Laurie R. King Virtual Book Club discussion

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message 451: by Erin (new)

Erin (Tangential1) | 773 comments Mod
I've had to kind of retune how I classify books mentally. A friend kept reprimanding me for saying that I didn't like fantasy when what I really meant was that I didn't like epic fantasy...with medieval settings and kings and knights and wizards. Because I like Pratchett and Harry Potter and a bunch of other fantasy stories, really. And that made me think about the whole genre thing again.

I've got it broken down like this:
Two families of writing: It's either "fantasy" (with some kind of fantastical ideas or settings or creatures or whatever) or it's "fiction" (being entirely based in the real world and generally exploring possible real world possibilities and characters). SF is then a sub-category of Fantasy along with all the other potential subcategories (like epics and paranormal and steampunk, etc). And then on the fiction side you would thus have subcategories of westerns and period dramas and mysteries and romance, etc.

Not that this in any way clears up what to do with some cross overs; particularly the ones that use fantasy as their explanation for why the story is possible and then move on to character development (thinking Time Traveler's Wife and Outlander in particular here).

Time travel as a plot device in particular seems to really boggle the genres. Why are Time Traveler's Wife and Outlander just "fiction" when book:Doomsday Book|24983] is solidly SF? I guess it kind of makes sense to put them in fiction as the main point of the book has no other SF leanings and really is just a plot device towards character study. Since both of the former have been re-classified a few times, I kind of wonder if Doomsday would have been to, except that it won about four Sci Fi book awards and that would make things extra confusing.


message 452: by Steve (new)

Steve Vicki wrote: "I've put Wearing the Cape on my to-read shelf."

Vicki let me know what you think. I really enjoyed it but then I've been role-playing superheroes for 30 years and have been playing the same female character for 20 years. A character who got her powers as a teen even. The book hit some chords with both me and another friend I gave a copy to.


message 453: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 583 comments Steve wrote: I've been role-playing superheroes for 30 years and have been playing the same female character for 20 years. "

Wow, that is pretty impressive, Steve. I have played D&D through the years, but never stuck with a single character for that long. Which RPG do you play? Have you ever seen a B movie called The Gamers: Dorkness Rising? It would probably only be hilarious to fellow RPGers.


message 454: by Steve (last edited Jun 22, 2012 02:06PM) (new)

Steve Sabrina wrote: "Steve wrote: I've been role-playing superheroes for 30 years and have been playing the same female character for 20 years. "

Wow, that is pretty impressive, Steve. I have played D&D through the y..."


We use the Hero System, which can be used for any genre from superheroes to pulp adventures to space opera. I don't know of any other rpg character in play as long as I've run my character El'f (Russian for "pixie"or "elf").

I've written a few short stories about her and had a rendering by a professional comic book artist done last month.


message 455: by Pat (new)

Pat (PKlein) | 301 comments farmwifetwo wrote: "The Time Traveler's Wife is one of those books I wish I could read. I don't memorize easily and the hoping back and forth I couldn't keep track of what was going on. It was very frustrating but at ..."

I so sympathize with you there...and I often wonder if writers of such works don't write the chapters separately and then rearrange them for publication...bet they do.
I have started reading books with this flash, forward, flash backward, or character POV chapter device by putting them into a linear order. I did this recently with the first book of "Quicksilver" and lo and behold found a really great pirate story embedded therein...


message 456: by Vicki (new)

Vicki (vickivanv) | 282 comments Mod
Steve wrote: "Vicki wrote: "I've put Wearing the Cape on my to-read shelf."

Vicki let me know what you think. I really enjoyed it but then I've been role-playing superheroes for 30 years and have been playing t..."


Will do.

Erin, your thoughts on classifying time-travel books reminds me of being at BEA when The Time Traveler's Wife was being handed out as an ARC. I remember stopping by the Macadam/Cage booth to ask for a copy and having the rep tell me carefully, several times in a row--it's literary fiction, NOT science fiction. It made me laugh afterwards--from the tone, it was almost like she was saying, it's razor burn, NOT anything contagious. Hehehehe! She was probably just trying to make sure people didn't take the book with the wrong expectations, but it just struck me as hilarious and made me laugh every time I thought of it for weeks afterward.


message 457: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (thegoodwitchofMaryTavy) | 59 comments During NPR's coverage of Bradbury's death yesterday, it was mentioned that he didn't like to be classified as a writer of SF; he considered his books fantasy.


message 458: by Regan (last edited Jun 06, 2012 10:44PM) (new)

Regan | 87 comments PatK wrote: "I have started reading books with this flash, forward, flash backward, or character POV chapter device by putting them into a linear order. I did this recently with the first book of "Quicksilver" and lo and behold found a really great pirate story embedded therein... "

I have a book somewhere -- packed in a box I think -- called Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar that is meant to be read in more than one sequence. I confess I've not actually read it yet. But at the beginning the author says you can either read chapters 1-55 straight through and consider the other 99 chapters auxillary information and not read them at all or read them sequentially after the first 55, or you can "hopscotch" through all 155 chapters based on instructions by the author. Or you can make up your own path.

