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[BOOKS] Favourite Genres

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Postby KFAdrift » Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:57 pm

Does that really say Sean Wright? more like Sean Weees
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Postby MileStyle » Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:58 pm

KFAdrift wrote:Does that really say Sean Wright? more like Sean Weees

Remember, he's not a good writer. Yes, though, that's his signature; the exact same one as found in my copy of The Twisted Root of Jaarfindor. Notice how he doesn't impose on the actual author's signature at all.
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Postby KFAdrift » Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:02 pm

Certainly doesn't try to give the impression of greater importance than the author. It is so nice the way he tucks his signature away.
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Postby David Whyld » Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:58 pm

KFAdrift wrote:Actually much of that self publicity stuff may seem rather familiar to David, just whisper the words Paul Panks.

I was thinking Malinche actually, aka Howard Sherman. The guy's a legend (in his own mind). After all, he's "brought interactive fiction to the masses" and "sold over 100,000 copies of his games". All without anyone, aside from HS himself, even thinking he's any good.
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Postby David Whyld » Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:00 pm

MileStyle wrote:Although, pretending to be a 14 year old girl on the internet to advertise your books, writing reviews of your own books on Amazon, and making stupid claims about your book outselling Harry Potter (one month after its release) when your book only has 3,000 copies ever printed is the mark of an unscrupulous author.

Aw... you're just jealous he came up with the idea first. :)
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Postby Chenshaw » Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:17 am

Argh, I just wrote this post, and then somehow lost it. :(

Anyway, I think variety is best in reading - I never stick to one genre. I can't really say I have a favorite although I can usually tell whether I like a book by the first few pages. I like to intersperse genres so I don't get bored. If I try to read two detective novels in a row, I'll just get bored and end up starting something else anyway.

I do pick award-winning or listed books because I find it hard to pick out good books sometimes (especially since there are so many authors who don't write very many books). The long-listed Man Booker prize 'The Unnumbered' by Sam North didn't really impress me, although I appreciate the skill of the author.

I'll usually read four or five classics a year (Dickens, Tolstoy, etc.) in between crime fiction, awardy-type fiction, and 3 for the price of 2 holiday-type books (that works about half the time). I also read non-fiction travel such as every singe Bill Bryson book, and anything to do with Central Asia. If someone loans me a book, I'll almost always read it since my friends seem to have generally pretty good taste (expect for those who rave about the Da Vince Code - I did read it, and it was admittedly gripping, but it really was cr*p - I'll never read anything else by that author).

Sci-fi and fantasy were the mainstays of my childhood and teenagerhood, but I've drifted away from that now. This is partly because so much of fantasy consists of bad rip-offs of Lord of the Rings. I do like sci-fi but it's too difficult for me to pick out what's good.
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Postby MileStyle » Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:16 am

Chenshaw wrote:Sci-fi and fantasy were the mainstays of my childhood and teenagerhood, but I've drifted away from that now. This is partly because so much of fantasy consists of bad rip-offs of Lord of the Rings. I do like sci-fi but it's too difficult for me to pick out what's good.

I think fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, henceforward referred as speculative, are great for short fiction. Whole novels, however, are just ininspired.
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Postby David Whyld » Thu Sep 22, 2005 5:47 pm

MileStyle wrote:I think fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, henceforward referred as speculative, are great for short fiction. Whole novels, however, are just ininspired.

You've never read a fantasy, sci-fi or horror novel that you thought was inspired?

Either you have really strict guidelines over what you term "inspired", or you've just been incredibly unlucky in what you've read.
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Postby MileStyle » Thu Sep 22, 2005 7:49 pm

Well, I do like JG Ballard's novels.
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Postby MileStyle » Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:23 am

David Whyld wrote:
MileStyle wrote:You've never read a fantasy, sci-fi or horror novel that you thought was inspired?

Either you have really strict guidelines over what you term "inspired", or you've just been incredibly unlucky in what you've read.

I think we have different definitions of what "inspired" means with respect to literature.

