GIANTS!! GIANTS!!!

Cheers, Wilshire!
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #108 on: August 04, 2018, 05:56:18 pm »
Started reading Eye of the World, immediately put off. Is it really starting with the disappearance of a great evil, flash forward to a small peaceful town in the future, about to start a festival and everyone's all excited to see fireworks? C'mon. This is the fantasy I try to avoid, bad Tolkien derivatives...
At least the first half of "The Eye of the World" is a deliberate homage to Tolkien. I'm a huge fan of the Wheel of Time, and to this date I cannot get through that start. Like, I skimmed it, I know what happens, but reading it feels like pure masochism. So skimming it is my advice. Later, the series isn't like Tolkien (I mean, it is, but on such a grand scale that it's not evident), it pays much more attention to its characters and their interaction in an everyday manner instead of an epic one.

I sure hope its not all bad, like Sword of Truth by Brooks - which currently holds the title for 'worst fantasy novel i can recall reading'.
Do you mean "Sword of Truth" by Terry Goodkind (which is a series) or "The Sword of Shannara" by Terry Brooks (which is a book in the "Shannara" series)?

I put down The Warded Man, by Peter V. Brett in favor of TPW, picked it up after and back down again. This time in favor of Assassin's Apprentice, by Robin Hobb. I've debated and debated starting this series, but I'm gonna give it a go...
I've read "The Warded Man", and it's fine, but I wouldn't recommend it. That entire series is unbelievably bloated (like, there is plot for maybe 2 books in it, but certainly not 6), and in my opinion the author just can't pull off culture clash. Which isn't surprising, since it's extremely hard to do convincingly.

P.S.
I've tried to read Codex Alera twice, and it just seems very boring. The start of "The Eye of the World" level of boring.

MSJ

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« Reply #109 on: August 04, 2018, 09:41:35 pm »
Quote from:  SmilerLoki
P.S.
I've tried to read Codex Alera twice, and it just seems very boring. The start of "The Eye of the World" level of boring.

Codex Alera is very good. Tavi, is interesting to follow and as he grows he might become a bit of dues ex machine, but overall it's good, and keeps you interested. I admit it did start off a bit slow, but picks up shortly. Magic system is pretty cool too.
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #110 on: August 04, 2018, 09:55:27 pm »
Quote from:  SmilerLoki
P.S.
I've tried to read Codex Alera twice, and it just seems very boring. The start of "The Eye of the World" level of boring.

Codex Alera is very good. Tavi, is interesting to follow and as he grows he might become a bit of dues ex machine, but overall it's good, and keeps you interested. I admit it did start off a bit slow, but picks up shortly. Magic system is pretty cool too.
Could you direct me to the moment where it picks up? I'll just skip straight to that part, because otherwise it refuses to work for me, and I've heard nothing but praise for Codex Alera.

MSJ

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« Reply #111 on: August 04, 2018, 10:11:06 pm »
@SmilLoki, is say it's just a few chapters in ,or so. It's been awhile, but if I remember correctly it isn't too far in. Can't give exact time of "action", but I'd say that the action stays relatively upbeat once it gets going in every book. But, to me, that's every book though, right? There's always the lull before the storm, in any book.
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #112 on: August 04, 2018, 10:40:19 pm »
@SmilLoki, is say it's just a few chapters in ,or so. It's been awhile, but if I remember correctly it isn't too far in. Can't give exact time of "action", but I'd say that the action stays relatively upbeat once it gets going in every book. But, to me, that's every book though, right? There's always the lull before the storm, in any book.
I've gotten to the point in the first book where (my recollection might be bad, since my last attempt at reading it was about 6 years ago):
(click to show/hide)

It's quite a few chapters in, and I couldn't get past it. I don't yet care about anyone, and everything seems slow and tedious. Even the actual action scenes. Maybe it's just not for me, then?
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 10:43:28 pm by SmilerLoki »

MSJ

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« Reply #113 on: August 04, 2018, 10:57:57 pm »
Yea, after you've shook my memories loose, I'd say that the action that does occur in the 1st book is very hit and miss. I still enjoyed it and the "real" action doesn't start til nearer the end of the book. I think the mysteries, which do get answered, is what kept me going. Ultimately, your right, some books aren't for everyone...
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #114 on: August 04, 2018, 11:02:45 pm »
I still enjoyed it and the "real" action doesn't start til nearer the end of the book.
Gonna go skim me some Codex Alera up to that point!