Though Hopscotch doesn't involve time travel or anything like that. It more like Infinite Jest and is two-thirds footnotes.


message 459: by Vicki (new)

Vicki (vickivanv) | 282 comments Mod
Elizabeth wrote: "During NPR's coverage of Bradbury's death yesterday, it was mentioned that he didn't like to be classified as a writer of SF; he considered his books fantasy."

That's interesting. I could see that with some of his stories more than others.

Hopscotch sounds interesting. It's likely that the rise of digital books will allow for more and more customized ways for readers to rework and remix different writing into new works as they like. That's been happening with video and music for a while. Why not with fiction?


message 460: by Lenore (new)

Lenore | 440 comments I have seen the useful term "speculative fiction" applied to both science fiction and to fantasy -- and, for that matter, to alternate histories -- indeed to anything that departs from the nature of reality as we know it.


message 461: by Pat (new)

Pat (PKlein) | 301 comments "speculative fiction"--seems a little redundant.


message 462: by Steve (new)

Steve PatK wrote: ""speculative fiction"--seems a little redundant."

Heh. I was just thinking the same thing... :)


message 463: by Vicki (new)

Vicki (vickivanv) | 282 comments Mod
It's a cool-sounding term, but it *is* rather redundant, not to mention vague.


message 464: by Steve (new)

Steve Since Science Fiction devolved into SciFi, I wonder if we'll ever see SpecFic. :D


message 465: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 583 comments We use the Hero System, which can be used for any genre from superheroes to pulp adventures to space opera. I don't know of any other rpg character in play as long as I've run my character Zl'f (Russian for "pixie"or "elf").

I've written a few short stories about her and had a rendering by a professional comic book artist done last month.
"


Very cool, Steve. Love the name. Do you have a link to the drawing?


message 466: by Steve (last edited Jun 07, 2012 03:31PM) (new)

Steve Sabrina wrote: "Very cool, Steve. Love the name. Do you have a link to the drawing? "

I do now: ;)

http://www.goodreads.com/photo/user/4...


message 467: by Pat (new)

Pat (PKlein) | 301 comments Gail Bowen's books (some of them) have come down 50% on Kindle...oddly, the first books in the series have not...they are still $12.00...

I wonder if it is OK to read these out of order?


message 468: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 583 comments Steve wrote: "Sabrina wrote: "Very cool, Steve. Love the name. Do you have a link to the drawing? "

I do now: ;)

http://www.goodreads.com/photo/user/4..."


Love the 60s and 70s comic book motif of the drawing! I 100% agree with the no socio-pathic clawed heroes and angst ridden teens of your RPG setting. It seems like everyone is an anti-hero these days.


message 469: by Steve (last edited Jun 08, 2012 06:20AM) (new)

Steve Yeah we deliberately have tried to keep a "classic " comic book feel to our campaign. Good guys are good. Bad guys are bad. Wearing glasses is an impenetrable disguise.

It was a circle of old friends when I started it; now it's been going long enough both the college-age sons of one of our original members also play.

The costume is supposed to be Graeco-Roman in styling such as a sylph might wear in ancient Greek mythology and is closely modeled off a drawing of the Greek goddess Artemis I found online (Artemis was the only Greek goddess who wore a short skirt - by special permission of Zeus - so she could hunt). I particularly wanted to avoid the spandex-n-leather fetish-wear cleavage-baring überslut look of many modern comic heroines.


message 470: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (JenLD) | 420 comments Hey Steve,
In the public library, we see all the trends. And a few years ago, I noticed that a goodly number of action thriller type trade paperbacks were starting to dress their "heroines" in costumes that featured prominently, guns and bra-tops. How I thought, did we ever fight crime in a full shirt???
Jen


message 471: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 583 comments Steve wrote: " Wearing glasses is an impenetrable disguise."

