Four books and four books only!

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Gary Wassner, Feb 20, 2005.

  1. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    I am going on vacation and I need to pick four books to take with me. I rarely read these days because I am always in the middle of a book of my own, either writing or editing it seems, so this is a very very important decision. I am leaving my laptop at home and taking a real break for two weeks.

    If you had to pick only four books to read, knowing that you will probably not be able to read again for a while, what would they be? Please try to think of four of the very best, the greatest you can remember! Those four that left indellible marks upon you and whose characters you will always remember for whatever reason. It doesn't have to be fantasy, in fact as long as it's fiction, it can be any genre. But please don't list any classics or fantasy that was published before 1999. Anything after would be excellent.
     
  2. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    Not sure if you've read it yet, but I've recently enjoyed Scott's Darkness That Comes Before quite a lot, but it definitely makes you want to keep going in the series, so if you're pressed for time after vacation, maybe not the best. But there's a lot of really good stuff in there, just the kind of things you're always on about epic fantasy being made for and I'm always on about that aren't in most of the epic fantasy out there.
     
  3. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    Scott and I agreed to exchange books a month or so ago. I am anxious to read both of his, and he now has the first three of mine as well.
     
  4. Eventine

    Eventine Uh, Staff Member

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    Jonathan Carroll - White Apples
    Jeff Vandermeer - Veniss Underground
    Mary Gentle - Ash, A Secret History (Single Volume Edition)
    China Mieville - The Scar

    All are superbly written fantasy with a scope of imagination beyond what a lot authors are churning out these days. The Scar is Mieville's second novel in his Bas-Lag universe, but was much more enjoyable a read for me than its predecessor, Perdido Street Station.

    Veniss Underground was nominated for the last World Fantasy Awards (and was my favourite of the nominations) and is written with an amazing narrative style and has imagery that will stay wit you for ages.

    White Apples is the latest offering from the well repsected Carroll and appealed to me because of the characterisation.

    Ans Ash, well, ask Hobbit :)
     
  5. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    I read Perdido St and didn't really enjoy it very much, though Mieville has tremendous talent. It seemed all over the place at times and I did struggle through many chapters. It's just not my taste I suppose.
     
  6. Davis Ashura

    Davis Ashura Would be writer? Sure.

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    Why don't you read something new like Scott's books and something old that you haven't read in awhile. I re-read Thomas Covenant after a gap of alomst 15 years and it felt like a brand new book again. I vaguely remembered some of the important details (such as the ending), but the journey of the character was new once more.
     
  7. juzzza

    juzzza Loveable Rogue

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    The Scar ~ China Meiville (just to see if you think he has improved, it is brilliant)

    Heroes Die ~ Matt Stover

    Dawnthief ~ James Barclay

    A Game of Thrones ~ GRR Martin
     
  8. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay by Michael Chabon. A Pulitzer Prize winner and one of the best books, maybe top 5, I have read in my 30 years of life. Being a NYC guy, Gary, I really think you'd appreciate some of what goes on in the book, it takes place in and around NYC.

    The Wizard Knight by Gene Wolfe. Simply amazing, more accessible than his Sun books and a pure joy to read.

    Heroes Die

    Fallen Dragon by Peter Hamilton. A big book, very epic and many layers.
     
  9. KatG

    KatG Effulgent Staff Member

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    Nope, can't do it. First of all, lots of books. Second, why the 1999 limit? (And how am I going to remember the pub date of the books anyway.) Third, it's just a vacation, man. Can't you read something just for fun? :)

    How about:

    Neil Gaiman's "American Gods"
    Stewart O'Nan's "A Prayer for the Dying"
    Lindsay Davis's Marcus Didius Falco mystery series (the most recent are after 1999)
    Tim Powers' "Expiration Date"

    Of course, I could do lots of other four combinations. And there are all the epic fantasy series that I like, most of which started before 1999. If you're looking for newbies, or simply those you can find in print, the following are on my to read list:

    David Sesnowski -- "Vamped"
    Scott of course -- "The Darkness that Comes Before"
    Cory Doctorow -- "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom"
    Sharon Shim -- "The Shape-Changer's Wife"
     
  10. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    KatG - How did I know you wouldn't follow the rules? No only didn't you follow them, but you don't even like them! I thought all reading was for fun?
    But, thanks for the suggestions.