Wilshire

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« Reply #115 on: August 06, 2018, 12:09:40 pm »
Started Thomas Covenant Lord Foul's Bane. I hate stories like this lol. About half way through. At least the outset of the journey was more unique than WOT, but the ring of power and naming structures, histories, its all so LOTR-y. Sigh. The writing is fine at least, just not a fan of the story structure - what would you call it, 'traditional fantasy' or 'tolkeinian fantasy'?

Hmmmm. I understand your dislike, Wilshire. I would urge you to consider the following observations:

1. There is one obvious significant difference between Covenant's ring and the One Ring from LOTR.

2. I've noticed lots of praise for Bakker in this forum for his repurposing of traditional epic fantasy tropes. Donaldson is doing something similar. Give the series time.

3. Are you not even slightly appreciative of a protagonist that hews to a radical unbelief of the situation in which he finds himself?

4. The Haruchai are badass!

5. Giants! GIANTS!! GIANTS!!!

Cheers, Wilshire!

Let me just start by saying that the book is at least decently well written. The prose is good, the story pacing is fine and has some interesting parts to it. It has redeemable qualities, I just don't appreciate them lol. Its not a bad book, but its also full of all the things I hate most about the genre.

To me, what Donaldson appears to have done is taken wholesale some (now) worn out Tolkien tropes. He doesn't so much re-purpose them as recycle. From the Ring, to the names, quasi sentient horses... the entire thing reads like all the fantasy I've read from that era - unimaginative derivations of Tolkien. Bakker, on the other hand, at least managed to not put any rings and horses into his books. Whereas Bakker has some elements of the fantasy tradition infused into his works but taken in his own direction, Donaldson more/less copied them and in many cases almost didn't bother changing the names. Authors today actually manage to make new stories rather than retelling old ones, and ultimately that's what I'm interested in reading.

For the record, I don't even like LOTR, and its for this reason that I dislike old fantasy. The hero worship of fantasy authors and readers to Tolkien ruined fantasy for decades, with productions like this and Shannara being some of the best from the era. This is the kind of stuff that people think Fantasy still is today, and its why those who don't actually read fantasy still believe LOTR is the only one worth reading.

At least when compared to Shannara, it was published the same year, this book is a masterpiece. For its time, I can see how it would have been considered something extreme - the book starts rather dramatically plus the whole rape thing which was pretty graphic. But imo it didn't age well. There's nothing especially great about it given the scope of the genre today.

Quote from: SmilerLoki
I sure hope its not all bad, like Sword of Shannara by Brooks - which currently holds the title for 'worst fantasy novel i can recall reading'.
Do you mean "Sword of Truth" by Terry Goodkind (which is a series) or "The Sword of Shannara" by Terry Brooks (which is a book in the "Shannara" series)?
Shannara, sorry! Hated it so much I can't even remember the title.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

MSJ

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« Reply #116 on: August 06, 2018, 01:41:16 pm »
Finished The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North(15). Burned through this over the weekend. I highly recommend this to everyone. I will start a spoiler thread a luttle later on today.

I'll go back to Assasins Apprentice today. I was enjoying what little I did read.
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #117 on: August 06, 2018, 02:11:21 pm »
Shannara, sorry! Hated it so much I can't even remember the title.
I have exactly the same relationship with that series. It's completely unreadable.

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #118 on: August 06, 2018, 05:20:35 pm »
Finished The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North(15). Burned through this over the weekend. I highly recommend this to everyone. I will start a spoiler thread a luttle later on today.

