Tag: book geekiness

Leavin’ on a jet plane…


So, we’re back. Arg. Zombie-jetlagged (the plane landed in Paris at 3:00 am Canada time), and frustrated (we waited one hour for our luggage), but home.

At least, temporarily. We’re leaving again tomorrow for the last leg of the summer holidays (after the Worldcon and the week in Montreal). Destination: Spain, in the Sierra Nevada. Program: pool lounging and book catching-up. Also, writing catching-up.

I’ll have Internet access, but it’s likely to be intermittent, so if you haven’t heard from me in a while, that’s why. (I’ll continue to post con reports, probably more once every two days or something like that).

Speaking of which, books bought in Montreal:

  • The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages, Brandon Sanderson
    • Bought both at con, finished on the plane home. It’s very much traditional fantasy, despite what the hype says on the cover, but it’s nicely done. Reminded me of my nights reading books with a light under the cover
  • An Autumn War, Daniel Abraham
    • Very much looking forward to this one. I loved both previous books in the series (A Shadow in Summer and A Betrayal in Winter), and this looks really good.
  • Blood of Elves, Andrzej Sapkowski
    • Aka winner of the David Gemmell Award. A Polish book and one of the rare ones published in English translation. I’m usually not a fan of that type of fantasy, but I have to admit I’m curious. (I was also looking for the Night Watch tetralogy, but couldn’t remember Sergei Lukyanenko’s name while actually in the bookstore, and I was already carrying a hefty pile of books…)
  • Mark of the Demon, Diana Rowland
    • Again, I’m usually not a fan of urban fantasy. However, fellow Codexian Diana was a cop and worked in a morgue, so I figured this would be grittier than the average. Also, I was intrigued by the first chapter posted online.

Meme meme


Your result for Which fantasy writer are you?…

Tove Jansson (1914-2001)

13 High-Brow, -25 Violent, 1 Experimental and -17 Cynical!

Congratulations! You are High-Brow, Peaceful, Experimental and Romantic! These concepts are defined below.

Tove Jansson was a Finnish painter, sculptor and writer. She was part of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland and so wrote her books, including her most famous works, the Moomin books, in Swedish. The Moomin books (1945-70), though perhaps not considered fantasy by some, are nevertheless fine examples of world-building for children, centred around the inhabitants of the Moomin Valley, where a family of white trolls known as moomin trolls live, and always return to, though they occasionally leave for adventures in the outside world. Though many of the Moomin books are pure childrens’ books, Jansson conducted the experiment of letting the series turn more adult as she went along, the last three books (one collection of short stories and two novels) being psychologically complex stories that are just as fit, or sometimes perhaps more fit, for adults. Still, Jansson’s somewhat romantic vision of the Valley as a peaceful haven of family life in the midst of a sometimes frightening and dark world is retained through-out the books. Though she considered herself a painter rather than a writer, Tove Jansson will always be remembered as one of the greatest, perhaps the greatest writer of children’s books of all times.

You are also a lot like Philip Pullman.

If you want some action, try Gene Wolfe.

If you’d like a challenge, try your exact opposite, David Eddings.

Your score

This is how to interpret your score: Your attitudes have been measured on four different scales, called 1) High-Brow vs. Low-Brow, 2) Violent vs. Peaceful, 3) Experimental vs. Traditional and 4) Cynical vs. Romantic. Imagine that when you were born, you were in a state of innocence, a tabula rasa who would have scored zero on each scale. Since then, a number of circumstances (including genetical, cultural and environmental factors) have pushed you towards either end of these scales. If you’re at 45 or -45 you would be almost entirely cynical, low-brow or whatever. The closer to zero you are, the less extreme your attitude. However, you should always be more of either (eg more romantic than cynical). Please note that even though High-Brow, Violent, Experimental and Cynical have positive numbers (1 through 45) and their opposites negative numbers (-1 through -45), this doesn’t mean that either quality is better. All attitudes have their positive and negative sides, as explained below.

High-Brow vs. Low-Brow

You received 13 points, making you more High-Brow than Low-Brow. Being high-browed in this context refers to being more fascinated with the sort of art that critics and scholars tend to favour, rather than the best-selling kind. At their best, high-brows are cultured, able to appreciate the finer nuances of literature and not content with simplifications. At their worst they are, well, snobs.

Violent vs. Peaceful

You received -25 points, making you more Peaceful than Violent. This scale is a measurement of a) if you are tolerant to violence in fiction and b) whether you see violence as a means that can be used to achieve a good end. If you aren’t, and you don’t, then you are peaceful as defined here. At their best, peaceful people are the ones who encourage dialogue and understanding as a means of solving conflicts. At their worst, they are standing passively by as they or third parties are hurt by less scrupulous individuals.

Experimental vs. Traditional

You received 1 points, making you more Experimental than Traditional. Your position on this scale indicates if you’re more likely to seek out the new and unexpected or if you are more comfortable with the familiar, especially in regards to culture. Note that traditional as defined here does not equal conservative, in the political sense. At their best, experimental people are the ones who show humanity the way forward. At their worst, they provoke for the sake of provocation only.

Cynical vs. Romantic

You received -17 points, making you more Romantic than Cynical. Your position on this scale indicates if you are more likely to be wary, suspicious and skeptical to people around you and the world at large, or if you are more likely to believe in grand schemes, happy endings and the basic goodness of humankind. It is by far the most vaguely defined scale, which is why you’ll find the sentence “you are also a lot like x” above. If you feel that your position on this scale is wrong, then you are probably more like author x. At their best, romantic people are optimistic, willing to work for a good cause and an inspiration to their peers. At their worst, they are easily fooled and too easily lead.

