The Sword and Laser discussion

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August's Book

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message 1: by Tom (new)

Tom Hansen (scarhoof) It's past the 25th of the Month, I figured I'd get the discussion going about what our next book would be.

Since last book was definitely Laser (and I would call the previous book laser as well) , I figured I'd put forth a few books I've been eyeing in the sword category:

Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson
The Black Company by Glen Cook

Not 100% sure any of these haven't been done before, but they're on my short list of series starters in the fantasy genre.


message 2: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4203 comments Funnily, Dragonflight has been on my "to read again" list for awhile (I read it when I was in 5th grade or so, and never read the entire series). Those are good suggestions, though I'm slightly hesitant to start a series (mostly because I'm likely to get sucked in and then get further backlogged on the rest of my reading!).

The Warriors collection has been on my to-read list for awhile, but it sounds like it might be more sci-fi (http://www.amazon.com/Warriors-George...). So have the Dreamsongs collections (http://www.amazon.com/Dreamsongs-I-Ge...).

I've got other books in my to-read list, but they're also series (Mistborn, Jhereg, Lies of Loch Lamora, Name of the Wind, Farseer, Temeraire), but I'm OK if we don't read them as the book-o-the-month because I'll eventually get to them.


message 3: by Skip (new)

Skip | 517 comments August is time for a good pulpish read, so I'd recommend The Black Company by Glen Cook. I've read all four of the books, and I liked them all, though Donaldson can be a bit of a downer.


message 4: by Michael (new)

Michael | 2 comments I have to say that I really like Dragonflight and have read the entire series so I would really like for one the others to be the month's choice. Will probably read Lord Foul's Bane just because the previous commenter said it the author was a bit of a downer, which always intrigues me.


message 5: by Marne (new)

Marne I'd like to nominate one of my fantasy favorites, The Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia McKillip. I read it a long time ago but what I remember is that it's a great story beautifully written.


message 6: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments For all the classic SF we've done, the fantasy novels tend to be much more recent. How about we go with an older work this time. Possibilities:

The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard -- probably the most influential fantasy author not named "J.R.R. Tolkien." For years, collections of his work contained heavily edited stories and fragments completed by other, lesser writers, but the Del Ray editions restore the text to what Howard actually wrote in the '30s.

The Princess Bride by S. Morganster, edited by William Goldman -- you all know and love the movie, but how many of you even knew it was based upon a book?

King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard -- the novel that introduced Allen Quatermain (you know, the old guy from League of Extraordinary Gentleman what you never heard of) and is also one of the main inspirations for Indiana Jones.


message 7: by P. Aaron (new)

P. Aaron Potter (paaronpotter) | 585 comments Lord Foul's Bane is the only one I've never been able to manage to slog through, so I'd back that. Failing that, Black Company is a lot of fun, but really requires the two sequels for cohesion.


message 8: by Stan (new)

Stan Slaughter | 359 comments For a good "Sword" book - how about By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey ?

(In my opinion it is arguably the best book she ever wrote)

Or Elizabeth Moons best novel - The Deed of Paksenarrion

P.S.

I read "The Princess Bride" years and years before the movie came out. It was written to be easily adaptable to a script - so for all of you who enjoyed the movie - the book is as good (or a little better)


message 9: by Nicolai (new)

Nicolai (nemoi) | 47 comments Not strictly fantasy, but I would recommend The Road to Jerusalem by Jan Guillou. It's a swedish historical fiction about a young nobleman's rise, who later becomes a templar knight in the holy land.

the book is quite an engaging read with a good mix of thought-provoking dialogue and action. And it paints a good, gritty picture of the medievil North


message 10: by Patrick (last edited Jul 27, 2010 07:40AM) (new)

Patrick | 93 comments I'm for Stephen R. Donaldson but I would suggest The Mirror of Her Dreams instead of Lord Foul's Bane. I like both but the Mordant's Need series is faster paced and generally more interesting. Plus the Mordant's Need is only two books instead of eight going on nine for Chronicles.


message 12: by Stan (new)

Stan Slaughter | 359 comments It's been awhile, but isn't "Lord Fouls Bane" the book where the main character is suddenly cured of leprosy and in gratitude over his new found health

**SPOILER**
**SPOILER**
**SPOILER**

Rapes the under age girl who had been helping and guiding him because his impotency was also cured ?

