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Fantasy fiction 101

 
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 11:06 am
@tsarstepan,
LOL! I think his son is already trying that, so I'll just have to settle for reading.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Sun 26 Sep, 2010 03:07 pm
@msolga,
Lois McMaster Bujold is a great author, with great characters.

Try The Sharing Knife and/or The Curse of Chalion.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 04:08 am
Reporting back, after a busy day today, including a visit to my local library with my list of desired books in hand ...

Unfortunately not all the books I'd hoped to borrow were available. The Pratchett novel was out on loan, but I've reserved it for when it's next available. (October sometime)
No copy of Voyage to Arcturus in any of the four branches of the library. Could it be out of print, the librarian asked? If it isn't, I've been assured they'll consider purchasing a copy if I make an application.

Anyway, here's what I've brought home:
Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett.
Monstrous Regiment - Pratchett again.
The Once and Future King - T H White
Good Omens - Pratchett/Gaiman (audio book)

Now I must decide where to begin. A Pratchett, I think.

The librarian I consulted turned out to be a Pratchett fan, possibly one of his biggest! Wink Which book should I choose, in the absence of the one I actually wanted, I asked? I was led back to the shelves & given an enthusiastic potted history of each of the available titles ... & listened to some talk about "Discworld" (something about elephants & tortoises which I didn't understand at all Smile ), but my goodness, her enthusiasm! The other librarian kind of sniffed at the mention of Pratchett ("I don't like him!") , then became very animated at the mention of T S White! She approved. "Excellent, excellent!"
Seems there are some serious demarcation zones between lovers of fantasy writing! Smile
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 07:03 am
@sozobe,
Quote:
..Margaret Atwood straying into the science fiction/ fantasy category fairly often. Do you like "The Handmaid's Tale," for example?


yes, I did, soz. Though I read it years & years ago, so my memory of the details is a little foggy. Funny, I never thought of it as science fiction at the time! (Maybe I've read more science fiction than I think I have? Smile ) And yes, Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, comes to mind, too. Doris Lessing, in the last novel of her Children of Violence series, veered off into the future, into science fiction territory, too. In fact she wrote a number of science fiction novels after that. Those were the least accessible of all her writings for me. I'd read every single novel she's written prior to those.

Quote:
I think Margaret Atwood and Ursula LeGuin have a lot in common, though.


Yes? I haven't read any of Ursula LeGuin's novels. How are they similar?
Any that you'd recommend?
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 07:15 am
@msolga,
"The Left Hand of Darkness" would be a good start, probably.

http://www.amazon.com/Left-Hand-Darkness-Ursula-LeGuin/dp/0441478123
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_M9s0Hvxot_Q/TAX754j2k3I/AAAAAAAAAII/fob6TnKgT3Q/s1600/leguin-the-left-hand-of-darkness.jpg

It looks at themes of gender, equality, etc. in a similar way to Margaret Atwood.

I did read it when I was like 14 so my recommendation may not be as hearty now as then. (I should re-read it.) But I liked Margaret Atwood at about the same time that I really liked Ursula LeGuin.
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 07:22 am
@msolga,
have you read The Children of Men by P. D. James
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 07:23 am
@sozobe,
Thanks, soz.
I'll definitely check it out.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 07:24 am
@djjd62,
No, dj.
I know absolutely nothing about it.
A recommendation?

(checking out your link now.)
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 07:26 am
@msolga,
That's another one that fits right in, good idea, djjd. (Children of Men, Handmaid's Tale, Left Hand of Darkness.)
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 07:29 am
@djjd62,
Hey, that sounds rather interesting!
Adding to the (getting longish) list.
Thanks!
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 07:31 am
@sozobe,
Quote:
That's another one that fits right in, good idea, djjd.


It does, doesn't it, soz?
(Always like a good dose of politics in the plot! Smile )
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 07:33 am
@msolga,
if you liked The Handmaids Tale you'll most likely enjoy
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 07:39 am
@msolga,
Pratchett's Discworld series is humor in a fantasy setting. It's a sendup of many fantasy cliche's.

Cohen the Barbarian is my favorite character.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 07:42 am
@DrewDad,
Quote:
Cohen the Barbarian is my favorite character.


I think my librarian adviser might have mentioned him this afternoon, DrewDad. Amongst many other odd & colorful sounding characters! Smile
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 08:05 am
@msolga,
Pratchett is very tongue in cheek. If you aren't after humor, he's not going to be your cup of tea, but I enjoyed Monstrous Regiment and Good Omens. Of those two, I would go with Good Omens first.

I've been thinking on your requests and would like to add Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh. She's one of the best character driven Sci Fi author writting today. Cyteen won the Hugo (top Sci Fi award) and Cherryh has won three total including the excellent Downbelow Station novel in the same universe as Cyteen. Cyteen is a story of a murder with wide ranging political repercussions and the attempt of a brilliant girl to handle it all.

Elizabeth Moon typically writes pretty good space opera with strong women characters, but if her fantasy series Paksenarrion about a farm girl who runs away from a life of marriage and farming to pursue her dreams of being a hero from legend is pretty solid fantasy.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons is an outstanding Sci Fi novel, but it will definitely mess with your mind. The story of the person aging backwards and how her parents handled it still brings tears to my eyes. Another Hugo winner.

Red Mars by Kim Robinson is a very character driven story about the settlement of Mars. Everything is plausible concerning how the settlement starts, but it's the interactions between the characters and the murder that starts the novel that will completely wrap you up for hours. Straight Sci-Fi at its best where everything you read seems completely realistic and there is no need for magic space travel or aliens. The book became a trilogy, but it stands by itself. Another Hugo winner as well.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 08:30 am
@engineer,
Thanks very much, engineer. Quite a bit of reading to follow up through your links, I see. You're really into this genre, aren't you? Smile

Quote:
Pratchett is very tongue in cheek. If you aren't after humor, he's not going to be your cup of tea.


I've been led to understand he's intelligent, clever and funny. That sounds a pretty winning combination to me! Smile

Quote:
I would go with Good Omens first.


I have this one on audio book. It won't be long before I head off for the night & begin listening. (Looking forward to this!)
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  3  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 09:33 am
@msolga,
Quote:
listened to some talk about "Discworld" (something about elephants & tortoises which I didn't understand at all Smile ), but my goodness, her enthusiasm!


The Discworld is literally a world shaped like a disc, which rests on the backs of four elephants, which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle named A'tuin who swims through space.

http://www.ashbooks.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/discworld.jpg

I'm pretty sure it's meant to be an amalgam of creation myths, as well as represent the most unlikely thing that could ever possibly happen in creation; because, as we all know, million-to-one odds practically guarantee something will happen.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 05:01 pm
Pratchett does the amalgamation all over the place. He does it with creation myths, religion, and archetypes of witch, academic, policemen, etc.

MsO - Good Omens and Reaper Man are a little more straightforward than Monstrous Regimen. The cast of characters in the first two are fewer. I'd leave M.R. for second or third in your Pratchett reading.

My favorite characters (though I like Cohen quite a lot) are DEATH and Granny/Esmeralda Weatherwax. Next are Captain Vimes and Rincewind.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 05:19 pm
I wanted to respond to this thread at first, but didn't because the only things which came to mind were science fiction. Are we now to include science ficiton in the fantasy category?
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Sep, 2010 05:28 pm
@Setanta,
Go for it, Setanta. Smile
There appears to be quite a bit of over-lap between the two.
 

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