Of the fantasy I've read, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Hobbit, a few Terry Pratchett novels, and Perdido Street Station, I didn't find anything interesting about them. Tolkien was dull, Pratchett didn't make me laugh, and Mieville helped with my insomnia.

Sci-fi wise, I've read less, but I don't find other planets interesting. We can't even answer many of the questions posed by this world so I find it a bit of a cop out that people have to turn to fantasy worlds.



But, by the way, I'm currently reading Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro, which has some sci-fi elements and is absolutely brilliant.




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Postby Chenshaw » Tue Sep 27, 2005 12:37 pm

The point of sci-fi and fantasy is to allow creativity outside our normal world - and surreal fiction is the same. When it works, the result is facinating - surprising, memorable, creative, etc. But when it doesn't work, its usually utter cr*p. Which is why it is so difficult to pick the gems from the dross. I think the problem is that even (and especially) with fantasy worlds, there is too much formula - where nothing is surprising, memorable or creative, and the formula stands in place of good writing.

That is why I love the fact that people will write books like 'The Unconsoled' (although it was rather long and not exactly my favourite book) or Jeannete Winterson's 'Gut Symmetries'. They're fantasy, but unexpectedly so.
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Postby MileStyle » Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:02 pm

Chenshaw wrote:I think the problem is that even (and especially) with fantasy worlds, there is too much formula - where nothing is surprising, memorable or creative, and the formula stands in place of good writing.

An excellent assessment.

That is why I love the fact that people will write books like 'The Unconsoled' (although it was rather long and not exactly my favourite book) or Jeannete Winterson's 'Gut Symmetries'. They're fantasy, but unexpectedly so.


Currently have The Unconsoled on order with Amazon. Would you class it as fantasy or magic realism? I don't mind magic realism, thinking especially of Marquez's short fiction, but just don't get elves and pixies and wizards.




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Postby Lumin » Tue Sep 27, 2005 4:44 pm

I read mainly sci-fi or historical fiction, though I occasionally get in the mood for a good horror story. Orson Scott Card is probably my favorite author. (Anyone who hasn't read Ender's Game, should.)

I used to read a lot of fantasy when I was in elementary school, Jane Yolen, C.S. Lewis, Alexander Lloyd and the like, but I gradually moved on to other things. Last thing I remember being really into was the Dragonriders of Pern series when I was in junior high, but at some point I realized that McCaffrey was just flat out an awful writer. (Even if the setting was awesome.)

But all that must have wired my brain for fantasy, because for some reason, when it comes to writing, that's just about all I'm interested in...despite the fact that these days I snicker and roll my eyes if I even read the cover of a fantasy novel. :D

Regardless of genre, books I don't read can usually be found on the 'top 10 best seller' list. How they get on that list, I don't know...I just assume the majority of the reading public is easily amused.

EDIT: Just finished reading through the thread, and I've suddenly got a lot more respect for Miles. :D I know to a lot of people it's blasphemy to say so, but Stephen King isn't all that great of an author. Or rather, he's a fantastic author when it comes to writing the first half of a book, but unfortunately he spends the second half tangling up the plot threads and generally grinding everything good and memorable about the book into the ground. In 'On Writing' he said he never uses outlines, and it shows.

Also, The Da Vinci Code was garbage, and while there are so many books that fit that description that I really don't care or even notice anymore, I thought the way the author and publishing company put so much effort into their campaign to present the book as non-fiction and 100% historically accurate was pretty reprehensible. (Though it wouldn't be a problem if there weren't so many sad people out there who just accepted everything they saw on TV or read in a book at face value, but still...)




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Postby MileStyle » Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:23 pm

I usually put people who enjoyed The Da Vinci Code onto Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum - there's thirty pages in there which take the former's plot and spits it out completely disregarded.
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Postby Chenshaw » Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:24 pm

MileStyle wrote:Currently have The Unconsoled on order with Amazon. Would you class it as fantasy or magic realism? I don't mind magic realism, thinking especially of Marquez's short fiction, but just don't get elves and pixies and wizards.

I'd say it's like a very strange dream - surreal in a down-to-earth way. No magic - and definately no elves!
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