I remember reading all 3 or 4 books when they first came out and being slightly underwhelmed. I kind of enjoyed the fantasy world building, but thought that the main character came across as whiny and self absorbed.

It's hard to care about what happens to a character, when you do not care about the character.


message 13: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments Stan wrote: "It's been awhile, but isn't "Lord Fouls Bane" the book where the main character is suddenly cured of leprosy and in gratitude over his new found health

**SPOILER**
**SPOILER**
**SPOILER**

Rapes t..."


Not exactly. Upon being transported to Fantasy Land, Covenant concludes that he's gone nucking futs and nothing he sees is real. And if that's the case, why should it matter how he treats these figments of his imagination?

It's probably the most realistic example of how someone would react to finding themselves in a land of magic and unicorns, but it does make for a rather unlikeable character.


message 14: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (raitalle) | 52 comments Dragonflight's the only one I've read, so I'd be more interested in a different one, personally. And anyway, am I right in thinking that one's actually technically in the Laser category? I guess it's not as obvious from that first book, but the Pern books I think are more sci-fi than fantasy, since Pern is a planet that was colonized by humans from Earth and the dragons were genetically engineered, as well as actual space travel and ships being involved later on.


message 15: by Paul (new)

Paul (paulcavanaugh) | 51 comments I've read Dragonflight and Lord Foul's Bane, so would prefer either of Tom's other two suggestions. But what the heck! Of the other books mentioned, I haven't read McKillip or McKiernan -- so would look forward to those. What about something by David Gemmell? Very swords-y. Or axe-y, as the case may be. And really full of energy, too.

Really, for me, it is not so much which books get chosen (hey, I trust the group's voting and Tom and Veronica's dictates...) but finding (good) books which I haven't read is a pain. After a certain number of years (yes, I remember waiting for volume 2 of The Chronicle's of Thomas the Unbeliever to arrive at the bookstore) I've read quite a bit and love it when one of you introduces me to a new author or book. Hooray for the Windup Girl! Fantastic! Even though I got it in dead-tree version.)


message 16: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4203 comments Are any of the books in this thread NOT "first in a series" books? I'd really prefer not to start another series. I can't think of any stand-alone fantasy books but a Google search comes up with a lot of hits, including a thread here at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/8...

Alternatively, do any of the series-starters listed so far stand alone on their own? I'm reading Before They Are Hanged now (about halfway through), and I didn't think The Blade Itself stood well on its own. Books like Raymond E. Feist's seem to stand on their own pretty well, even though they are series (and series within series).

I'm soooo far behind on my series, I'm really not ready to start another. Any stand-alones?


message 17: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 1212 comments terpkristin wrote: "Are any of the books in this thread NOT "first in a series" books? I'd really prefer not to start another series. I can't think of any stand-alone fantasy books but a Google search comes up with ..."

I am with you 100%. It seems like the members of the groups I belong to love series and there tend to be a lot of first books in series chosen. I tend to avoid any reading and discussion of first books in series. I belong to too many groups and have too many books that I want to read to get caught up in a bunch of series. I also dislike staying in a world for more than 1000 pages. There's too much else to explore. I'll cast my vote for stand-alone novels.


message 18: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments terpkristin wrote: "Are any of the books in this thread NOT "first in a series" books? I'd really prefer not to start another series. I can't think of any stand-alone fantasy books but a Google search comes up with ..."

None of the ones I suggested are part of a series in the way The Eye of the World or A Game of Thrones are. Haggard wrote a number of sequels and prequels to King Solomon's Mines, but the first book is complete in and of itself. The Conan book is a collection of short stories. And while S. Morganstern did write a sequel to The Princess Bride, it's never been translated into English -- Stephen King was tapped to do it in the '80s, but a dispute with the Morganstern estate scotched that.


message 19: by Tom (new)

Tom Hansen (scarhoof) Sorry if I included all series starters in my list. I was listing off stuff that's been begging me to get into them for a while now, and I'm hesitant to start a series if I can't finish it.

That being said, I'd love to see some more recommendations for single-book fantasy. Mostly so I can add them all to my already inflated Goodreads book list :-)


message 20: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4203 comments Tom wrote: "Sorry if I included all series starters in my list. I was listing off stuff that's been begging me to get into them for a while now, and I'm hesitant to start a series if I can't finish it.