So glad you enjoyed it, MSJ! :D Looking forward to the thread.
"But you’ve simply made the discovery that Thelli made—only without the benefit of her unerring sense of fashion."
-Anasűrimbor Kayűtas (The Great Ordeal, chapter 13)

"You prefer to believe women victims to their passions, but we can be at least as calculating as you. Love does not make us weak, but strong."
-Ykoriana of the Masks (The Third God, chapter 27)

BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #119 on: August 06, 2018, 10:47:07 pm »
Started Thomas Covenant Lord Foul's Bane. I hate stories like this lol. About half way through. At least the outset of the journey was more unique than WOT, but the ring of power and naming structures, histories, its all so LOTR-y. Sigh. The writing is fine at least, just not a fan of the story structure - what would you call it, 'traditional fantasy' or 'tolkeinian fantasy'?

Hmmmm. I understand your dislike, Wilshire. I would urge you to consider the following observations:

1. There is one obvious significant difference between Covenant's ring and the One Ring from LOTR.

2. I've noticed lots of praise for Bakker in this forum for his repurposing of traditional epic fantasy tropes. Donaldson is doing something similar. Give the series time.

3. Are you not even slightly appreciative of a protagonist that hews to a radical unbelief of the situation in which he finds himself?

4. The Haruchai are badass!

5. Giants! GIANTS!! GIANTS!!!

Cheers, Wilshire!

Let me just start by saying that the book is at least decently well written. The prose is good, the story pacing is fine and has some interesting parts to it. It has redeemable qualities, I just don't appreciate them lol. Its not a bad book, but its also full of all the things I hate most about the genre.

To me, what Donaldson appears to have done is taken wholesale some (now) worn out Tolkien tropes. He doesn't so much re-purpose them as recycle. From the Ring, to the names, quasi sentient horses... the entire thing reads like all the fantasy I've read from that era - unimaginative derivations of Tolkien. Bakker, on the other hand, at least managed to not put any rings and horses into his books. Whereas Bakker has some elements of the fantasy tradition infused into his works but taken in his own direction, Donaldson more/less copied them and in many cases almost didn't bother changing the names. Authors today actually manage to make new stories rather than retelling old ones, and ultimately that's what I'm interested in reading.

For the record, I don't even like LOTR, and its for this reason that I dislike old fantasy. The hero worship of fantasy authors and readers to Tolkien ruined fantasy for decades, with productions like this and Shannara being some of the best from the era. This is the kind of stuff that people think Fantasy still is today, and its why those who don't actually read fantasy still believe LOTR is the only one worth reading.

At least when compared to Shannara, it was published the same year, this book is a masterpiece. For its time, I can see how it would have been considered something extreme - the book starts rather dramatically plus the whole rape thing which was pretty graphic. But imo it didn't age well. There's nothing especially great about it given the scope of the genre today.

Interesting point of view, Wilshire.

While I agree that the Covenant series is directly descended from LOTR, I don't consider Donaldson's work to be "unimaginative". Quite the contrary. For example, Donaldson's use of Covenant's wedding ring is, imho, an imaginative repurposing of the "Ring Of Power" trope. Consider that Covenant's ring doesn't belong in the Land, whereas LOTR's One Ring was made within Middle-Earth. Covenant's ring is an alien power coveted by the antagonist, Lord Foul.

Consider also that the protagonist Covenant is also alien to the Land, and is undergoing a profound existential crisis. I've always found Donaldson's exploration of Covenant's psychology to be thought-provoking and undeniably original in the context of post-Tolkien fantasy.

I'm trying hard to demonstrate the imaginative novelty of the Covenant series in the hope that you'll carry on to the later books, which improve in subtlety and complexity. I think the growth in Donaldson's ability more or less parallels Bakker's growth as demonstrated through PON and TAE. Bakker may be the deeper and more original thinker (there's a debate for another thread....), but I would argue that Donaldson made a major breakthrough in epic fantasy. At a minimum, Donaldson created a acerbic and unlikable protagonist whose fundamental unbelief in his situation leads to some original and fascinating plot possibilities. You should at least read the second novel, "The Illearth War". You may be pleasantly surprised.

Cheers, Wilshire!
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson