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May. 8th, 2014


I do it. I finished Elizabeth Bear's Eternal Sky trilogy, which is a fantasy epic inspired by the parts of the world touched by the Silk Road. And I have some thoughts...

On the books, and on epic fantasy in general... )

Sep. 2nd, 2012

Genre conventions...

Inspired by a twitter conversation with [livejournal.com profile] beanbunny.

Most fantasy series don't capitalize nonhuman species (elf, dwarf, hobbit, etc.). Most science fiction series do (Klingon, Vulcan, Wookie, Ewok, etc.). My theory is that fantasy is working from myth and biology, where we don't usually capitalize other species (dryad, angel, crow, jackalope, etc.). Science fiction is working from something like nationalities, where we do capitalize different groups of people (American, Russian, Indian, Chinese, etc.).

Related idea: a lot of SFnal aliens have either planetary-wide cultures*, or two cultures, one of which is a Persecuted Minority. In that sense, the analogy makes a lot of sense: if you start going 'Space Soviets', 'Space Japanese', 'Space Jews'. Which has really Unfortunate Implications, now that I type it out.

Fantasy isn't immune to that, but fantasy also occasionally has a more narrow geography to work with. If you have only one group of elves who all live in the same woods, then it makes sense that all of them share a culture as much as all New Yorkers have things in common that even folks from New England don't get. When your Space Elves have forty planets and there's no regional variations between them... it starts to get weird. (Especially if humans still retain ethnic and regional identities.)

* If not one culture across all planets that a species owns. Maybe related to the whole 'one climate per planet' thing.

Aug. 23rd, 2012

100 SF/Fantasy Stories 015: Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce

I'll blog more later, but have a book for now.

I read most of Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness Quartet as a teenager, before the modern YA trend got started. And, well, she writes a good blog and is sort of local to me, and I have several friends who are fans of her. And, honestly, once I got past my teenaged years, I got a lot less insecure about reading 'kids books'.

So, I picked up her other world of books, the Magic Circle ones, which follow four orphaned youngsters from different backgrounds who end up having a semi-rare sort of magic for a certain craft or set of things. )

Aug. 18th, 2008

Back! Also, an essay...

I'm in the mood for an essay, so here's an essay. Also, I am back.

Read more... )

Jul. 12th, 2008

Ugh (also book review)

Dropped my glasses today while getting out of the shower, then stepped on them. As a result, the arms are bent all funny. So, now I have to go see if I can get them repaired. Thankfully, I can see without them, and still have my old pair. Also managed to sleep 12 hours -- I came home late last night and just passed out. (Yesterday, I had to stop at the mall to get a pair of sneakers.)

Incidentally, I discovered that being hit by a car took about half of the life out of my sneakers. Normally sneakers last about two years before I walk through the soles at the heels. This time, the cloth part of the left shoe ripped open -- exactly the part that hit the concrete first when I was hit by a car last August. Should have asked the insurance company for $40 for a new pair of shoes.

Book Review: Abhorsen by Garth Nix )

Next on the reading list: Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik. I have some pretty long thoughts on the Temeraire series, so expect my review for that to be more than just 'Whee! Book #5'. I've also been putting my book reviews on , if you want to see them.

Jun. 23rd, 2008

Oh, the farmer and the Lakewalker should be friends... (On Social Fantasy)

On Social Fantasy...

This blog post may contain spoilers for Lois McMaster Bujold's Sharing Knife books...

Once upon a time... )