That being said, I'd love to see some more recommendations for single-book fantasy. Mostly so I can add them all to my already inflated Goodreads book list :-) "


Hah. And my post wasn't to intend to be a complete Debbie Downer, it's not like I'm the only person here. :) I'll have to comb through some of the stand-alone fantasy book Google hits and come up with some potential ideas...maybe in my so-called free time tomorrow. :)


message 21: by Stan (last edited Jul 28, 2010 07:09PM) (new)

Stan Slaughter | 359 comments It depends on what you mean by "series"

Many books are stand alone novels until the author rights more books, fleshing out background and making references to future events.

Example - The By the Sword novel is really pretty much stand alone (that is how I read it) - but it is listed as #4 in a series. It's really more a novel in the same world, with some similar historical figures than it is part of a series. At least until the author wrote some tie in novels much later on.

Simon R. Greens novel Blue Moon Rising says it is #1 in a series. Well - it was not. It was a stand alone until the author wrote several separate novels that were tied into this one at a much later date. (ps - great book - clever, funny, with great dialog and characters - where good guys aren't always good and the bad guys have a lot of good reasons for being bad.)


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Stan wrote: "For a good "Sword" book - how about By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey ?

(In my opinion it is arguably the best book she ever wrote)

Or Elizabeth Moons best novel - The Deed of P..."</i>

I love both of these.
I would also like to nominate: [book:Blue Moon Rising

It's a long time favorite, I reread it at least once a year and am getting to the stage were it's time to do so again.



message 23: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 1212 comments Stan wrote: "It depends on what you mean by "series"

Many books are stand alone novels until the author rights more books, fleshing out background and making references to future events.

Example - The B..."</i>

To me, there are companion books and series books. They're often listed in the same way, but are different. Series books usually end in a cliffhanger and make very little sense if you read them out of order. Companion books, or sidequels, take place in the same world and may or may not share characters. A good example of this would be Charles de Lint's Newford series. Each book stands alone.

[book:The Fellowship of the Ring
falls into the category of a true series in that you need to read all three to get the whole story.



message 24: by Nathan (new)

Nathan | 21 comments I'd highly recommend Heroes Die by Matthew Stover. Has elements of both sword and laser. It is like The Blade Itself, only more kick ass and takes place on Earth in the future where "actors" are transported to another planet filled with magic for the enjoyment of the masses.


message 25: by terpkristin (last edited Jul 30, 2010 04:16AM) (new)

terpkristin | 4203 comments Sandi wrote: "To me, there are companion books and series books. They're often listed in the same way, but are different. Series books usually end in a cliffhanger and make very little sense if you read them out of order. Companion books, or sidequels, take place in the same world and may or may not share characters."

I agree, this is how I define it, too. I'd rather not have to read more in the series to get the complete arc of the story.


message 26: by Noel (new)

Noel Baker | 364 comments Can I put in a word for 'Altered Carbon' by Richard Morgan. Although there are now some others in the series it is a good hard edged laser book which stands well on its own.


message 27: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4203 comments So, doing some Googling and reading, these are some stand-alone books I'd be interested in reading:

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin. From what I've read, it started as a stand-alone, but she (much later) turned into into a series. Apparently this is the best of the series. It's been on my "to-read" list for awhile.

The War of the Flowers is a Tad Williams that is supposed to be good. I've never read any of his stuff, this might be a good introduction.

Though her books are usually more YA-focused, Robin McKinley has written some good fantasy stuff, I'd be up for reading one of her books (maybe The Hero and the Crown or The Blue Sword.

One of my favorite "series" authors, Raymond E. Feist has a stand-alone book that's supposedly pretty good (bonus, it has a Kindle edition!), Faerie Tale. I love the Krondor books (not strictly a series), would like to read some of his other stuff.

So those are my inputs.


message 28: by John (new)

John (jacor) Little, Big by John Crowley. Beautiful fantasy novel set in modern times. This book well deserved the awards it has won.


message 29: by Rick (new)

Rick Pasley (hikr3) | 71 comments I've got three stand alones to suggest, one classic and two pretty new. First, War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. The next two are both Brandon Sanderson's. First is Elantris and second is Warbreaker. I would love to read any of these three with the group.


message 30: by Richelle (new)

Richelle (richellet) | 37 comments Patrick wrote: "I'm for Stephen R. Donaldson but I would suggest The Mirror of Her Dreams instead of Lord Foul's Bane. I like both but the Mordant's Need series is fast..."