LOL! Classic superman.

Jen, don't forget the stiletto heels too! That's like Fantasy books with the guy hero in full plate armor and the female warrior wearing a loincloth and a corset for protection. Obviously, the female was just so awesome that she didn't need armor.


message 472: by Steve (new)

Steve Jen wrote: "How I thought, did we ever fight crime in a full shirt???"

Much more modestly. :)


message 473: by Erin (new)

Erin (Tangential1) | 773 comments Mod
Sabrina wrote: "Jen, don't forget the stiletto heels too! "

I have an EMT friend who just told me a story of a recent call out she had where a guy had his eye gouged out by a stilleto heal! 0_o So maybe more effective for a superheroine than previously assumed.


message 474: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 583 comments Erin wrote: "Sabrina wrote: "Jen, don't forget the stiletto heels too! "

I have an EMT friend who just told me a story of a recent call out she had where a guy had his eye gouged out by a stilleto heal! 0_o ..."


OMG! Never underestimate the stiletto...


message 475: by Erin (new)

Erin (Tangential1) | 773 comments Mod
I've heard "speculative fiction" quite a bit, actually. It's basically used in the same way I've more recently been talking about "fantasy" (as a kind of catch-all for any book that's not based in the "real" world.) It is kind of redundant, isn't it. Here's the definition, I found:
Speculative fiction is an umbrella term encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history in literature as well as related static, motion, and virtual arts.
Wikipedia says the term was started back in the 1970s, but didn't really catch on then, but is gaining ground again now...which I find interesting.


message 476: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (JenLD) | 420 comments Sabrina wrote: "Erin wrote: "Sabrina wrote: "Jen, don't forget the stiletto heels too! "

I have an EMT friend who just told me a story of a recent call out she had where a guy had his eye gouged out by a stillet..."



message 477: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (JenLD) | 420 comments Jen wrote: "Sabrina wrote: "Erin wrote: "Sabrina wrote: "Jen, don't forget the stiletto heels too! "

I have an EMT friend who just told me a story of a recent call out she had where a guy had his eye gouged ..."

That sounds positively gruesome. Something out of fiction. Yes, a stiletto is a weapon, never forget it. But that bra-top, that stumps me. I guess what men want now is a female version of Rambo...
Jen


message 478: by Steve (new)

Steve Jen wrote: "Jen wrote: "Sabrina wrote: "Erin wrote: "Sabrina wrote: "Jen, don't forget the stiletto heels too! "

I have an EMT friend who just told me a story of a recent call out she had where a guy had his..."


There used to be a Wonderwoman knockoff in The Tick comics named American Maid who threw her stilleto heels like Batman throws batarangs. :)


message 479: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (JenLD) | 420 comments You use what you have. And now we know how legitimately lethal a boomerang (or knock-off!) is!
Jen


message 480: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 583 comments Jen wrote: "You use what you have. And now we know how legitimately lethal a boomerang (or knock-off!) is!
Jen"


Man, that would have been so cool if the guy in Sherlock was killed with a flying stiletto heel instead of a boomerang...although, we never did see the boomerang so I suppose it could have been one!


message 481: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (JenLD) | 420 comments Oh I think we saw the boomerang, remember when Sherlock before he collapsed into his bed, explains the event to an overcoat-wearing Irene? I believe we see the boomerang in the stream...
Jen


message 482: by Steve (last edited Jun 15, 2012 01:46PM) (new)

Steve Starting The Stuart Age: England 1603-1714 by Barry Coward. I'm only about 40 pages into it, but thus far it has been both interesting and fairly well writen. I was expecting something more "textbooky" but this is a good introduction for the general reader of history.

This one is paperbound and used; I refuse to lock myself exclusively into e-books.


message 483: by Pat (new)

Pat (PKlein) | 301 comments Hmmmmmm, I'm heavily into the Jacobite rebellion at this time myself.


message 484: by Steve (new)

Steve PatK wrote: "Hmmmmmm, I'm heavily into the Jacobite rebellion at this time myself."

