Archive for the ‘George R R Martin’ Category
published November 2012
where I got it: Received ARC from the publisher
Epic Fantasy requires the story to be bigger, the dragons be faster, the warriors be stronger, and everything generally be more. And Epic: Legends of Fantasy offers up just that – more mythos, higher stakes, more of simply everything.
Many of the entries are part of the author’s larger work, taking place in an epic fantasy world that the author has already written hundreds and sometimes thousands of pages about. Randomly, the stories I read first happened to be part of larger works, and at first, the lack of stand alone works bothered me, but I quickly came to appreciate it, and to learn the collection had plenty of stand alone stories as well. An anthology like this is a brilliant method of introducing readers to these larger fantasy worlds created by famous authors such as Robin Hobb, George R R Martin, Michael Moorcock, Melanie Rawn, Tad Williams, and many others, and serves as an excellent introduction to the writings of newer authors as well.
Some works were fairly new, but others were older than I am. the Moorcock for example was originally written in 1961. A pure classic sword and sorcery, complete with sexualized and helpless female, it might be offensive to today’s readers, but I’m happy Adams included it, as what’s the point of talking about Epic Fantasy if we’re not going to touch on the journey the genre has taken?
Clocking in at over 600 pages, Epic: Legends of Fantasy is itself a bit of a doorstopper. We eat clunksters like this for breakfast, so I was surprised at how long it took me to plow through it. ahh, but spending 600+ pages in one fantasy world is one thing. Try spending that quantity of pages in over a dozen fantasy worlds. More often than not, my brain needed a little break in between. This isn’t the kind of anthology to gorge on, this is the kind you savor, over many winter evenings.
Here’s my thoughts a handful of the entries:
- In: awards | Best of the Year | Catherynne M. Valente | Charles Stross | Charles Vess | China Mieville | Erin Morgenstern | Ernest Cline | for the love of reading | George R R Martin | Jeff Vandermeer | Jo Walton | Jonathan Strahan | Kameron Hurley | Mary Robinette Kowal | Patrick Rothfuss | Robert Reed | Robert Silverberg | Tim Powers
- 5 Comments
The recently announced Locus Awards are awarded every year by a readers poll done by Locus Magazine. These have been going since 1971, and are often an influencial precursor to the Hugo awards, which will be awarded later this summer.
It’s only these last couple years that I’ve been blogging that I’ve paid much attention to awards. Honestly, for the most part, a list of award nominees more often than not elicits a mostly “eh” response from me. Maybe I’ve heard of the authors, maybe I haven’t, and there’s a decent chance I haven’t even read any of the books or short stories that are up for an award.
Good thing I have a scifi/fantasy blog, and have pretty much been reading nothing but scifi and fantasy for the last little while! For the first time, ever, I’ve actually read a small chunk of these. Ok, maybe not a respectable amount, but way more than in previous years. For the first time, ever, my mind is responding with a “sweet! I’ve read that!” or at least a “I’ve heard of that, and I really want to read it!” instead of “meh”.
Here are this years Locus Award winners (bolded) and nominees. If I reviewed the piece, I’ve linked to it. A few questions for you to contemplate as you peruse the list: how many of these author, works, editors, authors and publishers have you heard of? How many of them have you read, or are interested in reading?
The 2012 Locus Awards, as announced in Seattle Washington, June 15-17th 2012:
Science Fiction Novel
Embassytown, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
11/22/63, Stephen King (Scribner; Hodder & Stoughton as 11.22.63)
Rule 34, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)
The Children of the Sky, Vernor Vinge (Tor)
A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin (Bantam; Harper Voyager UK)
Snuff, Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK)
The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss (DAW; Gollancz)
Deathless, Catherynne M. Valente (Tor)
Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday)
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline (Crown; Century)
God’s War, Kameron Hurley (Night Shade)
Soft Apocalypse, Will McIntosh (Night Shade)
Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, Genevieve Valentine (Prime)
Published in 1982
where I got it: borrowed from a friend
why I read it: been on a GRRMartin kick lately
I’ve been on a George R R Martin kick lately, along with most of the epic fantasy blogosphere. While everyone else is reading a nearly infamous fifth book, I’ve been hitting the backlist. When a friend offered to lend me his autographed copy of Fevre Dream along with the recently released graphic novel (which I haven’t read yet), I jumped at the chance. George R R Martin writing vampire horror on an antebellum Mississippi River? Sign me up!
beware – spoilers ahead.
Fevre Dream opens with a very depressed steamboat owner. Abner Marsh has had nothing but bad luck. Steamboats crushed in ice, or destroyed by the river. Few want to work with him, some believe he’s cursed. One day he’s approached by a wealthy gentleman named Joshua York who makes Marsh an offer he can’t refuse. Their partnership agreed upon, York supplies massive sums of money, and Marsh hires the best riverboat builders, engineers, and pilots money can buy. Soon, the Fevre Dream is born. She’s over 300 feet long, trimmed in silver, and nearly covered in mirrors. Once you’ve laid eyes on the Fevre Dream, you can never forget her.