Yes please! Donaldson is not my favorite author, but I would definitely prefer Mirror over Lord Foul.


message 31: by Richelle (new)

Richelle (richellet) | 37 comments terpkristin wrote: "Are any of the books in this thread NOT "first in a series" books? I'd really prefer not to start another series. I can't think of any stand-alone fantasy books but a Google search comes up with ..."

I've been wanting to read more Feist! That would be good :)


message 32: by Richelle (new)

Richelle (richellet) | 37 comments How about Jhereg or The Phoenix Guards by Stephen Brust? Though both books are technically the first in a series, they stand alone very well. In fact, after reading several of the books from the Vlad Taltos series (Jhereg), I realized that I had read them out of order, but without too much trouble :) Both these books are witty, definitely "sword," with great world building and fun characters. Humor and sarcasm abound!


message 33: by Jay (new)

Jay Crossler (jaycrossler) | 26 comments Rick wrote: "The next two are both Brandon Sanderson's. First is Elantris..."

I agree! Elantris is next on my read list.


message 34: by George (new)

George Van Wagner (gvdub) | 26 comments I would love to turn a bunch of people on to Joy Chant's Red Moon and Black Mountain, for my money one of the most underrated and under-read fantasy novels of the past 50 years.


message 35: by Philip (new)

Philip (heard03) | 383 comments I'm down for Dragonflight. I've been meaning to revisit Anne McCaffrey after reading many of her books as a kid.


message 36: by Brian (last edited Aug 04, 2010 10:12AM) (new)

Brian A. | 47 comments Fevre Dream is a really good summer read. Vampires in post Civil War American along the Mississippi...

A real vampire story, not like the contemporary books/movies/tv shows that are around.


message 37: by Brian (new)

Brian A. | 47 comments And I'd have to say a strong "no" on the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. The first book is okay but I couldn't finish the second book. I tried on three different occasions and it literally put me to sleep every time. Only book that I can remember having that effect on me. If you do read it you have to drink every time he uses the work "bereft", you won't make it through three chapters...

I did enjoy Donaldson's Gap Cycle though.


message 38: by Halbot42 (new)

Halbot42 | 185 comments Yes to Stephen Brust. In fact, in addition to the excellent vlad and phoenix guard series he has some cool stand alones. To Reign in Hell would be nice and controversial, a retelling of Creation and the war in Heaven from well, someone else's point of view. Funny as hell at times and very poignant at the end. If you like Zelazney's Amber series he has a sci fi called Cowboy Feng's Space Time Bar and Grill that you should enjoy, in fact anyone who likes Zelazney should really give the Vlad books a try.


message 39: by Tom (new)

Tom Hansen (scarhoof) In the interest of helping Veronica put up the poll for this months book, I compiled the numbers from the postings into this list. Feel free to ignore it or view it how you like! I tried to pull out everyone's recommendations as well as get a feel for how many people liked '+' and disliked '-' on the titles mentioned.

They are ordered by mentions. If I missed anyone's specific recommendation, I apologize. Note that Lord's Foul Bane was the only book I saw that had any negative reactions.

Titles:
Dragonflight +3
The Black Company +3
The Princess Bride +3
Lord Foul's Bane +4 -2
Blue Moon Rising +2
By the Sword +2
Elantris +2
Jhereg +2
Temaraire +2
The Mirror of Her Dreams +2
The Phoenix Guards +2
Warbreaker +2
A Wizard of Earthsea
Altered Carbon
Black Sun Rising
Dreamsongs (anthology)
Faerie Tale
Farseer
Fevre Dream
Heroes Die
King Solomon's Mines
Lies of Loch Lamora
Little, Big
Mistborn
Name of the Wind
Red Moon and Black Mountain
The Blue Sword
The Book of Atrix Wolfe
The Coming of Conant the Cimmerian
The Dark Tide
The Deed of Paksenarrion
The Dragonbone Chair
The Hero and the Crown
The Road to Jerusalem
The Time of the Dark
The War of the Flowers
War for the Oaks


message 41: by David (new)

David | 47 comments terpkristin wrote: "Funnily, Dragonflight has been on my "to read again" list for awhile (I read it when I was in 5th grade or so, and never read the entire series). Those are good suggestions, though I'm slightly he..."

good books but I would not try to read the whole series because after the first three its not as good and by the ninth its ridiculous


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