Take Which fantasy writer are you?
at HelloQuizzy

Hum, ok. Clearly, I need to find out more about the Moomins. But I did score the only writer who’s not a native English speaker 🙂
(and for the record, I like Pullman, but could do without the preaching. I do love Gene Wolfe on a good day–defined as one where I have full use of my brain. Used to like Eddings but don’t think I could stomach him now).

Malazan Book of the Fallen


At Worldcon 2005, I bought the first two books in Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen, Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates. I read them, and wasn’t really drawn into them: they were too complicated, and I hated the ending of at least one of them (Deadhouse Gates, which was pretty depressing). So, when I got book 5, Midnight Tides, in the WFC bookstash, I neatly put it away at the back of my bookshelf, thinking I would never really read it, but hating to lose a good hardback.

Until Saturday, when I was desperately looking for something I could read, and could find nothing but that one. 

The fact that I finished it over the weekend is probably a sign that my reading tastes have changed. Wow. I just loved the whole worldbuilding, with the various races vying for supremacy in an unfamiliar world, and the Ascendants interfering in everyday life in sneaky ways. The various characters were awesome, from the slaves to the mad Emperor to the undead thief. Yeah, the ending was pretty bleak as well, but I didn’t mind so much–it was a welcome change from some of the sappiness I’ve read recently. 

Obviously, I’m becoming more patient and less dreamy-eyed as I grow older 🙂

(and I’m digging up those two previous books to reread them, and ordering all the others)



Woohoo, it’s finally here 🙂 I have a bad headache (mostly because I’ve been helping the BF fill in a form for a German firm that required such a high degree of detail that my eyes started to cross).

Books read:

The Fade by Chris Wooding: on a planet where sunlight is deadly, the population has migrated underground, waging its bloody internecine war across huge caves and inner seas. Orna is one of the Cadre, bondsmen who serve their aristocrat masters by being bodyguards, assassins and spies. In a particularly disastrous battle, she loses her husband and is captured, taken to an impregnable stronghold of the enemy where she is only kept alive as long as she can give her captors information. Orna has every intention of escaping to find her son–but when she does so, she only finds herself swept back into the deadly power games of the aristocracy…
This is short and intense, more concerned by the delights of its baroque society than by any hard science (there’s hardly any description of the planet, and the societies have mostly regressed to feudal). The character of Orna, driven through the novel both by her despair and her growing awareness of her slavery, is a very powerful one with a potent voice. It moves at a fast clip and culminates in a neat twist ending that had me flipping back through the pages to see all the little clues I had missed.
If I had one quibble, it’s the backward narration interleaved between the book, taking up about a quarter of it. While it does make both for tragical ironies and nifty filling in, I felt that as we moved too far back in time, it began losing its interest, going over old ground, and failing to climax in anything intense enough to justify the backward arrow. The only book I can compare this with is Ian M. Bank’s superb Use of Weapons, where the backward narration culminates in a very nasty twist that echoes back into the present situation. Here, we just have scenes that feel extraneous because they only reveal what we have already inferred throughout the main story.
But still, it’s a pretty good book, well worth the read.

-Sold “In the Age of Iron and Ashes”, a pseudo-Hindu fantasy, to Beneath Ceaseless Skies. It was workshopped on Liberty Hall, so thanks to everyone who took a look!

They ran the girl down, in the grey light of dawn: a ring of copper-mailed horsemen, racing after her until her exhaustion finally felled her.
Yudhyana sat on his horse, shivering in the cold morning air, and thought of home–of the narrow, spice-filled streets of Rasamuri, and of his daughters shrieking with delight as he raced them in the courtyard. Anything to prevent him from focusing on what was happening.
Afterwards, they tied the girl’s unconscious body to the saddle of a white mare. Pakshman, Yudhyana’s second-in-command, nodded at him, waiting for orders.
“Back to the city,” Yudhyana said. His gaze was on the plains, sloping down to the river Kuni–and the cloud of dust that marked the advance of the Sharwah army.

-Sold “Safe, Child, Safe”, an Acalt short story (sequel to “Obsidian Shards”), to Talebones. Thanks to everyone who critted this: Marshall Payne, who does tremendously helpful line edits as usual, everyone who took a look at it on Liberty Hall (I haven’t saved the crits, but I remember tchernabyelo offered tremendous help on plot points), and the OWWers: the awesome Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and Linda Steele, and Tara Lynn McFadden. Extra special thanks for this one go to Ken Scholes, who badgered me into submitting to Talebones, and to Patrick Swenson for accepting this.

I knew something was wrong with the child as soon as his father brought him to me.
He was perhaps four, five years old, and everything about him was high-born Mexica: his tunic of cotton embroidered with leaping deer; his skin the colour of cacao bean; his hair as dark as congealed blood. He lay on the reed mat in my temple, shivering; his feverish eyes turned to me and yet did not see me.
That was not what made the hairs on my nape rise.
No, what made me pause was what I saw clinging to his hands and feet: a green, pulsing aura that brought with it the smell of rotting leaves and mouldy earth.

Fiction roundup


Read recently:

-Lian Hearn, Through the Nightingale Floor, Grass for His Pillow, Brilliance of the Moon: awesome YA set in a land much like Feudal Japan before the Shogunate. Takeo, an orphan raised in the forbidden religion of the Hidden, is adopted by Lord Otori after the massacre of his family. But Takeo has only exchangd one set of problems for another: as heir to a great house, he has to compound, not only with the power intrigues of the otherlords, but also with his real family–the Tribe, an alliance of assassins/mercenaries–who will stop at nothing to use him. Add to this his mad passion for young Kaede, heiresss to a powerful domain–and Takeo is just set for more than he can handle. Continue reading →