It’s not long before Marsh and his crew suspect something strange is going on. York is never seen in the day time, and seems to only drink a homebrew wine. Betraying York’s trust to never enter his room or ask detailed questions, Marsh breaks into his room in an attempt to discover his secret.
I’m a very lucky girl.
I’m very lucky because I’m friends with J.W., who is friends with A.R..
And A.R. is a director at our local university public radio affiliate. Next thing I know, J.W. and I are recording a segment of a local radio show called “Arts & More”.
not exactly a pod cast, but as I like to say it’s pretty damn cool.
J.W. and I have a Nice Little Chat (<– click that) about George R R Martin, specifically Nightflyers and Fevre Dream, two lovely non-epic-fantasy books he wrote “before he was famous”. (btw, you can read my longer article on Martin’s Nightflyers here)
with any luck, we’ll get to do this again. . . and hopefully be a little better rehearsed! that four minute segment took about 90 minutes and most of A.R.’s patience to get just right.
it was buckets of fun, and I am a very lucky girl.
Nightflyers (short story collection) by George R R Martin
published in 1985 (stories written from 1973-1980)
why I read it: cuz I lurves me some Martin
where I got it: have no idea, it’s been on the bookshelf for a while.
Thanks to HBO and a rather infamous 5th book, just about everyone knows who George R R Martin is. I’m not ashamed to admit it, Game of Thrones was my first Martin, and before I read it (this was maybe 5 years ago?), I’d never heard of him. Many people know him as “that epic fantasy guy”.
what if I told you he wrote tons and tons of stuff before Game of Thrones was ever a twinkle in his eye? That he’d been writing short stories since the early 70’s? Dreamsongs volumes one and two were released a few years back, and are known as the Martin short story collections. Containing everything from essays to short stories and novellas, to tv scripts to his thoughts on different parts of his life, when it comes to page count they are just as epic as his fantasies. However, if you’re looking for a smaller dose of early Martin, allow me to recommend a skinny little short story collection called Nightflyers. It’s unfortunate this little gem is out of print, it’s well worth the search on Amazon or ABE or e-bay, or you favorite local used bookstore. Along with the novella Nightflyers, written in 1980, it includes 5 more short stories written during the 70s. no dice? no worries, all the stories in Nightflyers are also in the Dreamsongs collection.
Another thing I’m not ashamed to admit is that I don’t read a lot of short story collections or anthologies. Just personal preference, I typically want something novella length or longer. Well, Martin and his Dreamsongs turned me into a short story fan, or at least a fan of his short stories. And you know what? I like his earlier science fiction based short works better than A Song of Ice and Fire, and Nightflyers is part of the reason why.
Because I just can’t help myself, you know? Nature abhors a vacuum like my credit at my favorite local bookstore abhors not being spent. Who cares that I just got a half dozen books from the library? Bookstores are my kryptonite! Even more so after one of the employees let slip they’d just gotten in a ton of vintage SF.
teh new goodies:
from bottom to top, we’ve got:
A Feast for Crows, by George R R Martin. I got this out of the library a few years ago, I wish I’d thought to buy it before they changes the cover art to the “new” style. now my Martin covers don’t match! :( I can’t decide if I’m going to buy into the hype and purchase Dance with Dragons in hardback, or just get it from the library and wait to purchase until it’s in paperback.
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. I’ve never read any Willis, but I keep hearing really good things about her.
Lord Valentine’s Castle by Robert Silverberg. Another one I’d gotten from the library a few years ago, it was my first Silverberg. After I finished it, I remember my husband asking me what I thought of it as this is one of his favorites too, and I expressly remember saying that not only did I want to learn how to juggle, but if we ever had a son, I wanted to name him Valentine.
Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Midnight Riot, and I’ve been hearing this 2nd one is just as fun too.
Stalking the Unicorn, by Mike Resnick – it just looked fun. and the acknowledgement pages makes some reference to a friend of Resnick’s who is the “God emperor” of something, which made me chuckle. and that brings us to . . .
The Heaven Makers, by Frank Herbert. You wouldn’t know it by skimming the review index, but I am a HUGE Frank Herbert fan. I think I’ve read maybe a dozen books by him, and I know most of his discography by sight. But this is one I have never even heard of! Anyone know anything about this title?
Looking through my readers, feeds and tagsurfers, I suddenly feel just plain obligated to post about GAME OF THRONES, HBO’s new epic fantasy series.