    I did not like American Gods. I was bored, terribly bored. And I was surprised that I was so bored with it. I tried very hard to enjoy it, but no matter how hard I tried, I just didn't care about the characters.

    Some great ideas so far.
     
  11. JRMurdock

    JRMurdock Where have I been?

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    Take the wedding approach:

    Something Old - Raymond E. Fiest - Magician Apprentice

    Something New - Scott Bakker Prince of Nothing (of course)

    Something Borrowed - Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (I had borrowed this one from a friend, interesting read).

    Something Blue - After the Ring - This is a short story collection by various authors (all great names) about life after Tolkein's ring. Tolkein is dead and that's how I got blue out of this one. :)
     
  12. Lani

    Lani Guarded by the Moon

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    Why don't you pick up the GemQuest trilogy, I've heard it was good :p

    But here it goes:

    The Curse of the Chalion by Louis McMaster Bujold
    The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque by Jeffrey Ford
    Transformation by Carol Berg
    Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
     
  13. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    You know Lani, I have read that series already. In fact, I read it more than once, if I recall correctly.

    I have heard alot about Kushiel's Dart. Was it really that good?

    Maus, I saw Wicked on B'Way a few months ago. Now I am not a fan of B'Way productions, to say the least. I prefer off b'way more often than not. It's kind of like big Hollywood movies as compared to indie films. My problem with Wicked was that I am very seriously color blind. I had no idea that the main character was green and i couldn't understand why everyone was shunning her when she was a child. I missed most of the obvious.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2005
  14. JRMurdock

    JRMurdock Where have I been?

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    All the more reason to read the book. :) There's so much more in the book than they could ever show in a B'way production.

    You may also want to read this one as they are making it into a major motion picture coming to a theater near you.

    Colorblind. That explains a lot. Have you always been colorblind? or is this a more recent affliction?
     
  15. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    I have always been colorblind. So was my father. I wonder if we saw things the same way? If we did, that probably would have been one of the few things we actually had in common!

    I see color, but I don't believe that I see it the way others do. I see contrasts, but most frequently I cannot tell you what color I am seeing. I can't put a name to it. It's not black and white, but I am never certain what it is.
     
  16. Hereford Eye

    Hereford Eye Just Another Philistine

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    Going for books you may not have heard much about - in alphabetical order:
    Mike Resnick - Santiago
    Sheri S. Tepper - The Companions
    Johanna Sinisalo - Troll, A Love Story
    Sean Stewart - Passion Play
     
  17. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    I may have to read for a longer period than I anticipated!
     
  18. JRMurdock

    JRMurdock Where have I been?

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    So I've a question. Why are you taking this 'break'? How did you determine when to stop and when to start back again?

    WHEN IS BOOK 4 COMING OUT! Dang it!

    Oh, I started book 2. You caused me to have to re-read the first couple of chapters because I didn't know it was the same series. You introduced new characters on me. :) I think you just like messing with readers' heads.
     
  19. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    It's my head that's messed, Maus. I am just opening it up when I write.

    Yes, a few new characters. They were there all along but they were busy in other areas off the screen.


    Book IV is done, totally. I will send it to my editor soon. I've just been too busy lately to do the paperwork.

    I am taking a two week break from writing just so that I can read a little and sound half knowledgable when I talk to people here! Honestly though, I need to read a few books. I miss it terribly. Two weeks will seem like an eternity.
     
  20. KatG

    KatG Effulgent Staff Member

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    I don't like rules. I thought we'd established that. :)

    But see, now you've finally explained what you're going for -- new titles that are being talked about so you'll be more knowledgable with your reading time. Of course, I'm sort of useless there at the moment, as I've not had the chance to really sit down and figure out who's blazing across the market besides the established bestsellers (who all write series you don't have time to read.) Hereford Eye's titles sounded interesting.

    I'm sorry to hear you didn't like "American Gods." My reading of "Twins" has shown me that you have a very courtly style, and I think perhaps tastes, and the following two titles, while one is not current, might be up your alley:

    "The Fox Woman" -- Kij Johnson
    "Duncton Wood" -- William Horwood

    That they are both animal-related fantasies is coincidence. I think you'll like the style of those two.

    But if we go with the hot new writers, I'm forgetting -- did you read Erikson yet or not? Who else in fantasy or epic fantasy, stand alone or at least a first novel that will stand by itself that's really big now? The Australians are very in at the moment.