Pat, what book(s) are you reading on the Jacobites? Do tell. :)

I just this morning finished a bio of James II. A rather tragic character who often is portrayed as the bad guy but doesn't really seem to have been.


message 485: by Pat (new)

Pat (PKlein) | 301 comments I haven't even posted it to my currently reading because it has become a 'secret' pleasure that is all Erin's fault. ;o)


message 486: by Steve (new)

Steve PatK wrote: "I haven't even posted it to my currently reading because it has become a 'secret' pleasure that is all Erin's fault. ;o)"

Shame on you! ;)


message 487: by Pat (new)

Pat (PKlein) | 301 comments Heh! I'm actually enjoying the 18th century for a change!


message 488: by Steve (new)

Steve I tend to focus more on the 17th century, but the Enlightenment era can reasonably include from just around the English civil wars until about 1820 so I've got a lot of latitude.


message 489: by Pat (new)

Pat (PKlein) | 301 comments My two periods of focus (British: War of the Roses)(American) era of revolution which backs me into your camp.

I will have been reading history of the '45 along with my current novel...I love reading on the computer because it gives you so many options for immediate research gratification...including images.


message 490: by Steve (new)

Steve PatK wrote: "I love reading on the computer because it gives you so many options for immediate research gratification...including images."

That was actually one of my primary reasons for getting my Kindle Fire - the ability to hit Wikipedia or the like when I want to know more about something the book brought up. I've found that even when I read bound books now I like to have my Fire handy.

I have found the era of the Civil Wars and Commonwealth both to be particularly interesting.


message 491: by Steve (new)

Steve Fellow fans of Neal Stephenson may be interested to know that Snow Crash is to be made into a film; written and directed by Joe Cornish: http://entertainment.slashdot.org/sto...

I just wish we'd see HBO decide to do The Baroque Cycle as a miniseries.


message 492: by Sabrina (last edited Jun 16, 2012 08:21AM) (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 583 comments I've just started Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (love that name). I'm only a little bit into it, but I'm already laughing and it has the funniest Author's forward I've ever read.


message 493: by Steve (new)

Steve Great book. A tri-lingual friend of mine says it's much better read in the original Spanish and (surprisingly) in German than it is in English.


message 494: by Regan (new)

Regan | 87 comments Sabrina wrote: "I've just started Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (love that name). I'm only a little bit into it, but I'm already laughing and it has the funniest Author's forward I've ever read."

I've wanted to read this for years and it keeps getting bumped for one thing or another.

I'm sure that the original language is always better, but whether it's good in another always depends on the translation you get. Some are good, others not so much.


message 495: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 583 comments Regan and Steve,

There was an essay of sorts (not sure what it's called) about the book at the beginning. It talked a lot about translations and how different ones through the years have ruined Don Quixote, so much so, that I started wondering if the translation I am reading is any good.

But I'm enjoying it so far, so not too worried.


message 496: by Pat (new)

Pat (PKlein) | 301 comments You know, I wondered about the translation for Umberto Eco's books...his translator for "The Name of the Rose" passed away after he had translated it into English...therefore Eco's other books have a different translator. To what degree had the translation accounted for the great popularity of "Rose" above his others.


message 497: by Regan (new)

Regan | 87 comments There was a huge debate a few years ago regarding the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of War and Peace. You can read some of the discussion at the NYT: http://readingroom.blogs.nytimes.com/...

I really liked their translation of Anna Karenina and when I read War and Peace I ended up with three versions. First, an audiobook read by Frederick Davidson that made me want to shoot myself and which Audible was gracious enough to let me "return" (they gave me another credit and took it out of my library). I ended up with the Neville Jason version. And the Pevear/Volokhonsky printed version. I liked the Pevear version a little better, but it wasn't available in audio at the time.


message 498: by MaryL (new)

MaryL (MaryL1) | 95 comments One of my roommates was getting her Master's in French. She had to choose a second language to study also so picked Spanish. When she was reading DonQuioxte in Spanish she kept a French version with her in case she didn't understand the Spanish. She was seriously messed up by the end of the semester.


message 499: by Pat (new)

Pat (PKlein) | 301 comments Mary wrote: "She was seriously messed up by the end of the semester. ..."

I bet! I am reluctant to read books that originate in another language...how, I always wonder, could the translator possibly bring anything other than an approximation of the author's original intent to the reader? And anyone who has ever read multiple translations of the classics has seen how divergent they can be. Style, must be the first thing that gets lost.


message 500: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (Amy_Perry) | 201 comments Having a bit of a Stephen Fry obsession at the moment so re-reading his first autobiography, we have such vastly different childhoods that it's almost impossible to believe we both live in the same country! Such is the British class system I suppose...As well as reading Victoria's Empire where the comedienne Victoria Wood travels round the 'Empire' to see what sort of an effect we British have had - and it's not all bad. I love Victoria's warmth, humour and intelligence and I'm a history nut so it's win win!!


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