For those of you who have been living under a rock, Game of Thrones is the first book in George R R Martin’s epic fantasy series called A Song of Ice and Fire. Frantic and obsessive fans are eagerly awaiting book five, which is scheduled to hit bookstores this summer. In this series, noble families fight for the throne, younger siblings come to understand they are nothing more than bargaining chips and wedding fodder, old magics are brewing in the frozen north, and good men and women take empire destroying secrets to their graves. Oh, and there is tons and tons of sex. And after the sex, there is tons and tons of violence, kidnapping, brutal murder, betrayal, more sex, and more betrayal.
(And just for kicks, these are all images from the board-game, cuz I totally dig the game. It looks all complicated, but you can learn the rules in about 2 minutes, and it’s a ball to play.)
And now, on to HBO’s version.
First, the good.
Peter Dinklage, Sean Bean, Harry Lloyd, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. They were excellent. Harry Lloyd absolutely made Viserys, and I knew I recognized that wonderfully crooked smile from Doctor Who! Peter Dinklage and Sean Bean are always a pleasure to watch, and Coster-Waldau had Jaime down.
I really liked the credits/intro as well. Great way to cram a lot of important geographical info into a small amount of time, especially for viewers who aren’t familiar with the books. They immediately know we’ve got two (for now) important cities on one continent, and across a narrow sea there is another city where some action will be taking place. Animation came off as a little cartoony and higher tech than this world warrants, but I can forgive it.
Just so you know, this is a super long post with a funny at the end. Not unlike an epic quest. . . .
I describe this website as offering Science Fiction & Fantasy reviews. But going through my list of reviews, I’m seeing far more fantasy than science. Maybe I should just describe it as a fantasy review site? Or a gateway to fantasy review site?
When I was a kid, I was an adamant SF fan. Much of my youth was spent building spaceships out of legos and watching PBS shows about astronomy. I craved scientific explanations for everything. I wanted to know how everything worked.
While my friends were reading Lloyd Alexander, I was reading Interstellar Pig. As they moved onto Tolkien and Raymond Feist and Katherine Kurtz, I moved onto David Brin and Robert Heinlein and Frank Herbert.
To me, Fantasy was wizards with long beards, royals who went on quests where their soldiers and magical armor protected them, and elves and dwarves who spent the first half of the conversation telling you their lineages, and embarassingly rediculous cover art. really nothing else. I had no understanding that “high fantasy” was only the tip of the iceberg of the genre. My limited experiences with high fantasy let me know quickly that I didn’t care for it.
And then I started reading manga, a form famous for mixing genres. Cyborg mechas using laser guns against a castle and fighting flesh and blood dragons that guarded hoards of treasure? no problem. Kids who get wisked away from their regular life to fight demons and spirits and collect magical shards? piece of cake. Vampires, martians, aliens, dragons, time travel, often in the same series. And it worked, like magic.
Wait, wasn’t this, um, fantasy? It sure was fantastical, and it sure wasn’t hard scifi. Read the rest of this entry »
Although my New Years resolution is to read what I’ve got, that’s not to say there aren’t some 2011 releases that I am eagerly and anxiously awaiting.
Scott Lynch’s The Republic of Thieves. I pride myself of my active web stalking of Mr. Lynch, via his livejournal, facebook, twitter, anything. I’m not embarrassed to admit this man turns me into a blabbering, blubbering, squeeing fangirl. And is that not some stunning cover art for the third title in his Gentlemen Bastard series? Amazon offers a March release date, but I am quite sure the release date has been set back to summer or fall of 2011. Sad news, but that gives me the chance to read the first two books in the series again, and maybe again after that.
Probably the most awaited title of 2011 for fantasy fans is Patrick Rothfuss’s The Wise Man’s Fear, book two of his Kingkiller Chronicles. When it comes to epic fantasy, Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind was a game changer for me, even more so than George R R Martin. Excitement for this title is so crazy that rumor has it the ARC’s were numbered, signed for, and are being tracked via RFID to ensure zero spoilage before the release date. Any confirmation on that? AND there are T-shirts! Squeeee!!!
The City and The City didn’t really do it for me, and I probably shouldn’t admit that I haven’t even looked at Kraken yet, but I gotta say, I am eagerly awaiting China Mieville’s Embassytown. From the approximately 6 sentences that have been released about this title, it sounds deliciously weird. Not Bas-Lag by any means, but a little closer to that addictive Mieville brand of strangeness that seems to have been lacking in his more recent novels.
And speaking of the infamous George R R Martin, I am still holding out hope that A Dance With Dragons (fifth book in his Song of Ice and Fire series) will actually be published in 2011. And if no 2011 then I’m sure it’ll come out eventually, right? I mean, I’ve only waited five years for this book, what’s another five? I am not going to even attempt to find cover art. Yes, I am eagerly awaiting this title, but that doesn’t mean I’m not just a teensy bit bitter.
Wow, three out of the four are the next books in series! I really wasn’t expecting that!
How about you? what are your most eagerly awaited titles for 2011?